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Where Is This Keyboard Shortcut Hiding?

Chris wrote:

I’m hoping to add a keyboard shortcut for “Hide Master Page Items”, which is in the flyout menu on the Pages panel. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find “Hide Master Page Items” in the Shortcuts dialog box. Am I overlooking it?

This is a very common problem for people looking to add shortcuts to features in InDesign. In this case, I could just give you a fish (to feed you today) or teach you how to fish (to feed you forever).

Here’s a Fish

The quick answer is: When you’re looking for a shortcut for a feature that lives inside a panel menu, you’ll almost certainly find it by choosing Panel Menus from the Product Area pop-up menu. Plus, in some cases, when you’re looking for a “Hide” feature, you may instead find it listed as “Show”:

How to Fish for Keyboard Shortcuts

Okay, what if it’s not a panel menu feature? Where, then, should you look? The key is the Show Set button in the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. Click that and InDesign writes your current shortcut set to disk as an (ugly) text file and opens it in your default text editor (TextEdit or NotePad, probably). From here, you can easily use that program’s Find feature to find the feature… then scroll up the list until you see which Product Area its living in:

The Keyboard Shortcuts Plug-in

In my opinion, the best way to find and asisgn keyboard shortcuts is to skip the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box entirely and just use the free Keyboard Shortcuts plug-in from DTP Tools. With it, you can skip the whole “product area” problem entirely — just type a few letters of the feature you’re looking for into the blank field at the top and it will find it for you. It is the tool for power users who rely on shortcuts everyday:

(Note that the eagle eyed among you may notice a little bug in the above screen shot… it’s because I’m currently testing a beta version of a new “pro” version of this plug-in. It should be available sometime this summer.)

The Poster

Of course, no discussion of keyboard shortcuts would be complete without a mention of the super-duper InDesignSecrets Keyboard Shortcuts Poster! Of course, in this case, it wouldn’t help because the poster only shows shortcuts that are defined in the Default set. But if you’re looking for a feature that you know does have a shortcut, then the poster might be just the ticket.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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8 Comments on “Where Is This Keyboard Shortcut Hiding?

  1. You need to fix the installer for Keyboard Shortcuts (on the Mac, at least) so one can choose the disc on which it searches for copies of InDesign and InCopy. I had to unmount my back-up disc to stop the installer from searching nine months of back-ups.

    While I’m on the topic of DTP’s plug-ins: it is impossible to erase the footprint of Layer Groups (CS3) in a document except by saving to IDML. I reported this to DTP’s support last year.


  2. The Keyboard Shortcuts plug-in from DTP Tools appears to be having a problem. My InDesign CS3 seems to be using up 99% of the CPU in an infinite loop at:

    DTPToolsSocket::Receive(char*, int, int)

    This has only started happening today. Removing the DTP Tools folder from the plugins folder resolves the issue but I’m truly missing having the plugin!

  3. Hi,

    this issue is already fixed in the newest build. I’ll send it to you via e-mail (the installer should be online next week).

    Best regards,

    Jan Macuch
    DTP Tools

  4. Wow, that was fast!

    Jan’s fix worked perfectly and I’m happily short-cutting again.

    DTP Tools, you’re the best!

  5. 2 queries on the Keyboard shortcuts plugin:

    1. Is there a keyboard stroke to change focus from the search field or list of commands to the shortcuts list or add shortcut button? Or must one mouse?

    2. In the shortcut dialogue, is there a keyboard stroke for OK? (It seems like Return, Enter, and Space are all interpreted as new shortcut strokes.)

    I adore the plugin, but being the kind of person who prefers keyboard shortcuts, its frustrating to have to mouse!

  6. Scratch that first query.

    Tabbing works if the focus is already on the list of commands. If the focus is in the search field, the down arrow will get you to the list of commands, and you can tab from there.

    Still no keyboard stroke for adding a shortcut, but that’s a smaller inconvenience.

  7. THANK YOU for that explanation on how to find that elusive keyboard shortcut. Seems like every time I misshit a key, SWF interactive preview would pop up and interrupt my work. Been trying for ages to locate it…makes me incredibly grateful for my subscription to Indesignsecrets.

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