This is a list of my top 7 (or so) favorite and most used Photoshop keyboard shortcuts. Some might be obvious to you, some you might already know, and some might be new to you. Feel free to add your own below. There’s nothing more damaging to your productivity than having to wrestle with the program you are using to get it to do what you want. Searching for tools or buttons is a task that can easily be bypassed with some quick memorization of shortcuts.
Undo, Multiple Times
Ctrl + Alt + Z
Most programs allow you to press Ctrl + Z multiple times to perform multiple Undo’s, but Photoshop requires Alt, otherwise you’ll just keep undoing then re-doing then undoing then re-doing then undoing then re-doing.
Holding the spacebar will turn your cursor into the hand in almost any situation… when using different tools, with dialog boxes open, etc… allowing you to quickly navigate your document no matter what you’re doing.
Switch Document Windows
Ctrl + Tab
Your Photoshop workspace can become a mess when working on multiple files, especially when you hate minimizing, like I do, so being able to switch windows quickly is a must.
Ctrl + Shift + N – with dialog
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N – without dialog
Layers are the greatest thing(s) ever invented in any (design) program and being able to manage your layers properly is important. I’m Errorphobic, which makes me a layer junky, which also makes this a favorite shortcut of mine.
Ctrl + J – without dialog
Ctrl + Alt + J – with dialog
You can duplicate an entire layer, or, if you have a selection, the selection will be duplicated to it’s own layer. This is great when trying different techniques or effects without having to worry about errors (Errorphobic, remember?).
Zoom In/ Zoom Out / Fit to Window
Ctrl + = – zoom in
Ctrl + – – zoom out
Ctrl + 0 fit to window
When you’re slightly obsessive and need to get that 1-perfect pixel zooming in and out quickly is a necessity to achieving that perfection.
Re-run Filter/ Fade Filter
Ctrl + F – run filter again
Ctrl + Alt + F – run filter again, with dialog
Ctrl + Shift + F – fade filter
Even though Photoshop provides preview windows in the dialog box for most filters, there’s still no true way of telling whether you’ve achieved your desired effect until you see the full image. If something goes wrong, you can quickly undo, then go back to your filter and try again without having to go through the hassle of moving your cursor. Or, if your filter effect is too intense, you can quickly fade it down without having to re-adjust the filter settings.
Making Your Own Shortcuts
These shortcuts may not be on the top of everybody’s list, but that all depends on your project and workflow. Luckily, Photoshop allows you to custom tailor your own Keyboard shortcuts to suit your needs. Just press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K or go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.