Workflow can be more efficient if you do not have to move the mouse to select other tools or do other tasks. Keyboard shortcuts can be very helpful. These are the more essential ones.

Merge visible layers into a 'composite' layer while maintaining the original layers








Fill selection with background color


Fill selection with foreground color


Maintain aspect ratio while transforming

Shift-drag corner of transform box

Draw perfect circle/square

Shift-draw with marquee tool

Draw an oval/rectangle from center point

Option-draw with marquee tool

Resize a selection about center point

Option-drag a side of transform box

Text tool


Quick mask


Reposition a selection while drawing

Space bar

Add a new layer


Add a selection to another

Shift-make new selection

Subtract a selection from another

Option-make new selection

Intersection of old-new selections

Option-Shift make new selection

Increase brush size


Decrease brush size


Increase brush hardness by 25%


Decrease brush hardness by 25%


Lock/unlock transparency of a layer


Eraser tool


Dodge/Burn tool

o (not zero)

Toggle dodge/burn tool

Option will switch dodge to burn and burn to dodge

Load a layer's pixel content

Command-click thumbnail (not layer name)

Add a layer's pixels to a selection

Command-Shift-click layer thumbnail

Subtract a layer's pixels from a selection

Command-Option-click layer thumbnail

Intersect a layer's pixels with a selection

Command-Option-Shift click layer thumbnail

Hide/show selection


Hide/Show brush perimeter


Create a stack of selections on the same layer

Command-click thumbnail. Move tool. Option-drag

Increase brush size by 20-pixel increments


Decrease brush size by 20-pixel increment


Make a copy of a selected layer


Select the pixels in a given layer

Command-click layer thumbnail

Change layer's name

Click on the existing label

Open the layer styles dialog

Double click a layer's frame

Select multiple layers

Click on a layer. Control-click other layers for discontiguous selections; Shift-click beginning/end layer for a complete set beginning to end

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