11 Replies Latest reply on May 25, 2018 3:57 PM by Josh Brady

    Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?

    Josh Brady

      Lately I've found myself churning through a lot more SW files than I have the last couple of years, and it seems like I have to hit the "Esc" key a lot more than my muscle memory remembers.  I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, and it seems like something has changed in the last release or so such that some field in the Property Manager gets the keyboard focus upon selection.  For example, as soon as I click to place the endpoint of a line, the cursor goes to the property manager "length" field.  I have never, ever, ever in over 15 years ever wanted to type the length of a line into the property manager page.  I want to add a dimension.  So I hit my Dimension shortcut key (spacebar) and nothing happens because the typing cursor was in the Property Manager text field.

       

      I have also found myself somehow adding a view arrow and label to drawing views due to the same sort of interaction, although I haven't taken the time yet to figure out exactly which sequence I do without thinking that now creates a view arrow and label instead of the dimensions I want.

       

      If I want to type into the dang property manager page, I'll click over there in the spot where I want to type.  SW shouldn't guess (wrong) what I want to do and make me hit escape so many times.  It also kills performance since the PMP has to go away and then reload so much instead of just staying there and not interfering with my shortcut keys.

        • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
          Jim Wilkinson

          Hi Josh,

           

          I assume when you mean your "cursor automatically goes to the PropertyManager" you actually mean just keyboard focus (the actual mouse cursor does not jump there, correct)?

           

          Did you perhaps start using the space bar for the dimension command around the time this started happening? The reason I ask is because in cases like this where there is a PropertyManager with an active field, there are two things that could happen when you type a key; SOLIDWORKS can put the keystroke into the active input field or it can interpret it as input for keyboard shortcuts. So, for instance, if you place the end of a line and hit the F key, it will do zoom to fit instead of putting the F into the length field. SOLIDWORKS interprets *most* keyboard strokes as keyboard shortcuts, but obviously number values are interpreted as input to the field instead of keyboard shortcuts (since this is a workflow that some people use...click the endpoint of the line and then type a value to set its length). It gets a bit tricky because you can also type expressions in the input fields (like 5mm+1in) so only the first character is used to decide if the user is trying to input information to the field vs. typing a keyboard shortcut; for instance, I use M for measure and if I type M as the first character after dropping the end of a line, it starts the measure command, but if I type 5m, then the "m" goes into the input field since the 5 pushed focus there.

           

          The space key, similar to the tab, is a bit of a special key in Microsoft for controlling dialogs. Tab is used for moving between fields and space is used in the same way clicking the mouse is used (for instance, it is used to toggle a check box in a dialog if the check box has focus). So, to support users who want to control the dialog/PropertyManager with keyboard only and to support accessibility requirements in Windows of being able to control dialogs through keyboard only and not the mouse, the space bar is a key that always gets sent to the dialog instead of being interpreted as a keyboard shortcut.

           

          I am guessing that you probably even use this functionality maybe subconsciously. For instance, setting extrude depth is a very common one that I am guessing you use; pick a sketch, hit the extrude command, and just type a number for the depth; you don't have to go over and set focus to it. The same is true for the Fillet command and most others throughout the system. And for these two commands, hitting the space bar as the first character in the numeric field brings up the menu of common values, functions, file properties, etc. which is important to get to if you are using only keyboard navigation of the dialog.

           

          So, let me know if this is indeed what you are encountering and if so, I would recommend assigning dimension to some other keyboard shortcut other than the space key.

           

          Thanks,
          Jim

            • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
              Josh Brady

              Jim,

              Thanks for the detailed response and explanation... I've been using spacebar for dimension since about 2002 (about a year before I started using SW... CadKey99!) which is why I didn't notice exactly what happens to make the view arrows... My brain and muscle memory are about 3 steps ahead before I realize that there's a view arrow where one isn't supposed to be.  I guess it may be that the shortcut processing changed to be more Windows standard at some point.  I'll try to see if I can possibly switch my dimension shortcut and see if that fixes it.If I can change my brain that is...  :-)

                • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                  Solid Air

                  Josh,

                   

                  You did not mention what version you are currently using and what was the previous version you were using.  I did some tests and starting with SW2016 the spacebar was no longer treated as a shortcut key if you have something assigned to it.  As Jim mentioned other shortcut keys that cannot be interpreted as valid input for the first keypress are still treated as shortcut keys.  My recommendation would be to change your shortcut to alt-spacebar since the alt key is normally close to the space bar (and is still basically the same as you are use to).  Another option (if you always enter a dimension) would be to turn on "Enable on screen numeric input on entity creation" 

                    • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                      Josh Brady

                      Thanks for the extra info, SA.  Just for background, one big reason I hadn't really noticed (or been annoyed, as the case may be) is due to my job responsibilities for a couple of years shifting away from doing much CAD work.  Last week was really the first time I had (got?) to sit down and power through a stack of part drawing creation.  I'm running 2017 now, but probably hadn't done so much CAD since '15.  Time for some retraining!  :-)

                  • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                    Solid Air

                    I see you marked your answer correct.  From your reply, I did not get if the change to how the spacebar is handled was a change by SolidWorks or Microsoft (as I stated in my reply to Josh, the change took place in SW2016).

                      • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                        Jim Wilkinson

                        I'm not sure exactly why it changed in SOLIDWORKS 2016 either; likely to better support complete keyboard navigation since we did do some changes at that time for accessibility. The only reason I marked it as correct was so future readers would find the answer easily. I've changed it so yours is now the correct answer since you have the additional information that the space bar change started with SOLIDWORKS 2016 (and you reference my post anyway, so future readers should be able to find that once jumping to yours).

