This is such a great tip that I just had to share it here. If you’ve ever been faced with the task of duplicating a bunch of shapes and then arranging them in the file you’re working on in Photoshop, you know how time consuming that can be. What if there was a better way to complete these tasks than by recreating each one and positioning them by hand? Well, there is and I’m about to show you what I’m talking about.
Okay, I’ve already opened a file in Photoshop and I’ve set up some guides.
My goal is to draw one shape in the upper left corner and then duplicate that shape across the rest of the image. Here’s the shape.
Now, you know that for me to use the Rectangle Tool to draw 15 more shapes would be a real hassle, so I’m going to do this the easy way.
To duplicate this shape, I’ll hover my mouse over it and then I’ll hold down the Alt button on my keyboard, click and drag to the right. When I do that, the shape will automatically duplicate itself and I’ll be able to snap the duplicate into the next box over.
Now, if I wanted to lock the shape into a straight line as I drag, I could hold down the Shift key on my keyboard as well. So that would be Shift+Alt and then click and drag.
What’s really cool here is that I could just as easily duplicate multiple layers at a time. To duplicate these two shapes, I’ll select both of them in the Layers panel by holding down the Ctrl or Command buttons on my keyboard and then by simply selecting the layers. Then, to duplicate them and drag them, I’ll follow the same exact instructions I just gave above. Here’s the top row all filled in.
If I wanted to fill in the next row down, I could continue following the same instructions. I’ll select all four shape layers in the Layers panel and then hold down the Alt button on my keyboard, click and drag downward. I’ll do that three times to fill in all the boxes.
How cool is that? At this point, I could hide the guides by using the Ctrl+; keyboard shortcut and then I could use some clipping masks to transform the entire image.
I hope you can see the value in this type of shortcut. If you have any questions, please ask!