Adobe InDesign® Tips & Tricks!

Flux Consulting can help you make the transition to Adobe InDesign®. We provide all the software training, template conversion and support you need to help you make the switch with ease. Below are some sample InDesign tips and keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster!

And don’t forget — a great tip for working faster in InDesign is to use the Flux Eyedropper Plugin Tool. It will save you hours of time when formatting text and objects!

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Make multiple objects the same size:
Our favorite trick! To make multiple objects the same dimensions, first set the height and width of one object. Then select the remaining objects and choose Object> Transform Again> Transform Sequence Again Individually. So easy!
Super Step & Repeat:
Select an object, then Option-Shift (Mac) or Alt-Shift (PC) and drag the object to make a copy. Release the keys, but before you release the mouse, press either the right arrow or the up arrow to make additional copies between the existing objects. Then release the mouse.
Live Distribute:
Select multiple objects (frames or lines) that are in a row and then click and hold down a side handle of one of the outermost objects. Press the spacebar and then drag the side handle to increase/decrease space between objects vertically or horizontally. Try this with a corner handle to distribute the space between objects diagonally.
Make a fast grid of frames (Gridify):
To create a grid of frames, start drawing (any kind of) frame, but before you release the mouse, press the right arrow to add columns of frames or the up arrow to add rows of frames. (Left arrow decreases columns/down arrow decreases rows.) To finish, release the mouse. To increase/decrease gutter space between objects while drawing, press Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) right or up arrow while drawing. If you use Gridify with the Text tool, the resulting frames will be threaded.
Live Corner Effects:InDesign tips box
Click the yellow square on the right side of any frame to activate Live Corners. Once activated, drag a yellow diamond to increase/decrease the corner effect. Opt/Alt-click the yellow diamond to cycle through the other corner styles. Opt/Alt-Shift-click to change just one corner.
Perfect centering of objects:
To place an object in the exact center of the page, select the object, then cut (Edit> Cut), then go to View> Fit Page in Window and then Paste (Edit> Paste.)
Hiding Objects:
To hide a selected object or objects, press Cmd-3 (Mac) or Ctrl-3 (PC). To show all hidden items, press Cmd-Opt-3 (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-3 (PC).
Place multiple images into a grid:
Choose File>Place. Select as many images as you want to place. Choose Open. The cursor will show a thumbnail of the first image and the number of images loaded in the cursor.
-Press the left or right arrow key to cycle through the image thumbnails. Press Esc to delete an image without placing it.
-Hold down Cmd+Shift-click (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift-click (PC) and drag with your mouse to create a grid of boxes. When you release the mouse, you’ll have a grid of images.
(To add rows or columns to the grid, press the right or up arrow key before you release the mouse.)
Replacing one image with another:
Choose File> Place to select an image. Then Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) click on an existing image on the layout you’d like to replace with the new one.
Frame Fitting:
To fit a frame to a graphic: Double-click a corner of an image frame. Or press Cmd-Opt-C (Mac) / Ctrl-Alt-C (PC). (This also works with text frames!)
To open an image in its original application (for editing):
Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (PC) an image on your layout to open it in its original application. Once you edit and save the changes and return to InDesign, the changes will automatically appear!
Select a tool with the keyboard:
-Most of InDesign’s tools can be selected by pressing a letter on the keyboard (Press “T” to select the Text tool, for example.) To see if a tool has a corresponding letter key on the keyboard, hover over the tool with your mouse to see the letter.
InDesign tips arrowSwitch to the Selection Tool:
-To switch to the Selection tool from another tool, press the “V” key. (Except when you’re in the Text tool, in which case press the “Esc” key.)
Convert any empty frame to a text frame:
-Click on any empty frame with the Text tool to convert it to a text frame. (For example, draw an oval graphic frame and then click on it with the Text tool to convert it to an oval-shaped text frame.)
Apply an effect from one object to another:
-Select the object that has the formatting you want. Then, drag the “FX” icon from the Effects panel onto the object that you want to format.
-To clear all effects from an object: Choose “Clear Effects” from the Effects popup in the Control Panel.
InDesign tips effectsApply an effect only an object’s stroke, fill or text:
Select an object and choose “FX” in the Control Bar. Choose an effect (like Transparency.) Then before changing the values, select Stroke, Fill or Text from the popup menu at the top to isolate that effect only to that attribute of the object.
Swap the fill & stroke colors of an object:
Select an object and then press Shift-X. Just press “X” to swap the Fill or Stroke icon in the Swatches Panel.
Reset to the default fill & stroke colors:
Press “D” (for “default”).
Apply the last color used:
To apply the last color used on a new object, press comma (,).
Change the focus in the Swatches Panel from text frame to text:
When a text frame is selected, press the “J” key to toggle the focus between the frame and text for swatch application.
Use the Photoshop color picker:
Double-click the Fill or Stroke icon in the Swatches Panel (or on the Toolbar) to open the Color Picker.
To use a saved swatch in a gradient:
Click and drag a swatch from the Swatches panel onto the gradient ramp in the Gradient Panel.
InDesign tips swatchCreating a color swatch while defining a style:
-If you’re creating a new paragraph style and you realize you didn’t already create a swatch color for it, go to the “Character Color” section of your paragraph style. The double-click the color proxy to bring up the New Color Swatch dialog box.
Duplicating pages in a document:
To duplicate any page or spread, open the Pages Panel, and Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) drag the page. This works for document pages and master pages.
Copying pages between layouts:
Open both documents. Open the Pages Panel. In the first layout, select one or more pages in the Pages Panel and then drag them right on top of the second layout. A dialog box will appear asking where you would like the pages to go. Works for master pages, too.
To convert a bulleted or numbered list to text:
Highlight a bulleted or numbered list, then control (or right-click) the list and choose “Convert bullets/numbering to text.”
InDesign tips zeroguidesSwitch units of measurement:
Right-click in the little square at the upper left of your document where the rulers meet. You’ll see a list of measurement units to choose from.
Mac PC
Switch to Presentation Mode Shift-W Shift-W
Preview a document W W
Switch between open documents Command-~ (tilde key) Control-~ (tilde key)
Hide/Show all panels Tab
Center a spread using the Pages Panel Double-click the page numbers underneath the page icons
Fit a selected object in the window Command-Option-+ Control-Alt-+
Sort all menus alphabetically Press Command-Option-Shift and select a menu Press Control-Alt-Shift and select a menu
Mac PC
Temporarily activate Smart Guides If you have turned off Smart Guides but would like to temporarily active them, press the Control key while moving or resizing an object. (Mac only.)
Temporarily turn off Snap to Guides Press the Control key while dragging an object that you don’t want to snap to guides. (Mac only.)
Delete all ruler guides on a page or spread Right-click inside either the horizontal or vertical ruler and choose “Delete All Guides on Spread (or Page.)”
Select all ruler guides on a page or spread Command-Option-G Control-Alt-G
Draw both a vertical and horizontal ruler guide simultaneously Command-drag from the zero guides onto the page Control-drag from the zero guides onto the page
Snap a ruler guide to a tickmark on the ruler Hold down Shift while drawing a guide
Change the direction of ruler guides as you’re creating them While you’re dragging a guide from a ruler, change it from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa) by pressing Option (Mac) or Alt (PC).
Align selected text to the baseline grid Command-Opt-Shift-G Control-Alt-Shift-G
Mac PC
Draw a perfect square or circle Hold down Shift while drawing shape
Draw a shape from its center Hold down Option while drawing shape Hold down Alt while drawing shape
Create a grid of objects (“Gridify”) While drawing a frame or line, press the right or up arrow to add rows and columns of objects.
Increase/decrease star inset on a polygon while drawing Press the left or right arrow key while still drawing with the mouse.
Increase/decrease points on a polygon while drawing Press the up or down arrow key while still drawing with the mouse.
Reposition an object while still drawing it Hold down the spacebar and drag while drawing the object Hold down the spacebar and drag while drawing the object
Select an object that is beneath another object or stack of objects Command-click the stack of objects until the one you want is selected Control-click the stack of objects until the one you want is selected
Mac PC
Select one word Double-click the word Double-click the word
Select one line of text Command-Shift-\ or Click inside the sentence three times (quickly). Control-Shift-\ or Click inside the sentence three times (quickly).
Select one paragraph Click inside the paragraph four times (quickly). Click inside the paragraph four times (quickly).
Select all text from the cursor down Command-Shift-End Control-Shift-End

