Keyboard Shortcut Quiz—How Many Do You Know?

with 28 Comments

I was working on a scrapbooking project recently when Photoshop weirded out. It happens once in awhile. No big deal. This time was unusual, though, because my Tool Bar disappeared.

I wondered if I had pressed the Tab key to temporarily hide my Tool Bar and panels, so I pressed Tab again, hoping the Tool Bar would reappear. It didn’t.

At that point I had a choice—close Photoshop and reopen it, and hope that would solve the problem, or keep on working without my Tool Bar.

You’ve got to understand that my project required me to use multiple tools, but I made the decision to continue working. Why? Because I knew enough keyboard shortcuts that I could last for quite a while without the Tool Bar.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Whether you work in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you have keyboard shortcuts at your disposal that will make your work faster and easier. In fact, almost all the keyboard shortcuts are the same in both programs, which means that once you learn them in Photoshop Elements, you’ll be ahead of the game when you upgrade to Photoshop someday.

So let me give you a little quiz. (No fair peeking!) See how many of the following shortcuts you know by heart (These are the same in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements):

Rectangular Marquee tool
Move tool
Lasso tool
Brush tool
Gradient tool
Clone Stamp tool
Crop tool
Polygonal Lasso tool
Magic Wand
Elliptical Marquee tool
Shape tools
Merge Down
Apply the last filter again
Create a new document
Open an existing document
Close a document
Select all
Make a merged copy on a single layer
Open Levels
Open Hue/Saturation
Turn to grayscale
Invert a selection
Open Preferences
Open the Image Size dialog box
Zoom in to your document
Zoom out of your document
Fit your document to the desktop
Show all of a Transform outline that is partially hidden

If you don’t know some of these, or want to see if your answers are correct, here are the correct keyboard shortcut answers. Even learning just one today will help you!

So how about you? Do you have a favorite Photoshop or Photoshop Elements keyboard shortcut you can’t live without? I’d love for you to share it in the comments. It’s even better if you can stump the teacher. I promise I’ll ‘fess up if you post one I don’t know.

28 Responses

  1. Hunny13
    | Reply

    Thank you for this GREAT time-saver. I spend sooooo much time trying to select just the right font – your idea will make it easier and a LOT more fun from now on 🙂

  2. Bonnie
    | Reply

    I LOVE shortcuts, I know there are alot more out there, I would love a whole list of shortcuts. I am nuts on these, they make things so much faster.
    I also use new file/control/click to open a new layer under the one I am using. The layer that is highlighted and if you want a layer under it, cuz use the new file/control/click that is
    from Linda’s class and love it.

  3. Lynn
    | Reply

    I can’t seem to be able to do it right.

  4. Lynn
    | Reply

    I love shortcuts. I’d like to add one I often use to show the grids. CTRL+’ to show the grid and CTRL+’ to take the grid away.

    • Bonnie
      | Reply

      Ctrol + moves the ruler for some reason, I think you meant
      CTRL apostrophe

  5. JAW
    | Reply

    Have you ever tried this – don’t know if I’d call it a keyboard shortcut.
    Have you ever typed out a word or a sentence using your favorite font, then wondered how this type would look using a different font? Here is a way to run through your font list ( up or down your font list) – one after another rather quickly displaying that font.
    Try this: Open a new blank file – (12 wide by 6 inches tall, set Resolution to 72, with White background). Be sure you use black or a different color than white for your foreground color because white on white is hard to see.
    Set your font to a specific font you like and set your pt size to 24 – now click on your “T” type tool. Place your curser in the upper left corner of the blank file and draw down to the bottom right corner – this forms the type box you will be typing in, now type out a word or a sentence on the blank file (I used copy – command “C” and past – command “V” to copy and past a sentence in the new box file) – do not click enter or check the green check mark yet, now click on the type (T) layer in your layers pallet – be sure you click on the box with the “T”. Now click on the font in the main menu so it turns the font blue so the font is highlighted. Now click your arrow buttons up of down to change your fonts. That’s it!
    PS – I’m using PSE version 6 for Mac but I think this will work for all versions. If not let us know.

  6. Dorrie
    | Reply

    While I knew most of the shortcuts, shamefully I don’t always use them, probably because I have all the time in the world to do things 🙂 Appreciated the list though.

    Linda, my real question is were you able to get the toolbar back by simply closing Photoshop and reopening it or did you have to do something else. I know you were on a Mac, but I was wondering if the same thing might happen on a PC.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      I just closed it and opened it, and it was fine.

      If you still have a problem with something being wonky, the best thing to do is to reset preferences, which works for either Mac or Windows.

      Close the program (either PS or PSE) and when you open it the next time, press Ctrl Alt Shift (Mac: Cmd Opt Shift as you click on the icon to open it. Say yes to the dialog box, and the program will reset itself. This has saved my bacon a number of times.

