• How to...

tips_n_tricks.jpgInDesign Tricks and Tips

This blog post includes tricks and tips to help you use InDesign in the most effective way possible.  These are just the sort of time saving tips that we include on our InDesign training courses.

  • Quick PDFs

When outputting to PDF, it's always advisable to use one of the PDF pre-sets, whether that's for hi-res final output or just a quick lo-res PDF to send as an e-mail attachment.

If you find yourself repeatedly using the same pre-set but don't need to see the detail every time, try this time saving trick:

Go to the File menu and hold the SHIFT key down when choosing the appropriate pre-set from the 'Adobe PDF Presets' sub-menu.

After naming the file and choosing where to save it, the PDF will be output straightaway. This also works when printing pages.

Alternatively, if you do need to see the details of the pre-set but need to output multiple PDFs to the same spec, use the required pre-set once in the normal way, then for all subsequent PDFs use the shortcut: command-e. This allows you to export to PDF using the previously used settings without having to go through the File and PDF pre-set menus.

  • Linking Text Boxes

When creating linked columns of text, there are various keyboard shortcuts than can save you time:

  • Hold the ALT key when clicking the overset symbol then continue to hold as you draw new text boxes. Each new box will automatically be linked without the need to keep picking-up the overset text every time.

When placing text in continuous linked columns, use the following keys to automate the process:

  • SHIFT + ALT click to automatically fill all available pages in the document.
  • SHIFT click fills all available pages and creates new pages as neccessary to accommodate all the text.

These shortcuts work when placing text using the PLACE command (FILE menu) and when picking-up and placing overset text.

  • Selecting Text

Selecting to the beginning or end of a text string. This is useful for multiple page documents with linked columns of text and for selecting all text in a text box as well as overset text.

Insert the flashing cursor into the text at the point you wish to start the selection. Hold the SHIFT key and press the 45 degree left-pointing arrow key on the keyboard to select from your cursor position to the end of the text string, including the overmatter.

Hold the SHIFT key and press the 45 degree left-pointing arrow key on your keyboard to select from your cursor position to the start of the text string.

Don't forget, use the Type Tool and double-click a word to select the whole word, tripcle-click to select the line, 4 clicks to select a paragraph and 5 clicks selects all the text in that box / string.

  • Working with Duplicate Windows

There are certain situations when being able to view different parts of the same document at the same time, can be useful and save you time. For example, when monitoring the knock-on effects of text wraps and layout changes, checking cross-references and for other tasks such as creating and checking a manually created Contents page.

Use the WINDOW menu, then ARRANGE and NEW WINDOW to see two different parts of the same document at the same time. Arrange the windows side by side using the TILE command (Window/Arrange menu).

  • Layers

  • To select all objects on a specific layer, ALT click the layer name in the Layers Panel.
  • To select all objects on additional layers, SHIFT+ALT click a layer name.
  • Clicking the eye icon in the Layers Panel will hide that layer - ALT-click the eye icon to keep that layer visible but hide all other layers.
  • ALT-clicking the lock box in a layer will keep that layer active but lock all other layers.


Mark Bracey