22 Replies Latest reply on May 15, 2008 12:46 PM by Matt McKendrick

    My User Interface

    Charles Culp
      Two weeks ago I got rid of all toolbars except the "S" toolbar, and the standard toolbar (New, Open, Save, etc). My standard toolbar also has a few macros, as there is no real other place to put them.

      Here is a screenshot of what it looks like, full width, shrunken height. If I ever do a command, it is with "S".

      I have to say I never was able to use the large buttons on the new command manager, took too long for me to find the buttons. So I switch to small buttons. Still didn't care too much for it over 2007. Then I started using "S" more and more. Now I get very frustrated in other programs because "S" doesn't do anything. I keep hitting it, but nothing happens!
        • My User Interface
          Matt Lombard
          Why don't you just make hotkeys for all the items on the S toolbar, and eliminate even that?

          By the way, as a kind of bitter joke, my tablet pc (12" screen) is set up the same way, with all flyouts. It is a miserable way to work, but I do it for the extra space, which on a 12" screen is at a premium. I only use the tablet when traveling, which it seems is 40% of the time.

          At home on the 24", its toolbars and hotkeys all the way, no flyouts.
            • My User Interface
              Charles Culp
              Good point! That is something that is important to add.

              I have custom shortcut keys for:
              Convert Entities (C)
              Sketch (CTRL+E)
              3DSketch (CTRL+3)
              Show the Align Toolbar (A)
              Show the Line Format Toolbar (Remapped L)
              Enable Snapping (CTRL+SHFT+S) - Could never figure out why this wasnt a button/already set keyboard shortcut

              All the sketch constraints have their own shortcuts... like CTRL+SHFT+V is make vertical

              Plus I use plenty of the SW defaults.

              So to answer your direct question, why don't I use ONLY keyboard shortcuts? Mainly because my memory isn't good enough to remember all of them. I think if I could remember them all, then I could do that.
                • My User Interface
                  Here's my current screenshot. Standard toolbar , "S" toolbar , and various hotkeys.
                    • My User Interface
                      Matt Lombard
                      Are you guys using the context toolbars, right and left click?

                      I have my disabled for right click, but I use it for left click, although it sometimes gets in the way or hangs up the workflow.

                      I use several fistfulls of hotkeys. All the surface and curve tools are on hotkeys as well as measure, dev analysis, draft analysis, reference geometry, hide/show the various types under the View menu, and so on.

                      I still use 07 a lot, and I use the Command Mgr there, but not in 08.
                        • My User Interface
                          Charles Culp
                          Actually, I still have them both turned on. I find it obnoxious when trying to "pick" multiple items. It always seems to get in the way. So I might turn it off soon.

                          Then again, it is the only efficient way to click on something and "edit sketch/feature/plane" or to change the appearance. Because I have constraints hotkeyed, the pop-up relations aren't that big of a deal, but to others I can see why it would be helpful. As long as I can right-click and see 'em, I'm happy.
                            • My User Interface
                              Dan Riffell
                              I ditched the toolbars several moths ago, and I haven't looked back. It was sort of a natural transition for me since I've always thought that the Command Manager was a waste of space and a waste of clicks. So I had several customized toolbars that were my mainstays. Then I started in with the hotkeys a couple of years back. Like Charles said my brain isn't as big as it used to be (since I've filled half of it with useless trivia and the other half is pickeld with Maker's Mark) so I didn't do everything with hotkeys. But I was able to do most of my day-to-day modeling with the hotkeys and an occasional toolbar pick. With the release of '08, the (somewhat of a pain) Context Toolbars and the S Key pushed me over the top, and I have severed my ties with the unstable toolbars. I agree the the Context toolbars are an annoyance sometimes, and it would be nice if they would give us the power to customize them back. I believe that SW has a good idea there, they just need to think over its implementation a little better.
                                • My User Interface
                                  Jim Wilkinson

                                  Dan Riffell wrote:

                                   

                                  Context toolbars are an annoyance sometimes, and it would be nice if they would give us the power to customize them back. I believe that SW has a good idea there, they just need to think over its implementation a little better.

                                  Hi Dan,

                                  I am not sure what you mean by "customize them back", but you can in fact turn off the context toolbar for either left select or right select. The options are under Tools, Customize, Options.

