101 handy Photoshop tips, tricks and techniques.

Pug

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Messages
190
Location
The Last Corellian Shipyard
Car(s)
190E
I figured we could use a thread in which we share Photoshop tips, tricks & shortcuts to make life a little easier each month when the contest rolls around.

Many of these are shamelessly lifted from here and may be outdated depending on which version of Photoshop you're using, although I amended some of them but feel free to add your own too, as I've done.
They're mainly Windows-centric but if you're on a Mac, you're probably used to it and can adapt them accordingly. :mrgreen:

Anyway, here's 101* that I've catalogued, rewritten and formatted to make your life easier. They may vary slightly, depending on what version of PS you're using but I'm pretty sure you'll find a fair few indispensable ones, regardless.
* more or less. I might've buggered up the numbering slightly by grouping stuff here and there. :whistle:


So here goes...
________________________________________________________________

1. Press Tab to hide the tool bar and palette, Shift + Tab will hide just the palette.

2. Hold Shift + click the top blue bar for toolbar and palette will move them to the nearest edge.

3. Double click the top blue bar for any palette window will minimize it.

4. Double click the grey background to bring up open file option, Hold Shift + double click to open up the browser.

5. Sick of the default grey background around your image? Select paint bucket, hold shift and click on the grey background will change to whatever color you have in your foreground colour box.

6. In photoshop, all "Cancel" button in a window can be changed to "Reset" button by holding Alt.

7. Caps lock will switch your cursor for accuracy.

8. Pressing the F key will switch between 3 different screen modes to give you more working area and judge inset contrast more easily.

9. To draw a straight line, click then move to the end point and hold Shift + click.

10. Holding Ctrl will temporary make any tool into the move tool until you release Ctrl.

11. Ctrl + Alt and click drag the image will make a duplicate of the current image overlaid on top.

12. Pressing the Space bar will make any tool into "Hand Tool" until you release Space bar.

13. While in Zoom Tool, Ctrl + Space = zoom in, Alt + Space = zoom out.

14. Hold Ctrl and press "+" or "-" will zoom in & out regardless of tool selection..

15. When using the eyedropper tool to capture foreground colour, hold Alt and click to capture the background colour.

16. With Measure Tool, draw a line then hold Alt and draw another line from the end of the first line to measure an angle.

17. Ctrl + Alt + Z and Ctrl + Shift + Z will go back and forth in the history (rather than the single-step Ctrl Z undo).

18. Alt + Backspace and Ctrl + Backspace will fill in the whole screen with foreground color or background color, Shift + Backspace will bring up the option windown, Alt + Shift + Backspace and Ctrl + Shift + Backspace will fill the image with foreground or background color but will leave the alpha transparent area alone.

19. When doing free transform with Ctrl + T, hold Alt to keep the original image and transform a duplicated layer of it. Ctrl + Shift + T to repeat whatever you did in the last transform.

20. To make sure your Crop is on the edge of the image, hold Ctrl while cropping.

21. Ctrl + J will duplicated the current layer.

22. Ctrl + Shift + E will merge all visible layers to one layer, Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E will make copy of the original and merge all visible layers.

23. While using Marquee Tools, holding Alt will make the starting point as a center of the selection.

24. Ctrl + D to deselect, Ctrl + Shift + D to reselect what you deselected.

25. While selecting with Marquee tool, pressing the space bar can allow you to move the selection.

26. Hold Shift and press "+" or "-" to switch between the layer mode:

27. Mode Hotkeys:

  • N = Normal
  • I = Dissolve
  • M = Multiply
  • S = Screen
  • O = Overlay
  • F = Soft Light
  • H = Hard Light
  • D = Colour Dodge
  • B = Colour Burn
  • K = Darken
  • G = Lighten
  • E = Difference
  • X = Exclusion
  • U = Hue
  • T = Saturation
  • C = Colour
  • Y = Luminosity
  • Q = Behind 1
  • L = Threshold 2
  • R = Clear 3
  • W = Shadow 4
  • V = Midtones 4
  • Z = Highlights 4

    The shortcut works even for following situation:
    Alpha turned off, Indexed Mode, Line tool, Bucket Tools, Dodge and Burn Tools

28. Hold Alt while clicking on the eye icon beside the layer will hide all other layers.

29. Hold Alt while clicking the pen icon beside the layer will unchain this layer from all layers.

30. Select a layer, hold Alt and click the top edge of another layer will group them.

31. Hold Alt and click the button "Create a new layer" to create a new adjustment layer.

32. Select a layer and hold Alt, then click on the Bin icon to instantly delete the layer

32.5 (Oops :blush:) Marquee where you want alpha and Ctrl + click the "Create new channel" button to create an alpha only on the area you marqueed.

