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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, 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.
If you're as old as me, you might remember the old DOS or CPM days, when there was no mouse, no menus. Just text, you kept your hands on the keyboard at all times. And we liked it. No, actually I'm pretty glad those days are far behind me. But I have come to realize that it's actually incredibly efficient to keep your hands on the keyboard and to minimize the use of menus. So when I'm trying to move fast InDesign, I turn to its keyboard shortcuts. And the first keyboard shortcuts I turn to, are the tool keyboard shortcuts.
Every tool in the Tool panel has its own keyboard shortcut. For example, you can press the letter T to jump to the Type tool. You see how it just jumped to that T tool there, the Type tool. I can press F to jump to the Frame tool, down here, or V to jump to the Selection tool, the Black Arrow tool at the top. Now how do I know what those tools shortcuts are? Well, I know because if I hover my cursor on top of one of the tools, just for about a moment, up comes a tooltip. And that shows me that that's the Selection tool and I use the letter V to get to it, or the Escape key, that will also work.
I'll hover over the next one, the Direct Selection tool, and you can see that I press A to get that. Every tool has its associated keyboard shortcut and note that these do not use a modifier key. It's not Command+V to jump to that or Ctrl+A to jump to that. It's just the key itself. Just A for the Direct Selection tool. That's all you need. Now that's great if you're not editing text. But as soon you are editing text, you're in trouble. So for example, let me just jump to the next spread here and I'm going to switch to the Type tool by pressing T. That selects that.
I'll select some text in this text frame down here and I'm going to zoom in on that text by pressing Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows to jump to 200%. You can see that I have a bunch of text selected. Now, if I wanted to go to the Selection tool, I could press V, but of course that replaces all that text with the letter V. So that's not very helpful. I'll go back to Edit and choose Undo Typing or I could press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. So instead of using that V, I'm going to press Escape. And Escape does the same thing, but this time it does not edit the text.
It does not change that, because the Escape key was a secondary keyboard shortcut. Remember, when I hovered over here, it showed me two different shortcuts: V or Escape. So InDesign actually lets you have more than one keyboard shortcut for the same feature. And that turns out to be very important for what we're trying to do. Let's go back to the Type tool and select this text again and I'm going to show you how you can apply your own keyboard shortcut to any of these other tools, or in fact any other feature in the program. For example, in an earlier movie, I showed how you can switch into the Preview Mode by pressing the W key, and that's very, very handy here.
It makes all these guides go away. I like that. But of course, I can't press W now; I'm editing text. So I'm going to add a new keyboard shortcut to let me do that. I'm going to go to the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts. The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box is a little overwhelming at first. Let me step you through it. The first thing you need to do is make sure you're using the correct set. The default set is what you normally use. That's the baseline set and there's two other sets in here, the PageMaker set or the QuarkXPress set. I rarely use either of those. But in this case, I'm making my own keyboard shortcut, so I need to create a new set.
InDesign won't let me overwrite any of those. So I'm going to come over here and click the New Set button. Now I'll type a name for my set. I'm going to call it David's KBSC set. That's a keyboard shortcut set. Click OK. You can call it anything you want. Now the next thing I need to do is find the feature I'm looking for. I'm looking for the Preview keyboard shortcut, and I happen to know that that lives inside the Tools panel. So, I'm going to go to the Tools Product Area and I'm going to scroll down here until I find the feature that I am looking for.
Toggle View Setting Between Default and Preview, there we go. It will show me that the current shortcut is W. Well, I already knew that. W is the shortcut I have been using. But I want a new keyboard shortcut, so that's with the New Shortcut field down here is for. I'll click inside that and I'll find a shortcut that I can use. How about Ctrl+Option+1? It tells me that this is currently unassigned. If I chose something different like Command+Option+W, it says okay, well that's currently assigned to Textwrap.
Do you want to take it off the TextWrap? No, no I'd rather go back to the first one, the Ctrl+Alt+1 or Ctrl+Opt+1. And I'm going to use that one instead. To add that keyboard shortcut to this command, I must click the Assign button. Don't forget to click Assign. So that's how you add your own keyboard shortcut to any feature in the Product. Now, how did I know that the Toggle View Settings was inside the Product Area? Well I am going to show you a secret. And that secret is the Show Set button. The Show Set button shows you every feature in InDesign that has a keyboard shortcut and even many that don't, and this is what happens.
You click Show Set and it writes your current set of keyboard shortcuts to disk as a Text File and automatically opens it up in your default Text Editor. On the Mac, it's usually TextEdit. On Windows it's usually Windows Notepad. Now this has every feature that could have a keyboard shortcut applied to it. You'll see that a lot of these are None defined. That means that it doesn't have a keyboard shortcut yet. But there are some that do have keyboard shortcuts applied to them and that's how you can learn what a keyboard shortcut is and what Product Area it lives in. So just scroll through here and you'll find all kinds of features that you didn't even know that InDesign had, but you can find what the keyboard shortcuts are and then just scroll up to the top and you'll find the Product Area.
Let's go ahead and go back to InDesign here and try out our keyboard shortcut. I'm going to click OK. And it looks like I'm still editing my text here. I want to switch into Preview Mode and I'm going to try that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+1 and you see it worked. There I am in Preview Mode. All the guides go away. It's a thing of beauty. I'll try it again and they come back. So it's toggling on and off in the Preview Mode. Now sure, you might want to avoid keyboard shortcuts if you, say, work by the hour, but for those of us who are trying to get our work done faster, it's worth it to define as many shortcuts as we can remember and then use them as often as we can.
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