Understanding Multifunction commands

Last update: April 2021

In v.2 and 2.5 of EDAP Tools we've had a few multifunction commands, but they were the exception rather than the norm. Practice has shown that this is a good flexible solution to delivering richer functionality in a smaller footprint.

Since v.3 multifunction commands have become our preferred method of bundling logically related actions.

This article is intended to remove all confusion about what can be done by the end user to customize these commands to better suit their needs and how.

Types of EDAPT commands

There are generally two types:

Type 1
A command which performs different actions depending on user selection.
(Timeline Block To Symbol is such an example – if the timeline selection spans across only one frame, it behaves in one way; if the selection is a block of frames, it does something else.)
In this case the user calls the function with the same shortcut and depending on their selection one or the other block of code is executed.

Type 2
A command which has multiple functions built into it and they can be triggered by calling the command with different shortcuts.
(Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker (SMR) is an example. Shift+`(tilda/~ key) creates Magnet Targets and Alt+`(tilda/~ key) creates Center Markers.)

Modifier keys

Type 1 commands can be run from the Commands menu and don't need keyboard input to access their full range of functionality.

Type 2 commands, however, would only perform the default action if called by clicking on their menu entry in the Commands menu. All other functions need additional keyboard input, i.e. a modifier key to be pressed during command execution.

If we use Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker (SMR) again as an example, selecting the command from the menu will result in the creation of a Magnet Target, but to be able to create a Center Marker we need to hold down Alt. This can be done before clicking on the menu item (i.e. holding down Alt at the same time as you choose the command from the menu) or ideally via an assigned shortcut.

Type 2 commands listen for a modifier key.
Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker (SMR) listens for [ Alt+AssignedKey ] to differentiate between the two modes.

Customizing your shortcuts

If for some reason you are not happy or comfortable using the EDAPT Keyboard Shortcuts, you can assign your own, keeping in mind this simple rule:
You can use any key as long as the modifiers stay the same.

For example:
Create Magnet Target can work with AnyKey or combination – for example [ Shift+9 ]
Create Center Marker can work with [ Alt+AnyKey ] – for example [ Alt+B ]
Both of these shortcuts have to be assigned to the same command, i.e. Create Magnet Target Or Center Marker (SMR) should be associated with two separate shortcut combinations.

In Animate you can do this via the program's dialog. (See below…)
In Flash 8‑CS this can only be done by editing the shortcuts file in a text editor as described in this article.

Some of the commands combine Type 1 and Type 2 to achieve even more complex and flexible interaction.
Smart Transform (SMR) is one such example. There are 3 different shortcuts assigned to the command, but depending on user selection each of these trigger slightly different functionality as described here.

Assigning multiple shortcuts per command in Animate

It may not be instantly obvious, but you can assign multiple shortcuts to any menu entry in Animate.
For example, you can assign both [ D ] and [ I ] to call the Eyedropper tool, or [ Ctrl+- ] and [ Ctrl+A ] to zoom out.

It is very important to understand that multifunction commands need to have multiple shortcuts assigned to each command – one for each of the multiple modes and functions.

If we take Create And Manage IK Objects as an example and look at its entry, we will see that there are 5 shortcuts assigned to this one command.

If you would like to change these so that they are not all F1-based, you will have to edit each one of these 5 entries.
You can change F1 to whatever you like, but the modifiers will have to stay as they are and the command will still need to have 5 shortcuts assigned to it.

[ Ctrl+Shift+F1 ] can become [ Ctrl+Shift+H ] or [ Ctrl+Shift+8 ], but to create an FK Extender we need the [ Ctrl+Shift+AnyKey ] assigned to this command.

[ Shift+F1 ] can become [ Shift+F6 ] or [ Shift+\ ] or [ Shift+R ], but to create a SMR IK Effector you will need to have a [ Shift+AnyKey ] assigned to this command.

If you start with a blank shortcut set instead of editing the EDAPT Shortcuts, it is very easy to assign multiple entries per command. Just select the desired command and press the Add button.
Go to each command entry and check what modifier keys it needs. Then create your own shortcuts.

More information regarding Flash / Animate shortcuts can be found across various articles on this site.

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