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


YShow/Hide Viewer Metadata Overlays
Shift + YSwitch Viewer Metadata Overlays
Command + JCustomize Metadata Overlays
Shift + Option + HHighlight Hot and Cold Areas
Command + Shift + OEdit with External Editor
Command + – (minus key)Zoom Viewer Out
Command + + (plus key)Zoom Viewer In
SpaceStart/Pause Audio or Video
Option + UViewer Show Multiple
Option + RViewer Show One
Option + HViewer Three Up
Option + OViewer Compare
Option + TViewer Stack
Option + M Secondary Mirror
Option + A Secondary Alternate
Option + SSecondary Span
Option + BSecondary Blank
Option + XSecondary Desktop


Control + FFilmstrip View
Control + GGrid View
Control + LList View
Shift + [Decrease Thumbnail Size
Shift + ]Increase Thumbnail Size
UShow/Hide Browser Metadata Overlays
Shift + USwitch Browser Metadata Overlays
Command + Shift + SExport Masters
Command + Shift + EExport Versions
Command + FShow/Hide Query HUD (Head-Up Display)
Control + ` (backtick key)Show All Unrated or Better
Control + /Show Flagged Images
Control + 1Show All +1 or Better
Control + 2Show All +2 or Better
Control + 3Show All +3 or Better
Control + 4Show All +4 or Better
Control + 5Show Selects (+5) Only
Control + 6Show All
Control + 7Show Unrated Only
Control + 8Show Rejects Only
Command + PPrint Images
Option + WSwap Browser Position
Shift + WRotate Browser Position
VCycle View Mode


IShow/Hide Inspector
QPut Focus in Library Inspector
Command + LNew Album
Command + Shift + LNew Smart Album
Command + NNew Project
Command + Shift + NNew Folder
Command + Shift + DeleteEmpty Aperture Trash
Shift + FEnter Faces View
Shift + PEnter Places View
Control + HHighlights and Shadows
Control + CColor
Control + MBlack and White
Control + NNoise Reduction
Control + SEdge Sharpen
Control + VVignette
Shift + NNavigator
Shift + XUncover
Shift + AScale to Fit


Shift + TShow/Hide Toolbar
Shift + HShow/Hide Keywords HUD
Command + IShow/Hide Import Browser
HShow/Hide Inspector HUD
Option + EEmail Version
NAssign Name
FEnter/Exit Fullscreen
JShuttle Left
KStop Shuttle
LShuttle Right
VCycle 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


ZZoom Viewer
MShow Master
PQuick Preview
ASelection Tool
RRotate Tool
OLift Tool
Shift + OStamp Tool
GStraighten Tool
CCrop Tool
ERed Eye Tool
XRetouch Brush
+Increase Rating
Decrease Rating
Control + 9Reject 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 5Apply 1- to 5-Star Rating
0Remove Rating


Option + GCreate Version from Master
Option + VCreate Duplicate Version
Shift + Option + GCreate Version from Master and Add to Selection
Shift + Option + VCreate Duplicate Version and Add to Selection
DShow/Hide Control Bar
Shift + DShow/Hide Keyword Controls
Option + 1 to Option + 8Apply 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 + OCompare Mode
ReturnSet Compare Item
Option + ReturnSelect Compare Item
Command + ReturnDeselect Compare Item
Option + \Rate Compare Select
Option + 9Rate Compare Reject
Option + – (minus key)Decrease Compare Rating
Option + + (plus key)Increase Compare Rating
Option + [Rotate Compare Counterclockwise
Option + ]Rotate Compare Clockwise


Command + KStack Image Selection
Command + Shift + KUnstack
Command + \Set Stack Pick
Command + [Promote Stack Item
Command + ]Demote Stack Item
Option + KSplit Stack
Shift + KOpen/Close Single Stack
Option + ; (semi colon)Close All Stacks
Option + ‘ (apostrophe key)Open All Stacks
Command + Option + AAuto-Stack
Option + Page UpPrevious Stack
Option + Page DownNext Stack
Command + ESelect All in Stack
Option + TEnter Stack Compare Mode
Arrow Key Left, Right, Up, DownNavigate
[Rotate Counterclockwise
]Rotate Clockwise
Command + ASelect All
Command + Shift + ADeselect All
Command + RInvert Selection
Shift + HomeSelect to Beginning
Shift + EndSelect to End
; (semi colon)Previous Within Selection
‘ (apostrophe key)Next Within Selection


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