19 Replies Latest reply on Sep 18, 2017 3:38 PM by Kevin Hansen

    Why no two key short cut capabilities?

    robert dattilo

      Hello;

       

           Just wondering why Solidworks doesn't allow you to create two key short cuts. You run out of options pretty quick. I also prefer left hand entry, to keep the mouse going.  If they allowed two key combinations that would really widen the options. It would be nice, then you wouldn't get the that's already taken, do you want to change it.      

            Any thoughts on this.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Rob_D 2013 sp2

        • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
          Jeremy Feist

          ??? I use a 3 key shortcut all the time. I set ctrl-alt-w to close all.

          • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
            Glenn Schroeder

            I just tried it and it worked fine.  By the way, SW placed the comma.  I just entered the two letters.

             

            two-key shortcut.png

              • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                Jim Wilkinson

                Hi Robert,

                 

                The difference in Autocad is that it has a command line interface. So, if I am correct, you ALWAYS have to use at least 2 keys...you must type a key and then return/enter. If you have an actual 2 key shortcut, it is 3 keys (the 2 keys and then enter/return).

                 

                SolidWorks doesn't have a command line so as soon as you hit a keyboard shortcut, it is interpreted and executed by the software. It can't just wait until you type a second character. Ctrl, Shift, Alt are all special keys that don't act as normal keys but act in combination with regular alpha-numeric keys.

                 

                Starting with SolidWorks 2012, we added the ability to search commands and in this ability, we added aliases for searching or "Search Shortcuts" (as seen in the right column of Glenn's image above). The documentation is here: http://help.solidworks.com/2013/English/SolidWorks/sldworks/c_command_search.htm

                 

                So, you can assign 2 key shortcuts using this functionality and it will actually take 4 keys to execute them; one keystroke to make the command search active, then the 2 assigned keys, and then return/enter. By default "w" is assigned to the command search interface and as an example, "pl" is assigned to plane. So, to run plane, you would type "wpl" and then return/enter. "l" is assigned to line by default so you type "wl" return/enter to start the line command.

                 

                So, really, the only difference between this and Autocad is SolidWorks does not always have an active command line to take the keyboard input. So, it benefits by allowing single key shortcuts that execute directly and if you also want to have multiple key shortcuts, it is one more keystroke than Autocad.

                 

                I hope this helps,

                Jim

                  • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                    Glenn Schroeder

                    I see. So what I did is assign two seperate 1-key shortcuts to the same operation.

                    • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                      robert dattilo

                      Okay, thanks for clarifying that.

                      • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                        Matthew M

                        Interesting.  So Solidworks has one key shortcuts that work very well.  You cannother, however, have 2 or 3 key shortcuts (it's my opinion that anything over 3 becomes cumbersome), but you can get 4 or more key shortcuts if you jump through some non-obvious hoops (i.e. activate the search box with a keyboard shortcut and then search for the keystrokes and press enter).

                         

                        The post you reference claims this is an advantage over Autocad.  However, both Pro/E and Inventor have 1, 2, 3, etc. key shortcuts that are very straightforward.  While I'm sure I'll figure out a way to minimize the productivity hit as I transition to SW, I find this annoying.

                         

                        Matthew

                        • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                          Andrew Troup

                          But Jim, Solidworks DOES allow two (or three) key shortcuts, for which a prerequisite is holding down the first key to prevent the application interpreting it as a completed request.

                           

                          But it is currently only implemented for Ctrl, Alt and Shift.

                           

                          All we are suggesting is that all alphabetic characters be made available as modifiers.

                            • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                              Jim Wilkinson

                              Hi Andrew,

                              Andrew Troup wrote:

                               

                              But Jim, Solidworks DOES allow two (or three) key shortcuts, for which a prerequisite is holding down the first key to prevent the application interpreting it as a completed request.

                               

                              But it is currently only implemented for Ctrl, Alt and Shift.

                               

                              All we are suggesting is that all alphabetic characters be made available as modifiers.

