Text Tool Tips

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So you’re a keyboard shortcut junkie, working on a design. You need to add text. You select the Text tool in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign and add your text. But how does one jump to other tools—permanently or temporarily—while having the Text tool selected? Obviously if you hit one of the standard keyboard ‘letter’ shortcuts, you’re just going to enter that letter into the text box. Here are a few tips…

“Commit” the Text Box

Illustrator/InDesign: In Illustrator or InDesign, you can commit the text very easily by hitting the Esc key. The text/text box you were working with will no longer act as if it’s “live” and you can select another single-letter tool shortcut via your keyboard.

In Illustrator as well as InDesign, hitting the Esc key will also jump you to the Select tool as well. If you want to keep the Text tool active and still access the Select tool temporarily, just tap Cmd (Mac)/Ctrl (PC) to access the Select tool. Then release the Cmd/Ctrl key to revert back to the Text tool.

Photoshop: To “commit” text in Photoshop, you’ll need to hit the Enter key (note that the Enter key is not the same as the Return key; Enter is on your number keypad).  And of course, no special keyboard wrangling to move the text around—just move your cursor slightly away from the text, and your cursor will temporarily switch to the Move tool.

Thanks to Mike Shoaf for the Photoshop ‘commit text’ tip!

Temporarily Access Hand Tools

Illustrator: So you’re working with text but just need to temporarily do some moving of the canvas with the hand tool. To get the hand tool when you’re working with text in Illustrator, press Cmd (Mac)/Ctrl (PC) + Spacebar, then release just the Cmd/Ctrl key. On the Mac, Cmd-Spacebar is also the default Spotlight search keyboard combo, but if you do the tip as suggested it will work fine, even though the Spotlight search bar will pop up; just ignore it.

Big thanks to Mordy Golding for this Illustrator tip, been looking for a way to do this for so long!

InDesign Within InDesign, there’s actually a special Hand tool keyboard shortcut just for this purpose: Option (Mac)/Alt (PC) + Spacebar. In fact, I have mapped one of the stylus buttons on my Wacom graphics tablet to this Option-Spacebar combo as opposed to the standard Spacebar, and it works great even when not in a live text box.

Photoshop: In Photoshop, to temporarily access the Spacebar/Hand tool while working in the Text tool, hold Command-Shift-Space (Mac) or Ctrl-Shift-Space (PC).

Thanks to @jeremysnyder for the tip!

Know of any other handy Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign tips for using the Text tool? Let us know in the Comments section below!

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at CoghillCartooning.com and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!

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