Saving compile settings

I’ve just wasted an unreasonable amount of time trying to find out how to save custom compilation settings.

OK, I should have looked at the manual first. But what did I find? That pressing the option key in the ‘All Options’ Compile dialogue causes the Compile button to turn into Save.

Having to press a key to turn one button into another is so obviously a bad idea from every UI perspective I can think of that I don’t know what to say except:

Could you please add a separate Save button somewhere obvious on that dialogue, to help preserve the hair of all scrivener-using non-telepaths the world over?



That’s pretty standard, and also done in Photoshop. Compile settings also get saved if you hit “Compile”. Holding down Option just allows you to close the panel without compiling and save them. This is an “alternative” action, hence the Opt key (it’s what it’s for) - normally you will want to compile when going to Compile. To save compile settings for sharing between projects, you can also use “Manage Compile Format Presets…” in the “Format As” menu (again, it’s fairly standard placement to have the option to save settings in the menu that allows you to select them).

It’s a standard feature of the whole Mac operating system, too, not just applications. Pressing Opt even unhides the Library folder in the View menu in Finder (on Lion).

Cheers, Martin.

Standard != good practice.

Saying Photoshop does it, in my book, just confirms the obscure UI design of all Adobe products I’ve ever come across. I use them only when dragged kicking and screaming by necessity’s hand.

And as for Mac OS: I’ve used Macs for about 20 years without ever using the Option key to change a UI widget. I understand why Opt might be a reasonable idea to change the meaning of a keystroke within an obvious domain of variation (to accent an e, for example). But, for everything else, an explicit UI widget (another menu item, another button, whatever) will always be better because the alternative functionality is made manifest to the user, and is not a matter of guesswork.



While it may be standard, I’m glad he asked the question, because I never knew about it.


In this case I believe it is good practice. It is not something that deserves its own widget because it is not a common option, and you can easily hit “Compile” and then cancel the compile to save the settings if you don’t know about this feature. This Opt-click feature is just an extra convenience, and once you discover it (or read the tutorial…) then you know it’s there and it is very easy to use and keeps things clean. Sometimes some features of software take a little learning, just like all the best things in life. :slight_smile:

should surely be

This is not moral superiority. I’ve done it, too. Maybe it’s an evolved behaviour set:

(1) Try to do something
(2) Fail
(3) Repeat until
(4) Succeed OR go to step (6)
(5) Try to remember what you just did that worked
(6) Send off truculent steam-blowing forum post to make sure developer’s humiliation and inevitable bankruptcy and imprisonment are as public as possible.
(7) RTFM while waiting for developer to kill himself in shame
(8) Discover solution was there all along.
(9) Mutter.
(10) Repeat (1) with different something, possibly on different app.

I admit to some truculence but I’ve no desire to shame or bring about the early demise of any developers (I’m one myself).

We’ll have to agree to disagree. I hope I go another 20 years without needing that key to find a button again.