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Essential Designer modifiers for an instant productivity boost

Modifier keys are a great way to save time and hassle. Here are just a few of our favourite keys for working faster and smarter in Affinity Designer …

Taking advantage of Affinity Designer’s modifier keys allows you to save time, reduce tedious switching between tools and panels, and makes drawing so much easier.

Here’s a quick example of a modifier: let’s zoom in on the canvas. Ready?

Hold down Cmd (on Mac) or Ctrl (on Windows) and press +.

With Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) still held down, press + again to zoom in further.

To zoom back out again, press -.

Using modifier keys gives you full access to your canvas without having to switch tools.

Let’s look at some more quick and easy things we can do with modifiers in Affinity Designer.

Quick duplicates

You may want to duplicate an object in your design.

With an object selected, press Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and drag to instantly create a duplicate of the selected object.

Pen tool

When using the Pen Tool, the Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) modifier allows you to edit nodes on the go without switching tools.

Colour picker

When using a brush tool, you can use the Alt key to pick up colour while you draw.

Transforming objects

A number of helpful modifiers make transforming objects a breeze.

The Shift key allows you to maintain the selected object’s aspect ratio as you are resizing it.

Cmd (mac) or Ctrl (Windows) allows you to resize an object from its centre.

With Ctrl (Mac) or the right mouse button (Windows) held down, you can resize an object from its opposite corner.

Selecting an overlapped object

Alt-click on an overlapped object to select it.

Non-destructive Boolean operations

When performing Boolean operations, use the Alt key for non-destructive compounds.

Technical author

Caroline is one of our technical authors here at Serif, with a passion for dreaming up and illustrating fictional stories on the side. When she’s not writing, Caroline enjoys walking her dog, travelling the world, and baking one too many cupcakes.

Credits & Footnotes

Cover image from, used under license.