I generally dislike using the mouse when i’m working. my hands are on the keyboard, so why should i have to go over to the mouse to do something like scrolling, selecting a menu item, entering a url, launching an application, etc. as a result (and its something i remember doing since i was at secondary school, about 16yrs upwards) i tend to use a substantially large number of keyboard shortcuts to work.
Apart from drawing a marquee, most of my photoshop work is done using the keyboard. Index Color an image for GIFs: Alt-I-M-I, turn it back into normal colour mode, Alt-I-M-R. Image resize, Alt-I-I. Most of these rely on the fact that Windows allows you to access all of the menus via hitting the alt key, and then (usually) the first letter of the menu option, and chain them together, ie. Alt-I-M-I is Alt (go to menu), Image menu, Mode menu, Index colour. Equally in other applications, and tbh, apps which i use far more often than Photoshop, ie. my developer IDE, email, firefox etc, also have massive numbers of combinations which help me work faster. The problem is – there is no consistancy. For instance, to indent a block of text in Homesite (yes, i still use homesite for clientside development), Ctrl-Shift-> or Ctrl-Shift-< work fine. In ZDE (Zend’s Development Environment) a tab or shift-tab does the job. Switching between the two often means i’m deleting code instead of indenting it because the shortcuts have different meanins (tab in Homesite just replaces the currently selected text with a tab).
I recently purchased a macbook, mostly just to play around on at home – i try to do as little work from home as possible, so its mostly for blogging, spodding, rss’ing, etc. My biggest issue with Macs (and this has been the case for as long as i’ve used them) is the distinct lack of (or higher complexity where they exist) of keyboard shortcuts, and the apparant oddness of their choosing. Apple-Shift-D is send mail in Apple Mail. Maybe the most common task, and its a three letter combo, no simple Apple-Enter, or Apple-S. Accessing the menus at the top of the screen is also more complicated. You first have to enable it in a control panel somewhere, and then hit something like Ctrl-F2 to first access the menu, use the initial letter of the menu to go to it (or cursor left/right) then press down, then select the item you want. Its not a shortcut, that makes it faster with the mouse. It seems to be an accessibility feature, rather than a ‘shortcut’. Secondly, there are four modifier keys on my keyboard. Whilst in Windows we do most things with Ctrl (and rarely Alt if you’re a shortcut junkie like me), on Mac, the modifier key really changes a great deal. The Apple (or Command) key seems to do most things like Ctrl on Windows (Ctrl-C is copy, Apple-C is copy), but in old-school apps like Terminal, Ctrl (which does exist on Macs too) is actually Ctrl, so you have to move your thumb left two places to ctrl-d out of something.
To be fair, once you start to learn the shortcuts on a Mac, you do find there are a good few, and as the apps are generally more intuitive, things level out. With add-on tools like Quicksilver, all apps are just a ctrl-space away. But now i’m a hybrid user of both windows and osx, when i switch back to work during the day, my muscle memory – which i’ve had in training for the past 10 years or so in windows – is taking a beating. I’m all thumbs and fingers switching between both machines.
Still – that being said, i am enjoying the mac for its strong interface, and very very strong competent apps. The two finger scrolling is just killer (and i very much miss that when using my windows laptop now – although today found out you can scroll most browser windows using space or shift-space), but i just don’t think i’ll ever be as fast on my mac as i will on windows. time will tell.
disclaimer: i may well have got some of these shortcuts wrong, i rely so much on muscle memory for them, which in part is the problem.