#57 new

weak request for navigation by arrows.

Reported by macmath | February 18th, 2011 @ 09:53 PM

I say 'weak request' because I think it is one of those items that one asks for when they have everything else they could want.

In Vienna, one can navigate between feeds, from a feed into the articles in that feed, between the articles in that feed, and back out into the feeds themselves, all by using the arrow keys. No mouse is needed at all. This does not work in Mail.app at all; one can't move between mailboxes but just between emails in that mailbox. In Mailmate, one can move between mailboxes, or between identities with the arrow keys; once on an email in a mailbox, one can move between emails in that mailbox with the arrow keys. However, one can't move out of the individual email (with the left arrow key) to select the mailbox and then move vertically through the mailboxes and then (using the right arrow key) move back into the emails to move through those vertically.

This would be nice (if the behavior of the arrow keys were as it is in Vienna), but it is not something I would push for.

Thank you.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Thomas Hanke

    Thomas Hanke February 20th, 2011 @ 12:15 AM

    I understand why you want that feature.

    IMHO, MailMate already offers that behavior, just with Shift-Tab / Tab instead of Left / Right.
    That is, if I remember the behavior of Vienna or NetNewsWire correctly, similar to folder navigation in Launchbar and Quicksilver.

    It doesn't work in a short cycle with only Tabbing, because the menu bar and the message are included in the cycle.

    And don't miss out 'Go to Mailbox' with launcher-like shortcut learning.


  • macmath

    macmath February 20th, 2011 @ 04:56 AM

    That does work nicely for navigation within a new message window.

    I am speaking navigating within the message viewer window (in three pane view) from the list of mailboxes on the left-most pane over to the messages in the individual mailboxes by using the right arrow key. Now I can move vertically through the mailboxes with the arrow keys, but can't move into the mailbox to read the messages of any of the mailboxes without using the mouse. I'd like to be able to move vertically among the mailboxes with the up/down arrow keys, then use the right arrow key to move into a specific mailbox, then move vertically through the messages (reading them) with the up/down arrow keys, and then use the left arrow key to move back out into the leftmost pane, and then vertically to another mailbox.

    Again, this is by no means necessary, just convenient mouse-free viewing.

  • macmath

    macmath February 20th, 2011 @ 03:20 PM

    Thank you Thomas Hanke.

    I rescind the request, because I was able to get the requested behavior by using Shift-Tab (twice-in-a-row, sometimes).

    Suppose I have two mailboxes named "Department" and "Students".

    If am in "Department", reading its recent messages and I want to go to Students, I can strike Shift-Tab and the mailbox named "Department" will become full blue again (instead of muted-blue) and then I can move vertically between the mailboxes to the mailbox "Student". Now if I strike Shift-Tab twice, the focus will move from the mailbox name to the interior of the mailbox, and then I can use the arrow keys to navigate between the messages to read them. To get out of that mailbox and to another, I strike Shift-Tab once more and the mailbox name becomes blue again (and the last-read message is now highlighted in muted-blue).

    My error was not striking Shift-Tab twice to move from a blue-highlighted mailbox name to the interior of the mailbox.

    If no email message is yet highlighted in the new mailbox, there will be no visual cue to indicate any change has occurred between the first Shift-Tab and the second Shift-Tab, except the arrow keys will have no function after just one Shift-Tab and they will navigate between the email messages with the second Shift-Tab. If an email message in that mailbox has been previously visited since the last time you opened MailMate, then the first Shift-Tab will make the highlighting of the mailbox name muted-blue but the highlighting on the email message will remain muted-blue; the second Shift-Tab will change the highlighting of the email message to full blue. A third striking of Shift-Tab will cause the highlighting of the message to turn grey or muted-blue and the highlighting on the mailbox to return to full blue. Whichever one is highlighted can be moved through vertically with the arrow keys. This shows, probably, that my organizational structure is too complicated, but it'll take me some time to go from what worked for me in Mail.app to what is most efficient for MailMate.

    One can also use Command-T to bring up the search window and then type a few letters to locate the mailbox...in this case if a message was highlighted in the last mailbox, the interior of them mailbox will still be selected and the arrow keys can be used immediately to navigate between the mailboxes inside. For the time being, I prefer the arrow keys.

    Thank you all.

  • benny

    benny February 20th, 2011 @ 03:33 PM

    Sorry for not reacting to this ticket earlier.

    It should be possible to move from mailbox to messages outline by
    pressing ⇥ once. But as far as I recall that does not work on Leopard
    which may explain some of your problems. Extremely few of my users are
    actually on Leopard, so it is not likely that I'll take time to look at
    that (I have Leopard on a laptop myself).

    With respect to no visual feedback when tabbing and no message is
    selected I'm not sure what to do. Apple Mail seems to have the same

    With respect to using left/right arrows as an alternative to tabbing I
    like that it is intuitive. One problem is that left/right arrows are
    also used to expand/close items, but I guess that could be the primary
    behavior and if expand/close is not possible then it could do the same
    as tabbing. I'll keep this ticket open.

    Digression: Also note that space can be used to scroll and skip to next
    message (⇧space scrolls backwards) – also if the focus is in the
    messages outline (this is also inspired by Apple Mail).

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