Switch Between Databases (Files) Click or Funtion Key Needed

RM9 needs a simple one, at most two, click or function key way to switch between databases (files).

The Files screen in RM9 needs to show which databases (files) are open, not just the current file.


They had the F5 function key in windows for that back in RM8.
I miss it in RM9 too.

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The discussion of the F5 function that has been lost has taken place several times. I have no idea why it quit working. But irrespective of the lost F5 function, I agree that the Files screen (or some screen!) in RM needs to show all RM databases that are open.

I realize that RM has to work in both Windows and Mac. But I’m accustomed to most Windows apps that can open multiple windows indicating in some obvious manner that there are multiple windows open. Typically I can see the multiple windows in the Windows Task Bar or with the Windows Alt-Tab function. Nothing like that is available when RM9 has two databases open. It’s like you are flying blind.

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On mac just swipe up to see all open windows for all open apps.
Or swipe down to see all open windows for the current open app.
Command Tab to cycle through open apps.
Command ` (gave) to cycle through open windows in the current app.

I don’t typically have 2 databases open at the same time. In reviewing this post I just noticed that, on mac, there is a top level menu labelled “Window” that shows the open Rootsmagic windows. For each open window, the list includes the file path and file name of the associated RM Db.

I had never noticed it until today and am not implying that it’s a substitute for F5 or some other shortcut key; just pointing out that it does provide a listing of all open windows including the db name and provides a way to toggle the in-focus window. Is there a similar menu on Windows OS?

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No, there is not. The Windows key + arrow keys give some of that functionality, as far as moving an instance of a database between sides of a monitor at full height or in the middle at reduced height with an aspect ratio that might be the same as the monitor’s, and between monitors. Windows does not provide a list of RM windows. Clicking on the RM icon in the Task Bar does seem to unhide a minimised RM window. The loss of function for the “Next Window” - F5 key would seem to be more impactful on Windows users than on Mac users.

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All Function keys broke in an update to the programming tools. We are waiting on a fix from the developer.


Again with the development tools? No wonder Bruce won’t divulge what tools he is using, he is trying to protect us from accidentally using them in our own projects.

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I have to ask: do any of those things work for RM8 and RM9 on a Mac? I really am curious. The reason I am curious is that similar facilities exist on Windows except that they don’t work for RM8 or RM9 on Windows.

Yes, they do really work for RM9 (and I have no reason to think that they won’t work for RM8). I think this is just base OS function way out of the control/influence of RM.

I forgot to mention that the mac os also allows you to have up to 16 different desktop spaces open at once with user-chosen windows and applications specific to each. Going beyond 4 spaces can get confusing but having separate desktops the windows/apps for a certain purpose can be handy.

Windows 10 and 11 support this functionality as well. But since RM doesn’t run multiple instances, it wouldn’t be possible to move an instance to a different desktop in Windows.

For those who may wonder how you access mult-desktop on Windows 11, look for this icon on your taskbar:

Yippee! Windows 7 and above allows that also!

I’m not sure I understand all the proper terminology. But if I open two different databases at the same time with RM8 or RM9, I only see RM once in Windows. I guess that’s what is meant by RM not running multiple instances.

If I open two different Web sites in a browser in two different windows, or if I open two different Word files in two different windows, if I open two different Excel files in two different Windows, then I see Chrome twice and Microsoft Word twice or Microsoft Excel twice. The same thing is true of lots of other apps I run. I don’t know if those apps are running multiple instances or not. But I can see the apps twice from Windows. The same is not true for RM8 or RM9. I don’t know the Mac, but Mac users seem to be saying that if you open two different RM databases on a Mac then you see RM twice.

I’ve just experimented a little more with the Mac interface.

I typically use multiple desktops on my Mac, which are known in Mac-speak as spaces. I usually have RM9 in one, RM7 in another, browser in another, etc. (it is very easy - and quick - to swipe sideways to switch rapidly between them, and this seems to fit my way of working.)

Initially using one space for a pedigree view in RM9, I opened 2 people detail views and then moved each of the 3 windows to separate spaces. I then opened a second RM9 file from the File tab and then moved its pedigree window to a fourth space. So each window was on a different space or desktop. I could then normally interact with each of those 4 windows/spaces. (I guess I could have continued until I was at the RM9 limit of open files and open detail people views per file.)

