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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Infrequent commands

An odd usability thought just hit me as I'm making some simple updates to my slide decks in Keynote. Adding and positioning the page number is not something you can do without using the mouse (to click the button in the inspector and drag it into place). There's no menu item for this.

That's normally OK with me ... it's a very infrequent operation so why take up valueable menu space (as well as valuable user comprehension space) with it?

But the odd thing is that I think quite often, when you need to use an infrequent operation you need to use it a lot at once. That's probably why Microsoft applications have byzantine menu structures ... they never want anything to require the mouse and from a usability perspective they throw the baby out with the bath water over those infrequent commands.

All I'm missing from Keynote is a simple macro-recording feature: turn on page numbers, select it, drag it to position, update its style. I'd love to be able to run through my master slides (10 per presentation times 7 presentations!) and just it cmd-m or something.

Of course, if Keynote had master-masters, I might be able to make the change in one place per presentation (which would apply to the ten masters and the 60 or 70 slides per presentation).

3 comments:

Ognen said...

My advice:
- open AppleScript Utility
- enable gui scripting
- show script menu in menu bar

- have a little fun with AppleScript; with these two on you can quite literally say something like

tell application "Key Note"
click menu item 3 of menu 1 of pop up button 4 of sheet 1 of window "Bla"
end tell

.. then save that as a script and put it in the designated scripts folder for Keynote (~/Library/Scripts/Applications/Keynote) for easy access

The only thing I'm missing is the ability to assign a shortcut-key to such a script....

Marcelo said...

Off-topic-comentary:
heretic--> http://friendlybit.com/html/tapestry-5-and-how-not-to-treat-html/

Howard said...

Heretic is too strong a word ... just someone who doesn't quite understand what they want or how to get it.