A Tour of the Keys

revised: September 17, 1999

Welcome! As I write this page (March 28, 1998), I am approaching the end of tax season. This means I have to do a lot of data entry in my job. It means I have to burn the midnight oil, so I got the fine opportunity to work with my office's 1-2-3 Release 5 files in Mesa 2. I got to appreciate the finer points of the Keys dialogs in Mesa 2.

What are the Keys dialogs?

In Mesa 2 2.1.6, the Keys dialogs are at the bottom of the Preferences panel. That's Options->Preferences... in the main Mesa 2 menu. The bottom of it looks like this in Mesa 2 2.1.6:

[Key Settings]

They can be set to do the following things:

Nothing
Actually, it does more than nothing. It commits the data to the cell and doesn't go anywhere after that.
Down
It commits the data and moves to the cell below it.
Tab
It commits the data and moves to the cell to the right of it.
Tab In Range
If more than one cell has been selected, It commits the data and moves to the cell to the right of it. Otherwise, it's the same as Nothing.

I have my Enter behavior set to Nothing, and I have Keypad Enter set to Down. It's effective because the Tab key is hard coded to where Tab moves to the right by one cell, and Shift-Tab moves to the left by one cell. Note: If you set Enter behavior to Tab, Shift-Enter will not move to the left by one cell.

What about Mesa 2 2.2?

Well, you're in for a treat. In addition to being able to customize almost all of the keyboard accelerators in Mesa 2--OS/2 system keys take precedence to Mesa 2's keyboard assignments--there is a special Keys page on the Preferences panel. I feel like the Mesa 2 documentation explains the Keys settings in a way that's superior to my way. However, you can assign Hard Return to some key combinations, and that could use a good explanation. Click here to go to that explanation. Otherwise, read on...

There are four classes of options. The first one is for Enter and Keypad Enter. You get the following options:

Nothing
Actually, it does more than nothing. It commits the data to the cell and doesn't go anywhere after that.
Down
It commits the data and moves to the cell below it.
Right
It commits the data and moves to the right, regardless of what Tab is set to do.
Right In Range
If you have more than one cell selected, it will behave like Right. Otherwise, it acts like Nothing.
Tab
It does what Tab is set to do. See Tab, later in this section.
Tab In Range
It's the same as Tab, but it works only if you have selected more than one cell.

Again, if you set Enter to one of the Tab settings, Shift-Enter won't behave like Shift-Tab.


The second class is for Delete, which brings the following options:

Clear All
This clears everything, including cell notes. Use this on the way to having set formats in your worksheet.
Clear Contents
This clears everything except the formatting and cell notes. Use this once you've set the formats in your worksheet.

The third class is for Tab, which brings the following options:

Left/Right
This commits the data and moves to the next cell. Tab moves to the right; Shift-Tab moves to the left. This is the way I like it.
Page Left/Right
It's the same as Left/Right, but it moves a page at a time. I have this at work in 1-2-3, and I'm not too fond of it.

The fourth class is for combinations that use Enter, such as Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Enter. These keys use the following options:


While most of these options are best left to the Mesa 2 documentation, Hard Return deserves a special explanation. It's like <BR> in HTML: It's a code for a line break. There's a catch, though: It has two distinct behaviors. If you have the cell's Alignment set to Unwrap, the text in it could look like this:

This is my example sentence.

However, if you have the cell's Alignment set to Wrap, the text in it could look like this:

This is my
example
sentence.

Because I have Alt-Enter assigned to Hard Return, my sentence was entered like this:

This is my[Alt-Enter]example[Alt-Enter]sentence. [Enter]

It's good because you don't have to depend on the program to wrap the text. I use it for titles most of the time.

What good is all of this?

I enjoy having these keys for my work. I can quickly change the assignments to suit specific jobs. I can enter data with my right hand on the keypad and not have to move to the arrow keys. I can be kinda ditzy about entering the date--"Now, was August an 8 or a 9?"--typing things like 8/9/97[Keypad Enter] and aug-8-97[Enter] with equal efficiency. Of course, this requires that the cells be formatted to a specific date format, but that's all a part of the fun.