Customize menus and keyboard shortcuts

Customize menus

Hiding and colorizing menu commands is a way to remove menu clutter and emphasize commands you frequently use. Note that hiding menu commands simply removes the menu command from view; it doesn’t disable any features. At any time, you can view hidden commands by selecting the Show All Menu Items command at the bottom of a menu, or you can choose Window > Workspace > Show Full Menus to show all the menus for the selected workspace. You can include customized menus in workspaces you save.

You can customize the main menu, context menus, and panel menus. Context menus appear when you right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) an area. Panel menus appear when you click the icon in the upper right of a panel.


If you select a different workspace, such as Typography, some menu commands are hidden. To display menu commands, choose Show All Menu Items at the bottom of the menu, or choose a different workspace, such as Advanced.

Create a custom menu set

  1. Choose Edit > Menus.

    You cannot edit the default menu set.

  2. Click Save As, type the name of the menu set, and click OK.
  3. From the Category menu, choose Application Menus or Context & Panel Menus to determine which menus are customized.
  4. Click the arrows to the left of the menu categories to display subcategories or menu commands. For each command you want to customize, click the eye icon under Visibility to show or hide the command; click None under Color to select a color from the menu.
  5. Click Save, and then click OK.

Select a custom menu set

  1. Choose Edit > Menus.

  2. Choose the menu set from the Set menu, and then click OK.

Edit or delete a custom menu set

  1. Choose Edit > Menus.

  2. Choose the menu set from the Set menu, and then do one of the following:
    • To edit a menu set, change the visibility or color of menu commands, click Save, and then click OK.

    • To delete a menu set, click Delete and then click Yes. If you’ve modified the menu set without saving it, you’re prompted to save the current menu set. Click Yes to save the menu set, or click No to discard changes.

Show hidden menu items

  • Choose Window > Workspace > Show Full Menus. This command turns on all menus for the selected workspace. You can hide the menus again by resetting the workspace.
  • Choose Show All Menu Items at the bottom of the menu that includes hidden commands.

Holding down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) and clicking a menu name temporarily displays any menu commands you’ve hidden by customizing menus.

Missing menu commands

If you can’t find a menu command, it may be hidden. If you select a workspace other than Advanced, some menu commands are hidden. It’s also possible that you or someone else used the Menus command to hide menu items.

If you can’t find a command you’re looking for, try any of these techniques:

  • Choose Show All Menu Items at the bottom of the menu.

  • Choose Window > Workspace > Show Full Menus.

  • Choose Window > Workspace, and select a different workspace (Advanced shows all menu items).

  • Choose Edit > Menus, locate the menu command, and make sure it isn’t hidden.

If menu commands are still missing, try restoring preferences.

Use keyboard shortcut sets

Tool tips provide an instantaneous reference for shortcuts. InDesign also provides a shortcut editor in which you can view and generate a list of all shortcuts, and edit or create your own shortcuts. The shortcut editor includes all the commands that accept shortcuts, but some of these commands are undefined in the Default shortcut set.

You can also associate keyboard shortcuts with paragraph or character styles (see Add paragraph and character styles) or scripts.

Change the active shortcut set

  1. If you want the shortcut set to be active for all documents, make sure that no documents are open.
  2. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  3. Select a shortcut set in the Set menu. For example, select Shortcuts for QuarkXPress® 4.0.
  4. Click OK.

View shortcuts

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. For Set, select a shortcut set.
  3. For Product Area, select the area containing the commands you want to view.
  4. From Commands, select a command. The shortcut is displayed in the Current Shortcut section.

Generate a list of shortcuts for printing

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. For Set, select a shortcut set.
  3. Click Show Set.

A text file opens with all current and undefined shortcuts for that set.

Create a new shortcut set

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. Click New Set.

  3. Type a name for the new set, select a shortcut set in the Based On Set menu, and click OK.

Create or redefine a shortcut

  1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

  2. For Set, select a shortcut set or click New Set to create a new shortcut set.


    You cannot edit the Default or the QuarkXPress shortcut sets. Instead, create a new set based on one of these sets, and then edit the new set.

  3. For Product Area, select the area containing the command you want to define or redefine.
  4. In the Commands list, select the command that you want to define or redefine.
  5. In the New Shortcut box, press the keys for your new keyboard shortcut. If the key sequence is currently being used for another command, InDesign displays that command under Current Shortcuts. You can choose to change the original shortcut also, or try another shortcut.

    Do not assign single-key shortcuts to menu commands, because they interfere with the typing of text. If an insertion point is active when you type a single-key shortcut, InDesign activates the keyboard shortcut instead of inserting the character in the text.

  6. In the Context list, select the context in which you want the keyboard shortcut to function. The context ensures that the shortcut performs the way you intended. For example, you can assign Ctrl+G to merge table cells (Table context) and Ctrl+G to insert special characters (Text context).

    Assign shortcuts in the Default context when you want them to function regardless of the current state of the document. Shortcuts you assign in other contexts, such as Table or Text, override shortcuts assigned in the Default context.

  7. Do one of the following:
    • Click Assign to create a new shortcut where none currently exists.

    • Click Assign to add another shortcut to a command. Menu commands can have multiple keyboard shortcuts.

  8. Click OK to close the dialog box, or click Save to keep the dialog box open while you enter more shortcuts.

Copying keyboard shortcut sets

Keyboard shortcut sets (*.indk) are saved in two locations. The application preset shortcuts appear in the Presets folder in the main application folder. The shortcut sets you create appear in the Shortcut Sets folder in the following locations:

Windows XP

Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\[version]\[language]InDesign Shortcut Sets

Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 10

Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\[Version]\[Language]\InDesign Shortcut Sets

Mac OS

Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/[version]/[language]/InDesign Shortcut Sets

If you created a keyboard shortcut set on one computer and want to use it on a different computer, copy the *.indk file to the same location on the other computer.

You can move a keyboard set from the custom location to the application folder. Doing so makes the custom shortcuts available to all the users sharing a computer. However, make sure that you do not have two sets with the same name, one in each place. Make sure that the application keyboard sets and the custom sets have different names.


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