For the next few weeks we'll be posting some of the best Photoshop tips from Photoshop Secrets. Some of these tips can greatly optimize your workflow helping you work faster and more precisely.

Move Gradients, Patterns and Shadows from the Style Panel

When adding gradients, patterns and shadows to a layer, you can drag your canvas to adjust the relative position of the effect.

Separate compound shapes or masked bitmap layers into a new layer

If you have 2 compound shapes in one layer and decide to separate them, the easiest way to do it is to select the shape (with the Path Selection Tool) then hit ⌘⇧J.

This also works if you mask a bitmap layer, it cuts and duplicates it.

⌘J Will duplicate the shape or mask and leave the original intact.

Open a duplicate window of your document so you can work on a detailed version

When creating icons or small assets you may want to see both the 100% view and a zoomed in view so you can edit details and see the original at the same time. You can do so by clicking Window > Arrange > New Window for [doc_name].

The shortcut you see on the image I created myself by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Press ⇥ while renaming a layer to rename the next layer

Double click a layer name to rename it, Instead of pressing return, press ⇥ (tab) and the layer below will be selected and ready to be renamed. (CS6 only)

Hide / show all effects on your document

⌥ click on effects icon to expand/collapse all effects in document (CS6 only)

Change Layer opacity and fill opacity with keyboard

Select a layer and press: 0 for 100% - 1 to 9 for decimals from 10 to 90.

You can also type numbers in fast sequence to set specific opacity such as 25, 37 or 00 for 0%.

Pressing ⇧ plus the numbers changes the Fill opacity.

Make sure that you have the Move Tool (V) selected otherwise this will not work.

With the Brush Tool the same shortcuts will set the opacity of the brush.

And in case you don’t know, this is the difference between Opacity and Fill.

Opacity changes the opacity of the entire layer including its styles, whereas Fill keeps the styles intact but knocks out the fill.

Change Layer Blending Modes with your keyboard

Select a layer then:

  • ⌥⇧- Previous Blend
  • ⌥⇧+ Next Blend
  • ⌥⇧W Linear Dodge (Add)
  • ⌥⇧E Difference
  • ⌥⇧T Saturation
  • ⌥⇧Y Luminosity
  • ⌥⇧U Hue
  • ⌥⇧I Dissolve
  • ⌥⇧O Overlay
  • ⌥⇧A Linear Burn
  • ⌥⇧S Screen
  • ⌥⇧D Color Dodge
  • ⌥⇧F Soft Light
  • ⌥⇧G Lighten
  • ⌥⇧H Hard Light
  • ⌥⇧J Linear Light
  • ⌥⇧K Darken
  • ⌥⇧L Hard Mix
  • ⌥⇧Z Pin Light
  • ⌥⇧X Exclude
  • ⌥⇧C Color
  • ⌥⇧V Vivid Light
  • ⌥⇧B Color Burn
  • ⌥⇧N Normal
  • ⌥⇧M Multiply

Change text size with your keyboard

Select text by double clicking a text layer or manually selecting.

  • ⌘⇧< Smaller by 2 points
  • ⌘⇧> Bigger by 2 points
  • ⌘⌥⇧< Smaller by 10 points
  • ⌘⌥⇧> Bigger by 10 points

Make your Layer Styles into Layers.

Disconnect Styles from Layers by right clicking on effects and clicking “Create Layers”.

This allows you to better manipulate effects, especially good for patterns, so you can morph them around a “3D” shape. You can also better adjust a drop shadow by cropping it or transforming it.

About the author of this post

I'm Edward Sanchez, a UI and UX designer originally from Brazil. I lived in London for 10 years before moving to the Bay Area where I worked at Sencha, Palm and now Amazon on the Kindle. I've been working with Phototshop for over 10 years and continue to find ways of optimizing my workflow through shortcuts and using the tool to it's full potential.