Some thoughts about platform consistency

[Note: I’m motivated to write the following as I’m hearing increasing speculation about future Adobe UI changes based on what’s appeared in screenshots, the Fireworks beta, etc.  That topic deserves its own post, and I’ll work on publishing one in the next couple of days.  Until then I won’t be tackling any of those specific issues/questions.]


I had a rather eye-opening experience the other day.  I over heard an Adobe employee using Photoshop exclaim, “No way… they overloaded Cmd-H!”  In other words, he was surprised that pressing Cmd-H didn’t hide the application.  He was obviously A) a Mac user, B) relatively unfamiliar with Photoshop, and C) assuming that Photoshop had made a decision to go against Mac OS conventions.


Er, no. 🙂


The actual history is that Photoshop has used the Cmd-H shortcut since something close to the dawn of time (at least as far back as 1993, when I started using the app) to hide/show the current selection (the “marching ants” that go around a selection).  This convention (like essentially all PS shortcuts) is consistent between Mac and Windows, and it’s worked the same way in Illustrator for a similarly long time.


When Apple introduced OS X, they decided to implement some new conventions for shortcuts.  Notably, Cmd-H hides apps; Cmd-M minimizes docs to the Dock; and Cmd-~ (technically Cmd-`) cycles among open documents.  Over time the OS has appropriated more and more shortcuts that have been used by Photoshop (F9-F12 were for actions, Cmd-Space/Cmd-Opt-Space was for zooming, etc.).


This puts us in a tough position.  On the one hand, I totally appreciate Apple’s efforts to drive consistency across the platform.  On the other, we have to tread very carefully around keyboard shortcut changes.  Pros’ fingers dance over Adobe apps like musicians’ on instruments.  When certain things have worked a certain way for 10 or 15 years across multiple Adobe apps, you don’t just toss out those conventions and all the associated muscle memory.


My colleague’s comment reminded me, though, that new users don’t know or care about the history here.  For them, it just looks like Adobe is blowing off useful, consistent shortcuts, going its own way for no reason.


So, what do we do?  “Let me customize shortcuts,” you might say–but of course we do already (and have for years), and that doesn’t affect the default experience.  No matter what we do–change or sit tight–someone is going to be P.O.’d.


I think we have to take things case-by-case.  As it happens, I expect we’ll change Photoshop to use Cmd-~ to cycle among document windows.  PS already supports the Windows-standard Ctrl-Tab for this function on both platforms, and by honoring both conventions we can offer cross-platform consistency.  This move will undoubtedly frustrate people who rely on Cmd-~ for displaying the composite channel, but we’ll do our best to ease the pain.  Remapping Cmd-H and Cmd-M are a progressively tougher sell for me, given the importance of selections & Curves in PS.  Note, however, that on the Mac by default Photoshop assigns Cmd-Ctrl-H to hiding & Cmd-Ctrl-M to minimizing–i.e. the standard conventions + the Ctrl key.


I mention all this in order to shed some light on the tricky issues we face with the Photoshop & other Adobe tools.  No one I know here views OS conventions as unimportant; on the contrary, they’re always among the first issues considered.  It’s just that we have to weigh them against possible disruptions to user habits and workflows, and against the user benefits of consistency between applications and platforms.

[PS–I know people are eager to hear more & to discuss the application frame idea, etc. As I say, I plan to post plenty of detail shortly. (In other words, please don’t fill the comments with tons of questions/rants just yet. :-)) More to come… –J.]

0 thoughts on “Some thoughts about platform consistency

  1. OK. I use Photoshop on Mac. (Sometimes Windows). Since the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop are more important to me than the OS X shortcuts, I turn off or modify the system shortcuts. Problem solved. I know there will be conflicts like this. As long as Adobe and Apple make these shortcuts user modifiable all is good. I guess for new users this feature needs to be highly promoted to avoid confusion.

