Get your free copy of our master list of keyboard shortcuts for designers. Never fumble for a hotkey in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign again.

Cover image composite:background/main image via Africa Studio, poster texture via maodoltee, screen image via OoddySmile Studio.

People are always looking for shortcuts that help them work smarter, not harder. Shortcuts are usually discovered through trial and error, but sometimes they’re built right into the process. In the major design applications, keyboard shortcuts for design bridge the gap between effort and action, saving time otherwise spent on the point-and-click-flyout-menu method.

Perhaps you know a few keyboard combos to get from point A to point B more efficiently. But do you always remember the right one to use?

We think about you – the designer – a lot. That’s why we rounded up some of our favorite, most helpful keyboard shortcuts in this beginner’s list and this more advanced list.

You can bookmark these lists, but that won’t do when you’re caught in a pinch, hands hovering over the keyboard, wondering how to quickly select the next tool. So, to help you even more, we created a handy printable chart for all the most common and useful shortcut key combos* in the big-three Adobe design programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign). It’s color-coded, labeled, and grouped for maximum efficiency. We call it the Periodic Table of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts, and we’re letting you download it here, totally free.

*All keyboard shortcuts are listed in Mac format, but we’ve provided a conversion for Windows users

Master List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Designers – Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet

Download your FREE PDF copy of the Periodic Table of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts with the button below.

Download Now

Download it to your mobile device, print it and pin it up, or keep it saved on your desktop for a quick reference guide. (Or print out a huge copy and frame it, as seen above.)  It’s a dependable tool to get your work done faster, without surfing through menus or searching online to find the right action.

Want to keep things digital? Here’s a master list of every keyboard shortcut for design you’ll find inside.

Common Keyboard Shortcuts in Adobe

These are shortcuts that work in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Think basics like opening, closing, saving, guides, copy, and paste.

Master List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Designers – Common Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Select All – Command + A
  • Copy – Command + C
  • Paste – Command + V
  • Open – Command + O
  • New – Command + N
  • Close – Command + W
  • Print – Command + P
  • Save – Command + S
  • Save As – Command + Shift + S
  • Undo – Command + Z
  • Redo – Command + Option + Z
  • Quit – Command + Q
  • Show/Hide Guides – Command + ;
  • Lock/Unlock Guides – Command + Option + ;
  • Show/Hide Grid – Command + ‘

Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts

These Illustrator keyboard shortcuts pertain to actions and tools around vectors and typography, which are Illustrator’s strong suits. You’ll also find keys for grouping and moving things around or locking them.
Master List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Designers – Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts

Guides

  • Show/Hide Smart Guides – Command + U

Paste Special

  • Paste In Place – Command + Shift + V
  • Paste In Front – Command + F
  • Paste In Back – Command + B

Type

  • Adjust Size – Command + Shift + < to decrease or > to increase
  • Adjust Trackingwith multiple letters or words selected, Option + left arrow to decrease or right arrow to increase
  • Adjust Kerningcursor placed between two letter, Option + left arrow to decrease or right arrow to increase
  • Adjust Leading – Option + left arrow to decrease or right arrow to increase
  • Create Outlines – Command + Shift + O

Organization

  • Send Behind – Command + [
  • Bring Forward – Command + ]
  • Send To Back – Command + Shift + [
  • Bring To Front – Command + Shift + ]
  • Lock Selected – Command + 2
  • Unlock All Objects – Command + Option + 2
  • Hide Selected – Command + 3
  • Show All Hidden Objects – Command + Option + 3
  • Group Selected – Command + G
  • Ungroup Selected – Command + Shift + G

Frequent Tools

  • Direct Selection Tool White Arrow – A
  • Selection Tool Black Arrow – V
  • Type Tool – T
  • Pen Tool – P
  • Marquis Rectangle – M
  • Ellipse Circle – L

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

In Photoshop, working with layers is especially important, so there are some keys to move those around. In addition, brushes and tools for making selections are featured.
Master List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Designers – Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

History

  • Step Backward – Command + Option + Z
  • Step Forward – Command + Shift + Z

Paste Special

  • Paste Into Selection – Command + Shift + Option + V
  • Paste In Place – Command + Shift + V

Layers

  • New Layer – Command + Shift + N
  • Move Layer Up – Command + ]
  • Move Layer Down – Command + [
  • Move Layer To Top – Command + Shift + ]
  • Move Layer To Bottom – Command + Shift + ]
  • Duplicate Selection To New Layer – Command + J
  • Duplicate Current Layer – Command + J

Brushes

  • Decrease Brush Size – [
  • Increase Brush Size – ]
  • Decrease Hardness – Shift + [
  • Increase Hardness – Shift + ]
  • Opacity – in 10% increments 1 – 0

Selections

  • Deselect – Command + D
  • Reselect – Command + Shift + D
  • Convert Path To Selection – Command + Enter/Return
  • Select Inverse – Command + Shift + I

Tools

  • Transform – Command + T
  • Move Tool – V
  • Type Tool – T
  • Pen Tool – P
  • Shapes – U

InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts

InDesign is special as it handles lots of layout tasks, but it’s also strong in typography, image handling, and vectors. Included here is a broad range of tasks and tools to help you deal with all of these elements.
Master List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Designers – InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts

Content & Fitting

  • Import Or Place – Command + D
  • Center Content – Command + Shift + E
  • Fit Content To Frame – Command + Option + E
  • Fit Content Proportionally – Command + Shift + Option + E
  • Fit Frame To Content Or Text – Command + Option + C
  • Fill Frame Proportionally – Command + Shift + Option + C
  • Paste Without Formatting – Command + Shift + V

Organization

  • Send Behind – Command + [
  • Send To Back – Command + Shift + [
  • Bring Forward – Command + ]
  • Bring To Front – Command + Shift + ]
  • Lock Selected – Command + L
  • Unlock All Objects – Command + Shift + L
  • Hide Selected – Command + 3
  • Show All Objects – Command + Option + 3
  • Group Selected – Command + G
  • Ungroup Selected – Command + Shift + G
  • Align Type Left – Command + Shift + L
  • Align Type Right – Command + Shift + R
  • Align Type Center – Command + Shift + C

Frequent Tools & Menus

  • Direct Selection Tool – A
  • Selection Tool – V
  • Type Tool – T
  • Rectangle Tool – M
  • Ellipse Tool – L
  • Pen Tool – P
  • Frame Tool – F
  • Text Frame Options – B
  • Document Setup – Command + Shift + P
  • Find/Change – Command + F
  • Export – Command + E

Of course, this is the tip of the iceberg. If you browse the menus of each app, the tools, actions, or menus with shortcut keys attached to them are many. There are some that never get used, and some you’ll use very often, but which aren’t listed here. But with this foundation in keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be able to move on to more complicated key combos specific your work.


We have more tips, tricks, and free stuff for designers and creatives. Check out these resources: