Keyboard Shortcuts and Quick Apply

When working with paragraph or character styles you might want to consider using a keyboard shortcut or other methods to apply specific styles to text.

There are at least two methods you could use. The first is using Quick Apply. Select your text (or object) and hit  Command-Return (Windows: Ctrl-Enter) to open the Quick Apply window. This list will have all your character, paragraph, object, table, cell styles, as well as menu commands, scripts, variables and conditions (much more than we’ll cover in this class). You can choose to show your hide the items that you don’t use to shorten the list.

With the window open you begin typing what you are looking for. So if I wanted to apply the bullet paragraph style to my selected text I would hit  Command-Return and then start tying “bullets” and I’ll see the options narrowing down until the Bullets style is showing. A quick hit of the return will apply that style to my selected text and the window goes away.


Method number 2 is to assign a keyboard shortcut to a paragraph or character style directly in the Paragraph (or chacter) Style Options box.  You must have a numeric keyboard to use this option.

In the Options window, click in the Shortcut box, hold down Shift (Windows) or Command (Mac OS), and press a number (like 9)  on the numeric keypad of your keyboard. (InDesign requires the use of a modifier key for style shortcuts.) Note that in Windows the Num Lock key on the keypad must be down to create or apply style shortcuts.

Also be sure to select Apply Style To Selection or the style is not automatically applied to the text you formatted.

To apply the style, select the text and then hit the number on your numeric keypad and the style should apply itself. (Make sure your Num Lock is on.)


For me, using the keyboard doesn’t really have a place in my workflow unless I can do it with my left hand. My right hand is always on my mouse so its faster to find the paragraph styles panel and click. I also don’t have a numbers lock on my keyboard—I normally use a lap top with a bluetooth keyboard but I don’t have the 10-key addition because I don’t work with numbers.

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.
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