10 Useful Photoshop Elements Keyboard Shortcuts

Photoshop Elements is the much more reasonably priced (the newest version is $50 at multiple retailers pretty much every year on Black Friday) younger brother of Photoshop.  The software is powerful enough to do the editing most people need to do without the insanely high price tag of Photoshop.  Like most software, Photoshop Elements includes dozens of keyboard shortcuts, combinations of keys on the keyboard that you can press instead of having to move your mouse off of the photo, up to the menu, then back down to the photo.  In a program like Photoshop Elements, these keyboard shortcuts are very helpful and time saving.

10.  Auto Contrast – Ctrl+Shift+Alt+L

  • This is probably the most commonly used auto correction I use in Photoshop Elements  and more often than not it does what I want.  It’s also the most complex keyboard shortcut (Obvious Hint: It works better if you do the Ctrl+Shift+Alt on your left hand instead of trying to do it all with your right hand)

9.  Healing Brush Tool – J

  • This tool is great for correcting small things in your photo that you don’t want there, for example birds flying in the sky or power lines if they’re not too thick.

8.  Grid – Ctrl+’

  • If you’re like me your photos don’t always come out as straight as you’d like and it isn’t always easy to tell if a photo is as straight as you want it without a little help.  This shortcut is great for toggling the grid on and off quickly.

7.  Crop Tool – C

  • After you’ve straightened your crooked photo, you need to crop off the edges and pressing the C button is all it takes to open up the Crop Tool.  Of course, this is also useful if you took your picture a little too wide and want to eliminate part of your photo just to make it look better.  Photoshop Elements defaults to letting you select any size ratio for your photo, but they’re a box in the upper left corner if you want to change the size ratio to keep it the same as it was shot or if you want to make it a specific size to print it.

6.  Open and Close – Ctrl+O and Ctrl+W

  • Self explanatory and simple but time saving, especially if you open a bunch of photos to edit, since after you’re done working on a photo, Photoshop Elements will leave the photo open after saving it.

5.  Auto Smart Fix – Ctrl+Alt+M

  • For photos that don’t have any major issues, Auto Smart Fix usually does a good job.  If you have lots of photos and don’t have tons of time to edit them, this is a great way to make your photos look better quickly, again especially if the photo already looks good and just needs minor fixes.

4.  Undo and Redo – Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y

  • I use these constantly in combination to check how an adjustment I made looks and to see if the result is what I wanted or not.

3. Save and Save As – Ctrl+S and Ctrl+Shift+S

  • Another simple but effective shortcut but it’s something you need to do after you’ve finished working on every picture so it’ll get used.

2.  Zooming in and out – Ctrl+= and Ctrl+-

  • Very helpful when cropping images (Photoshop Elements refuses to be as precise as I’d like when cropping if you’re viewing the entire image) and when using any of the brush tools.

1.  Decreasing and increasing brush size – [ and ]

  • My favorite shortcut because it is one I use a lot for a variety of things, from the Healing Brush Tool to the regular Brush Tool to using it on a layer mask.  Any time I need to change the brush size I already have the mouse on the image where I’m working so using the keyboard to change the brush size is much more efficient than having to use the mouse.

That’s it for this time, there will be another article on more shortcuts I use for more advanced editing in the near future.  I hope these shortcuts help you speed up your editing time if you use Photoshop Elements, and if you don’t check in the program you do use and learn the shortcuts for the commands you use most often, you’ll find it saves you time and less time spending editing means more time to be out taking photos.  Until next time, happy shooting.


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