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19 Basic But Useful Lightroom Shortcuts For PC Users

Here are 19 PC keyboard shortcuts to use in Lightroom which are useful for photo editing, and can speed up your workflow.

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The Develop module in Lightroom, as the name suggests, is where you "develop" your images and to quicken the process up, there are several keyboard shortcuts available which allow the user to access and edit tools with a few key combinations - improving the speed at which you can process your images - and greatly improve your workflow.


As there are quite a few keyboard shortcuts we'll be breaking the list up into parts and we're starting with 19 basic but essential shortcuts for photo editing. 


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1. Undo - Ctrl + Z 

If you want to go back a step as you don't like a particular edit, press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to save you time moving your mouse, clicking the 'Edit' tab and selecting 'Undo'. 



2. Auto Tone - Ctrl + U

If you want Lightroom to have a crack at balancing your exposure this is the tool for you. With the click of two keys on your keyboard the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders are adjusted by the software to create a more balanced exposure. The results can be quite good but you can always use the keyboard shortcut we've just talked about to undo the changes if you don't like them.



3. Auto White Balance - Ctrl + Shift + U

Again, this allows Lightroom to adjust settings automatically for you. This time, the Temp and Tint sliders are tweaked. You may not like the way your image looks after the automatic changes but you can always press Cntrl + Z to go back a step. 

White balance

4. Increase/Decrease Selected Slider In Small Increments - Arrow Keys

When making changes to a particular adjustments option you can use your mouse to adjust the slider's position, increasing or decreasing the effect as a result. You can also write a value into the numeric box at the side of it but for more control, make use of your keyboards arrows. Left and down decrease the effect while the up and right arrows increase it. It also means your focus stays on the image rather than having to look where your mouse is positioned on the slider then flick your attention back to the image to see how it looks. 

Exposure adjustment

5. Increase/Decrease Selected Slider In Larger Increments - Shift + Arrow Keys

This works the same way as the above controls, but the increments at which the sliders/figures can be altered is increased. 


6. Move Up And Down Through Basic Panel Settings - . (full stop) + , (comma)

The Basic Panel Settings section is where you'll find options to edit white balance alongside other tonal adjustments. You'll probably find you flick between a few of these options so instead of moving and clicking your mouse to select a different slider, just use the full stop and comma keys to circle through the various options available. 

Basic Panel

7. Select White Balance Tool - W

To quickly access the white balance tool (looks like a pipette) from any module, just press 'W' and it will instantly be selected to make quick and white balance adjustments. 

White Balance tool

8. Select The Crop Tool - R

The crop tool is a really useful function that can be accessed from any module with the 'R' key. In Lightroom, the crop tool combines as a handy rotational tool, too. Press 'R' again to deactivate this option. 


9. Select The Spot Removal Tool - Q

The Spot Removal tool has various useful features including the ability to remove dust spots and fix skin blemishes. It's found under the Histogram tab but can be quickly accessed by pressing 'Q'. 

Spot removal tool

10. Select The Adjustment Brush Tool (from any module) - K

The Adjustment Brush allows you to make a variety of changes to your images in a much more precise way. For example, you may want to brighten someone's teeth without changing the exposure of the whole shot. To access this tool quickly, press 'K'. 

Adjustment brush


11. Select The Graduated Filter Tool - M

The Graduated Filter in Lightroom is a very useful tool for balancing exposures (simulating the effect of a graduated ND filter photographers place in front of their camera lenses) and can be selected by pressing 'M' on your keyboard. 

Graduated Filter tool

12. Increase/Decrease Brush Size - ] / [

These controls work with various tools in Lightroom and are a quicker way to adjust the size of the brush you're working with rather than having to move your mouse to select and move a slider. [ decreases the brush size while ] increases it. 

Brush size


13. Increase/Decrease Brush Feathering - Shift + ] / Shift + [

To alter how hard/soft the brush you're using is you can use two commands: Shift + [ to decrease the feathering and Shift + ] to increase the feathering. 



14. Rotate Photo - Ctrl + ] Ctrl + [

To quickly change to orientation of the image you have selected use Ctrl + ] to turn it clockwise and Ctrl + [ to turn it counterclockwise. 


15. Zoom In / Zoom Out - Ctrl +  / Ctrl  -

When you want to work on a particular area of a photo you can use Ctrl + to zoom in then press Ctrl - to zoom back out. 


16. View Before And After Left/Right - Y

To compare your edited shot with the original side-by-side press 'Y'. 

Before and after

17. View Before And After Top/Bottom - Alt + Y

To compare your edited shot with the original one above and one below press 'Alt + Y'. 

Before and after


18. View Before And After In A Split Screen - Shift + Y

To compare your edited shot with the original on a split-screen so you see the original on one half of the shot and the edited version on the other half-press 'Shift + Y'

Split preview

19. Edit in Photoshop - Ctrl + E

There may be times when you need to take a photo into Photoshop to finish the edit and to do this quickly without having to save your image and reopen it again, you can press Ctrl + E in Lightroom and it'll be opened in Photoshop automatically. 



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JJGEE 17 8.0k 18 England
10 Jul 2015 6:45AM
The most useful shortcut I found when using Lightroom was J

It turns on / off the highlight / shadow clipping indicators.

I have them set to red ( highlight ) and blue ( shadow )
10 Jul 2021 1:36PM
Very useful is X when in resize mode, it toggles between landscape and portrait mode when a non-square aspect ratio is selected.
So when for example 4x3 is selected, pressing X/x makes it 3x4, pressing again back to 4x3, etc.

To resize image with locked aspect ratio, independent on state of ratio padlock, hold shift-alt while resizing.

Also in resize mode; try O/o for fun.

General; J toggles highlight and shadow clipping on/off.

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