Shortcuts for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Do you use the Shortcut Keys that trigger different functions in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?

I must confess that I tend to only use a small handful of them myself, partly because I make video tutorials and I think that it’s easier to teach using menu commands rather than shortcuts.

But once you get into the habit of using more of them, they can save you a lot of time when you’re creating your scrapbooking layouts.

So here’s a list of some of the shortcuts that you might find the most useful for scrapbooking. They’ll work for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. And if you use a Mac, just replace the word Control with the word Command and theyll be good for you too.

It’s a good idea to take one and use it a lot so that it becomes a habit before taking another one on board.

Control + A

Selects all the contents in a layer that you have highlighted in your layers palette or all the text in a text layer.

Control + C

Copies a selection to the clip board. This might be part of the contents of a layer that you have selected with the marquee tool or part of a piece of text that you have highlighted with your mouse.

Control + D

Deselects an existing selection.

Control + E

Select a number of layers then use this shortcut and you will merge them together. Or if you just have one layer highlighted, it will also merge that layer you have highlighted with the one below it.

Control + I

This will change the colours on your current layer to what ever their complimentary colour is (ie; the colour that sits opposite to them on a colour wheel) For example black will become white.

Control +J

This duplicates your current layer. Or if you have made a selection, your selection will be duplicated in a new layer.

Control + N

Create a new document

Control + T

Selects the Free Transform tool. Then if you right click the mouse, you’ll access the sub-menu to choose Scale, Free Rotate, Skew, etc.

Control + V

Whatever you have previously copied to the clipboard will be pasted into a new layer.

Control + X

Cuts whatever is currently selected out of your document. Unlike delete, you can paste it back into your document by using Control+V.

Control + Z

This is your ‘get out of jail free’ card. It lets you undo the last step you made. In Photoshop Elements you can repeat this command to back up a number of steps. You can configure your setting to the number of steps that the software will hold in its history.

Alt + Backspace

Your current layer or selection will be filled with the foreground colour in your colour swatch palette.

Control + Backspace

Your current layer or selection will be filled with the background colour in your colour swatch palette.

Control + Shift + I

This will inverse your selection. In other words the space outside the selection boundary will now be selected.


This square bracket will reduce the size of your brush or eraser or clone stamp etc. Repeatedly pressing this key will continue to increase the brush size.


This square bracket will increase the size of your brush or eraser or clone stamp etc. Repeatedly pressing this key will continue to decrease the brush size.


Pressing this key will reset your colour swatches to the default colours of black and white.


This will swap the foreground and background colours in your colour swatches.


This key will switch you to the Move tool.

My Favourite Photoshop Elements Shortcut

All of these short cuts are very handy. And because PSE5 doesn’t have an Undo button I have to rely on Control+Z to back out of any mistakes that I’ve made. So I guess that I should actually cite Control+Z as my favourite shortcut. But I think of it as one of my basic digital scrapbooking tools rather than something special.

The shortcut I really love is Control+G followed by Control+E.

This is fabulous for when you are using templates. You just place your paper on top of the template. Press Control+G followed by Control+E and your template is replaced by your paper cut to its shape. No messing around with the Magic Wand. Excellent!

So do you have any shortcuts that you rely on or just simply love to use?

Why not share them here, in the comments section below. We may not have tried them in our own scrapbooking and we would welcome adding another weapon to our arsenal.

If you enjoyed this article and think it would be a useful resource for other scrapbookers please feel free to link to it on your blog.

Other Articles you might enjoy:

Scrapbook the Shape of Love

How to use Word Art

How to make your First Digital Scrapbook Layout

Full length Digital Scrapbook Tutorials

11 Responses to Shortcuts for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

  1. Kayla March 27, 2008 at 1:14 am #

    Great post Karen – very helpful!

  2. Raymond Chua March 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    I know some of the basic shortcuts but wow, I didn;t know that there are so many others. :)

    Thanks for sharing the shortcuts.

    Raymond Chua’s last blog post..The Power of Lucid Dreaming

  3. leslie March 27, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I always rely on my husband to do all my photo editing. I’m so lazy. But this is so helpful! Thanks

    leslie’s last blog post..and we have some winners

  4. karooch March 27, 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    Kayla, Raymond, Leslie glad you found this useful. Some of the more obvious ones everyone knows but some of the others can be quite handy little time savers too once you learn them.

  5. Debra April 2, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    Thank you for this list
    I love all the little “hidden” things that you might not learn when self taught.

  6. karooch April 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    Thanks Debra. I think they’re all things that are useful to digital scrapbooking. Most Photoshop Elements resource lists are focussed mainly on photo editing.

  7. robin April 3, 2008 at 6:03 am #

    Thanks so much for this awesome post!

    robin’s last blog post..under over

  8. Hummie April 25, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    Wow, I use most of these! What an awesome list.

  9. Gini December 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm #

    Huh. You know, I never even realized it, but I already use most of these shortcuts. Thanks for the list!

    Ginis last blog post..How to Create Gorgeous Snowflakes in Photoshop


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