Photoshop [Adobe CS6] - Basics

This is a basic overview of the Adobe Photoshop CS6 software. For more basics, checkout Photoshop LevelUp. For more advanced tutorials, please visit

Basic Photoshop CS6 Commands
Getting familiar with the Photoshop CS6 application window is a great way to get your bearings before diving into Photoshop tools and commands. Here are a few basic pointers:

  • The first thing that EVERYONE should be 100% familiar with is the SAVE Hotkey: Command + S (CTRL + S on PC). There is nothing more heart crushing than losing hours of work because of the program crashing and not having saved. Using the Save Hotkey at random intervals may save you at some point! We recommend saving every 10-15 minutes. 
  • Open an image by choosing File→Open. If you have several images open at a time, cycle through them by pressing Control+Tab (Mac) or Ctrl+Tab (Windows).
  • Sometimes you need to see more detail in a photo. Zoom in by pressing Command (CTRL on the PC) + the plus sign key. When you're done editing, zoom out by pressing Command + the minus sign key (Ctrl + the minus sign key on the PC).
  • Scroll an image by pressing the spacebar and then dragging.
  • Set your preferences by choosing Photoshop→Preferences (Mac) or Edit→Preferences (Windows).
  • Arrange and combine panels, customize the Options bar, and modify menu and keyboard shortcuts to how you work best. Then save your workspace to use again by choosing Window→Workspace→New Workspace.

Access the Tools Palette through Shortcuts
Photoshop CS6 sports a hefty number of tools, as well as hotkeys. Not to fear. The image below shows you the Photoshop tool icons and the name of each tool, the Hotkey assigned to it even if it is tucked away, hidden in a flyout menu. You can click and hold any of these tools to see the "flyout menu". Clicking on one of the hotkeys + Shift Key will cycle through the different tools in the flyout menu.


Making and Adjusting Selections in Photoshop CS6
Mastering selections is a key skill to becoming a Photoshop CS6 master. Here are a few basic Photoshop keyboard shortcuts to get you started on digital photography projects of all sorts.


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