Why Alt + Mouse Wheel to Zoom?

New Here ,
Nov 05, 2018 Nov 05, 2018

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hey everybody,

This is more just something I'm curious about than something I want an actual answer to. I recently started learning Premiere Pro CC 2019 (installed on a Windows 10 machine), and was struck with something about the couple of Adobe products I use that I never really noticed before, and don't really understand. Premiere, Photoshop, and Illustrator all use Alt as the key to zoom in and out with the mouse wheel.

Every other program I can think of uses Ctrl for mouse wheel zoom. Everything from GIMP, to Inkscape, to web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, the entire Office suite, and Windows Explorer all use Ctrl + Mouse wheel to zoom. And this works really well. It's quick, intuitive, and consistent across multiple platforms. But for a reason I can't really fathom, every Adobe product I'm familiar with uses Alt.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, there are other hotkeys that are inconsistent from one program to the next and you can learn to adjust if you're bouncing between a couple. But this specific combination of Alt + mouse wheel has been really inconvenient to use for zooming in and out of the timeline in Premiere. For as long as I can remember, Windows has used the Alt key as the operator for the menu bar hotkeys. Alt + F for the File menu, Alt + E for the Edit menu, etc. This operator also functions as a toggle, so you don't have to hit Alt and the F key at the same time to open the File menu, you can press and release Alt and that will switch the application's focus to the menu bar to anticipate hotkey presses.

This makes Alt a really troublesome key to use for mouse wheel zooming, because Windows doesn't recognize the scrolling of the mouse wheel as a key press. This means that when you press Alt in Premiere, Windows switches the application's focus to the menu bar to await a hotkey, but doesn't always recognize that you only needed it for zooming in or out of the timeline. This means that the menu bar hotkeys remain active after you're done zooming and release the Alt key, intending to return to normal use in Premiere. But if you then, for example, hit the C key to switch to the Cut tool, Premiere instead opens the Clip menu, and awaits another hotkey to open a Clip menu item. You then have to either press Alt or Escape to return to normal use. This also disables mouse wheel scrolling while the focus is on the menu bar, so if you zoom in to find a particular spot in a clip, and then try to release alt and use the scroll wheel to navigate through the clip chronologically, nothing will happen.

The other problem is that this is inconsistent. I haven't been able to figure out why, but it seems that sometimes when you release Alt, Premiere does return to normal use, as I'm sure is intended. But other times, the application's focus stays on the menu bar and overrides all the normal Premiere hotkeys. It doesn't seem to matter where the cursor is when you initially press alt, or where you release it, or if you started with the timeline active or a different panel active. I just can't tell what affects it.

If it consistently switched focus to the menu bar every time, I'd eventually learn to just hit Alt a second time after I'm done zooming. And yes, once you learn to watch for this behavior, you do get used to having to check whether or not the items on the menu bar are highlighted and hit Alt again to get back to normal use, but this feels VERY clumsy. And from what I've been able to research, there doesn't appear to be any way to remap this key to Ctrl in Premiere itself. I see a lot of suggestions for third party applications to accomplish this same functionality, but I'm not comfortable using most third party applications (especially to accomplish something that feels like it could be done natively). I've also seen people suggesting to press Ctrl + Alt and then using the mouse wheel to zoom, which does work, but this seems silly when it would be much simpler to make it just Ctrl instead.

I don't understand why Adobe products don't use Ctrl for mouse wheel zoom like the other applications I'm familiar with. Is there a reason it was designed this way that I'm not thinking of? Is this the key that's used for mouse wheel zooming on another OS and they want to keep it consistent across multiple platforms? Do most adobe customers use multiple operating systems? Why can't we remap this key press? Ctrl + mouse wheel does scroll vertically on the timeline if you have multiple video or audio tracks and they can't all fit in the timeline panel, so I know that key combination is technically being used by another function. However, Shift + mouse wheel doesn't appear to be used for anything on the timeline. Why can't Ctrl + mouse wheel be used for zooming, and Shift + mouse wheel be used for vertical scrolling? Has this never been an issue for any Adobe customers who use Windows? Am I doing something wrong??

Views

1.5K

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Participant ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Came here bc. of that issue, haven't found a solution.

I had same and worse issues with indesign, so as a tip: Don't ask Adobe why (never gotten any answer to that in any forum) and keep it short or summarize your question at the end.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Very good question. And I've tried to get around the whole problem of Windows always assuming the Alt key means you want to go to a Program bar Menu option ... it severely limits the keyboard shortcuts within Premiere.

 

Neil

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

What a great point... it never occurred to me for some reason despite knowing that hitting alt would switch focus to the menu system. I always found it incredibly aggravating when I'd hold alt first before duplicating a piece of footage by click-dragging and it never worked. Didn't know why until just now...

 

Yeah Adobe, what gives? Why alt? Do ctrl... it's better!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

There are so many things already on Ctrl/Cmd ... we somehow need to be able to tell Windows to allow us to use the Alt key without it getting it's nose bent outta joint.

 

Neil

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Nov 09, 2021 Nov 09, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I googled this exact frustaration because as someone coming from Vegas this is by far one of the most frustration shortcuts for Windows. During a session where I zoom, edit then try and play and what happens, the damn menu opens over and over thousands of times, highly irritating.. I dont like to custom create mappings as that is a headache I then have to do over and over again and I have a streamdeck with zoom shortcuts but do things by feel mostly while looking at the screen and have to look over to find the button so takes too much away, when you are doing edits for hours this is all frustrating work and I so much want to just switch back to Vegas which is so much faster workflow, noit as "swish" but the company I am working for wants to use this so I just have to go insane I guess. 


Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The Alt key and Windows is a right nasty bugger, no question. Ticks me off also.

