Photoshop Fill Shortcuts

Photoshop Fill Tool Shortcuts

Shortcuts in any program make projects just a bit easier – you don't have to hunt for menus or even pause too long from the task at hand. Here are a few of my favorites for filling layers in Photoshop and a few other related tasks. You don't have to go to the palette and use a Paintbucket tool. Just commit your favorite shortcuts to memory and let your fingers loose on the keyboard. These shortcuts work with Photoshop versions 5.0 and higher, as well as with Photoshop Elements.


Fill Layers 

  • You can fill a layer with the foreground color by using Alt + Backspace in Windows or Option + Delete on a Mac. 
  • Fill a layer with the background color using Ctrl + Backspace in Windows or Command + Delete on Mac. 

Both these shortcuts will fill sections with color or change the color of vector shape layers and text. 

Preserve Transparency 

  • You can add the Shift key to the shortcut to preserve transparency while you're filling. For example, use Shift + Ctrl + Backspace for a background color. This shortcut only fills the areas containing pixels. 
  • Add the Shift key to preserve transparency when filling from history. This shortcut doesn't work in Elements. 

Get to the Edit > Fill Dialog

  • Use Shift + Backspace for Windows or Shift + Delete for Mac to open the Edit > Fill dialog for other fill options. 

Swapping or Undoing Colors 

  • Use the X key to swap foreground and background colors. 
  • Use the D key – an easy way to remember this one is that D stands for "default" – to reset foreground or background colors back to black and white.  
  • You can also use Ctrl + Alt + Shift in Windows or Command + Option + Shift on Mac while you're loading Photoshop if you want to go back to the default settings and user interface. Just hold these buttons while the program is loading.

Other Handy Shortcuts 

  • Use Ctrl + Alt + Backspace in Windows or Command + Delete on Mac to fill from the active history state.
  • Access the color picker with a color wheel in Photoshop CS5 with GPU enabled using Alt + Shift + Right Click in Windows or Control + Option + Command + Click on a Mac. 
  • Using Shift plus any numeric key changes opacity and will fill a selected layer. It can also change the opacity and fill of the tool if you're using a drawing tool. Photoshop CS5 lets you perform this shortcut option on more than one layer at a time. 
  • Use Command + I for Mac or Ctrl + I in Windows to quickly invert parts of a layer when you invert colors of a layer mask. 
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E in Windows or Command + Option + Shift + E on Mac allows you to keep all your layers but merge them so you can convert them into one Smart object. This shortcut will also allow you to duplicate a merged layer.

Here are a few other Photoshop shortcuts that you might find useful: