Left Hand Hotkeys - Remapping Hotkeys


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Posted as a reply on another topic, but maybe worth it's own thread.


I did a spreadsheet where I mapped all the possible combos for my left hand - including with modifiers, etc, and ranked them by how difficult they were to physically do. For example, 'F' would be probably the easiest key to press.


Then I did another spreadsheet where I listed the tools I use in chief, and how frequently I use them. For example, I use 'open object' quite a bit. I also flip door swings, make dimensions, do point to point move, etc. I listed all these out, and ranked them by how often I use them. Remember to consider 3D views as well, and Layout - because you only get one set of hotkeys - they don't change based on the view.


Then I mapped the two lists together. It took a bit of work. But I almost never put my right hand on the keyboard, and I never have to look at the keyboard, so I'm blazing fast and it feels very natural.


It's a lot of work but was worth it for me.


Image below is from back in my SketchUp days, that's when I first did it. Also, I'm a Dvorak Keyboard guy so AOEUI are actually ASDFG on the left hand home row - but you get the idea.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 11.15.17 PM.png

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4 hours ago, kylejmarsh said:

I did a spreadsheet where I mapped all the possible combos for my left hand




Interesting to see how your system works.

You haven'y really listed all the possible combos though...

I am not trying to change what you have set up as you would be quite used to it now and I would imagine that you have no interest whatsoever in changing.


But...for the user who is just starting out to use shortcut keys (and I would hope every user would use shortcuts) I need to mention alternatives to your system.

I am not sure exactly when you did your shortcuts, but at one stage Chief only used simultaneous keys utilising the modifier keys.

These are really hard to use (read almost impossible) and illogical - some required pressing 3 keys simultaneously!

They then added the ability to use sequential key shortcuts (1-4 keys) - I can't remember when.

It looks like you have restricted yourself to the simultaneous keys using the modifiers and single keys.

The ability to use multiple sequential keys (90% of mine are 2 key sequential keys) using most of the keyboard keys opens up a whole new dimension for shortcuts.

You soon run out of shortcuts if you only use single keys - 2 keys seems to be a good balance between flexibility and number of shortcuts.

You can assign logical shortcuts (easy to remember) and because they are sequential and not simultaneous, they are very easy to physically use - your degree of difficulty when using sequential shortcuts would of course, not apply as simultaneous keys are a lot harder to physically use than sequential keys. 

Some examples of my sequential shortcuts are:

ZI Zoom In

ZO Zoom Out

ZP Zoom Previous (Undo Zoom)

ZB Zoom Window Building Only

ZA Fill Window (Zoom All)

LI Line

LL Leader Line

BR Build Roof

BW Break Wall.........


As a side note, it is also possible to use a combination of sequential AND simultaneous keys in the one shortcut.

Whilst this is possible, I don't see any reason why a user would want or need to use such a system as it only complicates things unnecessarily.

eg, you could create a shortcut using Ctrl+D (simultaneous) and then G (sequential).


PS. I just noticed the other thread, so maybe this post is redundant.

I will leave it here in case it is useful to someone.



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Also, those aren't even for chief I realized - those were my old ones for SketchUp but it just shows how I mapped my most common tools or actions then lined them up to the easiest keystrokes. For chief my tool list would be quite different, but just wanted to illustrate the method.

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