19 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2009 12:13 PM by Charles Culp

    CTRL-Tab Usage

    Don Eva
      Can anyone explain to me or point me to the correct help topic to figure out how the ctrl-tab feature now functions?
      Up through SW 2007 the ctrl-tab just cycled through the open documents in whatever order it had them sorted.

      Now that I'm using SW 2008 it brings up the window with preview panels. Good idea, but it seems to force me to either mouse click or arrow to the one I want. Otherwise, when I release the keys it sometimes cycles through, other times it just keeps bringing up the same document, or cycles through some but not all of the documents.

      Don
        • CTRL-Tab Usage
          Jim Wilkinson
          Hi Don,

          It should work the same as in SolidWorks 2007 if you are using only the keyboard to navigate the documents. The functionality we added was the ability to visualize the documents and choose documents with the mouse as well (since many people cannot remember the order in which they have worked on documents beyond one or two).

          The way it works is it lists all the documents in the reverse order that they have last been used and each time you hit tab, it simply moves to the next thumbnail. if you let go of ctrl, then it activates that document. You can also active a document by moving your mouse over the thumbnail and letting go of ctrl or clicking on it.

          The one thing that you need to be careful of when using just the keyboard is to not move the mouse over one of the document thumbnails or it moves focus to that document and then subsequent tab keystrokes moves focus from there. My guess is this is what is happening for you. Could you please confirm?

          So, if you are trying to use only keyboard navigation, I would suggest either not moving the mouse at the same time, or moving the mouse away from the center of the screen before using ctrl-tab to avoid inadvertently moving the mouse over a thumbnail.

          I'd be interested to hear input from users as to how to improve this behavior if it is necessary. I have heard a lot of positive feedback about the new UI from those that like to navigate visually so I don't want to make the visual navigation harder while trying to improve the keyboard only navigation.

          Thanks,
          Jim
            • CTRL-Tab Usage
              Don Eva

              Jim Wilkinson wrote:

               

              The way it works is it lists all the documents in the reverse order that they have last been used and each time you hit tab, it simply moves to the next thumbnail. if you let go of ctrl, then it activates that document. You can also active a document by moving your mouse over the thumbnail and letting go of ctrl or clicking on it.



              The one thing that you need to be careful of when using just the keyboard is to not move the mouse over one of the document thumbnails or it moves focus to that document and then subsequent tab keystrokes moves focus from there. My guess is this is what is happening for you. Could you please confirm?



              So, if you are trying to use only keyboard navigation, I would suggest either not moving the mouse at the same time, or moving the mouse away from the center of the screen before using ctrl-tab to avoid inadvertently moving the mouse over a thumbnail.



              I'd be interested to hear input from users as to how to improve this behavior if it is necessary. I have heard a lot of positive feedback about the new UI from those that like to navigate visually so I don't want to make the visual navigation harder while trying to improve the keyboard only navigation.



              Thanks,

              Jim

              Jim,
              Thanks for the explanation. I didn't think to try to continue tabbing while holding the control key down. As you surmised, it looks like part of my problem was having the mouse pointer located in the center of the screen sometimes when the menu opened.
              So, that leaves me with 2 comments:
              1) I searched the help topics for a while trying to find something which would give the explanation you just gave, but couldn't find anything. I'm guessing there is something there, just not labelled as something I could think of to search for.
              2) If having the mouse pointer in the way is a common problem, would it be practical to figure out where the mouse pointer is located, and make sure the window doesn't come up in the same place?

              Don
                • CTRL-Tab Usage
                  Jim Wilkinson
                  Hi Don,

                  Don Eva wrote:

                   

                  1) I searched the help topics for a while trying to find something which would give the explanation you just gave, but couldn't find anything. I'm guessing there is something there, just not labelled as something I could think of to search for.

                  It doesn't go into the detail that I just went into, but if you do a search for "ctrl tab" in the help, there is a help topic called "Opening and Displaying Documents using Browsers" that goes over selecting documents with ctrl-tab. This is a standard windows behavior...the only thing we changed was to have a visual interface on it and add the mouse navigation.

                   


                  2) If having the mouse pointer in the way is a common problem, would it be practical to figure out where the mouse pointer is located, and make sure the window doesn't come up in the same place?

                  I am not sure how common a problem it is. I would like to hear other peoples comments. The problem is that we don't know when the user actually wants to use their mouse to navigate vs. the keyboard only, so popping up the dialog away from the mouse would be annoying for those who want to pick with the mouse.

