Photoshop: Keyboard shortcuts for navigating layers DO NOT work with hidden layers

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  • Idea
  • Updated 3 months ago
  • (Edited)
On Windows, we have the keyboard shortcuts ALT-[ and ALT-] which are used to move between layers in the layer panel. The problem is that those shortcuts only work on VISIBLE layers and not on HIDDEN layers. They need to work on ALL layers. I mean, I can select any layer, visible or hidden, just fine with the mouse, so why am I restricted to visible layers only with the keyboard shortcut? My job often involves processing images with lots of layers, and the stuff I do involves lots of keyboard shortcuts. Literally EVERYTHING I need to do can be accomplished with keyboard shortcuts EXCEPT for moving from a visible layer to a hidden layer. There is even a keyboard shortcut to toggle visibility for a layer (CTRL-,), but it's useless for turning a layer visible, because you cannot navigate to the hidden layer with the keyboard!

I waited 2 hours and 20 minutes in chat support queue, only to be told "That is the expected behavior. You'll have to talk to an engineer to find out more." How am I supposed to talk to an Adobe Engineer? Did anyone's CC subscription happen to come with a list of all the engineers and their contact info?

If this IS the expected behavior, I want to know why it was decided that nobody would ever need to change from a visible layer to a hidden layer with a keyboard shortcut. If not, when can we get it fixed?
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Keith Greene

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  • Frustrated and wondering what the hell I am paying for

Posted 3 months ago

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Michael Igoe

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Interesting. Since I joined this forum, I find that virtually all the questions have no relevance. I use a few keyboard shortcuts, but I can't imagine most things I do, let alone all of them, being done with shortcuts. I doubt if anyone cares about this issue at all, but there are probably people who want to select only visible layers. Few of us use invisible layers at all. 
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Keith Greene

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Well, I doubt this is the expected behavior. I mean, given an image with more than one visible layer, you can literally use ALT-[ to move down the layer list, and then use CTRL-, to turn visibility off for that layer. When you get to the bottom, guess what happens? You can no longer navigate the layer stack with the keyboard shortcuts.Regardless of whether most people on here don't care about this issue, *I* do. I pay for the software, just like everyone else, and this is a bug that needs to be fixed.
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Cristen Gillespie

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I have to agree with you. Just because it's as designed doesn't make it the way it should be. If I play devil's advocate, I'd say that people are using the kbsc to navigate the layers they can see and will become confused if they land on one that's hidden since they can't actively do anything to it. But the way I see it, if we're using kbsc to select the next or previous layer, that means any layer, hidden or locked or visible, capable of being affected or not.

We can, btw, use kbsc to navigate through locked layers. We shouldn't be able to paint on them or transform their content, so is it even consistent to say we can land on a locked but visible layer, but not on an unlocked, but hidden layer using kbsc? It would be nice to have someone from Adobe shine a light on their reasoning that this is the way it should be.

And if they can't give us a good reason for it, perhaps this can be turned from a problem into an idea (feature request).
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Keith Greene

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Exactly. There is no restriction on me clicking on a hidden layer to select it, so why can't I do it with the keyboard? Pressing CTRL-, will toggle visibility on a hidden layer, so it's not that shortcuts don't work. It has to be an oversight.
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Keith Greene

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So, when can I expect a dev to chime in on this? As much as I enjoy chatting, I'm looking for an actual solution here.
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David Converse

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I find it a lot more problematic that these keystrokes can't be reassigned. Its a major PITA with how I have the buttons on my Wacom tablet setup.

I really don't see a problem, this would need to be a feature request most likely.
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Keith Greene

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I was sent here by Adobe support, ostensibly to talk to an "engineer". Personally, I think the support agent just dumped me here at this glorified suggestion box instead of actually putting me in touch with someone who can actually answer or explain this issue, or even take a bug report to FIX this issue. I pay a lot of money for this software and I get support like this was someone's weekend project.
Where do I go to file an ACTUAL bug report? I mean no offense, but I expect real support, not a user forum where a bunch of people can commiserate.
(Edited)
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David Converse

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I don't think its a bug. And if you simmer down a bit and look around, you'll note that numerous Adobe employees post here every day. This is the feedback forum so file a feature request using professional language and tone.

FWIW, all of the users here pay money for this software too.
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Michael Igoe

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I don't think it is a bug. The feature is designed this way. 
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Keith Greene

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I DO think it is a bug. Claiming that it's there because designers are lazy and can't be bothered to keyboard-navigate through hidden layers is not a valid excuse. They could add a preference to toggle that. As it is now, it completely leaves those of us that WANT to be able to keyboard-navigate hidden layers out in the cold.
(Edited)
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Kukurykus

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Hard to say wasn't that someone's mood to do it intentionally, but however that is bug or not I believe most people using keyboards to move between layers in layers palette want just fastly access some specific layer whatever settings it got.

