You can quickly make a copy of an object in Adobe InDesign simply by holding Command + Option + Shift and hitting any of the arrow keys on your keyboard. Depending on which arrow key you hit, the copied object will move one pixel in that direction. You could copy (Command + C) and paste-in-place (Command + Option + Shift + V), but that requires two different sets of keyboard shortcuts to use.
If you haven’t used Styles in Adobe Photoshop, you’re missing out on a simple way to add visual styles to objects quickly. If you have used them, the following tip may make applying them quicker. Rather than selecting the layer you want to apply the style to, then clicking the particular style from the Styles panel, try dragging the style from the Styles panel and dropping it on the object in your Photoshop document you wish to apply it to. Why is this quicker? Because you don’t have to worry about which layer is active. You can drag a style to anything on any layer, not just the current active layer.
If you generally print a lot of PDF files at a time, it can be tedious to open each file individually and deal with the print dialog box for each file. Thankfully, OSX provides you with a faster way. Open the Print & Fax preference pane from OSX’s System Preferences icon in your Dock and select the printer you’d like to use to print the PDF files. Once the printer is selected, drag it to your desktop, which will create a Desktop Printer.Now, when you’re ready to print your PDF files, simply drag & drop them all on the newly created Desktop Printer icon and a printer dialog box will open and allow you to print the files. The great part of this tip is that neither Preview nor Acrobat Reader will open in order to do the work. This tip works with all file types, except that PDFs are the only file type that doesn’t require the host application to actually open in order to print.
When you have a Photoshop document that contains many layers and layer effects, it can sometimes take longer than you want to open. That’s the price you pay for convenience. But there are certain times when you simply want to save the PSD file for use on the Web or for another use that doesn’t require the added file size and convenience of the layers. You could open the file normally, then flatten the image via the Layers panel flyout menu, but that’s too much work. Instead, try this tip. You can open a flattened version of your layered Photoshop file simply by holding down the Option and Shift keys while double clicking the file in the Finder, or opening it from the Open menu in Photoshop. Note: In some rare cases, Photoshop may pop-open a dialog box asking if you wish to use the composite data. Just hit OK and let it open. I’m not sure why it does this, but I’ve found that it usually happens on older Photoshop files.
While I don’t consider it a big deal, I thought I would mention that Adobe has removed a few items from Photoshop CS4 that were found in CS3 and earlier, as well as changed some keyboard shortcuts. Extract, Pattern Maker, Web Photo Gallery, Contact Sheet, Picture Package and PDF Presentation have all been removed from the default installation of Photoshop. The latter four have been replaced by the Output module in Bridge CS4. Several of the CS3 optional plugins have also gone missing, but you can download them here. The plugins include:
- Bigger Tiles
- Force VM Compression
- Force VM Buffering
- Overscroll Always
- Overscroll Floating Windows
- Texture Fill
- Unlimited Clipboard Size
- Unlimited Preview Size
You may also notice that Command + 1 now resets the view to 100%, making it consistent with other Creative Suite tools. You can see a larger list of keyboard shortcut changes at John Nack’s blog. There are very good reasons for the keyboard shortcut changes, but John also provides a link in the article to download a plug-in to switch the commands back on a few of them. That being said, I would avoid using it because it most likely won’t work forever, so you might as well get used to the new commands.
One of my favorite features of Leopard (OSX 10.5) is Quick Look. Normally, selecting a file in the Finder and hitting the Spacebar invokes a small Quick Look window with a preview of your file. If you need a larger view of the file, you normally have to drag the corner to make the Quick Look window larger. But hitting Command + Option + Y will automatically open your Quick Look preview in full screen mode.
Reader RhymingDesigner sent me a great tip for arranging the order in which OSX displays files using Quick Look that I thought was pretty cool, so I thought I would share it with everyone. You can force Quick Look to display files in a desired order by Command + clicking on files in the Finder in the order you want to view them before hitting the space bar to launch Quick Look. Quick Look will then display the images in the order you clicked on them, rather than the order in which they appear in the Finder window. In the image above, I Command + clicked the stickynotes image first, then the other two files. So even though the Pages document is first in the folder listing, the stickynotes image appears first in Quick Look. Pretty cool!
Keyboard shortcuts save so much time and repetitive action. Rather than wasting clicks adjusting the kerning/tracking in the Type panel in Adobe Illustrator, try using the keyboard shortcuts: Option + Left or Right Arrow Keys = Increase or decrease kerning/tracking Command + Option + Q = Resets both kerning and tracking to zero
Everyone knows you can revert to the default colors (no fill, black stroke) in Adobe InDesign color panel simply by hitting the D key. Here are a few more helpful shortcuts to file away in your mental rolodex.
- D = Revert to default colors
- X = Switch between fill and stroke
- Shift + X = Swap the fill and stroke colors
- / = Change the fill or stroke color to [None]
- J = Switches application of color formatting to frame or text
By the way, you can only use these shortcuts when you do NOT have the type tool active in a selected text frame. That’s probably obvious, but I thought I would point it out just in case.
Rather than making a trip to the toolbar in Adobe InDesign to switch between the Selection tool and Direct Selection tool, simply double-click a graphic frame to switch Selection tools quickly. When you’re done, you can double-click the frame again to switch back to the Selection tool you previously had active. Another timesaver for those times when you want to edit a placed graphic: rather than going to the links panel and clicking the edit icon, simply hold the Option key down and double-click the graphic you wish to edit. The graphic will open in the application used to create it. I use the heck out of this shortcut!