Photoshop: Interprets scrolling momentum\inertia as zoom commands if you hold option halfway through a momentum scroll operation (Mac)

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Acknowledged
  • (Edited)
Two bits of information set up this problem.

First: When you scroll using an Apple Magic Mouse on OS X, the scroll carries some momentum. This means that once your finger has left the surface of the mouse after a flick action, the scroll will glide to a slow stop. This effect works nicely in OS X and in Photoshop.

Second: If you hold the Option key, Photoshop begins to interpret scrolling commands as zoom commands. Presumably this is useful if you have a wheeled mouse, can hold Option and click back or forward a few notches to change your zoom level. This is a little less useful on mouses with loose scroll wheels or the Magic Mouse which has no ability at all to move one notch at a time, but that’s OK.

The problem occurs when these two things interact. The inertia appears to be issued as a series of “scroll up” (or down) commands of decreasing intensity, as the scroll glides to a stop. These commands are blindly observed by Photoshop as soon as the Option key is engaged during a scroll, as “zoom out zoom out zoom out zoom out”. This makes it too slippery and unpredictable to ever actually used as a zooming shortcut.

My issue, however, is that it causes a real, frustrating usability problem for the Option key shortcuts. When you are ever working on an image and want to touch the Option key (to bring up the eyedropper, or to quickly get a pattern stamp sample as I often do), you have to wait a second or so after the last scroll you initiated. Why? Because the inertial scroll you initiated spits out a bunch of “scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll” events to Photoshop that last longer than you’d expect, and indeed, a moment longer than Photoshop actually reacts and scrolls for you. And the consequence of holding option while this scroll is still going on is typically your image all of a sudden zooming in the whole way or zooming out the whole way.

A typical problem I have is that I’m using the pattern stamp tool while zoomed in on a large image, flicking a little to the side to zoom to where I need to be, then holding option to grab a new sample. Whoosh! All of a sudden I’m at 3,200% zoom and the window is taking up my entire screen. (And the zoom steps are lagging because I’m working at 2400dpi.)

I see two solutions to this problem.

1. Adobe engineers should improve option+magic mouse scroll behaviour in Photoshop, so that it isn’t so wild and uncontrollable. (e.g. while option is being held, it could reject all scroll events being sent to it that are below a certain threshold of strength.)

2. Adobe engineers should make the key that allows you to use scroll to zoom should be made remappable. (Option)

The only option on my end is to turn off momentum scrolling in Accessibility preferences, which is unsatisfactory both for the system and within Photoshop — I love the scrolling behaviour on this mouse.

Hope this information helps.

By the way, I talked this through with the @AdobeCare people. The link might be useful if you want to see us both trying to figure out how this issue was occurring.
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Veronica Vera

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Posted 3 years ago

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Pete Green, Customer Advocate

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Thanks for the detailed report Veronica,

We're able to reproduce this, we'll see what we can do about it.

Appreciate the report here (as well as twitter!)

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way phat

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This bug has been driving me nuts. Thank you for articulating it so well.