Keyboard shortcuts are a way, using a key or a combination of keys, to do something in a program. Most of the tasks inside of Lightroom have a keyboard shortcut, and learning them instead of clicking around with your mouse is the easiest way to speed up your workflow.
The most effective shortcuts for speeding up your workflow are the ones that apply to the things that you do the most. In Lightroom, that usually means switching between modules and enabling the different tools used for processing your images. To that end, here are the top 10 keyboard shortcuts that will result in an immediate increase to the speed of your workflow.
1. Undo (Command-Z / Control-Z)
This is the most useful shortcut in Lightroom and, since it also applies to other programs, probably gets used more than any other shortcut in the history of the universe. This command simply undoes the last change you made to an image. Since Lightroom maintains the entire history of changes made to an image, you can ⌘Z all the way back to the beginning.
2. Library Module – Grid (G)
From any other module, you can switch to the Library module in grid mode with this shortcut.
3. Library Module – Loupe (E)
From any other module, you can switch to the Library module in loupe (single image) mode with this shortcut.
4. Develop Module (D)
If you are navigating through the LIbrary module, simply select an image and hit D to easily switch to the Develop module.
5. Develop Module – Adjustment Brush (K)
If you are in the Develop module, use this shortcut to enable the Adjustment Brush. As an added bonus, if you are in the Library module, pressing K will automatically switch you in to the Develop module with the Adjustment Brush enabled.
6. Develop Module – Crop (R)
Similar to the Adjustment Brush shortcut, you can enable the Crop tool by pressing the shortcut R while in the Develop module. If you are in another module, the shortcut will both switch you to the Develop module and enable the tool.
7. Develop Module – Spot Removal (Q)
Enable the Spot Removal tool from within the Develop module, or switch to the Develop module with the Spot Removal tool enabled.
8. Develop Module – Graduate Filter (M)
The same as above with the Graduate Filter enabled.
9. Develop Module – Radial Filter (Shift-M)
Easily switch to the new Radial Filter in Lightroom 5.
10. Auto-Advance To Next Image (Caps Lock On)
This shortcut is extremely useful when rating images. Normally, when you’re working with your images in the Library module, you would rank or flag the image, then either click to view the next image or use the arrow keys on your keyboard. With the Caps Lock on, Lightroom will automatically advance to the next image after you rank or flag the image. Use this to speedily do your initial ranking for a set of images.