How to Swap Foreground and Background Colors in Photoshop

Swapping colors in the foreground and background could be the change that makes your design win a local competition or provide the perfect backdrop for your logo. So how do you swap the foreground and background colors in Photoshop?

Press X to swap the colors of the foreground and background. If you get into a rhythm of changing colors and want to switch back to black and white, you have to push the D key, which will revert the foreground color to black and the background color to white.

Some many options and hotkeys allow shortcuts on Photoshop. Learning to use the program takes a while, and working on it can be intimidating. Take a deep breath and concentrate. You’ve got this! Read on and learn everything you need to know about swapping foreground and background colors in Photoshop.

Swapping Foreground and Background Colors in Photoshop

Swapping the background and foreground colors is a breeze in Photoshop. With key inputs, you can work around the project screen and issue commands that will appear on the screen. There are several other ways to get around using the colors, and using the keyboard is the easiest. 

Using the Keys Will Change Colors in Photoshop

You swap the colors on your panel by hitting the X key and can continue working without other options. Using the X key works excellently to change colors quickly and keep the flow of the project moving. Keeping the flow constant when working with color is essential to avoid missed areas.

A few essential selections that increase color functionality are:

  • Color Selection – One thing sure when coloring is that you will need different colors. While they might all be blue, you could need different shades to show depth, and having quick access to the color panel is imperative. By pushing Alt-Shift and Right-Clicking, you can open the color wheel and select your colors quickly.
  • Color Inversion – When you have colors in your project that you want to invert, there’s a quick and easy way to change the colors on the item. Command/Control-I will take the line color from a layer and invert the colors.

There are also ways to customize the hotkeys and create whatever function you need for your task. Remember that working with color could require you to save specific shades and tones in a separate area to use them. Keeping your color wheel open and on screen is an excellent way to keep up with the color changes.

Working With Color Requires Knowing How They Work

Colors are a complicated area of design. They must be complementary to each other and not be garish. When choosing a color from the color wheel, remember a few things that will make your design successful and unique.

A few things to remember when working with color in Photoshop are:

  • Background Percentage – The color you choose for your background will populate a large percentage of the project. This color must be more subdued than the others and not as sharp to create a feeling of safety and comfort.
  • Foreground Colors – The foreground colors should be selected to attract the types of clients you seek. By knowing your crowd, you can have a foreground color that serves its purpose while being attractive and engaging.
  • Color Picker – There’s a way to pick the color for the background and add it to a quick key that will swap the color of your brush. By using the keys Ctrl-Alt-Shift-K on Windows and Command-Option-Shift-K on a Mac. These keys open a menu allowing you to choose the color you want as a hotkey and where it will be located.

Knowing a few shortcuts and guidelines will be necessary when using Photoshop. It will decrease the time it takes you to complete tasks and give you a starting point when beginning a new project.

The Color Picker isn’t Just for Shortcuts

One of the handiest tools that you can use in Photoshop is the Color Picker tool. This tool allows the user to speed through coloring and shading by pressing unused keys on the keyboard. Speed is critical for designers as the more they can create, the more they can make for their businesses and families.

The steps to open the Color Picker tool are:

  • Go to Edit – On your Photoshop job screen, look for the row of options on the top. There should be one labeled Edit. Click on that and scan the options until you find the Keyboard Shortcuts option.
  • Tools – Once in the Keyboard Shortcuts menu, you should see an option labeled Tools. Tools are one of the most in-depth menus in Photoshop, so be careful not to get lost looking around in the options. Somewhere in the list, you will see the Foreground Color Picker option.
  • Picker – Now that you are in the color picker, you have choices. The first is what color you wish to assign. It’s recommended that you choose the color you will use the most. Once you have the color picked, you should choose a letter. Choose something that lacks functionality or problems.

Color picker is a hidden gem in Photoshop. When coloring using one of the brushes or creating a fine line, you must be able to choose the color at intermittent times to complete the work. Picker makes grabbing a most used color easy and will increase your work speed.


Swapping the foreground and background colors in Photoshop requires you to hit the X key. Once the colors are swapped, you can switch to black and white by hitting the B key, and switching and swapping colors aren’t the only thing you can do with hotkeys.

There are button combinations that will allow you to choose the most used color in the project and add it to a key. This means that instead of going through the color choice process, you only need to push a button each time you need to use it, and the color will populate on your coloring tool.