33. File > Automate > Contact Sheet to create a small thumbnail for every file, this can save you some time for searching.

34. When the Move Tool is selected, two boxes on top can be useful from time to time, those are "Auto select layer" and "Show bounding box".

35. While Move Tool is selected, hold Shift (Alt + Shift + Right click) to allow the current layer to chain with upper layer (or not).

36. With grid on, click the top left corner of the grid and drag to anywhere on the image to set the pivot, double click on the icon again to reset the pivot.

37. After drawing a path on the image with pen tool, Ctrl + Shift + H can hide/show it.

38. Controlling Navigator with keyboard can sometimes be more time efficient than the mouse (especially if you work with a tablet... I wish I did :().

  • Home = move to top left corner
  • End = move to right bottom corner
  • PageUp = move up one page
  • PageDown = move down one page
  • Ctrl + PageUp = move left one page
  • Ctrl + PageDown = move right one page
  • Shift + PageUp = move up 10 pixels
  • Shift + PageDown = move down 10 pixels
  • Ctrl + Shift + PageUp = move left 10 pixels
  • Ctrl + Shift + PageDown = move right 10 pixels

39. Ctrl + Tab allows you switch between different image files you are working on.

40. F12 = Revert to the file version the last time you saved it.

41. Shortcuts for Channel: RGB, CMYK, indexed color...

  • Ctrl + "~" = RGB
  • Ctrl + 1 = red
  • Ctrl + 2 = green
  • Ctrl + 3 = blue
  • Ctrl + 4 = other path
  • Ctrl + 9 = other path
  • Ctrl + "~" = CMYK
  • Ctrl + 1 = light green
  • Ctrl + 2 = pink red
  • Ctrl + 3 = yellow
  • Ctrl + 4 = black
  • Ctrl + 5 = other path
  • Ctrl + 9 = other path
  • Ctrl + 1 = Indexed
  • Ctrl + 2 = other path
  • Ctrl + 9 = other path

42. Hold Ctrl then you can draw a red box in the Navigator thumbnail for viewing.

43. Hold Alt and click on any of the history steps, that step will be copied and become the most recent one.

44. Alt + drag a step from a serial action to copy it to another action.

45. If you want a precisely located lens flare, Alt + click the flare preview thumb, and you can fill in numerical coordinates.

46. Holding Shift + Alt while transforming an object will do it proportionately and from the centre.

47. If you have the move tool selected and you want something duplicated just hold the Alt key and move the image; holding Shift + Alt while doing this will move it along one axis.

48. If you want to make a image straight that is crooked (maybe from scanning). Click on the eyedropper tool or hit the I key 3 times to get the ruler. Click on the left side of the straight edge, then the right side of the straight (but crooked) edge. The choose Image> Rotate Canvas> Arbitrary. PS will give you the degress of rotation, you just click ok.
(Alternatively, with the crop tool, draw a crop selection, rotate it so it's the same angle as the "badly scanned image", double click it.)

49. If you create something in Illustrator copy it, and paste it in PS, it will ask you if you want this to be a pixel, path, or shape layer.

50. If you have a mask on a layer and you want to place an image in there and keep the mask, simply open the image, say copy, and then Ctrl click on the layer to select the mask and Shift + Ctrl + V to paste it into the mask which will also put it on a new layer as well.

