Skip to main content


One of the things easily ignored is custom keyboard shortcuts. I ignored it for so many years because the interface used to actually assign the shortcuts is one of the worst things ever built by human hands:

The keyboard shortcuts menu. Last opened mid-1997. By accident.

  • There’s no search.
  • The sheer number of menus and controls is daunting.
  • The suggestion-free trial and error method of reassignment makes it tough to even know where to start.

But never you mind. I’ve done my best to dig in and find some of the areas of the program I was accessing manually through a menu tree or repetitive action, and tried to see if a more direct route could be taken.


Layers are the currency in Photoshop and double clicking them is generally the way to access deeper features.

The Layer Style Panel

Control + Command + L

Find yourself here a lot?

Instead of scrolling to the layer you want to edit, and double clicking on it again and again to add and modify styles. Just Option right click in your canvas to select your layer. Then hit the shortcut. Easy.

The Color Picker

Control + Command + K

If you do a lot of work with shape layers, you’re in here all the time. Use this key command to jump right into the color picker dialog.

Renaming Layers

Control + Command + R

I actually can’t believe this isn’t already a command. Always useful to name all your layers.

Copy and Paste Layer Styles

Control + Command + C – Copy
Control + Command + V – Paste

It’s great doing things in bulk. If you find a certain set of styles you like and want to try them out on a different element quickly (without committing to an all out layer style swatch), this is quite handy.

Embed and Place External Assets

In other Adobe products, you can place external assets in your document. It’s done a little differently in Photoshop, but you can both place embedded assets and linked assets. Handy for mockups and quick placement.

Shift + Command + P — Place Embedded
Control + Command + P — Place Linked

Shortcuts Only

Chris Powell

Chris is a designer who can’t stop. A writer who loves stories. A user who loves to make things work. A Webby Award winner. He’s a mix. Strategy and analytics. Concept and execution. U/X and U/I. Advertising and branding. He helps brands build sustainable, and profitable, ecosystems that are a powerful mix of brand, media and product.