                               

                              Most users have not suggested using other keys as modifier keys. Most users have asked for multiple sequential keys, for instance "lin" for line. This is the first time I've heard the suggestion for using other keys as modified keys which I will address further below. Just for completeness, for multiple sequential keys to work, we'd have to implement keyboard shortcuts in a different way than they are implemented today which may compromise some of the benefits of the current, immediately executing single key (or single key with Alt/Shift/Ctrl modifiers). Most of the other implementations that I've seen of multiple sequential key shortcuts require another keystroke or action to indicate when you are done giving input. Some of these also have limitations as to when they can be used; for instance some implementations of multiple key shortcuts cannot be used when a dialog is up.

                               

                              Regarding modifier keys, as I mentioned in my previous reply, Ctrl, Alt, and Shift are special keys in the Windows OS. They are modifier keys, not regular alphanumeric keys. They generally have no function independently and only function in combination with other keys. More general information on that here: Modifier key - Wikipedia

                               

                              Regular alphanumeric keys are generally not used as modifiers because of their "auto-execute" and "auto-repeat" type behavior. For instance, open a Word document and press any key and hold it; it types the letter and continues repeating it until you hit another letter and then it will type that new letter and repeat it. The same is true in SOLIDWORKS. Open a model and push and hold the up arrow key. It will spin the model because the OS keeps on firing the up arrow key command and SOLIDWORKS gets that input and executes the rotate command multiple times one after another. If while holding that key, you press the right arrow and hold it, it will then spin a different direction until you let go of the key. The behavior is the same as in Word because this is the nature of how Windows OS sends keystrokes to programs. And every alphanumeric key shortcut works like this in SOLIDWORKS. So, if you press and hold the F key for zoom to fit, it is actually doing multiple zoom to fit commands in a row, you only see the first one since it is already zoomed. If you press and hold Ctrl+Z for undo, it will keep on undoing until the undo list is empty.

                               

                              As mentioned in the Wikipedia article under "Dual-role keys", it is possible to get other keys to act as modifiers in addition to their regular function. Theoretically, it *may* be possible to override the Windows OS behavior and get other keys to work as modifiers, but this would likely be very tricky business to get it to work well and consistent. Those references in Wikipedia are very general; the Windows OS may not allow us to modify how the keyboard events are sent and if not, then we'd have to write algorithms to interpret the keystrokes being sent and process them accordingly to get the desired behavior.

                               

                              If we do end up implementing multiple key shortcuts in the future, going the modifier route is not likely a direction we would go since it isn't standard practice; I'm unaware of any program that uses it as a general solution, although I have heard of programs using the space bar as a modifier. We'd be more likely to implement sequential multiple key shortcuts if there is enough demand for it.

                               

                              It is logged as an enhancement in our system; the reference is SPR# 114051. The best way to  vote for the enhancement and add more information for our product definition folks is to login to the customer portal on www.solidworks.com. Then go to Enhancement Requests under My Support and type in 114051. You can indicate what version of SOLIDWORKS you are using and put in details about what you are looking for. If you are used to how multi-key shortcuts work in another system, you can make references to that since it will help our product definition engineers better understand what you are looking for.

                               

                              Thanks,

                              Jim

                                • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                  Andrew Troup

                                  Thanks, Jim, for that very comprehensive and thoughtful reply.

                                   

                                  A couple of observations:


                                  1) Autocad does claim to have single key shortcuts https://www.autodesk.com/content/dam/autodesk/www/shortcuts/autocad/autocad-shortcuts-keyboard-graphic-large.jpg

                                  But presumably the user has to press "Enter" after the single key, so it seems to me you are correct: it is actually a two keystroke minimum

                                   

                                  2) Unlike the other modifier keys in Windows, Spacebar does have the autorepeat behaviour you referred to. Interestingly,this doesn't seem to prevent it being usable as a modifier.

                                  I hope your development team would not dismiss alpha modifiers purely on the basis of autorepeat. It seems to me at least possible that the extraneous events could either be disregarded, or discarded, or even used to flag that the key currently repeating is being used as a modifier.

                                   

                                  3) I would also hope that any merits the alpha modifier idea might have would not be dismissed because it "isn't standard practice".

                                  I could glibly point out that filtering ideas on that basis is the polar opposite of innovation. But I think I know what you actually mean, and if have correctly guessed your thinking, we share a distaste for gratuitous deviation from established interface norms.

                                   

                                  However I'm not convinced that alpha modifiers constitutes a deviation, so much as a consistent extension of an existing (modifier key) norm.

