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How to move nodes with arrow keys?

0 votes
I use yEd since this morning and after some initial difficulties I like it more and more. However, there are some things that would make the usage of yEd much more convenient. Maybe these things/features are already implemented and I just cannot find them. Maybe not. One of theses things is moving nodes with arrow keys of my keyboard. Is it possible? How?
asked Jan 23, 2017 in Help by zweiund40 (130 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Unfortunately, this currently not possible because arrow keys are already used to move selection state from one node to another.
answered Jan 23, 2017 by thomas.behr [yWorks] (126,270 points)
Thank you for your answer, but unfortunately it is not exactly what I hoped to hear. I mean I already know the default behavior of the arrow keys and the behavior of the key combination Alt+Arrow as well. But nevertheless, you could simple implement another keystroke combination for the asked bevavior. Let's say Ctrl+Arrow-Key or any other sensible combination. It doesn't even need to be a combi with arrows, but it really would be appropriate. Is that possible? Or is there any other possibility to get that behavior with yEd?
You know you can place selected nodes at exact positions by entering x and y coordinates in the properties view in yEd's lower right corner, right? Additionally, yEd provides alignment tools ("Edit" -> "Align Nodes") as well as snap lines (fifth toolbar button from the right). All of these are features for placing nodes at sensible locations. Moreover, all of these are (in my opinion) far superior to moving nodes using the keyboard because arrow keys (or any other keyboard key) will always move a node for the same fixed amount of space. As a consequence, you will almost always have to use one of the already available placement methods for the final placement of your nodes. In short, you do not gain much if anything by being able to move nodes with the keyboard.
Sorry, I don't agree. On the one hand, they might be more precisely in positioning nodes. But on the other hand, they are cumbersome in their usage.
You need a lot of clicking to use the alignment tools (Edit -> Align Nodes -> Choose one) and not all of their keybindings are usable, for Strg + Alt + Left or Right are already in usage of the gnome desktop environment and their derivates. The other possibilty you suggested is keying in the precise coordinates in the properties view. This is not practical too. Just imagine you have a big drawing with lets say 100 nodes and you want to replace many of the a bit. At some point of time this will become unhandy.
I'm pretty sure you heard it many times before and I'm afraid you got really tired of it. But nevertheless it is true. yEd is in competition with MS Visio and Visio is in the matter of user experience better. You know, in the past I used Visio a lot but unfortunately the company has limited  buying Visio licenses, so many of us are now looking for a new tool as a substitution. Other small things would also be good, for they would make yEd more intuitive in usage. For example scrolling instead of zooming with the mouse wheel. Or scrolling right or left, up or down the drawing when placing the mouse on the horizontal or vertical scroll bar and scrolling the wheel. It would make the usability of the yEd much better.

Re:

You need a lot of clicking to use the alignment tools.

That is not correct.
If you use the mouse, you need exactly two clicks. One click on the "Edit" menu, one click on the actual alignment menu entry. The "Align Nodes" sub-menu opens when the mouse cursor is moved on the corresponding menu entry. Two clicks is not "a lot of clicking".
Aside from that, you do not need to use the mouse at all. ALT+E will open the "Edit" menu as well, arrow down and arrow right may be used to navigate to the desired alignment menu entry, and RETURN triggers the corresponding alignment action.

 

Re:

The other possibilty you suggested is keying in the precise coordinates in the properties view. This is not practical too. Just imagine you have a big drawing with lets say 100 nodes and you want to replace many of the a bit. At some point of time this will become unhandy.

Use "Tools" -> "Geometric Transformations" with "Operation" set to "Translate" and "Act On Selection Only" enabled if you need to move lots of nodes at once.

 

Re:

For example scrolling instead of zooming with the mouse wheel. Or scrolling right or left, up or down the drawing when placing the mouse on the horizontal or vertical scroll bar and scrolling the wheel.

"File" -> "Preferences", tab "General", option "Mouse Wheel Behavior"

I agree that there needs to be a keystroke to move nodes around.  It is very inconvenient not to have them.
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