AWIPS Tips: Using Hotkeys in CAVE


Welcome back to AWIPS Tips!

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most useful shortcuts in CAVE – keyboard hotkeys! Our documentation has an entire page dedicated to defining keyboard shortcuts in CAVE and can be an excellent reference. The keyboard shortcuts on that page are broken down into different times and places where those keys are active while using CAVE. For today’s AWIPS Tips though, we’ll just focus on some of the D2D Menu Shortcuts.

Open Map Editor (Ctrl+T)

You can quickly open a new, empty map editor by using Ctrl+T. You do not lose the current editor you’re working with, a new tab just gets added about the D2D display window as seen below. Further documentation can be found in our AWIPS User Manual.

Open new map editor with keyboard shortcut

Saving and Loading Displays and Procedures (Ctrl+S, Ctrl+Shift+S, Ctrl+N, Ctrl+Shift+L, Ctrl+O)

Displays can be saved remotely to our EDEX server using Ctrl+S, and locally to your file system using Ctrl+Shift+S. Similarly, new procedures can be saved to our EDEX using the Ctrl+N shortcut. These shortcuts are shown in the example below:

Save procedures and displays with keyboard shortcuts

In addition to saving, displays and procedures can also be loaded using the Ctrl+Shift+L shortcut (for Displays) and Ctrl+O shortcut (for Procedures), as shown below. More information about saving displays and procedures can be found in our AWIPS User Manual.

Load procedures and displays with keyboard shortcuts

Frame Navigation (←, →, Ctrl+←, Ctrl+→, Page Up, Page Down, Ctrl+L)

When loading most resources, you will end up with multiple frames of data. Shown in our example is model precipitation data from the GFS. You can easily cycle through the data using the left and right arrow keys to navigate one frame at a time, forwards and backwards. You can also use the Ctrl + ← and Ctrl + → to instantly jump to the first or last frame loaded, respectively.

Cycle through frames with keyboard shortcuts

In addition to manually cycling through frames, you can also activate the loop function by either pressing the loop icon in the toolbar (shown in the snippet below) or checking the checkbox in the loop properties dialog. Once the loop has started you can modify the loop speed by using the Page Up and Page Down keys to increase or decrease the loop speed.

Change loop speed with keyboard shortcuts

The specific properties of the loop can be adjusted even more from the loop properties dialog. This menu can be accessed either from the gear icon in the toolbar, from the Options menu, or from the Ctrl + L shortcut. The example below opens the Loop Properties using the hotkey and then adjusts the loop speed using those respective hotkeys as well:

Access loop properties with keyboard shortcut

Time options (Ctrl+Shift+T)

The Time Options setting can either be on or off, and its status can be viewed in the Options menu. By default the options are off. You can turn them on either with the checkbox in the Options menu, or using the Ctrl+Shift+T hotkey. Once the Time Options are on, when you go to load data products, the Time Options dialog will pop up before loading any data. This process is shown below, and for more information about the dialog please see our documentation.

Modify time options with keyboard shortcut

Image Props (Ctrl+I)

If you have data loaded, one of the ways to modify the look of that data is with the Image Properties dialog. This dialog can be opened either using the icon on the toolbar, from the Options menu, or using the Ctrl + I keyboard shortcut. This dialog allows you to change the color map, adjust brightness, contrast, and alpha levels, among other things, and is shown below:

Access image properties with keyboard shortcut

Print (Ctrl+P)

If you want to quickly print the display, you can do so by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + P.

Print current screen with keyboard shortcut

Clear (Ctrl+Shift+C)

To clear your display you can either use the button in the toolbar or the quick hotkey Ctrl+Shift+C as shown here:

Clear current map editor with keyboard shortcut

Locate cursor (F12)

Finally, we’ll take a look at one of the lesser known keyboard shortcuts – finding the cursor! Sometimes, you may have difficulty locating your cursor, because depending on the data you have loaded, it can get lost or “hidden” in the display. To quickly find your cursor, use the helpful keyboard shortcut F12. This activates a locator square around your cursors location as shown below:

Find cursor with keyboard shortcut

Just for a quick reference, not only can the hot key shortcuts be found in our documentation, but many of the ones highlighted today can be found in the application’s menus and toolbar icons as tooltips shown here:

View keyboard shortcuts in menus and toolbar

Thanks again for checking in with us today to learn more about keyboard hotkeys in CAVE. Please check back in two weeks for the next blog post.

To view archived blogs, visit the AWIPS Tips blog tag, and get notified of the latest updates from the AWIPS team by signing up for the AWIPS mailing list. Questions or suggestions for the team on future topics? Let us know at

This blog was posted in reference to v20.3.2-2 of NSF Unidata AWIPS


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