Keyboard UX changes

Hi community, just a quick heads up before the next release, that comes with a UX change that probably some of you will find annoying first, as it is breaking your muscle memory.

Paving the way to introduce variables, in our most recent release we made a number of subtle changes around keyboard interaction, more specifically around how input focus is handled. You might not even notice some of them, but others might require you to slightly alter your workflow. We understand that re-learning flows committed to muscle memory is always difficult, so we wanted to share some background on why we made these changes.

What changed?

  • We no longer move the keyboard focus into input fields on the 3D canvas when you hover your pointer over them, rather only move the focus if you explicitly click on them. This applies to sketch dimensions, 3D tool parameters and gizmo arrows.

  • Clicking on such input fields with your mouse or trackpad no longer opens the numpad immediately. You can double click on the field to bring it up or you can also simply type in the expressions if you need a calculator, like 12+23/2, without opening it.

  • We adjusted the way Tab, Esc, Delete and other special keys behave across the application.You can expect more and more parts of the application to be conveniently usable with a keyboard as well, in addition to touch, pencil and pointing devices.

Why did you make these changes?

Our main driving principle, as always, was to make you as productive as possible. Moving the focus automatically on mouse or trackpad hover caused a number of problems:

  • As we introduce the ability to define & use variables, it’ll become possible to enter variable names into input fields on the 3D canvas, which means we will no longer be able to distinguish between numeric dimension entries and keyboard shortcuts. During our user tests we found that it caused a lot of confusion when combined with moving the focus with simple hover.

  • It was not consistent with how most other applications work, making it unnecessarily difficult to switch between Shapr3D and other apps in your workflow.

  • It caused the numpad to pop up almost every time even if you didn’t need it on a desktop device, causing visual clutter and hiding important parts of your designs unnecessarily.

Let us know what you think! We plan to keep on working on keyboard shortcuts and productivity in the coming months so your feedback is especially important right now.


As someone who has designed UIs for a living, I find these to all be good changes. There’s nothing more annoying than having a UI make too many assumptions about what you want to do.

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Will we be able to click dimension input fields and just type “+12” or “-12” or will we need to type the full expression with current dimension?

Also an align tool shortcut would be amazing!

Looking forward for this feature.

I guess you have to do what is best but please be careful to consider newcomers (like me!) who learn one way of doing things and then find the rug pulled; it’s already challenging enough as a newbie trying to figure things out.

A recent(ish) example was after I upgraded and all of a sudden I found I had to shift+touch to rotate the object and just touch to scroll, whereas (unless I’m going mad) it was the opposite the last time I used the app.

We did not change this behavior, probably you changed the navigation preset under Settings.

Hmm, I have never changed any of the settings (at least knowingly) - but I have just gone in and found the setting and switched it away from “classic” to “default” and now it’s back to how it was.

I don’t know why it got changed to classic, but it 100% wasn’t me. As a newcomer I wouldn’t know what “classic” behaviour was anyway, so I’d have no reason to switch to it. Maybe some sort of setting corruption occurred or something.