Tuesday, February 1, 2011

InDesign Object Effect Shortcut - No Drop Shadow

Ever apply an effect in InDesign like a drop shadow, inner shadow, or glow by using a keyboard shortcut? Well, then you're probably familiar with this common problem Adobe has never addressed in any version of InDesign, even before CS1!

For some reason, the default shortcut for an object effect is the Drop Shadow property by hitting command option M. Did Adobe assume that everyone would want drop shadows on everything therefore making it the default? Or was it that engineer's life long dream to force drop shadows upon every designer who's just looking for quick access to an effect menu? Or is it just simply that the drop shadow effect is the most popular and therefore deserves the default setting?

The answer is none of the above. The problem with the current state of the shortcut is that it automatically applies the drop shadow effect to the object. If the user wants any other effect, they have to first turn off the drop shadow, then turn on the desired effect. It's always a two step process (god forbid we have 1 extra click right?).

But what happens when you want a different effect than a drop shadow, and still want to use a shortcut? Well, if you were to change the shortcut, Adobe gives you a list of effects to choose from, in turn, just changing your default effect to let's say an outer glow instead of a drop shadow, but still automatically applying the effect. Obviously, this doesn't change the root issue.

The solution is a shortcut that opens up the Effects dialog box without automatically applying any effect at all. In a perfect world, it would be a button or menu item that opens up the dialog box, e.g. "Effects…". This solution would provide the user with all the effect options without forcing automatic application. Adobe does not provide this for the user.

But there is a workaround!

For the Effects dialog box to appear without automatically applying any effects to the object, assign the keyboard shortcut to the top item, Transparency. This will allow the user to choose which effect they desire and it eliminates the turn off, turn on process. So there you go! Of course you can customize this shortcut to whatever you want, it doesn't have to be the command option M, hell, you could keep the default drop shadow shortcut and just add your own to the transparency setting, go nuts.

Hope this helps anyone in their quest for InDesign keyboard shortcut domination. Enjoy!


Karen Johnson said...

Hey, do u have some indesign lessons in videos? I just found this http://writertown.com/how-to-turn-a-blog-reader-into-a-blog-subscriber/ but here is not enough.

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