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ionamerica 02-18-2013 07:56 PM

Keyboard Shortcuts
 
My mac pro is impressive as I expected. There's only one thing I miss from the world of Wintel: A rational keyboard shortcut system. The wintel system used underscores to show which letters were shortcuts within the menu system. Once "alt" had been struck, the menu had the focus and you could go anywhere with key strokes--even in a brand new application--because you could see which keys to strike (the underlined ones). The shortcuts were thus very easy to learn, much easier to type (one key at a time), and in most cases, your hands never left the home keys. My mac makes me feel like I'm playing twister with my fingers. I could do many things 5-10 times as fast as someone hobbled by a mouse. I've seen "productivity" and "shortcut" apps within the app store... how much do these help? I presume that none of them can actually place underscores on the letters of other applications because that would entail leaving the "sandbox". Comments? Suggestions? Reviews?

toMACsh 02-19-2013 01:08 PM

The shortcuts I use on my Mac are of the one stroke variety. I have enough F keys to satisfy me. But, if that's not enough for you, there are always the Option-F Key and Control-F key functions available. I use Windows at work, and only rarely invoke the Alt-letter, Alt-letter keyboard shortcuts. I don't see how it's any easier than the Mac way. I don't know if single-stroke F keys work in Windows. ???

ionamerica 02-19-2013 02:36 PM

It's very hard to describe the difference between a Ferrari and an Oldsmobile because the cars are superficially similar, but trust me, there is a difference, and it's a big one. I called an Apple phone support technician today and described what I hoped to achieve (menu items with underscored letters for shortcuts). He told me that he also had worked extensively with Windows XP (the last Microsoft OS in with a good shortcut system). He said he too had spent much of the last year looking for a solution which allowed an experienced user to keep his hands on the home keys and manipulate the menu system without spending hours trying to memorize hundreds of shortcuts that are confusingly similar. Microsoft had the best system in this arena by a country mile, but they stupidly abandoned it. I think they were intimidated by Apple. If Apple develops a good shortcut system (not an ad-hoc collection of thousands of conflicting 3-&-4-finger shortcuts), it will be just one more nail in Microsoft's coffin. I'd be very glad to see it, frankly. Part of my distress is due to the fact that I'm working with a laptop that doesn't have the home, end, page-up, and page-down keys. These require taking your hands off the home keys also. It's not hard to imagine a better approach.

It's important to understand that the XP/95 system (abandoned in windows 7, vista, etc) did not entail using function keys or control-alt-shift-left elbow. A key difference is that control-alt anything necessitates taking your hands off the home keys. If you're a touch typist, this is a disaster, costing about five seconds each time it happens. I never used the shortcut "control S" in windows because it required me to stop typing just to save the file. Instead I struck (pressed and released) alt to place the focus on the menu system, then struck F for file (easy to remember) and S for Save (easy to remember). Not all of the shortcuts were easy to remember, but because you never needed the mouse for anything, you quickly learned every shortcut you needed for daily or weekly activities--because that was all you ever used (alt, f, s: save), (alt, e, f: find), (alt, v, z: zoom), (alt, o, f: change font). In Windows, Alt-Tab could be reliably used to switch between windows. The equivalent function in OS 10 works only about half the time, often revealing nothing more than a menu bar, and completely unable to switch between multiple windows launched by the same program (typically a browser). Help windows stay on top, getting in the way of following their directions. I would never say that windows was a better system. That's why I switched; Apple had accumulated too many improvements. Nonetheless, the old windows shortcut system, when properly used, was vastly superior. I used tab and other keyboard shortcuts to manipulate almost all dialogue windows. You say you use only "one-stroke" keyboard shortcuts. I'm a new user; maybe that's why I can't think of any. It seems that all of them require depressing at least two keys simultaneously. It is possible to place the focus on the menu bar but only by removing your hands from the home keys (ctrl-fn-F2): Afterwards, you then go through a tedious and very slow process of reading the menus, decrypting the shortcuts, aligning 2-4 fingers to invoke them, and finally replacing your fingers on the home keys. Using the mouse might actually be faster. In windows, I could work with unfamiliar software much faster. You, yourself, say you use only "one stroke" shortcuts, that tells me that you prefer striking one key at a time, and that's nearly impossible with OS 10 shortcuts. If you tried my way, I think you'd see the advantages pretty quickly.

I stuck with Windows XP for 10 years because I could see that Microsoft was making it harder and harder to use their software quickly. The last versions of Office was simply terrible, recoded simply because that was the best way to milk their cash cow. I think Microsoft is toast.

