Mice are nice but they tend to represent the long way of doing things on a computer. Whenever you want to perform an operation you have to drag across the screen to click on an icon. Sometimes you might have to click through a few windows to get where you’re going.
Hello there! I’m Cara and as a professional photographer, I use Adobe Lightroom quite extensively. As you might imagine, I do a lot of repetitive tasks and dragging around the screen with my mouse eats up a lot of time.
Keyboard shortcuts allow me to quickly go directly to the task I want. Yes, it takes a little bit to memorize keyboard shortcuts, but when you’re working in Lightroom all the time shortcuts are a HUGE timesaver!
To help you get started, I’ve compiled this list of Lightroom shortcuts. Let’s dive in!
Note: Some of the shortcuts are the same whether using Windows or Mac. Where different I will write them like this Ctrl or Cmd + V. Ctrl + V is the Windows version and Cmd + V is the Mac.
Table of Contents
- Frequently Used Lightroom Shortcuts
- Lightroom Culling Shortcuts
- Lightroom Photo Editing Shortcuts
- Lightroom Masking Shortcuts
- The Best Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts for You
Frequently Used Lightroom Shortcuts
There are hundreds of Lightroom shortcuts that allow you to speed up your process. But, who seriously has the time to memorize hundreds of shortcuts? I created this Lightroom shortcuts cheat sheet to help you narrow your efforts to the most useful ones.
Ctrl or Cmd + Z
Undo the last action. You can keep pressing the shortcut to continue undoing the last actions taken.
Ctrl or Cmd + Y
Redo the undone action.
Go to the Develop module.
Jump to the Library module if you are in the Develop module. If you’re viewing the grid view in the Library module it will switch to the Loupe view which is a single image.
Grid view in the Library module. If you’re in the Develop module, it will jump to the Library module and display the grid view.
Full-screen preview of the current image.
Ctrl or Cmd + E
Take an image directly to Photoshop to continue editing. When finished in Photoshop simply press Ctrl or Cmd + S to save the changes to the image and automatically import it back into Lightroom with the applied changes.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + E
Export the selected images.
Backspace or Delete
Delete the selected photo. You’ll get a chance to confirm whether you want to delete the photo from the hard disk completely or just remove it from Lightroom.
Ctrl + Backspace or Delete
Delete all photos that have been flagged as rejected. Again you can choose to delete it from the hard disk or remove it from Lightroom. Flag photos as rejected by pressing X.
\ (Backslash key)
Press this key to toggle back to the image before you began editing. Press again to return to the current edits.
Before and after editing side-by-side view. Only works in the Develop module.
Collapses the side panels. In the Library module with the Grid view active, this will allow you to see more of the images in the grid. In the Develop module, you can view the image without the distraction of the panels on either side.
Hold down the spacebar to activate the hand/move tool.
Lightroom Culling Shortcuts
When I first sit down with a new batch of images, I start by culling them. This means that I go through and pick out the best shots that I want to edit and reject the blurry or duplicate images that I want to delete.
These shortcuts make the process much quicker. Most of these shortcuts work in both the Library and Develop modules.
Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
Allows you to quickly rank the selected photo 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 stars respectively.
Shift + 6, 7, 8, or 9
Will add color labels red, yellow, green, and blue respectively.
Flag a favorite pick.
Flag a photo as rejected.
Unflag either a picked or rejected photo.
Add a photo to the target collection.
Zoom to 100% on the current photo.
Ctrl or Cmd + + (Ctrl or Cmd and the Plus Sign)
Zoom into the photo incrementally.
Ctrl or Cmd + - (Ctrl or Cmd and the Minus Sign)
Zoom out of the photo incrementally.
Left and Right Arrow Keys
Advance to the next image in line with the right arrow key. Go back to the previous image with the left arrow key.
Put the Caps Lock on to auto-advance to the next image after assigning a flag or rating to the image.
Ctrl or Cmd + [
Rotate the image 90 degrees to the left.
Ctrl or Cmd + ]
Rotate the image 90 degrees to the right.
