Saturday, September 07, 2013

A quick Xbench trick

When using Xbench as a terminology reference tool, in many translation applications you can select the test you want to look up by highlighting it, then using the Ctrl+Alt+Ins hotkey to invoke Xbench and send that text to Xbench's source search box (or Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to send that text to the target search box).

In certain applications, however  (for example in SDLX), these hotkeys do not work: if you highlight some text and press Ctrl+Alt+Ins Xbench appears, but in the search box you get the last content of your clipboard, instead of the text you had highlighted.

The workaround is to highlight the text to search, use Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard, and only then use the Ctrl+Alt+Ins (or Ctrl+Alt+Backspace) hotkeys.

Remember that most hotkeys can be changed in Xbench: if you do not want to use Ctrl+Alt+Ins and Ctrl+Alt+Backspace - for example because they are already used by another application - you can change them in the Settings window (Tools -> Settings -> Layout & Hotkeys).

For more information about Xbench and how it can help your translations, a good place to start is my presentation, which you can download from the Xbench tab above.


  1. Hi Riccardo,

    Thank you for this tip, some apps do not take any of the available input methods, so you've got to copy to the clipboard manually.

    Actually I personally prefer to work always in "manual mode" so I do not need to remember if the application supports or not automatic copy and paste as input method (this is set up in Tools->Settings).

    But I wanted to mention that when we initially designed Xbench, we chose Ctrl+Alt+Insert because the manual copy key combination we had in mind was Ctrl+Insert instead of Ctrl+C.

    The reason is that, although the sequence Ctrl+Insert, Ctrl+Alt+Insert involves 5 keys, it is almost instantaneous, as your fingers virtually do not move when pressing these 5 key sequence (it requires just a few seconds to practice it). If you use a regular desktop keyboard, you can do it without even looking at the keyboard because Crtl, Alt, and Insert are very easy to find.

    Ctr+Insert (Copy) and Shift+Insert (Paste) are the standard IBM CUA (Common User Access) keys for cut and paste. As far as I know, CUA has been adopted by Windows, Gnome and KDE, so typically they will work with nearly all applications in Windows and Linux/Unix.

    In Apple OS X, the IBM CUA is not applicable, as the Insert key was replaced by the Eject Key on Mac keyboards. The Eject key was used for a while to eject CDs from the CD drive until the whole CD drive itself was ejected from newer Macs.

    In short, I recommend that you try switching from Ctrl+C to Ctr+Insert, as I think you'll find it a lot more convenient.


  2. thanks Riccardo for the self explanatory lesson especially the customized hotkeys trick


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