  2. Oh dear–don’t take away my Ctrl-~!
    More to the point, this is why Windows has a Windows key. If I want to see my Desktop (Hide all) I press Windows+D. If I want to tab through applications on my taskbar, I press Windows+Tab. There’s even a function assigned to Windows+Break. 😀
    The point is, the OS functions conform to a standard that is not invasive to the rest of the normal keyboard set. If app makers stay away from that Windows key, there’s very little chance of collision. And I really, really like that. I’ve never understood why it doesn’t work that way on a Mac. To me, it seems like they’ve very sloppily mashed too many functions into that key 🙁

  3. I think they problem you’ve described is really a fundamental problem between OS shortcuts and app shortcuts.
    It would make much more sense to have an apple/windows key that only applied shortcuts to the OS, and other apps wouldn’t use it, except perhaps as an additional modifier key like shift.
    That way, there would be a clear distinction between the two and you wouldn’t have the problems described.

  4. Thanks for addressing this. I’ve been a Mac user for longer than I’ve been a Photoshop user so of course I always thought that Adobe was just ignoring the UI conventions that Mac users use to work faster.
    If it were up to me, the Adobe apps would cede the keyboard combinations of cmd-h and cmd-~ in the name of consistency. Power users could reassign the key through some combination of the Apple Keyboard Shortcuts system preference panel and the Adobe customization options, but the default experience for new users would be consistent. I’m glad to hear that the idea of changing it is at least being discussed.

  5. Since it’s possible for users to customize the keyboard shortcuts, it’s possible for Adobe to do it. There’s no reason why Adobe can’t have three sets of keyboard shortcuts.
    In Windows Options, users could select either the Adobe Legacy or the Windows Standard shortcut set, and in OS X Preferences, users could select either the Legacy or the OS X Standard shortcut set.

  6. I’ve been using macs since 92, and I can’t say that I’ve ever relied heavily on keyboard shortcuts, nor have I felt that my not using them is a hinderance. I spend a lot of time in Photoshop and use the keyboard commands a lot. To me the tools are more important than the OS. The OS is just a way to run the tools.
    P.S. I used to like it more when you could cycle through tools in Photoshop by pressing the same key multiple times (like you can in AE). Back in the 3.0 days you could run the whole app without needing to have the tool palettes showing.
    [Well, good thing you wrote, then: Go into Photoshop preferences and uncheck “Use Shift Key for Tool Switch.” –J.]

  7. Perhaps slightly off-topic but…
    I would be curious to know the actual usage numbers, professionally, of Photoshop on PCs vs Macs. It would be my guess that while PC use has grown over the years, Macs would still make up the largest portion of users and that if anything Adobe should cater most to its core user group.
    [Market share and “catering” have nothing to do with it: the point is that whenever Apple takes over a shortcut that Photoshop and other apps have been using for years, we have a choice of making customers unhappy one way (adopting the new shortcut and/or losing functionality, thereby breaking long-standing conventions) or another (retaining existing patterns and then getting ripped for being insufficiently “Mac-like”). It’s a blast. –J.]

  8. J.
    I completely understand. I, as a professional user who’s ‘fingers fly magically over the keyboard’, just disable the OS versions as the first commenter stated.
    I guess I was just taken by the bringing up of PC users in general. If things were changed in the mac versions of the software only to provide cross platform consistency, I’d be pissed. Otherwise, things are grand and you can tread all over the OS shortcuts for all I care. Shortcuts are much more important to me in Adobe apps than they are just getting around my machine.
    Now if you could just give me back the SMALL curve window in CS3 PS I’d be happy. 😉

  9. I find the inconsistent cmd-H behavior intensely frustrating. It gets me every time. Not only has PS -not- done what I asked it to do, it’s just done something mysterious that fills me with doubt about the integrity of my document.
    Thank you for describing the keyboard shortcuts fix, I didn’t know that was there.

  10. I found it very frustrating to find my Command+H no longer hid the window in Photoshop. As a long-time Photoshop user (16 years and two weeks) and an early adopter of OS X, it drove me nuts. I think John Gruber’s solution of popping up a dialog box the first time it happens and asking the user to pick which gets the command – and then remapping them based on that choice) would be the perfect solution.
    [Yeah, the same thought occurred to me earlier today. We try not to bug people with a lot of “Which way should I go” dialogs, esp. on app startup, but I think in this case it makes sense. I’ll investigate the feasibility. –J.]
    But you know, it’s getting harder to not think Adobe sometimes choses to do some things that are not in the best interests of its users.
    Key point is today’s announcement of Acrobat 9 – with no Pro Extended version for Mac. (The platform that holds 66 percent market share for computers over $1000. Hello? This is software that costs more than half that amount?)
    [I don’t know what the market dynamics are in the space targeted by Acrobat Extended. Historically they’ve been going after enterprise customers where the Mac really doesn’t play. –J.]
    It makes us feel there IS some animus between Apple and Adobe and we’re getting screwed for it.

