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5 Time-Saving Tricks for Adobe Photoshop

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Creative Market October 1, 2021 · 4 min read

We recently asked designers in our community to share their favorite time-saving Photoshop tricks. These are the kinds of game-changing little tweaks that accelerate your workflow and you wish you knew about sooner. If Photoshop is home to you, read on and start saving time today.

1. Shortcuts

Designer Lu Amaral swears by keyboard shortcuts, saying they “are everything when you use Photoshop all day long, every day.” To define your own shortcuts, go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Here’s a great tutorial if you’re interested in customizing Photoshop to fit your most common actions:

If you’d like to rely on default keyboard shortcuts, make sure you take a look at the full list first. Within that Keyboard Shortcuts option, go to Shortcuts For > Tools > Summarize. You’ll see something like this:

Clicking on “Summarize” will give you an HTML file to review in your browser or print out for reference

Default shortcuts are also essential Photoshop tricks. Paola from thecollaborateva is emphatic: “Command S to save! I’ve made it a habit in all my graphic and video work to hit that save shortcut. You just never know when that autosave won’t save!”

2. Actions

In shop owner ana & yvy‘s words, the trick here is “excessive use of actions!” Designer Lori Knutsen from DailyMiracleDigitals concurs, saying it’s worth making your own actions capturing the features and steps you use the most.

If you’re not familiar with Actions, they are just recorded series of steps that you can set in motion at any point in time. Whenever you find yourself repeating certain tasks in Photoshop, there’s an opportunity to record them and save yourself some time. Here are some tasks that would make great Actions:

  • Adding a watermark
  • Image filtering and effect application
  • Skin retouching
  • Text effects

To accelerate your projects and give this feature a try, check out our collection of ready-to-use Photoshop actions. Here are some of our favorites:

3. Select > Subject

Think of this feature as a sophisticated background removal tool. To try it, select the Quick Selection or Magic Wand tools and check the Select Subject option. You can also choose Select > Subject. It’ll automatically identify and select subjects in any photograph. It’s a great trick if you’re trying to layer interesting backgrounds and human subjects with a clean crop, but don’t have the time to select it manually.

4. Content-aware Fill

As of Photoshop CC 2015.5, you can rely on the app’s content-aware technology to fill in any remaining space when you use the Crop tool. Next time you’re rotating an image or enlarging your canvas and find a gap, give Content-aware fill a try. It’s simple: when using the Crop tool, check the “Content-aware” option and watch the auto-fill magic happen.

5. Artboard Exports

This trick comes directly from us. If you’ve been using Photoshop for over a decade, you might be more familiar with its original canvas than the newer Artboards feature. In Photoshop CC 2015, Adobe rolled out Artboards as workspaces for this app. They’ve been strengthening the feature ever since, giving us more flexibility for complex design projects with various compositions.

The best part? When you build your layouts using Artboards, exporting assets at 1x, 2x, and other sizes becomes incredibly easy. If you had relied on exporting Layers as Files, Artboards are your new best friends.

When creating content graphics for articles like this one, we like to use a combination of Smart Objects and properly-sized Artboards to export all the assets we’ll need for featured images and social media channels.

Share your Photoshop tricks!

This list of Photoshop tricks isn’t exhaustive. We know there are tons of smart shortcuts and settings we’re missing, so feel free to leave a comment with the tips that have made a real difference in your Photoshop workflow.

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