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Do you edit shortcut keys?

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Hello, first time posting here.

As a recent convert from AutoCAD, I'm delighted by many aspects of VW,

especially this WYSIWYG feel... something we never had with ACAD.

However, I found default shortcut keys are kind of useless. Most of the easiest keys to type

(single characters) are assigned to changing snapping status...I mean, do you change

the settings of snapping while you draw? I don't.

I'd like to know if this feeling of mine comes from my unfamiliality with VW, meaning I'll discover

how clever the default shortcut keys are later on, or I should edit my keys to my linkings immediately...

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I use alot of the standard keys, and do edit snap options a fair bit during any given operation. It reduces the amount to things VW wants to snap to and improves accuracy.

That said, i do tend to change a lot of other keys to try and get a better access to the commands i use a lot, i hate key combo's of more than 3 keys. Mainly i try to match keys combo's in groups, so that shift or option relate better to the main key combo's.

Oh and i'm a massive fan of the mode bar (u,i,o,p,[,]) a great thing to learn about will really speed up your work.

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Takesh, I agree that the default shortcuts make no sense. I completely customized them soon after I started with VectorWorks and have been very happy with it. For one thing, it allows me to use the same key for similar commands in VectorWorks, Sketchup, and Autocad.

I was surprised by what you said about changing snap settings, since you come from Autocad. In Autocad, I change and override osnaps constantly (and I even wrote a lisp routine to do it faster using one small area of the keyboard). But as far as snap settings in VectorWorks, I agree with you. I set them once and haven't changed them in years.

VectorWorks does have a weakness in the keyboard control of the pull-down menu commands. But that can be overcome with a keyboard macro utility and a keyboard that has user-programmable extra function keys.

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Thank you guys for quick replies.

At first I thought I'll change my keys to the set I'm familiar with, which is like Sketchup or Autocad. Then I thought, maybe I'm missing out something, the default set is actually brilliant and only my noobiness won't allow me to see its deeper meanings...

Well I may just try editing the default set and see what will happen.

Are there any favorite shortcut key set approved by many? I remember I learned a lot when I found a set developed by members in SketchUp forum a while ago.

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you can edit the shortcut keys by editing the workspace..

Tools > Workspaces > Workspace Editor...

for those of you that have my VectorWorks Landscape manual you will find information in the back of the manual for editing the workspace

for those of you that have my VectorWorks Arcitect tutorial 12.5 you will information in the back of the manual for editing the workspace

And this month?s on-line user group topic is how to customise VectorWorks which will show you how to edit your workspace and how to make new tools.

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takesh h

My favorite keyboard updates are esc for the 2D selection (I think X is default? This I find annoying because one cannot get out of a text field easly) and ` or tilda for the mode bar.

These were given to me by a VW guru and they speed me up a great deal. These, with tab are the keys that let you change inputs or modes or get you back to the arrow. I like the fact that they have similar functions and are all in the same part of the keyboard. Being in the upper left they are also easy to hit accurately without looking.

Have fun customizing!

And be sure to save a copy of your workspace--I keep one on a memory stick in case I have to use a different computer.

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Esc key to 2D selection makes sense to me... maybe because I'm an AutoCAD convert?


Thanks for all your help in last few weeks.

Do you edit shortcut keys? If so, would you care to share you setting here? I would trust your thoughts more than anything when it comes to VW.

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H do you change

the settings of snapping while you draw? I don't.

You'll find the need for certain constraints in specific situations to be quite helpful. You'll turn these on and off on an as-needed basis. Otherwise, your screen will be cluttered with extra snap points that are generally not needed.

I typically use the default keyboard shortcuts except for a few items. The two things I immediately add a shortcut key, that don't have a shortcut assigned by default are LOCK and UNLOCK.

Other things like Create Roof, Frame Walls, Custom Selection, Duplicate Array, Extrude Along Path, Create Site Model, and a few tools (wall, door, window, line, rectangle, Wall Join, Stair) I also change to shortcuts that work well for the way I think.

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I don't like ESC for a keyboard shortcut either - it has more important meaning for other functions in VW, not to mention it's one of the farthest keys away from the main key location possible.

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Esc to 2D is great for me, otherwise there is no other single key shortcut for getting out of OIP and back into selecting - which happens much more than any thing else the esc key might be used for. If you use enter you still have to use x, or whatever.

As far as other short cuts, I use my multi-button mouse for most of them - including the esc key of course. That's why it's important for me to have a single keystroke for 2D selection. The multi-button mouse is great, it really speeds things up for me.

Edited by DDDesign
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When I first started working on VW (version 9), I got used to a workspace that was being passed around the office which had a large amount of non-default shortcuts. When we upgraded to version 10, I couldn't bring the version 9 workspace up. This was a pain for me, to have to re-assign all these cusom shortcuts. Since then I re-trained myself to stick more true to the default shortcuts (with only a few tweaks) mainly because I discovered the deeper logic behind some of the arrangement (people actually thought long and hard about it), and because it is a lot easier training newbies at the office now, because the default shortcuts are referenced all over the help guide.

