June 26, 2019

Graphic Designers spend loads of type formatting type! It's essential to be able to work efficiently and knowing the right InDesign shortcuts will save you a tonne of time and make it more fun to work with type.

Check out the video tutorial to watch Martin demonstrate all 20 InDesign CC 2019 shortcuts! 

This is the first part of a two-part series, the video above starts with the essentials you will use every single day. If you enjoy the tutorial or this post watch out for part 2 coming very soon! 

Below we have included the first 12 of 20 shortcuts ready for you to learn and try out! We have also included links to some useful sites at the bottom of this post. Just keep scrolling.

indesign shortcuts woman working working files

InDesign Shortcuts

Here goes...

1. Jump words

- Cmd/Ctrl + Left/Right arrow

Jump left and right between singular words within the text you have selected in a text frame.

2. Jump whole paragraphs

- Cmd/Ctrl + Up/Down arrow

Quickly jump between paragraphs of text within a text frame you have selected.

3. Jump to end/beginning of line

- Home/End

You might not have used them much before but you use the the Home & End buttons to jump from the beginning to the end of a selected sentence.  

4. Select characters

-Shift+Left/Right arrow

Use this shortcut to select individual characters in a sentence. Perfect if you need to be very precise and much easier than using a mouse.

5. Select words

- Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Left/Right arrow

Use this shortcut to select whole words in a sentence. The right and left arrow keys allow you to select or deselect single words very easily. 

6. Select Lines

- Shift+Up/Down arrow

If you need select more than a few words you can select lines in a Paragraph using this shortcut. Don't forget for these shortcuts to work you need to have a text frame selected!

7. Select paragraphs

- Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Up/Down arrow

Save even more time if you need to select 2/3 paragraphs! 

8. Select by clicking

If you fancy a break from using the keyboard you can also select text using clicks of the mouse!

  • 2 clicks - to select a word
  • 3 clicks - for a line 
  • 4 clicks - select the paragraph

9. Select/deselect all 

- Cmd/Ctrl + A, Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + A

This shortcut will select all the text in the selected frame. Especially useful if you have connected or threaded frames which span over more than one page. Which can be very tricky to highlight with a mouse.

10. Formatting Text

Check out these handy shortcuts for changing the style of your text without having to use the InDesign interface. We promise these will save a tonne of time!

  1. Italic Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I
  2. Bold Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+B
  3. Underlined Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U
  4. Regular Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Y

11. Alignment

Once you have selected a paragraph why not use the shortcuts below to change its alignment?

  1. Left Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+L
  2. Right Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+R
  3. Center Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+C
  4. Justified Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+J
  5. Fully Justified Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+F

12. Size

- Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+ </> 

To quickly change the size of the text you currently have selected. Include the alt/option key to increase the size of the text faster.


We hope you enjoyed learning the first 12 of our 20 essential InDesign shortcuts.

For the full list check out the full video tutorial and make sure you have a pen and paper to hand! 

It might take a little practise but you will quickly pick up this set of shortcuts and wonder how you used to live without them! Being able to quickly change the weight/style or a typeface without using the properties panel really speeds up your working time.

indesign shortcuts learning- student-write-notes-from-laptop

Type Resources!

If you are really interested in Typography and improving your knowledge of type/letter forms we know of some great sites you might like to try out!

  1. Shortcut Foo - The ultimate way to learn Keyboard shortcuts.
  2. The Kern Game - Master the art of Kerning 
  3. Typewolf - Discover what's trending in type
  4. I Shot the Serif - Identify the difference between Serif & San Serif fonts

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this post, found it useful and want to learn even more about working with type in InDesign.

Keep an eye out for the the second instalment of this 2 part tutorial coming very soon! 

About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas. Passionate about developing creative connections, learning and sharing new design skills/techniques and following new trends and technological updates within the industry she now works at Yes I'm A Designer as our Digital Marketing Manager.

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