Keyboard Shortcrack


Is it possible to get addicted to a keyboard shortcut? To obsess about it. To look for excuses to use it. To waste time because you go out of your way to use it. To make up off-key ditties of praise and hum them while nobody is listening. Uh, a friend told me they did that. Yeah. A friend.

The answer is true, and I am living proof. The keyboard shortcut I am about to share with you is dangerous. If you aren’t careful, it might take over your life. At least your life using InDesign. Still, it’s so sweet, you have to try it. C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it. Just don’t inhale.

Ready? It’s command-option-=. Go to InDesign, select something, and press command-option-=. I mean it. Do it now, and come back.

How cool was that? InDesign zooms in or out to frame your selection nicely in the window. Not surprising then that the name of this feature you invoked is Fit Selection In Window. Just think of it as intelligent zooming. You may remember a while back when I wrote about double-clicks, and snarkily suggested there should be a feature that reads my mind and selects the thing I need. Well, this is as close as I’m going to get till I get the GoogleBrain implant. There is no reason to ever touch the Zoom tool again. Even pressing command-= more than once makes me feel hackish now.

I just don’t understand why the good folks at Adobe didn’t give this puppy a line in the View Menu. It deserves to be there. And there was room. The Type, Edit, and Window menus are all longer than View. It does appear in the contextual menu when you right-click on a selected object. But I never noticed it before. And I’m betting that 95% of InDesign users don’t know about it because it’s been so unheralded. The only documentation I could find is lost in a bland table on page 636 of the User Guide.

If you have a large frame selected, you’ll zoom out to something near Fit Page in Window. If you can’t see all of the object you have selected, it zooms out (or just re-centers) to show you the whole thing. But in most cases it will zoom in so that the object(s) you selected are centered with a nice amount of space around on all sides. Curiously, the zooming has a limit of 2000%, even though InDesign will go to 4000% with other methods. I can’t think of a time I ever zoomed to more than 2000% to actually do anything other than giggle, so I’ll let this slide.

plus command-option-= becomes

What makes this shortcut even cooler is:

  • It works when you have text selected, or just a blinking cursor. Even in linked frames!
  • It works as document navigation: when you’re zoomed way out, you can instantly zoom to anywhere in the document.
  • It’s easy to remember, since we’re used to command-= (usually thought of as command-+) to zoom in. Or you could think of the = as squinty eyelids, focusing on something far away.
  • It’s even better paired with command-option-0 (Fit Spread in Window). Use them to zoom in to work, and zoom out to admire your work and pick your next target.

If using command-option-= does become an addiction for you, know that you always have a kindred spirit here. We can all form a support group. Zoomaholics Anonymous.

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2 Responses

  1. I would be obsessed with this shortcut, but where you say, “nice amount of space around on all sides,” I say, “way too much space!” On my system, I end up with almost exactly the same width of my current object to the left and again to the right. That is, I could fit my object 3x across the screen. If it were just a little bit of space on each side, I’d use the shortcut all the time.

  2. Free InDesign CS4 keyboard shortcut posters are available here:

    http://jetsetcom.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24&Itemid=30

    Try the links to the Illustrator and Photoshop free stuff, too!

    Mike Witherell | Adobe Certified Expert

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