Photoshop Shortcuts – The Fun Way

photoshop shortcuts fun

In this post I’m going to focus on several Photoshop shortcuts that I tend to use more often than others. Sure I could sit here and spell out every single shortcut available, but why reinvent the wheel? Here is a list of 10 of my favorite and most used Photoshop shortcuts delivered to you via Mr. Stickman.

Zoom with scroll

Sure you can use the zoom tool straight off of the tool bar, but there is a much easier way. Just hold the Alt key and use the mouse scroll wheel to instantly zoom in and out of your current project.

Individual font scaling

If you’re looking to change the individual font size for a particular word or word-phrase within the text of your Photoshop document, simply highlight the text and hold Ctrl + Shift while using the > or < key to change the size of the font in 2px increments.

scale font

100% zoom

Often times when I’m working on a project, I’ll zoom in particularly close to handle detail-oriented aspects of the design. A quick way to get your image back to 100% is to simply double click the zoom tool or hit it with a bat if you’re a stick figure.

photoshop zoom

Brush size

I’m a fan of the brush tool, as most people are. See that little guy down there all happy with the two brushes in his hand? He may not be pretty, but he was introduced to this world via the brush tool. If you find yourself using it often, a nifty little trick to increase and decrease the size of the brush is to simply use the [ and ] characters while the brush tool is highlighted.

brush size

Layer opacity

The amount of transparency that a particular layer displays is know as it’s opacity. A quick way to increase and decrease the amount of opacity is to simply hit a numeric value on the keyboard while that particular layer is highlighted.

layer opacity

Super nudge

Moving objects around in Photoshop isn’t rocket science. You have the mouse and the shift + mouse to make quick large movements, there are the arrow keys for fine tuning an objects placement by 1px and then there is super nudge. Hold down the shift key while using the arrow keys to super nudge an item by 10 px increments.

super nudge

Duplicate layer

Do you like that layer you just designed? Duplicating layers in Photoshop is a common task. Instead of dragging that layer to the “create a new layer icon” for duplication, simply hit Ctrl + J and save yourself some time. Just make sure the correct layer is highlighted first.

duplicate layer


By far my most used keyboard shortcut is undo. Anytime you make a mistake in Photoshop and want to go back a few steps, just hit Ctrl + Alt + Z to undo the previous actions. There are ways to tell Photoshop how many times to remember the actions you’ve performed but again, this isn’t the time or place to address it. I’ll dig deeper into Photoshop techniques and tips in an upcoming post.

photoshop undo

Hide/Show palettes

Feeling a little cluttered? If you need to sit back and focus at the task at hand, simply hit the Tab button. This will hide all palettes in Photoshop and give you a more minimal view of your current project. Just hit Tab again and your tools are back up and ready to go.

hide palettes

All shortcuts

Are you digging the shortcuts? There are so many it would take a .PDF to name them all. If you want to see the whole collection of Photoshop shortcuts or even create your own custom ones, just hit Ctrl + Alt + Shift + K and explore the pop-up menu that follows.

photoshop shortcuts


Hopefully you’ve learned at least one new trick here and if not, maybe you at least enjoyed the ride. As mentioned before there are hundreds of shortcuts out there and you can even make your own. Didn’t get enough? Maybe I’ll write a more lengthy followup article sometime in the near future. Until that day comes, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts in the PDF format that should help you take full advantage of the power of Photoshop.


+Add your comment
  1. Darryl Rowse

    Great tips and an excellent way to showcase them. I would add using th Caps key to enter into precision cursor mode. Great article!

  2. Ericka

    I had no idea about the layer opacity trick. Thanks a ton for that one.

  3. Tony

    Very handy tips in this article. Also a very creative way to show it. Thanks for sharing. Oh yea, Smashing magazine sent me here. Shrug.

  4. eap

    I use ctrl+alt+shift+s all the time to enter the save for web dialog.

    and the number keys also work for brush opacity

  5. Heather Szerszen

    I love the Super Nudge!

