The Ultimate List of Keyboard Shortcuts for Apple Aperture


When it comes to image editors, Adobe Lightroom’s dominance in its field is easy to understand: it’s a powerful, feature-packed, easy to use application. Lightroom isn’t the only player in the game, however; there’s Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, GIMP, PaintShop Pro, etc. But Lightroom isn’t strictly an image editor. What differentiates it from so many other similar applications is its organizing/cataloging prowess. Lightroom’s closest competitor, in terms of the full scope of what it can do, is probably Apple’s Aperture.

Aperture isn’t as popular as Lightroom, but it does have a loyal following, as some users view it as an application that sort of teeters on the edge of being the complete package.

If you are an Aperture user and are looking to speed up/make your workflow more efficient, here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that you will find particularly useful. While this collection does intend to be exhaustive, please feel free to share any tips that might further enhance the experience for other Aperture users.


Use the following links to jump directly to the relevant section:
A. Viewer Shortcuts
B. Browser Shortcuts
C. Inspector Pane Shortcuts
D. Toolbar Shortcuts
E. Tool Strip Shortcuts


Shortcut Action
Y Show/Hide Viewer Metadata Overlays
Shift + Y Switch Viewer Metadata Overlays
Command + J Customize Metadata Overlays
Shift + Option + H Highlight Hot and Cold Areas
Command + Shift + O Edit with External Editor
Command + – (minus key) Zoom Viewer Out
Command + + (plus key) Zoom Viewer In
Space Start/Pause Audio or Video
Option + U Viewer Show Multiple
Option + R Viewer Show One
Option + H Viewer Three Up
Option + O Viewer Compare
Option + T Viewer Stack
Option + M  Secondary Mirror
Option + A  Secondary Alternate
Option + S Secondary Span
Option + B Secondary Blank
Option + X Secondary Desktop


Shortcut Action
Control + F Filmstrip View
Control + G Grid View
Control + L List View
Shift + [ Decrease Thumbnail Size
Shift + ] Increase Thumbnail Size
U Show/Hide Browser Metadata Overlays
Shift + U Switch Browser Metadata Overlays
Command + Shift + S Export Masters
Command + Shift + E Export Versions
Command + F Show/Hide Query HUD (Head-Up Display)
Control + ` (backtick key) Show All Unrated or Better
Control + / Show Flagged Images
Control + 1 Show All +1 or Better
Control + 2 Show All +2 or Better
Control + 3 Show All +3 or Better
Control + 4 Show All +4 or Better
Control + 5 Show Selects (+5) Only
Control + 6 Show All
Control + 7 Show Unrated Only
Control + 8 Show Rejects Only
Command + P Print Images
Option + W Swap Browser Position
Shift + W Rotate Browser Position
V Cycle View Mode


Shortcut Action
I Show/Hide Inspector
Q Put Focus in Library Inspector
Command + L New Album
Command + Shift + L New Smart Album
Command + N New Project
Command + Shift + N New Folder
Command + Shift + Delete Empty Aperture Trash
Shift + F Enter Faces View
Shift + P Enter Places View
Control + H Highlights and Shadows
Control + C Color
Control + M Black and White
Control + N Noise Reduction
Control + S Edge Sharpen
Control + V Vignette
Shift + N Navigator
Shift + X Uncover
Shift + A Scale to Fit
Space Pan


Shortcut Action
Shift + T Show/Hide Toolbar
Shift + H Show/Hide Keywords HUD
Command + I Show/Hide Import Browser
H Show/Hide Inspector HUD
Option + E Email Version
N Assign Name
F Enter/Exit Fullscreen
J Shuttle Left
K Stop Shuttle
L Shuttle Right
V Cycle View Mode
` (backtick key) Show/Hide Loupe
Shift + Option + + (plus key) Increase Loupe Diameter
Shift – Option + – (minus key) Decrease Loupe Diameter
Command + Shift + + (plus key) Increase Loupe Magnification
Command + Shift + – (minus key) Decrease Loupe Magnification


Shortcut Action
Z Zoom Viewer
M Show Master
P Quick Preview
A Selection Tool
R Rotate Tool
O Lift Tool
Shift + O Stamp Tool
G Straighten Tool
C Crop Tool
E Red Eye Tool
X Retouch Brush
+ Increase Rating
Decrease Rating
9 Reject
\ Select
Control + 9 Reject and Move to Next Image
Control + – (minus key) Decrease Rating and Move to Next Image
Control + + (plus key) Increase Rating and Move to Next Image
Control + \ Select and Move to Next Image
1 to 5 Apply 1- to 5-Star Rating
0 Remove Rating


