As an ever busy design studio it is vital that we work in the most efficient way possible to meet our deadlines. Whether it be starting out on a new job in the sample design stage, text formatting and typesetting a manuscript, styling realia or getting the finished article ready for press, we always ensure our process is the best that it can be. This means taking advantage of the wide range of keyboard shortcuts in InDesign, as well as other applications, and on Macs in general.

We all work in our own individual ways – there is no ‘you have to do it this way’ – and there are often many different ways to do things – some quicker and easier than others. But there are some vital keyboard shortcuts that we use everyday to aid the design process.

Basic keyboard shortcuts that most of us use without even thinking about it include:

  • command + w = used to close document – but only if it doesn’t need saving!
  • W, V, T etc. = used in InDesign for general navigation and features that you would otherwise have to look through the menus/toolbars for. W hides and reveal guides. V swaps to the standard selection tool. T swaps to the text tool.
  • space bar + left mouse click, drag = quick navigation around a document without using the scroll bar or scroll wheel on your mouse.
  • command + alt + c = closes up a box relative to the amount of text in it.
  • command + 0 = zoom in or out to fit screen. Enables us to quickly view a whole page or spread.

In InDesign we also set up our own shortcuts for paragraph and character styles using combinations of the number pad + ctrl, alt, apple, shift. This makes text formatting and typesetting much more methodical. You don’t have to keep swapping between keyboard and mouse! It’s a great time-saver, without skimping on quality.

We asked around the studio to see what people’s essential keyboard shortcuts are:

Emma: alt + command + x = non breaking space (an invisible character), inserted between words to keep them together. Useful for avoiding widows and one or two letter words at the end of lines. (Something I hate!)

Alan: command + ~ = to switch between documents in the same application. You can also use shift to reverse. Combined with Apple + Tab, it’s a powerful navigation tool.

Dale: command+ z
And hold the space bar down, left click on the mouse. It zooms out and when you release the mouse it’ll zoom back in. Useful for if you’re zoomed in close to somewhere on the page and you need to move to another part of the page quickly whilst maintaining the close zoom.

Adam: command J is a great indesign shortcut for our line of work. It enables you to go directly to any page in a document in seconds.
He also thinks Apple = old syntax should be a command!

Gavin: alt + double click on images to open in photoshop/illustrator. Also works in the links palette. It just easy a very quick way to work.

Sophie: command + A (selects all of the text). Followed by either Apple + X (to cut the selection) or Apple + C (to copy all of the text)