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Forced drag-only mode for the Select tool



I think the 2D Select tool, which is a great tool already since it selects and moves/copies with the same mouse click, would be even better if it could momentarily suppress the selection part.

After you've got a bunch of things selected, it would be nice to be able to hold down the Alt key and click on any point to start the drag, not just on one of the selected objects.

Holding down that key would momentarily lock the selection set, preventing any further selection or de-selection, and forcing the Select tool into a drag-only mode as long as the key is held down.

It would prevent accidentally de-selecting everything if you happen to click on a spot where something overlies one of the selected objects. That's always annoying.

It would also allow MOVING AND COPYING BY REMOTE REFERENCE POINTS, the most-requested Autocad feature over the years. But it would be much better than Autocad, of course, since you wouldn't have to issue a command or change out of the Select tool.

[ 03-08-2006, 08:19 AM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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Jan15 - as you know I've recently stated the issue, but I have been complaining about this for years. Maybe it's worse in 3D as several stacked items is commonplace, at least for me. I can see from the level of your contibution that you're passionate about it too - so thanks!

However, I think you've discounted my level cycling idea too readily. If you've ever used an app. like InDesign you will know how well it works - and how vital. To have to select objects to drag/move by changing their stacking level is ridiculous.

The selection depression modifier you've suggested is a great idea, but I think you've neglected the issue when there are more than 2 objects in the stack- you still need to select which of many objects you want to drag-move. Also, I'm not sure what you mean about "But that won't solve the problem if multiple objects are selected". I can't see an issue here.

In fact there is no contradiction between the two ideas -the two functions can be combined in the one modifier key, as they are entirely compatible. The principicle is simply this:

1. any unselected object clicked. Result = top object selected (as present). Any unselected object click-dragged = the top object moves (as present)

2. modifier (eg cmd/alt) + click. Result = next level down object selected. Further clicks will continue down the order then recycle.

2a. shift+click. Result = objects added to selection (as present)

3. click-drag any selected object. Result = selected object moves (presently selection reverts to top object - which is moved)

4. hold modifier+click-drag selection. Result = selected objects move, drag-stretch mode suppressed.

5. hold modifier+ click on anywhere else but on already selected objects. Result = selection/deselection does not occur

6. hold modifier+click-drag on anywhere on the drawing. Result = all selected objects remain selected, all selected objects move.

Does this cover it?

I would think it would be easy to implement, and would be easy to get used to, as apart from the modifier key the only real change is the drag moving of selected objects regardless of stacking level- which is more intuitive anyway.

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I think it would be better to keep the two functions separate -- not just to avoid confusion, but also because the different natures of the two functions suggest different solutions.

The only function I was talking about was suppressing selection, to allow objects already selected to be moved regardless of where you click to start the move. That would allow the drag-moving of underlying objects, and would also allow a drag-move by remote reference points.

Since it's telling the Select tool to suspend its most basic function, I thought it should be a momentary function, just for the duration of one or more drag-moves. When you're done moving, you'd always want selection enabled again. That's why I thought the Alt key would be the way to go.

But you're talking also about selecting an object from a stack of two or more objects at the click point. That's something you'd like to be able to do even if you're not planning to drag-move the object. Maybe you want to select it so you can mirror or rotate it, or change its color.

A modifier key doesn't seem appropriate for that. It's just ordinary selection, not "add/remove", as with the Shift key, or "don't select", as I'm proposing with the Alt key. Any time you're selecting objects (including Shift-Select), and you click on a point where two or more objects are stacked, something should happen automatically to quickly tell you that there are multiple objects stacked there, and that the selection (or change of selection state) was applied to the topmost object.

It should be something not too obtrusive, but which you could notice and do something about. Maybe a cursor cue. Definitely not a pop-up window. And it should have some way of letting you apply that selection (or change) to another object in the stack instead. It should give you a way of saying, "No, this is the one I meant."