                                  And if no-one else has yet explored or exploited this opportunity, perhaps there is an opportunity for Dassault Solidworks to lead the way?

                                   

                                  I personally consider that the benefits of retaining the present simplicity and efficiency of single key shortcuts, while adding the quantum leap of available (and meaningful) "slots" which alpha modifiers might permit, are *so* substantial that "gratuitous" would not be applicable.

                            • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                              robert dattilo

                              Hello;

                               

                                   Well, I don't know if you tried it in application. I tried a V, A, for view axes. It oddly referenced the A, & said A was in use would I like change it's use. I have used A as something previously. Maybe I'm missing something but that's what mine said.

                                    If a letter is in use already, like V for filter vertices, it won't let you type V,A. If I then delete V for vertices temporary, then try to assign V, A, for view axees, it says A was already in use, which it is, but why can't i use V, A, without changing A's usage. 

                               

                              Thanks,

                               

                              Rob_D

                            • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                              David Messier

                              Maybe it is cheaper for the SW development team to leave it like that.

                               

                              With the modern multi-function mouse and AutoCAD or even Draftwight, my left hand is to call the command and the right is for pressing enter.

                               

                              It is a very efficient technique because with more than one letter, the quantity of combination becomes sufficient for the needs. Unfortunately Keyboard Shortcuts with multiple Letters is not possible with SW.

                              • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                Mike Helsinger

                                Personally I'm a big fan of the existing SW shortcut method.  With a little practice and creativity I have developed over 120 unique and intuitive keyboard operators.  It also helps that I haven't spent much time with other CAD platforms, just some AutoCAD.

                                • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                  Christian Chu

                                  Macro is an alternative - you cane create to whatever number of short cuts you want and put all in one icon for a click away !

                                  • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                    Kevin Hansen

                                    Creo allows you to use as many keystrokes as you want. As soon as it recognizes one of your stored macros, it runs it. So you have to be careful not to have overlapping commands. Like, if you have one that fires on "S", and one that fires on "SA", when you intend to hit S then A, it will run the S macro before you can hit the A. So maybe the SW programmers decided they didn't want to deal with people's confusion over this issue?

                                     

                                    Or maybe they just use the same platform as many other apps. I use Photoshop a lot, and it uses the single-key (with CTRL and ALT modifiers) method. It annoys me because I have trouble finding new keys that are meaningful to the command.

                                      • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                        Jim Wilkinson

                                        Kevin Hansen wrote:

                                         

                                        Creo allows you to use as many keystrokes as you want. As soon as it recognizes one of your stored macros, it runs it. So you have to be careful not to have overlapping commands. Like, if you have one that fires on "S", and one that fires on "SA", when you intend to hit S then A, it will run the S macro before you can hit the A. So maybe the SW programmers decided they didn't want to deal with people's confusion over this issue?

                                         

                                        Or maybe they just use the same platform as many other apps. I use Photoshop a lot, and it uses the single-key (with CTRL and ALT modifiers) method. It annoys me because I have trouble finding new keys that are meaningful to the command.

                                        Hi Kevin,

                                         

                                        SOLIDWORKS uses Microsoft standards whenever possible for consistency with other Windows certified programs; plus the frameworks often come from Microsoft predefined. So this is why it is like it is in SOLIDWORKS. Creo and many other programs (like AutoCAD) came from either the UNIX or DOS days where they had to implement this type of thing from scratch so implemented it however they decided to implement it at the time.

                                         

                                        That's not to say we couldn't stray from Microsoft standards if there is enough demand, but we'd probably have to do it in a way that is compatible with what has already been in SOLIDWORKS for over 20 years; users would be upset if we totally changed keyboard shortcuts in such a way that their current shortcuts they have been using for years no longer work.

                                         

                                        Thanks,

                                        Jim

                                          • Re: Why no two key short cut capabilities?
                                            Kevin Hansen

                                            Good to know, thanks. So we can blame Microsoft!

                                             

                                            In Creo, I used to set up a macro for anything I did often, that took more than three clicks. Over the years, whenever they changed their menus, I would sometimes have to recreate them (because they were tied to the onscreen menu layout), but it never bothered me much. Also, as their menus improved, I needed fewer macros.