                  Thanks,
                  Jim

                    • CTRL-Tab Usage
                      John Sweeney
                      Hi All,
                      Just to further Jim's explanation... one thing we do in the code to try and avoid inadvertently highlighting a document thumbnail with the mouse, is to enforce an initial 5 pixel mouse-move threshold. In other words, when the Ctrl-Tab preview window is first displayed, the mouse will NOT highlight any doc thumbnails until you move it 5 pixels or more... Once you've moved the mouse past this 5 pixel threshold, each subsequent mouse move will always take focus and highlight the thumbnail beneath it even if you are actively using the Tab key to also move focus. This could be confusing if you're not aware of the behavior because the mouse and the Tab key appear to "compete" for thumbnail focus.

                      Our original intent is that you should not move your mouse once you hit the Ctrl-Tab shortcut unless you want to activate a thumbnail by clicking or if you want to quickly "advance" the thumbnail preview to a new location. For example, when previewing many documents, this behavior has the advantage that you can quickly move your mouse to a particular row, thus "advancing" the thumbnail preview to that new row, and then continue using the Tab key to progress through the next series of thumbnails.

                      We could certainly increase the 5 pixel initial threshold if a lot of you feel that the mouse "gets involved" too easily when using Ctrl-Tab...

                      Thanks,
                      John
                      • CTRL-Tab Usage
                        Robert Thomson
                        I have the same problem, enough that I don't even bother to tab any more. I hit ctrl-tab and use my mouse to pick the one I want. Could you have a system properties check to turn on/off the mouse when using ctrl-tab?
                        Rob
                        • CTRL-Tab Usage
                          Don Eva
                          Looks like I opened a can of worms . . . .

                          Everyone wants something different.
                      • CTRL-Tab UsageSEEM TO WORK THE SAME WAY, IT DOESN'T.
                        J Sculley
                        While it may seem to work the same way, it doesn't. CTRL-TAB used to take you back through the documents you have been looking at in order.

                        By adding the popup screen, the interface is slowed down just enough that if I hit CTRL-TAB and release, the popup never appears, and I am taken to the previous document. If I hit CTRL-TAB again, I am not taken to the document before that. I am taken back to my first document. So, the implementation may seem the same on paper, but in practice it is different.
                          • CTRL-Tab UsageSEEM TO WORK THE SAME WAY, IT DOESN'T.
                            Joel Bickel
                            I agree. I used to use ctrl-tab to switch back and forth between 2 documents no matter how many were open. It was great.

                            Now, ctrl-tab doesn't work at all. It triggers some type of scan or search that my computer doesn't recover from until I restart. What would cause that?
                              • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                John Sweeney
                                Hi Joel,
                                There was another discussion thread that discussed a Slow CtrlTab problem. Charles Culp eventually narrowed the problem down to the anti-alias setting for his graphics card.

                                Are you using the default "application controlled" anti-alias setting or a custom value such as 4x, 8x, etc.?

                                Thanks,
                                John
                                  • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                    Joel Bickel

                                    John Sweeney wrote:

                                     

                                    Hi Joel,

                                    There was another discussion thread that discussed a Slow CtrlTab problem. Charles Culp eventually narrowed the problem down to the anti-alias setting for his graphics card.



                                    Are you using the default "application controlled" anti-alias setting or a custom value such as 4x, 8x, etc.?



                                    Thanks,

                                    John

                                    John,

                                    I am currently using the Dessault systemes/ solidworks global setting which has anti-aliasing at 16x. I tried to folow the link you sent and it has link to other posts but I didn't see the fix.
                                      • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                        John Sweeney
                                        Hi Joel,
                                        The "fix" is not really a "fix" on our end but instead a workaround on your end. In my post on 1/8/2009, I mention that we believe the graphics card is simply running out of memory and the current workaround is to use the application-controlled anti-alias setting.

                                        If you use this setting, does it avoid your problem?

                                        In speaking with our lead graphics developer, there are improvements on the way from the card vendors with the expected release new drivers, but this will not resolve this anti-alias issue completely. SPR 469994 is being used to investigate improvements on our end to increase efficiency for anti-aliasing and we hope this will help, but there are a lot of tradeoffs involved. In SW2009 and later, we began using more of the graphics card memory for across-the-board graphics performance improvements. This leaves less memory on your card for things like anti-aliasing. Dual monitor setups tend to see this issue more easily since there is twice as much graphics screen and thus twice the burden on the card memory (although as users have noted, the combination of a high anti-alias setting and/or low card memory may still show the issue on a single monitor). Unfortunately, due to the complexity and associated risk of this change, and our attempts to balance these tradeoffs, we don't have a date yet for these improvements with SPR 469994. I'll keep you guys posted.

