10 Photoshop Tips That Will Save You Time

Wandering Aimfully Through Being More Creative

10 Photoshop Tips That Will Save You Time

Use these quick and easy shortcuts to speed up your design process.
Caroline ZookCaroline Zook Caroline ZookCaroline Zook

Written by

Caroline Zook

As a designer, I spend almost every day inside Photoshop.

Even though I taught myself how to use the program, after a couple years of near-daily use, I feel pretty comfortable with it. But, it occurred to me the other day that there is still SO much that I don’t know about Photoshop.

I can always do whatever I need to do with the foundation of skills I have, but every once in a while I take a look at the various tools and options that I don’t use on a regular basis and think to myself: What if there’s some awesome tool out there I’m missing out on?

So I recently went on a mission to expand my design horizons.

And while I’m a big fan of learning new things, I have to admit, these days it’s hard to find the time to sit down and watch endless Photoshop tutorials (plus, let’s be honest, most of them are boring! My coffee-induced ADD can’t handle it!)

So, in this post I thought I’d include 10 simple TipGIFs that will change your Photoshop game big time!

Side note: “TipGIF” isn’t technically a thing (I made up the term.) BUT I think tips are most helpful when you can see them in action, so I looked up how to make GIFs in Photoshop, and behold, the TipGIF was born. Maybe it‘ll catch on?

Another side note: I use Adobe Photoshop CC on a Mac (though I’ve included PC alternatives as well.)


10 Photoshop Tricks You May Not Know About

1. Use “Step + Repeat” to create patterns and shapes.

 

Photoshop Step And Repeat

 


2. Use Select > Color Range.. to remove a white/solid background.

 

Photoshop remove white background

 

This is especially helpful when creating graphics with hand-lettering because you can remove the white background of your paper to isolate your hand-drawn element.

**You can also set layers with white backgrounds to Blending mode “Multiply” and their white backgrounds will become transparent, allowing you to place the layer on top of whatever you need!**


3. Make duplicates by using Alt + Drag.

 

Photoshop Duplicate Layer Alt Drag

 

I first learned about this little tip in an Intro to Illustrator class at Alt Summit back in 2012, but it was one of those simple ones that changed EVERYTHING for me. By holding down Alt, then clicking and dragging, you can duplicate shapes, layers, images, even layer styles!


4. Use “[” and “]” to change your brush tip size.

 

Photoshop change brush tip size

 

Just a handy little keystroke here, but to adjust the size of your brush, simply press the left or right brackets!


5. Easily select multiple layers and group them.

 

Photoshop Select Multiple Layers

 

Grouping layers can be especially helpful if you need to quickly hide/unhide certain layers or apply a layer style to a group. To easily place multiple layers in a group:


6. Change the color of your canvas background.

 

Photoshop change color of canvas

 

Depending on your Photoshop settings, the background color behind your canvas area is probably some version of gray. However, if you want to see how your photos/graphics look on a white background or black background (or you just want to jazz up your workspace with some bright colors) you can use this shortcut to customization.

(If you want to undo this action, right-click outside the document area and select one of the default gray options.)


7. Create a clipping mask by Alt+Clicking between two layers.

 

 

I use this trick a lot when I put together mood boards. By creating your grid of rectangles in your mood board, you can then drop your images on top, Alt+click and keep your nice crisp gutters between your images!


8. Quickly subtract or combine shapes.

 

Photoshop subtract or combine shapes

 


9. Hide all but one layer or group.

 

Photoshop hide all but one layer

 

I’m sure you know you can hide the visibility of layers by clicking on the “eye” in the Layers palette, but did you know that you can Alt+click the eye icon to hide all other layers except that one? And to reverse it, simply Alt+click the layer again.


10. Use tab to rename your layers.

 

Photoshop tab to rename layers

 

Naming layers properly can be a HUGE help when you’re dealing with complex files. Cycle through and properly name your files by:


I hope you found these little tricks helpful!

10 Photoshop Tips That Will Save You Time

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Taking time to learn quick shortcuts in your favorite design programs may not seem important, but it adds up to a ton of time saved!

IT IT

This article written by

Caroline Zook

Artist, designer + writer passionate about helping soulful creatives grow into their brightest selves. Lover of bright colors + even brighter people! One half of the crazy duo running these parts!

Continue the conversation:

Now What?

Join “Wandering Weekly,” a newsletter to help you live, work and create with more intention.

Each Monday we’ll visit your inbox and share a lesson we’ve learned on our own entrepreneurial journeys. We keep it real and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable, honest, and 100% transparent when it comes to working for yourself.

Wandering Aimfully Through Being More Creative

People Won’t Know What You’re Capable Of Unless You Show Them

It’s no secret that possibly the biggest thing that holds so many of us back from making or creating at all is a desire for perfectionism. We all want our work to be high-quality and fully-formed right out the gate, right? It’s only natural. Thankfully, though, over the past few years, I’ve seen a shift […]

Wandering Aimfully Through Being More Creative

How To Get Started With Acrylic Abstract Painting

Click below to read more about my personal journey with painting, plus my 4 tips for getting started with acrylic abstract painting!