Shortcut Action
Option + G Create Version from Master
Option + V Create Duplicate Version
Shift + Option + G Create Version from Master and Add to Selection
Shift + Option + V Create Duplicate Version and Add to Selection
D Show/Hide Control Bar
Shift + D Show/Hide Keyword Controls
Option + 1 to Option + 8 Apply Keyword Presets 1 to 8
Shift + Option + 1 to 
Shift + Option + 8
Remove Keyword Presets 1 to 8
, (comma key) Previous Keyword Preset Group
. (period key) Next Keyword Preset Group
Option + O Compare Mode
Return Set Compare Item
Option + Return Select Compare Item
Command + Return Deselect Compare Item
Option + \ Rate Compare Select
Option + 9 Rate Compare Reject
Option + – (minus key) Decrease Compare Rating
Option + + (plus key) Increase Compare Rating
Option + [ Rotate Compare Counterclockwise
Option + ] Rotate Compare Clockwise


Shortcut Action
Command + K Stack Image Selection
Command + Shift + K Unstack
Command + \ Set Stack Pick
Command + [ Promote Stack Item
Command + ] Demote Stack Item
Option + K Split Stack
Shift + K Open/Close Single Stack
Option + ; (semi colon) Close All Stacks
Option + ‘ (apostrophe key) Open All Stacks
Command + Option + A Auto-Stack
Option + Page Up Previous Stack
Option + Page Down Next Stack
Command + E Select All in Stack
Option + T Enter Stack Compare Mode
Arrow Key Left, Right, Up, Down Navigate
[ Rotate Counterclockwise
] Rotate Clockwise
Command + A Select All
Command + Shift + A Deselect All
Command + R Invert Selection
Shift + Home Select to Beginning
Shift + End Select to End
; (semi colon) Previous Within Selection
‘ (apostrophe key) Next Within Selection


Shortcut Action
Command + 0 Remove Color Label
Command + 1 Add Red Label
Command + 2 Add Orange Label
Command + 3 Add Yellow Label
Command + 4 Add Green Label
Command + 5 Add Blue Label
Command + 6 Add Purple Label
Command + 7 Add Gray Label


About Author

Jason Little is a photographer, author and stock shooter. You can see Jason’s photography on his Website or his Instagram feed.

I’ve tried most all the programs listed for photo editing and the one comment that stands out when I read it made me laugh was “…it’s organizing/cataloging prowess”. That exactly the primary reason I’ve stuck with Aperture rather than Lightroom. The organizational capabilities are probably the single, most frustrating limitation of Lightroom. With the plugins that are available with both Lightroom and Aperture, there are very few features that are not available in Aperture compared to Lightroom. There are other features of Aperture that are not nearly as useful as those in Lightroom. It’s just a much quicker, more efficient tool for editing my images.

Thanks for the shortcut list. I have been using Aperture at home for years and Lightroom at the community college where I have taken courses. Aperture is a good program (described as “robust” by one of my instructors) and I am still learning the finer editing techniques. File management is one of the best reasons for using it. There are few how-to books on the market about Aperture -I now have two-which I think is the biggest reason it is not more popular.

I actually like Aperture, especially for its sharing features (I’m neck deep in the Apple/iCloud ecosystem). I just prefer editing in Lightroom. You’re absolutely right about the lack of how-to books. I think the lack of regular updates might also have something to do with Aperture’s popularity (or lack thereof).

Command Arrow keys have some interesting effects, and are not consistent:

* In the browser, unmodified arrow keys do what you expect. Command up and command left both move the selection left. Command down and command right move it right.

* If you have the info pane of the inspect up then command arrow moves the selection, but leaves the cursor in place, with all the text of the new image selected. Very easy to erase stuff doing this.

* If you are in the keyword box at the bottom toolbar, then command arrows navigate the browser selection, but you have to reclick the keyword box.

I’m not seeing a keyboard shortcut for the Sharpening Brush and this is the tool I use most often in Aperture.
I still feel Aperture is far and away the best digital image editing program and will stick with it until Mac OS no longer allows it’s use… but in the meantime it would be useful to have a shortcut for the sharpening brush.

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