Shortcuts at least by menu characters? (and curves?)

As with almost all “modern” apps, Scapple comes with too few shortcuts, so I would have to use my external macro tool, in order to create some, by sending Alt-some_character to open the relevant menu, then another character to open the submenu (if that one is available by a character, app-sided), then, in case, send another character if necessary.

The problem here: Some such sub-submenu entries are NOT available by any character, and even important ones, i.e. ones that many a user will need to access again and again, e.g. Format - Not Style - Apply Note Style - Bubble (several colors then); there is no palette in Scapple either, so it’s not possible to assign such a style by mouse click either.

This way, the user is even forced to write macros that trigger arrow keys within the menus, in order to navigate to the relevant sub-(sub-)menu entries, currently, whilst for the given example, it would be sufficient to assign underscore characters (“_”) to the relevant colors, by way of assigning those underscores to the starting characters of the allegedly “most-used” alternatives, and to “underscore” some character within (!) the name of an allegedly “lesser-used” alternative (“mnemonics”).

I understand that, as with Scrivener, Scapple’s Windows’ development somewhat (or even systematically) lags behind the development of the (respective, original) Mac version, but I also see that even the Windows’ version’s development is somewhat active (Oct, 2022: introduction of Mac’s arrow labels), and I claim that my suggestion to make sub-menu entries much more easily available, by the respective “underscores”, would just need 2, 3 person hours.

This being said, I have read the thread, Is Scapple still being developed or supported? (written before the Oct, 2022 Windows’ version’s update), and would also like to back the claim for curves, which, quite ironically, would, for some “associative thinking” tool, be even much more important - “necessary” - than for a “Micrografx Flowcharter” replacement.

Hence my respectful questions to the programmers - but NOT to those awful people who systematically slide in, requiring, “don’t change anything, it’s good enough as it is!”:

  • Could you consider better menu - submenu navigation, by “shortcuts” in there, within the menu structure (and in view of the persistent absence of user-assignable shortcuts to any Scapple command, which would obviously be the ideal solution to that problem, but which would also imply quite some programming work, as I understand it);

  • at least mid-term, could you consider curved lines?

Thank you very much for your possible interest in these matters!

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Thanks for the feedback!

In part, the problem is that we’ve had a long-standing goal of adding keyboard shortcut customisation. As for why that hasn’t happened yet, it’s largely a case of the Scrivener 3 project taking up everything for years, followed by a large Scapple update that took too long, so we had to cut it off with what we had thus far. It’s on the table for the future though, so I think eventually that will resolve most of your issues here.

That aside, I do also agree that every menu should have a well-designed accelerator setup, for accessibility. I’ll make sure that’s on the list for the next update (I can’t say yet whether we’ll embark on something as major as the above sooner than later). That’s just good design practice in my opinion—avoiding duplicates as much as possible and making sure each menu has them.

I understand that, as with Scrivener, Scapple’s Windows’ development somewhat (or even systematically) lags behind the development of the (respective, original) Mac version…

Historically that was true (again, for the same reason as above with Scrivener dominating everything for a long time). At this point Scapple is completely caught up however, and I would consider that sentiment largely obsolete. On this topic in fact, it has more shortcuts than the Mac version, and especially if you consider accelerators as a type of chorded shortcut (I do). I regularly hit Alt,n,g,l to align-left for example, to the point that it just rolls of my fingers when I need it.

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Hello, AmberV,

Thank you very much for your speedy reaction!

You write, [Scapple “Windows” currently] “has more shortcuts than the Mac version” - I’m not surprised; in fact, and in general, I have never been on Macs, and never will, for, among other reasons, the general, almost ubiquitous, lack of shortcuts over there; I had observed that in almost any Mac application I had looked into, here and there, and it seems that “Macanians” systematically tolerate that lack in general, as well as the lack of a somewhat “really functional” mouse (or then the respective assignments within their applications, for some better mouse than the original “Mac” one); historically, this might be explained by the ancient “Mac” predominance with graphics applications (in a time when the Mac was a cheap (sic!) alternative to extremely expensive, dedicated graphics computers (“Silicon Graphics”, etc.) - and then, those traditions obviously have lived on… will they live on forever?

