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Drag and drop text in background windows System
Now most of you probably know about holding down the Command (Apple) key to drag a background window without bringing that window to the foreground. But you might not know about this...

I was waiting for a copy process to run one day and had Terminal open in the background, so I started fiddling as some would. I discovered that the Command key trick extends to selecting (at least text) and drag-and-dropping as well.

[robg adds: This hint describes some of the other things you can with the Command key and objects in background windows. I tested today's tip and found that it worked as described as long as the background app (where you start dragging the text) was a Cocoa app. I could, for instance, hold Command and drag a selection in a background Terminal window, then Command-drag that text to either a Cocoa or Carbon app, and drop it. At no point would either of the background apps come to the foreground. I had no luck with a Carbon app (using BBEdit and Word) as the frontmost background app -- they both came to the foreground as soon as I Command-clicked within their windows.]
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Drag and drop text in background windows
Authored by: deef on May 17, '07 12:26:57PM

For a company that prides itself on UI, user experience etc., why are there dozens and dozens of undocumented keystroke commands?

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Soapbox re: UI
Authored by: MJCube on May 17, '07 01:27:42PM

Apple seems content to let us power users share (and often discover) these secrets with each other, rather than documenting them, which would tend to make them seem mandatory. This web site is the perfect illustration of how well this approach works for Apple. Lots of us come here for the neat tidbits, but we're not the majority. In fact we're a minority within a minority – Mac power-users among mostly Windows users who get by with basic functions.

The Mac user experience is an advantage that speaks for itself rather than being constantly used as a selling point. Apple ads don't try to explain anything about UI, they just assume people know things are usually easier on Mac.

UI philosophy on the Windows side is more methodical, with more rigid rules and effort to make all apps behave the same way, and less second-guessing about whether or not a given keystroke or mouse click is sensible or efficient in a given context. Mac software development seems to follow instinct more than rules, which is why Apple so often breaks its own published UI guidelines. There's always conceptual room in the development process for new approaches, which is what leads to really useful innovation.

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Drag and drop text in background windows
Authored by: JKT on May 18, '07 02:55:51AM

in this case the answer is obvious - it doesn't work universally throughout the system. An ignorant user is not going to know that there are Carbon or Cocoa apps, they are only going to know that there are apps. When the feature they have read about only works in one app but another, they'll feel like they're using Windows again...

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