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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
I love keyboard shortcuts. Whenever I am doing some work in a program and I need to keep going to the same menu or panel command all the time. I'm looking for a keyboard shortcut, so I can just tap that instead. And we know that InDesign, has a ton of keyboard shortcuts, and you can add keyboard shortcuts as you would like to. There is a very cool feature about keyboard shortcuts that few people know about, that I want to show you. And that is the ability to use the same keyboard shortcut, for two different commands. Let me show you how that's done. Here we're looking at a frame that's partially full.
And I want to fill it with some placeholder text, so I know. How many words, I can fit in this frame? That command is under the Type menu, Fill with Placeholder Text so I can fill this up, just with some text that uses the same style. Now, I use that command all the time. It has no keyboard shortcut, so let's make one. Go to the Edit menu, down to Keyboard Shortcuts. I've already created a custom set for myself, because you cannot edit the Default set. So do that first, if you're following along. Fill with Placeholder Text is under the Type Menu.
I come here. It's in alphabetical order, all the commands, Fill with Placeholder Text. There is no shortcut, so I'm going to click right here in New Shortcut. I'm going to use Ctrl+F, because I'm going to map. And I can use that handy dandy Ctrl key. It's unassigned. And I'll go ahead and Assign it. Click OK. Let's give it a shot. And delete this. Look under the Type menu, and you'll see Ctrl+F is the keyboard shortcut now. I'm just going to click in here and press Ctrl+F, and ta-da it works. Elsewhere on the same spread, I see that I'm having an issue with this image.
Let me select it. What I would normally want to do, is to look at its Frame Fitting Options. But there is no keyboard shortcut for Frame Fitting Options. If I go to the Object menu, go down to Fitting, all these guys have keyboard shortcuts, but not the one that I use almost all the time. That shows me all the different kinds of ways that I could fit something and set it. Let's make a keyboard shortcut for Frame Fitting Options. Go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. That's under the Object menu.
We want to find Fitting, and then all of the sub menu items. There is Frame Fitting Options. I want to assign, the same keyboard shortcut. Frame Fitting Ctrl+F, that'll be easy to remember. But it says it's currently assigned to Fill with Placeholder Text. That's OK, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll click Assign. Ctrl+F and Save. Click OK. Let's see if it works. Click here, press Ctrl+F. Perfect. Now to make sure that it works in both locations, I'm going to make one little tweak.
I'll go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Find that first one, which was under the Type Menu, Fill with Placeholder Text. Notice that it removed it, because I overwrote it with my new one. Here, I'm going to click and create that same keyboard shortcut. But this time, before I click Assign, I'm going to change the Context. The Context means, where does that keyboard shortcut work? If you leave it at the Default, that means it works everywhere within the program. No matter what you're doing when you use that keyboard shortcut, it will go ahead and do that command.
But you can fine tune it. For example, whenever I'm filling a frame with placeholder text, I've almost always typed some text already. So my cursor is blinking in the frame. I'm in text editing mode. So I can tell InDesign that I want Ctrl+F to fill with placeholder text, when I am in the Text mode. So now I'll click Assign, and you'll see here it says Text Ctrl+F. But in every other instance if I'm not editing text, I want Ctrl+F to open up the Frame Fitting Option's dialog box.
Let's go to the Object Menu and check that, Fitting, Frame Fitting Options, Default Ctrl+F. So in every other instance, Ctrl+F will open that up. Let's check it out. Click OK. I'm going to delete the text here, and press Ctrl+F. It fills it with placeholder text. Now I'm going to get out of text editing mode by switching to the Selection Tool. I want to select this image and open up Frame Fitting Options, I'll press Ctrl+F again ta-da.
As long as you use different contexts, for your keyboard shortcut you can often, use the same keyboard shortcut for different commands. There are some keyboard shortcuts that already have a lot of different contexts. For example, if you go to the Layout Menu and look at something like Next Spread, look at all these. So the default for Next Spread is option Page Down. But when you're in Presentation Mode, which is one of the contexts. You can use the Space bar, to go to the Next Spread, or the Down Arrow, or the Return key.
Now of course you would never want to set the space bar to be a keyboard shortcut in the program. You'd never be able to do a space. But if you confine it to the Presentation Mode when you can't edit text, then it works perfectly. So if you're like me and you have a limited amount of brain power, to memorize all sorts of different keyboard shortcuts. Just use a few different keyboard shortcuts. And use the Context Menu, to do double duty.
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