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I've always had my own custom keyboard shortcuts and now changing over to Affinity Photo (on Windows10) I'm trying to create the same here. I know how to add a custom keyboard shortcut but run into some difficulties and need help:

 

I started by clicking "Clear All Shortcuts" to make sure I start building my shortcut system from scratch. However numeric keys for example still keep their old function: even if I assign a new command to a numeric key, when I press it keeps setting opacity (a function I do not need shortcut for). My questions:

 

1. Is there a way I can assign my own functions to the numeric keys? In GIMP I could even assign separate shortcuts for 0-9 keys and NumLock 1-9 keys on the right end of the keyboard.

2. Can *all* keys be customized or are there some that I can not assign my chosen function to?

3. Can I find advanced help/tutorials about customizing shortcuts? For example: how does toggle/cycle work?

 

Thank You,

Booth

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When I assign a custom keyboard shortcut to a tool and press the key I have just assigned, sometimes it activates another tool instead. If I press several times it toggles amongst several other tools sometimes including the one I assigned to it, sometimes not. I do not understand this behaviour at all... and could not find any material that explains it. Can someone explain please? Is it possible to just simply get the expected behaviour from a keyboard shortcut? :huh:

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If the same keyboard shortcut is assigned to two or more different tools, pressing it cycles through them, one tool per key press. In the Keyboard Shortcuts tools preference section, this is indicated by a small symbol next to the shortcut (looks like a white diagonal line with a smaller green diagonal line above it). If you hover the mouse pointer over that, a list of the other tools sharing the shortcut pops up.

 

This is discussed in the Customizing keyboard shortcuts help topic.

 

Not all key combinations can be changed, but if the item is on any of the menus (File, Edit, View, etc.) it should have an entry in the Keyboard Shortcuts preferences in the same subgroup (like Draw > View) that you can change. 


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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Thank you for your reply,

 

If the same keyboard shortcut is assigned to two or more different tools, pressing it cycles through them, one tool per key press. In the Keyboard Shortcuts tools preference section, this is indicated by a small symbol next to the shortcut (looks like a white diagonal line with a smaller green diagonal line above it). If you hover the mouse pointer over that, a list of the other tools sharing the shortcut pops up.

Yes, I have discovered this, understand, tried and find it very helpful. This way I can just use 1 key for a number of similar tools and save other keys for other functions. I really find this great!

 

This is discussed in the Customizing keyboard shortcuts help topic.

 

Sure, that's where I started, I read it before posting here. Unfortunately found no answer to my above questions there.

 

Not all key combinations can be changed, but if the item is on any of the menus (File, Edit, View, etc.) it should have an entry in the Keyboard Shortcuts preferences in the same subgroup (like Draw > View) that you can change.

 

So that would mean that at present there is no way to "unbind" the numeric keys from setting opacity and assign any other function to them? Do you think I could request this in the Feature Requests Forum? To me not being able to map my own functions to the number keys is a great loss...

 

But even more than that I'm concerned about the behaviour I described in my second post. My trial period of Affinity Photo will be shortly over and I can not tell for sure yet whether I will be able to use my custom keyboard shortcuts efficiently. What I would like to learn is: when I press a key I have assigned to a single function (there is no symbol next to the shortcut in preferences) and I press that key, sometimes it activates another tool instead. when I press it several times, it activates different tools in a way that doesn't seem to make any sense to me. I'd really like to get confident about custom keyboard shortcuts behaving the way one would expect them to work.

 

Thanks again for your help

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Setting opacity with the number keys is unusual in that they are both single & two key press shortcuts. (For example, to set opacity to 60% you press 6 once but you can set it to 66% by pressing 6 twice rapidly.) This cannot be overridden, I suppose because it requires dedicated programming logic to implement this feature. You could ask for a way to override this in the Feature Request section but of course there is no guarantee it will ever be implemented.

 

There are also some other things built into the keyboard shortcut logic that cannot be overridden. Some tools have a 'last tool' toggle that allows you to quickly switch between that tool & the last one used (as with the Move or Node tools) or an 'alternate tool' toggle (as with the Flood Fill & Gradient tools) activating by pressing the tool's assigned shortcut while it is selected.

