The secret to becoming an InDesign expert lies in learning how to work fast—which is exactly what this InDesign tutorial will help you to improve in. InDesign is full of hidden hot keys and shortcuts, most of which are set as defaults and many more of which you can set yourself. I believe I’ve covered a bit about this in the past, so there’s no need to go into it again. What I do want to show you today is how to easily navigate through some of the panels that end up being most commonly used in InDesign tutorials and work.
You can do a great deal in your palettes just from the keyboard. Every time you have to do something with the mouse is a few seconds lost, and while that isn’t really a big deal in itself, the more time you waste the more it adds up. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite tricks for getting around InDesign.
It’s worth it to take some time to learn what the shortcuts for your different palettes are, not to mention spending a few minutes looking into adding some of your own. Some of the most commonly used InDesign palettes have pre-assigned hot keys. For instance, the Swatches palette opens when you press F6. Layers opens with F7, and Paragraph Styles opens with F11. Take a look at the shortcuts for your favorite panels, and it will be time well spent.
Navigating the Panels
When you open a palette with a hot key, you are automatically able to navigate through the panel using your keyboard. This is really where you can make the best use of your time and end up doing a lot with only a few keystrokes.
1. A good thing to know is that the Tab key lets you switch from item to item within a panel. Say, for instance, you are adjusting your font family, and you decide you want to now change font size. Press Tab twice, and you can access the font size box. You can then hold Shift and press Tab to go back up if you want.
2. To change values within boxes, use your arrow keys. Up and down make the numbers go respectively one larger or one smaller and the left and right keys can help you to change just one number in a value.
3. In a box where there are words rather than numbers (for instance, in the font family box), you can just type the first letters of the option you’re looking for, and it should come up.
These are very simple things to remember, and the more you practice the easier it will get to remember everything. If you really want to blaze through your InDesign work, then the tips in this tutorial will add just a little bit more to your speed.