20 Photoshop Secrets Revealed…

Every graphic designer works with secrets shortcuts or tricks that should never be told, like a magician ;)

But…as always, i have no secrets with you so here you have 20 tricks save-time.
Have fun and if you want…share in the comments other tips!

1) If you hold down ALT+CTRL+SHIFT (Mac: CMD+OPT+SHIFT) while starting Photoshop you can reset all the Photoshop settings back to factory default. Very usefull if you have problems with some tools or the interface.

2) One of my favorites. ALT+Click on the “eye” icon in the layer’s palette to hide all other layers.

3) Do you have trouble to find the cursor when you work with large canvases?
Simply press the spacebar and you’ll see the hand icon where the cursor is located.

4) When you are applying a “drop shadow” layer effect, try to leave open the dialog box.
You’ll be able to move the shadow with a simple drag and drop.

5) With a CTRL+Click on the triangle icon you can collapse or expand all layer groups

6) Another cool shortcut. Press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E
(Mac: CMD+OPT+SHIFT+E) to paste all the visible layers in a new one.

7) When you are in a dialog box, try to hold ALT(Mac: OPT) to transform the “cancel” button into a “reset” button. It doesnt work everywhere.

8) If you want to transform a path into a selection you have to press CTRL+ENTER (Mac: CMD-ENTER).

9) CTRL+ALT+Z (Mac: CTRL+OPT+ Z) to undo more than once.

10) Double Click on the stage (the gray area) to open a file or CTRL+Double Click to create a new file.

11) If you hold SHIFT while you click “File -> close”, Photoshop will close all the open windows at the same time.

12) ALT+CLICK (Mac: OPT+Click) a tool to switch through the related tools. For example, try ALT+Click (Mac: OPT+Click) on the Paint bucket tool, you will obtain the gradient tool.

13) CTRL+Click on the new layer incon to create a new layer immediately below the current layer.

14) Whit SHIFT+CTRL+ALT+T (Mac: SHIFT+CMD+OPT+T) you can repeat and clone the last transformation (made with CTRL+T).

15) To find the center of a document select the background layer and click CTRL+T (Mac: CMD+T) to see a crosshair in the middle. Now you can simply drag out a guide in this point to find the center.

16) When you have a selection hold CTRL and use the arrows to move it, one pixel at a time.
Use CTRL+SHIFT to move the selection by 10×10 pixels. With CTRL+SHIFT+D (Mac: CMD+SHIFT+T) you can load the last selection used.

17) Choose CTRL+0 to “zoom to fit”, CTRL+ALT+0 to “zoom to 100%”.
If you prefer you can zoom back to 100% pressing the space bar and then right click -> actual pixels.

18) With the type tool active press CTRL+T (mAC: CMD+T) to show and hide the respective palette.
Press CTRL+H (Mac: CMD+H) while a text is selected to show and hide the selection.

19) If you are working with the paint bucket tool, hold down ALT(OPT) to switch temporarily to the eyedropper tool.

20) To draw a straight line with the brush tool click where you want, hold down shift and then click again where you want.
Instead, to draw a dotted line you have to open the brush palette (hit F5) and from the “Brush Tip Shape” tab you have to set the “spacing” to 150%.
After that you can repeat the previous step like a normal straight line.

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41 comments

    Thanks, very nice, learned a few new tricks :)

    Also, another great one could be that when you have selected the “Move Tool”, you can simply hold down ALT + right clicking on any layer to highlight/go to it, in the layers panel. Very useful in large documents.

    Meh, it’s all basic stuff that’s in the manual. I use most of these daily. I certainly wouldn’t call them “secrets”.

    @niko, @Kevio: Well, i can agree with you but i teach Graphic Design in a renowned Italian institute of Art and Design and i can guarantee that these tips are not so common.
    In any case if you are advanced users you’ll be happy to find at least one or two tricks, if you are beginners you’ll learn a lot (as a consequence the title was “secrets”).

    BTW i’m working on a new post with other Photoshop’s tricks.
    If you want please share here some tips…and i’ll update the post :)

    Cheers,
    F.

