For many Web designers, learning keyboard shortcuts is a job necessity. Not only can keyboard shortcuts greatly increase your productivity, but streamlining these motions can be good for your health (carpal tunnel, anyone?) and help keep your efforts sharp.
Although removing your hand from the keyboard, highlighting text using a mouse, and clicking copy from the file menu doesn’t sound all that taxing, it does have a cumulative effect. Everyone needs to know at least a few of these shortcuts and some (Web designers, stand up!) need to know many.
Below are the best keyboard shortcuts for a few important programs.
Ctrl + C / Ctrl + Insert
Copies highlighted text or selects item.
Ctrl + V / Shift + Insert
Takes copied text (or object) in the clipboard and pastes it to desired area.
Ctrl + Z / Ctrl + Y
This function undoes previous changes. After copying text Ctrl+Z (Ctrl+Y) will undo it. Press multiple times to undo multiple changes.
Ctrl + S
Ctrl + S saves that file. This shortcut key is often used frequently when working on anything important.
Ctrl + F
Opens a “Find” option in any program (Word, Notepad, etc.) . This includes Internet browsers (below) to find text on the current page.
Alt + Tab / Alt + Esc
The most common use of Alt+Tab is to alternate between the two most recent tasks, but it can also be used to switch to any running program that has a top-level window.
Ctrl + Tab
Switches between tabs in a program.
Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left arrow / Right arrow
This maneuver deletes a full word forward and back at a time instead of a single character.
Ctrl + Home / End
Just as you might imagine: It moves the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.
Ctrl + P
This simple function prints the page being viewed.
Page Up / Space bar and Page Down
The page up or page down function moves one page at a time either up or down. When browsing the Internet pressing the space bar will also move the page down one page at a time. Press Shift+Space bar and the page moves one at a time.
Type any number (Changes layer or brush opacity)
Any number on the keyboard will do when you’re attempting to change layer or brush opacity in Photoshop. How it works: the number 8 and 5 will change the layer opacity to 85 percent. An easy 3 will make it 30 percent and so on.
On a more somber note: The shortcut will NOT work if any brush tools are selected. That will only changes the opacity of your brush.
Right click with the Move Tool (Change layers)
It’s all about the layers in Photoshop and keeping track of which layer you are working on.
Move from one layer to another by right clicking with the Move tool and selecting the correct layer from the drop down list that appears.
If you’re rocking a Mac – sans a two-button mouse – try holding down the Control key and clicking to access this menu.
Check out the list of layers that appears (below). Click on a layer name to select it.
Alt+click eye icon / Option+click eye icon (Hides other layers)
This enables users to either show or hide all the layers except the selected one. This function is extremely handy when you’re using more than five layers.
Ctrl +T/Command +T (Free Transform)
The Free Transform command lets you apply transformations (rotate, scale, skew, distort, and perspective) in one continuous operation. Instead of choosing different commands, you simply hold down a key on your keyboard to switch between transformation types.
Ctrl+ Z/Command +Z (Undo)
For marketers, writers, editors, students and just about everyone else in the world, Ctrl +Z (or Command Z) is a favorite shortcut that undoes those errors that you’ve done. However, in Photoshop it only goes back one step. If you need to go back further try using the Step Backward command, Ctrl+Alt+ Z or Command Option Z.
Shift+[ / Shift +] (Increases/decreases brush diameter)
While it may be true in the world of Matisse and van Gogh that no two brushstrokes are the same, that isn’t the case in Photoshop. After you selecting a brush, you will need choose a size. Don’t waste time hunting through the Brushes drop down menu, instead use the right and left bracket keys (next to the p key).
Also, as a variation on this shortcut, if you want to change the edge of your brush (fuzzy to sharp), hold down Shift and press your right or left bracket keys.
Each tool in the toolbox has its own keyboard shortcut , aka single key accelerator.
B – Brush Tool.
P – Pen Tool.
C – Crop Tool.
E – Eraser Tool.
G – Gradient Tool.
H – Hand Tool.
Z – Zoom Tool.
L – Lasso Tool.
W – Magic Wand Tool.
