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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
I love keeping my hands on the keyboard as much as I can when I work. As I've said before, it's all about efficiency. So you can just imagine the neurons firing in my brain's pleasure center when I saw a feature that just about obliterates any reason to use a menu at all. That feature is called Quick Apply and it is simply life changing. Let me show you how it works. I'm going to apply a drop- shadow to this group of objects. So I'm going to select it with the Selection tool, I just clicked on it, and I'll zoom into 200% by pressing Command+ 2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, so I can see it a little bit better here.
Now I may not remember which panel to go to, to apply a drop-shadow, or which keyboard shortcut to use or which menu to go to, but I don't need to know any of that. Because I know about Quick Apply, and I know that Quick Apply shows up whenever I press Command+Return on the Mac, or Ctrl+Enter on Windows. That's all you need to know. Up comes the Quick Apply panel and it lets me type in the name of any feature in the program. For example, I'll just type dr and immediately, InDesign filters out all of the features down to just the ones it guesses I'm trying to type.
And you see I don't even need to type Drop Shadow. I just type dr and it guessed Drop Shadow. That's the first item here in the list. Once I have the feature I want all I need to do to trigger that is press Return or Enter, and up comes the Effects panel, on goes the Drop Shadow, click Ok and there's my Drop Shadow. It's as simple as that. Quick Apply is a great way to trigger any feature in the program. Let me show you another example. I'll zoom back to Fit Page in Window with Command+0 or Ctrl+0, that's a keyboard shortcut I do remember, and I want to rotate this whole spread 90 degrees.
Well, how am I going to do that? Well, I know about Quick Apply, so I'll press Command+Return or Ctrl+Enter on Windows. Up comes Quick Apply. You can see that it remembered the last thing I typed there, but in this case, I don't want Drop Shadow. I want 90 degrees Rotate. So I type 90 and it shows me all the features in InDesign that have the number 90 in them. Isn't this great? You can see that the first one is Rotate 90 degrees but it's in the Transform menu. That means that it's going to rotate the selected objects 90 degrees. That's not what I want.
I want to rotate the Spread View 90 degrees, and that's further down in the list. So I'll use the arrow keys on my keyboard to choose the item that I want to pick. So I just pressed the Down arrow a few times and then hit Return and there it is. It rotated the spread 90 degrees clockwise. Very easy. Very handy. Very fast. When I'm ready to go back to clear that rotation, bring up the Quick Apply again, I'll just type rotation a couple of times, find Clear Rotation, hit Enter and it goes back to the normal 0 degrees. Very easy.
If you want to be super-efficient in your work, you'll definitely want to make Quick Apply your friend. Now that you know where your tools and features are and how to use them efficiently, you're ready to launch into the meat and potatoes, creating a new document.
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