Writing Portfolio

Change Measurement Systems on the Fly

Published By: InDesignSecrets.com
Credit: Byline
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You prob­a­baly al­ready know that you can type in­to just about any of InDesign’s mea­sure­ment fields a val­ue based on any mea­sure­ment sys­tem InDesign un­der­stands. For in­stance, if the doc­u­ment us­es pi­ca for mea­sure­ment, you can still spec­i­fy height, width, and nu­mer­ous oth­er val­ues in inch­es by typ­ing X in (for inch­es [al­so and i]) or YpZ (for pi­ca). The same trick works for cen­time­ters (cm), mil­lime­ters (mm), points (pt), and ci­ceros (c). All that you prob­a­bly knew be­cause peo­ple like me have been ex­cit­ed­ly writ­ing about it since InDesign 1.0.

What you may not know is that you can al­so change the glob­al mea­sure­ment sys­tem on the fly with­out ever go­ing in­to the Units & Increments pane of Preferences.

It’s a key­board shortcut–four-fingered, true, but still typ­i­cal­ly faster than the Preferences route. On Mac, press CMD+OPT+SHIFT+U, and on Windows, CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+U, to cy­cle through the avail­able mea­sure­ment sys­tems, in the or­der of the Units & Increments Ruler Units menus–Points, Picas, Inches, Inches Decimal, Millimeters, Centimeters, Ciceros, and Custom (mea­sured in points). Each press of the key­board short­cut will change both the hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal rulers, as well as re­flect in the ap­plic­a­ble fields on the Transform, Control, and oth­er palettes.