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Selectable List Improvements in Helix 7.0.2

When creating an ad hoc query (selecting records in a list) Helix now selects discontiguous records by default: it is no longer necessary to hold the command key when adding records.

This technote provides details on this feature, and how to revert to the prior behavior.

Specification Change

In prior versions of Helix, creating an ad hoc query (selecting records in a list) was done by first clicking on one record, then holding the Command key down and clicking on additional records. You could also Shift-click to select a contiguous range or records.

The specification is changed only in that it is now possible to select discontiguous records without holding the command key. The prior behaviors continue to work essentially as they did before.

The complete specification for ad hoc query selection is now:

  • A single click on an unselected record selects it.
  • A single click on a selected record deselects it.
  • The Shift key modifier can be used to make contiguous selection of records. Shift-clicking a record selects all records from the previously-clicked record through the one clicked while the Shift key is pressed.
  • All selected records can be deselected at once by choosing ‘Clear Selection’ from the ‘Edit’ menu*, or by clicking in the area of the view outside the list.
    *Collection designers may move or remove this menu item, and may also add buttons to forms that clear the selection. Consult your collection designer for the specific implementation found in your collection.
  • A double click on a non-selected record opens that record in an associated entry view (if one has been designated by the collection designer) and no ad hoc query is created.
  • A double click on a previously selected record opens the associated entry view with the ad hoc query applied, so that only selected records can be accessed by the entry view. (Closing the entry view or returning to the list and double clicking an unselected record clears the ad hoc query.)

Due to the finer points of this specification, it should be noted that it is necessary to pause momentarily after making the last selection before double clicking to open the entry view with the ad hoc query set.

New Preference (Reverting to Old Behavior)

A new HxListClickAddToSelection preference has been added to Helix 7.0.2. Those who wish to disable this feature can set this preference to false on their systems.

When this preference is set to false, list selection is modified in two ways:

  • The user must hold the Command key down to perform a discontiguous selection.
  • Clicking on a record with no modifier keys down clears any previous selection.

The Helix Preference Editor has been updated to provide an easy method for changing this setting.

Additional Notes

HxListClickAddToSelection is a stopgap preference; a planned additional property for repeat rectangles will make this customizable on a list by list basis.

The original feature request on which this change is based was for the use of a checkbox for making list selections. Based on user feedback, we may choose to implement the full request in a future version.

Classic Helix included the ability to click and drag across a range of records to select them. This feature has not been implemented in macOS, and nobody’s complained.