My Top 11 Lightroom shortcuts

Lightroom, like most adobe software, has A LOT of shortcut keys, 254 of them to be precise and all of which are designed to help us navigate quickly thought our post-processing. Also, each of the different modules (library, develop etc...) has different ones.

I was pretty shocked when I actually counted them, and I only use/know a small percentage of them. A lot of them are standard, others are very precise, and some are very cheeky too. With so many, writing a post on it is not easy, so I have decided to share some of my favourite and most used shortcuts in the Develop Module...  my pick of the lot I guess. It is not an exhaustive list, as there are many others, these are just the lesser known ones that I thought you all might not know or don't use often. If you want to see the complete list it is on the Adobe Website HERE.

I. The Ultimate Cheat - Show all short-cuts

This is a great one...  if you press Ctrl + / (PC) or Cmd + / (Mac), and you will get a list of all usable shortcuts in that module appear. Easy! :D Just click the list to make it disappear! This works in all modules.

II. Auto-tone single setting

If you press Shift while clicking the name of a parameter, LR with automatically set that one feature. This is particularly useful for blacks and whites, as it expands the histogram to the limits of each. If you want to reset any setting to 0, just double click the name.

III. Change cloning location

The Spot Removal Tool (which you can activate by pressing Q) is great for removing unwanted distractions in your image such as dust spots. But sometimes it does not select the best point as a reference for fixing the problem. If you press / it will keep selecting different places until you get a better option. You can also drag the selected area with your mouse to a part of the image you want.

IV. Flip gradient

This is great for landscapes. Generally for a landscape i try and use filters to get a better exposure of the sky and land both, but I don't carry filters with me a the time, so using the Gradient feature in post is often required (accessed though pressing M). In these situations, I try to shoot the scene to capture as much information as possible, which tends to mean both the sky and land is not correctly exposed. I use one Gradient to fix the sky, and another one to fix the land. the problem is often getting the gradients to overlap well. This is where this shortcut is great!

  1. Make the first Gradient with the adjustments you need for the sky (hold shift to keep straight)
  2. Duplicate the Gradient by right-clicking
  3. Then press "," (apostrophe) and that duplicated layer will flip, the perfect inversion of the original Gradient, perfect for the next adjustments... :)

V. Straighten image

As much as I try, I am not perfect at getting 100% level images, so I have to crop slightly to fix the problem.

By pressing the Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) key while using crop (R is the shortcut for crop tool) you get a level bar that you can draw on the horizon. The image will then adjust an crop to straighten the image.

VII. Copy paste changes

This is probably the most used shortcut I use. If I have a series of images in the same conditions, I can optimise one of them (WB, contrast, exposure etc...) then copy the adjustments by pressing Ctrl + Shift + C (PC) or Cmd + Shift + C (Mac). You can even select WHICH settings you want to copy too. Then I select other images in the series and press Ctrl + Shift + V PC) or Cmd + Shift + V (Mac) to Paste these adjustments...  :)

VI. Go big

I do all my editing on a 15 inch MacBook Pro. It is a great little computer, but the screen has little room for me to see everything. If you press F on an image it will go fill go full-screen and allow me to see it as large as possible. I use it a lot when editing to see the whole scene as large as possible.

VIII. Before/after

Pressing \ will switch between the edit and the original image. Great for seeing how you are doing. :)


When using any local adjustments, you can see where you are adjusting by showing the overlay. Press O to switch between overlay on or off.

Normally the overlay is Red, but sometimes this is not easiliy visible. Press Shift + O to cycle the over-lay colours :)

X. Eraser for local adjustments

When applying a local adjustment, I frequently have to erase areas I had applied incorrectly. Instead of switching to the eraser tool, you can hold Alt (PC) or Option (Mac) when painting to temporarely switch to the eraser.

XI. Open in Photoshop

Although I do 99% of my post-production in Lightroom, sometimes i need the power of Photoshop... just press Ctrl + E (PC) or Cmd + E (Mac) when on the image, and it will open it in Photoshop. When saving it in PS, it will automatically add it to the library too. Great integration. :)

As I said at the start, this is not exhaustive, but just some of my favourite ones... and only in the Develop module too! Are there any new ones for you or did you now them all already? Did I leave any out that you really like? Do let me know! :)


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