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Ed Gerson wrote:
How do I reconfigure the ACR interface so that the thumbs and the sliders are adjacent to each other?
Well, you might try bribing Thomas Knoll...
But seriously, the targeting of key strokes has to be based on cursor hover...the moment your curser is active in the slider area the keys are then taken over by keystrokes in the slider area. How could the application possible know that even though you are working in the sliders, you want focus on the film strip?
You cannot reconfigure the ACR UI in this way or really at all.
There may be some workarounds that would be acceptable:
1) Set your mouse-pointer speed or at least acceleration higher so it doesn't take so much physical movement to get from one side or another. There may also be a keystroke to return focus to the thumbsnails but I am not aware of it.
2) Set your mouse-pointer screen-mode to wrap at the edge of the monitor so if you have only one monitor going off the righthand side will wrap around to the lefthand side.
3) Use Lightroom instead of Bridge/ACR. In LR3, you merely have to mouse slightly off the slider you're adjusting until the parameter name is no longer highlighted and the pointer focus releases from that slider so you can use the arrows after only moving the mouse a slight distance. This is in LR3 beta on Windows. Not sure about how the Mac might work. In LR 2.x and earlier the left/right arrows remain active for the thumbnails even when you are using the mouse on the slider, but I wanted to tell you how the current LR3 beta works in case you upgraded and were immediately disappointed. It may be that the UI for LR 3 will work differently once it's released next year, too. The reason the arrows are different in LR3 is that while the up-down arrows change the parameter value by a coarse amount (e.g. +/-5), in LR3 the left-right arrows change it by +/-1 but there is no way to do the +/-1 in LR 2.x because the L/R arrows always move the thumbnail focus.
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It looks like there is a way.
While dragging sliders or using the up arrow or down arrow keys in the develop settings, I'm able to go to the previous/next image by pressing Command+left arrow or Command+right arrow. (ACR 5.5 on Mac OS X, so try the Control key if you're on Windows.) You can keep your mouse over on the right side of the monitor because you can use the above shortcut to switch thumbnails on the left side.
And unlike clicking thumbnails with the mouse, the above technique keeps the focus on the last edited setting as you go from image to image, so you can use Tab and the up/down arrows to edit any setting as you switch images, without even touching the mouse. You wouldn't be able to do that if you reconfigured the interface for closer clicking, since clicking loses focus.
I wanted to shorten the distance from thumbs to sliders.
Conrad suggest hopping from one to the other by shortcut keys. Bingo.
You've been here before?
The first two answers were quite helpful for future use, and are appreciated.
Unfortunately, I think my original post misdirected you.