How to make Ctrl+C perform a Cancel

In a recent comment, I was asked how to make Ctrl+C perform a Cancel. Before I get onto that, here’s a bit of history.

Back in the Dark Ages of DOS, the way to cancel a command was by holding down Ctrl and pressing C. The last release to work like this by default was Release 13 for DOS, released in 1994. I remember the bother it caused my users who were faced with the Windows version in which Esc was used to cancel things and Ctrl+C copied objects to the clipboard. It took me at least a year before I had totally removed Ctrl+C = Cancel from my muscle memory.

Until AutoCAD 2005, Autodesk provided an easy option to keep things the way they were by turning off the toggle Options > User Preferences > Windows standard accelerator keys. In recent AutoCAD releases, you have still been able to do it, but it’s a little more involved and uses the CUI command. Here’s how:

  • Enter the CUI command.
  • In the top left pane, burrow down to Keyboard Shortcuts > Shortcut Keys.
  • In the bottom left pane, scroll down to find the Cancel item. Click and drag it onto Shortcut Keys in the top left pane. Because of a long-standing auto-scroll annoyance in the CUI interface, you will find this easier if you drag off to the right, then up, then left onto Shortcut Keys.

That adds Ctrl+C = Cancel to the set of shortcut keys AutoCAD understands, but it won’t work yet because it will clash with the Ctrl+C = CopyClip shortcut key that’s already in there. We need to get rid of that before we’re finished in CUI, or more usefully, assign it to a different key:

  • Find Copy Clip in the Shortcut Keys list in the top left pane and click on it.
  • In the bottom right pane, find Access > Key(s). Where it says CTRL+C, change that to something else of your liking (e.g. CTRL+ALT+C). If you pick the [...] button, you will be able to record the keystroke sequence directly instead of typing it in and worrying about syntax.
  • Pick OK and you’re done.

This post may be directly useful to only a handful of people who are still holding out after all these years, but it also serves as an introduction to a more generally useful skill; setting up keyboard shortcuts in CUI.

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