Optional plug-in disables trackpad rotation

During the CS4 development cycle, the Photoshop and Bridge teams worked closely with Apple* to support the multitouch gestures supported on MacBook Air and newer MacBook Pro systems.  As a result you can zoom and rotate documents using three-finger combinations.


The rub is that especially on the latest systems (with the enormous trackpads), it can be too easy to zoom or rotate accidentally.  Unfortunately Photoshop doesn’t ship with a preference that would govern the behavior.  Therefore we’ve released an optional plug-in that will disable zooming and rotating via the keyboard if you’d like.  Just drop it into your Plug-Ins folder, restart Photoshop, and you’ll be set.


* Next time you hear someone start in with a bunch of “Adobe doesn’t care about the Mac” crap, I’d like you to think of this.  People here go the extra mile because they do care.  Deeply.

36 thoughts on “Optional plug-in disables trackpad rotation

  1. With apologies to PT Barnum:
    You can please some of the people all of the time; you can displease all of the people some of the time, and you can never please some of the people all of the time.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ N.

  2. Hello Jack,
    I am not a mac user, but to me that is outstanding, and wow.
    That is why I try to keep my bucks with Adobe when I buy new or upgrade.
    Like we say in Kentucky, “the world may be round, but we do find flat spots ever now and then”
    Ken from KY

  3. Awesome! As someone who just moved to a newer MacBook Pro, I am most appreciate to the Adobe team for putting this plugin out so quickly! It was just last week that I was commenting to another colleague at work that I wished there was a preference to turn that off!

  4. I can personally verify that the people at Adobe care about the users, as I have found the team there will go well out of their way to help you out. John knows what I mean!

  5. Hi John,
    great plugin! This is a fix to something that has been bothering me ๐Ÿ™‚
    However, I was wondering if there’s a “disable rotation only”-blend available of the plugin, as the plugin also disables zooming.
    Above that I’ve noticed that not only can’t I zoom with my trackpad anymore, my regular mouse its clickwheel/scrollwheel apparently doesn’t feel like zooming either anymore ๐Ÿ™
    [I’m afraid it had to be all-or-nothing with this change. In the future PS needs to add preferences that offer more granular control. –J.]

  6. Hi John,
    great plugin! This is a fix to something that has been bothering me ๐Ÿ™‚
    However, I was wondering if there’s a “disable rotation only”-blend of the plugin available (or plans to making such a blend available), as the plugin also disables trackpad-zooming and this actually is something I liked.

