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Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

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  • Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2


    I'm attempting to learn the finer points of using Adobe Illustrator CS2. I see that it is imperative that one has to master using the modifier keys together with the mouse or tablet pen in order to be productive to today's competitive workplace.

    I have a handicap, however. I had a medical problem some years back that cost me the use of fine motor control in my right hand. I can get it under boxes to lift things, I can grab and carry items, and I can even give you a good handshake when I meet you. But I can can't type or write with it; this post is being typed left hand only, at about 45 wpm.

    My right hand can be used to select single keys. I can also select two keys, such as CTRL and ALT together, but it is difficult, and it is even more difficult to hold them down while dragging or drawing with the left hand.

    Sticky Keys seem like a great idea. I can use the right hand to select one key at a time, or, if I'm in a hurry, use the left hand and then go back to the mouse.

    Unfortunately, Sticky Keys don't seem to work in Illustrator CS2. I'm trying the "Finger Dance" exercises in the Illustrator WOW Book, but Stickey Keys do not function.

    Am I overlooking something? I've checked the Accessibility cPanel many times, and everything seems to be in order. But there's no functionality in Ilst.

    If you also have a handicap similar to mine, I'd really be interested to hear from you. How do you overcome the "Finger Dance"? What resources do you know of for using digital art tools with handicaps like this? I'd be very interested to find out.

    Thanks in advance for any info you can give me.

    Have a nice day!


    Edited by: Peter Clemmens on Nov 6, 2007 12:28 PM

  • #2
    Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

    I'm not handicapped, but I am left handed, which is a very small handicap in the right handed world we live in. I can type almost as fast as you. I've had all my fingers in my right hand fractured when I was a kid, so my finger dexterity is lacking for the most part in that hand, meaning I do the "two finger" typing (one finger on my left hand and one on my right).

    Have you tried setting/editing the keyboard shortcuts to eliminate the double modifier keys that give you the most trouble?
    It's under the Edit menu down at the bottom "keyboard shortcuts"



    • #3
      Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

      Hi Peter

      Good luck with the Illustrator modifier keys. It's a long shot, but you may want to try changing the default workspace under the window menu. I've seen cases where keyboard commands got messed up and switching to a different workspace and back again fixed them.

      A utility that may be worth checking out is ControllerMate. It's made to customize gamepads and joysticks, but is incredibly flexible and can let you remap keys and build various actions. It could be used with your default keyboard or could be used in conjunction with a joystick or any input device to invoke whatever keys you wish. The demo is a free download and it's only $15 shareware.

      Another utility to take a look at would be flygesture. It's invoked by hitting a key and moving the mouse in a set pattern. It may not be as useful for you as ControllerMate, but can invoke commands (basically) one handed. It's freeware.



      • #4
        Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

        Hi, David,

        I hadn't thought of that, will have to try it tomorrow.

        Sounds like this could help out a bit. I'll let you know.

        How are you with the modifier keys? I take it you draw with the left hand? How is it with the right hand and selecting the keys?

        I'm able to use Illustrator and other Adobe software. It has actually helped greatly switching to digital artwork and has been a great encouragement in switching to digital art from conventional. I used to draw with pen and ink, and could do nice calligraphy. I can't draw calligraphy with digital art, but there are infinitely more possibilities using digital tools ... not to mention it opens up the wonderful world of color, something I never got into with pen and ink.



        • #5
          Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

          Hi, Shawn,

          Thanks for the links. I'll be checking them out when I have some more time.

          I don't know where I've been all this time, using Illustrator without really getting into the finer details of the software. There are so many ways to do things that it takes a whole lot of time to learn them, and a whole lot more time practicing and getting used to them.

          I'll let you know how it goes.




          • #6
            Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

            Yes, I use a Wacom Tablet at work and at home, got it set up so it works great. You may want to look into getting one of these if you don't already have one.
            I do pretty good with the right hand, sometimes it don't want to play right.
            I am a pretty fair artist myself, used to do a lot of pen and ink, water-coloring and oil painting, but now with my Mac and the Pen tool, I can really go to town.
            Like you say, a lot more with color, getting better and better with my Photoshop retouching as well. I really prefer Illustrator to most apps.
            My wife does drawings for the kids in the school where she works as a preschool teacher. I take her drawings and scan them in, clean them up and we make t-shirts and coloring sheets for the school.

            good luck with the shortcut keys,


            • #7
              Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

              I've passed this message on to our Accessibility Team at Adobe. They are
              investigating this report and I'll let you know what I hear (positive or

              Leonard Rosenthol
              Adobe Systems


              • #8
                Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

                Good Morning, all,

                I've marked this question as answered. Thanks, DavidMa, for pointing out that the key commands can be changed to meet the individual user's needs.

                For those who don't know (like me), you can access the key commands in the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts... menu (ALT + SHIFT + CTRL + K).

                If you're endeavoring to change the key commands, be ready for a suprise ... there is so much functionality in Illustrator that there are virtually no key combinations left! More than likely you will have to use at least two modifier keys, such as CTRL + SHIFT, with another key of your choice.

                One very nice feature is that the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog automatically alerts you when the key combination you've entered is already in use by another command. There is a very handy "Go To..." button that takes you to the other command to change it to something else, if you choose.

                Another very nice feature is the ability to save your key command changes and name it as something you'll remember. You can also instantly go back to the Illustrator Defaults by selecting that preset from the list at the top of the dialog.

                Here's a note about changing the key commands. If you are a freelancer, working on your own personal machine(s), you can set the commands any way you want. But most people, like me, also work in a prepress dept, or other multi-user facilities. It's best, in this case, to learn the defaults. That way, you can sit down at any job on any machine and be productive.

                For Leonard Rosenthal,

                Thanks for responding to my post and for reporting this to the Accessibility Team.

                Illustrator, and indeed all of the Adobe products, have really come a long way over the years! I remember getting intimidated by Ilst 3.1. I didn't understand postscript artwork at the time, and stuck with Photoshop 2.5, or conventional artwork. But I've really become interested in all that Illustrator can do these days, especially after the onset of my handicap. There are just so many possibilities! It will take time just to explore them all and then choose which area to specialize in.

                I can understand how it would be difficult to make such a software package accessible to those with handicaps. I can see that there's much more to the equation than simply adding sticky key functionality. The idea is really great ... but implementing it is a real challenge.

                I'd be interested in participating in the development of accessibility somehow. I'd be happy to get involved in any discussions on the subject. And I think I would thoroughly enjoy any beta testing in the future, especially if it made my life a lot easier and more productive!

                If you have any thoughts along those lines, I'd be happy to hear it.

                In the meantime, thanks again for reporting this to the Accessibility Team. I look forward to seeing what you guys might come up with.

                Peter Clemmens

                Edited by: Peter Clemmens on Nov 7, 2007 12:26 PM


                • #9
                  Re: Handicapped User and The Modifier Keys, Illustrator CS2

                  I'm glad I was able to help you out.
                  Good luck with all you do.



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