[ 03-08-2006, 08:27 AM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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I agree with your analysis that there are two separate functions here, but that isn't to say that they can't or shouldn't be combined somehow. After all, the pointer is a combination tool used for selecting/deselecting, moving and resizing - and we'd both agree that we like how this tool works.

In fact, the suppressing selection and selecting an object from a stack functions ARE related. Given that the default mode of VW is to move the top object in a stack when click-dragging, the proposed modifier key, once used to select the desired object within a stack, is then used to suppress the default mode of reselecting the top object when an attempt is made to click-drag the selection. In my proposal it's then this suppressing function which can be used in an auxilliary way to achieve your desire for an "offset" click-drag mode.

Personally, I'd change VW so that click-drag would always work on the selected object, regardless of stack order, with the default being the top object. It seems to make more sense - and is more consistent with the click-strech mode. However I'm sure that NNA would be resistant to change the way such a fundamental tool worked, and there's bound to be someone out there who has a major reason for not wanting a change. That is why I suggested a modifier key, as it would be transparent and completely compatible with anyone wishing to continue to use the pointer tool in the way that it has always been used.

The reason I suggested the cmd key as modifier is that it is already used to select stacked objects in other applications, including the desktop publishing industry's InDesign, and there is perhaps an argument for standardization here. Also I know from experience that this method is simple, intuitive, and works very well. I'm less sure about the method you suggest.

If we can get a modifier key at all I would be happy to have it as cmd, U or whatever, but NOT the OIP, nor the right mouse. BTW Macs have had a right mouse function for years using 3rd party (including Microsoft!) mouses. VW commands can be edited in the workspace editor, as you would expect

I do like the idea of a cursor cue. Maybe it could simply flash the level number of the object in the stack. Maybe it could provide more data, but in any case I would have this function settable under preferences - so as to maintain comatability with users who don't want/need this function.

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I'll chime in. It took me a little while to get through all the posting, but I'm on board for both recommendations. Being able to hold a key to suppress selection and not lose things selected, etc. would be great. Another thought on selecting buried objects would be to have a mode in the selector bar that would force a 'highlight' around the object below the cursor. I'm thinking of something that looks like what happens in the auto wall join function. When in this mode, hitting the space bar/command/shift or something would shift the highlight to the next closest object, or the next closest object under the cursor at the time. You would then be able to select that object, regardless of whether it was behind something else. It wouldn't be a mode you wanted to be in all the time necessarily, but something you could pop in and out of quickly. I constantly pop in and out of the first two modes on the selector bar now, the anti-resize mode and the insert-symbol-in-wall mode now, and love them.

Jan & DDD, are these ideas compatible with the other thoughts above?

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The selection of underlying objects is really david's part of this discussion. When I want things stacked in a certain order for visibility, I use separate layers to make sure they'll stay in the right order. I rarely have an object that's completely covered up by other things on the same layer.

But, yes, that bit about highlighting and using a key to cycle through the stack is the kind of thing I was thinking of when I said "something" should happen automatically, and it should give you a way of saying, "No, this is the one I meant."

[ 03-08-2006, 08:49 AM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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I used to use layers like you are describing, but we have started using classes more to arrange our drawings. We have also been working more in shown/snap/modify more when working with layers too. Because of this, we are coming into more circumstances where the stacking selection thing could be helpful.

For me personally, I would rank the ability to 'suppress selection' as more important than the ability to drill down and select further back items.

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I'm not familiar with the auto wall join function. Whatever the clue is, it needs to work for more than two stacked objects. I'm also thinking about how Jan uses layers to cut down the number of stacked obects. I'm not sure how it would work for me. My needs are certainly more on the fringes of VW use...

Also I was not until recently aware of the second mode of the selection tool which enables dragging of the underneath object, so I'm having a play around with that.

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Everyone here would love to see the ablity to select objects that are stacked on top each other. We currently use all sorts of work-arounds and "sending to the back" is not always desirable.

We have tools for moving or copying selected items from a remote reference point. I think these tools came from Ozcad. They should be integrated into standard VW.


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