View the history of an InDesign document:
Press Command (Mac) or Control (Windows) and choose InDesign> About InDesign. This displays a document history, listing all information related to the creation, conversion, synchronization, and Save history of the document.

InDesign tips placeholderA choice of Placeholder text:
Put your cursor inside a text frame. Then hold down Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) and select Type> Fill with Placeholder Text. You will see a dialog box that lets you choose from a variety of language types.

To make your own Placeholder text:
-Open a text document (in Microsoft Word, for example) that contains the text you want to use as placeholder text. Save the file as untagged text. (In Word, untagged text is called “Text Only”). Name the file “placeholder.txt” (no quotes.) Save the file into the Adobe InDesign folder on your hard drive.
-To use the placeholder text, launch InDesign and draw a text frame. Choose Type>Fill With Placeholder Text. Voila!


stripesdashesDashes & Stripes Easter Eggs:

Custom Stripe:
1. In the Stroke Panel, choose Stroke Styles from the popup menu.
2. Select ‘New’.
3. Select Stripe for line type.
4. Name the stripe “Rainbow”.
5. Choose OK and see the rainbow-colored stripe!
Other options for stripes: Create a new stripe as described above and name it “Rasta” to get a different colored stripe.

Custom Dash:
1. In the Stroke Panel, choose Stroke Styles from the popup menu.
2. Select ‘New’.
3. Select Dash for line type.
4. Name the dash “Feet”.
5. Choose OK and see the little feet dash!
Other options for dashes: Name a new dash “Happy” to get a smiley face dash. Or “Woof” to get a dash made of paws. Or “Lights” to get Christmas lights.

Choose InDesign>About InDesign and then type the word “butterfly.” Cmd (Mac)/Control (PC)-click the butterflies to pin them in place. Cmd (Mac)/Ctrl (PC)-click again to release them. Option (Mac)/Alt (PC)-click to knock them down. Note: The butterfly Easter egg does not work in InDesign CC.