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Spring Loaded Tools in CS5

A relatively tiny new feature of InDesign CS5 that you might not have noticed yet is the inclusion of spring loaded tools. Spring loaded tools first made their appearance in discontinued Adobe LiveMotion and were also present in Photoshop CS4 (and CS5).

What are Spring Loaded Shortcuts?
When you are currently using a tool (like the selection tool) hold down the shortcut for another tool to temporarily switch to another tool and perform an action. When you release the shortcut you will be back to your original tool.

Some Quick Uses
Hold down F, draw a frame and you back to your selection too (if that is what you were using earlier)
Hold down T, draw a text frame
Hold down Z, zoom to what you need and back to editing
Hold down I, quickly grab a color with the eye dropper
Hold down U, change a gap with the new gap tool

At first it may seem like these shortcuts are not very useful, but I am already addicted to them. I had to use CS4 last week for a project and I was continuously was holding down the z key to zoom, but I was getting upset that the zoom tool was staying selected.

I should mention that the spring loaded tools obviously do not work when you are editing text (don’t worry, I tried by accident). Hopefully the rest of the Creative Suite applications add this functionality in future versions (particularly Illustrator). Let the CS6 countdown thread begin!

James Fritz
James graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2003. After a short stint designing catalogs he started working as a freelance designer for C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions. Soon he was promoted to a full time instructor/designer and subsequently become an Adobe Certified Instructor Design Master. Currently James is the Director of Content, Creative at where he is also an author.
James Fritz

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9 Comments on “Spring Loaded Tools in CS5

  1. ..the spring loaded tools obviously do not work when you are editing text..

    The obvious thing to check is “Can you redefine the keys?” :-D

  2. @Jongware: Yes, you can redefine the KBSCs assigned to the Tools, independently of the new Spring Loaded Shortcuts feature. To do so, choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts, then choose Tools from the Product Area pop-up menu. Then find the Tool you want to change the shortcut for in the list of Commands.

  3. Michael:

    … independently of the new Spring Loaded Shortcuts feature.

    Sure — but I meant the shortcuts for the Spring Loaded versions! I.e., change them to keys you can use while working with text.

  4. While using Type Tool, Use “escape” to return to Selection tool and use your needed shortcut as usual. Don’t practice with any other newly assigned shortcuts. Personally felt!

  5. Presumably everyone knows this, but: to temporarily bring up the zoom tool. hold down Apple + Space.

    I couldn’t function without this as I use it constantly.

  6. if anyone knows how to DISABLE this feature, please let me know. Its the most annoying thing when im done with a tool. i ought to be able to select a new tool by hitting the key. instead, it just goes back to the freaking previous tool! HOW Annoying to have to use the mouse to select the next tool for this lame feature to switch back to.

  7. @katehudson: Huh? The “spring-loaded” action should only happen if you hold down the key while you use the mouse, then let go of the key. If you just press the key, it should switch to the tool. You don’t have to use the mouse.

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