Fix behavior of numerical fields
There are standards used throughout computing that inform how field values work and Illustrator screws this up terribly.
When a field is not in focus, clicking on the field or the field value brings the field and value into focus. This automatically should select the entire user-editable contents of the field value. This allows you to click and type a new value to change the value.
Illustrator instead changes the cursor to an insertion point when hovering over a field value. Clicking in the field value, places the insertion point at the location the pointer was at. If you then type the value you want, you will NEVER get the result that you want. This is not okay.
Illustrator requires you to click in a field (places the insertion point in the middle of the field value), then click again at the beginning of the field value (which is super problematic when the field value contents are bigger than the field input space) and drag to the end of the field value BEFORE you can enter your new value. Most often, you have to select part of the field value, delete it and then press the del or delete key until you get the full contents gone so you can enter your new value.
And what is more infuriating is when you enter a value with units, for example, without looking you press tab to advance to the next field and get a modal dialog box stopping you from doing anything else just to tell you that 300em4px is not a valid value. This is infuriating.
And this is problematic through Illustrator's numerical field value selection. If you have just entered one value and press tab, the next field value should be selected by default. Here, Illustrator handles the focusing of the field with autoselecting the field value correctly. But that's problematic if you just went through the reprogramming to convince yourself that because of Illustrator's failure to understand the focus event, you need to manually select the field contents, now you are doing extra steps you don't need to do. Unbelievable that an app could ***** it up no matter how it is used.
Current Problem: Illustrator places the insertion point on a newly focused field instead of selecting the entire contents, only when selecting from the mouse or touch interface. It should, instead, follow the same procedure that it uses to focus a field when tabbing from one field to another: Select the entire contents of the field value when focusing.
That's a very interesting topic, Jason.
I just checked several apps to see how they behave, just to be exactly sure (in no particular order).
A click at a value INSERTS the cursor:
— Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign... all Adobe desktop apps in general
— Google Slides-Docs-Sheets though, in most fields
— Corel Draw
— Microsoft Office
— 3ds Max
A click at a value SELECTS the value:
— XD, Figma, Lunacy... all web apps in general
— Google Docs, only in several places
— Affinity Designer
VectorStyler does both, selects and inserts, and it feels broken to me.
Adobe apps select a value if you click a field’s caption, and once you are accustomed to it — it allows you to choose, without double-clicking a field to toggle a mode. Unfortunately, some captions are pretty small to aim at, especially with a large monitor.
So — there is no ONE uniform standart. There are standartS.
Perhaps there should be an option, perhaps web and new apps should use a select mode. Anyway, having a healthy discussion is welcome.
Jason Burnett commented
I simply drew a shape, clicked the field to enter a value and it placed my insertion point in the middle of the current value. So when I tried to make it 50px wide then pressed tab, the shape did not change.
And to be clear, if I am making a big change, it's no big deal, I can see that the change didn't get accepted and no error was announced (which is new). But if I am adjusting by the pixsel and I type a value, there's no real way to know that my 1px adjustment didn't get accepted without an error.
Regardless, the first click on any field or field value should not place the insertion point where clicked. THE ONLY time the insertion point should be inserted where you click is if the field is already selected. The first click is always (select all) within the field value. The second click is insert my insertion point here.
ritika patel(Illustrator team) commented
Thanks for your inputs. I have tried doing all the scenarios stated by you. You have mentioned that it use to work fine before. Can you please let me know on which build was it working fine. I have tried it on CS 6 as well as the latest 23.0.3 but both works in the same manner.
This is very annoying. Also, it wasn't like this before.
Jason Burnett commented
There are certain default behaviors that one becomes used to when using a computer and Adobe appears to have completely disregarded this with respect to manually entering values! Please fix this serious bug.
When clicking on any modifiable value field, a single click should select the entire contents of the field by default. If I click on the width field in the Illustrator top bar, I should be able to simply type a width and hit tab or enter to apply. THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS.
If I see that my width is only off by a small amount that is easily stepped, I should be able to use the up and down arrows (either in the field or on the keyboard) to increment or decrement my value by the next closest whole number in either direction. THIS WORKS CORRECTLY, but only by automatically selecting the entire value THE WAY IT SHOULD WHENEVER YOU CLICK A FIELD VALUE.
If I click a field value and realize that I want to just change the last two numbers or perhaps the current units, I SHOULD CLICK THE FIELD A SECOND TIME WHERE I WANT TO INSERT MY CURSOR AND THE CURSOR SHOULD GO THERE, DESELECTING THE VALUE. Clicking and Dragging across a value should operate in this same way, CLICKHOLD where you want to insert the cursor and drag to SELECT THE VALUE TO CHANGE. This makes sense because the CLICK-HOLD action is really CLICK CLICK-DRAG.
Currently, I click a field value and think that I can quickly change the value to 50px, so I type 50px and press ENTER (only to get an error that 1050px pt is not a valid value--a total bust to my workflow. So I click the field again and have to use CTRL-A to select the entire contents of the field in order to type the new value. THIS SHOULD BE BY DEFAULT.
CLICKING A FIELD, like tabbing into the field, SELECTS THE ENTIRE CONTENTS. CLICKING A SECOND TIME PLACES THE CURSOR AND DESELECTS CONTENT. CLICK AND HOLD OR CLICK+DRAG SHOULD OPERATE LIKE DOUBLECLICK
This is common sense and Adobe is the only software package on the market that handles this in this peculiar way. Please fix it.
P.S. And here's the deal: when I enter a value and press tab, if I haven't explicitly declared units, use the previously assigned units. Don't complain that I didn't have the right units. I can't tell you how many times I have entered 50% in the width field just to be told that 2150%80px is not a valid entry.
P.P.S. It is terribly inappropriate and completely unhelpful to click an item and be told that it is 100% wide....That makes no sense. Percentages are always relative in context. If you say it's 100% wide, you have to say relative to what? It's original size? the window size? It's parent size? Width and heights should not be presented in % by default. Always use the current units (px, cm, mm, etc). and if you wan to add a "transformed" width or height (to the TRANSFORM PANEL), you need a Context field that indicates what the percentage is applied to. This would be great if you wanted to make a shape with 4 identical columns...you would draw the parent shape, then enter isolation mode to add 4 columns, each of which was 25% wide 100% tall given the context of their PARENT. THen later, when the item is broken apart, the height and width are only available in the current preferred units, not %.