Lightroom Photo Editing Shortcuts
These shortcuts speed up the editing process and most of them work only in the Develop module.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + C
Copy edits from current photo.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + V
Paste copied edits to current photo.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + S
Sync settings from one photo to one or more other images.
Opens the Crop tool.
Changes the photo orientation from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa) when the crop tool is open.
Ctrl or Cmd
Hold this key to use the straighten tool while the crop tool is active.
Opens the Spot Removal Tool.
Asks Lightroom to choose a new sampling spot if you didn’t like the first one. Only works when the Spot Removal tool is active otherwise it gives you the before as we mentioned earlier.
Toggles the clipping mask which shows you blown highlights or crushed blacks.
Ctrl or Cmd + 1
Toggles the Basic panel open or closed.
Ctrl or Cmd + 2
Toggles the Tone Curve panel.
Ctrl or Cmd + 3
Toggles the HSL panel.
Shift + + (Shift and the Plus Sign)
Increase the exposure by .33.
Shift + - (Shift and the Minus Sign)
Decrease the exposure by .33.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + 1
Toggles the Presets panel.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + 2
Toggles the Snapshots panel.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + 3
Toggles the History panel.
Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + 4
Toggles the Collections panel.
Lightroom Masking Shortcuts
These shortcuts work while in the Develop module and help speed up adding masks to your images.
Shift + W
Open the masking panel.
Toggle your masks on and off.
Go to the Brush masking tool.
ALT or OPT
Hold this key while using the brush tool to switch from adding to the mask to subtracting from it. In other words, it turns your brush into an eraser.
Decrease the size of your brush when the brush masking tool is active.
Increase the size of your brush when the brush masking tool is active.
Ctrl or Cmd + [
Increase the size of the brush feather.
Ctrl + Cmd + ]
Decrease the size of the brush feather.
Go to the Linear Gradient tool.
Shift + M
Go to the Radial Gradient tool.
Shift + J
Go to the Color Range selection tool.
Shift + Q
Go to the Luminance Range selection tool.
Shift + Z
Go to the Depth Range selection tool.
In this section, you’ll learn more about using keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom.
How to find keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom?
The keyboard shortcuts for many of the commands are listed on the right side of the menus in the menu bar. In the toolbar, hover over the tools for a couple of seconds and a note will appear with the tool’s shortcut.
How to change/customize Lightroom keyboard shortcuts?
On Windows, there isn’t a simple way to customize keyboard shortcuts. You can do it, but it requires digging around in Lightroom’s program files. On a Mac, you can use the operating system to edit the keyboard shortcuts.
Go to Applications > System Preferences > Keyboard Preferences. Select Shortcuts from the top tab and look for App Shortcuts in the left menu. Here you can set up custom shortcuts.
How to reset a shortcut in Lightroom?
On Mac, go into the Keyboard Preferences of your operating system. Choose Shortcuts and then App Shortcuts to reset or make adjustments to the shortcut.
What’s the keyboard shortcut for the Hand Tool in Lightroom?
Hold down the space bar to activate the Hand tool. This allows you to move around the image while zoomed in.
What to do when Lightroom keyboard shortcuts are not working?
First, reset Lightroom preferences. Close Lightroom, and hold down Alt + Shift or Opt + Shift while restarting the program. A dialog box will pop up asking if you want to overwrite the Preferences. Do this, then close Lightroom. Restart the program to see if the issue is fixed.
If that doesn’t work, review any custom shortcuts to see if they are causing interference. Then check to see if another program is interfering. For example, the hotkeys in your graphic card software could be intercepting Lightroom’s shortcuts and causing them to malfunction.
The Best Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts for You
Wow! That’s a lot of shortcuts!
Learn the shortcuts for the tasks you use most frequently first. As you continue to use the program, you can learn more.
To learn them, I suggest writing a few on a sticky note and sticking it to your monitor or somewhere on your desk. In no time, you’ll have a formidable, time-saving list of keyboard shortcuts memorized and be zipping around in Lightroom at lightspeed!