Learning shortcuts is an excellent way to improve the efficiency of your workflow. Rather than provide a long list of all the InDesign shortcuts, I have picked out a useful selection that you can learn as a starting point. Try to practice with a couple of these every week and you’ll be producing knockout InDesign documents in no time!

For further reading, I have written companion posts for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and macOS.

General Tricks

magic wand icon

Action Mac Win
Temp select Hand Tool: Spacebar Spacebar
Zoom In/Out: Command + +/- Ctrl + +/-
Go to previous/next spread: Option + Page Up/Down Alt + Page Up/Down
Select all guides: Option + Command + G Alt + Ctrl + G
Paste in Place: Command + Option + Shift + V Shift + Ctrl + Alt + V
Cycle through open documents: Command + Tab Ctrl + Tab
Duplicate object Hold Option + Drag Hold Alt + Drag

Tools

cursor icon

Action Mac Win
Add Anchor Point = =
Delete Anchor Point
Convert Direction Point Shift + C Shift + C
Type T T
Type on a Path Shift + T Shift + T
Pencil N N
Line \ \
Rectangle Frame F F
Rectangle M M
Ellipse L L
Rotate R R
Scale S S
Shear O O
Free Transform E E
Eyedropper I I
Measure K K
Gradient G G
Scissors C C
Hand H H
Temp. select Hand Hold Spacebar Hold Spacebar
Zoom Z Z
Toggle Fill & Stroke X X
Swap Fill & Stroke colours Shift + X Shift + X
Apply Colour , ,
Apply Gradient . .
Apply No Colour / /
Toggle Preview Mode W W
Gradient Feather Tool Shift + G Shift+ G

Selection / Movement

movement icon

Action Mac Win
Move selection Arrow keys Arrow keys
Duplicate Option + Drag Alt + Drag
Temp. use different selection tool Hold Cmd Hold Ctrl
Move by 1/10 unit Cmd + Shift + Arrow Ctrl + Shift + Arrow
Move by x10 unit Shift + Arrow Shift + Arrow

Transforming

scale icon

Action Mac Win
Decrease scale by 1% Command + , Ctrl + ,
Decrease scale by 5% Command + Option + , Ctrl + Alt + ,
Increase scale by 1% Command + . Ctrl + .
Increase scale by 5% Command + Option + . Ctrl + Alt + .
Resize Frame & Content Cmd + Drag Ctrl + Drag
Resize Frame & Content Proportionally Shift + Command + Drag Shift + Ctrl + Drag
Constrain Proportion Shift + Drag Shift + Drag

Working with Tables

table icon

Action Mac Win
Move to next cell Tab Tab
Move to previous cell Shift + Tab Shift + Tab
Move to first cell in column Option + Page Up Alt + Page Up
Move to last cell in column Option + Page Down Alt + Page Down
Move to first cell in row Option + Home Alt + Home
Move to last cell in row Option + End Alt + End
Move up/down one cell Up/Down Arrow Up/Down Arrow
Move left/right one cell Left/Right Arrow Left/Right Arrow
Select cell above/below Shift + Up/Down Arrow Shift + Up/Down Arrow
Select cell left/right Shift + Left/Right Arrow Shift + Left/Right Arrow
Toggle between text/cell selection Esc Esc
Insert Rows Command + 9 Ctrl + 9
Insert Columns Command + Option + 9 Ctrl + Alt + 9

Working with Type

type icon

Action Mac Win
Bold Shift + Cmd + B Shift + Ctrl + B
Italic Shift + Cmd + I Shift + Ctrl + I
Normal Shift + Cmd + Y Shift + Ctrl + Y
Underline Shift + Cmd + U Shift + Ctrl + U
Strikethrough Ctrl + Shift + Cmd + / Shift + Ctrl + /
All Caps Shift + Cmd + K Shift + Ctrl + K
Superscript Shift + Cmd + + Shift + Ctrl + +
Subscript Shift + Option + Cmd + + Shift + Alt + Ctrl + +
Align Left, Right or Centre Shift + Cmd + L, R, or C Shift + Ctrl + L, R, or C
Justify all lines Shift + Cmd + F Shift + Ctrl + F
Justify all but last line Shift + Cmd + J Shift + Ctrl + J
Increase/Decrease point size Shift + Cmd + >/< Shift + Ctrl + >/<
Increase/Decrease point size x5 Shift + Cmd + Option + >/< Shift + Ctrl + Alt + >/<
Increase/Decrease leading Option + Right/Left Arrow Alt + Up/Down Arrow
Increase/Decrease leading x5 Option + Cmd + Up/Down Arrow Alt + Ctrl + Up/Down Arrow
Auto Leading Shift + Option + Cmd + A Shift + Alt + Ctrl + A
Increase/Decrease kerning and tracking Option + Left/Right Arrow Alt + Left/Right Arrow
Insert Em Dash Option + Shift + – Alt + Shift + –
Insert En Dash Option + – Alt + –
Insert Double Left Quotation Marks Option + [ Alt + [
Insert Double Right Quotation Marks Option + Shift + [ Alt + Shift + [
Insert Single Left Quotation Mark Option + ] Alt + ]
Insert Single Right Quotation Mark Option + Shift + ] Alt + Shift + ]
Create Outlines Shift + Cmd + O Shift + Ctrl + O

Text Navigation and Selection

text input icon

Action Mac Win
Move to right/left by one character Right/Left Arrow Right/Left Arrow
Move up/down one line Up/Down Arrow Up/Down Arrow
Move to right/left by one word Command + Right/Left Arrow Ctrl + Right/Left Arrow
Move to start/end of line Home/End Home/End
Move to previous/next paragraph Cmd + Up/Down Arrow Ctrl + Up/Down Arrow
Select one word Double click Double click
Select one character Shift + Right/Left Arrow Shift + Right/Left Arrow
Select one line above/below Shift + Up/Down Arrow Shift + Up/Down Arrow
Select start/end of line Shift + Home/End Shift + Home/End
Select paragraph Triple click Triple click
Select current line Shift + Command + \ Shift + Ctrl + \