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Author Topic: IDEA: tool to find selection box when navigating with ALT key  (Read 15516 times)
spankymcgee
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« on: December 22, 2006, 02:22:21 PM »

I've been happily reading Lifehacker articles on how to ditch my mouse by
using hotkeys, etc. I am getting better at it. However, one thing that has
always bothered me is that it is very hard to find the selection box when
you push ALT+TAB to navigate through the elements on a screen, whether it be a
Firefox window, the desktop, control panel, etc. I know you can configure
Windows to locate the cursor by hitting CTRL (and I know Donationcoder has a program for that, too). It would be nice if there
were a utility that could help you find the selection box in a similar manner.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
MC Spanky McGee
 tongue

CORRECTION: I meant "ALT+TAB." My original post just said, "ALT." Ugh. Mental blockage.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2007, 11:35:59 AM by spankymcgee » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2006, 11:55:50 PM »

i think this is a brilliant idea.
skrommel what do you think?
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skrommel
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2006, 04:27:52 AM »

 huh What is a selection box?

Skrommel
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2006, 04:30:24 AM »

I took this to mean:

The current control on the screen with input focus:

i.e. it should flash the windows control that will receive any typed characters.
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spankymcgee
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2006, 09:59:54 AM »

Yes, because the problem is that, although the selection box moves in a patterned way, there are "gaps" in its visibility. So, let's say you're in Firefox viewing a Google search result page (for example. I think this tool should be awesome for Windows, globally--and not just for Firefox).  You're using alt to navigate the links and browser buttons, etc. You can see the trail of the little contiguous jumps in selection/focus, but then you'll lose track of the selection/focus as you're holding down alt, and you can't see where it went. (In one instance, the focus will jump to the entire browser window and you don't think to look at edges of the screen. It took me forever to see that).

All my babble boils down to this: the pattern of the movement of the selection box can be very complex in various navigation circumstances. If you can't see it at a certain time, you can't grasp the pattern. If you can't grasp the pattern, then you'd need a mouse!

-MC Spanky McGee

PS. I love the project you guys have going.
PPS. I already tried to find the software I'm imagining here (the closest I came is a Firefox add-on called Highlight Focus. But it doesn't work for Windows globally and it doesn't highlight all that well) With all the sites I've seen on ditching the mouse, you might become heroes with this project (not that you weren't already).  Thmbsup

« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 10:05:11 AM by spankymcgee » Logged
skrommel
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2006, 06:13:56 PM »

 smiley There's a Microsoft Windows setting that controls the width of the focus rectangle, but it is of course ignored in Microsoft Internet Explorer...  cheesy

It is not a very good solution anyway, 'cause it expands inwards, making things harder to read.

There is also an option in Internet Explorer to Move System Caret with Focus/Selection Changes, but this works on only a few controls.


I have found another solution though, visually searching for the selection rectangle, and it works very well for white backgrounds. So if the focus rectangle is either black or white, all is OK, if not...

Skrommel
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skrommel
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2006, 09:01:59 PM »

 smiley Try this one...

FindFocus - Find the focused control.

Features:
- Shows a flashing icon next to the focused control
- Not perfect, but it detects most of them

Very handy for mouseless navigation.



You'll find the downloads and more info at 1 Hour Software by Skrommel.

Skrommel
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spankymcgee
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2006, 01:03:41 PM »

Skrommel:

Superawesome. I'll check the program out. In the meantime, I'll donate. Thanks for your efforts. I'll also try to spread the word on the site and on FindFocus!

Thanks,
Spanky McGee
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skrommel
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2006, 01:29:39 PM »

 smiley Great!

But I see in your request that you wanted a hotkey activation, and this makes sense, as FindFocus is quite heavy on the CPU.

Skrommel
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 02:05:57 PM by skrommel » Logged

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