Photoshop: Why can't we map the key bindings to whatever key we'd like?

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Can I please map key bindings to whatever key I WOULD like them to be? I get that you want to make sure that people know the different keyboard shortcuts that you have created, but why can't I customize them to my liking?

Most notably: the Alt key has too many different uses right now (IMO): zoom, switch back and forth between your workspace and your toolbar, some other functionalities within tools that you're using. I'm tired of having to either press alt again after zoom or press the space key before I press alt to zoom.

Thank you!
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David Waring

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  • frustrated!

Posted 5 years ago

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David, Official Rep

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Howdy David,

Maybe I'm not understanding your question. Most Photoshop shortcuts are fully customizable to whatever you would like. There are a few exceptions, but largely, they can be whatever you would like them to be if you go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts and define them. Thus, I can have File > Open switch from the default of CMD/CNTRL+N to CMD+SHIFT+Ä if I want. This is actually what we do for non-English customers, in fact.

That said, modifiers to tools are not customizable simply because that would be a support-nightmare. Keep in mind, modifiers need to work for Windows and Mac, in 26 languages, and need to NOT step on any OS combos. Further, there can't be any conflicts within the application. Therefore, allowing users to have (for instance) the Marquee tool (M) temporarily transform to the Hand tool by adding SPACE or the Zoom In tool by also adding CMD/CNTRL cannot realistically be user-defined.

I hope that helps,
David
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David Waring

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Thanks for writing back David. I did not know you could edit keyboard shortcuts and that's one thing I wanted.

The second thing I want to do is make it so that pressing the Alt key by itself will do nothing. Currently, when I press Alt it toggles back and forth between my workspace and my tool bars. So when I go to press Alt and then scroll the middle mouse button up or down for zoom, I go from my workspace to the tool bars up top. Then I hit "V" to get back to my move tool and don't realize that I'm in the tool bar. When that happens, I accidentally switch my font or do whatever else I didn't want to do.
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Chris Cox

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That sounds like you have the alt key being used by the OS or some other application.

In Photoshop the alt key is just a modifier to whatever other keys or tools you are using.
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy David,

Unfortunately, the second part of what you're describing is the modifier behavior. There's no way to turn it off, as it permeates nearly every function of the application. ALT works in conjunction with specific tools, to modify their behavior. This also happens with SHIFT and CMD/CNTRL.

Now, that said, when you're in a tool, you should actually stay in a tool, regardless of modifier. Thus, you might have started with the Marquee tool, but while you can change to Hand, Zoom In, Zoom Out, Move, etc, you should stay in tools. If that's not what is happening, then either there's a bug (I'm not aware of) or your mouse is interpreting things "funny."

Please verify that you are having a problem and, if so, I would be happy to troubleshoot it with you. Just ping me back here and I'll set up a web-hosted connect session for you.

Thanks,
David
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David Waring

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When you press the Alt key by itself it toggles back and forth between the workspace and the first possible thing it can highlight in the Photoshop tool bar. Give it a try yourself and you'll see what I'm talking about (Win 7 - 64bit / CS6).
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Chris Cox

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No, that isn't how it behaves for others.
What OS setting have you changed or utility have you installed to make the alt key do that?
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David Waring

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You are being zero help right now. I have not changed any OS settings on either of my machines. I have photoshop cs6 installed on my work and home PC's and it does it on both of them. They are both Windows 7 64bit and they are both CS6 - one is extended and installed from the cloud and one standard and installed from disc.
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Chris Cox

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Well, something specific to your system is causing the alt key to behave differently than it does for a normal install of the OS and application (and from how it behaves for everyone else). We don't have your system, so we don't know what that difference might be -- only you know what else is installed on your system. Some OS setting has been changed, or utility added, or another program that is grabbing key events.
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David Waring

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Dude, stop being a troll. It's not specific to my machine. It's specific to every windows 7 user with CS5 and greater. If you don't believe me, I'll start throwing some adobe forum links at you.

After a bit of research, I've found that this is a very well known and very well documented issue that has upset many, many people. I never ran into it in the past because I learned how to use photoshop and all other Adobe CS programs on my Mac. I am now using a PC. I should not have to re-learn habits that were formed during 800+ hours of work on Photoshop. Adobe should address and fix the issue.
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David Waring

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The problem has been identified and the solution is that there is NO solution. The alt key behaves like this in every program that you have open in Windows 7. This is a default feature of Windows 7 and is not caused by any other addons or software that I've installed. I also cannot change the behavior of the alt key in windows 7 without third party openware that I don't want. I also tried to map the zoom in and out functions to cntrl + mouse wheel inside Photoshop and it will not recognize the key/mouse combination.

I cannot be the only one that uses windows 7 that is running into this problem. Is there no solution?
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David, Official Rep

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Hi David,

I'm running Win7 Enterprise (alternating between English, German, and French) and cannot reproduce the problem you are describing. Pressing ALT alone does trigger accelerator key access to the Menu Bar, but this has been the case since Windows 3.1 (circa 1992). As Chris mentioned, perhaps you have some other application or side-car app involved?

Thanks,
David