Essential Photoshop Shortcut Keys for Mac and Windows

Efficiency in Photoshop goes hand in hand with the adept use of shortcut keys, which expedite tasks and streamline workflows. Professional users often favor these shortcuts over navigating the menu due to the time-saving convenience they offer. While menu exploration might consume time, a swift keystroke activates the tool instantly, preserving both time and effort throughout your workflow.

Learning and utilizing these Photoshop shortcut keys is a practical and effective approach. With easy-to-remember combinations, you can seamlessly integrate them into your work. This knowledge can significantly simplify otherwise complex tasks within Photoshop, making tool activation effortless.

Shortcut keys are comprehensive, covering an array of tasks and features, including layers, editing, document handling, color adjustments, effects, and various operations. They not only boost productivity but also contribute to a user-friendly interface within Photoshop.

Each shortcut key is specifically mapped to a command, instantly activating the assigned function when triggered. For instance, to open a document in your workspace, instead of navigating through the File -> Open menu, simply press Ctrl+O, which provides the same functionality as the open option in the File menu.

Here, we’ll delve into a compilation of essential Photoshop shortcut keys compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. While the functionality remains consistent, there might be minor differences in keystrokes between the two operating systems.

Photoshop Shortcut Keys for Mac OS

The shortcut keys for Windows also apply to Mac OS, with slight keystroke adaptations. For Mac users, the following substitutions apply:

Mac OSWindows
We will discuss the shortcut keys for Windows, but they will work in Mac OS as well. We just have to make the following substitution to use them in Mac:

Most Frequently Used Photoshop Shortcut Keys

The following are some most frequently used shortcut keys in Photoshop:

Shortcut Key Task
Ctrl + T To perform free transform
Hold down ` (grave accent) To toggle between painting and erasing with the same brush.
[ To decrease the brush size.
] To increase the brush size.
{ To decrease the brush hardness.
} To increase the brush hardness.
Left Arrow (anti-clockwise), Right Arrow (clockwise) To rotate the brush tip by 1 degree
Shift + Left Arrow (anti-clockwise),
Shift + Right Arrow (clockwise) To rotate the brush tip by 15 degrees
D To activate the default foreground/background colors.
X To switch the Foreground/Background colors.
Alt-click layer To fit layer(s) to screen
Ctrl + J To create a new layer via copy
Shift + Ctrl + J To create a new layer via cut
Any selection tool + Shift-drag Add to a selection
Alt-click brush or swatch To delete brush or swatch
Control-click To toggle auto-select with the move tool
Ctrl + Alt + P To close all open documents (other than the current document)
Esc To cancel any modal dialog window.
Enter To select the first edit field of the toolbar
Tab To navigate between fields
Tab + Shift To navigate between fields in the opposite direction
Alt To change the cancel to reset option

Ctrl+F: This key combination is used to search across a Photoshop document. Further, it is also used to search help and learn content and adobe stock assets.

Function Keys

Shortcut Key Task
F1 To start help
F2 To cut a selection
F3 To copy a selection
F4 To paste a cut/copied content
F5 To show/hide brush panel
F6 To show/hide the color panel
F7 To show/hide layers panel
F8 To show/hide Info panel
F9 To show/hide actions panel
F12 To apply Revert operation
Shift + F5 Fill
Shift + F6 To activate feather selection
Shift + F7 To activate an inverse selection

Selection Tools

Shortcut Key Task
V To activate the Move tool
M To activate the Marquee tool
L To activate the Lasso tool
W To activate the Magic Wand tool
C To activate the Crop tool /Slice tool
I To activate the Eyedropper tool
J To activate Healing Brush tool/ Patch tool/ Red Eye tool.
B To activate the Brush tool
S To activate the Clone Stamp tool
Y To activate the History Brush tool
E To activate the Eraser tool
G To activate the Gradient tool
O To activate Dodge tool/Burn tool
P To activate the Pen tool
T To activate the Type tool
A To activate the Path Selection tool
U To activate Rectangle tools H To activate the Hand tool
R To activate Rotate View tool
Z To activate the Zoom tool
D To apply default Foreground/Background colors
X To switch Foreground/Background colors
Q To toggle between Standard/Quick Mask modes
J To activate the content-aware Move tool
C To activate the Perspective Crop tool
V To activate the Artboard tool
R To activate Rotate View tool
/ To Toggle Preserve Transparency { To decrease the hardness of the brush.
} To increase the hardness of the brush.
, To select the previous brush.
. To select the next brush.
< To select the first brush. > To select the last brush.

