Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing panels, part of InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
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In the last movie, we looked at how you can manage your Control panel. Now let's look at how to manage InDesign's many other panels. First of all, my favorite panel keyboard shortcut I wanted to share with you is the Tab key because the Tab key hides all your panels. Press Tab once and they all disappear, press Tab again and they all come back. But while they are hidden-- I will press Tab to hide them all-- you can still get to them. They are not totally gone. You could still pull out panels from the Window menu if you want to, remember all the panels live here in the Window menu, but even cooler, just move your cursor over to the edge of the page. If you move it over, not necessarily all that way to the edge of the screen, just a couple of pixels in, the panels show up. The docks expand, when you move the cursor over there. So here I can see the Tool panel.
Now I will drag away from the edge of the page and it disappears. If I go to the right edge of the page, I will hover over the right edge of the screen and this dock appears. So you have a lot of control, you can still get all of these panels when you need them, even though everything is hidden. Now, look at this Swatches panel. I will click off with the Swatches panel and you can see that all disappears. So this is a great use of your screen real estate, when you really want to focus on the document and not have your screen cluttered up with the bunch of panels. On the other hand, it might be a great way to work, but it's not necessarily a great way to teach. So I am going to press Tab again, so that they all come back and we can see the panels just because it's going to be easier for you to understand what I am doing inside the program. I will close the Swatches panel here. I want to show you a couple of other keyboard shortcuts you should know about. Tab will hide all of the panels, but Shift+Tab hides all the panels but leaves the Tool panel and the Control panel and that could be useful in some situations I suppose, but I usually don't use that. It's good to know though.
That's what Shift+Tab does. Command+Option+Tab, that's Ctrl+Alt+ Tab on Windows. That expands all your docked panels. So for example, all those panels on the right side, when I press Command+Option+Tab or Ctrl+Alt+Tab on Windows, they all get expanded. It's basically the same thing as clicking on the little double arrow in the upper right corner, the Collapse To Icons or Expand button. So Ctrl+Alt+Tab on Windows or Command+Option+Tab on Mac will expand those and that could be useful in certain circumstances as well.
Now as I have mentioned, InDesign hides all its panels up in the Window menu and you can choose them right out of the Window menu if you want, but I really encourage you to learn a few of the keyboard shortcuts. You don't have to learn all the keyboard shortcuts for every panel. I certainly don't, but it is a good idea to pick, let's say, the top four or five panels that you use all the time. Like maybe the Layers panel and memorize its keyboard shortcut, in this case, it's F7. Pressing the F7 key will open that. Or maybe the Pages panel, I use that all the time. Command+F12 or Ctrl +F12 on Windows opens and closes the Pages panel. It's really worth doing that. Another one might be the Stroke panel, if you use strokes a lot, Command+F10 or Ctrl+F10 on Windows, so I simply press that keyboard shortcut and we can see that we open up the Stroke panel.
Let's say I want to put a stroke around the text in here. I will select this text frame over here, I will go to the Swatches panel and I am going to click on the T here or secret keyboard shortcut, just press the J key. J is the same thing as pressing that button and that means that any formatting I do will be applied to the text inside of this. I will go back to the stroke. I will zoom in there so we can see this better and I am going to stroke the text itself. We can see that the stoke Weight right now is set to 0, but if I click inside there, I can increase or decrease the Stroke Weight by using the arrow keys on my keyboard. It's so much more efficient than what I usually see people do which is, I am going to select all this text painstakingly dragging over it and then typing let's say 4 pt, hitting Enter and now I have got a stoke around it.
It's a little thing that makes you really efficient in InDesign and as you know my focus is all about efficiency. So when I want to change the stroke, I typically don't bother trying to select all that text, I just click once in there and then I use the arrow keys on the keyboard. Up arrow moves by one point at a time, down arrow moves down by one point at a time. You can also hold on the Shift key, so Shift+Up Arrow will move in larger increments, in this case 10 points at a time. So you can use Shift+Up and Shift+Down to move up and down in large increments and this works in all the panels, not just in Stroke panels but all the panels.
So for example, I will jump to that first field of the Control panel and I can use the up key to move this over in tiny increments. In this case, it looks like its 67 inches. Something up and down, but if I hold the Shift key, when I press the arrow keys up or down, it does it in larger increments, in this case quarter inch increments. The increments that's used are based on the measurement system you are in. So right now I am in inches, so let's go into increment in quarter point inches when I do a Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow. If I were in something like picas, it would do it in certain number of points, like one pica at a time, if I am in millimeters, they would do it in like 10 mm at a time. So it's all based on the measurement system that you are working in and let's get back over to the Weight field and I did exactly what I said, I usually don't do. I actually dragged over the measurement, but that's okay.
I will go in here and I'll change this to let's say 8 pts and hit Enter. Oh, that's very more that 8 pts, isn't it? I think I did 8 p instead of 8 pt, so I got 8 picas which is a really, really, really huge stroke. That's kind of ridiculous. I better change that. Here is one last keyboard shortcut that I really want you to know. I love this. This is one of my favorite shortcuts in the whole program and that's Command+Option+Tilde on the Mac or Ctrl+Alt+Tilde on Windows. That keyboard shortcut jumps back to the last used field. Whatever you last did, whatever field and whatever panel you are last in, that keyboard shortcut takes you back there and this is so useful. You can see it jumped right back to the stroke panel, right back into that field, so I can now go back down to what I wanted to type which is 8 pt. Hit Enter and it takes effect. That I use a hundred times a day.
Okay now are getting the hang of it. You are keeping your hands on the keyboard, you are boosting your productivity and you're really flying through InDesign.
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