51. To centre a image, Ctrl + A, Ctrl + X, Ctrl + V also puts that image on a new layer.

52. Ctrl + E will merge the highlighted layer down to the next

53. When you have a brush selected,

  • Using [ or ] will resize it.
  • Shift + [ or ] will soften or harden your brush edge.
  • < and > (actually , + . but you know what I mean) will cycle through the brush palette.
  • Number keys change the opacity of your brush
  • Shift + number keys will change the flow of your brush.
    type one number for % of it times ten [4 = 40%]
    type two numbers for exact % [7 then 2 will get 72%]
  • CS4 hidden gems!
    Hold ALT + RMB + drag to change brush radius.
    ALT + Shift + RMB does hardness/softness.

54. Double clicking the zoom tool will make the image 100%, double clicking the hand tool will fit the image to your screen resolution.

55. Text:

  • Ctrl + h will hide the the highlight on your selected text.
  • With text selected, click once on the font list, you can then use your arrows or scroll wheel to scroll up and down and see the fonts change on the fly.
  • Ctrl+shift+ < or > to resize text to your needs interactively.
  • Pressing Ctrl key while you ARE typing also gives you a free transform box temporarily and will go if you release it.
  • Resizing text also works by pressing Ctrl + T (on selected layer, not when you are typing). It still remains an editable text layer afterwards.
  • Alt + left or right arrows will change your tracking in increments of 10
  • Ctrl + Alt + left or right arrows will change your tracking in increments of 100
  • Ctrl + Alt + up or down arrows will change your leading in increments of 10 pts
  • Shift + Ctrl with < or > will change your font size in increments of 2 pts
  • When a portion of text is selected, [Ctrl + shift + "+"] to make PostScript! [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + "+"] to make SuperScript!
  • And remember, pressing enter when you type will take you to a new line just like typing a letter but pressing NumPad Enter or Ctrl+Enter will finish what you type.
56. Ctrl + Alt + T makes a copy of the layer which you want to transform.

57. Ctrl + Alt + right arrow. duplicate the layer you are in.

58. Alt + [ or ] changes the active layer.

59. Ctrl + [ or ] moves the active layer up and down.

60. To link 2 layers, select the move tool, click in the first layer hold Shift and click in the second one.

61. Ctrl + Alt + "+" will zoom in AND RESIZE the window to fit the image size... same for Ctrl + Alt + "-" as well.

62. When using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, Backspace or Delete will undo a lasso step each time you press it.

63. Pressing X will switch the selected foreground and background colors.

64. Pressing D will reset the foreground and backgrounds colors to black and white.

65. If your image has multiple layers, create a Marquee selection and press Ctrl + Shift + C on any visible layer (it won't work if you selected a hidden layer) to copy merged.

66. Ctrl + click a layer thumbnail to select the layer transparency.

67. To see what your layer mask looks like (and edit it), Alt + click its thumbnail in the layers palette.

68. If you don't have "Zoom with scroll wheel" ticked in the preferences, then

  • Alt + scroll will zoom in & out.
  • Ctrl + scroll will scroll side to side.
  • Shift + scroll will scroll a whole page up & down.
  • Ctrl + Shift + scroll will scroll a whole page side to side.
69. Toggle multiple layer selection with Ctrl, select a range of layers by clicking the first, then shift clicking the last (toggle any unwanted ones in-between with Ctrl, as mentioned). Ctrl + G to group them.

70. After drawing a path, create a new layer, select brush tool and press enter for stroke path with selected brush.

71. Ctrl + Shift + N to make a new blank layer

72. ALT key while pressing your shortcut, disables the dialogue confirmation box (where applicable).

73. To use a layer as a mask for another layer, just put the second layer above the first one and Alt + left click in the middle of the two.

74. When using Polygon lasso tool hold Shift to make a perfect line, it goes every 30 degrees

75. Clone Stamp Tool is used to copy an area of image (defined by Alt + clicking an area) and paint it somewhere else (cloning). It also works when you have multiple images open at the same time. Alt + click an area of any opened file image and paint it anywhere else.

76. You can drag a layer on to any other opened images in photoshop and it will copy it as a layer (better than copy and paste imho). Holding down shift while moving it will snap the image right on the center of the other opened image

77. If you are working with sets....

Click on the set, in the blending mode it shows pass through by default... if you have an adjustment layer within a set and you want that adjustment layer to affect those layers underneath it WITHIN the set only, set the blending mode of the set to "normal" instead.

