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  • May 26, 2011

Photoshop Shortcuts: A Designer's Best Friend

If you want to survive in the fast-paced design world (meeting deadlines, racing against the billable clock, trying to come in under budget) you've got to have a few time-saving tricks up your sleeve. We shouldn't have to sacrifice quality when it comes to last-minute client requests, but incorporating keyboard shortcuts into your routine will save tons of time overall! Here are my favorites:

1. Getting Out Of A Text Box
Command + Return gets you out of a text box without having to click the Select Tool. Even though dragging your cursor over to your Tool Box doesn't take a ton of time, it really throws you off if you're used to blazing through with key commands. I would often find a misspelling or two because I would hit "V" to try to pull up the Selvect Select Tool. This key command has changed my life!


2. Auto-Selection
Having auto-select on can be good and bad. Personally, I hate it. If I've selected the layer I want to edit in my Layers Palette and end up clicking somewhere outside of that layers pixel area, Auto-Select will pick up another layer. (Grrrr!) I find it so much more helpful to use Command + Click when I do want to be able to click the layer as I see it on my canvas. Command + Click allows you to directly select an object as if you were working in Illustrator or InDesign--but only when you want to.


3. Activating The Hand Tool
The space bar activates the Hand Tool and allows you to move throughout your canvas at a moments notice. I find this especially handy if you are zoomed in at a million percent to make a detailed selection and suddenly reach the edge of the image on screen. Space bar allows you to bring up the hand tool while keeping the pen or lasso tool active.

4. Adjusting Brush Size
Here's a trick that allows you to enlarge or shrink your brush size by increments of 10 pixels without pulling up the Brush Palette. When your brush tool is selected, pressing ] will make your brush size larger, and pressing [ will make it smaller. I find this especially handy when I'm adjusting masks.


Shift + [ or ] will adjust brush hardness.


5. Adjusting Type Size
Need to fill a space with type but not sure how big you'll need it to be? For CS4/5 users, this one is easy. By hovering over the Type Size icon, clicking, and dragging the cursor left and right, your type size will adjust at super speed! This is especially great if you're stacking type and want each line to fill the same horizontal space.


If you'd like to have a little more control you, this is also an option:
After selecting your type, press Command + Shift + > to make your font larger or Press Command + Shift + to make it smaller. If you add in the Option key, the size will change in increments of 10.


6. Adjusting Transparency
Want to make something 10% transparent? Press "1." Too light? Let's make it 20% transparent by pressing "2." You get the idea. At least I hope you get the idea. Sorry folks, 100% opacity requires 3 key strokes, 1, 0, and 0!

Creating Your Own Shortcuts
If you're dying for a "Flip Vertical" shortcut like I am, you can create your own custom shortcuts. You can find the Keyboard Shortcuts panel under Edit in your menu. For the sake of shortcuts, use Command + Opt + Shift + K to bring it up also.

That's all the time we have today kids. Hopefully you've learned something new, if not, I think we'd make great friends. What's your favorite shortcut?

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