  11. Good to know this is at least being looked at. I’m a Photoshop user of well over ten years, and rely on keyboard shortcuts. However, I’m also a massive advocate of system consistency. Photoshop, despite the arguments in this blog post, does have the appearance of riding roughshod over system-wide shortcuts, and this is compounded by Command+~ seemingly being ‘locked’. (Maybe I’m just being an idiot, but I’ve never found a way in CS3 to make Command+~ behave as ‘normal’ in Photoshop. And that’s ‘normal’ as in the way it behaves in every other Mac OS X app.)
    As others have said, surely it can’t be _too_ hard to supply a few alternate sets of shortcuts in CS4: the spangly new set (which honours Apple’s shortcuts), the legacy set (for long-time users with muscle memory that just won’t change), and whatever else seems useful?

  12. You’re going to get very little sympathy from Mac users. Not only have other developers handled this better (see BBEdit’s appraoch, referenced by John Gruber at, but Adobe’s track record of adhering to any Mac standards is atrocious. You’ve burned a lot of bridges and goodwill over the last decade.
    1) Adobe Installers – Why isn’t this a standard package installer than can be deployed quickly and easily? Why does Adobe dump files ALL OVER the place? I’m referring to things like Adobe Help, Adobe Updater, things in Application Support, Fonts, etc. If you’re using Application Support, then why do your apps still keep multiple folders full of stuff in Applications? If I install Photoshop or Acrobat, I should see one new icon in Applications – the app I installed – and everything else belongs in Application Support.
    2) Adobe Help – WHY? There’s a built-in help application that works better, is faster, and is integrated with Spotlight – use it.
    [As long as you’re quoting Gruber, I thought he kept going off about how bad the Apple help app is. Maybe I’m hallucinating. –J.]
    3) Adobe Update – WHY? Build it into the application, or put it in Application Support if you absolutely insist.
    4) General interface – Looking at Photoshop Elements in particular. there is NOTHING consistent about the interface. Dark gray, palette “bins”, ugly font choices, and a Windows-esque toolbar up top that cannot be gotten rid of. And a custom window-management system that overrides how Zoom works and changes seemingly randomly. And you expect us to trust Adobe in the future?
    5) Acrobat – summed up profanely and accurately by John Welch over at
    I’ve used Photoshop since 2.0. I’ve owned (to my chagrin) every version of Elements since 1.0. I use Acrobat Professional at work daily. I’ve gone from loving Adobe products 10 years ago to absolutely LOATHING them. You must be spending at least 10-20% of your development time reinventing the wheel and simultaneously pissing off your user base.

  13. I think there is an easy option. Allow for a “Priority” to be set.
    Use could choose from “Adobe Priority” or “OS Priority” on shortcuts. This would automatically switch to a base schema. Adobe could then develop a newer default schema for new users.
    Then make this an install option. With the additive. “We recommend that new users utilize the OS Priority selection. Traditional users seeking to maintain the highest level of familiarity should select Adobe Priority.”
    Then down the road, enough users will eventually be on the new schema that you can make it the default. Vwaala.
    Also, allow custom settings to be derived from either of the two default priority settings.
    – The Saj

  14. While I had always suspected this to be the case (Apple changing/usurping keyboard shortcuts), Adobe also seems to arbitrarily change keyboard shortcuts that users have come to rely on for years. Case in point: InDesign.
    Command-comma/period for quite some time used to scale the image & frame together, but in CS3 Adobe decided it would only scale the frame, and on top of that the user can no longer even set a custom shortcut to get back the previous functionality – it’s not in the available command listings.
    In this case there seems to be no interference by Apple, so what Adobe’s reasoning was behind not just changing a keyboard shortcut, but also removing that action from the available list is beyond me.

