November 27th, 2009
GUI Design work involves a lot of mouse activity. Be more productive and reduce the strain by using keyboard alternatives where possible.
You can find most of the shortcut keys in the Help file by using the â€œHelp | Keyboard Shortcutsâ€ menu command.
Hereâ€™s a few more (some changed in version 3.5) that may not be listed in the help topic:
|F2||Edit text for the selected element.|
|F7||Toggle between normal and sub-item selection modes.|
|Numpad /||Fit selected elements into the view.|
|Ctrl + R||Go to the source of the selected connection (changed from Alt+R in V3.5).|
|Ctrl + T||Go to the target of the selected connection (changed from Alt+T in V3.5).|
|Ctrl + W||Swap two selected element positions (changed from Alt+S in V3.5).|
|Tab||Select the next element on the design (go to next control in dialogs).|
|Shift + Tab||Select the previous element on the design (go to previous control in dialogs).|
|Left Arrow||Move selected elements left by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Right Arrow||Move selected elements right by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Up Arrow||Move selected elements up by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Down Arrow||Move selected elements down by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Shift +Left Arrow||Decrease width of selected elements by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Shift +Right Arrow||Increase width of selected elements by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Shift +Up Arrow||Decrease height of selected elements by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
|Shift +Down Arrow||Increase height of selected elements by 1 pixel (5 pixels with Ctrl key).|
And, to coincide with the Tree element changes in version 3.5, I was reminded that the element property editors are full of keyboard shortcuts, using standard Windows Alt + key combinations. These show up underlined as soon as you hit the Alt key and weâ€™ve made many of the buttons in 3.5 taller to make sure theyâ€™re visible on all platforms.
The property editor shortcuts are most useful when entering items in Trees, Lists, Tables, Menus and other elements that contain lots of sub-items. In all cases, you can enter the item text then hit Alt + I to insert the new item. The keyboard focus will automatically return to the item text field ready for you to enter the next item.
So why not experiment with keyboard shortcuts to see what works best for you, and reduce the strain on your mouse arm?