 

But I might suggest that your approach to working in Premiere is not 'native' to the design of the application? Particularly as the whole app is built around using custom keyboard shorts. They have a freaking TON of available key-shorts, as there's so many of them possible there's no way to have them all mapped out at once.

 

Most normal workflows require setting the app up as part of the Job ... it is expected that all users will have their customized key-shorts, synced to their CC app, and therefore available to them in Premiere on any computer they log into with their CC license.

 

All of these apps are different, and you have to adapt to the app. I work both in Premiere and Resolve, some in AfterEffects and Audition. They all have different processes, different "relationships" with the keyboard/mouse/pen-tab.

 

Neil

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

While I understand there is customisation, the issue I think most users have is that it is not intuitive based on the same use in other applications where CTRL is the modifier in almost every other program. 

So as you suggest, my approach is to try and then use CTRL instead but I am sure you know full well how hard it now is to try and change 1000 other key commands that need CTRL. 

So in your suggestion, can you advise how exactly a new modifier could be used and which one would be the best suitable and intuitive option? Personally I think an application is only as good as the default key map as I prefer to get to work learning what is there by default, not spending 2 weeks designing and programming my own cusstom solution that I can then not easily adapt to when I have to use another machine that is not my personal rig. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I think perhaps you could go to the included mappings, and tell the other users here which Ctrl/Cmd keys should not have been programmed as such. Because that really is the issue.

 

There are SO many things that we all use, and we all do everything differently! ... so not one of us speaks for "all" ... we all will have things that we agree on, and many, many more where we disagree.

 

While I can also go through the Ctrl/Cmd keyshorts list and note the ones I don't use, I know a ton of other users use them every day.

 

And it's like for those who go from Premiere to Resolve or Final Cut ... and then demand that something in those apps be done like Premiere. As someone who works daily in Resolve and Premiere, I'm very aware of their differences. And one who in general far prefers Premiere.

 

But over on any Resolve forum, a user that posits that X should be done as Y instead on account of Premiere, will get shortly told that when you shift applications, you need to shift your patterns. Most Resolve users vastly prefer the way Resolve works on those things.

 

And the same if you go to Avid.

 

Is it a pain that we Windows users have such a problem with the Alt modifier? Yea, totally. Bugs the pucky out of me. I've been through all sorts of things to find some way to cut that down, but haven't found a usable solution.

 

Neil

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

If it wasn't a function I used every 2.1 seconds I wouldn't have a complaint. If it wasn't the ALT key that constantly opens a menu again, no complaint. I have to adjust as it is betrween hundreds of programs and the question is not specifically "why can't it do it this way..." more why did the developers decide using ALT for a function that is so important and known to potentially misbehave? 

As mentioend I would be happy to just change this single function in the workflow to ANYTHING else but as you have said there is a TON of keys and I am not a "power user" nor do I have time/desire to dive deep into the depths, i'd like to just change it to CTRL or SHIFT or something common BUT this is almost impossible because these are overused as it is.

While I fully understand that different programs work different with key shortcuts, THis program seems designed with Apple users first, Windows second hence this issue. 100% of all other video editors, wav editiors and DAWs that I use (Vegas, Wavelab, Maschine, Ableton, Blender) and hell even Photoshop use CTRL/SHIFT as Zoom/Scroll modifiers because it has been known wince 1992 that using ALT is for menu access. Trying to make this key BOTH access the menu system and act as a modifier isn't a bright idea in my opinion. 

I have tried to remap this single function but have never been able to without stuffing up something else... there are just TOO MANY commands to get around. I use Premier only to develop one companies videos which they supply the license as I personally work so much faster and with less frustrations for basic editing with Vegas just because (IMO) it is a more intuitive workflow with key commands like this. Maybe if I was a mac user it would be different and while I use mac also, I just dislike it as an OS personally. 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hey, I totally get the frustrations. As noted, I've spent the odd hour trying to turn off Windows affinity for stealing anything with an Alt key involved. The only way to get past the frustration though is to remap keys.

 

Which actually doesn't take long, as it's very easy to see everything mapped to any particular key in any particular panel.

 

This is one of those things where someone like you might say the devs seem obviously Mac folks and don't care about PC users. There are a ton of issues that Mac users say prove that the devs don't care about Mac users. They don't get any grace, you know?  😉

 

Neil

 

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Ha, yeah I know, I work support for both POC and Mac and i'm no video editor/content creator, I whip up instructional videos for software and have used Vegas for editing for close to 20 years so have that process down pretty tight but this company wanted some extra "flash" for animations that I cannot do in Vegas and even after 2 years of use I have struggled only with this one thing. 

I did look at changing the key some time ago but found it would disrupt many other functions. I ahve even mapped a function on a streamdeck to do the zoom but it is not as fast as the dedicated modifier key and all I want is just CTRL on its own to work with mouse wheel. Will have to take another look at it and see if I can just make this one change because it is the only single function that disrupts my workflow so much. 

What would be great is if someone out there could just create a new map that could be imported that follows Vegas for those of us that have used both. I have searched but the only threads I have come across on the matter have baiscally said it's a huge task to pick through all the keys and try remap them, which I can agree.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Expert ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

Totally understood. I've been through so many different apps over the years, so many things that were cool here but ... what the hay? ... there ... "improvements" that weren't ... yeah.

 

Neil

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Contributor ,
Mar 21, 2022 Mar 21, 2022

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

this drives me mad too when making the switch from windows to osx for premiere. In fact, I intend to use both so would really love to find a way re-map the timeline scroll to cmd and scroll instead of option but without changing all of the other commands that need the option key in premiere.

 

Does anyone know of a piece of software that could do this?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines