Photoshop Quick Tips

September 16, 2016

Photoshop Quick Tips

Like many photographers, I spent a lot of time working in Photoshop. And so I have a set of little tips, tricks and shortcuts that I use regularly when editing an image. Most of them aren’t especially ground breaking, but I find them handy and timesaving and so I come back to them time and time again.

These are a few of my favorites.

Duplicating Layers

There are several ways to duplicate layers in Photoshop. These are quick and easy.

  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) to duplicate the entire active layer.
  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) with a selection active will copy the area inside the selection onto a new layer.
  • Shift + Command + J (Mac) | Shift + Control + J (Win) with a selection active will cut the area inside the selection and place it onto a new layer.

Filling Layers or Selections with Color

To quickly fill a layer or an active selection:

  • Option + Backspace (Mac) | Alt + Delete (Win) to to fill the entire active layer, or, if a selection is active, the active selection, with the foreground color.
  • Command + Backspace (Mac) | Control + Delete (Win) to to fill the entire active layer, or, if a selection is active, the active selection, with the background color.
  • Shift + Option + Backspace (Mac) | Shift + Alt + Delete (Win) to to fill the entire active layer, or, if a selection is active, the active selection, with the foreground color and preserve transparency.
  • Shift + Command + Backspace (Mac) | Shift + Control + Delete (Win) to to fill the entire active layer, or, if a selection is active, the active selection, with the background color and preserve transparency.

Quickly Move Between Layers

Right-clicking with the move tool selected will bring up a pop-up menu showing the names of the layers that contain pixels below the position of your cursor.

Photoshop quick tips

Adjust Layer Opacity

Change the layer opacity by pressing the number keys. 1 = 10%, 2 = 20%, etc.

Working with Layers

  • Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Control + Shift + E (Win) will merge all visible layers.
  • Command + Option + E (Mac) | Control + Alt + E (Win) copies all selected layers, merges them together and pastes the merged version into a new layer.
  • Shift + Command + Option + E (Mac) | Shift + Control + Alt + E (Win) copies all visible layers, merges them together and pastes the merged version into a new layer.

Toggle Tool Panel

Sometimes it can be helpful to get a larger view of the image that you are editing. To do that press the Tab key to toggle the visibility of the Tool panels.

Delete Pixels Outside the Visible Image Area

Sometimes when working on a file, you may find that you have pixels outside the visible image area. To delete these pixel (and reduce the size of your Photoshop file), do the following:

Press Command + A (Mac) | Control + A (Win) to select the entire visible image area. Then select Image>Crop to delete any content that lies beyond the visible region.

Note that this doesn’t work on Smart Objects. They remain whole regardless of cropping unless the layer is rasterized.

Move Between Document Windows

To quickly move between open image windows:

  • Command + Tab (Mac) | Control + Tab (Win)

Change Workspace Background Color

To change the color of the workspace, right-click on the background area. A pop-up will appear that lets you reset the background color.

Photoshop quick tips



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