Recently I've been photoshop-ing a fair bit as I'm making posters/website for an upcoming event for a student society. By accident, I found a shortcut that did exactly what I wanted! The elusive shortcut ctrl+alt+shift+e creates a new layer of whatever you see on the screen right now (or 'stamp visible' in photoshop terminology).

So after the amazing discovery, decided to put up a few photoshop shortcuts that I feel are essential. I'm no photoshop guru, but these are the shortcuts that I probably can't live without. I'm using Photoshop CS2, but most these shortcuts should probably work with most versions of photoshop. Seems like Adobe likes multi-keyed shortcuts, so organised them into the number of keys on the keyboard you need to press - wonder if there are any more than 4!

Single key shortcuts

  • v - changes to 'move' mode. So if you have a layer selected, you can now drag it with your mouse or nudge it.
  • m - changes to 'marquee' mode.
  • a - changes to 'direct selection' mode. If you have an active vector path, you can now go 'right click -> make selection' and then you can fill the selection with colours etc.
  • x - switches the foreground/background colours
  • d - resets the palette to the default of foreground/background colours to black/white respectively
  • [ & ] - decreases & increases (respectively) your brush size

Double key shortcuts

  • alt+backspace - fills the layer with foreground colour
  • ctrl+backspace - fills the layer with background colour
  • ctrl+d- deselects your selection. Handy if you are horrible at selecting stuff like me.
  • ctrl+e - merges your current layer with the layer below it
  • ctrl+g - groups the layer(s) you have currently selected into a folder

Triple key shortcuts

  • ctrl+alt+z - goes back through the history undo-ing the previous actions (find ctrl+z useless as it just undoes the last step)

Quadruple key shortcuts!

  • ctrl+alt+shift+s - opens the 'save for web' dialogue where you can choose to save as jpg, gif, png etc.
  • ctrl+alt+shift+e - creates a new layer and puts in that single layer whatever you see on the screen right now

Mouse+keyboard combination

(not exactly a shortcut, but just as useful!)

  • shift- when creating a selection, holding down 'shift' while dragging the selection keeps the proportion. Nice when you need a perfect circle/square, or if you're dragging in a logo/image
  • space- when creating a selection, holding down 'space' will let you move the location of your selection. Always found it hard to know where to create the selection so it is exactly where I need it to be.
  • ctrl- if you ctrl+click on a layer, it will select the outline of the image on that layer.