Mail 2.0: Shift-Down extends selection by one line plus the first character of the next line

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
September 29th, 2005 • 10:49 am

This is a very irritating behaviour in Mail 2.0 when you try to select quoted text with the keyboard.

Take the following situation. You are composing an e-mail message, and the body of your message contains quoted text with various levels of quoting:

Mail message with quoted text

You place your insertion point before this quoted text, as indicated in the screen shot above, and then you start pressing shift-Down repeatedly to select the text, extending it down line by line. After pressing shift-Down a number of times, you end up with this selection:

Quoted text selected - one level

So far, so good—except that the coloured bars of quoting have become invisible, which is slightly inconvenient. But at least it’s a purely cosmetic issue.

Now press shift-Down one more time, and here is what you get:

Quoted text selected - two levels

Even though you’ve just pressed shift-Down once, Mail has extended the selection by one line plus the first character of the next line!

And of course this unwanted behaviour is utterly annoying, because you often select quoted text in order to delete it, and now if you press Delete you’re going to end up deleting the first character of a section that you do not want to delete!

Why Mail does this, I have no idea. It probably has to do with the crummy underlying message composing engine, which, as we’ve already seen, is a rather scary beast.

And of course it’s a behaviour that mostly punishes people who, like me, often use keyboard shortcuts to select text, because our hands are already on the keyboard when we are typing our messages and having to grab the mouse interrupts the flow and adds unnecessary physical strain to the activity.

With Apple, you often get the sense that keyboard shortcuts and keyboard navigation is added as an afterthought and not really treated as an equally important alternative to using the mouse. Otherwise surely they would notice that such behaviours are utterly annoying, and eliminate them.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.