*Updated November 2016*

move tool tipsAs the name suggests, the main function of the Move Tool in Photoshop is to move objects around the document window. It’s basically your index finger for pushing stuff around, but by combining it with some modifier keys you can add to it’s functionality.

Here’s seven Move Tool tips to speed up your workflow.

1. Learn The Keyboard Shortcut!
The keyboard shortcut to select  the Move Tool is V. Move-Tool Photoshop

2. Auto Select A Layer
Often you need to switch between layers when working on an image or design. If your document contains many elements, each on its own layer, it can be tricky to quickly find the right layer to select. Here’s a helpful shortcut using the Move tool:

  • With the Move tool selected, holding down the Ctrl (Win) or Cmd (Mac) key, click on the object in the document. This selects the layer that contains the pixels you clicked. If you look at the Options bar when you Ctrl/Cmd click, you’ll see that “Auto-Select” layer is temporarily checked.

3. Switch from another tool to the Move Tool move-tool-cursor-photoshop
To quickly select the Move tool while using another tool, hold down the Ctrl (Win) / Cmd (Mac) key while the other tool is selected. Releasing the key returns you to the previous tool.

4. Duplicate an object and a layer
You can make a duplicate of a layer, or the object on it by holding down Alt (Win) / Option. The cursor will change to a double-arrow duplicate-move-tool-cursor Photoshop.

Keep holding down the modifier key and drag. Photoshop makes a copy of a layer while moving it with the Move tool.


5. Find the exact centre of any object on any layer
To easily find the centre of an object on any layer (except the background layer), select the Move tool, click on the object you’re interested in, then click on the “Show Transform Controls” option in the Options bar.


centre-of-object Photoshop

6. Select a layer without going to the Layers panel

On an image with multiple layers, with the Move tool selected, Right-click in the image area to select a layer from the context sensitive list.


7. Alignment & Distribution
The alignment settings in the Options bar are only usable when you’ve got two or more layers and the Move tool selected.  The distribute settings require three or more active layers, otherwise, they’re greyed out.


If you forget what a button is for, put your cursor over it and, within a second or two, Photoshop displays a yellow tooltip telling you what that button does.

I hope you found these Move tool tips useful. Please share this post using the sharing buttons below. Thank you!