View Images Keys

In this list, we are discussing the shortcuts that do not appear in menu commands:

Shortcut Key Task
Shift + Ctrl + Tab Switch to the previous document
Q To Toggle between Standard and Quick Mask mode
Spacebar + F To Toggle forward (canvas color)
Spacebar + Shift + F To Toggle backward (canvas color)
Double-click Hand tool To fit an image into the window
Ctrl + 1 or double-click zoom tool To magnify 100%
Control + spacebar Switch to zoom in tool.
Alt + spacebar Switch to zoom out tool
Spacebar-drag To scroll Image Canvas while dragging
Esc To cancel completely
Ctrl + Z To undo the last adjustment
Ctrl + A To Select All
Ctrl + D To Deselect All
Shift-Click To Select Multiple
Shift-drag To Move Multiples
H To Temporary Hide

Selection and Mask

Ctrl+Alt+R: This key combination is used to open the select and mask workspace.

X: It is used to toggle between the original image and selection preview.

P: It is used to toggle between original selection and refined version.

These keys will be very helpful while working with Photoshop:

Shortcut Key Task
Alt-click ( a filter) To apply a filter
Ctrl + Alt + F To reapply previously used filter
Ctrl + Z To undo/redo (single step)
Ctrl + Shift + Z To step forward (redo multiple steps)
Ctrl + Alt + Z To step backward (undo multiple steps)

Liquify Filter Keys

Shortcut Key Task
W To forward Warp tool
C To twirl Clockwise tool
S To activate the Pucker tool
R Reconstruct tool
B Bloat Tool
M Mirror Tool
Alt To change the cancel to reset

Vanishing Point Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Ctrl + '+' To zoom in
Ctrl + '-' To zoom out
Ctrl + 0 To fit in the window
Ctrl + D To deselect all
Arrow keys To move a selection 1 px ( accordingly)
Shift + Arrow To move a selection 10 px
Ctrl + Drag To fill a selection

Camera Raw Dialog Box Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Z To activate the Zoom tool
H To activate the Hand tool
I To activate the White Balance tool
S To activate the color sampler tool
C To activate crop tool
A To activate the straighten tool
B To activate spot removal tool
E To activate the red-eye removal tool
Ctrl + Alt + 1 To open basic panel
Ctrl + Alt + 2 To open tone curve panel
Ctrl + Alt + 3 To open the detail panel
Ctrl + Alt + 4 To open the Greyscale panel
Ctrl + Alt + 5 To open split toning panel
Ctrl + Alt + 6 To open lens correction panel
Ctrl + Alt + 7 To open the camera calibration panel
Ctrl + Alt + 9 To open Presets Panel
P For toggle preview
F For full-screen mode
O To highlight clipping warning

Curves Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Ctrl + M To open the curves dialog box
+ To select the next point on the curve.
- To select the previous point on the curve
Ctrl + D To deselect a point
Shift + click a point To select multiple points on the curve
Select a point + del To delete a point on the curve
Arrow keys To move a curve by 1 unit
Shift + Arrow To move a curve by 10 unit
Ctrl + click on the image To set a point to composite a curve
Alt + click a field To toggle grid

