My Delete Key Stopped Working in InDesign
Okay, so here’s one that stumped me for a while today: the Delete/Backspace key stopped working in InDesign. Well, it worked when I was deleting text, but didn’t work to delete objects!
Yes, I quit and restarted. Didn’t help. No, I didn’t rebuild my preferences — though I would have if I hadn’t first figured out what had gone wrong. And man, was it embarrassing.
It suddenly occurred to me that I had had a little experience with the Delete key earlier in the day? in the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. If you’ve ever tried editing your keyboard shortcuts (and every InDesign user should), you know that you:
- Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts
- Choose a Product Area and then the feature you want to edit (here’s how to find the right product area)
- Click in the New Shortcut field and type the shortcut you want to use
- Click Assign or click OK in the dialog box
Well, at step 3, I picked a shortcut, noticed that it was assigned to something else, thought about it, gave up, hit the delete key to remove the shortcut from the New Shortcut dialog box, and clicked OK to close the dialog box.
Can you see the error here? When I hit the Delete/Backspace key, InDesign inserted that key into the field! Then when I clicked OK, it actually changed the action of that key — it took it off the “Clear” feature and assigned it to whatever I had selected in the list. All I can say is that I was moving too fast. Later, after I had forgotten all about it, I noticed the Delete key wasn’t doing anything. Well, it was: it was trying whatever I had assigned it to (which in this case wasn’t relevant, so nothing happened).
The solution: return to the keyboard shortcuts dialog box, select the product area Edit Menu, choose Clear, and assign Delete/Backspace to it again. Or, better, if you need to “clear” that New Shortcut field, hit the Cancel button instead!
Or is there some other way you know to clear it?
(In older versions, I believe the shortcut would not be applied unless you clicked Assign; in CS6 and CC it appears to apply it when you click OK, leading to this problem.)