hotkeys - a hot topic?


One set of features I was expecting in OS X was more finder hotkeys. My motive for opening this forum is to discover if anyone else feels the same and compile a feedback list of the best. I don't know much coding or, more importantly, Apple's long-term UI policy but I can't imagine any great problem in adding a few extra shortcuts. (I'm also interested in any links to relevant sites or Apple documents on this subject).
Yes, arguments on Mac hotkeys aren't new but using a mouse on its own is undeniably inefficient. Hotkeys deliver so much power and speed to experienced users, particularly for two-handed keyboarding or when you are drawing with a mouse (or tablet) and don't want to move the cursor all the way over your screen(s) to the toolbar.
I really hate to say it but Windoze holds the hotkey advantage - Complete keyboard control. Mac users can navigate most of the file-system with hotkeys, so why not the other GUI elements, specifically buttons and the menu system as well? For example: hit a “Select menu” shortcut like Control and the first letter of the menu and use cursors and Return to navigate then select. Likewise, could we have an "open menu" key for the contextual menu of a file or folder?

Much OS9 software already adds hotkeys for standard operations, here are a few brief examples:
-DEFAULT FOLDER adds a "rename selected file" option to file requesters. You can cursor through your most recent folders, chronologically or your favourites. You can view a file's info, or open its folder in the finder.
-OMEGAWINDOW lets you flip between all the open windows in any app via a pop-up menu (amongst many other things) rather like recent versions of the MacOS let you swap between apps. There is already a "window" menu in the finder, why not just add a "Cycle thru windows" command as you find in Photoshop, Illustrator or IE5?
-COPYPASTE adds potentially hundreds of clipboards to the standard Macintosh 1. You simply perform the usual Cmd+C and add a number key to the end - Cmd+C+1 to paste to clipboard No.1 and so on.

I feel that these hotkeys would add much to the user experience if they were rolled into the OS. All other suggestions are very welcome. Also, does anyone know of these ideas being voiced elsewhere?
We should get at least what we get now in 9. At the very minimum we should be able to assign task to the function keys, which for now have no function.

As for me I'm waiting for a more powerful third party solution like QuicKeys.
Now Menus had the ideal behavior for setting hotkeys.

You could set, edit, or remove any hotkey in any menu item merely by hovering the mouse over it and pressing the command sequence (or delete to clear).

ACTION Menus (which works in 9.0.4) has the same behavior, although not as good as Now Menus was.
Do we really have to resort to customisation, extra shareware or commercial add-ons and hacks again? I realise now that X 1.0 is "feature-frozen" and we probably will have to shell out for more of this sort of software, simply to bring the OS up to what a professional user requires. But WHY can't they add a few shortcuts for people who are prepared to find out about them?
I am a serial shareware user but I'm fully aware that by using each little extension and system hack, I have fractionally de-stabilised and slowed down my system. Such random and esoteric personalisation of the system could be avoided if Apple were a little more accomodating in their offering of UI control choices.
Hi crisss
Rene here... it seemed only fair to join this thread for a while
and talk about mimimizing windows in OS X.(just kidding) :)
I havent got much to say really at the moment..
might get back on it later

bye all.
Rene, I am genuinely sorry about cross posting in your Windowshade topic! I seriously did believe it was relevant though.

Are we even now? Cos if we are, I'm going to submit this post with Option+Tab x6, Return, Command+Left Square Bracket x2 and Command+W then Command+Q ;)

I thank you!!
>Do we really have to resort to customisation, extra shareware or commercial add-ons and hacks again?<

Hasn't it always been this way? Extensions, fonts, navigation: third parties have always done a much better job. I don't see anything new in that.

It isn't 'necessary' for Apple to add every feature under the sun. I understand that they can, and should, add features sometimes original and sometimes 'borrowed' from shareware that appeal to a common denominator of base users. But I'd imagine they have good reasons to keep things fairly simple. Doubly so with a brand new operating system. (Another reason perhaps being that they don't have billions to throw around at projects like you know who.) Still I'd like to see at least the ability to assign the function keys.
A fair point - I'll stop being so negative. Although, surely what I'm asking for isn't too much? - like you say, the function keys were programmable in 9 - so maybe they will be in the final release... I guess I'm just a bit worried about using shareware - de-stabilises a system and often interferes with other extensions, etc etc.

doubly so with a brand new operating system ;)

However, now I've grasped a bit more about how Unix works, I'm growing more confident that installing Quickeys for X or, in fact, any "extension", will be a lot more safe and reliable on X than on previous OS.
However, if I do install some kind of hack, will I still get the same level of control over my system as I did before? Can one app address all the interface elements in every other app?
I'd say hotkeys are definitely a good idea. If not preset, then at least some lost checkbox somewhere, in a dimly lit backalley (behind the top menu bar, or under the desktop ... no, that smacks too much of microsoft :rolleyes: )
Still though, I don't think it would be too hard to include a simple thingy that would let you assign your own hotkeys. The next notch up would be to be able to navigate the entire system with the arrow keys, return button, and a lot of fingers. The Dr. Evil society (aka microshaft) have incorporated a windoze key that opens up the $tart menu (also a great way of escaping full screen applications, as I have found out. ..). Some think like that should be stuck into OS X as well. Or maybe even just an extra extension downloadable off of Apple's Website made by apple who also made the OS so that they know what they're doing and it doesn't manage to screw anything else up like so many things do these days.

