Shortcuts for the Pen Tool in Photoshop

Shortcuts for the Photoshop Pen Tool

La pen tool in Photoshop It is one of the best known and its shortcuts save you time when activating it. It is used to draw freely on the project in question, in the same way as if we had a pencil and paper. Anchor points are automatically incorporated into the template, although they can then be adjusted manually.

Among the latests Moravia's compositions basic and most commonly used functions that you will carry out with your work in Photoshop, knowing the shortcuts of the pen tool will surely be useful. You can activate and deactivate it quickly, using a key combination or through the corresponding icons or contextual menus. The pen is a great ally of the designer, and to get the most out of it, the initiative of shortcuts must be incorporated into your daily practice.

How to Use Shortcuts for the Pen Tool in Photoshop

When create a vector in Photoshop, the pen tool gives you different work alternatives. The shortcuts allow you to use its functions with just the press of a key, while the mouse control responds to the traditional interface format. You can combine both as needed.

On the other hand, there are different types of use for the pen, so it is necessary to dedicate time and dedication to your domain. There is no need to get frustrated if it is difficult at first, since in general terms it is a professional element with which you have to become fully familiar.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • To activate the pen, press the P key.
  • Make direct selection of the space with the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS) button.
  • To convert the anchor point, press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS).
  • Add anchor points, + key.
  • Delete anchor points, key -.

Keyboard shortcuts for pen control with the mouse

  • Ctrl/Command + click on screen: open options menu.
  • Shift key, constrains movements to 45°, 90°, 135° or 180° when creating anchor points and editing them.
  • Delete over an anchor point, deletes the anchor and trace segments.
  • Pen + Alt/Option, split the curve when editing a Bézier curve.
  • Pen + Ctrl/Command, switch to Direct Selection and edit the anchor points.

How to activate the pen tool to draw in Photoshop

What features and variations does the pen tool in Photoshop include?

According to the developers of Adobe Photoshop, the pen tool has different functionalities. Exploring the user manual and the recommendations on the official website we find different variants of this tool:

  • Curvature Pen, to draw curved and straight segments intuitively with the Photoshop user interface.
  • Standard pen, which adds greater precision to the design of these segments in the project.
  • Free-form pen, which emulates the drawing of a pencil on paper for greater realism.
  • Magnetic pen, draws on a previous selection adapted to the edges of defined areas in the image.
  • Content-Aware Tracing Tool, this function is one of the most recent and incorporates automated technology to trace images and facilitate subsequent work on differentiated objects.

Fill and outline, lines and curves

By learning to use the pen in photoshop We find one of the basic tools of the digital designer. Drawing perfect straight lines, using anchors to create curvatures and also filling in objects and figures, all of this is done using the pen.

When we are working with the pen, we can press the right mouse button and activate the context menu for other additional options. There's the fill and outline tool, for example. Use the outline to change the color or increase the width of the segment created with the pen. This can be done on both closed and open layouts.

In turn, you can select the fill of a path, modifying the color of the internal space. In the latter case, the option will only be available on closed routes. It is a way to generate greater variety of color in the pieces that we create on the image to be edited.

How to use the free pen more accurately

To draw in Photoshop freely you have to follow some simple steps that will improve your performance. Remember that learning to master the mouse as if it were a digital or traditional pencil takes time.

  • Enables free use of the drawing pen.
  • Regulates the sensitivity of the mouse.
  • Start the tracing with a point on the image and do not release the left button until you finish the tracing.
  • Continue drawing from the closing point to continue it.

These Basic mechanics and tricks are used to start getting familiar with the pen, a tool with multiple uses in Photoshop. Mastering it is part of the training for professional use of the different alternatives for a graphic designer. To facilitate the experience, keyboard shortcuts are incorporated that are combined with the mouse to fully control the tool.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.