  7. Joan
    | Reply

    A shortcut that I learned a year or two ago is Cntl+Alt+Shift+E. It puts all the lower layers into one layer above the other layers. This way you can do something to this layer…if you don’t like it, then you can delete it. It leaves all your layers separate in case you need further adjusting.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      That’s a great shortcut! I use it ALL the time. Love it!

  8. lilola
    | Reply

    Love using keyboard shortcuts- wish all programs had them!! Thanks for inspiring me to learn some more.

  9. beckka
    | Reply

    I use CmdZ the most. And I found there is much more I need to learn.

    However Linda, – I learned all I know from your first class “Learn Digital Scrapbooking”. I have been using Elements since it was PS2, but all self taught through trial and error and your CD’s, but when taking your class, they finally stuck. I am slowly learning more! Thanks again and again!

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Good for you, beckka! It’s fun when things finally start to stick!

  10. Ingrid
    | Reply

    I’ve been a Scrapper’s Guide member since December 2007, and I missed Cntrl-U for hue/saturation dialogue. I was so close to getting them all!

  11. Mary Anne
    | Reply

    This is just what I needed. Switched from a PC to a MAC just before Christmas and have been trying to figure out some of the shortcuts I was so used to. I love that Linda includes so many in her lessons and have been making note of the ones I haven’t been using. Command + apostrophe to go back and forth between the grid is now one of my favorites – learned in the Easy page design class!

  12. Sandra
    | Reply

    My faves are Ctrl-G to group items together when there are a lot of them, and Ctrl-J to copy layers, as well as–while in the Move tool–holding down the Alt key to copy an item. Love these shortcuts, thanks!

  13. miniloudon
    | Reply

    I printed the list to refer to next to my computer.
    Love seeing what others are using, too.
    I like Ctrl G for “Group with Previous. It seems to work the same as “Create Clipping Mask,” or Alt while mousing over the area between a paper or picture in the levels panel and the shape below it.

  14. miniloudon
    | Reply

    Loved the list and printed it out for use next to my computer.
    I also like Ctrl G for “Group with Previous.” It clips the picture or paper in the levels panel to the shape below. I think it works just like “Creat Clipping Mask” or using the Alt key while mousing over the area between the the paper or picture and the shape below it.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      You’re right about using Ctrl G for PSE, but it doesn’t work the same in Photoshop, which is why I’ve switched to using the other methods—but as long as you are using Photoshop Elements, it’s a great shortcut!

      By the way, the shortcut for PS for creating a clipping mask is Ctrl Alt G (Mac: Cmd Opt G).

  15. PatriciaD
    | Reply

    I thought I’d know more than I did. I use shortcuts all the time but now I know I need to learn some more. Shortcuts (even if you just use a few) really make your life in PS easier so it’s good to learn as many as you can but in teaching any computer program I tell my students to learn the ones you find yourself using the tool instead of setting yourself to memorize something. Just works better that way…my two cents!! hehe

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      I agree, Patricia. One way to do that is to notice the shortcut when you use a Menu command or a tool. It’s either in a pop up window or in the menu itself, so when you find yourself using the same command over and over, take note of the shortcut!

  16. TVan967
    | Reply

    With the move tool selected, I use shift + and shift – to move through the blend mode. I know there is some way to get the blend mode to be highlighted in blue and then you can use the up and down arrows. I wish someone would tell me how you get the highlighted blend mode.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      In Windows you can open the Blend Mode menu and click on one Blend Mode to highlight it in blue—then you can use the Arrow Keys. It doesn’t work on a Mac, however.

      Pressing Shift + or Shift – does work in both programs.

  17. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    I totally forgot about Ctrl/Cmd Z! Lol! Yeah. That’s a good one! And I use Ctr/Cmd T all the time, since I never check Show Bounding Box.

  18. Dorothy
    | Reply

    Of course, Ctrl Z, but I’m also becoming quite a fan of V for getting back to the Move tool. Oh, and Ctrl T for transform. Couldn’t live without it!

  19. Loretta
    | Reply

    I knew maybe a 1/3 of them but the test also encouraged me to work on learning more shortcuts! 🙂 I use CTRL Z and CTRL V the most!

  20. Woodie
    | Reply

    I must confess that I did not do too well but the test has inspired me to learn them…(all?) lol. My favorite keyboard stroke is Control Z to delete…use if the most!

    • DustyL
      | Reply

      I discovered that I really don’t use or know many shortcuts.
      Linda gave us the CTRL SHIFT J to justify type, but I couldn’t figure out how to un-justify. Just now I discovered that CTRL SHIFT L makes type not-justified.

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