Shortcut Shindig – InDesign

By LaurenMarie

Shortcut Shindig!It’s time for another shindig! Since we’ve been focusing on InDesign for the past 2 weeks, why not some ID shortcuts? Yes? Good idea!


Many of the tools in InDesign I don’t use, but I’ll list them anyway. If there are no comments next to them, it’s a safe bet I haven’t found a need for them!

  • V=Move Tool Yay! One command that is similar in all the CS programs! This tool allows you to move objects about the canvas of your document.
  • P=Pen Tool This is very useful for adjusting the text wrap of an object. You can add more points to the default text wrap so that you can shape it into whatever suits your needs.
  • N=Pencil Tool
  • F=Rectangle Frame Tool
  • R=Rotate Tool
  • O=Shear Tool
  • I=Eyedropper Tool Sometimes I find this useful for matching color, but rarely. I always use Photoshop to figure out my color palette, write down the CMYK values and add them to my Swatches Palette as soon as I start working in InDesign.
  • B=Button Tool
  • H=Hand Tool allows you to move the canvas around on your screen. Just like in Photoshop, though, I never actually select this tool because there are numerous ways to toggle it while in other modes/tools. For example, most of the time you can just press the space bar. Obviously if you are in a text box typing, though, spacebar will to what it was made to do – give you a space. So when you’re typing, you can hold down Alt (Option) instead!
  • A=Direct Selection Tool is useful for repositioning the points on bounding boxes or text wraps. You can toggle this from the Pen Tool by holding Ctrl (Cmd).
  • T=Text Tool Well duh. I use this ALL the time! Not much to say about it, except that.
  • =Line Tool (Funny huh?) Don’t use this one much, but InDesign does have some nice stroke options.
  • M=Rectangle Tool is useful for creating mats for images
  • S=Scale Tool
  • E=Free Transform, I don’t even bother with the other transform tools (scale, shear, rotate) because this one does it all! This is the third most used tool by me. Fortunately, this is the same command as Illustrator (but Photoshop is Ctrl+T, which really makes more sense!)
  • G=Gradient
  • C=Scissor
  • Z=Zoom You should know from reading my other Photoshop shortcuts post that this is another one of those tools you never need to select. You can toggle the zoom tool by holding down spacebar and Ctrl (Cmd) to zoom in and press Alt (Opt) if you want to zoom out. Easy cheesy!


InDesign Text Formatting IconJ=Switch between fill effects for your object/text box and the text itself. I’m always selecting the text box and clicking a color to change the text, but you can’t do that! That fills the text box with a color. I used to go click the itty bitty little text formatting button but that took up so much time! This is SO incredibly handy!

W=Preview mode. I always leave this on the first preview option. This is similar to hiding the extras in Photoshop, as it will show you what your page will look like without guides, margins and trim applied (so actual size of the page with the bleed area cut off). Very useful!

Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Y=Overprint Preview will show you a close to reality render of your document. Be careful though, this hogs a TON of resources (RAM and processor power) and will bog down even the fastest of machines!

Ctrl+D=Place allows you to add a linked object–images or text files–to the canvas. This is another command that is different in every CS program! In Illustrator, this command will Duplicate the last action, in Photoshop, this Deselects the current selection. Confused yet? Try learning Maya 3D and switching between that and Photoshop!

Ctrl+Shift+D=Links Palette, great for quick updating of linked files. I always keep this palette in the panel area on the right edge of my screen anyway.

This is the final installment on the InDesign series. The articles included InDesign basics, Master Pages, Paragraph and Character Styles, and InDesign Layers–the keys to really start unlocking InDesign’s power.

Now I know that’s not everything. What shortcuts do you use most often?

P.S. Subscribe to the feed to get your FREE handy dandy PDF of the Photoshop shortcuts from previous Shortcut Shindigs! Also check out Illustrator shortcuts.

Do you need more help with InDesign? Feel free to leave a comment below, contact me or head over to and sign up for their InDesign Tutorials. It’s only $25/mo for unlimited access! This is a resource I use myself and I highly recommend it. You can get a free 7 day pass to, now too! Just follow that link.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please use them in an effort to Support Creative Curio. Thanks!