Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Photoshop tool shortcuts, part of Photoshop: Shortcuts.
- If you've watched any of my courses here at lynda.com you know that I'm a huge proponent of keyboard shortcuts. And one of the things that I think takes up the most time, when we're using any application, is when we don't use keyboard shortcuts and we find ourself moving our mouse from side to side, switching tools or commands that way. That can be a huge waste of time and it's just better to memorize keyboard shortcuts and ways to get what you want onscreen faster. And there's no better way to do that inside of Photoshop than to start memorizing the different shortcuts that are associated with the tools and so I created this document here, it's called 01_02_tools.psd and you can open this up, and by the way, you can print this as well, it'd be a nice reference chart for you, and inside of this document it lists all of the basic tools and their names and then out to the side of it, the keyboard shortcut that is associated with that tool in parenthesis.
So, for instance, the Move Tool is the letter "v" and the Polygonal Lasso Tool, the letter "l," Crop Tool, "c," Brush tool, "b," History Brush Tool, "y," et cetera. My recommendation is to take a look at this diagram that I've created for you and then start to think about the tools that you use most often. For me, inside of Photoshop, that would be things like the Move Tool, the Marquee Tool, the Brush Tool, the Crop Tool and probably the Eyedropper and Hand Tools. Those are the things that I use most often, so right off the top of my head, I can tell you, the Marquee Tool is "m," the Move Tool is "v," the Brush Tool is "b," the Crop Tool is "c," the Eyedropper is "i," and the Hand Tool is "h." All of those are very easy for me to switch between because I've memorized them in my head.
So if there are certain tools that you use a lot inside of Photoshop, I highly recommend you study this document and figure out exactly which ones they are so you can just tap something on the keyboard versus taking your mouse outside of the document window to find that tool. You'll also notice at the bottom that I've broken down the different pieces of the bottom of the tools panel as well, showing you how to get back your default colors, like the foreground and background, to black to white, you hit the letter "d" to do that, how to toggle your foreground and background colors, how to turn on Quick Mask mode, how to change screen modes and I've also shown you the little button on how to switch to the new Design Space as well.
Now, at the bottom it tells you that to access the tools inside of a nested toolbox, you need to hold in the shift key and press the keyboard shortcut listed above. So exactly what is a nested tool? Let's take a look here, let me bring out the Tools Panel so you can see it and I'll just put it right in front of the tools panel, actually, let's put it over here to the right so we can actually see it here a little better and you can see all of these tools here that had this little white triangle in the bottom right-hand corner, those are nested tools, and so that means that they have things nested inside of them. So, for instance, inside of the Marquee Tools, you will see the Rectangular Marquee Tool and Elliptical Marquee Tool, both with the letter "m" out to the side of their name.
That indicates that that's the keyboard shortcut I need to use in order to access them, but when I press the letter "m," you notice that it doesn't switch each time between those two. I have to throw in the shift key in order to change it between the two different types of Marquee Tools. The same for the Lasso Tool, notice the Lasso Tool, which is here, is by default, when I press the letter "l" it is selected. Continuing to press the letter "l" does nothing, but when I hold down the shift key and press "l," it cycles me through all of the different types of Lasso Tools that I have at my disposal.
So just remember, anytime you need to access that tool in general, press the keyboard shortcuts so "c" for crop, but if you need something inside of the nested toolbox, be sure to throw in the shift key. If you're using an older version of Photoshop, and the shift key trick isn't working, try going into your Preferences panel and inside of the Preferences, inside of the General section in some versions of Photoshop, there will be something where it says "Use Shift Key "to Switch Tools," in other versions of Photoshop, you can see that it's going to be put inside of the Tools section and so here, "Use Shift Key "for Tool Switch," that's located right there.
So just work through your version of Photoshop inside of the Preferences, find this option and make sure it is checked if the shift key trick is not working for you. Once you have that turned on, the shift key should start working to switch the tools and you should be well on your way to keeping your hands on the keyboard and your eyes on your work.