                                  In relation to the comment of "think over its implementation a little better" can you and other users comment on what needs more attention relating to the context toolbars?

                                  Thanks,
                                  Jim
                                    • My User Interface
                                      Dan Riffell
                                      I mean, in '08 Beta (I think), you were able to customize the context toolbars. For some reason that option has been removed. Simply being able to turn them on and off isn't a huge benefit.

                                      Not to hijack Charles' thread, but I think the Context Tollbars are on the verge of being useful right now. The idea is good, anyways. The fact the they are not customizable, that they are the same for right and left click, and the other items that Charles and Matt have mentioned above are limits to the usability of the feature. It just seems to me like with a little more effort this could be an actual enhancement that will allow users to streamline their work flow.
                                        • My User Interface
                                          Jim Wilkinson
                                          Hi Dan and Charles,

                                          Dan Riffell wrote:

                                           

                                          I mean, in '08 Beta (I think), you were able to customize the context toolbars. For some reason that option has been removed.

                                          Dan, unfortunately, you must be mistaken. They were never customizable - not in Alpha or Beta. Only the shortcut bar (S key) is customizable. We could potentially look into making the context toolbar customizable in the future. What types of customization do people want? Do you want to add commands that you can add to toolbars through the Customize dialog today (the ones you can add to the shortcut bar)?

                                           


                                          Not to hijack Charles' thread, but I think the Context Tollbars are on the verge of being useful right now. The idea is good, anyways. The fact the they are not customizable, that they are the same for right and left click, and the other items that Charles and Matt have mentioned above are limits to the usability of the feature. It just seems to me like with a little more effort this could be an actual enhancement that will allow users to streamline their work flow.

                                          It is intentional that these are the same between left and right click. The idea is that the common things are there on left click and on right click, they are still there, but the "uncommon" things are also added below in the text menu. This is the same approach that Microsoft is using in Office 2007.

                                          Reading through "the other items that Charles and Matt have mentioned", the only one that I can pick out that is an usability issue specifically with the context toolbar is that sometimes it gets in the way. Unfortunately, that is the tradeoff of using it. Yes, it is convenient that it comes up on left click in many cases, but sometimes it does get in the way. There is really no way around that. If it gets in the way often, then I would recommend turning it off for left click and only use it on right click (in which case you are specifically asking the system to put something up). If it is in the way, you can also simply move your mouse away from it far enough for it to disappear and then back or you can just tap any key and it will go away (ctrl, alt, shift are good ones to tap since they can't be assigned to actually run a command directly).

                                          Charles, I am a bit confused on the comment that the context toolbar gets in the way when picking multiple items. We have designed it so that it shouldn't get in the way in the multi-select case. There are two scenarios:
                                          1) Pick one item and the context toolbar comes up, push the ctrl key so you can select multiple items and the context toolbar goes away until you let go of the ctrl key after selecting the final item.
                                          2) Hold the ctrl key before picking anything and then pick all your items and then let go of the ctrl key - the context toolbar should never come up until you let go of the ctrl key.

                                          Is what I stated above not working or are there other scenarioswhere it is getting in the way when multi-selecting?

                                          Thanks,
                                          Jim
                                            • My User Interface
                                              Dan Riffell
                                              You may be right about the customization in Beta. I am probably just remembering the way I wanted it to be. I believe that we could squeeze more useful functionality out of SW if there was a fundamental difference between the Left Mouse Click and Right Mouse Click. I've had this discussion with Gerald Davis and many other SW users in the past, and I think many people are of the same mindset. The left mouse should be assigned to action-related items (Features, Functions, Tools). The right mouse should be assigned to things like extras / options / shortcuts. I think that allowing users the option of customizing which items show up in the menu (or even the position that they show up in the toolbar) would speed up work flow and help to endear people to the new interface. Simply saying that having the left and right click be the same was intentional because that's how Microsoft does it does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

                                              Also, if it is know that the context toolbars get in the way sometimes, why not have hotkey assigned to toggle them on or off rather than having to dig around in the customize menu?

