Photoshop Basics: How to Undo in Photoshop

Learning how to undo in Photoshop is a simple yet powerful skill. It is important for every photo or video editor. The Undo and Redo functions allow for the removal of an erroneous move. Clicking this function reverts an image back one step or so. It is a function found in almost every type of computer software, increasing the efficiency and usefulness of computers in everyday life. In simple terms, the UNDO function represents the last step or action completed in Photoshop.

Here are a few ways on how to undo in Photoshop:

Easy: How to Undo in Photoshop Using the Mouse

Unlike other functions in the software, undoing in Photoshop cannot be done by simply using the mouse. No amount of mouse clicks will undo a step in Photoshop without the use of the Toolbar. There are also no mouse click combinations or dragging motions that could redo or undo a move in Photoshop. It must be aided either by the keyboard or the toolbar.

Moderate: How to Undo using the Toolbar

There are two ways where the basic Undo function can be used from the Photoshop interface. One is through the Options bar, another is through the Undo or Redo icon on the Manu bar.

  • Using the Options bar: This could be done by simply going to the Edit Menu and selecting Undo. It is as simple as that.
  • Using the Undo or Redo icon: Usually located at the top bar or the sidebar, the undo or redo icons are a one-click function. Its icon looks like two arrows, one reverting to the left to mean UNDO a step or action and the other reverting to the right to mean REDO a step or action.

Advanced: How to Undo using the Keyboard

Just like how easy it is to use the Options Bar (or Toolbar), how to undo in Photoshop is also very simple as a keyboard shortcut. Just like in other Softwares, the keyboard shortcut for undo is simply pressing the CTRL key + Letter Z key (Windows) or COMMAND key + Letter Z key (Mac).

Technical: Other Undo Techniques

The shortcut command of using CTRL+Z or CMD + Z only allows for only a single-use. This means that Photoshop only allows one to revert back only to the last completed action. For editors or users who wish to undo multiple times, there are other functions available. Here are a few examples of how to undo in Photoshop, other than the basic method:

  • Using the Step Backward Command: This particular function allows the editor or the user to undo a couple of actions previously done. One must remember that the Step Backward and Step forward functions records actions sequentially. It goes back through the previous actions in the order with which it was completed.
    • One way to use the Step Backward command is to go to the Edit Menu and select Step Backward or Step Forward.
    • Another way to use this command is through its Keyboard Shortcut. Simply press the CTRL key + SHIFT key + Letter Z key (Windows) or COMMAND key + OPTIONS key + Letter Z key (Mac).
    • To use the Step Forward command, simply press the CTRL key + ALT key + Letter Z key (Windows).
  • Using the History Palette: This particular action allows the user to view all previous actions completed (or all previous functions used). The maximum amount of actions recorded by the History Palette is 20 different Image States. This is the state of an image prior to the use of a particular function. Once a user selects and uses any function, it already constitutes a new Image State.
    • The first thing to do is to activate the History Palette. Simply go to the Window menu and click on History. Once the History Palette becomes available, it shows the different Image States there are. Users must simply select an Image State and start editing from this again.

Tips to Remember on How to Undo in Photoshop

Pro-tip #1: There are instances when the Undo or Redo icons are unavailable. This could be identified when the option is disabled (or unclickable). This may happen when all Undo steps or actions had been maximized and the Redo function is the only available action (in other Softwares). In Photoshop, the Undo button can only be used a single time, or back through one action or step. To undo multiple times, other Photoshop functions are already available.

Pro-tip #2: Unlimited Undo times in Photoshop are not available. Even the Step backward and step forward functions only allow for the user to go backward and forwards a few times, some users say it can record up to 50 previous actions. The History Palette only records up to 20 previous actions. Also, a user can only undo actions that were recorded within a session or since the document was opened. This means that when a document was previously closed and reopened, all actions done within the past session cannot be undone.

Also Read: Photoshop Basics: How to Deselect in Photoshop

Author: Sangalang Kristine

Civil Engineer by profession, Writer by passion. Serving readers since 2014 on different niches like Science, Current Events, Tech, and Travel.

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