If you appreciate efficiency, you may already be using a macro-making tool such as QuicKeys. Using QuicKeys, here’s one example of how to “add features” to an application (the principle applies to many areas of every application):
In QuarkXPress, adding space above or below a paragraph requires a number of clicks and keystrokes. But accessing any field in the Measurements palette can be done by using just keystrokes. Similarly, accessing the Formats dialog takes just a quick Command-Shift-F.
So, set up a QuicKey shortcut that types Command-Shift-F, then types the Tab key four times to get to the Space Before field (or five times to get to the Space After field). This highlights the entire value in that field, so add a Right Arrow key to place the cursor at the end of that value. Then, because QuarkXPress can do math in its value fields, you can type “+1” or “+2” or “-1” or “-2” or any other number, followed by the Return key. This will add or subtract one or more points from the value of the field.
The final step is to either assign a keyboard shortcut to these value-changing QuicKeys, or add them to a floating QuicKeys toolbar to increase or decrease Space Above and Space Below with one click.
(By the way, you can also type Command-Option-M to go to the first field of the Measurements palette. From there, you can add Command-Option-; (semicolon) to go from palette tab to palette tab, and then use Tab characters to get to any field you want to adjust.)
Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press
When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.
Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.
In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.