10 Essential Tips for Using Quick Apply in InDesign


No matter what kind of work you do with InDesign, Quick Apply can be one of the most useful features to incorporate into your work habits. Quick Apply has been called “the Google of InDesign”, because with it all you have to do is start typing the names of things like styles, commands, preferences, and scripts, to locate and apply them. To open the Quick Apply dialog box press Command+Return/ Ctrl+Enter. Then try some of these 10 tips for working with Quick Apply. And if you have other Quick Apply tips, please mention them in the comments.

1. Narrow the Choices for Quicker Applying If you want to use Quick Apply mainly to style text with paragraph and character styles, it can help to turn off the other options in the panel menu. Click on the triangle to the left of the text field, and deselect each option you don’t want Quick Apply to search for.

Quick Apply


2. Make Your Style Names Quicker to Apply Quick Apply is a great alternative to assigning keyboard shortcuts to text styles, since each character in the name of a style becomes its keyboard shortcut. So if you name your styles with short, unique names (“H1”, “H2” instead of “Heading_First”, “Heading_Second”, etc.) you might be able to invoke a style by typing a single key.

Quick Apply


3. Set Preferences Use Quick Apply to access InDesign’s preferences. For example, if you want to add a common misspelling to Autocorrect preferences, copy the text of the misspelling, open Quick Apply and start typing “correct”. When Autocorrect preferences is highlighted, press Enter or Return to open the Autocorrect dialog box and add your misspelling. Note: You must have Include Menu Commands selected in the Quick Apply panel menu for this to work.

Quick Apply


4. Use With Conditional Text If you work with InDesign’s conditional text features, you might be disappointed that you can’t assign a keyboard shortcut to specific conditions. But you can apply conditions to text with Quick Apply. Just be sure you have Include Conditions selected in the Quick Apply panel menu.

Quick Apply


5. Run Scripts You don’t have to keep the Scripts panel open to quickly run a script. You just have to open Quick Apply and start typing the script name.

Quick Apply

Or, to see a list of all your scripts, just type “script” in Quick Apply.

Quick Apply


6. Use Prefixes You can force Quick Apply to search only a single category by typing a prefix at the beginning of the search. For example, type “p:” to tell Quick Apply you’re looking for a paragraph style. 

Quick Apply

You can see all the prefixes you can use in the Quick Apply panel menu.

Quick Apply


7. Remove Overrides To remove any overrides when you apply a paragraph style with Quick Apply, press Option+Return/Alt+Enter when you apply the style. To remove overrides and any character styles applied to the text, press Shift+Option+Return/Shift+Alt+Enter.

8. Quickly “Shift” to a Different Style If you’re experimenting with different styles, you can apply one and keep the Quick Apply dialog box open by pressing Shift+Return/Shift+Enter.

9. Fast as an Arrow Once you can see the item you want in the Quick Apply list, it’s sometimes faster to use your arrow keys to select that item, rather than continuing to type its name.

10. Thanks, But No Thanks To dismiss Quick Apply without applying any item from the list, press esc or just click anywhere else in the document window.

Editor in Chief of CreativePro. Instructor at LinkedIn Learning with courses on InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, GIMP, Inkscape, and Affinity Publisher.
  • John Kramer says:

    Very helpful. Thanks. I’ve gotten a little shy about using Quick Apply because every so often it causes Indesign to freeze/crash. Memory issue, I assume. Ever have that problem?

  • Rachel Bucknall says:

    I discovered Quick Apply only recently by hitting the keyboard shortcut for it accidentally. I agree with you it’s really cool and useful; thanks for showing me a few more ways of using it!

  • Frederick Yocum says:

    I have used/stopped using Quick Apply at least three times. It feels like this should be a terrific time saver for my workflow, but changing habits and trying to make new cow paths sometimes is difficult. This article may help.

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