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10 Custom Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Be Using in Photoshop

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By default, Photoshop comes packed with keyboard shortcuts that you can use to speed up your workflow. What you might not know however is that there are also a lot of commands that do not have keyboard shortcuts assigned to them. In this tutorial, we will show you a few of our favorite custom keyboard shortcuts that you can use to work much faster in Photoshop. Let's get started!


1. Show, Hide, and Isolate Layers

This one is a big time saver. Once you start using it, you will never click on the eye icons in the Layers Panel ever again. The great thing about setting up a custom keyboard shortcut for this feature is that it can turn on or off the visibility of a selected layer or layers. This makes it especially useful. If you want to check your composition without a specific layer or set of layers, all you need to do is select them and press the shortcut you assigned to the Show/Hide Layers command.

Custom Shortcut

Set F3 to Show/Hide layer. Set Command/Ctrl + F3 on a selected layer to isolate it.

2. Convert to Smart Objects and Edit Contents

Smart Objects are probably the most important element of a non-destructive workflow in Photoshop, but strangely there is no default shortcut assigned to them. I like to use two shortcuts with Smart Objects, one for converting layers into them and one to edit their contents. For editing a Smart Object's contents you can also double click on the layer's thumbnail, but that also takes time. Around 1 second each time you do it, but if you have to do that around 100 times a day that means you have wasted 2 minutes. That is 10 minutes a week and around 10 hours a year. One simple custom shortcut can save you a whole working day a year.

Custom Shortcut

Set F5 to Convert to Smart Objects. Set Command/Ctrl + F5 to edit its contents.

3. Adjustments and Properties Panels

The process of showing and hiding panels can also be assigned keyboard shortcuts. I prefer to use the function keys for this as they can be used without having to hold down Command/Ctrl together with them. I have custom shortcuts assigned to these two panels as they are the ones I always want to see or hide. I don't like having them always visible because they take up quite a lot of real estate on the screen.

Custom Shortcut

Set F7 to show/hide Adjustments Panel. Set F8 to show/hide Properties Panel.

4. Arrange: Tile and Consolidate All to Tabs

These two options can be found under the Window Menu - Arrange command group. With these commands, you will be able to quickly switch between seeing all your open documents in a grid and seeing only one of them open, with the others all collapsed into tabs. Unfortunately, with this feature you won't be able to use the same shortcut to switch back and forth, you will have to assign two different shortcuts. You can always make them similar to each other to make it easier to switch between the two modes.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + F to arrange as tiles. Set Command/Ctrl + Shift + F to consolidate all to Tabs.

5. Camera Raw Filter

The Camera Raw filter makes it possible to use all the features of the Camera Raw plug-in directly in any of your layers in Photoshop. You can even use them completely non-destructively as Smart Filters if you apply them to a Smart Object.

This new filter was introduced in Photoshop CC and it came with no default keyboard shortcuts. I love to work with Camera Raw adjustments so I immediately assigned a shortcut to it and it saves me a lot of time. This filter can only be used in RGB mode but there is a trick that will allow you to use it in a CMYK document. If the Smart Object's source is set to RGB, the main document can still be in CMYK color mode.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + Shift + R to activate the Camera Raw Filter.

6. Convert to Paragraph/Point Text

There are two ways to create separate, fully editable Type layers in Photoshop. If you just click with the Type Tool anywhere on the canvas you will create a Point Type Layer, which won't automatically break the lines of your text. For automatic line-break you will need to create a Paragraph Type Layer, for which you need to click and drag with the Type Tool on the canvas to define an area for the paragraph. In the type menu, you will find a feature that can convert these two types to one another.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + Shift + P to convert to Paragraph/Point text.

7. Deselect All Layers

In some cases you might want to make sure that you don't have any layers selected in Photoshop. For that, there is no default keyboard shortcut, but there is a feature under the Select Menu called Deselect Layers. I like to use Command/Ctrl + Shift + A for this, that keyboard shortcut performs the same task in InDesign by default.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + Shift + A to Deselect All Layers.

8. Share on Behance

Behance is a great addition to the Creative Cloud set of services. Once you have an account you can link that to Photoshop and save any of your work directly from Photoshop into your portfolio on Behance. I use this option frequently so I decided to set up a custom shortcut for it, which is similar to saving the file to the desktop (Command/Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S). You can upload your work-in-progress to Behance, as well, and re-upload it at every stage. This will make the whole revision process much faster between you and your client.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S to share your work on Behance.

9. Show/Hide All Effects

In documents where you have several layers with Layer Styles it might be difficult to quickly check the effect of all the Layer Styles used in the document. With the Show/Hide All Effects command from the Layer menu you can do this easily but it can be even faster by assigning a custom keyboard shortcut to it.

Custom Shortcut

Set Command/Ctrl + Shift + H to Show/Hide All Effects.

10. Mixer Brush Tool

Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that the Mixer Brush deserves its own unique custom keyboard shortcut. This tool is mainly used together with the Brush Tool, which is set B by default. So why not assign N to the Mixer Brush, which is directly next to B on the keyboard? N by default is assigned to a 3D Tool, but that tool is used much less than the Mixer Brush Tool, which can beautifully merge different colors together and can even reduce the noise of your photos.

Custom Shortcut

Set the N key to the Mixer Brush Tool.

Additional Reading

For more information about setting custom keyboard shortcuts, take a look at the following URLs.

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