Active pane: visual cues?

If this has been dealt with elsewhere, I apologise in advance… (and I have tried a search or two).

I like to work in split panes: top pane showing research or outline, bottom current writing (etc and so on). I regularly forget which one’s active, and find the cursor in the wrong pane.

So, would it be possible to give a slightly more definite visual hint about which pane’s current? I know about the underline, and the top of the current window, but how about a slight dimming of the inactive pane? Would that be doable?

Photoshop Lightroom has a few “lighting” modes which selectively dim parts of the app window. Not quite what I have in mind, but a nice implementation…

Pip pip!

That’s actually a really good idea - I second it!

The underline doesn’t immediately draw your eye, since you are focusing on the text in the pane itself when writing.

However, fading the non-selected pane isn’t really a good idea, since the whole reason of having the split there is so that you can refer to the secondary material as you work - hard to do if it’s been obfuscated! Perhaps a subtle visual cue based on the text’s background…like, perhaps, the non selected pane has a 15% darker tint in its background colour than the selected pane. This would give immediate visual feedback without obfuscating the contents itself.

Just a thought :slight_smile:

This is a good idea.


That’s a fair point. What about a slight emboldening of the whole pane surround?

Pip pip!

Still not visual enough for my taste. I like the intrinsic concept of a few points darker background for all inactive panes. Or maybe a few points lighter for the active pane.

Either way I spend more time than I care to admit putting a working doc back after inadvertently putting a ref doc in its place.

Sorry, but I have no intention of doing anything like this. The underline is subtle but works. If you look at any other app with a split pane, there is no indication (Word, Xcode etc). It took people a lot of fighting to persuade me to add the underline… So, a resounding and definitive “no” to this one, I’m afraid. Thanks for suggesting it anyway!
All the best,

Ah well… we’ll just have to agree to disagree, and you’re the decider.

Pip pip!