    Ctrl+H to show and hide any selection… i know all these shortcuts…but your post is very usefull for beginners
    Thanx!

    not to sound like a jerk, but if you’re at a renowned art and design school, and someone doesn’t know you can double-click the gray area of photoshop to open a document, or press spacebar to change to the hand icon…well, i’ll leave that sentence open ended.

    #17 shortcut you can see just from opening the View menu, anyone who spends more than 5 minutes a day in photoshop should know how to change zoom levels on the fly.

    a tip: ctrl+spacebar changes you to the zoom tool temporarily, ctrl+alt+space to zoom out.

    for #18, ctrl+h will hide selections and/or guides at any time, not just when using the text tool.

    also, for #5, it’s alt+click, at least in my installation of photoshop cs2 on xp/win

    and #20 just amazes me that there might be people in the world who don’t know you can draw a line this way and call themselves graphic designers, or even graphic design students. that’s like saying you didn’t know your windshield wipers had adjustable speeds, and you’re studying to be a mechanic.

    appreciate the post’s thought but this really is a bunch of beginner-level stuff, most of which is common knowledge, far from ‘secrets’.

    @Steve: Ciao Steve,
    i teach every grade from beginners levels to advanced (to hundreds of students all over the world) but, honestly, i don’t want to talk about it, I find it amiss (my portfolio it’s public and you left a fake email address without a personal link so i’m not sure if you are a graphic designer or something else).
    Photoshop is so “big” and if you teach it with care, you can can be easily dedicate two or three months to learn just the fundamentals (so few tricks above are not so granted).

    Having said this, again, i can agree about the word “secrets”
    but i’ve received tons of e-mail thanking me for this post.
    Surely, no one will learn photoshop from 20 tips but…someone will find it useful.

    In any case, i repeat, i’ll publish soon a new post so…if you want give it a quick look!

    Ciao :)
    F.

    Thanks for this. I’ve been using PS for years and there’s no way I can remember all of the shortcuts, so it was nice to come across them all in one place. Ignore the posts from know-it-all jerks…lots of people appreciate sites such as yours which are willing to share knowledge and expertise. :-) Thankyou.

    Nothing new for you perhaps, Norm. There are always new people coming along. It surprises me at the number of people that are so dismissive of information put out there. Just because you seem to know everything does not mean all do. I have young nieces and nephews that are just getting old enough to understand PS and also friends that are just starting out that I point to sites like this. I was new to PS at a time back when there were no sites like this. I wish there had been, then I’d know everything as you do.

    Well, I’ve worked with PS for a number of years now and most definitely learned a few new tricks from this list. It’s not easy to remember all shortcuts if you do not use them regularly or if you were taught otherwise. Thanx for the insight, Francesco!

    I knew some of them , but as a reminder of the ones that i FORGOT , and that I asked myself many times …how was that shortcut ????.
    Thank you , and please ignore all those great ( and also arrogant ) designers,,,,………

    Not a graphic designer, but a web designer, and I try to use photoshop on a daily basis more as a ‘hobby’, so tips like these are useful because when I don’t get to use it for more than 5 months due to ‘real work’ it’s nice to have somewhere that they are listed. I read them and say “oh yea, forgot about that one”. And remember, EVERYONE starts out as noobs, but apparently the pompous and condescending posters were born knowing how to use photoshop, if only we all were born that way…I envy you…. :-)

    thanks so much for this “secrets”.

    i have been working with Photoshop for like 10 years now and only now did i learn that

    Alt + Click on the eye!!! hahahah amazing! :))

    Yes I use ctrl + alt + shift + e all the time. It comes in handy more than you might think. Great post!

    i knew a lot of these but you mentioned some pretty awesome tips here!!!!!!!!!!

    i love the one to fit the screen!!!!!
    i waste time when trying to show others what my edit its looks like on the whole screen!

    and he one to find the centre of the document… priceless

    thanks a mil
    (:

    oh yeah… and the ctrl alt shift e one is aweosme too… especially when you have loads of layers and you tidyd them up in groups……
    (:
    that ones awesome too :P

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