What are user opinions about hitting ESC after (almost?) every tool usage?

Hi, I have created this issue:

What are your opinions? Do you like current behaviour, when tool is left active after usage for possible 2nd use? Please place your opinions here, and thumbs up / downs in gitlab issue (do not spam there), in order to make the sense of what users want.

If understood correctly, behavior changed from v5 (Idon’t remember it) toward v6, and v7 will have more objects to add on the canvas: v6.99 (next years v7) already has more graphical objects (textbox to be noted) with many more properties to be set (font, font color, border style, border color, background color…). I am tempting to adjust these properties after placing objects, not to place more of them…

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Generally I like how it is today.
Ideally, I’d like to adjust these properties from the Properties/Object inspector panel. AFAIK the Object inspector is supposed to show up in the 6.99 as it even was planned for the 6.0 launch but for some reason, the feature slipped (it’s a pity for me, since it was one of my biggest expectations for the 6.0).


Currently there are no movements, related to properties panel in gitlab, I do not expect for it to be included in v7 (it is my 2nd most wanted feature after text box item, which is already implemented and working great).

I don’t have a strong opinion, though it does catch me regularly, repeating (or continuing) a command when I am wanting to do something else. From my past usage of AutoCAD, I always liked keyboard shortcuts that could be 1 to several letters, and a right click to “enter” that command. Then right clicking with no text entered to repeat the last command. But I doubt that would get too much traction here as it is less beginner intuitive and the software is mature as is… Once you get used to it though, it makes using the editor fast.

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I’ve not had to reach for the undo key or redraw accidentally deleted sections of my schematics as much as I have since ‘‘upgrading’’ to v6.

I’ve taken to hitting the ESC key 4-5 times after most every action to ensure the last action or selected item is fully deselected before moving on to the next thing. I’ve pretty much given up on the thought of optimizing some of the schematics I’ve recently or am currently digitizing into KiCAD and just living with the initial rough sketches.

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It often surprises me at how many variations there can be in the details of the user interface. I think I like just hitting the keyboard key without using Enter; but this took a little getting used to.

Yes I agree…trying to get out of whatever operation I was doing. For example; placing a symbol from the library.

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Me, too, doesn’t like being forced to cancel after every action. I would rather have an option to opt out. I never got used to it after v5.

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Please upvote the issue, because it will not be an option if I am a single user to request this option

Tapping away at the “Esc” key is installed into the muscle memory of my left hand.
I don’t know if my left hand would ever be able to kick that habit now. :slightly_frowning_face:

my setup is such that I sit two feet away from my desk so, reaching for the Esc key is a PITA.

The Good News is that, very fortunately, Right-Clicking the mouse presents a ‘CANCEL’ item in the Pop-Up menu. Could not be easier!! (using a Mac)

Followup… In editing pin numbers in some footprints, I discovered that “Cancel” is not available after selecting the pads and, There is no Escape from the seemingly-locked window except to:
Command-Click in Window (vid below shows locked PCB and items (faint-graphics) until Cmd-Click in window)

I looked at the Hot-Key list to discover that “Cancel” (common) has no Hot-Key. Easy to set one (so, I did) but, just as easy to Cmd-Click… several cups of coffee before discovering this.

Also discovered there is No “Renumber” item in any of the Pop-up menus or panels. But, I was able to set a Hot-Key to do it…


I’m bothered a little by it, but I suppose it depends on the tool. I suspect there’s good logic behind it, but having to do more key presses for the same actions compared to v5 is a tad frustrating. The worst issue for me is having to exit the “route tracks” tool to delete anything. I mean, come on, can’t deletion with the “Del” key be a function of the “route tracks” tool in some sense? It’s just such a frequent need to delete some tracks while routing.

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I think that’s a bug.
When the Route Track function is active (but no track is currently being drawn) the d key to drag some other track does work but [del] indeed does not.

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When I finish whatever I’m doing, the tool should release, IMHO. Others may prefer that it remains active like it is now. Seems to me it would not be difficult to give the user the option.


I looked around on gitlab, and the [Del] key thing has apparently been fixed for KiCad V7 in this closed issue: unable to delete while routing (#11340) · Issues · KiCad / KiCad Source Code / kicad · GitLab

I have not upvoted the [Esc] key issue because I’m not sure what the best solution would be. I have no issues with a tool staying active, but I do admit that sometimes switching tools does not work as expected, and after hitting [Esc] once or twice it does work. I do wonder how much of this is because other small bugs such as this [Del] key issue.

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just my 2 ct: I like current behaviour and for me it works very well.
background (so the reader can judge my opinion ) and reasons (order of arguments is random):

  • For me the most important think is consistency througout all tools/features in a program. I don’t want (with age this changes to: I can’t) to remember the exact (different) usage of every tool. The most used tools are selecting items (to manipulate them) and than wire (schematic) and track (board) drawing. For these tools it’s quite common to draw multiple items successively. So an “automatic tool”-ending after drawing the first item would be reducing the efficiency of these tools.
    And if the usage of these tools is determined teh other tools should behave the same.
  • I prefer tools (programs) which are similar in handling. My other graphical/CAD tools (QCAD, Circuitstudio, Inkscape, Corel Draw+Photopaint, Irfanview, even ) all use this behaviour: first ESC ends the current drawing-action, second ESC ends the complete drawing-mode (and switches back to selecting-mode/cursor). So switching between programs is fairly easy. This is one of the points kicad is better as eagle and (better as kicad v5) in my opinion.
    If used to the eagle-handling the eagle-efficiency was very good. But the switch between programs required always some adjustment/thinking.
  • the operating philosophy of kicad is centered around hotkeys (for efficient usage you have to use them. using kicad only with mouse is possible, but reduces efficiency greatly). So one hand is already always placed on the keyboard → very little extra hand-movement needed for the ESC-key-press.

I agree with mf_ibfeew that consistency is the paramount issue in the user interface. I am accustomed to using the ESC key to abort an action. However, aborting an action is pretty well covered with CTRL-Z UNDO function in Kicad 6.

Cannot zoom with the mouse wheel either until the track is started.

Welcome @Mike1

When first opened, I can’t zoom with the scroll wheel on PCB until I do something… anything. A mouse click or keystroke will allow the zoom to work; it doesn’t need a track starting.

I’ve no idea if this is a fault or not.
Scroll zoom is available as a first move in Schematic, so maybe this is a fault.

I actually don’t mind hitting ESC key after putting components one after another because that will give me a piece of mind that whatever components I’m putting in, it will not affect the next components to be put in because I often start afresh when working.

Im a vim user, hitting escape is 2nd nature to me :slight_smile: