While digital painting offers artists powerful tools to create beautiful work, it can often feel like half of your time drawing is spent clicking buttons. Repeated tasks like copy and paste can become even more frustrating when you have to go through two or three menus to complete the function.

Thankfully, PaintTool SAI has many keyboard shortcuts that can save you valuable time so you can draw more.

My name is Elianna. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and have used PaintTool SAI for over seven years. I know everything there is to know about the program, and soon so will you.

In this post, I am going to list the most useful PaintTool SAI keyboard shortcuts so you can save your time and energy, as well as become more efficient with the software.

What Are Keyboard Shortcuts? 

A keyboard shortcut, also known as a hotkey, is a series of keys pressed simultaneously to perform a preprogrammed action. Often using the Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and the Windows key, these tasks can include copying, pasting, creating a new canvas, saving a file, and more. 

If you have any experience with Photoshop, you will recognize many of the keyboard shortcuts listed below. However, make sure to read the list as there are still some keyboard shortcuts native to PaintTool SAI that are not available in Photoshop. 

You can also input custom keyboard shortcuts in PaintTool SAI to customize your workflow.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of ALL PaintTool SAI keyboard shortcuts, but an abridged version of those I find most useful. 

If you want to view all of the keyboard shortcuts in PaintTool SAI, go to Help > Shortcut Keys in the top menu bar. 

Read the list below to familiarise yourself with PaintTool SAI’s keyboard shortcuts. 

Keyboard ShortcutAction Performed 
Ctrl + NOpens new canvas
Ctrl + OOpens a saved canvas
Ctrl + BCreate Canvas from Clipboard
Ctrl + SSaves current canvas
Ctrl + Shift + SSaves canvas as
Ctrl + ZUndo
Ctrl + YRedo
Ctrl + XCut
Ctrl + CCopy
Ctrl + VPaste 
Ctrl + EMerge Layers 
Ctrl + Shift + EMerge Visible Layers 
Alt + DeleteFill
Ctrl + TTransform
Ctrl + DDeselect
Ctrl + HShow/Hide Selection 
Ctrl + ASelect All
Ctrl + IInvert Selection
Ctrl + RShow/Hide Ruler 
Ctrl + UOpens Hue/Saturation menu 
Ctrl + WClose View 
Shift + PageupRotate view CCW
Shift + PagedownRotate view CW
Ctrl + “+Zoom in 
Ctrl + “Zoom out 
HReverse view horizontal 
Ctrl + Alt + 0 Set view scaling to 100% 
Ctrl + 0Fit View Scaling to Window
HomeReset Position of View 
Shift + Home Reset Angle of View 
TabShow All User Interface Panels 
F11 + Shift + TabFull Screen 
Right-clickPicks up the color under the cursor
Ctrl + Alt + DragChanges the size of the tool you are using
Begin with SHIFT + Left DraggingDraw straight line between last drawing point and beginning of dragging point

Tool Shortcuts 

ASelect Pencil
Watercolor Brush
WMagic Wand Tool

How to Change Keyboard Shortcuts in PaintTool SAI?

You can change the keyboard shortcuts in PaintTool SAI by going to Help > Shortcut Keys in the top menu bar. 

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of PaintTool SAI keyboard shortcuts that you can use to make your creative workflow more efficient. Learning how to utilize shortcuts will save you not only time but energy and frustration.

While many PaintTool SAI keyboard shortcuts are similar to Photoshop, there are some options native to the program that are helpful to learn.

You can also input your own keyboard shortcut preferences in PaintTool SAI using Help > Shortcut Keys in the top menu bar. There you can change and add your own.

What keyboard shortcuts did you find most useful? Do you have a favorite? Tell me in the comments below.