This 2 part article offers 25 Photoshop tips for all the latest Adobe Photoshop versions, carefully selected to give you increased efficiency and a set of timesaving techniques when using the program. With focus placed on practicality, this compilation delivers many of the overlooked- and little known tricks present in the most popular image manipulation tool.

25 Photoshop Tips to get you rolling!


Part 1 of 25 Photoshop Tips

For part 2 of our Photoshop Tips, click here!

1. The Quicker Way of Opening Documents

In Photoshop, you are not forced to rely on the upper menu bar to open documents. You can double click on the blank workspace and this action will pop the Open dialog up.

2. Scrub Opportunities

Many vital functions in Photoshop are controlled by sliders, like the opacity of Layers or the opacity of the Brush you are using. It is a little known fact that the majority of these sliders are adjustable by scrubbing the mouse over the name of the desired command.

3. Isolation by Visibility

To make one particular Layer visible and render all the other Layers temporarily invisible, hold down the Alt modifier key and click on the visibility toggle of the Layer you want to isolate. Repeat this action to toggle its function back and forth.

5. Image Size and Canvas Size

Ctrl + Alt + i invokes the Image Size dialog, while Ctrl + Alt + c invokes the Canvas Size dialog. Though Image- and Canvas Size values are intuitively related, they are practically separate from each other. You are free to place an image on the canvas if the image is bigger than the canvas and vice versa.

4. Creating Groups Using Selection Columns

To create a selection column of any number of Layers, first select a Layer to define the top of the selection column, then Shift + select a Layer to define the bottom of the selection column. You can go the other way, as well, defining the bottom first. This is an efficient method to declare elements of a Layer Group. To create the Layer Group itself, rely on the Ctrl + g hotkey combination with the selection column active, or you can select the Folder icon on the Layer Palette with the selection column active.

5. Efficient Layer Stacking

While creating the stacking order by drag and drop seems to be an intuitive method, it has disadvantages. If you grab a Layer and start to modify its position in the stack, you will not be able to evaluate the result until you release the Layer. Modifying its position in the stack with the hotkey combination Ctrl + Brackets gives you immediate feedback of every possible position. It also is a more fluent way of arranging Layers, as Photoshop tends to demand pixel precise accuracy if you want to place a Layer on the top of the stack manually. This becomes much easier with the hotkey combination. If you add the Shift modifier key to the Ctrl + Brackets command, then the Layer will jump right to the top or to the bottom, depending on the command.

6. Efficient Layer Cycling

The hotkey combination Alt + Brackets lets you select a Layer in the stack. If you want your fresh selection to include your previous selection(s), then add the Shift modifier key to the Alt + Brackets command. If you need to select all Layers with minimal effort, you can rely on the Ctrl + Alt + a hotkey combination.

7. Instant Fills

The Alt + Backspace hotkey combination fills the current Layer with the active Foreground color.

The Ctrl + Backspace hotkey combination fills the current Layer with the active Background color.

If you add the Shift modifier key, then the Fill will affect only the opaque pixels of the Layer. Shift + Backspace will bring up the Fill dialog panel.

8. Quick Access to Shadows and Highlights

The Dodge and Burn tools are excellent solutions for defining the shading extremes of any colored region. These tools do fall under the same category and are accessible by the hotkey o or by the hotkey combination Shift + o, depending on the last tool you have used from this category.

9. Creating New Layers

The Ctrl + Shift + n hotkey combination creates a new, empty Layer. The Ctrl + j hotkey combination duplicates the Layer which is currently selected.

10. Mask On

The hotkey d resets the Foreground color to Black and resets the Background color to White. This is useful when you want to paint Masks, as the White value will reveal the affected portions of the Mask, while the Black value will render those invisible.

11.  Revert Command


The hotkey F12 invokes the Revert command, which will discard all edits you have made since the last save. This is useful when you are unhappy with the current state of the document, as you would be forced to close- and open the document again without this function.

12. Selection Actions

Selecting portions of the image defines the regions you want to amend your edits on. There are selection related hotkeys that are worth knowing. Regardless if you are using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, the Lasso Tool or the Pen Tool to define your current selection region, the following hotkeys do apply. To add to a selection region, start a fresh selection with the Shift modifier key pressed. To subtract from a selection, rely on the Alt modifier key while drawing the selection. The modifier key combination Ctrl + Alt will pick up intersections between selection regions and will give you the intersection itself as a selection. As long as you keep the mouse button pressed while defining selection boundaries, you are free to position the center of the selection on the screen, using the Space modifier key.

Stay tuned for more, in part two of our Top 25 Photoshop Tips!

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