 

This can be a very useful feature -- for example, it reduces the need to assign keyboard shortcuts to all of the tools or to remember which ones you might have to set to require modifier keys -- but only if you can get used to this behavior. Otherwise, it can drive you crazy because it changes the logic of the tool selection keyboard shortcuts from absolute to state-dependent.  :huh:

 

Personally, I think there is nothing in itself wrong with this. However, because it is crucial that users are always fully aware of which 'tool state' the app is in (IOW, which tool is currently selected) to take advantage of this feature, the UI should make this as obvious as possible. For many of us, this is not always true because a selected tool in the Tools panel is indicated only by a change in its background color from a lighter grey to a darker one, a low contrast change which is easy to miss.

 

There has been a lot of discussion about this difficulty & workarounds suggested for reducing it, but so far none I find very useful. My preference would be either a higher contrast or color background change, or possibly something even more obvious & hard to miss like an outline around the selected tool or inverting its icon's colors when it is selected.


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I understand about number keys, thanks for explaining. I might survive without being able to map my functions to them (not yet sure) ^_^ or might request it as a new feature later.

 

I'm open to give it a try and see if I can get the hang of the keyboard shortcut logic with 'last tool' toggle and 'alternate tool' toggle because it seems to be the better option of the two - rather than it driving me crazy, which it does right now. However, since this is a completely new logic to (not only) me, I find it strange that it is not described in the help files (or I missed it?) and that it can not be changed to standard behaviour for beginners' sake.

 

So then I'd like to find out:

 

- Which are the tools that have a 'last tool' toggle / 'alternate tool' toggle that cannot be overridden?

- 'alternate tool' toggle I guess I understand: it's like forcing me to have several similar tools assigned to the same key, right?

- 'last tool' toggle I'm not sure I understand... can you give an example how this works?

- Does this logic mean that with these tools there is no hit a single key way of changing over to another tool?

 

Thaks

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I'm open to give it a try and see if I can get the hang of the keyboard shortcut logic with 'last tool' toggle and 'alternate tool' toggle because it seems to be the better option of the two - rather than it driving me crazy, which it does right now.

 

As R C-R explained in an earlier post:

 

If the same keyboard shortcut is assigned to two or more different tools, pressing it cycles through them, one tool per key press.

 

So if a tool belongs to a group, pressing its shortcut will switch to the next tool in the group; e.g. repeatedly pressing J will cycle among the Healing Brush Tool and other related tools such as the Inpainting Brush Tool. If a tool does not belong to a group, pressing its shortcut will take you to whatever tool you were using previously; e.g. if you've been using the Move Tool (V) and you switch to the Zoom Tool (Z), you can go back to the Move Tool either by pressing its V shortcut or by pressing Z again.


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I understand. I'm trying this out now.

 

So when a tool does belong to a group, like the selection tools, and I want to activate a particular one of them, say the flood select tool, even if I have assigned a key to the flood select tool alone, pressing the key might activate a different selection tool first and I would have to keep pressing the same key until I reach the flood selection tool, right? That could take up to 7 key storks to arrive to the tool I want  :huh:. So if I understand correctly, grouping tools belongs to the keyboard shortcut logic that cannot be overridden, right?

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The keyboard shortcut logic for the tools is not easy to understand or explain, in part because there are so many ways they can be distributed & shared among the tools. Honestly, I'm not even sure if they are all working as designed the way I have them configured.

 

That said, I can give you an example of what I call the 'last tool' toggle, but whether or not you get the same results will depend on how you set up the shortcuts on your system:

 

With the shortcut key W set to cycle among two tools, the Flood Select Tool (a.k.a magic wand) & the Selection Brush Tool, pressing W repeatedly will cycle between them, as expected. But now switch to the Move Tool (shortcut: V). Because the last tool used was either the Flood Select or Selection Brush Tool, & the Move Tool is the currently selected tool, pressing V now will switch to the Flood Select or Selection Brush Tool, whichever one you were using immediately prior to switching to the Move Tool. Because it is a toggle, repeatedly pressing V will toggle between the Move & the other tool. It will not cycle among any of those tools sharing the same shortcut, just toggle between the Move & the other tool.

