Key Command to open Optional Settings Dialogs


How do I assign a Key Command to Paste Special (or other PowerCADD Tools and Menu Items) which will bring up the Optional Settings Dialog box?


Any version of PowerCADD (version 7 or newer recommended)


Any Tool or Menu Item in PowerCADD which has an Optional Setting dialog can be called with a custom key command sequence which includes the Option Key. The 'key' (sorry for the pun) is to remember the Apple Keyboard Ergonomics is designed around the concept of the Thumb being on the Apple (Command) key. This provides maximum flexibility in creating key assignments which automatically bring up Optional Dialogs.

Using the Function keys along the top of the keyboard requires more hand movement and is generally slower than the method we'll describe here. In addition, Mac OS? X reserves many Function Key assignments (or combinations of the Function Keys and other Modifier Keys like the Option or Apple Keys) for use across all applications. As such, custom PowerCADD key commands which include the Option and Function keys may not work. Please choose your custom key commands carefully and consider any Mac OS X operating system default commands which may cause a conflict.

What To Do

Let's follow one simple example, Paste and Paste Special..., to illustrate the process which can be applied to other menu items and tools which have optional settings.

Given the basic Paste command is Apple + V, we recommend assigning key commands which are logical progression of the OS Standard Apple + V. Not only will this make the key sequence easier to remember but it will allow the Option Key to correctly bring up the Optional Settings Dialogs. Here is an example on how to do that with Paste Special...: (note, while we refer to the Apple Key, many manuals refer to it as the Command Key. We call it the Apple Key since it has an Apple Icon on it, making it simple to distinguish and remember):

  1. Choose PowerCADD menu > Preferences... > Commands Tab
  2. choose Paste Special from the Menu pop-up
  3. press Shift + Apple + V at the same time to assign that key command combination to Paste Special...
    • (will invoke the Paste Special... command with it's last assigned optional settings)
  4. Also assign Shift + Option + V to Paste Special...
    • (will bring up the Paste Special Optional Settings dialog box)

For more on how to assign custom key commands reference the PowerCADD user manual.

Why did we recommend the above key sequence ?

  1. Any conflict with OS level Function Key assignments (F1 through F12) are avoided so you’ll have consistent results when applying the key command in PowerCADD.
  2. Keeping the Apple Key as part of the Paste Special command key sequence makes it easy to remember we’re wanting to do a Paste operation (remember, a normal Paste operation in any Mac OS application is Apple + V
  3. A normal Paste operation (Apple + V) is ‘constrained’ in that it always pastes the new object at the same X,Y position as the original
  4. In the Mac OS and PowerCADD, the Shift Key is traditionally a toggle switch used to Constrain or Un-Constrain an operation.
  5. Since Paste Special is an ‘Un-Costrained’ version of a normal Paste Operation (i.e. The object will be pasted anywhere you like), the Shift Key as a Modifier to ‘Un-Constrain’ the Paste Operation is a logical progression. As such we recommended Shift +Apple+V for invoking the Paste Special Menu Item which will always use the last specified optional settings.
  6. The sequence Shift + Option + V is used for Paste Special as the logical extension to open the Optional Settings Dialog box.
  7. When following correct drawing keyboard ergonomics (the thumb over the Apple Key) the Pinky Finger is, for most people, already hovering over the Shift Key. As such the amount of hand movement required to invoke either a Paste Special or to open the Paste Special Optional Settings Dialog is minimized as it can be applied without moving one’s hand from the keyboard. Further, it can also be applied by ‘touch’ verses having to divert attention from the drawing screen to the keyboard.

We hope that helped and we have a booklet detailing OS 9 Keyboard ergonomics which will also provide useful information as the fundamentals it covers also applies to Mac OS X. The Booklet can be found in the Mac OS 9 Section of our Learning Center, look for Mac OS 9: Optimizing your Mac Desktop.

We hope that helps

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. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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