Things used to be better.
For power-users such as myself, the days of sensible and consistent applications seem to be over. It is not the case that things were ever perfect, or all that they could or should be. But at some point between the days of PPP and nights of Wi-Fi, there was a time when each of the commonly known systems seemed tuned to a handful of use cases. I respectfully submit that this was not a function merely of stereotyping and marketring, but that before every system tried to be all things to all people, software and operating systems were tuned to task.
Here’s an example I just came across. Microsoft has a product called Powerpoint, which has killed milliions of people. Not only is is it a hazard to viewers (“death by PowerPoint”), it is a menace to those who use it. As with any weapon, careless handling will just kill the wielder.
PowerPoint, to its great credit, was not developed by Micro-Soft. Instead, the Beast from Redmond purchased the software (or the company which produced the software), and hastily incorporated it into their MS Office suite, an arsenal of toxic tools.
Here’s the problem at hand. I am using a table to construct a RACI chart. powerPoint tables dso not behave like the tables in Excel or Word, which share a lot in the way of keystrokes. They are miserably difficult to maintan. For example, to this day I have not found a way to paste tabular data from Excel into PowerPoint tables. PowerPoint will happily embed an Excel table, but this is somewhat volatile, incurs overhead, and requires that Excel (actually a key .dll from Excel) be fired up to edit the darned thing. So I really want the table to ba a “proper” powerPoint table.
Adding a new row at the bottom is a non-trivial exercise. You can use your mouse to surf through the”ribbon”, a dysfunctional menu system at the top of everything. You can use your mouse to navigate a contextual menu, which is about as difficult, and which gets in your way at the same time you are trying to work on anyting *not* requireiung a context menu. Or you can use a keyboard shortcut. GREAT! This is what I wanted! but there’s a problem here. This is the list of four keyboard shortcuts for adding a single row above or below your current row, or adding a single column left or right of your current column.
- Alt+J, L, V = insert above
- Alt+J, L, E = insert below
- Alt+J, L, L = insert left
- Alt+J, L, I = insert right
The length and difficulty in memorizing these kb shortcuts are not even the root issue. The root issue is that the four are assigned an equal rank, when there should be a primary action (add new row below), a distant secondary (add new column right), and then the other two. Why? because when you use the keyboard to add a new row, you are most likely doing data entry (or making it up as you go along, uh I mean engineering a solution in PowerPoint). People who use keyboard shortcuts are *typing*. People who type work from left to right, and then from top to bottom. The left to right aspect is covered within a given cell by the straightforward act of typing, one character at a time. The TAB key will get you to the next cell, as well as taking you from the last cell in a row to the first cell on the next line, PROVIDED that the next line already exists.
The tab key when pressed in the last cell on the last row actually WILL create a new row before.