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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 know it's hard to believe, but I don't always know exactly what font I want to use. Sometimes I have to try two or three or maybe 50 before I find one I like. Fortunately, InDesign CC has a couple of cool hidden features that let's me do this pretty easily. The first thing I wanna point out, is that if you're trying to change the font for all the texts inside of a text frame, don't grab the Type tool and select all that text. The reason is, you can't see the font clearly because you have this big, black, blocky area around it.
That doesn't help you at all. So instead, simply select the text frame with the Selection tool, and then choose the Type tool. I'm not going to select the text, I'm simply selecting the tool. And when I do that, the Control Panel changes to show me the Type controls, and as long as the character formatting is showing, that means I've selected this little "A" in the upper left corner of the Control Panel, I can change my font for all the text inside that frame without having to select it. All I need to do is click inside the Font field.
But as I said, I'm not sure exactly which font I want. So instead, I'm going to click on this little down arrow to see all the fonts on my system. Now, I kind of like this little text sample on the right, because it gives me an idea of which ones I might wanna choose. But of course, as you know, you can't really make a decision until you see it applied to the text itself. So here's the trick. Don't click on it. Instead, press the Option or Command key on the Mac, or Alt or Ctrl key on Windows. When you do that, it temporarily applies that font to the text.
That looks kind of interesting. Let's try a different one. I'll just press one of those keys, and it applies it to the text, and I can keep trying all of these until I find one that looks kind of interesting. That looks okay. I think I'll use that. So I'm going to press the Return or Enter key, and it applies it to that text. Note that InDesign's focus is still up here in the font field. Way up here, you see how it's highlighted? That means in order to go back to working on my document, I need to press the Return or Enter key one more time, or the Escape key. Any of those keys will take the focus out of that field, and now I can continue working.
Let's go back and try this one more time. I'll click on that little down arrow button, I'll find a font that looks interesting, hit one of those keys on my keyboard, and this time I decide, "Eh, I don't really like that. I wanna go back to the way it was." Now, instead of hitting Return or Enter, which will apply it, I'm going to hit the Escape key. Escape means I don't like what I did there, go back to the way it was before I clicked on that little popup menu. Once again, the focus is still up there in that field, so I hit the Escape key, and that takes the focus out of there. Now, if you're like me, you have too many fonts in this list, and it just takes too long to find the one you want.
But if you have a general idea of the kind of font you want, for example, maybe I want to use a condensed font here, in that case, all you have to do is type "condensed" up here in this field. I'll just start typing "conde", and you can see that it now is listing all of the fonts that have the word "condensed" in them. It acts like a filter. So now I can use the same font just looking at the condensed ones. When I find the one I like, hit Return or Enter, and I'm back in business. Now, there's one more thing that you can do when choosing fonts inside the Font field or the Style field underneath it, and that is to use the arrow keys on your keyboard.
The up and down arrow keys will move from one font to the next. So, once I have a font selected inside this field, I can use the arrow keys to move up and down the list. Now it looks like it's jumping crazily from one font to the next, but what it's really doing is moving up and down this popup menu, you see? It's selecting the most recently used fonts. I can also select inside the Style field and do the same thing. I'll just click once in there, and then press the down and up arrow keys to move through the fonts in this list. Now, granted, these little shortcuts are not huge time savers, but they do make choosing fonts more fun and certainly more interactive.
Try them, I think you'll like them.
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