78. Ctrl + click "create a new layer" to create one underneath the previous one instead of on top.

79. I'm sure a lot of PS users are familar with the default tool palette and its shortcuts (you can view these keyboard shortcuts by placing your mouse/cursor over the tool, a pop-up note will appear, type/press these letters and you can select the tool specified).
However, some tools have different tool varieties, but the same keyboard shortcut. (eg. B is for the Brush Tool, but also for the Pencil Tool, and ColorReplacement Tool (CS).
You can scroll through the different types 2 different ways:
(1) Click and Hold down LeftMouseButton on tool and you can scroll to the tool you want.
(2) Shift + Keyboard ShortCut can also scroll through the different tools
eg. Shift + B (once = Brush) Shift + B (twice = Pencil) Shift + B (thrice = ColorReplacement)
NOTE:: Keyboard shortcuts are NOT case sensitive

80. One thing that I didn't come across until recently is that having the marquee tool active, the RMB menu changes giving you access for example to the Color Range option. The eyedropper is another interesting one: if I want to select a color of an image to make an html page background color the same, instead of eyedropping one color, opening the color picker and copying the hex code for the color, I can right click on top of the color, RMB and select Copy Color as HTML.

81. With Levels (Ctrl L), press Alt as you adjust white and black points. It will give you a new display mode of your image showing clipping and has colour feedback to show what channels remain unclipped.

82. If you have the move tool selected pressing the left, right, up and down arrows will "nudge" that layer one pixel in the arrow's direction (hold Shift + arrows for 10 px).

83. The little padlock symbols in the Photoshop Brush Palette probably don't do what you think they do.
Logic would dictate that locking an attribute, scatter, for example, would make it impossible to accidentally uncheck scatter on that brush.
Completely wrong.
If you lock scatter on one brush, then every other brush in Photoshop also becomes a scatter brush.

84. Click and hold and drag the eyedropper and you can eyedropper ANYWHERE on your screen - outside of your document - even outside of Photoshop itself.

85. Hold Ctrl + Alt + right-click an area in your image to automatically select its layer.
The REALLY cool part.. Hold shift at the same time and you can now select multiple layers by right-clicking areas on each of those layers in turn - extremely useful when there are hundreds of layers you need to select.. say trees in a forest..

86. Ctrl + Shift + "[" sends the current layer to the bottom - useful when you want to keep something but hide it under your other layers for the time being..

87. Ctrl + Shift + "]" sends the current layer to the top..

88. Ctrl + "\" selects a layer's mask

89. Ctrl + Shift + "#" selects the layer again. [edit]Bugger. I can't get this to work now... if anyone finds out what it is, let me know and I'll edit it in, ta.

90 - 100. (this one's worth ten, easily ;)) Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K brings up the Keyboard Shortcuts. You can browse and edit the keys; even assign your own shortcuts for pretty much anything.
Better still, press "summarize" and export an .html file that give you a overview on all shortcuts in Photoshop (including any custom ones you define).
Maybe not all are there, but you will learn a lot by going through it.

101. To see the CS Easter Egg, press Ctrl and from Help menu choose About Photoshop (I think older versions may have been Ctrl + Alt). ;)
________________________________________________________________

Phew. Well, that's a whole evening gone but hopefully it'll be a nice resource for future reference.
Enjoy.
 
Last edited:

CraigB

Ich bin ein Kartoffel
DONOR
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
13,016
Location
SWMO
Car(s)
Mustang SVO - Nissan Frontier Pro-4X & Altima
Awesome list, but completely worthless for those of us on Macs...
 

Pug

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Messages
190
Location
The Last Corellian Shipyard
Car(s)
190E
Awesome list, but completely worthless for those of us on Macs...
Completely worthless? COMPLETELY WORTHLESS!?


You know those cliches you read everywhere about Mac users? Yeah? Ever wonder how they came about?
Did you even bother to read as far as the third line where I wrote this? -
They're mainly Windows-centric but if you're on a Mac, you're probably used to it and can adapt them accordingly. :mrgreen:
Here, let me spell it out for you - see those fancy Command and Option keys, smirking along with you with their fancy logos on that Oh-so-sexy keyboard you paid so handsomely for?
Try pressing THEM instead of Ctrl & Alt.
Are you still using the old 1-button mouse or something? You've still got a spacebar, haven't you?