  7. Hi,
    helpful plug-in, I found myself accidently panning and zooming every now and then (with one of the not so enormous trackpads). I’m still not sure if I’ll use the plug-in regularly, as gestures are hot as hell, but having a choice is always a good thing. Any chances we’ll see this plug-in become a preference in a future .xx-bugfix-release?
    Regarding the “Adobe does not care about the Mac” thingie… Well, how comes? If people at Adobe “go this extra mile”, isn’t it so much the worse that some people out there still think that Adobe just doesn’t get it right (enough ๐Ÿ˜‰ on the Mac? These people can’t just all be notorious grouchers, right? May sound like a platitude, but there might be a grain of truth to it (as well as a bunch of grouchers) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. The people who claim that Adobe doesn’t care about the Mac are probably FrameMaker usersโ€ฆ
    [Some are, but if 1 in 10 Mac users who bring up FrameMaker had actually used or bought FrameMaker, FM would still be developed as a Mac app. It doesn’t matter what Adobe does: some percentage of people will just jump to the next whipping boy-issue. Most Mac partisans wouldn’t know FrameMaker from PageMaker. They just know it represents some indignity, some slight visited on their store-bought identities.
    And by the way, I was a student volunteer for Apple in college, going around to stores to promote the Mac back in 1996. In those days the company was losing $750 million in a single quarter & most of the world wished the Mac would just die. I’m actually somewhat embarrassed of how hard I worked, for free, on behalf of some distant corporation. I should’ve been out canvassing for Amnesty International or something, but I really and truly believed in the importance of the Mac. I still do.
    And now, years later, when it’s easy as pie to be an Apple supporter, I have to catch uninformed bullshit (see post below) from Johnny-come-lately fanboys & bigots. It’s real easy to throw stones from your parents’ basements. It’s a lot harder to come make a real, positive difference. (I moved a lot of mountains to bring an Intel-native Photoshop to hundreds of thousands of Mac users six months earlier than was otherwise going to happen. What did these little pikers ever do?)
    That’s why I periodically put my thumb in the eye of the reactionary dumbasses. Remaining silent would be much easier, but it would mean ceding the right to speak to the loudest, least informed voices. –J.]
    I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but quite frankly, I have never had any major problems with accidential trackpad gestures in Photoshop. But I’ve always found the two finger scrolling in InDesign way too sensitive to be really useful.
    As for Photoshop, I’d have preferred keyboard modifier to snap canvas rotation to 5 or 10 degree angles, or a hotkey like double-pressing r to reset the canvas rotation to 0 degrees so that disabling the trackpad would no longer be necessary even if it occasionally caused unwanted rotation.
    [Holding the Shift key while dragging with the rotation tool causes it to snap in 15-degree increments, and hitting Esc resets canvas rotation. Even with those options in place, it should be possible to disable rotation-via-trackpad by using Photoshop prefs, or ideally to control the degree of sensitivity. (Part of the problem is that the amount we chose worked fine on the older MBPs but is generally too low on models with the huge trackpad, where the base of your hand is more liable to invoke the command. –J.]
    But I guess those things are probably so complicated to implement that they are better suited for a major release and exceed the budget for minor fixes like this oneโ€ฆ
    [FWIW, accounting rules prevent us from adding functionality for free. The same rules apply to Apple and to other companies, which is why you’ve seen things like a $2 charge to enable 802.11n support on certain MacBooks. There are other ways to account for revenue that entail other tradeoffs, but that’s far too long a conversation to get into here. –J.]
    Here is hoping for CS5 ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Uh, John? One word, Premier. The “costs to much to develop for two platforms” excuse is one reason Adobe doesn’t care, in my estimation. But now Adobe makes Premiere for the Intel Mac and that is different? Hardly, as you did develop your other applications for quite a long time for both Mac and Win.
    [I’m not sure what you’re saying. Adobe neglected Premiere for a long time, and Randy Ubillos and his team went off to Macromedia to write Final Cut (which Apple later acquired). Due to the sad state of Premiere, Adobe determined that it had to be scrapped and written again from scratch. The team made the decision to focus on just one platform (Windows) first, then to return it to the Mac, and that’s just what happened. At the same time, Adobe brought a bunch of new software (Soundbooth, Encore DVD, OnLocation) to the Mac. –J.]
    But I’ve gone to Final Cut long since as I invest a lot of time understanding the software I use to make a living. And if it isn’t available on the platform of my choice then you are not going to get me back just because you now think you are loosing money to competition.
    [You’re obviously welcome to buy and use what suits your needs. If the Premiere team wants you business, they need to deliver something that makes the cost of switching from FCP worthwhile. –J.]
    And you are going to support new hardware regardless. So no, I do not think that gives Adobe a pass as it is still a corporation and all the heartlessness it embodies.
    [You’re right that Adobe is fundamentally heartless. So is Apple. So are all corporations.
    A corporation is a mythical entity, a construct that lets large numbers of people (through pension funds, money market funds, etc.) invest money with the expectation of certain returns. These investors hire executives who will run the corporation in a way that maximizes those returns. It’s an amoral enterprise.
    That doesn’t mean the people who work there lack heart. I work at Adobe because it affords me the chance to do work that results in real, positive changes for a lot of people. I get a chance to build tools that facilitate self-expression. It doesn’t mean I like or support everything the company does, just like being an American doesn’t mean liking everything the US government does. I continually evaluate the pros and cons, just as I think most people do with regard to their jobs.
    One other thing, by the way. Can you tell me which company has been shipping tens of thousands of copies of 64-bit-native Mac software for the past year? It’s not Apple.
    I don’t think Lightroom means that Adobe is any more or less “heartless” as a corporation. I just think it’s funny that one never, ever hears Mac partisans talk about Adobe leading the way with Mac 64-bit software. That doesn’t fit with the whole Mac-as-perpetual-victim narrative. Better to keep bringing up Premiere (which as been back on the Mac for 2+ years), or Acrobat 5 having had more features on Windows, or whatever. And this, ultimately, is why I picked a little fight with the footnote on my post. –J.]

  10. So, lemme get this straight.
    Basic support for a standard Mac OS X feature doesn’t work right.
    [Give me a break. Itโ€™s not a standard feature, at all. It’s too bad I can’t share further details on this point. –J.]
    Your “solution” is to disable the feature. Not to fix it.
    And then you have the chutzpah to say you “Care. Deeply.”?
    [People worked nights and weekends to add support for a Mac-only feature that popped out of the woodwork. We wished we’d had more time to add *even better* support, but that wasn’t in the cards. –J.]
    Seriously, this kind of irresponsible, amateur-hour, asinine behavior is why everyone wants Adobe to die in a fire.
    [Actually, its responses like yours that make me sometimes ashamed to be a Mac user. Let no good deed go unpunished…
    You remind me of those debutantes on reality TV who, seeing that they got “only” a Mercedes SLK convertible for their sweet 16, burst into tears and scream “I hate you, I hate you!”–because, of course, everyone knows they *deserve* an SL55. –J.]

