February 09, 2009

Layer-related shortcuts you might want to know

Based on some recent comments (e.g. “Please add a way to navigate through layers via the keyboard”), I get the impression that many people don’t know some/all of the following:


  • Opt/Alt + left/right bracket keys change layer selection, selecting the layer above/below the current one.
  • Those shortcuts plus Shift extend the layer selection.  For example, to select the layer above the current one while keeping the current one selected, hit Shift-Opt-]/Shift-Alt-].
  • Shift-Opt-,/Shift-Alt-, (comma) selects the the current layer and all those below it.  Shift-Opt-./Shift-Alt-.  (period) selects the current layer and all those above it.
  • Opt-,/Alt-, selects the bottom layer.  Opt-./Alt-. selects the top one.
  • Cmd-G/Ctrl-G groups layers into a layer group (aka layer set, aka “little folder thing”).  Shift-Cmd-G/Shift-Ctrl-G ungroups layers.
  • Cmd-Opt-A/Ctrl-Alt-A selects all layers.
  • Shift-Cmd-N/Shift-Ctrl-N makes a new layer. Add Opt/Alt to do so while skipping the layer options dialog box.


And while we’re at it, you can also change blending modes via the keyboard:


  • Shift-plus (=) selects the next blending mode.  Shift-minus (-) selects the previous one.  Note that the target of these changes depends on what tool is active.  If you’ve got a painting tool (Brush, Clone Stamp, etc.) selected, the changes apply to the tool’s blending mode.  If you’ve got other tools selected, they’ll apply to the blending mode of the selected layer.  (My rule of thumb is to tap V to make the Move tool active before applying blending changes to a layer via the keyboard.)
  • Shift-Opt-letter/Shift-Alt-letter will set the selected tool/layer to a specific blending mode.  For example, M is Multiple, N is Normal, and H is Hard Light.  A fairly complete list is here (scroll down).


If you find this kind of thing useful, check out Trevor Morris’s list of PS shortcuts, or Michael Ninness’s old but useful Photoshop Power Shortcuts book.  (I updated it for PS7.)

[Update: See the comments below for more good suggestions.]

4:36 PM | Permalink | Comments [20]
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