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How to enable the old Photoshop undo keyboard shortcuts

photoshop undo preview image
Michael Crider

Not all changes are for the best; sometimes you just want to undo them. That̵

7;s how I feel about the current Adobe Photoshop undo / redo shortcuts. Here’s how to bring back the old – and much better – classic.

How the old Photoshop undo shortcuts worked

A quick refresher: Photoshop had a really handy undo / redo shortcut for years. To undo something, you can press Control + Z (Command + Z on a Mac). Pressing it again undoes the undo. In other words, it would redo the step you just undid. This was great for quickly comparing changes and edits you made to your images.

For example, you can turn off a load of different layers, add a mask or paint some details, then use Control + Z (or Command + Z) to quickly toggle the changes you made on and off, allowing you to compare their effects instantly. It was a really powerful way to make sure that the changes you made were for the better – and that you didn’t over-edit your images in a gruesome way.

screenshot of photoshop history states
Photoshop’s history states document every action you take.

As for undoing more than one step? You can use the keyboard shortcut Control + Alt + Z (or Command + Option + Z on a Mac) to step back through the various document history states. Control + Shift + Z (or Command + Shift + Z on a Mac) would get you through it again. Easy!

Unfortunately, while these keyboard shortcuts were loved by many, they break through the almost universal undo / redo keyboard shortcuts. So in the latest versions of Photoshop, Adobe has opted for the more traditional Control + Z (or Command + Z on a Mac) to undo as many steps as you want, and Control + Shift + Z (or Command + Shift + Z on a Mac) to do each step again.

RELATED: How to improve (almost) any digital photo without automatic enhancement

There is a keyboard shortcut to go to the previous history state (Control + Alt + Z or Command + Option + Z). However, the function is not quite the same and does not work in all situations.

Obviously, I like things the old way – although I can see a reason for the new way. The good news, however, is that selecting which set of keyboard shortcuts you have is as easy as flipping a switch.

Activate Photoshop’s classic undo shortcuts

Open Photoshop and click Edit> Keyboard Shortcuts to bring back the old undo shortcuts.

Check the “Use Legacy Undo Shortcuts” box and click “OK” to save your changes.

enabling legacy undo shortcuts in photoshop

The next time you launch Photoshop, you’ll be back in the good old days.

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