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Modifier Keys Stop Working (Alt, Shift, Space)

Mar 30, 2010 8:16 PM

On three separate Macs at different locations in the past few months, this problem continues to crop up in Illustrator CS4.

 

Modifier keys like Alt, Shift and Space stop working. So no proportional resize, no Hand Tool navigation with Space Bar, no Alt+click duplication, etc. Restarting Illustrator doesn't fix it, and restarting the computer only fixes it temporarily, sometimes only for a few minutes.

 

Other applications ARE affected; when I tried typing in TextEdit during a recent glitch episode, the Alt key wouldn't work there either. However, the problem always seems to originate for me when working in Illustrator CS4. Obviously it's not unique to one computer or even one user's preferences. But the problem has gotten so bad recently it has really hampered my work.

 

Any help is IMMENSELY appreciated!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2010 12:11 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    This can be related to a conflict with Quicken, Entourage or Microsoft software needing to be updated or conflicts with other software.

     

    If you do a google seach for this you will probably find this and other issues posted.

     

    Also the system preferences like spotlight and dashboard and exposé keyboard shortcuts can conflict.

     
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    Mar 31, 2010 7:08 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    Did you update Acrobat 8 by any chance

     

    perhaps it is related to this

     

    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/534/cpsid_53468.html

     
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    Mar 31, 2010 7:52 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    Is the same image of Mac OS X being installed on all of the Macs? If it is, re-create the image from something known-good and reinstall, or simply reinstall the OS (via archive and install should work). I saw something similar where someone's computer wouldn't type q, but it would type Q. This persisted in most applications, and restarts eventually stopped solving the problem.

     

    Something to try: do the opposite side shift or alt keys function normally? If they do, this is a hardware/OS issue. If those keys don't....still could be third party software or ~/Library related.

     
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:18 PM   in reply to nDriskell

    Do you have any processes running in the background which hold an open port on the internet like a VPN, a scheduler which makes timed calls for data or something similar? The Mac OS will block the use of modifier keys when there is a chance that malware may use them to do system calls silently in the background. Try opening the Activity Monitor app and see what is running. Then try killing apps and retest.

     
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    Apr 27, 2010 5:02 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    Thanks for the advice on this issue! I have been researching it all over, hard to find an answer. But as soon as I closed Firefox, my modifier keys starting working without restarting the program or the computer. Thank you so much for this answer, it was driving me batty!

     
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    Apr 27, 2010 5:57 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    nDriscell and lee,

     

    I believe it is one of the Firefox plug-ins that is the offender; Firefox itself should not mess with Illy.

     
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    May 5, 2010 5:32 AM   in reply to nDriskell

    In my case as soon as I closed iChat, the modifier keys start working again. I m still using Firefox. However I believe for some systems it can be one of the Firefox extensions as somone mentioned above.

     
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    May 17, 2010 10:17 PM   in reply to Mohd.Osman

    I had the same issue when using Firefox. But the modifier keys would only stop working once I logged into my gmail.....

    Once I'd done that I had to quit Firefox to regain the use of the modifier keys in illustrator. Weird.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2010 5:30 PM   in reply to Jacob Bugge

    This JUST happened to me and Firefox was the culprit. Discovered by mistake. I agree - Illy should not be so easily affected.

     
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