  15. Wow, Photoshop allows switching among application windows with CONTROL-~? I’ve been using photoshop for YEARS and just thought it was broken.
    Every time I go to hide photoshop, I silently curse the folks at Adobe. I can understand supporting old power-users, but at some point you also have to move forward. Otherwise every text editor in the world would support emacs meta-commands. (Or vi, whatever.) Who even knew that the ants could be hidden? Who even cares?
    [I could introduce you to people who’d be amazed that you could make either of those last two statements. That’s not to say you’re wrong–for you. Photoshop gets used by so many people in so many ways, however, that what’s utterly essential to one person may seem completely irrelevant and/or inscrutable to another. (Example: My old roommate Khoi is a Web designer, and during a customer visit he scoffed about Liquify: “Who would ever use that??” The next day I was at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where Liquify is absolutely central to their age progression work. Of course they’d never heard of & couldn’t care less about the features Khoi demanded.) It’s tough to make everyone happy, and people are often *sure* that their way is the best/only/right way. –J.]
    Conform to Apple’s standards, and allow power users to override them. Make it easy, via a ‘Use Historic Key Mappings’ checkbox in the preferences. Or, if you must, go the BBEdit route. But don’t confuse new users to your product unnecessarily by old cruft. That’s the Windows way.

  16. See, this is why people feel Adobe doesn’t care for platform conventions. Mac OS X is 7 years old, and only now you are thinking about changing one shortcut (not all of the three, just one…).
    I’ve used PS since the Mac OS 9 days, but still, EVERY app now hides when pressing Cmd-H, only PS does not.
    [As I mentioned, Illustrator and other Adobe apps also use Cmd-H for other tasks and have done so for years. –J.]
    This is far more confusing than having to relearn one single shortcut – which would suck, I agree, but better one abrupt cut than this constant frustration. And you could still provide a “legacy”-option to cater for users who do not wish to adopt.
    But given Adobe’s recent track record I don’t have much hope things will get substantially better. I really don’t want to rant, but it’s things like this or the close boxes on the right side in palettes that drive me mad. I understand that cross platform people don’t even notice such a thing, but I’m using only Macs and you wouldn’t guess how often I click in the “wrong” places in PS 🙁

  17. I agree that this is almost entirely Apple’s fault for introducing these things in OS X. Adobe applications were far from the only ones which used command-H and command-M. (I can’t tell you how frustrating it was using Eudora, where command-M had been “check mail”.)
    What Microsoft did was introduce a new key and use that for its systemwide commands. I’m not suggesting Apple should have done this, but by this time Apple’s keyboards had had “control” keys which went pretty much unused for anything significant. Why couldn’t the systemwide commands be control-key combinations and program commands be command-key combinations?
    But it’s too late now, and Adobe gets flak for it.

  18. The only shortcuts that have bothered me over the years is the Cmd+~ (so happy you guys are looking into that) and the fact that Cmd+1 does not/will not (I can’t figure out how to reassign it) go to a 100% zoom level, as it does in practically every other graphic application I can think of, especially Adobe apps.
    [Well, you’ll be glad to know that we’re changing that one, too. This is guaranteed to anger people who use Cmd-1 to target the first channel, but it’s a change that falls out of other needed changes, so we figured we should get all the related churn over with at once. –J.]
    I’ve since re-trained myself to use Cmd+0 instead, and have now altered the keyboard shortcuts in every other app I use as well (shows you how important PS is to me).
    In any case, I like the option of providing a few different default sets, as to me this is an area where you could conceivably “fake” enhanced performance, if folks don’t have to do so much tweaking every time they install a new version of PS. Just my two cents. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  19. As Joshua Ochs indicated, note John Gruber’s indication that Adobe should learn something from BareBones and how BBEdit handles a similar case: Intercept Cmd-H the first time you use it, and present a dialog box asking the user which of the two commands they wish to use that shortcut for.
    Yes, it’s frustrating when a previously-familiar shortcut is usurped for another use – but if Classic Mac OS Finder users can get used to Cmd-Shift-N for New Folder, I think Photoshop users can get used to a new approach, as well.

