Stop Those Stray w’s! Use a Custom Keyboard Shortcut

I frequently switch between InDesign’s Preview and Normal display modes. In Normal mode I prefer to have my hidden characters, frame edges, text threads, guides, and even sometimes baseline grids all visible. They all go away simply by switching to Preview mode, so I don’t have to turn them off individually. The bottommost button of the tool panel toggles between Normal and Preview, but if you like to switch between them often, you’ll want to use a keyboard shortcut. The default is “w.”

Many tools have keyboard shortcuts that are simply letters, requiring no modifier key. As a result, I find myself sometimes accidentally changing tools when I thought I was typing, or typing when I thought I was changing tools. For me, this most often happens with “w” because I switch between display modes so frequently. When my reviewer caught a couple stray w’s in a file I sent to them, I knew I had a problem on my hands.

I know I’m not the only one with this issue because I’ve seen  stray w’s in other people’s InDesign files too. When I brought this up at an IDUG meeting I saw a lot of people nodding their heads. So what’s the solution?

Make a custom keyboard shortcut set (Edit menu: keyboard shortcuts). If you haven’t already, make a new set; then go to the “Tools” product area. Go through all the tool commands and remove any that you’ve accidentally used. I add new shortcuts for frequently used tools using one or more of the modifier keys (Mac: cmd, ctrl, opt and or shift; Win: ctrl, alt, and/or shift).  On my Mac I use “ctrl+h” to switch between Normal View and Preview Mode; it makes sense to me because I’m using it to hide everything all at once, but “cmd+h” is already used by the system to hide the application.

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