Agency Hotkeys

Whether browsing the web, checking emails, or editing a document there are probably many ways to work with more fluidity and grace. The bit of time the simple motion of going for the mouse or trackpad and back to the keyboard adds up.

Using a mouse instead of its shortcut is not necessarily slower. There is a balance, and a learned shortcut is nearly always faster. The overall time saved by taking the time to learn and use a shortcut as second nature can be negligible especially if the shortcut seems counterintuitive and something that is not often used. There is also the interruption to your train of thought to consider. If a task is regularly used throughout the day and can be sped up, then it is probably worthwhile to check out how and learn to use it.

This exercise is twofold. One is to plant the seed for the idea of stepping away from the computer to ask ourselves if there are things we do that can be done more easily and possibly faster. We already strive to get better at what we do. Utilizing shortcuts is only a slice of that pie. Here goes.

General use

  • cut, copy and paste: + x, + c and + v
  • whole word and line: look no further than the glorious alt key! Combine with arrows, shift, delete, etc.
  • spell check: + Shift + :
  • open, close and or quit + o, + w, + q
  • save or don't save + s or + d
  • undo or redo + z or Shift + Z
  • zoom in or zoom out + + or + -
  • full screen + Shift + F
  • switch programs + Tab
  • open, find, and calculate with Spotlight or Alfred: + spc bar
  • shuffle open documents + `


Chrome docs

  • managing tabs
    • next and previous: Option + + arrow
    • reopen recently closed: Shift + + T
  • back and forward: + arrow
  • address bar alt + l


Great example of a super keyboard-friendly shortcuts galore interface. Sadly, many are not intuitive; here are some pneumonics. Documentation? Yes, there's a shortcut. It is shift + ?.


  • move around with arrow keys and view
  • view email: Enter
  • select: x (x marks the spot)
  • delete: # (hash = trash)
  • archive: e (eradicate?)
  • new: c (compose)

in messaging

  • newer and older: k and j
  • reply and forward: r and f
  • delete: #
  • archive and go next or previous: { or }
  • send: Enter or cmd + enter
  • bail from message Esc

Adobe Products

InDesign, Illustrator & Photoshop

Font Size

  • size up text (+2pt): + Shift + .
  • size down text (-2pt): + Shift + ,
  • size up text (+10pt): + Option + Shift + .
  • size down text (-10pt): + Option + Shift + ,

Line Spacing (leading)

  • increase leading (+2pt): Option + Down Arrow
  • decrease leading (-2pt): Option + Up Arrow
  • increase baseline shift (+2pt): Option + Shift + Up Arrow
  • decrease baseline shift (-2pt): Option + Shift + Down Arrow
  • increase baseline shift (+10pt): + Option + Shift + Up Arrow
  • decrease baseline shift (-10pt): + Option + Shift + Down Arrow

Letter Spacing (kerning)

  • increase kerning (+20pt): Option + Right Arrow
  • decrease kerning (-20pt): Option + Left Arrow

Layer/Object Arrangement

  • bring object forward one layer: + ]
  • move object back one layer: + [
  • bring object to front: + Shift + ]
  • move object to back: + Shift + [


  • quick duplication of object: click to select object, then hold Option key while dragging

InDesign & Photoshop

Text Formatting

  • all caps: + Shift + k
  • small caps: + Shift + h
  • superscript: + Shift + =
  • subscript: + Option Shift + =

InDesign & Illustrator

Fill & Stroke Colors

  • Flip fill color & stroke color: Shift + x
  • Switch between fill color & stroke color (which is active on color selection): x

Grouping Objects

  • Group objects: + g
  • Ungroup objects: + Shift + g

InDesign Only

Pasting Tricks

  • Paste object in same place (from one page to another page): + Option + Shift + v
  • Paste text and pick up replaced text's style (a.k.a. Paste Without Formatting): + Shift + v

Working with Placed Images

  • Place image from file: + g
  • Fit image proportionally to box: + Option + Shift + e
  • Fit image distorted to box: + Option + e
  • Center image in box: + Shift + e
  • Fit box to image: + Option + c
  • Fit image proportionally to box on closest dimenstion: + Option + Shift + c
  • Move forward one page: Option + Page Down
  • Move back one page: Option + Page Up
  • Move to first page: Option + Shift + Page Up
  • Move to last page: Option + Shift + Page Up



  • Transform: + t
  • Increase brush size: ]
  • Decrease brush size: [

The group of shortcuts identified is by no means comprehensive. It is a list of items that should fit in well with a lot of what we do from day to day. Most programs share shortcuts. Sometimes, programs deviate by ignoring ubuquitous ones and have their own. The Command key (⌘) and respective shortcut on a Mac is mostly interchangeable with the Control key (sometimes Windows key) on a Windows computer.

To recap, when considering a shortcut, ask yourself, how disruptive is completing micro task and way I complete it to my overall work? For those who work most of the day on a computer, it is usually worth the time to learn shortcuts in order to use our time to getting shit done.