Your “Alt,n,g,l” example is possible; your commata indicate your need to “stop” in-between, just a little bit, we can’t type the “g” and “l” in the speed we’d use for regular wording input: the sub-menus wouldn’t be ready; the example I gave is one of those where this typing-with-little-pauses-in-between isn’t even possible, but as I had said, a macro can - depending on the macro tool the user uses; AutoHotkey seems best - trigger the necessary arrow keys, too, so at the end of the day, it’s the “fuss”, the necessary waiting times, while on screen, there’s quite some “action”, which makes any triggering of commands, “hidden” in sub-sub-menus quite awkward for the user, so I’m very pleased to hear that direct access to commands, via shortcuts, is in the pipe.

I also understand that whilst I’m happy with any such shortcut for anything - I simple tell AutoHotkey to then trigger those, with my own shortkey assignments -, 9 out of 10 users would want user-assignable shortcuts, and thus, the necessary coding work amounts to much more; of course, “standards” like shapes, shape colors and the like should be defaulted to control-1…0, shift-control-1…0, and so on.

As for the curved connectors, and since you don’t say a word about them, it seems that the necessary coding work would be quite demanding? Since of course, the user should then be allowed to catch such a curve with the mouse, and drag it sideways, around other elements in case, too…

At the end of the day, such “plus” functionality could become a quite considerable stream of income for L&L, since it might have occurred to L&L that there is no acceptably-priced and non-subscription-based (Windows) flowcharter software left (I don’t know about the current situation, Mac-wise), and most of the necessary functionality to market Scapple to that, largely corporate, market is already there, so the marginal effort / cost wouldn’t be that high after all.

(I use MS Visio “Prof.” for that, but it’s not really “smooth”, some dedicated (and insofar full-fledged) program would be more than welcome.)

Such a strategy would be a little bit similar to your Scrivener’s, which originally had been “positioned” as a “literary writing” tool, and which nowadays is used quite ubiquitously for general, long-form writing tasks.

(Please allow a remark about Scrivener, in your “Scrivener” area of this forum.)

…of course, “standards” like shapes, shape colors and the like should be defaulted to control-1…0, shift-control-1…0, and so on.

I think I forgot to mention that styles have a dedicated shortcut system already. Right-click on them in the Inspector to assign one. You can change the modifier key combination in settings, though do note that Ctrl-# all by itself would conflict with some of the zoom commands.

Your “Alt,n,g,l” example is possible; your commata indicate your need to “stop” in-between, just a little bit, we can’t type the “g” and “l” in the speed we’d use for regular wording input…

I would imagine that might have something to do with your system performance or settings. Do you have a lot fancy features turned on for your menus, animations, transparency or other such frills? For me menus come up instantaneously and I do not think I could type in the letters any faster. I don’t even see the menu, just a brief flicker of half-drawn pixels.

As for curved lines, you’ll find this has been discussed at length already.

Regarding the off-topic stuff:

I have not noticed that Mac software tends toward fewer shortcuts, but most of the software I have experience with would be somewhat classified as “geeky”, if not outright so, and in my experience Mac geeks are pretty much like geeks anywhere else. The sort of software aimed at them has similar affordances as elsewhere.

There is a common misunderstanding about the historic mouse, as it wasn’t effectively a single input tool. Sure there was one input with the button, but the event itself could be modified by the keyboard. I.e. the buttons were really always over on the left hand. It sounds awkward, but you get used to it really quick, and there are pretty good ergonomic arguments for using the hand to press a button vs delegating each finger to different buttons, given the more outstretched posture of the arm when using a mouse.

That said, that is a largely historic observation. Their mouse looks simple, but it can be set up to have all three “buttons” in that it detects pressure across the surface, meaning the finger you press hardest with changes whether you get a middle or right click. The entire back surface of the mouse is a gesture recognition surface as well, upon which you can program hundreds of functions. It’s quite unlike your standard mouse in many regards. The same goes for their trackpads, which have no equal that I have ever encountered. When you have a device that can trigger hundreds of unique events in every program right under your hand, you tend to load balance between shortcuts and that.

And about the shortcuts, Macs have an additional modifier key, and fewer reserved combinations than Windows has, meaning overall a far larger available pool per application—and with a system-wide customisation system it doesn’t really matter how many shortcuts a program ships with as you are in control of them all.

Overall there is a lot of misconception about high performance Mac usage. And evidently also misconceptions about graphic designers. Professional designers use countless shortcuts constantly, and demand sophisticated and efficient input on both hands at all times. Design software is often some of the most operationally complex out there, with documentation that fills bookshelves. This notion that graphic designers lead to the Mac having software with simplistic input schemes is bemusing.

:+1: This will finally solve my autohotkey workarounds and simulated keystrokes and arrow keys.

:laughing: :grin: Well said and so true. To some users in this forum, bug reports and suggestions are sheer blasphemy.