And on the contrary, I really like having a bunch of 'useful' commands in the right click menus.

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I have to agree with atari2600 about the right click menus. More situational commands would be great. I have just learned here that this is editable so I am going to explore that next. And Katie I totally agree about lock unlock shortcuts--essential for me.

Also, back when I was in AutoCad I refused to change the defaults--for exactly the reason that Atari2600 describes. But the keying in in ACad is more flexible than keyboard shortcuts. In VW there is a limit to the number of reasonable shortcuts one can have --just because there is a limited combinations of keys.

This has led me to believe that customization is the way to go. If I want to get the most done two-handed, one hand on the mouse one on the keyboard, I have to change some things around.

Just me.

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OK, I started editing my shortcut keys slooooowly, while paying a lot of respects to the original key configuration.

However, I am stuck at my first attempt.

I wanted to assign "D" hotkey to dimension command, but alas, how do you assign a hotkey? Seems like additional [Ctrl] or [shift] keys are given, you always have to use them? I know it has to be deleted from other command if the key is already assigned a command (and "D" is initially assigned to Smart Point).

Moreover, I cannot find dimension command in Workspace Editor. Am I hopeless?

Edited by takesh h
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First go to the tools tab of the workspace editor. You should find the dimension tool in the Dims/Notes section of the tool sets folder. To assign an unmodified keystoke, select the 'key' setting from the 'use' menu. To assign the actual key, simply select the tool and press the key you want to assign. You will get a dialog if the key is already assigned. Selecting ok will override the previous assignment.

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I tried changing the hot keys when I first started using VW, but soon gave it up and went back to the stock ones. It wasn't that difficult to learn them.

In Acad, I typed everything and used lisp routines to create shortcuts. That was ok in Acad, but doesn't work in VW unless you have a macro editor program.

In Acad, I always kept the snap on intersection only, and typed any changes on the fly, such as endp, mid, tan, etc.

I find it uncomfortable to mix interfaces, so in Acad I used the command line and in VW I use the GUI. But then, I'm not in a hurry.

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I find it uncomfortable to mix interfaces, so in Acad I used the command line and in VW I use the GUI. But then, I'm not in a hurry.

This is something I was wondering... OK default shortcut keys might be very effective or could be better, but are people actually using it?

When offset, do you guys type +<->, or use the icon?

Most textbooks seem to recommend to use icons.

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User Guides are going to reference the tool or the menu rather than the shortcut key. That's in VectorWorks and most other software applications.

I think once people get used to moving around in VW, it's a good idea to quickly get used to frequently used menus/tools using keyboard shortcuts. You save a lot of mouse travel time by doing so.

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If Vectorworks would let us use single key strokes for menu commands it would really help us old acad users. It works perfect for tools commands but requires a modifier for menu commands. Personally I really like mnemonic single key commands.

It is possible to make a vectorscript tool that calls the menu command and use a single key stroke to call the tool but this only works in plan view and requires an additional mouse click. Helpful but a limited solution.

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.... Most textbooks seem to recommend to use icons.
People who learn from textbooks may be better off using icons, at least until they've weaned themselves off the book.

The keyboard shortcuts are faster for some people, but only if we use both hands at once. If you move your hand from the mouse to the keyboard to change tools, that's going to take longer than staying with the mouse and clicking on an icon. But if you use one hand to select tools and issue commands (via the keyboard), and the other hand (on the mouse) to move the cursor around on the drawing at the same time, then that's faster than using icons.

And as Larry pointed out, only unshifted keyboard shortcuts are fast. To circumvent VW's problem with menu command shortcuts, I have 24 unshifted function keys that issue the menu commands I use most often. 12 of those are programmable extra keys on my keyboard, and the other 12 are the standard function keys, which I've mapped to menu commands using a macro utility (I use Keyboard Express).

....When offset, do you guys type +<->, or use the icon?
I never use shifted keys, and never use icons. Only unshifted letter, punctuation, number, and function keys. No tool palettes. A few times a day I have to pull down a menu to issue a command that isn't on one of my function keys. And, unlike Autocad, I don't have to keep pounding that infernal space bar after any other key.
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And as Larry pointed out, only unshifted keyboard shortcuts are fast.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that some functions of VW are assigned shortcut keys like +++.... I broke two phalanges. :grin:

I totally agree with you when you say one hand has to stay with the mouse. Keyboard Express looks interesting but I came to a different solution...I have Logitech MX 610 Mouse, which is (Be very warned, the following sentences might not be suitable to some Macusers!) 10 application dependant programmable buttons.

So I assigned key to one of mouse buttons. I'm set.

Edited by takesh h
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And that hand has to be the left hand, since the touch-typable numeric keypad (for quick entering of X and Y distances) is on the right.

That cannot be. Those broken bones are on my right hand. :grin:

and I have a USB Tenkey pad on the leftside of my keyboard!

I'm a gudget geek.

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