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This article is from July 2, 2008, and is no longer current.

Navigate to Page Objects with Keyboard Shortcuts


Okay, this one is amazing. I’m standing around at The InDesign Conference in Auckland a couple of weeks ago and Kris Coppieters (who runs Rorohiko) tells me that he’s been thinking about a comment that one of the speakers made regarding staying efficient in InDesign: Keep your hands on the keyboard as much as possible! But, Kris noted, that’s hard to do when you’re selecting objects. Would it be useful, he wondered aloud, if you could select objects on a spread with a keyboard shortcut? Holy mackerel, yes!

So Kris wrote up a series of “select next object” scripts and is offering them free to all InDesign users. Note that these scripts only run in CS3, as far as I know.

Why would scripts help you keep your hands on the keyboard? Because you can assign keyboard shortcuts to scripts. It’s all explained on this post on the Mogo Blog, which is where Kris wanted to post the file.

But, for example, I have assigned Ctrl+Right Arrow to select the next object to the right of the current object, Ctrl+Down Arrow to select the next one down. You can even say “select the next set of objects down in a grid of objects” or “select the top-most object on the next page. It’s an amazing set of scripts. Joe Bob says, “Check it out!

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world.
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  • Bilgin Ozkan says:

    hmm… I think it may be very easy to fall in love with this script. I have always wished for a way to achieve this, considering Indesign knows how to frustrate you just too well with the select previous and next options that never EVER seem to do what you want them to do.

  • Klaus Nordby says:

    The vector tools CorelDraw and Xara Xtreme lets you simply tab between all your objects with the Tab key — immensely handy. Can these scripts enable such a “tab to next object” function (using some other key, natch)?

  • Klaus Nordby says:

    We have to register and logon to this MOGO site to get the scripts — I don’t care for that, hence I’ve not got the scripts. Could you, David, give us a regular direct download link?

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    It’s free to register, Klaus.

  • As Eugene noted, it’s a free and painless registration to download the scripts from Mogo. I’m sorry you don’t like that, but it is increasingly the “way of the web.” Besides, when you register there, you get the full-res versions of videos, and other goodies to come.

    Note that these scripts definitely fall under my Rule #1 of Publishing: Take a little time to set up now in order to save a lot of time later!

  • Hmmm, I like it. It’s cool that there is some intelligence built into these scripts. I especially like being able to select a series of objects then, using one of the scripts, selecting the next group over.

    That being said, is there a reason one couldn’t get by using the built in selection shortcuts under Object > Select? Granted, it’s based solely on Z-order, but with some creativity you can get pretty much similar functionality.

    First Object Above – cmd+opt+shift+]
    Next Object Above – cmd+opt+]
    Next Object Below – cmd+opt+[
    Last Object Below – cmd+opt+shift+[

    Select Container – ctrl+shift+down arrow (added)
    Select Content – ctrl+shift+up arrow (added)

    Select Next Object – ctrl+shift+[ (added)
    Select Previous Object – ctrl+shift+] (added)

    Adding custom shortcuts to the last four commands works great, especially when digging into groups of objects. Which leads to function of the selecting items in a grid. Depending on the scenario, grouping and nesting page objects in a strategic way allows you to navigate around pretty quickly. When you add Quick Apply and Object Styles to the mix, you can fly!

    By grouping objects in (not necessarily) rows or columns, you can select an entire line of objects, albeit you’re somewhat limited to the groupings.

    For the super crazy keyboard-only folks, if you have Full Keyboard Navigation enabled (under System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse) you can jump to the menubar (ctrl+f2) and navigate to ANY menu command, saving the effort of assigning custom shortcuts.

  • Roland says:

    I’m with Klaus on this. Certain sites are worth registering on, but just to download something I won’t register anywhere. It may be the way things are getting done more and more frequently nowadays, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it and pretend we don’t mind all the useless emails coming into our mailboxes.

  • Casey, thank you for that great rundown of helpful shortcuts! I agree that those are great, but there’s no way that (in most layouts) those would replace the ones from these scripts. They are excellent complements, though.

    Roland: I respect your opinion, and that is, of course, your perogative. But I’m curious why you think you should be able to get everything for free, without strings? Even at Adobe you need to register to download “free” software, no?

  • Derek Berdine says:

    My two cents on MOGO…

    I really wish there was more on the site, but what’s there is pretty cool. And I’ve been signed up since the second day it was available and haven’t gotten any more than the registration email to my inbox. So you’re not going to get a bunch of junk just for signing up with them.

    Now, if you’re worried about the Illuminati tracking you down…you’re too late. They already know where you live. ;)

  • Ben Leivian says:

    This is exciting. Thanks for the link.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    Well, I don’t get plagued with emails from MOGO, signed up, I can see bigger videos on the site and I get to download stuff.

    For the 5 minutes setting up an account, I get more benefits.

    Seems like some people’s prerogatives are also their ball and chain :-)

  • Jeremy says:

    I don’t mind signing up, but I do mind getting “Decompression Failed” notices every time I try to download the script!

    It’s fair enough not to expect something for nothing, but now they got something, and I got nothing!

  • Eugene says:

    I just downloaded the scripts there and it worked fine for me. I don’t know what the problem is but if it helps track down the problem, I’m on windows XP SP2 using Firefox.

  • Jeremy says:

    Well I just tried again, and — success! Thanks!

  • Greg says:

    speaking of corel draw… there’s one thing that i miss about corel draw. i haven’t used it in years and don’t know why adobe hasn’t taken this from CD.

    CD lets you zoom to selected objects. an absolute perfect zooming option. so if someone knows of either a way to do this that i’ve missed or if someone has a script to do this that i could appropriate, it would be much appreciated.

  • Eugene says:

    I don’t know that feature in Corel, I don’t use it. Is it like illustrators where you can save a view and go to it at any time?

    Usually when I have an object I want to zoom to I don’t go near the magnifying glass. I just select the object and use the CTRL and + and it zooms into the object.

  • Greg, InDesign sort of has this feature. If you press Command-Option-= (or ctrl-alt-=) you invoke “Fit Selection in Window”. However, I find that it never zooms in enough! It leaves a huge amount of space around it, and I’m not sure why.

  • Loic says:

    For the ones like me, not so fond of registrations, fearing spams, you can use for temporary mails.
    That’s what I did to get the scripts.

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