Hope that clarifies things for the curious.

Edit: Minor edits made to tidy my words.

Yes it does. Much thanks.

I consider myself a pretty fluent Windows user, and I don’t know how to do those kinds of things with RM9 on Windows. If other Windows users could enlighten us further, it would be most interesting.

I do know that if I had a bigger screen, I could take my main RM9 window out of full screen and I could take my Edit Person windows out of full screen and then I could get all those windows on the screen at the same time. And if I opened two different databases and took them both out of full screen, then I can get them both on the screen at the same time. Indeed, that’s the only way in RM9 to do a drag and drop.

But (and this is a big “but”), I don’t know of any way from the Windows Task Bar or from Alt-Tab or from those kinds of Windows things to know that those RM9 windows even exist if they have been minimized or covered up. That’s kind of why I wonder if the RM developers are running it on two or three humongous monitors all at the same time and that they wouldn’t see the navigational issues I see between RM’s windows on Windows. Or maybe the developers are working primarily on Macs. It’s hard to know.

But no matter if you are on Windows or a Mac, I don’t think you can see the main Media tab and the main Sources tab and the main People tab on the screen at the same time. That’s one of the many problems I see with using the main left tabs as the main menu instead of having an actual menu in the traditional sense.

I know it’s picayune and maybe a little off topic, but one of the things I find most frustrating about the RM8/RM9 user interface is the inability to dismiss where I am and to go back to where was. Suppose I’m in the main People tab (Pedigree View or Family View or Descendant View - it doesn’t matter which). Suppose I then go to the main Publish tab to run a report. I get into a modal sub-window which I have to X out of, and doing so doesn’t put me back into the main People tab where I was. Instead, I then have to remember to click the main People tab just to “go back”.

Because I have to run the modal report window under Publish in full screen mode to have enough space, I have to click the X in the far upper right hand corner of the modal sub-window to dismiss the sub-window. That makes doing so such a habit that I end up doing it while in the non-modal parts of RM. That gets me a message doing a backup and shutting down all of RM, which I don’t want to do. All I want to do after running a report is just “Go Back”, and it’s not there. And even if I had large dual monitors, I’m pretty sure I would have to X out of the modal report window before I could click on the main People tab. It’ just frustrating. I’ve been doing it for multiple years now. I’m used to it, but it’s still very unnatural and frustrating.

Yeppers. Some applications can be launched multiple times and operate independantly in their own memory spaces. For the examples that you gave (Word, Excel, Chrome) … all those applications, or at least the most recent versions, on Windows have been set up to to work that way. Opening a new document actually opens a new instance of the app.

RM is not designed to work that way, at least not for Windows. You can’t launch several instances simultaneously. (I’ve tried.) And all the open databases reside in the shared execution memory space of that single RM instance.

From what @JP1 describes, it sounds like the Mac version is architected differently.

I think it’s just a characteristic of mac os. All of the RM windows are still in a single instance. Mac just lets you drag an independent window into a different space, which is akin to a virtual monitor. In the example Jerry used, while I can drag the Edit Person window into it’s own “space”, when I run a report, I cannot drag the report in it’s own space. To go from a report back to the People screen I still have to deal with that report screen before I can work on a person. In fact, if with a report window open I then swipe to a space with the Edit Person window, the report window jumps in front of the Edit Person screen. There’s is no magic bullet, you still need to close the report window to do work on People.

This thread is about database switching. The Edit Person windows are ridiculously easy. Even if the minimized windows (shown just above the task bar) pop back up behind the main screen (as windows are traversed)… there are buttons on the bottom status bar that bring them back into focus:

Ideally, they would work similar Database buttons along the top:


On mac, you see 2 windows for 2 different databases and each window can be assigned to a different desktop space. Within one space you have the same problem with seeing two menu items in the same database at the same time. A duplicate of the current file would allow this. RM 9 ignores mac’s standard menus for its own sidebar one.
See screenshot of 2 open databases in one desktop each with an edit person screen open. A swipe up shows all 4 windows and a click moves to that one.