                                        Also, I just double-checked with our graphics developer and the "out of the box" setting for SolidWorks should not be "16x" for any supported cards. Is it possible that this value was changed on your machine and then the "solidworks global setting" was overwritten?

                                        Thanks,
                                        John
                                  • CTRL-Tab UsageSEEM TO WORK THE SAME WAY, IT DOESN'T.
                                    John Sweeney
                                    Hi J,
                                    I'm not sure I understand your example... If I have 3 document open (part1, part2 and part3) and I use Ctrl-Tab to switch from Part1 to Part2, then if I invoke Ctrl-Tab again it should switch me back to the last activated file which was Part1. It should not matter whether you see the popup window showing the file preview images. We purposefully avoid showing the preview window if you perform a quick Ctrl-Tab action since no preview would be needed for this case. Does the display of the preview window seem to be changing the behavior you see? If so, move your cursor out of the way and see if the behavior changes...

                                    With the quick Ctrl-Tab action (when no preview window is shown), is what I describe above what you're seeing, or do you find that Part3 is being activated?

                                    Thanks,
                                    John
                                    • CTRL-Tab UsageSEEM TO WORK THE SAME WAY, IT DOESN'T.
                                      Jim Wilkinson

                                      J Sculley wrote:

                                       

                                      While it may seem to work the same way, it doesn't. CTRL-TAB used to take you back through the documents you have been looking at in order.

                                      By adding the popup screen, the interface is slowed down just enough that if I hit CTRL-TAB and release, the popup never appears, and I am taken to the previous document. If I hit CTRL-TAB again, I am not taken to the document before that. I am taken back to my first document. So, the implementation may seem the same on paper, but in practice it is different.

                                      I stand corrected. We did actually change the behavior when we went from SolidWorks 2007 to the new interface in SolidWorks 2008. There is an inconsistency between the way Microsoft handles Ctrl-tab and Alt-tab. Ctrl-tab cycles through all open documents with each separate click of Ctrl-tab (without holding the Ctrl key). Alt-tab cycles back and forth between two different applications with each click. If you want to get to other applications than the last two used, you press alt-tab and hold the alt key and press tab to cycle through all of them. In SolidWorks 2008, we made Ctrl-tab consistent with Alt-tab so it is easy to cycle back and forth between two documents (a fairly common usage in CAD) and then you can get to any other document through holding the Ctrl and hitting tab more times OR you can use the visual interface to go and pick the document with the mouse.

                                      We received positive feedback from users on the change to having this work consistently with Alt-tab to make the process of switching back and forth between 2 documents easier.

                                      Are there other users that prefer the old behavior of cycling between all documents to cycling between the last two used?

                                      Thanks and sorry for the confusion,
                                      Jim
                                        • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                          Wayne Tiffany

                                          Jim Wilkinson wrote:

                                           

                                          Are there other users that prefer the old behavior of cycling between all documents to cycling between the last two used?

                                          Jim

                                          I prefer the current method as you have the best of both worlds. If you want to toggle between 2 docs, it's fast and efficient. If you want to go past the previous one, just hit the tab again while holding the Ctrl, or put the cursor over the proper one. Either way it's easy to go past just the previous one.

                                          WT

                                            • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                              Chris Kamery

                                              Wayne Tiffany wrote:

                                               

                                              Jim Wilkinson wrote:

                                               

                                              Are there other users that prefer the old behavior of cycling between all documents to cycling between the last two used?



                                              Jim

                                              I prefer the current method as you have the best of both worlds. If you want to toggle between 2 docs, it's fast and efficient. If you want to go past the previous one, just hit the tab again while holding the Ctrl, or put the cursor over the proper one. Either way it's easy to go past just the previous one.



                                              WT

                                              For the most part i agree. my only complaint is the mouse interaction. i use alt-tab as much as i do ctrl-tab and i prefer the mouse to not interact with the pop-up dialog.
                                      • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                        Andy Sanders
                                        My vote is to leave it onscreen until a document is picked by mouse.

                                        I HATED the default behavior, but I mapped "browse open documents" to my "B" key, and it works exactly as I'd expect it to. I hit "B", the menu pops up onscreen and stays there until I pick something. It's simple.
                                        • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                          Paul Mihala
                                          I believe the ctrl-tab works exactly the same way as the alt-tab. I'm not sure what the confusion is about, if your mouse is hovering over one of the open documents you can just override that with pressing tab again to move to the next document in the pop-up.
                                          • CTRL-Tab Usage
                                            Charles Culp
                                            The current implementation is my preferred method. That is, as long as I keep anti-aliasing off!