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Saturday, March 28, 2009One shortcut I use from the old Windows 3.1 days is to double click at the top-left icon of a window in order to close it:
It is not that I dislike the "x" at the right of the window, or that I have irreconcilable differences with Alt-F4, it is just that sometimes the "double click at the top left" is faster. I use all 3 methods to close windows. If I am typing, then Alt-F4 is of course faster, and if I am using the mouse, then it depends on where the cursor is.
If the cursor is near the bottom, I will right click the taskbar and close it from there. If at the top left, then double click the app icon. If at the top right, then click the "x".
As we have the menu bar at the left, and the most used menus (File and Edit) at the left too, and the most used icons in the toolbars normally at the left, it just happens that most times the mouse is around the top left, and so it is the preferred choice.
But, now, with the new trend in applications to completely disregard old traditions in order to gain some vertical pixels, I start to see many apps are just forgetting about the "double click at the left" thingy. Here we have a screenshot of Google Chrome:
I won't say it isn't smart. They put the tabs inside the title bar, so you get like 30 extra pixels for surfing the web. But now, tell me, how do I manage to double click the left icon to close it?
And Google is not alone in this crusade to save the pixels. Let's look now at Excel 2007:
Again, the toolbar is inside the title bar, and there is no icon to close or show the system menu. But, Microsoft engineers were considerate with the two of us who actually use that top-left icon that is going the way of the dodo. If you double click on the office menu, it will behave as if you had double clicked the icon, and close the application. Actually, it is even faster now to close the app without moving kilometers to the right, because the big fat circle is a much easier target than either the old icon or the "x" at the right.
A nice thing to consider when doing your own ribbon applications. Once you get used to double clicking the orb, there is no going back!
Trivia: In the title of this post I refer to the "fastest" way to close Excel with a mouse. This not only refers to the fact that the "orb" is bigger than the "x" but also to the fact that double clicking the "orb" menu will close down all open windows, not just the active one, as the old big "x" did it in Excel 2003 or Alt-F4 does it still in 2007. So if you need to close a lot of open Excel windows, double clicking the orb will be much faster.
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