April 15th, 2011 • 1:02 pm
As a French-speaking user of Adobe’s InDesign page layout application, there is little that irritates me more than Adobe’s on-going refusal to support the standard keyboard shortcut for inserting a non-breaking space, a character which is an essential part of French typography (and should be used more often even in English typography).
In InDesign, for many years, the shortcut for inserting a non-breaking space has been, not the standard option-Space, but the completely non-standard, proprietary, and awkward option-command-X.
While InDesign has a facility for customizing one’s shortcuts, this facility suffers from several major limitations (including the fact that shortcuts for styles can only be based on keys on the numeric keypad). In this case, the problem is that InDesign does not recognize option-Space as a valid shortcut at all. So you cannot assign that shortcut to the command to insert a non-breaking space within InDesign.
Thankfully, once again my beloved Keyboard Maestro (how did I live without it for so many years?) comes to the rescue. I can simply create an InDesign-specific macro that intercepts the option-Space trigger and uses it to trigger an action that simulates the option-command-X keystroke. Et voilà!
Similarly, Keyboard Maestro can be used for assigning any kind of keyboard shortcut to a character or paragraph style in InDesign. You just need to assign a numpad-based shortcut to the style using InDesign’s built-in keyboard customization facility, and then create a Keyboard Maestro that intercepts the trigger of your choice and translates it into the numpad-based shortcut. It’s a bit of a pain to set up manually for each style to which you want to assign a custom shortcut, but once it’s done, it’s done, and you can finally use the shortcuts of your choice.