  20. I am hoping beyond hope that Adobe is not wasting its time and effort on analyzing key commands, when I have submitted feature request after feature request for the same things every year for the last 7 years!
    I do not care about keyboard commands. They can be changed.
    What I care about is making Adobe apps behave the same between themselves.
    1. Illustrator and InDesign have Character Styles and Paragraph style. Photoshop does not. Why? They would be extremely helpful when mocking up websites. And while you’re at it, I want text wrap in PS as well.
    2. Illustrator has symbols. Put symbols in PS and ID.
    3. Make layer styles and object styles behave the same in all apps. It works completely different in each one!!!
    4. Editable spot color recognition in PS. If I make some type or a shape layer a certain Pantone color, PS should recognize that and automatically create/add it to the spot channel. I have literally submitted this feature request 7 times now. Spot colors SUCK in PS, but are necessary for print work.
    I can go on with my list, but it would be nice if Adobe just listened to its users rather than adding useless features such as 3D model texturing and the poor Extract tool.
    Spend time working on the things that matter to your core user base – graphic designers and artists. PLEASE!

  21. I accept the decision not to add too many “forks in the road” like suggested by many; I think the answer is largely staring us all in the face:
    1. Photoshop already has preset keyboard shortcuts (Working with Type, etc.)
    2. Adobe should include one more preset to respect the OS-defined shortcut keys, Cmd+`, Cmd+H, Cmd+M etc.
    3. At *install time*, ask the user whether they’d prefer Creative Suite applications to honour OS defaults, or use its traditional shortcuts (with OS defaults as the default, unless you’re upgrading a CS where you’ve already made that decision).
    4. At any time, the user can visit the keyboard shortcuts window and flip between the different modes with a drop-down menu.
    Everybody wins. It’s a one-time selection made at install-time (when we’re already making setting choices and install settings, etc.).
    As an aside (and I know you specifically requested no rants), I agree (in small part) with Joshua Ochs’ first point about utilising the Application Support folder better (I hate having to drill down into sub folders to get to Adobe applications).

  22. I’m amazed that Apple gets any flak at all in these comments. There really isn’t anything they could have done that would have made more sense than Cmd+H to accompany Cmd+S and the other standard shortcuts, which actually works okay for 95% of all apps. If they used something that relied more heavily on the Ctrl key, it would have been less consistent AND have broken all the Unix apps. Ever tried copying text in a Windows terminal? 🙂 Now if Apple only could solve the tab switching shortcut mess in at least their own apps…
    Anyway, I would love to see a “new style” shortcut set for CS4—please also add shift+mouse wheel to the list 🙂

  23. C’mon. This is easy.
    I have a really simple solution.
    Keep the shortcuts exactly where they are
    On first run of a this ‘new ideal’ ask the user if they’d like the keyboard to be left alone, or the new ‘optional’ standard keyboard to be installed; one which doesn’t cross over the system (mac or pc) keyboard settings.
    Existing users with ‘memory’ would say no….’newer’ users would say yes. At any time you let them have this alternate default keyboard (or the original)

  24. It’s hard to believe this is even an issue. Of coursee Adobe should follow Apple’s guidelines. Of course. Somebody’s going to be confused or annoyed anyway, so the obvious — yes obvious — solution is to err on the side of system-wide consistency. Always.
    [Out of curiosity, what’s your take on Apple’s pro apps (Final Cut, Motion, etc.) blazing their own trail–using tiny monochrome close/zoom buttons & custom scrollbars, enabling resizing by dragging any window edge, etc.? –J.]

  25. Why is it that Apple’s guidelines should be law?
    This is a cross-platform app. Why shouldn’t Microsoft’s guidelines be law?
    Should Adobe just abandon any attempt to provide cross-platform consistency?
    I happen to really like being able to move from my PC to one of the office Macs and have PS (and other apps) function in the same way. A lot people make use of this consistency and it is obviously much easier to code and design apps consistently if you have cross-platform consistency.
    Sorry, but this nonesense about Apple being The Law isn’t even adhered to by Apple (and that’s not a criticism of Apple).
    They are GUIDElines. You don’t deviate just for the hell of it, but if you have a good reason then the primary goal should be the most functional and useful application possible. Obviously Apple and Microsoft understand this and, where they deeem it necessary, appropriate or beneficial, they deviate. You can argue (as you can with Adobe) as to whether that assessment is correct, but the fact is such deviations are common enough.
    On top of that, consideration for cross-platform and cross-application consistency must be given.
    Neither Apple nor Microsoft own UI design. They provide a platform on which to present applications.