I'm supposed to come shortly with programmatic workaround to make users life easier (as it's not first topic about) before one distant day Adobe fix it. It's for Windows so that's something for you.

Btw what is your nickname on https://forums.adobe.com/community/photoshop ?
(Edited)
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Keith Greene

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My nick on adobe forums is GapingWound.
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Keith Greene

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Still no Adobe employee, and I'm no closer to getting this bug resolved.
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Cristen Gillespie

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Unfortunately, Adobe staff here have a lot of other duties that come first, and the recent update/bug fix I expect consumed much of their time. The most you can do is keep the thread alive by posting from time to time in it, so it bumps to the top again. Or consider an entirely new post that treats it as a feature request (idea) if the thing goes cold.
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David Converse

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I don't think you understand how support works. They don't have time to give you a long explanation of why a specific feature was implemented like it was. This may never be changed, unless a lot of other people upvote it as a problem affecting them.
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Keith Greene

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Thanks for the suggestion, Cristen. A couple of people have suggested the feature request, but nobody explained that it's just a different post type. I will give that a shot if this doesn't get an official response within like a week.
David: I understand exactly how support works. YOU don't understand that I EXPECT a certain level of support when I pay this kind of money for a product, especially on a SUBSCRIPTION basis. Adobe thinks they can get away with providing the bare minimum support that is designed to make people give up, just because they have a virtual monopoly hold on premium creative tools, and if I could switch, I would, but I can't so I am forced to insist on getting PROPER support. I am sorry that you are fine with their current level of support, but I am not. I told you earlier I want nothing from you, you are not adding anything to the discussion and it seems your purpose here is just to stir the pot. Please stop and go away. I will not respond to you after this.
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David Converse

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We all pay money and there are not enough engineers to hold everyone's hand. Sorry if that bothers you, but its a fact.
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Kukurykus

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I never complained on any company untill I met Adobe :) I really would like to think highly of them when I use their product every day for years. They do some good stuff, but in my opinion there's something wrong with their policy. There are some easy things to get fixed, but for some reason if not enough users reported them we have little chance for success. For ex. I wait each month for another patch they release regulary latelly. I see they fix like they say most disturbing consuments issues. After months of waiting there showed only one many poeple had problem with and only because some customer came with brilliant note they finally could do something about it.

But why I say it? Because I hoped when the most serious bugs will be fixed they finally take care of those "less important". Nah. I was shocked that after a month of waiting they only sorted out one serious bug. If they had time to fix others why only one? My conclusion is simple. There weren't any other large group of customers complaining about. So I guess if not that one bug then perhpas there would not be update for Photoshop this month. I hope I'm wrong, but true is that isn't fun to wait too long for some basic stuff there shouldn't be problem about at all.

Monopoly makes more engineers working harder wouldn't encourage more poeople go buy Adobe products. Scripting in Photoshop let me still have amazing time with this application, but I can not say only good things though. There's some limit.
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Keith, the support person you talked to was correct that this behavior is 'as designed.' Many operations for selected layers require them to visible so in the majority of cases it didn't make sense to add them to the selection (similar to how the move tool rejects selecting hidden layers when marquee dragging with the move tool). I was one of the folks who did the work to add the ability to select more than one layer at a time in CS2 - when the behavior was added. I've made this topic a feature request.
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Keith Greene

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Hi Jeffrey, thanks for the reply. So when this was implemented, nobody thought that anyone would ever need to navigate to a hidden layer, ever? I can understand that most of the time, people may only need to navigate visible layers, but to simply leave out navigating to hidden layers seems like an oversight to me.
Couldn't you add a modifier key? Like maybe ALT-[ and ALT-] only navigate visible layers, but CTRL-ALT-[ and CTRL-ALT-] can navigate ALL layers. Just a suggestion.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Anything is possible, but we have all kinds of requests for innumerable ideas, suggestions, changes. We use this site, and other data, to try and prioritize these requests. I believe this is the first time I've heard this request since we released CS2. There doesn't seem to be a burning need for this when clicking on the layers will get you there in the cases you need to select hidden layers.
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Keith Greene

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And none of these issues came up during testing or when your accessibility team took a look at it? Because when I am in the middle of doing repetitive tasks using the keyboard, the LAST thing I want to do is take my hand off the keyboard to move and click my mouse because ONE of the 15 things I need to do doesn't have a keyboard shortcut. It's disruptive to my process and I imagine these limits might extend to scripting and automation as well.

I mean, I believe the lack of a shortcut to navigate hidden layers is a bug that needs to be fixed. Keyboard shortcuts are there to solve a problem, but when some of your functions do not have shortcuts, it leaves that problem partially unsolved, and leaves some of us in the lurch. I understand that the shortcut was built with a different use case in mind, but it doesn't mean that use case is the only correct one and that other use cases are wrong.
I hope you guys will consider this as a bug that deserves to be fixed and not a feature that is working as intended, because it's unfinished, and not the way I would have built it.