                                              Another annoyance is that if you select an item (say a sketch in the FM) and move away or get distracted before you click on an icon in the context toolbar, the toolbar will go away. The sketch is still highlighted now, but the context toolbar is gone forcing you to click off of the selected item then back on the item to reset the context toolbar display. Bit of a pain there sometimes, too.
                                                • My User Interface
                                                  Rich Osterreicher
                                                  Jim, I can't help but mention this..
                                                  What you say about same approach as Office '07..
                                                  Well, hate to break the news, but that's exactly why everyone hates office '07...
                                                  Maybe not everyone, but i'm yet to hear anyone say they like it better..
                                                  Maybe I'm wrong here, but i Don't think many people like the whole "Ribbon" UI...
                                                    • My User Interface
                                                      Jim Wilkinson

                                                      Rich Osterreicher wrote:

                                                       

                                                      Jim, I can't help but mention this..

                                                      What you say about same approach as Office '07..
                                                      Well, hate to break the news, but that's exactly why everyone hates office '07...
                                                      Maybe not everyone, but i'm yet to hear anyone say they like it better..
                                                      Maybe I'm wrong here, but i Don't think many people like the whole "Ribbon" UI...

                                                      Hi Rich,

                                                      I was not referring to the ribbon or our CommandManager in this thread. Certainly there are people that either love or hate either of these. In this thread, I am simply talking about our Context Toolbar which is similar to what Microsoft calls their "Mini Toolbar". Again, there are people who love and hate either of these, hence why we have options for them. However, in general, I have heard of more people who prefer the Context/Mini Toolbar over not having it.

                                                      I actually know of a lot of people who prefer Office 2007 over previous versions once they got used to it.

                                                      Thanks,
                                                      Jim
                                                        • My User Interface
                                                          Rich Osterreicher
                                                          Hi Jim,
                                                          Yeah, i know it's concerning the context bars things...
                                                          Your probably right, people will have to get used to it all i guess..
                                                          Just wish things were more customizable.. CM, Context toolbars, user preferences, ribbons, etc.
                                                          Just seems to me that UI customization of anything is a dying thing in general...
                                                    • My User Interface
                                                      Matt Lombard
                                                      I prefer the Left click toolbar to the right click toolbar. The RMB toolbars are still confusing and not very helpful. I realize that both toolbars are exactly the same, but in one case I'm looking for something that I usually find on the RMB and can't find it, and in the other case, I'm looking for a more limited function like edit feature/sketch/hide.

                                                      In the Tools, Customize dialog, I wish SW would stop torturing the english language. You have options for "show on selection" and "show in shortcut menu". Do you have any idea how many different parts of the interface use the word "shortcut"? Anyway, wouldn't it be clearer to say simply Left Click and Right Click toobars? What is wrong with being perfectly clear instead of wordily obscure?

                                                      Anyway, the big complaint about the Left Click Toolbar is that A) it gets in the way of stuff you want to select B) sometimes it's not quite faded out enough when you move the cursor back C) if something is already selected and the toolbar is gone you can't get it back except in some cases with sketches. Why not take this off of the Left button (select) and put it on the Right button, where it really belongs, where a single right click brings up the small toolbar and a double right click brings up the entire menu. And of course this all needs to be subject to settings.

                                                      Putting that toolbar on the Left mouse button is like having a wad of chewing gum on your finger while you sort through a stack of tissues.

                                                      I agree with the concept of trying to get stuff off of the bloated RMB menus, but I'm not convinced about the current approach. It introduces as many problems as it solves.
                                                        • My User Interface
                                                          Jim Wilkinson

                                                          matt lombard wrote:

                                                           

                                                          Do you have any idea how many different parts of the interface use the word "shortcut"?

                                                          Hi Matt,

                                                          Three officially:
                                                          Keyboard shortcuts - this is standard Microsoft terminology for these.
                                                          Menu shortcuts - this also is standard Microsoft terminology for the right mouse button menus ( http://office.microsoft.com/en...lp/HP051929581033.aspx)
                                                          Shortcut bars - The customizable toolbar you get when you hit the S key.

                                                          The first two were named consistently with other Microsoft applications since the start of SolidWorks so we would have consistent naming with all other Microsoft applications and users would not get confused moving from one application to another. We could have chosen something else for the shortcut bars introduced in SolidWorks 2008, but they can only be brought up with a keyboard shortcut and it is a quick method (a shortcut) for getting to commands so it seemed logical.

                                                          I know that you have had issues with the "accelerator key" term being confused with shortcuts, but accelerator key is also standard Microsoft terminology (although, it appears as though they may have started using "access keys" so I need to investigate that). In our help, we list keyboard accelerators and keyboard shortcuts in the same area so users know about both of them and have links to the same topic from both terms in the index.

