Keyboard Shortcuts Worth Learning for the Crop Tool in Lightroom

I am a keyboard shortcut junkie. Anytime I can find a way to do something quicker using a keyboard shortcut I will force myself to use it for a few days till I have built it into my workflow. A few of my favorite keyboard shortcuts are found in the Lightroom Crop Tool. I love sharing these tips with other photographer friends and watching their eyes light up as they realize some of the great features built into the Lightroom Crop tool which help speed up their own workflow.

Here are a few of these simple shortcuts I cover in the 3-minute video above.

-- To open the Crop Tool in Lightroom hit the letter R.

-- Once open, use the letter X to switch between Landscape and Portrait ratios in your photo.

-- To open the Straighten Tool, hold down the Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) key.

-- To lock or unlock the aspect ratio hit the letter A.

-- To maintain the aspect ratio while adjusting your crop hold down Shift.

-- To change the overlay grid modes hit the letter O and it will cycle through 6 different options (Grid, Thirds, Diagonal, Triangle, Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral).

-- Another one I failed to mention in the video I use often is if I want to crop to center, just hold down Alt or Opt key while dragging from the corner.

Hopefully you found this quick tip useful and it will help speed up your workflow while editing.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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Keyboard shortcuts are ESPECIALLY useful when you are editing on a laptop, in the field / away from your desk.

Thanks as always buddy!

Ahhhh the command key :) Thanks!

Thanks i will be using this!

think of all the time saved on the computer if the images were composed properly instead of relying on post processing -------

Who pissed in your cereal this morning?

If you believe that there is any point in photographic history where images produced never went through any type of post processing, you're crazy. What do you think you do in a dark room?

You know of people cropping daguerreotypes after they were taken?

I never said specifically cropping. I said post production. Anything done in a darkroom, which with daguerreotypes would be determining where to fix the developer, is a type of post production.

Fred, I am totally with you on that comment. I try to compose the photo properly in camera as I would like and am constantly aware of horizons etc to make sure they are straight. But knowing these tools exist and how to use them make me a better user of Lightroom and put more arrows in my quiver that I can use when needed.

Yeah, but you can't compose an 11x14, 1x1, or 4x5 image with a DSLR.

I wish people would stop acting like the only reason people crop is b/c they were too stupid to get it right while shooting.

What if a bird is too far away to properly frame? Should you not crop then? What if you composed "properly" the first time, but saw a crop that actually told the story better?

Why are so many photographers so bitter?!?

ya Fred too pro he never crops. The rest of us lowly people have to do it :

That was a good one thanks.

Great tips here. Thanks!

Some nice little things to know.
I'm delighted for once. lol
For those who are huffy puffy about composing images properly right now, you're being pretty silly. We're not all shooting landscapes or still life. When I shoot those things, I don't need cropping 98% of the time. I do event work and I have to be fast to catch the moments my clients want captured. That's paramount, and no zoom lens or feet are fast enough for every perfect composition. For the most part, cropping is minimal even in that work, but a slight two degree tilt or just a shaving off of edges that contain distracting elements because you can't control the whole scene as you photograph in these fast paced and often busy settings is nothing to scoff at.
Even if the images look great, there's often minimal editing that can be done to push the images further to make them stronger.

One addition that I find rather useful: to cycle the position of the grid modes overlays, while in crop mode, hold SHIFT + O.