A suggestion to all of you begging hotkeys: you guys (I'll help you if you like, email me) should write up a spec sheet that would have all of the hotkey specs on it like how to use it, how it would be implemented, etc. The goal here is to make it EXTREMELY easy for Apple to implement. Then make a website or something with a petition on it, and send it in a few dozen times to apple. Hopefully, it might get included on their next update. As I said, the goal here is not to try and take over apple's development division, but to make it as easy as possible for them to do. After all, would skiing be as much fun if you had to climb the mountain yourself?
>I'm growing more confident that installing Quickeys for X or, in fact, any "extension", will be a lot more safe and reliable on X than on previous OS.<

Aside from needing an update once, I've never had a single problem with QuicKeys, nor any of the PowerOn utilities. And like you said, with X most of these worries will be gone (no more cursed extensions!). Any problems should be isolated to the app itself. Of course things don't always work ideally...

>Can one app address all the interface elements in every other app?<

Action Files is a good example of one that does, if you mean what I think you mean. It gives you a save dialog box much better than Apple's that behaves consistently almost universally. Although not as powerful, Default Folder lets you assign hotkeys for navigation. Undoubtedly you've noticed that Apple has implemented a new box in 9 that works in some apps (why not all??) and the default box in X both incorporate some of the most useful features in these utilities.

QuickKeys, from my experience anyway, will work from within any app as long as that app doesn't have the same key sequence assigned to some other function.

[Edited by Phlex on 01-18-2001 at 06:35 PM]
I trialled Quickeys a year ago and found it to be just what I wanted, but at the same time, I couldn't justify the asking price. Plus I personally found that it did slightly interfere with some other bits of software I was using.
One important issue with independent hot-keys apps is that once you add your own hot-keys, your system becomes non-standard.
Whereas if Apple drove a better hot-key implementation, we would all be using a standard. Of course, if Quickeys respects a multi-user environment, then this threat would be minimised.
I asked CE software for info on the new version for X but they weren't willing to speak openly on the subject.
Phlex: what I meant by "addressing the interface elements in every other app" was: If apps can't interfere with each other as easily in Unix, then is Quickeys going to be able to add new keyboard commands to apps other than the finder? Though I spose I just answered my own question because the finder is an app in itself... DOH!
To answer Fatpiper at this point too: your suggestions go further than even I intended! If you are aware of any other forums who are discussing the same topic, then please point me to them. And as for your suggestion of a "spec sheet" - is there an industry standard format for such a thing or is it just a long list? (I ain't a coder) If there is no format, then I'll start a draft copy straight away. I like the suggestion of an apple-sanctioned hot-key app - it would mean they could keep a tighter rein on which keys were assigned to what and which were reserved for universal OS functions like windowing and file controls. For example: I presently have to use Control+Tilde as my app-swapping keys because I use Quark and Quark uses Cmnd+Tab to toolswap.
Fat chance of Apple ever releasing something like this, but it might be worth suggesting the idea to them. The worse they can do is say no.

Cheers guys.
>I trialled Quickeys a year ago and found it to be just what I wanted, but at the same time, I couldn't justify the asking price.<

Well, if time is money for you when you use your computer (it is often enough for me, but not usually) it's worth it. I think KeyQuencer is quite a bit cheaper, and probably sufficient to your needs.

> Quickeys going to be able to add new keyboard commands to apps other than the finder? Though I spose I just answered my own question because the finder is an app in itself... DOH!<

And despite how we think of it, the Finder is just another app in 9 as well. I never attempted to assign hotkeys within apps. It seems to me that most good apps provide adequate shortcuts anyway (ex. PhotoShop allows you to assign keys to Actions). I don't think you can do much in this area with QuicKeys. It is however, powerful with scripts, and I've done a wee bit of that.

Personally, I think the arrangement Apple has in 9 is fine as a standard with one exception: We should be able to use the Command/Shift/Option keys as well in assignments. That would give you plenty of possibilities.
Try ACTION Menus, it's cheaper and reassigns menu hotkeys.

Not as good as Now Menus but better than nothing.
There is no particular format that I know of, I was just suggesting writing up a document that explained how it would all work, what functionality it should have, how it should go between applications, precisely what certain keys should do ... maybe also what the main applications that power users would use hotkeys and what to do so as to avoid conflict ... etc.
The reason I suggest this is because I know from being a web designer that when a client says :
"make me a website"
it's a lot more work then when a client says:
"make me a blue & white website with an about us page that will have ... content on it and a products page with ... on it and a navigation bar on top and a copyright notice on the bottom and our logo in the middle of the homepage etc."
If I was Apple, it would greatly increase my willingness to work on it for 2 reasons: one, because it makes it easier if you only have to do a few minor modifications to something already done; two, because it shows that people out there care enough to put the effort in to help.

As I said, i'd be willing to help out with this .. maybe we could also make an online petition website (see ) or something to ask for it, get people going there and signing . Also maybe we could put other requests for things. I don't know, its just that it seems to me the easier we make it for Apple, the likeier the chance of it happening. Don't u think?
Of course, if the requests are clear, and the amount of people requesting the same thing is large, we have more chances as Mac users to put our goo ideas in the developpement of OS X. Do you know any site of this type of does any one here share the same opinion?
This is what I get for not doing a search first -- I made a post like this recently -- I'd love to be part of a effort to get true menu navigation via the keyboard (as much as I hate to say it -- a la Windoze). if you need some help.