 

To keep from driving myself crazy, I use the 'last tool' toggle sparingly, only when I find it convenient to toggle between the Move & some other tool. Otherwise, I use the keyboard shortcuts I have assigned to the other tools. For the ones I seldom use, I have removed any shared shortcuts they might have so they are excluded from cycling among the ones I frequently use.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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So when a tool does belong to a group, like the selection tools, and I want to activate a particular one of them, say the flood select tool, even if I have assigned a key to the flood select tool alone, pressing the key might activate a different selection tool first ...

I don't know if my last post made anything clearer but the key thing to remember is the behavior depends on what the currently selected tool is. If you press the shortcut for a tool that is already selected, you will switch to the tool you used just prior to using that tool.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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Thank you. I tried and the 'last tool' toggle works just as you have described. I have no problem with that.

 

So I guess my only remaining question for now is: does the 'alternate tool' toggle mean I can not access one particular tool within a group of tools by just hitting a single key? I'm trying this now and this is what I get:

I have assigned 'q' to rectangular, elliptical, column, row and freehand selection tools and it works just as expected (toggles). Then I have assigned 'w' to the flood select tool alone. Now when I use the move tool for example and want to change over to the flood select tool and hit 'w' it takes me to the rectangle select tool... if I keep hitting 'w' it takes me through all the selection tools before arriving to the flood select tool that I need. Is this behaviour normal or am I doing something wrong?

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I'm afraid even after understanding all that you wrote, trying out in Affinity Photo and experimenting for hours I still get unexpected results with custom keyboard shortcuts half the time... Half the time they just don't make sense the way tools toggle and cycle - even tools that aren't in the same group and don't share the same shortcut. Others I want to make toggel/cycle I can't because assigning the same key to them simply displays the warning sign showing that the key has been taken already. I feel really disappointed about the shortcut toggle/cycle behaviour being so unreliable :( this makes working with custom shortcuts very annoying...

 

example: I started everything anew from scratch, re-started Affinity Photo and cleared all shortcuts. Then I assigned 5 different shortcuts for 5 basic tools: 'q' for view tool, 'w' for rectangular select tool, 'e' for flood select tool, 'a' for the color picker and 'x' for move tool and I closed the preferences window. Now if I press any of the 5 assigned keys it activates one of the five tools in a seemingly completely random way and if I press any of the five keys repeatedly it cycles through all five tools - any of the five keys does the same thing... Am I right in thinking that none of the things you wrote in your earlier posts explains this behaviour? Surely this can't be right?

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Yes, that does not seem right -- at least I can't reproduce anything like that on my system.


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So then what I need is a bug fix, not a feature request? :huh: As far as I tried the default shortcuts work fine: as expected and according to your description.

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You might try resetting the app before declaring anything a bug. I am not sure of the exact procedure for that on a Windows system, but I am sure someone else can help you with that.


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You might try resetting the app before declaring anything a bug. I am not sure of the exact procedure for that on a Windows system, but I am sure someone else can help you with that.

 

I think this is one of those rare occasions when the procedure is exactly the same for Macs and Windows systems. Usually in the Affinity apps, the Ctrl key on Windows corresponds to the Cmd key on a Mac, but my understanding is that, regardless of which OS you're using, if you hold down the Ctrl key while launching the app the Clear User Data dialog will appear, and you can then reset the app by pressing the 'Select All' button followed by the 'Clear' button.


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Yesterday evening I quickly tried the whole thing one more time. I did exactly the same thing than described in my example in post #12 - except I did not check the two checkboxes in the preferences>keyboard shortcuts dialog - and it seemed that everything worked just fine... I thought I would investigate more today to see if perhaps all my problems came from checking the checkboxes when assigning shortcuts but unfortunately my trial has expired and I can not do so. In the beginning I read in help about what those checkboxes do and I thought I understand and thought I need both checked. But now I'm not sure about the second (I think) checkbox: not the one that makes sure that the shortcuts you assign apply in all the personas but the other checkbox. Could you explain what exactly does that checkbox do and whether you believe it could have caused all the unexpected behaviour I described? This really makes a difference for me: if this solves all the unexpected cycle behaviour of custom keyboard shortcuts, then I could buy Affinity Photo with a peace of mind and start using it for production within a short time.

