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A Guide to InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts for for New and Advanced Users

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/2/2010

Whether you are new to using InDesign or have used it for a while, keyboard shortcuts can help your speed. Learn the InDesign keyboard shortcuts and how they function in your workspace. Download a complete list of InDesign quick keys for your reference.

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    The Software

    InDesign is a software application for desktop publishing created by Adobe Systems. It is widely used by designers and graphic artist for projects like calling cards, invitations, brochures, posters, magazines, books and other printable materials. It has advanced features to maximize creativity in dealing with text and images.

    Using the shortcut keys for repetitive functions is one way to make your work with InDesign projects quicker and more efficient. Instead of using the mouse to click and drop down the menus, you can make your work easier by simply pressing the InDesign keyboard shortcuts. Listed below are InDesign-specific quick keys.
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    Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

    Ctrl Alt OBrowse in Bridge. Using this command allows you to browse your files directly using Adobe Bridge which is another creative application for managing media files by Adobe.

    Ctrl Shift VPaste without formatting. This command applies primarily with text. For example, if you copy a word or a line from another location with a different text format (size or font) and you paste it using Ctrl V (paste), the text would appear as it is from what you have copied but by using Ctrl Shift V, the copied text will adopt to the original text format used in your story.

    Ctrl Alt Shift VPaste in place. When using the Ctrl C (copy) or Ctrl X (cut) to copy part of an image from different page, it will usually be pasted in the center of your page but by using Ctrl Alt Shift V, the copied object will be pasted on the exact area of your desired page.

    Ctrl Alt U Step and repeat. By simply using the Ctrl Alt Shift D (duplicate), another copy will appear but by using Ctrl Alt U, you can modify how many rows or columns of duplicates you want in your page. This is much helpful if you want to print labels or business cards for multiple copies in one print.

    Ctrl G - Group Objects. Using this command will merge your selected objects to one group.

    Ctrl Shift G - Ungroup. Undo the grouping of a grouped selection.

    Alt →Increase kerning. Kerning refers to the adjustment of spaces in between characters

    Ctrl Alt → Increase kerning by 5

    Alt ←Decrease kerning

    Ctrl Alt ← Decrease kerning by 5

    F1 InDesign Help

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    Image Editing Tools


    ADirect selection. Used for selecting an object within the page to work on.

    CScissor. It is intended to cut in between and reshape paths and objects.

    DApply default fill and stroke colors to the selected objects.

    EFree transform. It is used to transform the selected object through scaling to reduce or increase size. It is also used to rotate the object in its place.

    FRectangle frame tool. It is a photo box tool used for rectangularly selecting an area to insert your image or text.

    GGradient swatch tool. It is a pattern of multiple blended colors for filling objects, text or the whole page as background

    HHand tool. Used to grab the page for easy page navigation.

    IEyedropper. Used to copy the exact color of a certain point in the workspace.

    JToggle text and object control. Switching from text to object control or vice versa.

    KMeasure tool. Used to measure the distance between two points by dragging. Learn how to measure units and use ruler in InDesign.

    LElipse tool. For creating circles and ovals.

    MRectangle tool. For creating rectangles and boxes

    NPencil. Writing tool.

    OShear. Used to split path and objects.

    PPen. Writing Tool

    RRotate tool.

    SScale. Used to resize object.

    TType tool. A tool used to insert text.

    VSelection Tool

    WToggle setting between default and preview. It is used to switch from default workspace to preview.

    XSwap fill and stroke activation. a shift between fill and outline use.

    ZZoom tool. To view larger (Zoom In) or to view smaller (Zoom Out)

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    Practice Makes Perfect

    Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of InDesign keyboard shortcuts listed because you won’t be memorizing them all at once. As you work with your desktop publishing and layout assignments, take note of the common commands you always use and practice using the shortcut keys as much as possible.