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  • Writer's picturefranziskatrilse

The 5 most important InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

The 5 most important InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts for beginners

Are you just starting out with Adobe InDesign, and you are already feeling overwhelmed? This is so common - the software is incredible, and once you learn all the different tools and features, it is one of the most useful Adobe programs. But getting there can be tough - I have spent years working in Adobe InDesign every day, taking courses, watching every tutorial and learning the hard way. Now I teach at colleges in Toronto, and offer individualized custom InDesign Training for businesses and individuals.

Let me summarize a few useful tips for you here, so that you don't have to learn the hard way. While you are working in InDesign you are able to press different keys on your keyboard to trigger specific functionalities in the application - this includes changes to the view and interface, as well as switching to specific tools. Here are my favourite InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts for beginners, that will help you improve your InDesign workflow.

1) w - toggle in and out of presentation view

This is by far my most used key while I am working in InDesign. Whenever you are working in the InDesign interface, you will notice many colourful lines going across your white page. These are guides within the program that show you your margins and are very useful tools for alignment. However, these purple and blue lines can be distracting while you are trying to design. By hitting the W key on your keyboard, InDesign switches into presentation mode and allows you to view your designed page the way it will look when you export it - without any guides. Toggling in and out of this view is very helpful and something you want to get used to, if you will be working in this program for any length of time.

2) tab - show/hide tool bar

This is another very basic, and often overlooked keyboard shortcut. It may not be an absolutely crucial function that you use all the time, but it is definitely one that you may activate by accident and then spend a good 10-15 minutes trying to get your tool bar back on your screen.

3) cmd + (Mac) / ctrl + (Windows) - zooming in

cmd - (Mac) / ctrl - (Windows) - zooming out

When you are working in InDesign, you often need to zoom in and out of sections in order to get those details right. This keyboard shortcut makes that so much easier, and zooms in and out in equal increments. Personally, I really prefer this over a slider, and it's an easy shortcut to get used to.

4) v - selection tool

The selection tool is an absolutely crucial tool in Adobe InDesign. You may be familiar with this tool from other Adobe programs - this one is pretty consistent across their creative suite. This shortcut is one of my most used, because it is a great one to come back to, no matter what other tools you may be switching back and forth with.

5) i - eye dropper tool

This one is a bit of a recent discovery for me - but it's definitely a game changer when it comes to increasing your speed and efficiency in your design workflow. The eye dropper tool itself isn't something new, and it is certainly not unique to InDesign. But using the i-shortcut has made my design process so much faster! These days I am designing lots of quick digital graphics, and being able to grab a colour quickly from other assets or images has been so helpful.

And that's it - want even more shortcuts and tips?

So these are my favourite Adobe InDesign shortcuts for beginners. I hope they set you up nicely for those early InDesign days - and if you are looking for more advanced InDesign Shortcuts, I will share my favourite advanced shortcuts soon! Let me know what you think, and what your favourite keyboard shortcuts are in the comments below. And if you are ready to sign up for custom Adobe InDesign training, be sure to get in touch with me here. I love InDesign, and i love helping folks learn how to use the software effectively and efficiently for their business and work.


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