‘Make Text Bigger’ keyboard shortcut (cmd-+)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 29th, 2004 • 1:35 am

I have always had problems with this shortcut.

The fundamental issue is that, on my Canadian CSA keyboard (and on the U.S. keyboard), “+” is not a key. It’s what can be obtained by pressing the Shift key in combination with the “=” key.

So when an application says that the keyboard shorcut for making text bigger is “cmd-+”, as Safari does, does it mean that you have to hold down the Shift key as well (i.e. press cmd-shift-=)?

Not in Safari. In Safari, if you press cmd-=, you get the desired behaviour.

On the other hand, in Mail, you also have a “Make Text Bigger” command for email messages that are formatted in HTML. The command is not available via Mail’s menus, so there are no keyboard shortcuts specified anywhere. But you can add the “Bigger” and “Smaller” buttons to your toolbar using the “Customize Toolbar…” command. And these commands have keyboard shortcuts as well.

The trouble is that, in Mail, “cmd-=” does not work. The keyboard shorcut is actually “cmd-+”, i.e. “cmd-shift-=”.

It’s the type of inconsistency across applications that can be rather annoying, especially knowing that both applications are developed by Apple and included in Mac OS X.

One Response to “‘Make Text Bigger’ keyboard shortcut (cmd-+)”

  1. ssp says:

    I certainly understand that pain, having seen too many strange keyboard equivalents that are bound to be hard to type on many keyboard layouts (think [,] for German keyboards, say).

    On the other hand, there are many things right about Command-+/- for larger and smaller text. To begin with, these equivalents simply make sense and are easy to remember. In addition the +/- keys are conveniently located on the keypad which makes them very handy – and thus makes the keyboard layout question a non-issue while you’re at home.

    Of course Apple should be consistent, but they’ve been doing a lot of keyboard equivalent shuffling lately and I guess it’ll take another year or so to stabilise. (Just laugh bitterly at Comman-Option-Shift-ö/ä for de/increasing the quote depth in Mail, that has been introduced in X.3’s German Mail). For these kinds of annoyances, the ability to customise keyboard equivalences globally may actually turn out to be a workaround.

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