If you want your Photoshop and Lightroom experience to be better, you need to learn keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts allow you to activate tools and settings and perform common tasks with either a single key or a combination of keystrokes. In fact, you already use keyboard shortcuts each time you type a capital letter using the shift key or copy a line of text with command + C.
Keyboard shortcuts are marvelous. It is amazing how much faster you can work when you don’t have to rely on moving a mouse around the screen. In Lightroom, if you want to crop your picture, you can mouse over to the crop icon on the top right … or you just press R and the crop tool is opened. K opens the adjustment brush. M opens the gradient filter. Shift+M opens the radial gradient filter. Q opens the spot removal tool. Those are some of my favorites.
But there’s also E for the Library Module, D for the Develop Module, and Shift+N to project Survey mode on a second screen.
How can you possibly learn them all???
Shortcut for shortcuts
In Lightroom, press command + / (control + / on PC) and it’ll pop up a sheet of all the shortcuts for the module you’re working in. Click on the sheet to make it disappear. In Photoshop, use option + command + shift + K. That’s cool, but it’s not a very intuitive way to learn shortcuts.
LogicKeyboard makes keyboards dedicated to helping you become faster with the software tools you use. I’ve been using their Adobe Photographer ASTRA keyboard, and I like it very well.
It’s perfect for those of us who subscribe to the Adobe Photographer bundle with Lightroom and Photoshop. In addition to the standard letters and controls on the keys, there are also colored and graphical indicators that teach you what each key does.
Check out the H key. Next to the H, you can see a hand icon, which indicates this is the key that gets you the Hand tool in Photoshop. Above that, in the black section of the key, it also says “Hide Overlay” and in Lightroom that makes the overlay of whatever tool you’re using disappear. In the crop tool, it’ll hide the crossbars; in the spot removal tool it hides the button for each spot you’ve removed; in the adjustment brush, it hides the adjustment button for each set of adjustments. Or, if it’s hidden it reveals the overlay. That’s a very handy shortcut key in both apps.
And each key has multiple uses. You’ll see a colored dot on the key, which corresponds to the combination key (shift, command, option, control, function) that combines with it to perform and action.
While using it, you’ll naturally start to pick up on the shortcuts. I really like the graphic icons because they show me the corresponding tool I’m looking for in Photoshop.
And it’s a great keyboard
Besides the shortcut overlay, the ASTRA keyboard is a pleasure to use. The keys are all where my fingers expect them to be and they have a satisfying movement and click. It’s a 10-key layout, so it’s a terrific upgrade to your laptop keyboard. It’s also backlit with adjustable brightness, and it has two USB 2.0 ports on the back. I like that the keyboard and USB ports use two connectors on the 6-foot cable.
Amazingly, each key is rated for 10,000,000 presses. If you’ve pressed your keys 10 million times, then you’ll certainly be a shortcut master.
This keyboard is weighted nicely and doesn’t shift around as you type. The angle and layout are very ergonomic. You can feel its quality construction. Plus, it’s available for both Mac and PC layouts.
Shortcut to a great gift
This is an easy purchase that anyone will appreciate. Using this keyboard will teach you the shortcuts that will make you a more proficient and swift Photoshop and Lightroom user. Saving time pressing buttons on the computer means more time pressing buttons on the camera, and that’s what everyone needs. And with the holidays coming up, it’s a pretty easy gift — it’s on sale right now at B&H for $115.