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perceived lack of keyboard shortcuts on front end (was: LaTex on a Mac)

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  • Subject: [mg18736] perceived lack of keyboard shortcuts on front end (was: LaTex on a Mac)
  • From: "P.J. Hinton" <paulh at>
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 02:36:50 -0400
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On Thu, 15 Jul 1999, it was written:

In article <7mjse0$fck at>, Jens-Peer Kuska
<kuska at> writes:

> ok here are some examples:
> I type some text as a section header, in TeX I can simply say
> \section{some text}
> I don't have to touch the mouse. I Mathematica I have typical to type
> the text,
> select the cell with the mouse and can use Alt-4.

If you press the keyboard shortcut for Format -> Style -> Section as you
describe _before_ you begin typing the text for the cell, the new cell
should use that style from the outset.  On the other hand, if you want to
change the cell style after the cell has been created, you can use the
keyboard equivalent of Edit -> Expression Input -> Extend Selection, which
is Ctrl-. on every platform.  Within a few keypresses, you will have the
cell's bracket selected.  If that is too many keystrokes, then you can
define a keystroke of your own in that performs
SelectionMove[InputNotebook[], All, Cell].

> Next example: I will type a file name. Typical I use different font
> shapes to decide between filenames, Mathematica Indentifers ... In TeX
> I have a nice macro say \FileReference{}. Now I can simply type
> \FileReference{someinput.m} In Mathematica I have to make a new cell
> style "FileReference" and than I create a palette that makes from a
> selected text a new StyleBox[_,"FileReference"]. Even with the best
> collection of keyboard short cuts I can't avoid to use a mouse.

You can use the Extend Selection action that I described above in
conjunction with the keyboard equivalent of Format -> Style -> Other,
which brings up a cell style input dialog.  You _may_ need to use the
mouse to give the window focus under some windowing environments.  
Alternatively, you can shuffle the order of cell styles in your style
sheet so that your most frequently used styles grab the keyboard shortcuts
on the Style menu.

> The general advice while preparing a document is
> a) think about all the typographic elements you whant to use 
> b) make macros for *every*, absolute every typographic element
> c) use the macros stricly in the text to keep the logical markup
>    independent of the layout
> The Frontend make it extrem complicated to make a well structured
> document. Finaly I would end up with a over crowded screen for my
> 30 markup macros and I would be still unable to use more than one
> parameter for a StyleBox[].

The rest of the cases regarding TeX macros bring up an important point.
The front end's input replacement mechanism replacement at the time of
entry, whereas the expansion of macros in TeX occurs during processing
time.  This gives you the ability to change (through the .sty file) what
the expansion will be.  It would be nice if the front end had some sort of
expansion delayed mechanism.  That would take us one step closer to the
abstraction capabilities that you find so powerful in TeX.

Thank you for your input.

P.J. Hinton
Mathematica Programming Group           paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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