October 3, 2023

How to typeset in InDesign using shortcuts

Trying to find out how to typeset in InDesign? These InDesign keyboard shortcuts for typesetting save time and boost productivity.

How to typeset in InDesign using shortcuts

Being an InDesign shortcut master doesn’t just boost your geek status. It boosts productivity and saves time.

Out of everything we do, we graphic designers spend most of our time formatting type. From logos to magazines, there will be text needing a designer’s touch. Knowing a variety of InDesign shortcuts — particularly how to typeset in InDesign using copy format shortcuts — is an essential step to working more efficiently. But who has the time spare to read through all of Adobe’s default keyboard shortcuts?

In this blog post, we’ve saved you even more time by pulling together our top type-related InDesign shortcuts for Apple keyboards, starting with ten basics, before moving on to ten more advanced examples.

Basic typesetting shortcuts for InDesign

1. How to move between words and paragraphs

Words: Command + Left OR Right arrow

Paragraphs: Command + Up OR Down arrow

Need to move accurately between words and paragraphs? This InDesign shortcut allows you to flow through text to your heart’s content within the selected text frame.

2. How to select a single character or line

Character: Shift + Left OR Right arrow

Line: Shift + Up OR Down arrow

If you’re needing a more precise approach to your selection processes, use this InDesign shortcut to select individual characters. For the whole line, use the up or down arrows instead.

3. How to select a whole word or paragraph

Word: Command + Shift + Left OR Right arrow

Paragraph: Command + Shift + Up OR Down arrow

By using different combinations of arrow keys, you can pick out single words or several paragraphs at a time. Don’t forget to select the text frame before using this InDesign shortcut (the same applies for all others, too).

4. How to select text by clicking

One word: 2 x clicks

One line: 3 x clicks

One paragraph: 4 x clicks

Keep clicking the mouse too many times when trying to select a word? Remember the above and you’ll never twitch frantically on your mouse again.

5. How to spellcheck

Command + I

Avoid embarrassing spelling mistakes with InDesign’s spellcheck. You can pre-select text to only check that section or have nothing selected to go through the whole document.

6. How to  alter type size

Command + Shift + < OR >

Quickly change the type size of selected text using this InDesign shortcut. This will increase / decrease size by two points, or include the ‘Alt’ key to for an even larger scale.

7. How to format text

Italic: Command + Shift + I

Bold: Command + Shift + B

Underlined: Command + Shift + U

Regular: Command + Shift + Y

These InDesign shortcuts allow you to change the style of your text without a single click, collectively saving a tonne of time. Remember: they will only work if the font family you’re working in has the listed weights.

8. How to change alignment

Left: Command + Shift + L

Right: Command + Shift + R

Centre: Command + Shift + C

Justified: Command + Shift + J

Fully justified: Command + Shift + F

With this next InDesign shortcut, easily switch between paragraph alignments after selecting your chosen text.

9. How to align to the baseline grid

Command + Option + Up arrow + G

When typesetting large amounts of text, you’re going to need a baseline grid. Quickly align copy to your desired baseline grid with this InDesign shortcut.

10. How to find and replace

Command + F

When you’re trying to find a single word or need to replace a group of words (for example: if you spot you’ve been spelling ‘typesetting’ wrong throughout a blog post), this handy InDesign shortcut is a must-know. You can even change the character and paragraph styles of selected text.

Advanced typesetting shortcuts for InDesign

Already feeling more confident with your InDesign copy formatting shortcuts? We hope you found the basics above helpful. But, if you’re ready to add a bunch more to your toolbox, here’s where to start.

1. How to alter the kerning

Option + Left OR Right arrow

Kerning is the individual space between characters in a word. To adjust this, simply click between two characters and use the above shortcut to move the letters closer or further away from its neighbour.

2. How to adjust tracking

Command + Option + Left OR Right arrow

When a whole word needs tracking, use this keyboard combination to adjust the tracking of the selected text.

3. How to increase or decrease leading

Option + Up OR Down arrow

Leading refers to the space between lines of copy. By adjusting the leading appropriately, it can improve readability. ‘Up’ pushes the lines of text closer together by two points, while ‘down’ pushes them apart by the same amount.

4. How to align text to the baseline

Option + Shift + Up OR Down arrow

All text sits on an invisible line called the ‘baseline’. This InDesign shortcut moves selected text higher or lower in relation to that invisible line.

5. How to toggle hyphenation

Command + Option + Shift + H

This shortcut toggles the hyphenation setting on and off. It can’t be applied to individual words, though — instead, it affects the full paragraph, even when only one word has been selected.

6. How to show special characters

Command + Option + I

This setting gives a visible icon for special characters that are otherwise invisible, such as spaces and paragraphs. Showing these characters is a great way to spot any double spaces or unwanted breaks in the text.

7. How to create a soft return or forced line break

Shift + Enter

Want to split text across two lines but don’t want to create a new paragraph? This InDesign shortcut is the one for you.

8. Switch between text and frame panel

Select text frame box + J

An underrated InDesign shortcut that enables you to switch between Frame Attributes and Text Attributes after selecting a text frame box. This is tremendously helpful for when you need to edit text after changing the frame’s background colour, and vice versa.

9. How to add a marker for the current page number

Command + Option + Shift + N

Need a marker to show current page number? Skip the several clicks to open the Special Character panel and add them in a few seconds.

10. How to outline text

Command + Option + Shift + O

Outlining text is a handy InDesign hack when creating a large format piece, or to avoid font errors at printing stage. But don’t forget to keep a live text version — no one wants to start an InDesign typesetting project from scratch if lost.

Now you know how to typeset in InDesign!

Well, it’s official: you’re now an InDesign typesetting shortcut whizz. If you’re looking to outsource some of your graphic design work, we’re always happy to help at Transform Digital.

Get in touch today and speak with one of our friendly team.


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