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Quick Tip: Using Quick Apply in InDesign CS5

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Read Time: 3 min

Quick Apply is a feature that holds the ability to allow an InDesign user to save time when accessing styles, commands, scripts and features. The Quick Apply panel is a shortcut to everything InDesign offers.Find out more about this handy feature at the jump.

Step 1

Make sure you have an InDesign file open, an existing design is perfect. If for some reason you don't have a file, go to this link to download one for free: Catalog Template – InDesign Freebie. To access the Quick Apply menu, press Command + Enter.

Step 2

When the panel is first opened the items will be organized in alphabetical order. At the top of the panel there is a search field. Think of a feature you want to use and start typing a key word that describes it. I am going to search for the term 'Pathfinder' to gain direct access to the Pathfinder Panel.

Note: if you are wanting to apply a paragraph style or similar, make sure that the text you want to edit is selected before you action the Quick Apply method. Another example would be, if you wanted to apply a Drop Shadow, make sure a frame is selected before you enter the Quick Apply panel.

Step 3

As you start typing you will notice that InDesign tries to predict what you are searching for and will give you all matches relating to your search. Once you find the item you need, click on it, or press enter if you selected it via the arrow keys. The item or action should now perform its task.

Step 4

The next time the Quick Apply panel is opened you will notice that it has remembered your last search. Also the panel will remember where you positioned it last within the document space.

Step 5

With the Quick Apply panel open click on the triangle icon located to the left of the search field. Here you can choose to deactivate certain groups. For example, if you didn't want to view scripts, it is possible to deselect them and they will be removed from the search list.

Step 6

Go back into the triangle icon. Next to each of the categories you will see that they have bracketed letters followed by a colon. These prefixes allow you to narrow down searches to categories. For example, if you type c: in the search field only Character Styles will display in the results.

Step 7

Another great advantage of using the Quick Apply feature is the ability to quickly access character and paragraph option menus. To do this type c: or p: then highlight any style and press Command + Enter, this will take you directly to the option menu.

Step 8

Finally the most useful way to use Quick Apply is to use it to access parts of InDesign that don't have shortcuts. Features like Find Font and Insert Special Characters can be quickly found. So to activate the Find Font panel, press Command + Enter, type Find Font and then hit enter again.


Once you become familiar with Quick Apply and it's abilities, you will certainly notice an increased efficiency in your workflow.

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