  26. It doesn’t matter if it’s Apple’s fault or Adobe’s fault or if the OS UI should be different because those are all moot issues. Adobe’s products need to live within the OS, whether it is Windows or OS X. It is true that Apple changed operating systems eight years ago, and therefore also the UI, and it is also true that parts of the UI are inconsistent, just as in Windows, and maybe the South shall rise again, but that was then, this is now, and none of that who-struck-John is going to solve anyone’s problems.
    The problem with sticking to the legacy interface is that it is a barrier to new users, such as that Adobe employee you mentioned. For many of your users, the legacy UI dates back to junior high school. Sticking to the legacy interface can have an adverse affect on your future sales. Why would anyone want to buy what is for them idiosyncratic, hard-to-use Adobe software, when you have competitors? You’re like WordPerfect, clinging to F3 for help when the entire known universe uses F1.
    The problem with conforming to the OS is that you’ve neglected its UI for so long that it would be severely disconcerting to long-time users.
    There is absolutely no reason NOT to have user switchable UIs, as one other person and I have suggested.
    Preferences or Options should allow the user to choose between the idiosyncratic UI or the compliant UI. From there they can customize the UI as they can now. This is so boneheadedly simple and easy to do, I can’t imagine why Adobe didn’t do it seven years ago.
    If Adobe thinks that their user base is so solid and their market share so large that it doesn’t have to comply with the UI, remember CP/M and WordPerfect. Adobe, CP/M, and WordPerfect all commanded a huge user base and were well entrenched. CP/M thought it could command a premium price. WordPerfect thought its users would stick with MS-DOS out of loyalty, and Adobe thinks it doesn’t have to have a compliant UI.
    Think again.

  27. It’s frustrating and senseless to sell software in a suite and run into inconsistent behavior like this. I liked Jason’s suggestion: just add one simple Preference setting to choose whether Apple gets control of the shortcuts or Adobe does.
    [That preference has existed *for five years* in Photoshop. You can easily remap the behavior of Cmd-H in far less time than it takes to post a comment. What doesn’t exist, and which would be nice, is a little dialog box that asks you how you want to set this one behavior. –J.]
    This really should have been addressed back when OS X first appeared and we were prepared for (or at least more open to) wholesale changes for a greater good later on.

  28. This is a cross-platform app. Why shouldn’t Microsoft’s guidelines be law?
    Being cross-platform isn’t choosing a single vendor’s UI guideline and imposing it to others but rather being a good citizen in each platform. At least that’s what I think. Check Mozilla’s effort in Firefox 3 in that regard.
    I also don’t get the argument that whenever Apple makes a mistake it is automatically OK for everyone else do it too. We are all allowed to do a better job than Apple.
    The transparent menu in Leopard was a bad design decision, and Apple got hit badly by this. So much so that they gave in and put a check box in System Preferences. Apple is not immune to UI mistakes or user discontent. They simply don’t have the same openness to discuss this that Adobe does, which is a real shame BTW.

  29. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Apple’s fault or Adobe’s fault or if the OS UI should be different because those are all moot issues. Adobe’s products need to live within the OS, whether it is Windows or OS X.”
    And yet a professional users of Adobe apps will frequently need to work on the “other” platform, and I’d say having a consistent experience across platforms is even more important for a cross-platform application than OS UI conventions.
    Forget Apple pro apps for a second. Most “professional” apps out there in the 3D and/or compositing realm (think Discreet, Maxon, The Foundry, etc), completely bury the OS and replace it with a custom UI. And users of these applications will never complain about this (and will even single out Adobe’s amazingly “OS like” UI as “unprofessional”). I remember hearing this about After Effects for years, until it adopted the very “un-Mac” docked panels and the ability to have the UI in dark grey.

  30. Being cross-platform isn’t choosing a single vendor’s UI guideline and imposing it to others but rather being a good citizen in each platform.
    Of course, which is the point. Too many people are screaming that Apple must be obeyed because it’s their OS.
    I also don’t get the argument that whenever Apple makes a mistake it is automatically OK for everyone else do it too. We are all allowed to do a better job than Apple.
    It’s a counter to the argument of “OMG WTF you didn’t follow Apple’s guidelines you are the devil!”. If Apple can break it (and MS break their guidelines) then it reinforces the fact that these are GUIDElines and if there’s a sound reason for deviating then that shouldn’t be a problem.

