Dump the Bracket Key Shortcut—This Is Faster!

with 15 Comments

Dump the Bracket Key Shortcut—This Is Faster!
by Jen White

Remember typing class? The goal was to type the paragraph without looking down at the typewriter. Nowadays, I think they call it keyboarding. Either way, it’s the same goal—increase speed.

Shortcuts Speed Up the Creation Process

So, I was thinking the other day . . . I consistently use the keyboard shortcut for changing the size of a brush on the fly—the Right and Left Bracket keys. You probably use this shortcut, too. But I ALWAYS have to look down to find the Left and Right Bracket keys on my keyboard. Kinda defeats the purpose of gaining speed, right?

Today, I’ve set my mind to utilizing the faster, little-known way of changing the size of a brush on the fly. Do you know what this faster shortcut is?

A Speedier Shortcut

Instead of taking the time to hunt down the Bracket keys, you can change the size of your current brush like this:


Windows: Press Alt and Right-click and drag left or right on your document.

Mac: Press Opt Ctrl and click and drag left or right on your document.

As you drag, you’ll see the size (boundary) of your brush increasing and decreasing.

It’s quick. It’s painless. It’s faster than hunting down those Bracket keys in the middle of all the others.

Got that down? Now read about this tips little brother:
Stay In Your Zone With This Hardness Shortcut

Enjoyed this quick tip? Check out our other tips and tutorials involving the Brush Tool.

jenwhite-48x48Author: Jen White | Contact Us
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15 Responses

  1. Su Hall
    | Reply

    This is the ONLY way I change my brush size. You can also move the mouse up and down to adjust the hardness/softness. However, there is a box you have to tic if you want to use this feature. In Preferences>General, go down to where it says ‘Vary Round Brush Hardness Based on HUD Vertical Movement’.
    Thank you!


  2. Terri
    | Reply

    Awesome tip Jen. I agree the bracket key thing isn’t so great. This is so much easier! Thanks once again for sharing your expertise! 🙂

  3. Bonnie
    | Reply

    Lets see how long it takes me to forget it. If I don’t use it five times to get it in my head I will be saying “Anyone know that short cut for brush sizing”

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      I’m with you, Bonnie. When I’m trying to get a shortcut stuck in my brain, I will make a sticky note with the basics and tape it to my monitor. Otherwise, I forget within the first 5 minutes! ha.

  4. Vivian
    | Reply

    I use this tip when I think about it. You can also alt right click and drag up or down to make your brush harder or softer.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Right on, Vivian. The Hardness value is the next tip coming. 😀

  5. Donna
    | Reply

    I’m mostly using a pen and tablet now so I am going to try this shortcut with that. Thank you for the tutorial!

  6. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    Just discovered that it works with the burn tool too! AWESOME!
    right click right click right click right click right click…..

  7. sheila king
    | Reply

    It is a TIME SAVER!!! Thanks:)

  8. Jenifer Juris
    | Reply

    This is another great shortcut! Thx!! 🙂

  9. Barbara
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for this handy tip! LOVE IT

  10. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    Jen! You are a rock star! IT WORKS! The only thing that didn’t make it work on my first try was MY failure to RIGHT click the mouse. If I were being paid by the hour to do digital scrapping, I’d cut you in on the savings I made by switching to this method. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      HA! Lemme know when you find that magical “paid by the hour to do digital scrapping” job. I’d love to be your middle man! 😀

      • Sharron Lamb
        | Reply


  11. Linda Holden
    | Reply

    This is so much easier than the bracket shortcut. Thank you Jen.

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