MYmacROX 02-19-2013 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ionamerica (Post 1496696)
My mac pro is impressive as I expected. There's only one thing I miss from the world of Wintel: A rational keyboard shortcut system. The wintel system used underscores to show which letters were shortcuts within the menu system. Once "alt" had been struck, the menu had the focus and you could go anywhere with key strokes--even in a brand new application--because you could see which keys to strike (the underlined ones). The shortcuts were thus very easy to learn, much easier to type (one key at a time), and in most cases, your hands never left the home keys. My mac makes me feel like I'm playing twister with my fingers. I could do many things 5-10 times as fast as someone hobbled by a mouse. I've seen "productivity" and "shortcut" apps within the app store... how much do these help? I presume that none of them can actually place underscores on the letters of other applications because that would entail leaving the "sandbox". Comments? Suggestions? Reviews?

What sort of work are you doing on your Mac? I use keyboard shortcuts as much as I possibly can on my iMac because I just rue reaching for the mouse. I'm only doing simple doc and spreadsheet creation, email, and web-browsing. There are so many useful and easy-to-learn shortcuts for OSX. I don't have the link available here at work, but there's a list of keyboard shortcuts on Apple's website. I see no difference between 2 or 3 finger key configurations and typing Alt and then typing another key afterwards. Just as fast, just as easy to learn/memorize.

But maybe that's just me...

toMACsh 02-20-2013 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ionamerica (Post 1496847)
You, yourself, say you use only "one stroke" shortcuts, that tells me that you prefer striking one key at a time, ...

I can see how you'd reach that conclusion, but that's not the case. I use very few F key shortcuts. I guess I do use several Command-Letter shortcuts as well, come to think of it. For me, speed is not an issue on my Mac. I only use it at home, not to make a living.

I thought someone else would chime in about 3rd party software. Seems like I've seen a reference before, but can't remember the name.

TattooedMac 02-21-2013 10:29 AM

Could be waaayy off track here but something like Download Ukelele for Mac - Unicode keyboard layout editor. MacUpdate.com ??

ionamerica 02-21-2013 11:59 AM

I seem to be replying to all the posters at once here. I'll check out Ukelele, but my weak understanding of the "sandbox" concept suggests that what I want has to become part of Apple's standards going forward if it is to be implemented. As far the debate I was having with MyMacRox, I'll say this. I don't do anything unusual with my XP computer. In a typical hour, I would work with somewhere between 3 and 14 applications, copying, pasting, coloring, deleting, switching to windows within the same application, maximizing, minimizing, resizing, elongating windows, searching text, closing, applications, launching them, switching between them, coloring cells, deleting columns, navigating the file hierarchy, opening new tabs, switching between tabs on complex dialogues, jumping into and out of text boxes, pushing buttons, selecting options, selecting fonts, font colors, font sizes, and so on. During that hour, I usually used my mouse zero times unless I spent time on the web. It was not unusual for me to go an entire day without using my mouse. Finally this: With only a little guidance, a new windows XP user could access about 100 of the most commonly needed keyboard shortcuts by memorizing just one shortcut key "Alt."

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments. Be careful with those stimulants MoTM.

toMACsh 02-21-2013 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ionamerica (Post 1497326)
With only a little guidance, a new windows XP user could access about 100 of the most commonly needed keyboard shortcuts by memorizing just one shortcut key "Alt."

I use windows at work. You need other keys in combination with Alt in the programs I work with.

MYmacROX 02-21-2013 01:12 PM

FWIW: OS X keyboard shortcuts

ionamerica 02-21-2013 01:33 PM

MyMacRox: Thanks for the reminder. I'll put my macbook's specs in my profile whenever I find that page. It's a mackbook 15" with retina display. Which reminds me, much of the shortcut documentation is either out of date, wrong, or simply doesn't apply to the laptops. Meanwhile for toMacsh..., who uses windows at work, Microsoft has abandoned both menus and the rational keyboard shortcut system I described. Alt still works the same way... but only if you remember the old key... series es. That is, Alt, F, N will start a new document in word, even though you can't see the old menus. It is not necessary to hold down the alt key (alt-F, N). Many of the keyboard series-es in Word, excel, and powerpoint have changed, but because you can't see the menus anymore, it's hard to find out what the new series-es are. Anyway, it's all water over the dam at this point. There are better things to discuss since Apple is unlikely to change just because I want them to. I did submit the suggestion though.


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