24 Replies Latest reply on Feb 8, 2011 12:07 PM by John Jablonski

    Select All... of what? (Survey)

    Ben Schriesheim

      Hi Everyone,

       

      One enhancement idea that has come up in the past is the addition of a "Ctrl+A" keyboard shortcut for Select All in SolidWorks. This strikes me as something that might be useful--for example, if you want to convert all entities in a sketch to construction geometry, you can simply press "Ctrl+A" rather than performing a box-select and potentially missing some far-flung sketch points.

       

      This would be implemented as a simple command in SolidWorks--much like Cut, Copy, Paste, et cetera. By default, it would be accessible from the Edit menu and assigned to the "Ctrl+A" keyboard shortcut. Of course, you could also add it to a toolbar or mouse gesture if (for whatever reason) you wanted to.

       

      The question is... what will this command select all of? Having talked to several people, this apparently isn't such a simple question. I suspect it would behave differently depending on the current mode. For example:

       

      • In Sketch mode:
        • Select all sketch entities (this one seems to be the most straightforward, but I could be wrong)
      • In Assembly mode:
        • Select all components (except those that are suppressed or hidden)
      • In Drawings mode:
        • Select all views? All views and annotations? Only select items on the active layer, or on all layers?
      • In Part mode:
        • Select all bodies? All features? Does it depend on the state of your selection filters?

       

      To help make this command as useful as possible, please fill out the following (short!) survey and/or respond to this thread:

      http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/459358/what-should-select-all-do-in-solidworks-

       

      Other feedback is welcome too, including "don't add this command at all!"

       

      Thanks for your input,

       

      Ben Schriesheim

      SolidWorks User Experience

        • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
          Ben Schriesheim

          One additional point to consider:

           

          In Parts/Assemblies/Drawings, this command would respect any filter text in the Feature Manager's filter bubble. So if you had applied a filter for "Bolt" in an assembly, only items with the word "Bolt" in their name would be selected with Ctrl+A. Let me know if this makes sense, or if you disagree.

           

          Thanks,

          Ben

            • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
              Ben Schriesheim

              Hi Everyone,

               

              This thread may have gone unnoticed because of temporary issues with the Forums, but the poll is still open! Any input on this topic is greatly appreciated.

               

              Thanks,

              Ben

              • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                Deepak Gupta

                Ben, just completed the survey and I have a idea to share.

                 

                A pop up window with options of what a user want to select when they hit/click "Select All or Ctrl + A" and options will be based on what mode the user is working i.e sketch, part, assembly or drawing.

                What you feel??

                  • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                    Tony Cantrell

                    I like the popup idea. Gives a little more power to the function.

                      • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                        Ben Schriesheim

                        Hi Deepak and Tony,

                         

                        This idea does allow for a lot more flexibility in the Select All feature. But as always, there's a trade-off between power/complexity/flexibility and speed/simplicity/ease of use.

                         

                        IMHO "Ctrl+A" should not require an additional action by the user to complete the selection. Much like in other applications (including web browsers--try "Ctrl+A" now), I would expect the keyboard shortcut to instantaneously result in a selection. Requiring an additional choice in an Options dialog after the fact will make Ctrl+A more cumbersome than something like a box-selection, and would probably make me less likely to use it.

                         

                        There are also other ways to pack power into this command. For one, see Alin's comment about selection filters.

                         

                        Of course, I posted this thread to get feedback from the community--not to defend my own ideas! What does everybody else think? What's the right balance between speed and flexibility?

                         

                        -Ben

                          • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                            Paul Marsman

                            I agree that a Ctrl+A should be instant... but could it be tweaked similar to how the Trim command works?  So users can specify their preference and it is remembered across sessions, but if they need something different they can say so?  This could allow for different options based on the different modes, yet each one is seperate and useful.

                      • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                        John Jablonski

                        I can think of only one situation where I'd use a select-all, and even that is a limited All: I imported an assembly into SW, which had a LOT of massively huge planes. Since I was never going to use them, I wanted to hide them all. I ended up using the filter bar in the assembly tree ("Plane"), and shift-select all, then RMB->Hide. Fortunately, they were all named Plane[something]. [As an aside here, why can't I multi-select->hide planes from the graphics window? And why can't I window-select planes?]

                         

                        The best way I can think of a Select All working well and consistently, is to have it work with a RMB click, and the RMB menu saying "Select all Planes" when clicked on a plane. Or select a dimension->RMB->Select all dimensions. Select all line (or sketch segments); Select all construction geometry.; etc.
                        I honestly can't think of any situation where I'd want to select EVERYTHING in a drawing/assy/part/sketch.
                        I think a CTRL-A is going to get confusing and annoying. CTRL-A is meant to be a quick way of, well, selecting everything. When you start adding filters to it, you are muddying the meaning of ALL.
                          • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                            Ben Schriesheim

                            Hi John,

                             

                            Thanks for the specific example. What do you think of my response to Alin and Chris as a way to respect filters without making the feature too confusing?

                             

                            Your RMB menu idea is a good way to select all of a specific kind of entity without having to apply selection filters. Building off this idea, what if Ctrl+A selected all of whatever you already have selected?

                             

                            For example, if you wanted to get all of your massively huge planes (a common problem!) you could select one or more planes, press Ctrl+A, and get all planes in the graphics area. If you wanted all faces and edges, you could select one of each, press Ctrl+A, and so on...

                             

                            The advantage here is that we don't add another item to the already lengthy RMB menu. Of course, if you don't preselect anything, Ctrl+A would work as I described below (basically like box-selecting the entire screen).

                             

                            What do you all think?