Fuck it. Here - Cmd + Shift + Option + K. Go write your fucking own, smartass.



Jeez. I suppose the ability to make phone calls is completely worthless to you on your iPhone too but that didn't stop your Mom giving me her number, did it! :dance:

Gah. Where's my bloody coffee gone?


[/rant]

:mrgreen:

Stickied for future reference :)
Cheers bud. :cheers:
 

hansvonaxion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
2,839
Location
Tokyo
Car(s)
Legacy GT-B
The trouble is remembering them. I'm going senile and drink too much, that doesn't help.

Learning that shift (or is it option... or apple) + [ ] changed the brush size was a major triumph for me.
 

Matt2000

Disco Stu-pour
DONOR
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
14,719
Location
Country smells, England
Car(s)
'01 Disco 2 V8, '90 Disco 1, '05 Smart Roadster, ?
This will end well. Very good list there, but I don't know if my brain has the capacity to remember them all. I can't even remember which shortcut I overwrote when I set Ctrl + Shirt + F as 'Flatten Image'. It's very useful when I edit images and want to flatten to save as a JPEG, just hold Ctrl and Shift and hit F and S.
 

Pug

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Messages
190
Location
The Last Corellian Shipyard
Car(s)
190E
The trouble is remembering them. I'm going senile and drink too much, that doesn't help.
I don't know if my brain has the capacity to remember them all.
Yeah, I know what you mean but there's at least 5 - 10 I'm going to start using right away, then if I can pick up another one or two a week, I'll be happy.
They get easier to remember once you've tried them out and seen what a difference they can make. :)
 

CraigB

Ich bin ein Kartoffel
DONOR
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
13,016
Location
SWMO
Car(s)
Mustang SVO - Nissan Frontier Pro-4X & Altima
Guess I should have put a smilie at the end of my post. Just messing with you man... :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pug

hansvonaxion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
2,839
Location
Tokyo
Car(s)
Legacy GT-B
Yeah, I know what you mean but there's at least 5 - 10 I'm going to start using right away, then if I can pick up another one or two a week, I'll be happy.
They get easier to remember once you've tried them out and seen what a difference they can make. :)
If you're using PS every day/week it's easier and useful to remember the shortcuts. I use it maybe once a month or every few months. It's amazing what can be forgotten in that space of time. :|
 

Pug

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Messages
190
Location
The Last Corellian Shipyard
Car(s)
190E
Yeah, I guess so.
It's not like I'd ever use all of them but some I've found really handy, like the Alt + RMB drag to resize brushes and X to switch foreground/background colours.

I'm actually tempted to go back to using dual monitors again, then I can have this page open on the second one as a reference (as well as using it for preview/browsing).


I hadn't played with PS for ages until recently but I'm enjoying getting back into it, to the point where I'd like to pick up some paid work again eventually.
(used to do a bit many years ago in the days before Photoshop, when the preferred weapon of choice was the MS-DOS Deluxe Paint II Enhanced!) :wheelchair:
 

hansvonaxion

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
2,839
Location
Tokyo
Car(s)
Legacy GT-B
I'm not quite that old! Back in uni I think we were using PS and Quark on old Macs. I remember that applying a filter usually meant you could go out for lunch.

Seems that Deluxe Paint II is still useful...

[YOUTUBE]NfqL7bwx9fs[/YOUTUBE]
 

camsinny

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
384
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Car(s)
2008 Mazda 2 Maxx
Brilliant!

Also, just mucking around cause I had to try a couple out.
ALT + RMB does the brush size, ALT + Shift + RMB does hardness/softness.

There were a couple of double-ups but thanks for the extensive list...can't believe I read them all ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pug

Pug

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2009
Messages
190
Location
The Last Corellian Shipyard
Car(s)
190E
Brilliant!

Also, just mucking around cause I had to try a couple out.
ALT + RMB does the brush size, ALT + Shift + RMB does hardness/softness.

There were a couple of double-ups but thanks for the extensive list...can't believe I read them all ;)
Added. Cheers. :thumbup:

Can't believe I wrote them! :lol:
 
Top