  31. As someone who uses both platforms [not exactly unusual], PS/Adobe products must be able to behave the same on both as the OS is fundamentally a lower priority than the Applications you actually use. Especially as Apple have adopted longstanding shortcuts used by Adobe products, despite the fact that Adobe products are used so very widely on Macs. Obviously Apple couldn’t use the very sensible Windows key idea for system shortcuts that MS came up with, as that would mean losing face. And Steve Jobs would rather be seen wearing Paisley during a keynote speech or commmit seppukka than adopt any MS idea he couldn’t disguise/spin/do more awkwardly.
    God knows why the Macolytes think Apple is so wonderful and all it’s edicts must be obeyed, it’s not as if they don’t do some stupid things especially with the abysmal Finder, which sadly is is the backbone of OSX. It doesn’t even behave consistently either. You can resize all Finder columns from within save dialogue, but frustratingly not if using Finder itself!?!

  32. What some other companies have done is that they pop-up a window the very first time you hit Cmd+H and prompt you to choose between the OS default shortcuts (mapping Cmd+H to something else) and Photoshop legacy shortcuts.
    Of course there’s a preference somewhere to revert the choice.

  33. Out of curiosity, what’s your take on Apple’s pro apps (Final Cut, Motion, etc.) blazing their own trail–using tiny monochrome close/zoom buttons & custom scrollbars, enabling resizing by dragging any window edge, etc.?
    I’m not a fan of the Final Cut Pro/Motion GUI look — kind of ugly — but for the most part their behaviors are pretty standard. iTunes is a worse GUI offender, really, even though it looks more like a standard OS X app. I like the look of Aperture and Logic except for the microscopic type. The worst offense those two apps make is adding that extra chrome around the edges of the windows that prevent scroll bars from being flush to the screen edge. So I don’t care who’s doing it, Apple or Adobe, they should stick to consistency unless they have a good — really good — reason not to. I don’t think not following the Command-H convention was a good idea, but at least Adobe does let you change it (and I did). Apple makes a lot of goofy GUI decisions but usually they change the look rather than the behavior, and it’s behavior that’s the truly important one. Imagine if suddenly the left-most window widget — (X) — quit an app instead of just closing the window. Bad. It should always do the same thing in every app. I say this knowing full well that System Prefs and a few others treat the (X) as a Quit button.
    I can be pretty harsh on Adobe, but I do it because I care and want it to be better. I don’t like it when software developers compromise the purity of the host OS by totally ignoring GUI guidelines, be it Apple, Adobe or Microsoft.
    That said, I like how Adobe is trending toward the dark gray look. These bright GUIs really fry my eyes after a while. And I don’t mind the interesting use of the otherwise empty gray space to the right of the window widgets as in the CS4 betas. Why not use that space so long as it’s not done in a fugly way?

  34. As someone who uses both platforms [not exactly unusual], PS/Adobe products must be able to behave the same on both as the OS is fundamentally a lower priority than the Applications you actually use

    You said must be able to behave not must behave, and that is the key to what I’ve been saying.
    I have both platforms right here on my desk, and two keyboards. I can switch back and forth with no problem. Windows applications work like Windows applications, and OS X applications work like OS X applications. A Mac UI on Windows is just as disconcerting to me as a Windows UI on the Mac, even when it is the same program!—but that’s just me.
    On the other hand, when you use a program that is on both platforms, you need a third UI for that program that is the same on both but complies with neither. I don’t have a problem with that. Neither of us is right or wrong or more virtuous than the other, we just have different needs.
    Why not give users a choice?
    [Have you not noticed the “Edit Keyboard Shortcuts” function that’s been there for the last five years? It baffles me that people can pour out so much righteous indignation without doing the most basic investigation (or, apparently, reading previous comments here). –J.]
    Surely Adobe’s programming skills are up to the task of accommodating both types of users. Let the user choose between the legacy UI and the platform-compliant UI on both platforms. Then when I switch between Mac and PC, the Adobe program complies with its environment. And when you switch between Mac and PC, the Adobe program has a third UI, the legacy UI that is the same on both platforms.
    We could discuss the glaring inconsistencies in both platforms’ UIs, the history of keyboard layouts, and who was first and what is better, but that’s really irrelevant. This is not a discussion about Truth, Beauty, Justice, and the American Way, or even about We’ve Always Done It That Way or Onward To The Future. It’s about the user’s productivity.
    Our needs are different and Adobe can accommodate both of us. Why don’t they?

