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In a few CAD systems I've used over the years there's the been option of using/redefining the space key as the left mouse click in a finger-saving, RSI-busting option. In the days of modern over-clicky CAD systems this is so good.

So, the simple question is: can you do the same thing with Altium? I've seen various tutorials showing you how to bring up the key shortcuts such as this, but I can't even get that to work on my system. I can redefine other things by doing the CTRL-click option on the menus.

Using version 16.1.0.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What does Altium support say? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do this by setting a keyboard macro setting space bar to left click, probably not the optimal solution so I wont bother putting it as an answer but there are options. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joe S
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LeonHeller I've not asked Altium support. I suspect this is a way of insinuating we have a hooky copy of Altium, which isn't the case. The only CAD bloke here who would know how to ask them isn't in. I'm just here for a few weeks and don't have any sort of log in details. I'm just using a network licence set up for me. (Edit. Apparently we don't have annual support anyway.) \$\endgroup\$
    – DiBosco
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoeS Only problem with macros is if you want to use space bar for an actual space bar when you type an email or something, it will still act like a left click until you tell the macro to stop macroing. \$\endgroup\$
    – user103380
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KingDuken So you can't have a macro declared in Altium to do this? Pretty much every CAD system allows you to do macros and assign a keypress to them.Although this would be a rather odd macro I suspect. \$\endgroup\$
    – DiBosco
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:33

2 Answers 2

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Assigning spacebar to mouse-left-click is probably a bad idea since you won't be able to type spaces in text. As a general note about macros, you could use Altium's macro language, but a simpler way is use a macro program such as AutoHotKey (AHK). You can set up AHK where specific macro sets are only executed for the currently active program. If the current active program isn't identified in the script, AHK will pass along the keyboard commands unaltered. Since Altium is such a poky program, some commands need long delays, somewhere between 50ms to 100ms. Mouse clicks may need 100ms.

This sample script for Altium and LTspice, which resides in a single text file, should be enough to get you going quickly.

#SingleInstance ignore
SetTitleMatchMode, 2
; key modifiers !=alt ^=ctrl +=shift
    
#IfWinActive,  Altium Designer
  F1::     ; Wire Mode
    Send, ^w
  return

  F7::     ; PCB, toggle ref designation visibility
    SetKeyDelay, 50
    MouseClick, right
    Send, ed{esc}
    SetKeyDelay, 10
   return

  F10::    ; Pan to center
    Send, {Home}
  return
return

#IfWinActive, LTspice
  F10::    ; FFT
    Click, 344, 105
    Send, !V
    Click, 72,171
    Send, {Enter}
  return
return
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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not the case about being unable to type spaces in text. I have used other CAD systems where this works and there's clearly the intelligence in the system that enables the space key to be left click in some situations, but pass a space character in others. \$\endgroup\$
    – DiBosco
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 10:50
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Keyboard and Mouse function tables exist in the registry to be shared for all common windows functions. Each application can have custom local and global mappings so that only that program uses those undefined elsewhere combo-keystrokes.

However to use a common Windows, global key for just Altium requires that HKCU\Software\Altium has a Policy change or a temporary change in the registry just when Altium is running. ( details for others to suggest takes time)

Alternatively , one can add a second mouse with an good foot switch or bar wired to the left mouse and use that instead of pointer finger or peddles and exercise those feet. (lol)

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