                         

                        Thanks,

                        Jim

                      • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                        Josh Brady

                        Jim Wilkinson I just had this bite me again.  Hard.  "Flip Direction" is the default control with focus when you select a section view.  If you hit space, enter, etc, the section direction instantly flips with no confirmation dialog.  THIS IS TERRIBLE!  Once a section view has been created, you almost never want to go back later and flip its direction.  If you do so inadvertently, all your carefully placed dimensions move all over the place.  And this cannot be undone.  Of course you can flip it back, but the dimensions, notes, everything does not go back to the right spot. 

                         

                        It's one thing to have the keyboard focus automatically go to some innocuous control on the property manager.  It's another to have it go somewhere that an inadvertent keyboard press can irreversibly ruin a drawing view.  I was working on a pretty complex section view with lots of dimensions that now have to be fixed.

                         

                        Oh, and by the way, the ER system is down.  That's why you got a rant here.... :-)

                          • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                            Jim Wilkinson

                            Josh Brady wrote:

                             

                            Jim Wilkinson I just had this bite me again. Hard. "Flip Direction" is the default control with focus when you select a section view. If you hit space, enter, etc, the section direction instantly flips with no confirmation dialog. THIS IS TERRIBLE! Once a section view has been created, you almost never want to go back later and flip its direction. If you do so inadvertently, all your carefully placed dimensions move all over the place. And this cannot be undone. Of course you can flip it back, but the dimensions, notes, everything does not go back to the right spot.

                             

                            It's one thing to have the keyboard focus automatically go to some innocuous control on the property manager. It's another to have it go somewhere that an inadvertent keyboard press can irreversibly ruin a drawing view. I was working on a pretty complex section view with lots of dimensions that now have to be fixed.

                             

                            Oh, and by the way, the ER system is down. That's why you got a rant here.... :-)

                            Hi Josh,

                             

                            So the workflow is that you select a view and then hit the spacebar to dimension and you have the spacebar assigned to the dimension command instead of the default of view orientation. Is that correct?

                             

                            For me, if I select a section view and hit the spacebar, it opens the view orientation dialog. And if I assign the dimension command to the spacebar, select a section view, and select spacebar, it runs the dimension command. The only way for me that spacebar is interpreted as trying to execute the UI control that has focus in the PropertyManager is if I specifically click in the PropertyManager to make sure it has focus and then tab to navigate to the specific control and then hit spacebar. For the Section View PropertyManager, the only way I can get the Flip Direction button to actually have focus is to click somewhere in the PropertyManager other than the Flip Direction button (since clicking on it will actually flip) which gives focus to some other control depending on where I click and then tab to the Flip Direction button. What i have listed here is how it is supposed to work, with the exception of numeric input fields. When a numeric field has focus, like in the extrude command when it first comes up, then the space goes to the numeric field. I just tested the rectangle command which does not have a numeric input field with focus by default. When that command first comes up, if I hit space, it properly runs the dimension or view orientation command, depending on how it is assigned. Does yours do the same or is the space being interpreted as executing the control that has focus in the PropertyManager?


                            I am starting to wonder if there is some OS setting or something else running at the OS level or some driver on your system that is pushing focus to the PropertyManager. I know that some graphics card drivers have options for centering dialogs, setting focus, etc. and there are other types of things that can be run at the OS level to manipulate this stuff as well. Do you know if you happen to have any of that kind of thing running or set?

                             

                            Thanks,

                            Jim

                              • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                                Jeremy Zuvich

                                I have a Logitech mouse, using their Options driver, and I know that there is an option for automatically moving the mouse cursor to the default option whenever a dialog box opens (only useful if you are using a trackball IMHO). This driver also drives Logitech keyboards if you have one installed, so I suspect there is a similar option for the "input cursor" for lack of a better term. You may want to check your keyboard and mouse drivers to see if that is what is driving focus to the PropertyManager.

                                • Re: Cursor automatically goes to Property Manager?
                                  Josh Brady

                                  OK... I took a few minutes to figure it out, because it didn't happen every time.

                                  It HAS to be a bug, because behavior is inconsistent, depending on which things you select and when.  I've found three different conditions:

                                   

                                  1- If you hit escape a bunch of times to make sure nothing is going on, then you click a view, the spacebar still does whatever shortcut it's supposed to. 

                                   

                                  2 - IF a property manager is displayed due to selecting something (you don't have to click in it or anything) for a dimension, note, or view (maybe others, I'm not sure), and then you click a view or a note, the keyboard focus for the spacebar or the Enter key goes to the view's property manager, and the keyboard shortcut doesn't work.  If it's a section view, the section flips.  If it's a normal projected view, the "Arrow" checkbox gets checked.  If it's a model view, nothing happens, but the shortcut gets blocked.  If it's a note, the "apply style" button in the top left is activated.

                                   

                                  3. If the PMP is displayed for a view and then you select a dimension, spacebar does nothing.  It has no effect on the dimension, but the shortcut doesn't happen either.  If you select a note, spacebar activates the "apply style" button in the top left and the shortcut doesn't happen.  Any selection after this (other than another view or note) returns the keys to normal shortcut function.

                                   

                                  Other items, like sketch entities, don't cause this.  If you select a sketch entity, its PMP appears (of course), but then you can select a view and behavior will be normal.  Selecting a view and then selecting a sketch entity does not cause this issue either.

                                   

                                  The reason this happened to me so bad is that my workflow is often to modify some dimension property, then click in the graphics area to leave the PMP.  Apparently, depending on which thing you click, you may or may not be leaving the PMP with the spacebar and enter key.