Keyboard shortcuts efficiency

Hello KiCad fans!

I’m slowly making my transition from Eagle and KiCad helped me a lot to improve my productivity comparing to Ealgle. Many things on Eagle require too much redundant click or menu selection (for instance moving components)

I really like the fact that on KiCad you just have to hover the item you want to move / grab and just press the required key to perform the action.

I wish I just could validate the action using the same keyboard key instead of mouse clicking,

e.g. I want to move a resistor: so I hover the resistor and press M, put it in the desired location and press M again to drop it on it’s new location.

In my opinion this let you have a faster workflow. Maybe there is an option that let you do this exactly but I didn’t find it.

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Hi and thanks for your reply,

That didn’t exactly answer my need, I still have to constantly switch my hands back and forth to move components. The Idea of using the same key to validate the action is that you don’t have to move your hands. One hand will me dragging the mouse and the other one just pressing M a bunch of times. I don’t know if I managed to be clear this time, if not sorry

I understand. But you are already moving it with the mouse, so why wouldn’t be clicking with the mouse be as easy as clicking a keyboard key?

It’s a touchpad, and its hard to click on the top part. to make a click I need to use the bottom part of the touchpad.

If you really want to be productive, use the mouse.
I would never even considering PCB design without the mouse :slight_smile:


I didn’t posted on this forum to get this kind of answer.

I really believe that having this toggle behaviour on certain tool can be more efficient. If you don’t have anything useful to say don’t came here and tell me that I have to use a mouse. We are constantly moving from workshop to workshop and working during travels in cars / bus / trains / aircrafts. So telling me to setup a desktop like environment is completely out of the question. I only use a laptop. I was really happy to see that KiCad kinda support the touchpad (panning is still clunky) but pinch to zoom is faster and smoother than EAGLE.

I didn’t posted on this forum to get this kind of answer.

In real life you get not always what you want. The answer from @Piotr was meaningful - nobody was aware of your restrictions.

back to original proposal: Using same hotkey for starting and ending an operation. I’m not sure if this will work for all tools. And moreover I think this will need a major change in the hotkey-system, with limited benefit (compared to all the other feature-requests on gitlab).
But you are free to write a new gitlab-isse (use the kicad->help->report bug function, this will open directly a prefilled gitlab-template) as a feature-request/wishlist-item.

Sorry. Didn’t know that.
I supposed that you use touchpad just because for any other tasks you use it (working at the stable desktop and not in the travel). I wanted to suggest that you can consider connecting mouse for that one task (PCB design) even you are not using it for others.
I only spoke up because you wrote:

so I understood that productivity is what you mainly think about.

You can write your wishes as bug report and if designers assume it is good idea than may be implement it in next KiCad version.

I’m not sure if this will work for all tools

You are right, some tools won’t benefits from this behaviour but I can easily see that being a major improvement for moving grabbing; drawing wires for instance.

I think this will need a major change in the hotkey-system

I didn’t imagined that this behaviour would need a major change on the hotkey-system. My naive thought was that when a tool is active, since pushing the same hotkey while the tool is used didn’t perform any actions it could be easily changed to emulate a click or pressing enter. Guess I was wrong :confused:

In real life you get not always what you want. The answer from @Piotr was meaningful - nobody was aware of your restrictions.

And yeah sorry to @Piotr, I interpreted his answer as the usual : “You are using it wrong, just use a regular mouse”

I’ve already had that kind of answer from the Autodesk support when I was trying to explain to them to support the macOS multitouch-pad with things like pinch to zoom in Eagle back in the days, just to get them answering : “use a mouse with scroll wheel” And that was really frustrating.

Consistency between different tools is important, but to me it looks like it wouldn’t be a problem. Going through tools, there’s no one behavior. The end user, for starters, doesn’t know what is a “tool” and what is not and how they are implemented. Take Rotate for example. When you press R the item is rotated. Press again and it’s rotated again. M for move doesn’t seem to have effect when pressed the second time. But without looking into the source code we don’t know if it moves again or is just ignored.

I wouldn’t be so sure that it would need architectural changes. Tools – which are implemented as tools (Tool Framework | Developer Documentation | KiCad) – can handle further key presses, if I remember correctly, so interpreting the second M could be almost a one-liner.

It does not seem fair to vent your frustrations about a lousy company like autodesk an this KiCad forum. They are quite different things.

Maybe an “air mouse” is an option for you. These devices have built in accelerometers and their intended use is for giving presentations while standing (not a desk in sight).

Another possibility is to hold your hand in such a way that one finger is on the M key and another on the [Enter] key.

But I do see the logic of wanting to both start and end an operation with the same key. I think I tried to do this intuitively when I started with KiCad (which is now quite some years ago). So it does seem sensible to make a feature request for this on Gitlab. If you do so, then also mention you’re using a touchpad while traveling.

I’ve made an issue on GitLab.

I’ve also find this post that seems to be related: Behaviour changes of shortcut for placing wires in KiCAD 6

The way KiCad 5 implemented this make more sens to me I wonder what was the reason / benefits of removing it in KiCad 6

KiCad 6 made some shortcut changes in the cause of consistency and standardisation eg Ctrl C vs C for copy.
Some users complained about the old behaviour

Changing C to ctrl+c (cmd+c on macOS) seems logical since this is an implicit standard across all OS (same for paste and cut and maybe print)

But for all the other commands that more specific to the CAD workflow: if that was for consistency they should have changed all the hotkey to key combinations e.g. ctrl+m for move and that would make a really terrible experience in my opinion.

Since the W key is still used to place wire instead of a standard key combination, why making it less usable by removing the ability to place nodes by pressing multiple time on W?

That change seems arbitrary and the “standardisation” explanation doesn’t make any sense to me.

It is also possible to assign the “end tool” to another key, for example “N” that it is quite close to “M”.

If you go reassign the [enter] / [Return] key then assigning it to the space bar would be a more logical choice. By default it is a reset of the local coordinates, so if you want to use that too, you’ll also have to re-assign that…

That’s would be an acceptable workaround right now. Thanks for this tips.

I hope that the KiCad 5 hotkey sequence will be restored one day.

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Just for info: gitlab-issue #11729: Wishlist: Feature Request: Validate tool input with Keyboard shortcut / hotkey (#11729) · Issues · KiCad / KiCad Source Code / kicad · GitLab

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