Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts

April 8, 2016

Last week I was asked the question:

“When do you use the ALT, SHIFT & CTRL keys in combination with other keys to accomplish a shortcut task? Is there a general rule about which of these 3 keys is used with certain types of operations? I am looking for a way to help remember how they are used.”

I love hearing from you all and appreciate your questions and tutorial suggestions.  Thanks, Steph. I hope this answers your question.

Adobe has built into Photoshop a way for us to easily reference keyboard shortcuts.  Go to the top menu bar:  Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (or the keyboard shortcut for this is:  CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+K.)  (It doesn’t matter in what order you enter CTRL, ALT, or SHIFT; just enter K last while holding down the other 3 keys).  The following dialogue box will open.

Keyboard Shortcut Tutorial SnickerdoodleDesigns

Here you will see a listing of the Menu Commands (File, Edit, Image, and so on). Click on the Menu you would like to work with. I’ll click on File to see the list of Shortcuts that are available in the File Menu.

Customize your keyboard shortcuts SnickerdoodleDesigns

If you can’t remember a shortcut, here is where you will come to refresh your memory. Click on the other Menu Commands (Edit, Image, etc.) to see the shortcuts available in those menus.

It is here that you can also set your own keyboard preferences, if you have a combination of keys that would be easier for you to remember. Here’s how.  Let’s use “File” in our example again.

Once you click on “File,” click on “New.” The Shortcut for “New” will become available for you to overwrite. Type in your preferred shortcut, and click on Accept.

Continue on through the Menu Command until you have set all of your preferences.

If you click on “Summarize,” a page will open in your browser with all of the Keyboard shortcuts on your version of Photoshop, which will, of course, include the ones you have changed. You can then print the document for easy reference.

Photoshop Elements does not give you the option to change keyboard shortcuts, nor does it offer a summary of the keyboard shortcuts.  However, the good news is that many keyboard shortcuts that work in Photoshop also work in Photoshop Elements.

You may watch a You Tube video here:  Karen Schulz Designs You Tube Channel .

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  1. Steph

    I use PSE so I don’t have access to this nice reference for shortcuts. But this link to Adobe’s site has a list of pages that will show shortcuts based on the category of task you are trying to accomplish.

    It’s kind of mindboggling to see how many there are to use. I guess I need to start a list of those I think I will use the most.

    Thanks Karen.

    • Karen

      Thanks for providing that, Steph.

  2. Su Hall

    There doesn’t really seem to be any rhyme or reason for which modifiers, eh?
    I have found, though, that the ‘Alt’ key seems to be used more for ‘drastic’ steps. Just something I have picked up. I found an article on the ‘Alt’ key and it’s attributes. It is often used when altering a tool or function. Because of it’s ‘nature’, if I am not sure which modifier, I will think about what it is I am doing, and, generally, it will be ‘Alt’.
    I picked a few shortcuts at a time and used them until I knew them. I chose the shortcuts for things I used the most first. Then, picked a few more, etc LOL That’s the only way I could remember them!
    Thank you for another awesome tutorial!

  3. Gloria Rieschl

    I tried and tried and tried again to pull up the menu to finally give up and then scrolled down to read that it doesn’t work in PSE!! Ahhh! 😛

    • Karen

      Yes, that’s true Gloria; you cannot get a summary in PSE. However, many of the Photoshop shortcuts do work in PSE, as you know. I have coped these from the Adobe website and will make them available on my blog tomorrow.


  1. Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts | Karen Schulz - […] week I wrote a blog post about Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts in Photoshop. In that post I explained how to…

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