InDesign A to Z, minus Q, U, and Y…and J

What are the odds?! I had written a post devoted to the power of the single letter j in InDesign. But earlier today, Bob Levine on InDesign Secrets wrote about the exact same thing. Check it out. It’s a sweet little trick to toggle focus between text and its surrounding frame. Anyway, here’s the illustration that went along with my Ode to J.

In some alternate universe where Publicious is a breakfast cereal instead of a blog, that illustration would be a t-shirt iron on inside the box. But seriously, try out j with a text frame selected with either selection tool and the swatch panel visible. You’ll like it.

So now that you know about the power of j, how about the other 25 letters? Did you know that today is Give Your Thumb A Rest Day? In honor of this insanely obscure and entirely fictional holiday, try out the other single-letter keyboard shortcuts.

InDesign A-Z
a = Direct Selection Tool
b = Button Tool
c = Scissors Tool
d = Apply default fill and stroke colors
e = Free Transform Tool
f = Rectangle Frame Tool
g = Gradient Swatch Tool
h = Hand Tool
i = Eyedropper Tool
j = Toggle Text and Object Control
k = Measure Tool
l = Ellipse Tool
m = Rectangle Tool
n = Pencil Tool
o = Shear Tool
p = Pen Tool
q= [none assigned]
r = Rotate Tool
s = Scale Tool
t = Type Tool
u = [none assigned]
v = Selection Tool
w = Toggle view setting between default and preview
x = Swap fill and stroke activation
y = [none assigned]
z = Zoom Tool

Now what did poor q, u, and y do to get uninvited to the party? When they became aware of their shortcutless status, these letters promptly walked right off my keyboard. I’m only able to type this post by cutting and pasting q’s, u’s, and y’s from previous posts ; )

So to lure them back, I promised to pair them with suitable commands. Things that obviously weren’t triggered in text context, and were useful enough that the lack of a shortcut (or the presence of a crappy shortcut) was an annoyance. I came up with the following:

q, you shall be married to File > Revert. I do a lot of testing and R& D kind of stuff, trying to do things that can’t be done, that shouldn’t be done, to InDesign files. In doing so, I tend to make a lot of messes. So I probably use Revert more than the average bear. q fits nicely because I think of it as “quitting” everything I did to a document.

u, I assign you henceforth to trigger View > Overprint Preview. I like this because u is alphabetically very near w, which toggles Preview mode. Much easier to remember and use than the four-fingered default command-shift-option-y. Actually, what I’d really like is an preference option to include Overprint Preview in Preview mode. Doesn’t it make sense that if you want an output preview, you’d want it to be overprint-accurate?

y, you will now summon Type > Find Font. This is righting an old wrong. I can’t believe we’re five versions into this InDesign thing, and it doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut for Find Font.

One other command that, imho, is begging for a keyboard shortcut is Type > Fill With Placeholder Text. I didn’t give it q, u, or y because I’m usually using it in text mode (aka with a blinking cursor). So I need a modifier key. For now, I’m test driving the previously unused shift-option-f. As with all of this, your mileage may vary. See if you can find your own best uses for the lonely q, u, and y.


2 Responses

  1. Hey Mike, for Fill with Placeholder Text, why don’t you just use Shift-F?

    I’ve had many a student do that … until it dawns on them …


  2. Hey I’m impressed that they’re even trying to customize keyboard shortcuts. That is pretty funny though.

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