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The Help describes the checkbox actions as follows:

 

  • Apply to all—If checked, the shortcut applied to a UI element is shared across every Persona. If unchecked, you can uniquely assign a custom shortcut to work just within the currently selected Persona in the initial Persona pop-up menu.
  • Ignore Modifier—Lets you create shortcuts using a single letter designation instead of using keyboard modifiers.

 

I spotted a couple of typos in the Help while looking this up. It says

 

You can optionally save your customized shortcuts to a file (.affshortcuts) that can be shared with other users or backed up for safe keeping.

 

but it should say

 

You can optionally save your customized shortcuts to a file (*.afshort) that can be shared with other users or backed up for safekeeping.


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When i save my shortcuts the file extension is .affshortcuts. Is it perhaps different on PC's?


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"Ignore Modifier—Lets you create shortcuts using a single letter designation instead of using keyboard modifiers"

 

So, if I get this right, this means that if I want a single letter shortcut for a function then I should have this checked before assigning my shortcut. That's what I did (I had both checkboxes checked) and I was getting the unexpected behaviour described in post #12. When I quickly tried without checking this box (both checkboxes unchecked) I was still able to assign single letter shortcuts and they worked fine. Can you reproduce this?

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When i save my shortcuts the file extension is .affshortcuts. Is it perhaps different on PC's?

 

It does seem to be different. I don't know why they would do that, since it obviously makes it more difficult to share the files with users on a different OS. (Either way, there should be an asterisk in front of the dot.)


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It does seem to be different. I don't know why they would do that, since it obviously makes it more difficult to share the files with users on a different OS. (Either way, there should be an asterisk in front of the dot.)

I am just guessing, but I think the file data format might be considerably different for the PC & Mac versions because of code differences in the apps. When I open one of my affshortcuts files in a text editor, it is an xml formatted document with the same "NSKeyedArchiver" data structure described here. (The NS prefix is a holdover from NeXTSTEP, the OS that OS X is partially based on.)

 

Also, there is no declaration in the Mac versions 'binding' the affshortcuts file extension to either app, so the file can't be opened directly, only via the Load option in the preferences. So maybe there are sanity checks & parsers built into the apps to make these files usable with either OS?

 

I suspect the asterisk isn't included by intent -- since not everyone is familiar with its use as a wildcard in filenames, some users would be concerned because they have no files literally named "*affshortcuts" or "*afshort."  :D


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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"Ignore Modifier—Lets you create shortcuts using a single letter designation instead of using keyboard modifiers"

 

So, if I get this right, this means that if I want a single letter shortcut for a function then I should have this checked before assigning my shortcut. That's what I did (I had both checkboxes checked) and I was getting the unexpected behaviour described in post #12. When I quickly tried without checking this box (both checkboxes unchecked) I was still able to assign single letter shortcuts and they worked fine. Can you reproduce this?

Yes, I get that same behavior.

 

I was puzzled by the help topic description of the function of that checkbox but from what I can tell, it may allow users to enter characters they could not otherwise enter directly from the keyboard ... or something. The only thing I could find like that during a quick test that made any difference was while trying to set option+esc as a shortcut. With the ignore option ticked, I got ⎋ (unicode U+2388); without it ticked I got ⌥⎋ (option + unicode U+2388). I have no idea if or when that would make any difference.


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Yes, I get that same behavior.

 

Fantastic :lol: that makes a whole world of difference to me! It means that 1. I have not gone crazy after all 2. I can buy and use Affinity Photo with custom keyboard shortcuts that work consistently. That's great news, I was about to give up on this.

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Just wanted to give feedback to this topic: I bought Affinity Photo the next day and was able to assign my custom keyboard shortcuts just fine: I made sure the "Ignore Modifier" checkbox is not checked and now all shortcuts behave as expected. What a relief!  ^_^ I was really confused and disappointed by the strange behaviour while I was trying to assign shortcuts with the "Ignore Modifier" box checked. I still run into very few exceptions (eg.: trying to assign a shortcut to grow/shrink selection crashes AP or trying to assign a Ctrl or Shift or Alt + letter key shortcut to a tool does not seem to work) but one can live with these and some have already been fixed in the beta.

 

I tried improving some challenging photos where details were lost and I'm impressed! The results I could get out of a not so perfect shot are far better than with any other image editing software I have tried. The workflow is efficient and smooth. I love it!

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