Figma Support Forum

ESC key to back out 1 level

Like most users, I end up with many layers (often in nested groups) and sometimes I just want to back “up” one level to apply some settings, or nudge it with the keyboard, etc.
For example: I have a button (component) that is buried some levels down inside a few different nested groups, and I want to nudge it a few pixels to the left. Currently, I have to click/double-click on the element repeatedly until I reach the button (but not too deep or I’ll select the text which cannot be “nudged” with the arrow keys to move the button).
A trick I used often in Sketch is to command+click to directly jump to the deepest level, then tap the ESC key to go up one level where I can nudge to my heart’s content.
This 1/2 works in Figma. Command+click works - and is useful for text overrides, for example - but tapping the ESC key is a global deselect function.
While deselecting everything is sometimes useful, it’s easy to click on the artboard or an area with no objects if that’s what you want to do. It’s far more tedious to traverse many layers and the ability to reliably step up/down would be useful. The Enter key kinda does this for stepping down…the ESC key is the logical choice to step up.


ENTER : Go down one level
SHIFT + ENTER : Go up one level
⌘ + Right click : Select specific level


Yup this!

We use a different key command, partially due to how different browsers handle the esc key. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you commit it to muscle memory it becomes quite fast to navigate the layers panel via the keyboard.

TAB and SHIFT+TAB go up and down within the “group” level you’re in too. :slight_smile:

PS: Changing this to “Product Questions” since this functionality exists.


Any chance to configure it on Desktop to be esc key instead of ⇧Enter?

With growing usage of Auto Layout (even for grouping and arranging “Artboards”) and having a very nested layers, I feel that it’s becoming crucial to have a better way for deep selecting elements. Taking the hand off the mouse to hit ⇧Enter seems not that productive (as the left hand usually stays on for the common shortcuts).


My thoughts exactly. While I’ve already started using the keyboard commands mentioned, it is faster and simpler to take your left hand - probably already on the keyboard - and tap the ESC key without taking your eyes off the screen or your hands off the mouse.
Having said that: I’m grateful for pointing out the current method, because it’s easier than the way I was doing it. It’s just not as easy as the ESC key method :slight_smile:


I would agree with comments about ESC being more intuitive because your left hand is already on the keyboard. It might be that shift+enter works better for laptop designing, but as a heavy mouse+KB user, having to lift my hand from the mouse adds latency to the action. Perhaps a compromise could be an app-only preference to enable ESC behavior?


Design App developers have weird idea. I think it started with Sketch. Actually it is very stupid idea. The stupid idea is “Lets force people to use unchangeable shortcuts.” I worked with Sketch for 2 years. I NEVER USED TO USE “V” SHORTKEY.

I know Figma’s navigation shortcuts. I tried to learn them million times and today I’m writing this command because I still can’t use double keys shortcut to reach to parent. Simply because that functionality is needed tons of times while designing. And beside that please get rid of above idea. please. It is not “cool” trust me.

After many years some keys became fixed in designers brains and fingers. But today, every design app try to change them. It is like changing AWSD keys of gamers and don’t let them change those keys. But we can ability to change ancient AWSD keys if you wand can’t we? Design apps behave opposite way. Imagine those tools made for producing UX/UI solutions but they don’t have some basics in their own interfaces.

Look… pressing Shift+Enter force designer/user to leave his/her hand from the mouse. Sometimes to use that shortcut we have to use left hand for shift + right hand for Enter. Both ways are problematic. Don’t approach this topic as BRANDING LOGIC.
ESC and Shift ESC only need left hand as well.

I’m wasting my time. anyway…


Question was not “what is figma shortcuts to reach parent”
Who pinned this as “solved answer” LOL

@Burak It was marked as resolved because we showed him the current way of doing things. Each section has its role, so you will see that each time we invite people to open a topic Product ideas for feature request to allow votes and a better categorization to facilitate the task to the technical team.

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The problem I’m having is that I can’t use one hand to perform this selection, super annoying when Shift + Enter are the key commands used continuously. Esc was a button I could push without looking or lifting my other hand up off the mouse or trackpad.


What is the binding keywords to change the shortcut on Mac? Is it Select Parent?

There is no such menu action. You need to use an amazing tool like Better Touch Tool or Keyboard Maestro to do that. Bind Esc to Shift + Enter. Or better Shift + Esc, since Esc has other actions depending on the context.

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I use the Select Parent plugin and have it mapped to CMD+` so I can left-hand it. macOS won’t allow ESC itself, but you can also map to CM+ESC. Shift+Enter doesn’t work to keep my hand on the mouse.


Thank you for sharing that plugin. How can I determine a shortcut for it?

oh Mac… I guess as a windows user we can’t do that.

Just configured with Better Touch Tool. Feeling relieved.



I created this topic to follow this one which was open in the previous community forum.

I think this feature has not been solve yet.

I’m new in Figma and it’s very annoying when you press escape that it unselect everything instead of going up in the tree structure (select the parent item).

I would suggest you remap your keyboard a bit like @Varun_Varshney say above. On Mac, you can also use karabiner and hotkeys on win (@Burak ). I am personally mapping “Return” to “CapsLock”, because it is a useless key imo. This way it is super easy to hit SHIFT+CAPS and go up, or just CAPS to move down. I’ve been using this since before I moved from Sketch to Figma. Also, I reco you map " ` " (the key just on the left of “1”) to “CTRL+P” combination. This way, you can also trigger the quick action menu from the left hand only!

As I’ve become more skilled at Figma, I’m still stumbling over this. Each time I want to back up a level (which from the comments - and my own experience - is an extremely common action), I have to take my hands off the mouse (because the enter key is on the right side of the keyboard, and I’m right-handed) and locate the shift + return keys. Depending on where my hands are, or the last time I used the keyboard - or some other mysterious factor - I can sometimes locate them just by touch, but often have to momentarily glance down to make sure my fingers are on the correct keys, as the two targets have keys above and below them. In contrast, the esc key is on the left side and is the very first key on the keyboard, easily located by its location relative to the upper left corner.
I get that if the enter key “goes down” then it’s logical for shift+enter to “go up” - but it’s just not that usable given the physical characteristics of the hardware (including the human hand with 90% of the population being right-handed).
This is a good example of the differences between theoretical vs. real world experience.

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You, sir, deserve a warm thank you for this solution!