Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

visual shortcut holder - does this already exsist?

Recommended Posts


Hi all, new here

I have been thinking about a simple tool to help artists using tablet PCs, Wacom tablet and Cintiqs since in such cases, reaching for the keyboard hotkeys can be a burden.

Someone on TechArtists.org mentionned AutoIT as a possible way to prototype this. I have no scripting experience whatsoever but I have been looking around the AutoIT forums and saw some examples getting quite close to what I had in mind : most notably Macrogamer, and the UI and icon fonctionality from AutoIT.

Here is a straight copy of the little doc. It should clarify all this, and maybe such a tool has already been made with AutoIT?


***Hotkeys holder for tablet and tabletPC users***

Observation 1 : Most advanced programs let the user define keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) ; and even if the most mainstream apps like itunes, firefox don't give easy access to user customization, they very often come with hard coded hotkeys.

Observation 2 : Some users enjoy UI buttons over keyboards shortcuts. In some cases it is actually more practical to rely on UI buttons rather than hotkeys (tablet PCs, Cintiqs). However not every program allows for UI customisation and button creation.

Observation 3 : Every interface is different, but streamlining them could improve the user experience.

I am thinking of a shortcut container somehow similar to the Maya shelf, but with added functionality and running as a separated program. It would be turned on on start up and stay on display all the time.

Core features:

-Always on top of all the windows on screen.

-Contains an unlimited amount of slots.

-Each slot holds a keyboard shortcut, activated by clicking on it.

-Each slot contains a visual label making it easily recognizable : .gif, .ico, .png, or plain text description.

-Clicking an icon accepts 'sliding' behavior : no need to hold the stylus firmly in place for the click to validate as opposed to the Windows desktop icons behavior. See the Firefox3 Back and Forward buttons as an example of slide-friendly click behavior.

-The main part of the interface does not allow for dragging. In order to drag the container, one needs to clickdrag the dedicated Drag icon.

-The contents of the hotkeys holder update according to the app currently in focus. (if photoshop is in focus, the holder only displays photoshop related shortcuts)

-Absolute screen position of the holder is a user preference, defined for each application. (to avoid hiding useful UI elements)

-The holder can be resized by dragging the dedicated Resize icon

-When all apps are reduced and nothing is in focus, or when a folder explorer is in focus, the holder displays OS related shortcut icons

Low priority features :

-Support for complex shortcuts to provide 3D navigation support : click-drag on an icon can be bound to alt-click-drag

-Supports for repeatable actions (alt-click-drag-10pixelsXaxis) for discrete rotation, zooming, and pan.

-Multiple holders

Examples of Firefox and Photoshoop behavior :

Posted Image

This is basically this


and this


combined together in a virtual, desktop way.

Related tools :

Clutterbuster (only for .exe's)


Wacoms popup menu tool








3DSMax and Maya (custom marking menus, quandrants, pies)


MOI (pen driven modelling package)



Also it's worth mentioning that the biggest benefit would be for tabletPC and Cintiq users - because the keyboard really is hard to reach in such cases. For a classic tablet+keyboard combo it might be a bit redundant! But maybe it could be a anti-RSI thing too ?

[edit : the Close button is unnecessary in the UI. This should be accessed with right click hit, since it's not something one wants to hit by mistake!]



Any hints or feedback appreciated.

I also posted this over there


and there


trying to get some momentum.



Edited by pior

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again!

Anyone has suggestions? Even some very basic help on how to get very basic functionality!

Something like : a fixed number of text labels and simple keypress shortcuts (no mouse input involved). The only crucial thing is the support for always on top, without stealing the focus of the current program being used (overlay bahaviour)

Any help on how to get started on this would be appreciated!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this