Fix for Modifier Keys not working in Adobe CS2 Applications

by Andy Polaine on October 9, 2007

It’s not really on-topic for Playpen, but I’m hoping this might help others out there who have had the same problem with modifier keys suddenly not working in Adobe’s CS2 applications like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. I haven’t had a chance to try this with CS3 yet.

It’s pretty dull unless you’ve been bugged with this problem, in which case it’s really useful to know. So hit the “Read More” link for the a solution.

The Problem

So, here’s the problem – you’re working away and for some reason the modifier keys no longer work. In something like Illustrator this is really crippling – you can’t shift-drag to scale something in the correct ration, you have to ‘manually’ swap to the hand tool to drag the window around instead of just using the spacebar and the same goes for magnifying too.

Is it Entourage?

If you’re mad enough to be using Microsoft’s bloated, worthless mail/contacts application, Entourage, then this might be the problem. If so, check out Adobe’s Knowledge Base article on the subject.

Other voodoo solutions

I Googled around for ages and there is no shortage of tips and problems that people are having, but it all seems very intermittent and hard to trace.

Do you use Airfoil or Application Enhancer?

None of the above helped me at all and then I stumbled across some info about someone having a problem with another application that used Application Enhancer (and now, of course, I can’t actually find that info – hence this blog post).

If you use Rogue Amoeba’s brilliant app, Airfoil it also uses Application Enhancer. I use Airfoil to stream any audio from my Mac to my Airport Express in my living room where the good hi-fi is.

Application Enhancer does all sorts of other things apart from hijacking the audio stream and it turned out to be the source of my modifier key problem. Fortunately there is also a simple solution.

  1. First of all make sure you’ve got the latest update of Application Enhancer.

  2. Then go to your System Preferences and select the Application Enhancer prefpane.

  3. Select the Master Exclude List tab and add your Adobe apps to the list, one by one. You should end up with this (I’ve also got Diskwarrior excluded too on mine).

<img src=’http://www.polaine.com/playpen/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/ape_exclude_list_thumb.jpg’ alt=’Application Enhancer’s Master Exclude List’ width=’400′ height=’337’/>

(Click to enlarge image)

Finally, enjoy. I didn’t even have to log-out and in again I don’t think, although I did restart the Adobe apps to be sure everything was cool.

I hope your Googling finds this and it works for you. It was driving me insane right in the middle of a stressful project.

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