Text Editing Efficiencies – Part 1

Normally when I’m teaching the InCopy workflow to a new group of users, I focus on the overall workflow as well has the features and functionality that InCopy provides to make the job of design and editorial easier. I assume that the users are already efficient computer users and breeze over a lot of the more mundane details of editing text. After all, most of the users have been doing this for years if not decades.

During a recent engagement I was observing a group of users putting the InCopy workflow into practice, this included designers, editors, writers, and others. What I noticed during my observation was how much time everyone was spending using the mouse to meticulously select text that needed to be modified in their documents. The process went something like this. Grab the mouse, move it to the correct location on the screen, click and drag to select text, delete or edit the text, rinse and repeat. Now I understand fully that everyone works in their own way and has a certain way of doing things, but I couldn’t help but to think that with a little knowledge, and new techniques, that their efficiency could be improved significantly. When it comes to editing text in either InDesign or InCopy, there’s no better way than the keyboard. I thought I’d share some of my favorite methods for navigating through text.

Navigating using the keyboard

Let’s start with the basics, insert your cursor somewhere within some text. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate left to right one character at a time and up and down one line at a time. This shortcut can be somewhat limiting because you can only move a small amount of space at a time. To speed things up, add the Command key (Mac) or the Control key (Windows) to those same arrow keys. This multiplies the amount of space that you can navigate considerably. Using the Cmd/Ctrl key in conjunction with the left and right arrow keys navigates through text one word at a time and using the up and down arrow keys navigates one paragraph at a time. Finally, using the Cmd/Ctrl key in conjunction with the home and end buttons on your keyboard will navigate to the beginning and end of a story respectively. If you’re working on a smaller sized keyboard without home and end keys, you can still achieve this result by combining the Cmd/Ctrl key with the fn (function) key along with the left arrow (home) and the right arrow (end) on the keyboard. This shortcut will take miles off of your mouse each year!

There’s more to show, but I figured that for this post, I’d focus on the navigational aspects of working with text using a keyboard in InDesign and InCopy. I’ve added a table of the keyboard shortcuts discussed in this post below for easy access later on. Practice these shortcuts until next week and then we’ll discuss how to efficiently select text in the same way using InDesign and InCopy.

Description Mac Shortcut Windows Shortcut
Navigate one character left Left Arrow Left Arrow
Navigate one character right Right Arrow Right Arrow
Navigate one line up Up Arrow Up Arrow
Navigate one line down Down Arrow Down Arrow
Navigate one word left Cmd + Left Arrow Ctrl + Left Arrow
Navigate one word right Cmd + Right Arrow Ctrl + Right Arrow
Navigate one paragraph up Cmd + Up Arrow Ctrl + Up Arrow
Navigate one paragraph down Cmd + Down Arrow Ctrl + Down Arrow
Navigate to beginning of story Cmd + Home Ctrl + Home
Navigate to beginning of story (min keyboard) fn + Cmd + Left Arrow fn + Ctrl + Left Arrow
Navigate to end of story Cmd + End Ctrl + End
Navigate to end of story (min keyboard) fn + Cmd + Right Arrow fn + Ctrl + Right Arrow

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