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2010 . April . 7
Wrye Palmer

These are some of the keyboard shortcuts I use most when working with InDesign CS4. I just recently moved from using a PC and CS3 to using a Mac and CS4. I found that my work flow and efficiency was dramatically effected until I was able to learn the keyboard shortcuts again.

It was this process of relearning that inspired this post. Using shortcuts does speed up what you are able to accomplish and it reduces the chances of shoulder and neck injury due to over using the mouse.

To check from within InDesign your current keyboard shortcuts go to File > Keyboard Shortcuts. You will get a dialogue box and the “Show Set” button will open a text document of the shortcuts, which I find very helpful. You can do this in any of the Abode Creative Suite programs.

Tool Keyboard Shortcuts

Hover your mouse over the Tool Panel icons to see the one letter key shortcut. By clicking and dragging any icon with a small triangle in the corner, you will expose the fly-out menu. Which contains additional associated tools.

You can access the keyboard shortcuts from any tool as long as your cursor is not in a text box! If it is, use Esc to get the Selection Tool.

Selection Tool V V
Temporarily activate the Selection Tool hold: Cmd hold: Ctrl
Direct Selection Tool A A
Pen Tool P P
Delete Anchor Point
Add Anchor Point + +
Convert Anchor Point Shift+C Shift+C
Type Tool T T
Type-On-A-Path Tool Shift+T Shift+T
Line Tool / /
Rectangle Frame Tool F F
Rotate Tool R R
Scale Tool S S
Free Transform Tool E E
Eyedropper Tool I I
Hand Tool H H
Temporarily select the Hand Tool Opt+Spacebar Alt+Spacebar
Zoom Tool Z Z
Temporarily select the Zoom-In Tool hold: Opt+Spacebar hold: Alt+Spacebar
Toggle between Preview and Normal Mode W W

Selection Tool (solid black arrow) = V

The Section Tool deals with the frame and content as a whole.

To cycle through stacked or overlapping layers of objects or text boxes Cmd + click Ctrl+ click
Duplicate a selected frame hold: Opt + drag hold: Alt+ drag

Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) = A

Deals with the individual parts of things, like the points on a frame.

If you hover over an image with the Direct Selection Tool it turns into the Hand Tool = H

Toggle between the Selection Tool and the Type Tool = Double click over the frame with text inside it.

Toggle between the Type Tool and the Selection Tool = Esc

Type Tool = T

I deal with a lot of text in most of my designs and so I use this tool a lot, double clicking on any existing text box gives you the Type Tool.

Some other shortcuts I use are:

The Place command

Place Cmd+P Ctrl+P