cursor movement / usability annoyances
<Mark.Bravington <at> csiro.au>
2015-02-24 22:33:29 GMT
I am a LyX lover. However ... :)
... inside equations and tables, Lyx's cursor movement "rules" drive me nuts! I dislike mousing, and
prefer cursor-movement keys as more predictable and requiring less conscious control. But the
key-based motion actually feels quite unpredictable and--- crucially--- it's non-reversible. Am I the
Some examples, not necessarily exhaustive:
- If I'm inside a multi-line equation at the far RHS of a line, and press Right-Arrow by mistake, then Lyx
moves me outside the equation, to the end. Then if press Left-Arrow hoping to "undo" the Right-Arrow, Lyx
moves me inside the equation, but to the very end of the final line. It's hard to find my way back to where I
was. Not impossible, obviously, but one should not have to think deeply about cursor movement...
- Pasting into a multi-line equation moves me outside the equation afterwards. Finding my back is again
hard (and NB this isn't even the result of "user error"). But from an inline equation, this doesn't happen.
- "Word-level" movement, which is useful or tempting because it can speed up movements within long lines of
equations or tables, also trips me often; for example, it can suddenly move me _outside_ the equation even
from the middle of a line.
- Up-down movements also fail to "commute", try moving around formulae with subscripts and fractions.
Usually they don't throw me out of the equation altogether--- except that moving up from a superscript
inside an _inline_ equation moves me to the line of text above, and then moving down won't put me back into
the equation. Sigh...
- When selecting/highlighting text within an equation/cell/table, with SHIFT pressed: go one character
outside the cell, and the whole cell is instantly selected (thus suddenly moving the _starting_ point of
the selection _backwards_), and there is no way to reverse the step. Since "characters" aren't all the
same size and it's sometimes hard to locate the invisible boundary of an equation/cell/table, this is a
pretty easy mistake to make. This is one case where I do sometimes do use the mouse (with SHIFT pressed), and
then it's even worse because the mouse sensitivity is so high. Try selecting the rest of a long piece of text
from the current cursor position to the end of the cell _without_ selecting the entire cell. I bet it'll
take you 2 or 3 attempts.
No doubt there's some internal logic to all this, but to me (despite several years of Lyx use) it still feels
awkward and unpredictable. I often don't even know why I've suddenly been dumped outside the
equation/table/cell, because I don't pay attention to individual keystrokes--- they're "automatic"
(albeit sometimes wrong). And finding my way to a particular spot inside an equation seems to require
random experimentation--- like a badly-designed maze game. Though in all other ways I prefer Lyx to
Scientific Word, IIRC Scientific Word had a much better "feel" in this respect.
Much the worst thing is the lack of reversibility--- very frustrating. This might be fixable by keeping
track of the last few movements. There'd be no need to keep many since this is only for "undo-move"
purposes; 3 or 4 would be fine, and the "trail" could be wiped clean by any real editing change.
Reversibility aside, I'm not sure whether there's a "solution" to the seeming unpredictability of
movement--- though it would be great if there was. However, I would certainly find it useful to have an
option *not* to move outside the equation (table, box,...) unless Lyx is specifically told to. (That
specific idea may not make any sense; I'm just trying to start a discussion.)
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