    You can picture me sitting in front of my computer, tapping my arrow keys like the most intense video game ever, just to nudge something. Now I don’t have to tap as much. =)

    Thank for sharing.

    • Super Nudge is a good one. I use to play that same video game before I knew about it.

  6. Christian Vermeulen

    I just use these a lot as well:

    CTRL + 0 to go back to fit screen
    CTRL + ALT + 0 to go back to 100% view
    CTRL + MouseWheel for horizontal scroll
    SPACE + DragMouse to drag the canvas instead of scrolling

  7. Maria

    Thanks for the shortcuts! I like the way you presented them.

  8. I’ll chime in with three of my faves:

    1. Cmd + Opt + Shift+N (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N) = New Layer

    2. Also, in CS4, Ctrl + Opt + Drag (Ctrl + Alt + Drag) with the brush tool selected increases/decreases the brush size with a visual overlay on the screen. Throw the Cmd (Ctrl) key in there to change the brush hardness.

    3. Cmd + Opt + Shift + E (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E) merges all visible layers onto a new layer.

  9. Sam

    Some excellent shortcuts here. Great job of adding some creativity to the post!

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments and tips!

  11. Thanks for the short cuts. I like your match-stick men.

  12. Hey Shawn, I love the creative way that you decided to present this article. Excellent job!

    • Just trying to change things up a bit. I appreciate the compliment. Thanks Jad!

  13. matt

    my favorite is Alt+F4

  14. my favourite is the Reset key :D

  15. Nice article. Love it

  16. Joe Mulberry

    Great post!

    Picked up the opacity and font size tricks


  17. Thanks for your photoshop-hints.

  18. Interesting. However, you’ll need to draw more image to cover all shortcut.

    Here’s a video from Deke mc Clelland on shortcut.

    It’s the craziest photoshop video I’ve ever seen. I think you’ll like it.

  19. Great way of showing off the shortcuts, enjoyed reading it

  20. steve

    Thanks for the tips. Love the drawings to go with them, it helps a lot.

  21. Hm, i usually do not use shortcuts when i m designing but gotta try some of these

  22. Love the way you presented this. Even though I have spent years with Photoshop, I am always learning something new. Changing the layer opacity is a great one that I haven’t used before.

    Nice idea for the opacity graphic by the way.

  23. Great tips and very funny too :)

  24. Chris Miller

    Very helpful, thanks for the Photoshop shortcuts! I need to memorize more than ctrl alt z :)

  25. Very helpful, thanks for the Photoshop shortcuts! I need to memorize more than ctrl alt z :)

  26. Thanks for your photoshop-hints.

  27. ed1nh0

    This is the key-secret to be fast and productive! Every heavy-user should know them. Tks for share!

  28. Yeah this stuff helps, I can use it for photos on my website

  29. Thank you for this article useful and important for Photoshop users
    Thousand thanks

  30. Regine

    Amazing work! From now on I really love stumbeupon! I use CTRL+U , and CTRL+B very often! But still there were some of there i did not know.

    Do you know the short cut to “new layer”?
    THankyou! :D

  31. You can picture me sitting in front of my computer, tapping my arrow keys like the most intense video game ever, just to nudge something. Now I don’t have to tap as much. =)

    Thank for sharing.

  32. daisy

    Very useful for beginners. I learned them all from Deke before :)

  33. Urdu Poetry boy

    I liked the way you tried to explain and the pictures are easy to memorize very nice effort…

  34. Great idea for a post.Thank you!

  35. andy

    i use ctrl+shift+i for inverse selection. really handy for masking. but that opacity trick changed my whole life just now!!!

  36. great information and a very funny way to present it, thanks.

  37. Great shortcut key tutorial. I know all of them. But, Thanks for sharing it.

  38. You can picture me sitting in front of my computer, tapping my arrow keys like the most intense video game ever, just to nudge something. Now I don’t have to tap as much.

  39. To duplicate layer with 1px nudge, use Alt+up arrow (down/left/right). Its useful if you need to create an isometric effect to the design and apply a 3d effect

  40. Gr8 short cuts….

  41. Very nice visuals.. I love it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *