by Julieanne Kost

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Created

September 12, 2013

While drawing shapes, use the following shortcuts to apply path operations. (Path operations change the way that shapes in Photoshop can interact with each other.)

• Shift -drag adds a newly drawn shape to the current shape layer and combines it if the two paths overlap (and the path selection operation in the Option bar toggles to Combine Shapes).

• Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) -drag adds a newly drawn shape to the current shape layer and subtracts the new path if the two paths overlap (and the path selection operation in the Option bar toggles to Subtract Front Shape). Note: after you start drawing the second path using this shortcut keyboard modifier, you can release  to drag the shape from the corner instead of the center.

• Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt  + Shift (Win) -drag adds a newly drawn shape to the current shape layer and displays the intersection of the shapes  if the two paths overlap (and the path selection operation in the Option bar toggles to Intersect Shape Areas).

• I do not know of a shortcut to access the Exclude Overlapping Shapes path operation.

To apply path operations to shape layers after they are created, select the desired path(s) and use the following shortcuts:

• Tap the + (plus) key to Combine Shapes (set the path operation in the Option bar to Combine Shapes).

• Tap the – (minus) key to Subtract the front shape (set the path operation in the Option bar to Subtract Front Shape).

•Tap the / (Forward slash key) to set the path operation to Intersect Shape Areas. Note: this shortcut was added to Photoshop CC.

• Tap the * (multiply) key to set the path operation to Exclude Overlapping Shapes. Note: this shortcut requires input from an extended keyboard (shift + 8 for * does not work). This shortcut was also added to Photoshop CC.

The first path

Above are examples of: Combine Shapes, Subtract Front Shape, Intersect Shape Areas and Exclude Overlapping Shapes.