Shift+Tab (Hide and show tools and panels)
This allows users to hide all of those panels at once so you can have some breathing room. Pressing TAB again calls them all back.
Ctrl+D /Command+D (Deselect)
Photoshop users are always making new selections. Always deselect using Ctrl+D (Command D). To re-select most recent selection use Ctrl+Shift+D.
Arrow keys (up, down, left, right (move your objects in small increments aka“nudging”)
The default increment amount is 1pt (.0139 inches), but can be changed by tapping arrow key to measure.
Ctrl+K / Command+K : Opens up preference panel and then highlights increment field.
Arrow: Use these to nudge selected artwork the amount specified in the Preferences dialog.
Shift+Arrow: Multiplies the nudge by 10x.
Alt+Arrow / Option+Arrow : This allows you to nudge artwork through specified amount in the Preferences dialog.
Shift+Alt+Arrow / Shift+Option+Arrow: Similar to Shift+Arrow, this one nudges work 10x the amount specified in the Preferences dialog.
Ctrl+U / Command+U (Opens guides)
This function opens the Toggles Smart Guide. When turned on, Smart Guides create a number of onscreen feedback options while you work. As you move around your screen creating and modifying artwork, different smart guides will appear and assist your work.
Ctrl / Command
Temporarily toggles to Selection tool.
Alt / Option
Temporarily toggles to Group Selection tool.
Ctrl+A / Command+A
Shift+Ctrl+A / Shift+Command+A
D / X + a few more (Changing object attributes)
There are a few moves that can help you cover help you cover your tracks after a mistake has been made. Learn these and save yourself some serious headaches:
Resets an object’s appearance to white fill, 1pt black stroke.
Toggles the focus between Fill and Stroke.
Swaps the colors of an object’s fill and stroke.
/ (Forward slash)
Applies the None attribute.
Applies a new fill (via the Appearance panel).
Shift+Ctrl+/ and Shift+Command+/
Applies a new stroke (via the Appearance panel).
Shift+Ctrl+] (Adjusting stacking order)
Due to the stacking nature of vector graphics, these power moves are essential. While there are four possible settings here, the most important ones to remember are Bring to Front and Send to Back.
Shift-Ctrl-] / Shift+ Command+] Bring to the front.
Shift+Ctrl+[ / Shift+Command+[
Send to back.
Ctrl-] / Command+] Bring forward.
Ctrl-[ / Command+[
Note: The difference of the two moves is a matter of distance.
Ctrl+2 / Command+2 and more (Locking and hiding)
Let’s face it, your illustrator work is rewarding, but it is also complex. Locking and hiding one piece of artwork while working on another is invaluable. Below are four quick ways to make that happen:
Ctrl+2 / Command+2
Locks selected objects.
Ctrl+Option+2 / Command+Option+2
Unlocks all objects.
Ctrl+3 / Command+3
Hides selected objects.
Ctrl+Option+3 / Command+Option+3
Shows all objects.
Ctrl+V / Command+V (Pasting)
Using the Paste command in Illustrator moves your art to the center of your screen and also allows objects to be placed in both front and back.
Ctrl+F / Command+F
Paste in front of the copied object.
Ctrl+B / Command+B
Paste behind the copied object.
Ctrl+Space / Command+Space (Panning and Zooming)
This one is pretty self-explanatory but underutilized.
Opens the Hand tool.
Ctrl+Space / Command+Space
This will allow you to Zoom in.
Ctrl+Alt+Space / Command+Alt+Space
Hit those and you’re Zooming on out.
Shift+Ctrl+E / Shift+Command+E (Setting the settings for effect)
Making sure you have the proper settings for each function is key.
Shift+Ctrl+E / Shift+Command+E
Applies the last effect with the same settings.
Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E / Shift+Command+Option+E
Bring up the dialog box of the last-used effect.
Takes you to the Type tool.
Direct Selection tool.
Free Tranfsorm tool.
Ctrl + 1
Ctrl + 1
Fit Page in Window.
Alright, that’s it. Now get to work!
Read more: Let’s Talk About the “F” Word: Feedback