12 December 2006

Navigating Liferea with the Keyboard

From time to time people do ask about a possibility to use certain or all functions with hotkeys.

Well first when you wonder about the predefined Liferea hotkeys you should go to the "Help" menu and select the "Short Reference" menu option. After doing this you will get a help page with all important standard hotkeys. Currently the hotkeys are:

Ctrl-AUpdates all your subscriptions at once.
Ctrl-RMarks all items of the selected feed or folder as read.
Ctrl-NJump to next unread headline.
Ctrl-UToggle unread state of selected headline.
Ctrl-TToggle flag of selected headline.
SpaceSkim through the headlines. Depending on your preferences you might need to use the Ctrl or Alt modifier.
uMove up cursor in the feed list.
dMove down cursor in the feed list.
bMove up cursor in the item list.
fMove down cursor in the item list.
DelRemoves the currently selected item.

Defining additional hotkeys

You are not limited to those hotkeys. As every good GTK program Liferea (since v1.1) allows you to dynamically assign key bindings. For this to work the GNOME interface option hidden in GConf needs to be enabled. You can enable it by running

$ gconftool --set --type bool /desktop/gnome/interface/can_change_accels true

If the GTK option is enabled you can open any menu from the menu bar, move the cursor above the relevant menu option and press the shortcut you want to assign. This shortcut should appear right next to the menu option label.

Note: Such shortcuts will be permanent. Ensure not to assign standard key binding like Ctrl-R, Ctrl-A, Ctrl-Q or Ctrl-W which would be taken away from the menu options you normally expect them to invoke (Refresh, Select All, Quit, Close Window...) and when intuitively pressing such hotkeys might lead to unwanted effects.


Allan said...

As every good GTK program Liferea allows you to dynamically assign key bindings.

You know: I've been using Gnome and friends for years, and I never knew. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

how can one scroll the html widget?

Anonymous said...

You can use the PgUp/Down and the Space key to scroll the HTML widget.

Joshua said...

My problem with the GTK keyboard control is that, although there exists the possibility to change the feed and item selections independently, which is very nice for people who use liferea all the time, there is no simple way to change the focus to the list of feed items, and no great way to change the focus to the list of feeds.

Being able to easily select one of the three widgets and then use up/down pgup/pgdown would be ideal.

Lars said...

@joshua: The problem is there are two many different use case. Some people do want the focus to always stay on the HTML view to be able to freely navigate the displayed post with the cursor keys while using hotkeys or the mouse to select the next article/feed.

And others might want to use the cursor keys to navigate the tree views too which means heavy focus switching.

I tend to prefer the first use case and to have the focus stay with the HTML view. This is partly motivated by a already solved Gecko bug that always forced the focus to the HTML view, but also because I think it should be unnecessary to know where the focus is to use the program.

Therefore the major use case for me is the user staying focussed on the HTML view using mouse clicks (direct click on item or feed, direct click on the toolbar on the "Next Unread" button) or hotkeys ([Modifier + ]Space, Ctrl-N) to change the displayed item/feed.

Sadly using the tabulator key to switch the focus between widgets does not work properly (it gets stuck somehow in the column headers of the item list). Until now I heave no idea what causes this and how to fix it.