Finder Gripe: Group Selecting is Counter Intuitive...

in macOS edited January 2014
Group Selecting Items from a List is Counter Intuitive in Finder (and Mail, Address Book, ...)

Does anybody else suffer with me on this one?...

When you are group selecting items from a list with shift - such as a list of emails in Mail or and list of files/folders in Finder or names in Address Book - the selecting behaviour seems very wrong.

Try this... take Finder, in single column mode, and go to a folder that has a few files in it. Select an item (file or folder) with a single click near the middle so that it's highlighted (blue). Now hold down the shift key and arrow up so that a bunch of files get selected (blued).

Now say you've gone too far and you want to come back on yourself. What's the most intuitive thing to do? You continue holding down the shift key and simply start pressing the down arrow key to deselect, right? Wrong!

That action (hitting a shifted down arrow) will select those items below the first item that you highlighted. Now, that's what I call really counter intuitive and very confusing. In effect, the cursor has jumped in hyper-space when you switch arrow keys.

This is really frustrating!

Is this the best way of describing the problem?

Cheers Daniel


  • Reply 1 of 10
    cmd-click your frustrations away.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol

    cmd-click your frustrations away.

    Sorry, I'm really not sure what you mean by that.

    Since posting I've been shown a much more detailed description of the problem here:

    Cheers Daniel
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Command-click. i.e. click the mouse button [on the item] while the command button is held down.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    The [command] key is also the [apple] key.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Originally Posted by dahacouk

    Sorry, I'm really not sure what you mean by that.

    Since posting I've been shown a much more detailed description of the problem here:

    Cheers Daniel

    Yes...I know what you mean. But there's currently nothing we can do about it 'cept keep telling Apple of this problem.

    The only solution is to cmd-click the selected items that you want to deselect.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    It's been mentioned before. I don't think it is necessarily "counter-intuitive", because it provides a way to extend the selection down. But in doing that, they provide no way to "unselect" already-selected items. It's one or the other, and they chose to go with the "add to bottom of selection" behavior, presumably because if they made shift-down arrow do "unselect", there would be no way to do "add to bottom of selection".
  • Reply 7 of 10
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Most of the time when I do shift-arrow selection, I do not see the beginning of the selection, which makes the "add to bottom" useless. Frankly, I have never found it useful under any circumstances.

    On the other hand, I often want to select up or down to some item that is not yet visible in a small listbox. So I need to shift-arrow down blindly. I don't know if the item I want is coming up next or after 20 items, so I usually go one or two items over and back up. This is why the selection needs to be backwards adjustable.

    This belongs to my top 5 UI irritations in OS X. It burns me every day.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    What they should do: if one row is selected, shift and arrow adds more. Then it stores which arrow you pressed. Pressing the same arrow again (with shift) adds to the selection, whereas the other one reduces.

  • Reply 9 of 10
    Great! OK. It's not just me!

    What's the best way to let Apple know that we think this is a problem?

    - An online petition at ?

    - A bug filed through ADC at ?

    - A feedback report through ?

    - Another way?...

    Cheers Daniel
  • Reply 10 of 10
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    File a bug report. It's OK to do that for this type of thing.
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