Adobe Photoshop: Essential Tips, Tutorials, & Keyboard Shortcuts

Surely, you’ve heard of Adobe Photoshop. It is robust image-editing software that has been used by millions of people across the globe since the 1990s. And these days, it’s not just a tool meant for the pros. On the contrary, Photoshop could be considered to be an essential tool for just about anyone – as artists, photographers, educators, content creators, designers, and countless other professions rely on it everyday. 

Share Tweet
Published inCareer Development
Featured photo

Do you want to approve your Photoshop skills? If so, you’re in luck! This post contains tips for beginner and advanced Photoshop users, as well as, keyboard shortcuts and links to tutorials! So, what are you waiting for? Keep scrolling!

In this article:

A Brief History of Photoshop

The famous image-editor known as Adobe Photoshop was first developed by siblings Thomas Knoll and John Knoll in the 1980s and later released to the public in the 90s. During its development, Thomas Knoll was PhD candidate at the University of Michigan and had successfully written a program that could display black-and-white images on a Macintosh computer. His brother, John, worked as a visual effects supervisor at a company called Industrial Light & Magic. Together, they used their knowledge and expertise to turn Thomas’ program into the first version of the image-editing application that we know today. 

These days, Photoshop is used by a wide-range of individuals across industries, including:

  • Photographers
  • Artists
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Illustrators
  • Art Directors
  • Advertising and Marketing Professionals
  • Multimedia Designers
  • Animators
  • Game Developers
  • Videographers
  • Scientists and Researchers
  • Forensic and Medical Professionals

These are just some examples of pros who rely on Photoshop, and the list could go on. Adobe Photoshop is a versatile and robust tools that can used for a variety of projects. 

Photoshop Tips for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with Photoshop, surely you have a lot of questions. So, we’ve put together this list of tips with you in mind.

  1. Carve out some time to get familiar with Photoshop’s interface and available tools. The more comfortable you are with navigating the layout, the more efficiently you’ll be able to start using the tools and creating visuals.
  2. Start with small projects then scale up. Getting the hang of Photoshop may take some time, so, start small. Seek out beginner-friendly tutorials, master those, then move on to more advanced concepts. 
  3. Invest time in your Photoshop education. There are tons of tutorials and online resources available – all of which are a quick search away. So, if you want to master Photoshop, spend time learning the ins and outs of its tools.
  4. Experiment with all of Photoshop’s features. If you’re using Photoshop for a specific goal, you may fall into a routine of only using a few tools. However, we encourage to you experiment with tools and software features – especially if you’re just starting out. Who knows? You just may discover a unique way to edit images, overlay textures onto typography, or apply Adobe’s library of filters. 
  5. Use layers so mistakes can be undone. Photoshop has built-in features such as layers and layer mask that make the editing process non-destructive. Use them – especially when you’re just beginning – as they’ll make mistakes seem like no big deal at all. 

Photoshop Tips for Advanced Users

For intermediate and advanced Photoshop users, the tips listed above may be a bit too basic. So, we’ve included this list of practical tips for those who are already familiar with the software.

  1. Once you’ve surpassed the basics, you’ll have time to experiment with tools and features that you don’t use often. And we encourage you to do just that! After all, Adobe is constantly updating Photoshop with new tools and features – like neural filters! So, why not experiment and see how it impacts your work?
  2. Use adjustment layers when you want to make global changes. You may already be familiar with this tip but it’s a staple when it comes to non-destructive editing methods. Adjustment layers allow the user to apply color and tonal changes to an image without permanently altering the pixels. This method of working allows the user to have more control over the image manipulation and enables non-destructive edits.
  3. Use smart objects as another non-destructive tool. After mastering Photoshop basics, look for ways to improve your workflow. One of the ways you may be able to do that is to use smart objects, which allow users to apply effects and transformations without destroying the pixels.
  4. Utilize the various selection tools. Over time, many advanced Photoshop users start have a preference for certain tools – and who can blame them?! For some folks, the pen tool has been a lifesaver. But it certainly isn’t the only tool for the job! Photoshop offers a wide variety of tools to get creative with – experiment with them all!
  5. Record actions to automate tasks and save time. Batch editing images for a client? You may be able to save time with actions. This handy feature allows users to record a series of steps and use that recording to automate repetitive tasks. 
  6. Embrace keyboard shortcuts. If you’re looking for other ways to save time, consider how long it takes you to select items from the start menu or find different tools in Photoshop. There is a keyboard shortcut for almost everything in Adobe’s famous image editor. So, make it your mission to get familiar with useful keyboard shortcuts that can help you streamline your workflow and save time.
professional using photoshop

Common Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts (Apple & Windows)

If you’ve been looking for common Photoshop keyboard shortcuts, look no further. Below is a list that can be used by both Apple (Mac) and Windows users.

Here are keyboard shortcuts for actions taken in Photoshop.

Create a new document 

Mac: Command + N

Windows: CTRL + N

Open An Existing Document

Mac: Command + O

Windows: CTRL + O

Save An Active Document

Mac: Command + S

Windows: CTRL + S

Undo An Action

Mac: Command + Z

Windows: CTRL + Z

Redo Last Action

Mac: Command + Shift + Z

Windows: CTRL + Shift + Z

Copy A Selected Item

Mac: Command + C

Windows: CTRL + C

Paste A Selected Item

Mac: Command + V

Windows: CTRL + V

Cut A Selected Item

Mac: Command + X

Windows: CTRL + X

Here are some keyboard shortcuts for commonly used Photoshop tools:

Lasso Tool


Quick Selection and Magic Wand Tools


Clone Stamp Tool


Healing Brush, Patch, and Red-Eye Tools


Brush and Pencil Tools


Color Replacement and Eyedropper Tools


Gradient, Dodge, Burn, and Sponge Tools


Vertical Type and Horizontal Type Tools


photoshop cube desk toy sits on a surface near supplies

Software Focused Interview Questions

If you’re a creative professional of any kind, image editors may be an integral part of your work. So, surely, questions around software may come up in interviews and internal work conversations from time to time. Below is a list of sample interview questions that you may come across.

Please note that for this section, we have abbreviated Adobe Photoshop to PS.

  1. What is your preferred image editing software? Do you use PS and if you do, in what capacity?
  2. Describe a collaborative project that focused heavily on Photoshop. What were your responsibilities and how did you share files during the project?
  3. What are your favorite and least favorite PS tools?
  4. Describe a time when you had to troubleshoot an error in Photoshop or quickly learn new tricks to achieve a project goal. 
  5. What is your workflow when it comes to color correction and color-grading in PS?
  6. How do export images for web in Photoshop?
  7. Can you explain how you would export an image for print?
  8. Can you describe your workflow when it comes to managing large PSD files with more than ten layers. 
  9. How often do you take courses or review tutorials to keep your editing skills sharp?
  10. Can you walk us through examples of your work that is heavily Photoshopped?

Online Photoshop Courses to Enhance Skills

Looking for more ways to expand your image editing skills? Consider taking a course or two! Below is a list of online classes that you might find useful.