How do Key Commands Work


I have key commands assigned to specific Line Weights, Dash Patterns and Arrow Styles. How does PowerCADD assign key commands to Line Weights and other object attributes?


PowerCADD any version (version 7.0 or newer recommended)


For a complete description on how to assign your own Custom Key commands to any PowerCADD menu item or tool, please reference the PowerCADD manual.

PowerCADD allows you to assign your own key commands to any tool or menu item in the application (PowerCADD menu > Preferences > Commands Tab), including Line Weights, Dash Patterns, Colors, and Arrow Styles, and so on. A printed list of these key commands is saved in the PowerCADD Key Defaults file (User Directory/Library/Preferences/PowerCADD/PowerCADD Key Defaults) that may be opened and printed for general reference.

Note: The PowerCADD Key Defaults is created when you add your first custom key command. If you never add your own custom commands, then the PowerCADD Key Defaults will not be created. In that case, for a complete listing of the default key commands reference the PowerCADD user manual.

Assigning a key command to a Line Weight, Arrow Style, Dash Pattern, or Colors actually assigns the key command to a unique position in the menu, not the actual value itself. For example, assigning the key command Shift + 1 to the 0.25 point Line Weight (Attr menu > Lines > 0.25 point) actually assign the key command to the first position of the Line Weight sub-menu.

But wait! You may have noticed, if you usually work in millimetres, the PowerCADD Key Defaults file lists your Line Weight key commands by numeric value (e.g. .18, .25, .35, etc). If the Line Weight key command were actually assigned by Position, shouldn't they read Line 1, Line 2, etc.?

In this case it's important to remember PowerCADD is putting a polite, user friendly, face on the database which actually makes up the Key Command lookup table. Since PowerCADD permits multiple Line Weights (and other object attributes) in a single drawing, and those Line Weights can be in any order with any unit (mm, inches, points), assigning values by name would quickly create an database list which would become impractical to manage.

What's Happening?

Behind every menu item name is a number. The text displayed in the PowerCADD Key Defaults file is all just a fascade for the database. To see physical proof of this, do this:

  1. create two new, untitled drawings
  2. in drawing one, adjust the Line Weight attributes to be in mm (millimetres)
  3. in drawing two, leave the Line Weight attributes in points
  4. with drawing two active, assign a key command to the 0.25 point line weight (first position in the Line submenu)
  5. draw a line in drawing two and use the key command assigned in (4)
  6. note the object is assigned a line weight of 0.25 point (first line weight position)
  7. make drawing one active and draw a line
  8. use the key command assigned in (4)
  9. note the object is assigned the mm line weight value specified in the first position for that drawing

The same rules applies for Dash Patterns, Colors, Arrow Styles and other object attributes.

How does this work?

The entire menu structure could be likened to a cascading waterfall. For example, in OS? X, to navigate to the First Line weight in the Attribute menu the waterfall, from highest level to lowest level, would look like (apologies to the programmers reading this - we realize the summary here is quite general in it's description) :

-application "PowerCADD" or any app. and this isn't even the top of the waterfall
---menu bar 1
-----menu title "Attr" (9) {Attr menu is the 9th position over counting the Apple menu}
--------menu "Attr" (1)
----------menu item "Line" (1) {First item in the Attr menu}
------------menu "Line" (1)
--------------menu item "0.25 point" (1) {1st item in the Line submenu}
--------------menu item "1 point" (2) {2nd item in the Line submenu}
--------------repeats for each item in the list

The same basic structure holds true for dash patterns, arrows, etc.

The Key Command is assigned to the specific part of the waterfall - whatever is in that position is what the Key Command goes and gets.

Imagine how complex the path would become if it was called by name - there would be a unique name for every possible size for each of the three units (points,mm,inches) - scary stuff!

Having said that - there can be times when it's advantgeous to call items by menu name instead of number. For example some items change position in the menus when an external is or isn't loaded. But that's starting to get a bit carried away.

We hoped that help lay the foundation for a more complete understanding as to some of the nuances with assigning key commands to Line Weights and other object attributes.

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support by buying us coffee, lunch, or dinner. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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