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71 essential Photoshop shortcuts

photoshop shortcuts - A man with a mirror for a head promoting Photoshop.
(Image credit: Photoshop)

Searching for Photoshop shortcuts to speed up your workflow, increase productivity and make your working hours more efficient? Then look no further as we have assembled a number of Photoshop shortcuts to help you to navigate your way around the software. Some of the shortcuts we have gathered work on multiple Adobe software, and some solely on Photoshop. 

Some will help you to control your layers, change your brushes quickly, edit text and also apply quick adjustments. You can also find a number of shortcuts to help you improve your file management, make selections and aid 3D work. Once you have learned and practised these shortcuts enough, they will become like muscle memory. Trust us, soon you'll be wondering how you ever managed to create on Photoshop without them. 

Fancy learning more about Photoshop? Then make sure you check out our roundup of Photoshop tutorials (whether you're a Photoshop novice or pro, we will have a tutorial to suit you). You can also create brilliant effects with Photoshop actions

If you work better with a visual aid though, we have a super nifty Photoshop shortcuts cheat sheet.

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Photoshop Shortcuts

Photoshop shortcuts

Manipulating and arranging layers is simple with these great Photoshop shortcuts

01. Show and hide the layers panel

  • WINDOWS: F7
  • MAC: F7

Quickly show and hide the Layers panel easily by pressing F7 on your keypad. This will also show and hide the Channels and Paths panels because they are grouped together.

02. Scroll through the Layers

  • MAC: Option [ ]
  • WINDOWS: Alt [ ]

To scroll through the layers quickly, hold Alt/Option and use left and right bracket keys [ ] to scroll through: right is up and left is down. 

03. Create New layer

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+N
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+N

Get started on your latest project in next to no time with this handy shortcut that instantly whips up a new layer and dialogue box.

04. Create new layer behind selected layer

  • MAC: Ctrl+New Layer icon
  • WINDOWS: Cmd+New Layer Icon

Mastering the new layer shortcut is a doddle, so once you're ready to drop in a layer behind it, be sure to use this shortcut.

05. Fill a layer

  • MAC: Alt+Backspace (foreground) or Cmd+Backspace (background)
  • WINDOWS: Alt+Delete (foreground) or Ctrl+Delete (background)

This command will fill an empty later with the current foreground or background colour.

06. Flatten layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Alt+Shift+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E

Add a new, empty layer to the top of your stack, select it and use the above command to flatten the layers in an image to sharpen the result. This adds a flattened version of the image to the new layer but leaves the stacked layers intact too.

07. Merge visible layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+E

This command enables you to merge all your existing layers to create one new layer. Beware! Once merged, they're extremely difficult to separate.

08. Stamp down selected layers

  • MAC: Cmd+Alt+E
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Alt+E

Once you've selected your layers, use this command to merge them into just one layer. To see them merged as a new layer, simply add in the Shift modifier. This is useful if you need to make adjustments later on.

09. New layer via copy

  • MAC: Cmd+J
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+J

Use this command to create a new layer from an existing one. Sound complicated? Give it a go!

10. New layer via cut

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+J
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+J

Like creating a new layer via copy, this command will create a new layer with the selected image area in it. The only difference via cut is that it will remove the selected image portion from the original image.

11. Bring layer to top of stack

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+]
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+]

Here, you can move your preferred layer to the top of the stack of images you're working with in Photoshop.

12. Send layer to bottom of stack

  • MAC: Cmd+Shift+[
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+Shift+[

Yep, this is pretty self-explanatory. It does exactly the same as the command above, but in the opposite direction.

13. Bring layer forward

  • MAC: Cmd+]
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+]

This Photoshop shortcut enables you to bring any selected image to the front.

14. Send layer back

  • MAC: Cmd+[
  • WINDOWS: Ctrl+[

If you decide to change your mind, you can always select the image and send it to the back of the pile.

15. Copy multiple layers

  • MAC: Shift+Cmd+C
  • WINDOWS: Shift+Ctrl+C

Draw a selection, then use this command to take every layer into the clipboard, rather than just the current layer selection.

16. Edit layer style

  • MAC AND WINDOWS: Double-click layer

Quick access to style controls, such as Drop Shadow, Bevel & Emboss and Color Overlay.

Next page: Selections

Matt Smith
Matt Smith

Matt has worked for various publishing houses and design agencies, covering studio photography, video production, editorial design, branding, illustration and motion graphics. He currently works for Future PLC with brands such as T3, Woman&Home, Marie Claire, Music Week, TechRadar, Golden Joysticks, Cycling Weekly, Brand Impact Awards, Horse&Hound and Tech&Learning. In the past he has designed titles including Mac|Life, IQ, Bow International, Drummer, iDrum, Acoustic, Clay Shooting, Sea Fishing and GunTradeNews. He has experience across the full Adobe Suite and is currently spending a lot of time creating projects in Blender and After Effects.