Numeric Keypad for New MacBooks

As promised at the last IDUG, I’m writing a post about the nifty utility to turn on the numeric keypad on new MacBooks so that we can use keyboard shortcuts for styles in InDesign!

When I got my new MacBook Pro last year I was really worried about its lack of a numeric keypad. My old one had a superimposed keypad that you could access when holding down the FN key; the little numbers were actually written on the letter keys. For some reason Apple decided that people didn’t need that functionality any more and did away with it.

Well, if you work in InDesign all day long, you probably like to use keyboard shortcuts for your styles. And of course Adobe has programmed InDesign so that ONLY the numeric keypad can be used for styles for keyboard shortcuts. So if you get a new MacBook, and you do page layout, you’re stuck with no keyboard shortcuts for styles.

Or are you? Well, the second day I had my new laptop, I was on the phone with Applecare asking about this very issue. I had seen it coming, and the salespeople at the store didn’t have answers, but I was hoping someone at Applecare would. And perhaps it was my lucky day—in any case, the guy I was talking to happened to know of a free utility called KeyRemap4MacBook that will remap a new Macbook’s keys to act like the old ones, including the numeric keypad. You can control which keys to remap; I’ve set it to only enable the keypad, and let the other keys behave in their new ways; I could live with adjusting to them. I’ve been using it for many months now without any problems.

For reference, the keys you will be able to use for your numeric keypad will be FN+ the following:


Updated 7/29: David Blatner (Real World InDesign,  commented about how his plugin addresses this issue. Among many other things, the plugin allows you to use any key as a keyboard shortcut. View the post comments for more information.


2 Responses to Numeric Keypad for New MacBooks

  1. David Blatner July 29, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    That’s a great tip, Paul.
    I hope you’ll forgive this little plug, but I, too, have found it really frustrating that you can’t apply styles with any keyboard shortcut you want. That’s why I added that feature to the Blatner Tools plug-in ( You can only add 10 styles, but they work in all your documents (as long as you have the same style names across docs). It’s a start, at least!


  1. This Week in InDesign Articles, Number 64 | InDesignSecrets - August 5, 2011

    […] You bought a new MacBook and realized that there’s no numeric keypad on it?! Here’s a good solution. […]

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