While Adobe Photoshop is internationally lauded as one of the finest professional image editing softwares to ever be conceived and can produce results way beyond even your wildest expectations, there is no denying the fact that when it comes to Photoshop, the learning curve is a steep one.
For amateurs and beginners, the Photoshop experience can be compared to the likes of blindly trying to find your way out in a very confusing maze – the vast array of tools and options can be staggering. Once you’ve worked your way around a bit, you can’t help but spend most of your time fiddling around with the different parameters on each of the editing tools – in short, you find yourself messing with the tools a lot more rather than editing a picture.
Fortunately, there are ways to help you efficiently streamline your workflow in Photoshop. Keyboard shortcuts are definitely the way to go when you need to streamline your working structure. Keyboard shortcuts are simply commands you can type out on the keyboard without having to go into a menu, its submenu and all that hassle.
While learning keyboard shortcuts on Photoshop can be a bit cumbersome initially, once you get the hang of it, they are extremely useful, and will help in saving tons of time. While there is no limit to the number of shortcuts you can learn, some of the most important ones which will definitely come in handy while editing any given picture are:
1. Beginner Level Shortcuts
H (Shortcut for the “Hand” Tool) – This tool is used for swift panning, when you have zoomed in on a particular part of your picture. Also, with the Hand Tool selected, you can zoom in and out by holding down the Alt key and rolling your mouse wheel up/down, without having to switch over to the Zoom tool.
Z (Shortcut for the “Zoom” Tool) – Using this shortcut selects the Zoom tool, so you can zoom in on your image as per your needs.
Ctrl + O (Shortcut for the “Fit on Screen” Tool) – This is the tool that you need to use to instantly fit the entire picture on the screen.
Ctrl + Z (Shortcut for the “Undo” Tool) – A very useful tool for erasing the last action that you made.
2. Intermediate Level Shortcuts
Shift + ] (Shortcut for Increasing Brush Softness) – This shortcut increases the softness of the brush you are using by 25%.
Shift + [ (Shortcut for Decreasing Brush Softness) – This shortcut decreases the softness of the brush by 25%, so you have a smoother and lighter stroke.
] (Shortcut for Increasing Brush Size) – Using a small brush for large areas does not make a lot of sense; use this shortcut for increasing your brush size.
[ (Shortcut for Decreasing Brush Size) – Having trouble reaching those tough spots? Use this tool to decrease your brush size quickly.
0-9 (Shortcut for Changing Tool Opacity) – With your brush selected, pressing any number between 0 to 9 will increase/decrease your opacity accordingly. For example, pressing 4 will give you 40% opacity, and 9 will give you 90% opacity. You can use this tool for double digit numbers as well.
3. Advanced Level Shortcuts
Ctrl + Shift + N (Shortcut for “New Layer”) – This command initially opens up the New Layer Dialog Box, and then creates a new layer immediately above the current active layer.
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N (Shortcut for “New Layer” without the Dialog Box) – This allows you to skip the New Layer Dialog Box and directly create a new layer above the active layer.
Ctrl + Shift + C (Shortcut for “Merge Copy”) – This tool lets you make a copy of the entire composite image to the clipboard. However, this tool only works with the entire image selected, so make sure to do that first by hitting Ctrl + A.
While there are plenty more shortcuts that you can learn, these are the basic shortcuts that will get you by when editing an image the standard way.