PDF Reader: toolbar button for hand tool

Is there a plan to put a button on the PDF reader toolbar that toggles between the Hand Tool and the normal cursor? The buttons for things like highlighting text flip the cursor from Hand Tool mode, which is obviously nicely ergonomic, but it would be nice to have a nearby button that flipped the cursor back to Hand Tool when the user has finished annotating. I know it's in the View menu; it would just be one click less. Not exactly life-changing, but useful :)
  • I'm not even sure why we have the hand tool in the menu — if anything I'd say we should just remove it altogether. It's not the default mode.

    What are you actually using it for? I'm not sure what one would use it for that's not adequately addressed by vertical or horizontal scrolling with a trackpad or mouse.
  • edited July 22, 2021
    I guess it's just a matter of personal preference. I've always liked using the hand tool in apps like Adobe Acrobat for moving back and forth in pdf documents. Given that, at least on my copy of Acrobat, which is getting old this is the default mode, I'm guessing that I'm not completely alone in this. I was glad to see that the Zotero pdf reader has it, and I use it a lot. You're quite right, of course: there are many other ways of moving around documents, and if it wasn't there I'd be using them. Is there a reason you'd want to remove that option?
  • @dstillman Often being able to drag from the middle of the page is a lot more convenient than having to go over to the scroll bar on the side, especially for accessibility
  • Good point. It also allows for more precision when you're examining a figure or table that's larger than the visible window so you're having to scroll back and forth a lot to take it all in.
  • @bwiernik: I wasn't suggesting using scrollbars. My point was that you can just pan using your trackpad or scrollwheel (the latter with Shift for horizontal). The hand tool doesn't seem to really add anything.

    (Preview on macOS doesn't have a visible hand tool at all, though you can make one appear temporarily if you hold down Option+Space.)
  • True, but back to my comment about precision: scrollwheels tend to move the document in jumps of several lines. Sometimes it's useful to be able to scroll the document in smaller increments and position it exactly where you need it. Back to my original question: aside from the question of whether it would be helpful to have a cursor toggle button on the toolbar, the hand tool is there now; is there a good reason for removing it?
  • Is this about the desktop program? If so, you can enable the hand tool or selection tool by pressing "H" or "S" on your keyboard.

    See here for the current list of pdf-reader keyboard shortcuts:

    Here's some related discussion:

    I guess some automatic switching between the hand and selection tools could be nice. You would get the hand tool when hovering blank areas and the selection tool when hovering text.
  • (BTW, Sumatra PDF supports this automatic switching. A proper hand mode is possible with the right mouse button or with "Shift + left mouse", see here.)
  • Hah! Thanks a bunch for this very useful information. Those shortcuts do the job very nicely, don't they?
  • +1 for this feature.

    I'm using the new Zotero PDF reader on a 10" Tablet and it's perfect for reading and highlighting text, but having the handtool in the toolbar would increase the convenience immensely.
    Typically there is no mousewheel, keyboard or shortcuts on a tablet and the tiny scrollbar is hard to hit precisely with my finger. Usually it opened up the right info box, which was annoying. I could solve it by switching the layout to stacked view, but still it's not easy to scroll by dragging the scrollbar (carelessly dragging can easily put you further a good amount of pages). The hand tool is awesome in this case, it would make it just a bit easier not to open up the view Menu every time. Using Zotero Flatpak on Fedora with an ASUS Transformer Mini.

    Thanks for the new reader, great work! Made me switch to Zotero from another Software starting with 'M' ;-)
  • +1 here

    I use the hand tool more than I use scrolling. I feel it gives me more control.
  • +1 too...

    I like to use my 2-in-1 PC, and right now it's kinda impossible to scroll through a PDF in the editor if I'm in tablet mode. When I try to tap the scroll bar, I often miss and open the side menu.

    I really like the idea of the in-app editor... but like, I can't read anything comfortably in it.
  • @doe1097, @nickdotreid: I'm not familiar with how things work when using Windows/Linux desktop software via touch, but I'm not sure why you'd be using the scrollbars. Do you not have some sort of scroll gesture? I would assume most of the OS would be unusable without that. How do you scroll a webpage? It doesn't seem like this is something every program should have to support.

    Do you get the same behavior in the pdf.js demo in a browser?

    (To reiterate for people not using touch devices, if you have a keyboard you should be able to press H to activate the Hand tool, though it seems to be a bit finicky at the moment — we'll try to fix that.)
  • @dstillman I'm running Ubuntu (24-something, the current LTS)

    There isn't a scroll gesture -- I've been curious if it's a driver thing or what. I think Windows 10 ran the same way -- but I'm not running it right now, and can't remember.

    With pdf.js, I can [hand tool?] by default. In Zotero, I highlight text by default, so if I miss the scrollbar - I highlight some random text.

    Most things scroll when dragged. By default, Firefox in Ubuntu is setup to highlight text -- so there are a zillion stackoverflow posts like this

    I just tried pressing the "H" key -- and that seems to work like a charm. 100% had no idea that was there.

    IMHO -- Zotero adds plenty of functionality without this, and I've been using an external PDF reader/editor. I'm having a different issue opening a PDF from within Zotero's default directory, but I assume that's a weird permissions issue (and I'm too lazy to fix it)
  • Here's a very crude mockup of how I'd love to see in the toolbar. The 'H' shortcut works half the times, don't know why.

  • @Gabriel_p
    The 'H' shortcut works half the times, don't know why.
    Which Zotero version are you using?
  • I'm using v6.0.8. I usually need to press 'S' before 'H' so that it will work
  • I'd also appreciate it. I'm reading using a touch device (without keyboard) for reading, and not being able to scroll via touch or using the hand tool is cumbersome.
    Adding the hand tool to the toolbar would be an easy way to improve this situation.
  • I use horizontal scrolling in Zotero to see several pages at once and a standard mouse (with no gestures) and I really believe that the hand tool belongs on the right side of the highlight tools, maybe with a small separation space. Just my opinion. Thanks!
  • Is this request being attended? I use Zotero in tabler mode, without the keyboard attached, only a stylus, and the hand tool button is essential
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