A non-destructive workflow is essential to any photographer wishing to give each and every image the care and precision it deserves. Being able to streamline this workflow saves time and makes your Photoshop experience all the more enjoyable.

Below are some Photoshop shortcuts that will help you in your quest for non-destruction!

shortcuts in photoshop

Merge All Layers….Non-Destructively, of Course…

We can create a new layer from the layers below without flattening them!

PC – Ctrl+Alt+Shift + E

Mac – command+option+shift


Mask or Draw In A Straight Line

Wobbly hands? Maybe you’ve had too much caffeine. That’s okay, have another Mocha. When masking or drawing in Photoshop you just need to hover your mouse over the start point, press the left mouse button so you mark it, go to the end point of the line you wish to draw, hold Shift and press the left mouse button again. Or you could just draw a line normally and hold shift. Hey Presto! a straight line.

straight line

Change Background/Foreground Colours Instantly Back to Default

With a Mask selected, you can restore the white foreground/black background by pressing:



Create A Groupgroup

By selecting the layers we want to include in the group first, we can create a nice little package that we can neatly and non-destructively edit.

PC – Ctrl+g

Mac – command+g


Undo an Action

Unless you’re a near-perfect human being, you’ll be familiar with the Undo option. Make it easier with this shortcut:

PC – Ctrl+Alt+Z

Mac – command+option+z


Reselect A Lost Selection

Have you ever lost a selection to the cosmos, presumably gone forever? Try this to get it back:

PC – Ctrl+Shift+D

Mac – command+shift+D


Creating Clipping Mask

Clipping masks are amazing, especially in composite work. To create one, select the layer you wish to transform and:

PC – Ctrl+Alt+G

MAC: command+option+G


Promote A Layer To The Top

If you have a favourite layer, why not promote it to the very top of the pile?

PC – Ctrl+Shift+]

Mac – command+shift+]


Demote A Layer To the Bottom

What about your least favourite layer? Demote it to the very bottom of the pile!

PC – Ctrl+Shift+[

Mac – command+shift+[


Changing the Size and Hardness of a Brush

A super-cool way to rapidly change the size of your brush – and it looks even cooler when you’re using a tablet!

PC – Hold Ctrl+Alt+Right Mouse Button+Slide Left or Right To Change Size (Up or Down to Change Hardness)

Mac – Hold command+option+Right Mouse Button+Slide Left or Right To Change Size (Up or Down to Change Hardness)


Saving For The Web

There’s only one way to save for the web…and that’s the Save For The Web option!

PC – Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S

Mac – command+shift+option+S

Other Tutorials On Shutter…Evolve

Why Use Luminosity Masks in Digital Blending

How To Get Sharp Photos

How To Make Vibrant Cityscapes

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