                                                          We of course could come up with our own terminology but then we risk being inconsistent with other Windows compliant applications and adding more confusion.

                                                          Thanks,
                                                          Jim
                                                          • My User Interface
                                                            Jim Wilkinson

                                                            matt lombard wrote:

                                                             

                                                            if something is already selected and the toolbar is gone you can't get it back except in some cases with sketches.

                                                            Hi Matt,

                                                            The problem of not being able to get the context toolbar to show up when you select a feature that is already selected is addressed for SolidWorks 2008 SP04 assuming all testing goes well on the fix.

                                                            Thanks,
                                                            Jim
                                                          • My User Interface
                                                            Charles Culp
                                                            Jim,

                                                            It looks like my technique has always been to move the pointer over the object, then hit CTRL, then select it. I may have to just try and refine my technique, and then I won't have that problem.
                                                        • My User Interface
                                                          Charles Culp
                                                          I am satisfied with the context toolbar as a whole. As I mentioned, it often gets in the way when I'm picking multiple objects (normally while editing a sketch). I have, however, chosen to keep the left-click context toolbar, so it is fully in my control to remove this behavior. I turned it off this morning, and will see if that suits my activites any better.

                                                          As it compares with just having the items in a list, I guess I'm indifferent either way. Once I got "in the groove" with 2007 (and earlier), I knew where suppress/unsupress was on the right-click list. Same for other functions. Once I got "in the groove" of 2008 I knew where to expect the icons.

                                                          I think adding things like "mate" and the constraints are an added plus, they do make it easier than selecting them from the PropertyManager or a toolbar; but as I mentioned I have this stuff as keyboard shortcuts, as I find that I can remember those.

                                                          And speaking of which, I just added (M) as a keyboard shortcut for "Insert Mate", we'll see if I can remember that one!
                                                          • My User Interface
                                                            Andy Sanders
                                                            Here's mine.

                                                            I haven't been able to let go of the CM just yet, but all other toolbars are off, and I use the "S" key and other hotkeys extensively.
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                                                                Rich Osterreicher
                                                                I just wish the CM was movable...And, Be nice if the CM tabs were a bit bigger... At least adjustable size...Some of the guys here won't use the Cm just for that reason....Not eveyone has perfect vision ya know...
                                                                Acad'09's New UI is basically a copy of ours (SW).. But you can Move, customize anything anywhere with theirs.... ahem, take advantage of all that real estate on the SIDES of screen...also, it has a "Classic Interface" option, for those that don't like the new UI...
                                                                Can't help but say it, but their implementation/transition is really nice..

                                                                Sorry, couldn't help myself but comment..

                                                                As for the Topic of thread... I think the context things are nice sometimes... Sometimes they are Pita.. depends on what i'm doing.. What i'm selecting, etc...
                                                  • My User Interface
                                                    Charles Culp

                                                    matt lombard wrote:

                                                     

                                                    Why don't you just make hotkeys for all the items on the S toolbar, and eliminate even that?

                                                    Charles Culp wrote:

                                                     

                                                    So to answer your direct question, why don't I use ONLY keyboard shortcuts? Mainly because my memory isn't good enough to remember all of them. I think if I could remember them all, then I could do that.

                                                    So, I have attached my Shortcut Bars, as I guess that is also pertinent information.
                                                      • My User Interface
                                                        Matt McKendrick
                                                        OK, after about 2 days of tweaking Vista and Solidworks on my new box, I started to create my new part template, and what do I find... a totally jacked up new user interface. I have managed to force Solidworks to configure much of my preferred desktop buttons as well as the shortcut menus, but not without hours of fighting. I eliminated 99% of those annoying and inefficient flyouts, and finally have a part, drawing, and assembly template that has everything I need in place.

                                                        I appreciate all the comments and suggestions you all have shared. It helped me beat the 2008 UI into submission.

                                                        I have the same problem with hotkeys. I can't remember what they are. I use a gaming pad (Nostromo n52) for my left hand to enter numbers, esc, ctrl, shift, delete, and enter. I have also programmed some of the tools such as measure, mass, section, draft an, but that is about all my memory capacity can handle.

                                                        Still can't get rid of that annoying solidworks search thingy. Don't use it, don't need it.