Elizabeth Halford »

Masthead header

10 Lightroom shortcuts & clickables you don’t know about

Although it looks simplistic at first glance, Lightroom is such a powerfully deep editing program. There are layers upon layers of powerful options and almost endless editing capabilities. There are even plug-ins out there (like this one) for editing with layers in Lightroom just like you do in Photoshop.

You can get the most out of your experience with LR by learning some of the keyboard shortcuts and clickables which you may not already know exist. Here are my 10 favourites:

{Keyboard shortcuts}

  1. Before/After – To toggle back and forth between your before and after while you’re editing, hit the \ {backspace} key. This can help you stay grounded and not go overboard in your editing.
  2. Dim the lights – If you want to dim the lights in LR while you’re editing, hit ‘L’. This will remove the distracting panels around your image so you can view it alone on a black screen.
  3. Painting – While you’re painting with the adjustment brush, press the ‘O’ key to see a red map of where you have painted. This will prevent you from bleeding over into areas you didn’t intend on painting. Especially helpful when retouching skin around the eyes & mouth.
  4. Switch Back – If you’re in the develop mode editing and you want to quickly jump back to the library grid of images, hit ‘G’. And then press ‘D’ to go back to the develop module.
  5. Info – To quickly view the info about your image {like the settings you used to shoot it}, press ‘I’


  1. On/Off – My favourite button in LR is the on/off switch in the develop module. When you want to see you photo without the vignette you’ve just added or without the painting you’ve done with the adjustment brush, just toggle the switch that looks like this –> to turn the effect on and off
  2. Area Picker – In the detail drop-down where you can do sharpening and noise reduction, there’s a preview square of your image at 100%. If you click this little guy –> and then move the mouse around your image to check out certain areas at a zoomed 100%. This will help prevent you from going overboard in your sharpening but be careful – pixel peeping can be misleading!
  3. White Balance – When you’re choosing a new white balance for your image {more effective when the image is RAW vs JPG} clicking this eye dropper tool –> will allow you to click around on your image to change the while balance. Ideally, you will be looking for a shade in your image that it meant to be whitest white. Clicking on it will correct the white balance, but clicking on other shades or white or grey can give you some cool effects. It’s an easier way to change the temperature of your photo than using the sliders.
  4. Curves – When in the tone curve area, you’ll see this little button –> When you click on it and then hover around your image, you’ll see the tone curve labels change between lights, darks and highlights. Instead of blindly dragging the line of the tone curve around, you can hover over the area in the image {exe: a dark area} and then click and drag up and down to alter the curve of that area.
  5. Painting – When you’ve painted an area or added a graduated filter, that action will then be marked with a button that looks like this –> When you go back to the adjustment brush or grad filter mode, you will see your image filled with these black dots. When you hover over them, you will see the areas they represent highlighted in red. For example, if you did multiple brush actions on the eyes for brightening the iris, sharpening, darkening the lashes, there will be many little dots around that area. If you click the dot, you can then go back to the sliders in the adjustment brush and alter the effects you used on that brush. Or, you can click the dot and then hit ‘backspace’ to delete the effect altogether.

I love editing in Lightroom. When you get these little shortcuts & buttons in your memory, it can make your experience in Lightroom more fulfilling and give you greater control.

{Further Reading}

10 Objects you Didn’t Know could be Dragged, Clicked or Opened in Lightroom
Lightroom 3 shortcut cheat sheet {PDF}

Pin It
  • Jamie Rubeis

    Love all of your tutorials. So helpful.

  • Jennifer Smith

    great tips, many thanks!  Merry Christmas to you and your family

  • Omrakan3

    Thanks a lot soooo happy I found ur blog

  • Si Young

    ..My favourite is the tab key, which gets rid of the side bars temporarily to allow a better look at the photo….

  • Guest

    If you want to learn more adobe website has a great list of all their shortcuts. I just created a wonderful macro keyset for my logitech g13 to be used with Lightroom, photoshop and bridge. leaving me room for 3 more programs.