Mac Shortcuts Every Designer Should Know

Mac Shortcuts Every Designer Should Know

Naomi Stone
July 15, 2020

The properly chosen Mac computer for graphic design is the key to effective and high-quality work. Apple offers great solutions with reliable OS and a solid video card, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Developers have created a system of keyboard shortcuts to facilitate the work with computer image processing. MacOS also has a set of keyboard shortcuts, but not all graphic designers are aware of them. For example, such image editors as Photoshop also have many basic and additional tools for processing images, and these tools can be applied using keyboard shortcuts. If you are a graphic designer and spend most of the time working with this program, it is important to learn and master using such key combinations.

Today we will show you the most helpful shortcuts which will help save you time. You will significantly speed up your workflow, if you use them constantly.

Top 13 Shortcuts for Graphic Designers

Keyboard shortcuts significantly speed up work with graphic editors, as well as increase the number of actions, which can be performed using the keyboard. In addition, they are necessary if your Mac freezes unexpectedly or the mouse does not work correctly. Then you can save the incomplete image and open or close some programs using only the keyboard.

Let's take a closer look at the most useful shortcuts for graphic designers.

1. Create a new document

If you need to create a new document in Photoshop, developers have provided a special keyboard shortcut "Command + N".

"Command + O" combination can also be useful; it allows you to select a document on your hard drive for work.

2. Zoom

Zoom is one of the most important tools in Photoshop. Graphic designers need to zoom in a picture to work with details and zoom it out to see the full image.

Use "Command +" to zoom in or "Command -" to zoom out.

3. Undo the last action

Use the keyboard shortcut "Command + Z" if you want to undo the last action. Pressing this combination again cancels the last undo. In other words, this key combination allows you to switch between the last two states of the image.

If you need to undo more than 1 action in Photoshop, then use the keyboard shortcut "Command + Alt + Z". This combination is inconvenient to type with one hand on the keyboard, but it allows you to undo a few last actions.

4. Remove selection

Not all the tools allow you to remove selection with one click. You can use the key combination "Command + D" in this case. This shortcut allows you to quickly and easily remove the selection.

5. Duplicate a layer

The fastest way to duplicate a layer is to make sure that nothing is selected, and press "Command + J". If something was selected, then only the selected area will be applied to the new layer.

6. Resize Brush

The left and right square brackets "[" and "]" will help you resize the selected brush. These are indispensable keys for drawing, retouching and working with masks. And if you press brackets together with the Shift key, then it will bring a change in the hardness of the chosen brush.

7. Merge layers

Sometimes you need to merge all the layers into one, when working with collages or retouching. It can be done by pressing four buttons at once — "Command + Alt + Shift + E".

The action will not distort the layers, and the merge result will be presented as a separate layer.

8. Switch between tabs

Many users have heard of the "Command + Tab" key combination. This keyboard shortcut allows you to quickly switch between applications. You can also switch between tabs within the same application. You need to use the "Command + ` " combination to interact with several tabs of one application at once.

9. Minimize current window

You do not have to drag the cursor to the upper left corner to minimize the application. You can use the simple key combination "Cmd + M".

10. Save file

If you need to save the file, use the "Command + C" shortcut. This shortcut is especially useful if your computer suddenly freezes or the Internet connection is lost. Even though Photoshop saves a backup version of the file, you should save it to your computer using "Command + C".

11. Preview

When the work is finished, then it's time to look at the result. It is necessary to make sure that the work is error-free and well done. Use the keyboard shortcut "Command + Y" to enable preview mode.

12. Open last closed tab

Sometimes you work with multiple tabs in Photoshop and accidentally close an important one. If you need to return it without browsing the history, just press the combination "Command + Z" and the last closed tab will appear.

13. Quick Look

The Quick Look utility allows you to browse media files without opening them. In order to start it, you need to click once on the chosen file and press the spacebar on the keyboard. You also can do the same by pressing "Command + Y".


Using shortcuts is a great way to save time for processing images in Photoshop. We mentioned only the most important and useful shortcuts for graphic designers in this Top list, but in fact it is not limited to only 13 key combinations. We hope our article was helpful!

Naomi Stone (@Naomi99Stone) is a cybersecurity enthusiast and Mac aficionado. She is passionate about covering topics like Mac cybersecurity, Mac tips & hacks, Mac’s how-to guides. She is a contributor to Cyber Experts and Cybers Guards.


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