  11. When opening PS CS4 after installing update 5.2 into plug-ins folder, I get this message when opening PS….”Raw.8bi is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing again or contact software vendor for support. Did I do something wrong or what should I do?
    [Itโ€™s a Mac-only plug-in, and it affects only users of specific MacBook Pro/Air machines. –J.]

  12. I also am not a Mac user. However, sometimes the smallest of things can be very annoying. Bless all of you at Adobe for taking the time to provide some relief for those that this was driving up the wall.
    Now, if someone would just put Alt-F, S back as save in Dreamweaver. Though I am getting used to Control-S, but you really shouldn’t change things like this.

  13. Thanks for a much-needed fix. This will go a long way toward making Photoshop usable on my MacBook Air.
    Two more things:
    1. The feature is still mildly broken across platforms. Rotating the canvas 360 degrees using Shift-key snapping results in a blurry image with “0” displayed in the degree box. Photoshop has had this sort of rounding bug in many places for a long time.
    [I’ll ask QE to investigate. –J.]
    2. This is a personal observation; a judgment call, if you will, so take it for what it’s worth:
    Due to things like 1. and the fact that the initial problem of unintended rotation (on a computer remarkably popular with Photoshop users) didn’t warrant a launch-day fix, your final note sounds a bit unpleasant, to my ears.
    [The problem didn’t become readily apparent until Apple shipped systems with the new trackpads. On the ones we’d been using (MacBook Airs), people hadn’t complained. To the best of my recollection the new MBPs didn’t start shipping (Nov.) until after CS4 had shipped (Oct.).
    Having said all that, I do wish we could have gotten this update out sooner. It was gated by the larger 11.0.1 update, and that took a while to test. –J.]
    Adobe is still a rather undisciplined OS X citizen, breaking many common OS conventions and behaviors. Photoshop still looks like a blend of today’s apps, Windows 95, and System 7.
    I understand that Photoshop is a big software project, and there are reasonable excuses for much of its wonkiness. But, consider that Microsoft Office, another huge collection of software, has had many of its core modules tweaked in order to be more platform-friendly on the Mac. The difference between Office on Windows and Office on OS X can be pretty dramatic, and most Mac users appreciate the changes.
    [There are always trade-offs. As someone who uses Mac Office every day in a corporate (cross-platform) environment, I hate being tripped up by Mac features that work differently than the Windows version, or that simply don’t exist. –J.]
    I appreciate the plug-in, I really do. But it’s going to be a pretty hard sell, this idea of Adobe “going the extra mile”, when there are entire websites dedicated to documenting the myriad examples of lack of attention to detail, in both looks and functionality, in your software.
    [“Going the extra mile” does not mean anyone here thinks things are perfect. Man, I defer to *no one* in being able to read the riot act about the shortcomings of Photoshop and other Adobe software. But *that’s why I work here*. Working here affords me a chance to change things (it’s the whole light a candle vs. curse the darkness thing). We never get nearly the time or resources we’d like, and huge unfunded mandates that drop in don’t help (to say the least), but we keep pushing anyway.
    I’m just trying to say that the glass is half full, and that a lot of people do care deeply. –J.]

  14. Excuse me for not having seen whether someone already said this but…
    John, please call or write Scott Kelby about this!
    [Oh, I have, and heโ€™s very excited. ๐Ÿ™‚ Expect to see a blog post from him soon. –J.]

  15. John, since you wanted to pick a fight I responded with a counter argument. Adobe is a corporation and as such is heartless by nature. And I’m sure there are great fellow employees there or there would be no corporation. Since I’m just a lowly worker what I think really doesn’t mean much to Adobe, Inc. But I do use and influence the purchase of Adobe products. But to say that just because you now support some hardware feature does not now mean Adobe has a heart. It was a business decision, to be sure, and one not demonstrating the beneficence of the corporation. Tell the absent names on the PS CS4 update start-up screen that their former employer is not heartless. And one day your name will be gone too, and I hope that day will be much better than this last lot’s.

