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When I taught graphic design to college students for the first time, I had been an avid user of Adobe Creative Cloud – then known as Creative Suite – for at least a solid decade. One thing I learned with my first students was that those commands I could do in my sleep by waving my fingers across a keyboard… Well, they didn’t come naturally to anyone. Period.
That was a huge shock (ha!) when I went through my first tutorial in lab and within the first few minutes was greeted with, “Whoa! Slow down! How did you do that?” On the screen, it probably looked magical. The mouse wasn’t moving to the toolbar on the left side of the screen, yet tools would appear, actions would happen and boom, tutorial complete.
That, my friends, is the magic of keyboard shortcuts and commands.
If you’re relatively new – or haven’t used it for a while! – InDesign keyboard shortcuts just aren’t second nature. You’ve probably watched video tutorials online where they move so incredibly fast as they name off the steps, you have to watch it ten times.
These shortcuts will save you time when working on your blog graphics, business marketing materials and more. After all, saved seconds add up to minutes, minutes to hours and that’s money saved in the long run, right?
tips on indesign shortcuts
Don’t get overwhelmed. Jump to the bottom of this post and download the PDFs. Print them out or even half your screen as you work on projects in InDesign so you can reference your shortcuts. You’ll be surprised how quickly they get burned into your brain!
- The cheatsheets focus on Mac users, but Windows users, don’t fear! Anytime you see the command symbol (⌘), press Control instead.
- “Tools” shortcuts only use one letter or symbol on the keyboard. This makes the chosen tool active. You’ll click as needed to use it, just as you would if you manually selected it from the toolbar.
- “Command” shortcuts require you to press all designated keys at the same time. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t quite get the hang of the more complicated, three-plus key shortcuts.