Pages ’09: Fails to scroll down when extending selection with option-shift-Down

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
January 29th, 2009 • 2:20 pm

Regular Betalogue readers know that I am heavy user of text navigation and text selection keyboard shortcuts when editing text. In particular, I frequently use the option-shift-Down and option-shift-Up keyboard shortcuts to extend the current selection paragraph by paragraph towards the end or the beginning of the document I am currently editing.

(Sadly, the otherwise excellent BBEdit still refuses to support these particular shortcuts for this purpose, which means that there is no way—that I am aware of—to extend the current selection paragraph by paragraph with the keyboard in that application. Bare Bones is stubbornly keeping option-Up and option-Down for screen by screen scrolling and selecting [when combined with Shift], which might make sense for old-school programmers, but makes little sense for a multi-purpose text editor in the 21st century.)

Unfortunately, for heavy users of option-shift-Down, the new version of Pages introduces a rather annoying bug which, strangely enough, only affects the text selection shortcut in one direction.

If you are currently viewing a Pages document whose content exceeds the visible area of the document window, and you attempt to use option-shift-Down to extend the current selection downwards beyond the visible portion of the document, you will notice that Pages fails to automatically scroll down the document in order to keep the end of the selection visible to the user.

Without this automatic scrolling, option-shift-Down is pretty much useless, because if you cannot see the end of the selection, you have no idea how far your selection extends.

The only options in this situation are either to use the mouse instead (which eliminates the usefulness of the keyboard shortcut in the first place) or to combine the use of option-shift-Down with the use of the Page Down key. Fortunately, unlike the idiotic behaviour of the Page Down shortcut in Microsoft Word, in Pages Page Down does not affect the current selection and does not move the insertion point. It just scrolls down the document.

Still, having to toggle between option-shift-Down and Page Down repeatedly just in order to see what you are doing and how far down the selection actually extends is rather frustrating.

Strangely enough, the bug does not affect option-shift-Up, which works as expected, i.e. both extends the selection upwards paragraph by paragraph and automatically scrolls up the document to keep the beginning of the selection visible.

The bug also does not affect shift-Down, which extends the selection downwards line by line and also works as expected (with the associated automatic scrolling).

The problem with option-shift-Down is new in Pages ’09. I have no idea what change Apple made to the text editing engine in Pages that causes the bug to appear in the first place. All I can do is report the bug through Bug Reporter and hope for the best… If the bug annoys you as much as it annoys me, I invite you to do the same, and maybe it will be fixed before the next major revision, i.e. within months rather than years.

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