  16. I don’t own a MacBook Pro, but I am an Apple stockholder and fanboy:) but I want everyone to know how passionate John is about fixing things, and how much time he has taken to explain himself and let his non-Adobe, true personality come through in his careful commenting above. Thanks for the transparency, John. I really appreciate your blog, your honesty and your passion to get it right even though it might take several tries to bust the door down. Bouncing off the wood the first few times hurts, but you keep getting back up and running at it again. Thanks to you and your team for an amazing product!
    [Thanks, Christopher. That really means a great deal to me. And by the way, I want to reiterate that it’s *by no means* just me pushing for the changes you want. There’s a whole team gutting it out every day, doing a lot of thankless invisible work (most especially this cycle). I’m just the guy who happens to do a lot of talking. –J.]

  17. When people bag on Adobe, it’s a more general stab at Adobe as a corporation which makes broad assumptions about markets and acts rationally rather than emotionally about which platforms to support. Mac users want blind, even irrational dedication from developers, not dollars and cents rationality. In other words, Adobe has to act as dedicated and loyal as Apple itself โ€” to the point of irresponsibility โ€” or they’re just not perceived as dedicated to the platform. It’s not a stab at the individuals doing the actual hard work. We all know the worst, most clueless, and least effective decisions always come from high up the food chain from people who have no idea what’s actually going on aside from what’s in the last column of their Excel spreadsheet.
    FrameMaker is an amusing thing to harp on since it was never particularly Mac like or user friendly anyway. I have used both the Mac versions and the NeXT version (which means there’s already some cocoa-ish FrameMaker code lying around somewhere). Ironically, Apple, to the best of my knowledge, always has and still does use FrameMaker for its user guides, which must mean that they run it on very old Macs, or in Classic. And for good reason too. There are things, such as complex numbering, that can’t be done in anything other than FrameMaker. I don’t think even InDesign approaches FrameMaker’s flexibility when it comes to building long documents and doing complex numbering, at least not without an expensive plug-in of some sort.
    Now for Photoshop. I don’t doubt the team is dedicated to making a good Mac app. It’s very stable and for the most part very Mac-like, neither of which can be said of, say, modo. And while I don’t want to comment on the auto-build panels until I actually see them in action, part of me โ€” a big part, actually โ€” wishes the effort that’s going into that feature would be spent instead on making the app fully support 128-bit color and getting the clipboard to be something other than useless when it comes to pasting outside of Photoshop itself (I suspect the cocoa port will solve this, but I dunno).
    Anyway, I love to criticize Adobe and to ridicule the failings I notice in the various Adobe apps, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I don’t have respect for the people working hard every day to write it all. Quite the opposite.

  18. This blog and John’s patience and understanding go a long way to mitigating the ‘heartless’ beast that any large corporation is. You put a very human face on a very big business and your attempts to always do a good a job as possible is much appreciated by many, as is the time you take to explain why things do or don’t happen. It’s ironic you as an Adobe representative take the most heat from Apple Fanbois, when it’s Apple that is the real psychopathic coorporation.
    To understand the psycho comment, I suggest you read the book ‘The Corporation’ which posits that if a corparation wasa human it’s behviou would be regarded aas psycopathic in nature. An interesting read.

  19. This is great… I ordered a MacBook Pro on Tuesday with CS4, timing couldn’t be better.
    [I myself ordered a new 17″ right when they were announced, but there’s still no ETA on when it might actually arrive. Macworld said last week that units are shipping, but CDW has no idea what’s up. Ah well, it builds the anticipation. ๐Ÿ˜‰ –J.]

  20. The Mac faithful are still smarting from the past experiences where Adobe prioritized its Flash plugin for Windows at the expense of the Mac version, which fell way behind in features and performance.
    [For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the Flash Player team has actually put *more* effort into the Mac version of the Player, despite Macs representing a tenth of the market share of Windows.
    Mac fans have automatically concluded that any Flash-on-Mac slowness must be the result of ineptitude, sloth, or hostility on the part of the Flash team (i.e. there *can’t* be any shortcomings in the Mac OS itself). Historically, at least, the story has been more complicated than that. I don’t know where things now stand, except that the Flash team is eager to make FP on Mac as fast as possible. –J.]
    Still, I think it’s great to hear that Adobe is making efforts to work with Apple’s new hardware. It’s ok we still love Adobe and its products (most of em anyway).

  21. John, is there any way to get you to “fix” the Adjustment Layer dialogs, too? I would pay 40 bucks for such an update.
    ps: I’m going to buy the new MacBook Pro and wouldn’t have if there was no way to fix that stupid rotation. Thanks for the extra work! Some companies are evil and some actually improve life for many, often it’s a mix. But in each case it’s individuals who make the choices, not a faceless system.