  35. Hm. A comment inside my comment?

    Have you not noticed the “Edit Keyboard Shortcuts” function that’s been there for the last five years? It baffles me that people can pour out so much righteous indignation without doing the most basic investigation (or, apparently, reading previous comments here). –J.]

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. I’ve taken advantage of it. It’s even possible to rearrange the menus. It’s like having a
    do-it-yourself kit instead of a finished application.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if Adobe gave us a leg up? Then instead of spending an hour or so “customizing” each Adobe application into compliance, I could be using the software and thinking nice
    thoughts about how wonderful Adobe is.
    I think all that “righteous indignation” is appropriate. Adobe’s products aren’t exactly shareware and they are definitely not inexpensive. We shouldn’t have to customize them to make them standard.
    Imagine if the applications had an OS-compliant UI (or at least it was selectable) and we could use that as the starting point for customizing them. That would be wonderful.

  36. “Surely Adobe’s programming skills are up to the task of accommodating both types of users. Let the user choose between the legacy UI and the platform-compliant UI on both platforms.”
    Totally agree. Couldn’t we just have a check box during installation, and then a workspace choice thereafter?
    I’ve been using Photoshop since v3 and my hands know what to do well before my brain does. So I want/need classic UI. But my son would probably rather have it the other way.

  37. “That preference has existed *for five years* in Photoshop. You can easily remap the behavior of Cmd-H in far less time than it takes to post a comment.”
    That’s the first thing I change on any Photoshop install for myself. Now show me how to enable the default Command+` in Photoshop (as in, for switching windows) and I’ll be a happy bunny.
    [Yeah, unfortunately you can’t change that one, due to some subtle technical reason I’ve forgotten at the moment. In any case we’re remapping the shortcut as you’d like. –J.]

  38. This discussion is moot, because Adobe apps don’t even follow consistent keyboard commands between themselves, let alone the OS. Take Command-D for instance:
    Illustrator: Transform Again
    InDesign: Place
    Photoshop: Deselect

  39. There are some functions, for example Select forward layer, Select backward layer and selecting composite layer and mask in channels palette that can only be accessed with a shortcut that cannot be changed, and those shortcuts don’t work on some non-us keyboard configurations… To be able to change those would be really handy.

  40. CTRL/Cmd+~ is undoubtly very wanted in the customize keyboard ability.
    We’re really looking forward to that – all people working with PS in english with EU keyboards like german, swedish, danish etc.
    It would also be a good idea to synchronize some shorcuts in CS4 as Ctrl+1, CTRL+D, putting things in front or back. I would love to see some shortcut similarisation with Indesign.
    BTW Illustrator can’t show customized keyboard shortcuts in it’s menus (non-english keyboards – like slashed zero).

  41. How about a preset collection of keyboard shortcuts that turn all shortcuts to their windows CTRL+ equivalent so we don’t even have to think about the command key?

  42. I would consider myself a Photoshop power-user and the ctl-tab convention to switch between open document windows has always frustrated me because (at least on the Mac side) every other application I use maps this to cmd-tab. Is there a way to map that shortcut in Photoshop? I’ve done loose searching the past, but never found a good solution for mapping ctl-tab to the more Mac-suitable cmd-tab.

  43. Whoops – I meant to say “cmd-~” there, not “cmd-tab”. I want to map “ctrl-tab” to “cmd-~” but can’t find a menu item for “Switch between open documents”
    [There *should* be a mechanism in the Photoshop KBSC editor to change that mapping, but for various technical reasons there isn’t. The good news is that we’ll make the change to match the OS default & will provide a way to override that change if you’d like. I’ll get into more details than you’ll probably want soon enough. –J.]

  44. Hi John,
    I just bought a used emac. My macbook was stolen last month. Insurance only coughed up about 600 bucks for the replacement. So I can’t afford to get the computer that I need. The thieves also stole all my discs with my software and original macbook box..i bought it 9-03-08. Anyhow, I have been trying to download the photoshop trails…I get the error “can support powerPC architecture CPU.then please upgrade or adjust our system to meet the requirements..I am not computer tech smart…can you point me in the right direction..or am I at a loss with this old emac?

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