How do we feel about the new selection features?

Congrats to all involved on the amazing release velocity over the last couple of years, crucially maintaining that coherent design integrity I love about KiCad.

I’m putting v7 through its paces and all is going well. But try as I might, I cannot get used to the ability to select items and have hotkeys apply to the selection, rather than to the item under the cursor.

I know the rarer “hover means selection” design choice in KiCad was a source of friction for a lot of newcomers, but I’ve long forgotten it ever being a problem for me. I quite like the efficiency of pointing with the mouse and “actioning” with the keyboard, but didn’t realise just how much I loved it until it went away!

Before I go fiddling with preferences, I want to give the defaults their best shot at shocking me into even better workflows. So some questions for guidance:

  1. Is the “select, then action” workflow primarily to appease newcomers, or does it have inherent benefits as well?
  2. How are you, newcomers or old-timers, finding the workflow afforded by the various new item selection features? In particular, the necessity of selecting prior to moving/rotating.

I prefer the select then apply action paradigm even if it’s lengthier. Only being able to work on what’s under the cursor is limiting. Having a selected set allows for some powerful actions in edit menus. Have a look at those that allow the target to be “selection”.

Yeah, “more powerful” makes sense, thanks for pointing that out. I seem to recall I used to use selection in v6 too, for more powerful actions, like bulk edits, moves and copies.

But I find the vast majority of my actions are scanning around moving this and rotating that and changing the text on this one thing, popping down a No Connect or placing a label. So I’m always scanning around with the cursor and tapping a key to “do it”. But now I keep tapping a key and accidentally “doing it” to whatever I had selected last, wherever that is! :laughing:

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It’s just a matter of getting used to it. For GUI windows it’s the reverse for me. I’d probably have a period of difficulty adapting from a Focus follows mouse to a Click to select policy. Most people are used to the latter by default, but I’m used to the former as I just like to start typing after shifting focus.

In particular, the necessity of selecting prior to moving/rotating.

It’s not 100% necessary to have something selected. The old “point+hotkey” works still partly. Just make sure you have nothing selected, than point above a symbol/footprint → hotkey “M” → move.

Admiitedly that’s all I can’t say, because I don’t use that paradigm.

Some other benefits include:

  • You can add and remove things from a selection interactively. In the old paradigm, if you want to select multiple items, you had to grab them all in one go with a box-selection and hope you got it right.
  • Selections are persistent, enabling features like the properties manager in the PCB editor.

Ah ha! I see, yes that warrants a breaking change. I’m still not sure it’s a net benefit for me, but this definitely helps me see the light.

Ah! I think that’s what I’ve been wrestling with - my old muscle memory still works… sometimes. And I haven’t come to terms with the conditions that require new muscle memory and those that can use the old. On your prompting, I just practiced hitting esc after a potential selection operation. Potential is important, because I need something habitual, not something I need to assess the preconditions on. It seems if nothing is selected, nothing happens. Otherwise it is unselected.

So I think I might be able to get the best of both worlds. As long as I regularly clear the selection by tapping esc, I can use the old point and shoot technique with abandon. For more complex operations I can stop and click to form a selection (and to be honest, I love being able to drag left to right to select fully enclosed items and right to left to select partially enclosed items - this is very handy).

I’ll give these ideas some practice. Thank you all for your guidance. Other experiences welcome.

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