Writing Portfolio

Change Measurement Systems on the Fly

Published By: InDesignSecrets.com
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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.