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P Retondo

Exit info palette using "Enter"

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When creating a text string, the "enter" key (on the numerical keypad) takes you out of that command so that keyboard commands are no longer interpreted as part of your text string. The same thing should apply to editing values in the info palette. I can't tell you how many times I have pressed "enter" after editing a number in the info palette, then pressed "x" to get the selection tool - only to find that I have just tried to assign "42.67x" as the length of something!

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I agree wholeheartedly! The OI palette can be very cumbersome at times and it feels very cluttered. I miss the RESHAPE dialog box from MiniCad days. There was just the information I wanted to edit and it was easy to TAB through the fields and know where I was. AND, it closed when I hit the ENTER key, thus avoiding errant data entry, and extra mouse clicks.

I will also post this as a WISH LIST item, but could the RESHAPE dialogs be re-released as a PlugIn Tool? Does anybody else miss the RESHAPE dialogs?

Ray Mullin

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I agree with P Retondo. The enter key on the numeric pad would be a great help.

Thanks.

Shaun

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Caleb,

I agree with your concept of focus, but I believe you do not understand our frustration in not being able to EASILY control the modality of the total drawing environment. The keyboard is used extensively in all aspects of drawing - for selecting tools, selecting constraints, selecting the view, AND for entering data. Pressing a keyboard shortcut after data entry has been completed, but before the drawing has been reselected, can lead to a lengthy series of hand movements to recover from the errant keystroke, and that is best exemplified when using the Obj Info Palette.

Currently, to accept data, you need to TAB out of the data field when you are finished, but that ALWAYS enters you into another data field. Any key press at this time ERASES the data in the next field and BEGINS entering new data in the new field. This is OK if you want to continue entering data into the next field, BUT, since our "focus remains on the drawing area", as you have so succinctly put it, it would be extremely convenient to the USER to have a keystroke that would FINALIZE the data entry in the OI window. It would also eliminate the need to TAB out of the field to have the data accepted OR to click back into the drawing environment to finalize data entry. By hitting the ENTER key, the data would be accepted as entered and modality would return back to the drawing - no extra mousing required.

For modal dialogs, the enter key is used to accept data entry. It can be pressed anytime the data entry is complete - regardless of the field the cursor is in. It would seem a logical extension to preserve this attribute in a data entry palette. Currently, you have to use the mouse to exit the data entry mode of the palette. Where is the "FOCUS" in that?

The speed of data entry, the accuracy with which it is entered, and the confidence that it was entered correctly are the three most important aspects that should be considered when evaluating the usefulness of an interface, or as you put it, the FOCUS of the interface. I personally try to avoid using the Obj Info palette for data entry because of its clunky modality. Yes, it is a necessary part of the program, and yes, it adequately displays the data of the object(s) selected; but it is not easy to use as a modifier of object data because data entry CANNOT be terminated gracefully. In short, it really slows me down.

I use your software on average 50 hours a week, and have done so for more than 10 years. I feel very qualified in ascertaining when an interface component FEELS clunky, or when it FEELS more cumbersome than previously employed interface components. I do not use the data bar to type in data because it does not have a NICE FEEL, and it does not allow me to communicate my thoughts to your software intuitively. And for the same reason, I try not to use your Obj Info palette. Both interface components DISPLAY data nicely, but they both suffer from a lack of definitively terminating data entry, other than manually clicking in the drawing. Were you to sit at the keyboard and edit hundreds or maybe even thousands of objects in a day's work, you might begin to see the shortcoming of this palette's FEEL.

Mr. Retondo (or is it Ms.? I could not tell from the posting) has made an excellent suggestion to remedy this anomaly, and I wish to add my voice to his (hers) in trying to improve the "FOCUS" of this interface element. The ENTER key is the logical choice of keys to terminate and accept data entry. The TAB key is already properly employed to move between fields, and the ESC key makes an excellent choice of keys to exit the palette WITHOUT making any changes.

Respectfully,

Raymond Mullin

[This message has been edited by MullinRJ (edited 07-06-2001).]

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The notion of "focus" is important when thinking about user interfaces. A part of a user interface is said to "have focus" when it's the part that will be affected by user input such as key presses.

Pressing enter after you type text into a text object in the drawing causes the text entry to be finalized ('entered' into the drawing, if you will), but the focus doesn't really change: focus remains on the drawing area. Pressing enter after you type something into a field on the data bar causes that entry to be finalized, but again, the focus doesn't change: it remains on the data bar, and you can continue to tab to the next field and change other values. Likewise, pressing enter after you type something into a field on the data bar should finalize that entry, and focus should remain on the object info palette so that you can tab to other fields and change their values as well. Users have long asked for this sort of consistancy, and we tried to pay close attention to focus-related issues during the development of VectorWorks 9.

On the other hand, it's pretty clear that most people intuitively feel that the drawing area should be a sort of "default focus," i.e the thing that has focus when nothing else does. And it's clearly very common to want to move the focus back to the drawing without having to grab the mouse and click in the drawing.

The Escape key serves this purpose in VectorWorks 9. You can think of the Escape key as meaning "Get me out of here!" If a palette currently has focus, pressing Escape moves focus back to the drawing. If a dialog is up, pressing Escape is like clicking the Cancel button. If you're in the middle of drawing with a tool, pressing Escape deletes the thing that's currently being drawn and puts you in a state where you're ready to draw again. These are obviously all different operations, but they all have the same "Get me out of here!" effect.

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Thanks, Caleb, for the tip on using <Esc> key. This does exactly what I was looking for. I note that this bit of information does not seem to appear in the User's Guide. One of the more frustrating things about dealing with VW is that the program behaves in ways and contains features that are not adequately explained in the manual. In participating in this forum, I have noted that many people complain about the program because they just don't have the information they need to use it. NNA should get a specialist to work with all the tech support folks and engineers to come up with a complete manual.

By the way, I find that using <Esc> after entering new information in the object info box does not cancel the change. Additionally, it has a great advantage over clicking in the drawing space. Clicking in the drawing space is interpreted by the program both as a shift of focus and an initiation of the command currently active (e.g., draw a rectangle, edit it, click in the drawing space - you will have to finish drawing a rectangle you don't want before doing anything else!)

I agree with Raymond Mullin that <Enter> would be a more natural and logical choice as a keyboard command to perform this function. One expects that using <Esc> would cancel all edits, which in fact it does not do.

-Pete Retondo

[This message has been edited by P Retondo (edited 07-09-2001).]

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