                             

                            Thanks,

                            Ben

                              • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                John Jablonski

                                I still think CTRL-A should select everything. CTRL-A is kind of a standard, where you expect ALL to mean all. I think adding filters, etc to it is unnecessary and confusing, and breaks the "standard."

                                 

                                As far as the "cluttered" RMB menu, what about changing "Invert selection" to a "Selection..." flyout, with Invert Selection, Select All [of item], Select Other, etc.

                                 

                                I think my only other comment here would be....have you seen The Top 10 Idea List? Wouldn't it make more sense to work on items from that list *cough* [setting plane normal direction] *cough* instead of this?

                                 

                                -john

                                  • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                    Kelvin Lamport

                                    Good point John ... to take it a step further ... I don't recollect this even being one of the top 500. I hope this non-requested idea is not being given precedence over any of the suggested 500?

                                      • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                        Jim Wilkinson

                                        Hi Kelvin,

                                         

                                        Please note that we have 16 years worth of enhancement requests. The list that was just put together for SolidWorks World on the forum is just a small snapshot of all of the requests that have been made through the years and was only made and voted on by a certain percentage of our entire customer base. Since the list was only open for a fairly short amount of time compared to the history of SolidWorks being out there, there are certainly things that people forgot to add and we would not be doing justice to our customer base if we didn't consider our other sources of enhancement requests.

                                         

                                        We wouldn't be researching Select All if it hadn't been requested by users. What we are trying to do is find clarity on why users want Select All and then we will make a judgement call on whether or not it is worth implementing and if so, how it should be implemented.

                                         

                                        Thanks,
                                        Jim

                                      • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                        Jim Wilkinson

                                        Hi John,

                                         

                                        A couple of points:

                                        1)  The types of things that can be selected in SolidWorks is quite different than selecting things in other programs that have Select All like Word. For instance, you can describe a SolidWorks part model of being made up of different "classes" of objects. There is the geometry which is either surface or solid bodies and each body is composed of faces, edges, and vertices. Then there are the features that make up the geometry. There are also planes, axes, etc. So, should select all select all of these things (all features, bodies, faces, edges, vertices, planes, axes, etc.) at the same time? That would not be very useful as there is no operation in SolidWorks that can actually act upon all of those things. It may be useful to select all faces so you can apply or remove an appearance to all of them (or select them all and then unselect just a couple). Or as one user has said, it would be useful to select all planes to hide/show them. What we don't want to do is just blindly implement Select All to select everything and make it useless. What we need to know is for those users that do want this functionality, what do they want to do with it so we can come up with a design that is useful for those workflows.

                                        2) We aren't even positive at this point we are going to be implementing Select All...we are just researching it since it has been requested a lot over the years. See my post in response to Kelvin about sources of enhancement requests for a bit more detail. Also, we have all sorts of developers at SolidWorks. Not all developers can work on the same sort of functionality just like mechanical engineers all have their own particular specialiaties. Also, different functionality takes different amounts of time to implement. So, even if we decide not to implement Select All, that is not to say that a developer that would have implemented Select All could go and implement functionality for setting the plane normal direction, especially in the amount of time that developer might have available to do a project.

                                         

                                        I'm just trying to give a little insight as to why we are researching this particular enhancement request and the fact that it could not be a direct trade for some other piece of functionality.

                                         

                                        Thanks,

                                        Jim

                                          • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                            John Jablonski

                                            A few more comments I guess:

                                             

                                            1) After working some more, I've come upon another couple of times when a select all would be useful: Selecting all centerlines, and selecting all dimensions in a drawing. In my case, it's generally to change the layer of said features.

                                             

                                            2) Going back to Don's workflow, I might suggest that with nothing selected, CRTL-A does nothing. I say this partially based on Ben's initial post, where there seems to be some confusion as to what ALL should be by default. (And as an aside, in SW2010-SP5.0, window-select around a part does not actually select all the part edges; that would need to be fixed as well.) So, basically, make it a command where you need to preselect something. I would also suggest, since a lot of SW operations do NOT operate on multiple types of entities, CRTL-A also does nothing if two different entities are selected (ie: plane + edge).

                                             

                                            3) Also, going back to the 16 years of enhancement requests, I would think that any enhancement requests older than 5-ish years can be safely purged, since within that time frame either it's been implemented, or other features added have been made that are close enough, or that change the workflow such that the original request is now moot.

                                             

                                            4) I would argue against using the filter buttons for CTRL-A, as that requires a lot of mouse movement, and CTRL-A is supposed to be a quick way of selecting "everything."  And yes, I still use CRTL-O, CTRL-S, and CTRL-N.

                                             

                                            -john

                                  • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                    Alin Vargatu

                                    This command should also be limited to the active filters (in case you use the F5 filters).

                                      • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                        Chris Challinor

                                        I second the active filter "select all" idea

                                          • Re: Select All... of what? (Survey)
                                            Ben Schriesheim

                                            Alin and Chris,

                                             

                                            Thanks for the suggestion. One very simple way to get Ctrl+A to play nicely with selection filters is the following:

                                             

                                            • If you have a selection filter on, select everything in the graphics area that matches your filter. This would behave identically all SW modes.
                                            • If you don't have a selection filter on, use the default "implied" filters that are currently in place for things like box-select. For example, if you turn off all filters and box-select a model in Part mode, you will get all of the edges by default.

                                             

                                            Essentially, the behavior would be the same as the following actions:

                                            1. Zoom to fit
                                            2. Box-select everything in the graphics area

                                             

                                            So if you wanted to do something like apply an appearance to all faces in a part, you would do the following:

                                            1. Turn on the Face selection filter
                                            2. Ctrl+A
                                            3. Apply the appearance

                                             

                                            This implementation is nice because it's instant, consistent with existing selection methods, and can be made more specific (by applying filters). What do you think?

                                             

                                            -Ben