Select and Move Objects Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Marquee Tool + spacebar-drag (Except single column and single row) To reposition the marquee tool while selecting
Selection Tool + Shift-drag For adding to a selection
Selection Tool + Alt-drag For subtracting from a selection
Selection Tool + Shift-Alt-drag (Except quick selection tool) For intersecting a selection
Alt-Drag To switch from magnetic lasso to lasso tool
Alt-click To switch from magnetic lasso to polygon lasso tool
Move tool + Alt-drag a selection To move and copy a selection
Selection Tool + Arrow To move selected area by 1 pixel
Crop Tool + Enter To accept a selection to crop
Crop Tool + Esc To cancel a selection to crop
Alt + Drag Guide To convert b/w guides (horizontal and vertical)

Transform, Selection, and Selection Borders Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Alt To transform from the center and rotate the object
Shift Force Constrain
Ctrl Distort
Enter To apply an action
Ctrl + .(Dot) or Esc To cancel
Ctrl + Alt + T To free transform with duplicate data
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + T To retransform with duplicate data

Editing Path Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Direct Selection Tool + Shift-click To select multiple anchor points from a path
Direct Selection Tool + Alt-click To select the entire path
Pen or Path or Direct Selection Tool + Ctrl + Alt-drag To duplicate a path
Ctrl For switching from a selection tool (pen, path, add anchor or delete anchor) to a Direct selection
Magnetic pen tool- double click To close a path
Magnetic pen tool + Alt-double click To close a path with a straight line segment.

Painting Shortcut Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Painting tool + Shift + Alt + Right-Click & drag To select a foreground color from the color picker
Eyedropper tool + Alt-click To select a background color
Painting tool + Alt Select a foreground color from an image using the eyedropper tool.
Eyedropper + Shift For the color sampler tool
Color sampler + Alt-click To deactivate the color sampler tool
Alt + Shift + Number To change mix setting in mixer brush
Number keys To change the wet setting in the mixer brush
Shift + + or - To cycle through blending modes
Ctrl + Alt + Backspace To fill from history

Blending Modes Keys

Shortcut Key Task
Shift + + or - To cycle through blending modes
Shift + Alt + N To activate normal mode
Shift + Alt + I To activate dissolve
Shift + Alt + K To darken an image
Shift + Alt + M To multiply an image
Shift + Alt + B To apply color burn
Shift + Alt + A To apply linear burn
Shift + Alt + G To lighten an image
Shift + Alt + D To activate color dodge
Shift + Alt + W To activate linear dodge
Shift + Alt + O To display overlay
Shift + Alt + F To apply soft light
Shift + Alt + H To apply hard light
Shift + Alt + L To hard mix
Shift + Alt + U To activate Hue

Text Manipulation Keys

This list contains the shortcuts that are not available in menu options or tooltip:

Shortcut Key Task
Ctrl + Drag ( When a type layer is selected) To move type in the layer
Shift + Arrow To select one character in the specific direction
Shift + Click To select from an insertion point to mouse click point
Shift + Click To select a new text layer when text tool is selected
Ctrl + H To hide a selection on selected type
Space-drag To move a text box while creating a text box

Format Type Keys

This list contains the shortcuts that are not available in menu options or tooltip:

Shortcut Key Task
Horizontal Type tool + Ctrl + Shift + L, C, or R To align item left, center or right
Vertical Type tool + Control + Shift + L, C, or R To align item top, center, or bottom
Ctrl + Shift + X To select scale 100% (Horizontal)
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + X To select scale 100% (Vertical)
Ctrl + Shift + J To justify paragraph, left aligns last line
Ctrl To toggle between the Slice tool and slice selection tool.
Shift-drag To draw a square circle
Alt-drag To draw from the center outward
Spacebar-drag To reposition a slice while creating
Right-click slice To open a context-sensitive menu

Panel Keys

This list contains options that are not available in the menu option or tooltip:

Shortcut Key Task
Tab To display and hide all the panels
Shift + Tab To display and hide all the panels except the toolbox
Select a Tool + Enter To highlight the options bar
Shift + Up Arrow/Down Arrow To increase or decrease selected values by 10.
Ctrl + Double click an action To play an entire action
Alt + click on an action Play entire action
Control-click the Play button To play a command
Shift-click the action/command To select contiguous items of the same kind
Double-click recorded command To display an options dialog box for the recorded command.