Photoshop is a big program, too big. I talked about it the other day with a friend, its problem is that it can do everything. From retouching a photo, to designing a website or laying out a poster, but the most normal thing is that you don’t use it for everything it can do, which is why most of its functions are left to one side.

If you want to speed up your work on Photoshop, it’s important that you lose a little time at the beginning by ordering your interface; hiding the panels you don’t need and leaving those you do to hand. It is also essential to learn the keyboard shortcuts, especially for the functions you want to repeat over and over again. Here are the most common shortcuts. They are the most useful ones for me, and I hope that they are also the same for you.

(The shortcuts here are for Mac, but on PC, they aren’t much different)


Quick access to the most common tools

-b: Pencil

-v: Cursor

-z: Zoom

-c: Scissors

-(Space): Hand, to move around the document

-t: Text

-g: Paint bucket

-Cmd-t: Transform

With the brush active:

When you draw with a tablet, you will constantly find the size of the brush and its hardness changing. This optimises this process:

-Ctrl+Alt+Click: If you drag on the “y” axis (up and down) you will change the hardness of the brush. If you drag on the “x” axis, you will change its size.

-Ctrl+Alt+Cmd+Click: Quick colour palette selector.

-Right click: Direct access to the brushes panel.

Rules and Guides:

-Cmd+r: Remove rules

-Cmd+Shift+,: Show/hide guides


These are the shortcuts that once discovered, you will never stop using over and over:

-0/9: Changes the opacity of the current layer 10 by 10, with 0 ->0% and 9->90%

-Alt+Click: Colour dropper

-Ctrl+Shift+N: Creates a new layer

-X: changes the background colour to the front

-Tab: Show/hide panels, very useful for seeing the result of your work with no distractions


This isn’t exactly a keyboard shortcut, but it is an extremely useful Photoshop function that not everyone knows about. In the layers panel, if you press “Shift” on the line dividing the layers, you will see that the cursor changes. Click and the lower layer will automatically become the mask of the lower one.

If you find it hard to remember these shortcuts, you can print this info-graphic from Zerolag and hang it close to your working area:

If you know of any more essential shortcuts, leave them in the comments 🙂

Posted by alfredo

Alfredo Gómez is a natural-born entrepreneur. He has a degree in both Audiovisual Communication & Tourism, and specialised in international consulting. His passion for discovering the world gave rise to BigTranslation and JuicyPosts, a translation agency and content marketing agency specialised in e-commerce, among other sectors.

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