Photoshop Top 40, Feature #37: The Fill Functions

Welcome to the fourth installment of Photoshop Top 40, my classically arranged, reverse-order countdown—from #40 to #1—of the best features in all of Adobe Photoshop. As you have no doubt discerned by now, a single “feature” may comprise a collection of featurettes. As is the case this week with Feature #37: “The Fill Functions.”

Basically, it’s like this: You can fill a selection with a color by choosing Edit > Fill. But that’s the sucker’s route. Better to take advantage of any of several keyboard shortcuts, all of which involve the Backspace key on the PC or the Delete key on the Mac.

Admittedly, Backspace or Delete doesn’t make any damn sense for putting colors inside a selection; it should take them out. Which is how it all began. Way back in Photoshop 1.0, you pressed the Delete key (there was no PC version of the program back then) to delete the contents of a selection, thereby leaving a white—or background colored—hole. Then someone decided, hey, if you can fill a selection with the background color then why not the foreground color? Hence Option-Delete (Alt+Backspace). From there, a host of related keyboard tricks emerged. Watch the video to learn them all.

Thanks to poco_bw of bargain image vendor Fotolia for this week’s photo, a Rorschach-like detail of which appears below. I see a great bird of keyboard shortcuts taking flight.

For a list of all Photoshop Top 40 videos thus far, click this link.

Next entry:Martini Hour 026, In Which Deke Proves He Really Does Have an Hour’s Worth

Previous entry:Martini Hour 025, In Which Colleen Experiences Deke in High Resolution


  • GREAT!!!

    I loved Ps Top 40!!! great videos

  • Invaluable

    I use all of these commands on a constant basis, since it’s simply such a huge timesaver. It’s really something everyone who uses PS needs to know and become familiar with if only for productivity reasons.

    My coworker still just uses the Edit > Fill command even though I try to teach her this stuff. I know it’s only a few saved seconds, but when you fill layers frequently, it can quickly add up.

    Loving the series so far.

  • Heck Ya

    I love using the fill shortcut in Ps… what a time saver for me!  I am very much enjoying the top 40 smile

  • great post…

    I really like it…

  • Awesome Stuff

    I learned a lot from this post and look forward to others as well.  I admit that my image editing skills are not the greatest so posts like these are a huge help to me.

  • Very well done! And very

    Very well done! And very useful!

  • Great tutorials!

    Thanks for the Photoshop Top 40 tutorilas. I find them very useful. Looking forward to the rest of the tutorials in the top 40 series.

  • Deke’s Tutorials

    Deke has the best tutorials for PS that I’ve ever come across.  He combines humour (not an sp-I’m Canadian) with an approach that all can understand-including common mistakes and how to rectify them.  Thank you Deke!!!!

  • Love That

    Thanks for the great tutorial and for losing of the jackhammer!

  • you should buy me a lamb

    Uncle Deke you are terrible when you pronounce poco_bw sounds so weird,and by the way my name is Lucian grin
    According with the tradition in my country, whatever who is the godfather, and give the name to a child, he should buy for the party a lamb.
    I will check my post to see if you send at least the back leg grin
    When I receive the lamb I will send you the RAW file to play with it grin



  • Lucian, you have my deepest apologies

    But you don’t include your name at Fotolia, and you didn’t put a copyright statement in your file!!

    But in deference to your customs (what country are you from, btw?), I offer you this lamb:

    Be careful. The lamb gets angry sometimes. And you wouldn’t like the lamb when it’s angry.

    Thanks for your contribution to this week’s Top 40!!!

  • aish… african lamb

    Hi Deke,
    yes sometimes I do forget to put the copyright on some files but most of them do have it enabled in the IPTC data.
    Well I am in Botswana for a long time so I am quite used with the “african lambs”.

    But still I am a Romanian, and used with the old traditional “europen cuisine” where the lamb chops are done in the oven grin

    Thank you for buying the image.

    Take a look at National Geografic Europe, I think 2-3 months back, you will see the same girl on the cover magazine, let’s see if you can do better like them…......grin

Share your feedback, work, homages, questions, wisecracks, advice, critiques, riffs, derision (within reason), frustrations, and love of all things graphical. Log in (or register) to lend your voice.