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I'm looking for a keyboard shortcut to change spacing before and after paragraphs in InDesign CS6.

space after and space before

So far I haven't been able to find a default shortcut nor to setup a custom one (couldn't find this item inside the shortcut preferences).

Any ideas that don't involve creating paragraph styles for each spacing value?

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I don't think this is possible. As your'e aware a custom shortcut is not available, and there's no build in shortcut for the spacing options. –  Scott Jun 26 '13 at 11:31
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2 Answers

You can access the space after/before value via the scripting model. Depending on what you're after, you can change the value in the selected text or target the parent paragraph style.

I believe this is the value you're after (in javascript).

theParagraph.paragraphAttributes.spaceAfter = 12

theParagraph is a variable you define based on the target you're after.
12 is the value in points.

For your purposes, you want to increment the value up or down. You'll want to first retrieve the existing value then change it according to your increment of choice. That would look something like this:

theParagraph.paragraphAttributes.spaceAfter = ( currentValue - 2 )

When you add the scripts to InDesign's scripting palette you can assign a custom shortcut.

If you're a glutton for punishment, you can read about InDesign scripting all day long in this PDF from Adobe.

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250 pages of pure excitement :) –  Adam Schuld Jul 30 '13 at 15:57
    
Once you realize what all that stuff can do for you, there is a sick excitement in reading it ;) –  plainclothes Jul 30 '13 at 15:59
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@Scott is correct, there is no shortcut for a space after.

What you can do, however, is create a New Paragraph Style style solely with a 'space after ' style setting. There is a shortcut prompt using the dialog box.

If you had multiple types of "Space Afters" you wanted to apply it would be as easy as using the shortcut keys for those paragraph styles.

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