Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
Opening a Folder from the Dock

Sick of the dock on Mac OS X Leopard not being able to open folders with a simple click, like sanity demands and like it used to be in Tiger? You can, of course click it, and then click again on Open in Finder, but that's twice as many clicks as it used to be. (And while you're at it, Control-click the folder, and choose both Display as Folder and View Content as List from the contextual menu. Once you have the content displaying as a list, there's an Open command right there, but that requires Control-clicking and choosing a menu item.) The closest you can get to opening a docked folder with a single click is Command-click, which opens its enclosing folder. However, if you instead put a file from the docked folder in the Dock, and Command-click that file, you'll see the folder you want. Of course, if you forget to press Command when clicking, you'll open the file, which may be even more annoying.

Visit Eolake's Blog

Submitted by
Eolake Stobblehouse

 

 

Published in TidBITS 18.
Subscribe to our weekly email edition.

 

 

Command Keys

Send Article to a Friend

Nisus 3.0 has some nice features, one of which allows you to map any menu item to a command key sequence. In previous versions you were limited to just combinations of the command key and another letter, but that has changed in 3.0. Now you can add the control, shift, or option keys and you are even allowed to use the function keys and the keys on the numeric keypad. Wait, there's more. If you want to assign a mnemonic sequence to a command, say, Edit Macro, you could just use Command-E, but that may already be in use for Extend. In Nisus 3.0 you can assign up to three alphanumeric keys in addition to the modifier key, so on my system, Edit Macro is mapped to Command-EM (which is achieved by hitting Command-E and then M while the command key is still down). This smells slightly of WordStar's arcane commands, but because you assign the keys they hopefully aren't particularly arcane.

The point of this article is not to crow about Nisus, although it's hard to avoid at times. Instead, the problem arose that Nisus does not allow you to just use a modifier key other than the command key along with an alphanumeric key. jOn mAtOUsEk (that's how he capitalizes it, not me) wrote that part of Nisus and on Usenet defended his decision by saying that the Apple guidelines want every modifier key sequence to include the command key. Evidently he took enough flak for allowing multiple alphanumeric keys to be assigned to a command and decided not to further stretch Apple's rules. This inability frustrated some people on Usenet who wanted to map all the basic editing commands of the mainframe EMACS editor to Nisus - I won't speculate as to why :-).

When jOn asked what everyone thought about the command keys, the general consensus was that users should be able to use all the modifier keys without having to include the command key, contrary to Apple guidelines. One person suggested that there be an option to toggle that feature so as not to confuse new users, although command keys tend not to be the confusing part for beginners.

It seems to us that everyone should have the maximum flexibility in configuring the short-cuts in a program because short-cuts by definition should be personalized and easy to use. There's no need to force a certain key into everyone's short-cuts. Also, Paragon has chosen a good method of going about this by defining some of the common command key equivalents such as Command-B for Bold, etc., but they leave the use of the fancier customization options totally to the user. In contrast, Microsoft's Word 4.0 defines many command keys extremely haphazardly. For instance, Section Format is Option-F14 for no apparent reason. I have no idea what it is set to if you don't have an extended keyboard. Users can modify all of Word 4.0's command keys, but they are less likely to because of the definitions Microsoft included. The main problem with customizing Word 4.0 is that users have control over menu items as well, so a user can completely move the menu items around. Presumably Microsoft did this so people could create a reasonable interface for Word - the Table commands are in three different menus - but the feature is a nightmare for consultants ("So where did you put the Save item?"). In addition, macro packages like QuicKeys allow you do assign modifier key sequences to actions without using the command key. So, Paragon, we vote that you allow users to avoid using the command key if they want.

Paragon Concepts -- 800/922-2993 -- 619/481-1477

Information from:
Pete Keleher -- pete@tone.rice.edu
Jon Matousek -- jon@weber.ucsd.edu
Gilbert Harman -- ghh@clarity.Princeton.EDU
Chaz Larson -- clarson@ux.acs.umn.edu
Wolfgang N. Naegeli -- wnn@ornl.gov
Sherman Wilcox -- wilcox@hydra.unm.edu
Adam C. Engst -- TidBITS Editor

 

Make friends and influence people by sponsoring TidBITS!
Put your company and products in front of tens of thousands of
savvy, committed Apple users who actually buy stuff.
More information: <http://tidbits.com/advertising.html>