  22. John-
    I really don’t think Apple’s market share should enter into the conversation when it comes to the quality of Adobe’s products. I realize the design community is small (comparitively speaking to the gigantic Windows user base) but it is US who flocked to Adobe in droves to use your products on our silly Macintoshes. Your comments really smack of arrogance which is why I might remind you, many of us abandoned Quark because of similar remarks made by their CEO.
    [Oh, come on. Arrogance? I said that the Flash Player team spends more time on the Mac version of the software than on Windows, despite market share. What shocking hubris!
    Let me ask you something. Let’s say the Mac had 90+% market share, and that Windows users represented ~10% of viewers. Let’s say you found out that despite these numbers, Adobe was putting more effort into the Windows version than the Mac. How would you feel? I bet you’d be hopping up and down about the injustice.
    Market share does matter. Do you think the Flash Player team should devote an equal amount of time to each flavor of Linux out there as it does to the Mac version of the player? Somehow I’m guessing no. –J.]
    In that situation, Quark’s crappy product was the first problem and his comments about the Mac the final straw. Not that it would matter to Adobe since we account for only 1/10 of your business.
    [Hang on: no one talked about the Mac representing 1/10th of Adobe’s business. Last time I checked, Creative Suite sales were roughly 50/50 Mac/Win. I was talking about Flash Player usage, which tracks closely to overall installed base. It’s there that the Mac remains a minority. –J.]
    No big deal. I see that I hit a nerve and I am sorry about that. Sincerely, Tom
    [You know what hits a nerve? My fellow Mac users constantly acting like victims. Undifferentiated bleating makes it harder for me to fight for Mac-specific goodness. I run into people here who say, “Oh, those zealots are going to bitch no matter what, so just ignore ’em.” –J.]

  23. No John-
    It seems like you started the entire thread with a bad attitude. Which is why a few of us tried to take you on. Honestly, I love your blog and despite our differences I’ll continue to read it. What bummed me out was your quickness to throw the market share thingy in our (my) face which is typically what windows folks do when they can’t win the argument otherwise. Considering your point about market share and linux I guess it makes sense. Touchรฉ. But, being a web developer, if I operated on that premise I wouldn’t even test on the safari browser. But then again, I don’t need to 99% of the time my designs look great on the Mac and I have to adjust for IE. Which brings me back to the whole reason for using Flash in the first place. It looks the SAME on both platforms, a very good reason for developing in Flash from the get go. Yes I realize that’s a whole ‘nuther can o’ worms but I’m a designer first and I can’t stand the way the PC renders type. Have they ever heard of anti-aliasing?
    OK I’m now on a tangent.
    Thanks for the spirited discussion.

  24. Wow that’s pretty awesome โ€”ย you put in the effort to develop a plugin, it didn’t work, so you developed a plugin to turn it off!
    [The feature worked just fine with the laptops for which it was designed. The newer MBPs have a different trackpad design that makes it a little too easy to activate rotation/zooming inadvertently. In any case, I’m not sure how your comment is helpful. –J.]
    Do you think you could develop a plugin to fix text input in Fireworks so that it works?
    [The FW team is in fact working on an update. –J.]
    I paid for this software, and it hurts when it doesn’t work!

  25. Will this work for InDesign, too? Accidental rotation is SO annoying there!
    [I’m afraid there are no plans to offer a similar plug-in for ID CS4. –J.]

  26. The complainant above misses the point: disabling that nasty rotation feature does fix the problem. The complaint was dim as well as rude.
    However, after downloading I couldn’t drag the plug-in into the folder from the downloads folder or open it. Does anyone know what I might be doing wrong?

  27. I heart the fix in photoshop. Is there any hope of getting the same type of support to fix the same issue in Indesign 6.0? it’s driving me a bit mad, and I’ve gotta find a way to fix it… please!

  28. Go the extra mile????
    You mean like when you should have added a disabled option in the preferences?!
    like any UI team with common sense would have?
    The fact that you NEEDED to release a plugin after that fact speaks to the piss poor development environment over there, and yes I personally seen it. Too many managers and not enough engineers.

  29. I’m editing a calendar in InDesign, and keep accidentally rotating tons of elements. It’s quite sensitive. Can you please address this in CS5? As it is, I can’t do much work unless I plug in an external mouse, and it’s giving me a very negative experience as a user. I’m sure there is one person out there who loves rotating elements with their trackpad, but at this point, I would like to punch them in the face.

  30. Is there a similar plug in for Photoshop Elements?
    The accidental rotation is driving me crazy.

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