Mail 2.0: command-+ now works for text zooming universally

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
June 14th, 2005 • 3:41 am

Well, it’s taken a loooong time, but finally somebody at Apple has done something about it. It used to be that, on a Canadian CSA keyboard such as mine, the keyboard shortcut for making text bigger didn’t work consistently across all Mac OS X applications.

Since the “+” key is actually shift-= on my keyboard, when an application says that the keyboard shortcut for making text bigger is command-+, you are not sure whether it means command-shift-= or simply command-=. Logically it should be the former, but in actual fact it’s such a common shortcut that Apple has typically made it so that command-= would work as well.

Well, most of the time. In Mac OS X’s Mail 1.x, this never worked right. command-- worked fine to make text smaller, but in order to make text bigger, you had to type command-shift-=. On the other hand, command-= worked just fine for the exact same purpose in Safari.

Finally, Apple have fixed this and command-= works in Mail as well. Strangely, the command that it activates is found in the “Format” menu, in the “Style” submenu. This is because it’s the same command that you use when composing mail, if you want to format your text to make it bigger.

It has nothing to do with formatting text when viewing mail messages, however, so the fact that it refers to the same command in the same submenu is rather debatable. In fact, the whole behaviour of this “Format” menu when viewing mail messages is rather debatable. Why is the command for “Bold” active when viewing mail, for example? You cannot change the format of text in a mail message that you have received from someone else. Shouldn’t this command be disabled?

But I suppose these are the minor quibbles of an interface purist. The bottom-line is that command-= finally works (on Canadian CSA keyboards) for making text bigger in Mail. And maybe — just maybe — it had to do with the fact that Apple had a few French Canadian users on their Apple Seed team… :-)

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