Shortcut Keys

Do you have a favorite command in Campaign Cartographer that you use often? One that you wished hat a convenient keyboard shortcut to launch easily?

CC3+ may not have an easy-to use shortcut editor built in, but it still allow you to define shortcut keys for any command you want. All that is required is that the command is defined in the CC3+ menu, but even if it isn’t already defined there, it is easy enough to add it yourself. So if you’re like me and use the List command a lot, why not make it easy to access by adding Ctrl+L as a shortcut key for it?

Shortcut keys in CC3+ are defined in the menu files of the program. I’ll just stick to the basics on editing these as related to shortcut keys in this post, but if you are interested in more information, there is a chapter in the Tome of Ultimate Mapping about it, or you can have a look at this article.

Now, the basics you need to know about menu files are first and foremost that they are plain text files. They may carry the file name extension .mnu, which normally is unknown to Windows, but they are just text files, and can be opened with any plain text editor, like Notepad (I like to use Notepad++ myself but just plain old Notepad that comes with Windows works great), just make sure to switch the file type in the Open dialog from Text Files to All Files for the dialog to actually list them.

The second thing you need to know is that is that CC3+ has separate menu files for each mode, and this also means separate shortcut keys. For example, if you edit the dungeon menu to add a new shortcut key there, it will only be able when the program is in “dungeon mode”. When you work with overland maps, that shortcut won’t be available. This adds a lot of flexibility, and if you want a global shortcut, there is a global menu file (fcw32.imn) that can be used, although this requires a bit more setup the first time.

And the the third thing is simply that all the menu files lives in the CC3+ data directory, which unless you chose to customize the location during setup, will be at C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus. Exactly which files you have depends on which addons you have installed, but you should at the very least have fcw32.mnu (Overland), dungeon.mnu (Dungeon Designer) and city.mnu (City Designer) even if you only have the core program.

So, let us start by looking at one of these files. I won’t explain all the details here, for that use the resources I linked earlier, but the menu files contain two main types of data. It is the program menus, and it is the toolbars with the buttons. You can easily see the difference between these, as all toolbar buttons start with a hash sign and a number (ex #404), while menu entries does not (This article describes adding toolbar buttons). Let us look at the Save menu entry, which has the common Ctrl+S shortcut key. The line from fcw32.mnu looks like this:

&Save	^S:~|SAVE;

The highlighted part here is the shortcut key. It is not easy to see on a web page like that, but that spacing after the word save and before the ^-character is single tabulator. In this line, the ^-character means to hold down the control key, and the letter S is simply the S-key, so this shortcut means Control+S.

Now, let us look at the line for the List command.


Now, what is the difference here? Two, actually, it is missing the ~-character, but that is linked to how the command is used, and has no impact on shortcut keys, so let us just ignore it. The main difference then is obviously, it doesn’t have a shortcut key defined. So, let us add it by changing the line like this:

&List	^L:|LIST;

Again, that spacing have to be a tabulator character, and due to how tabulators work (They don’t add a fixed size space, they jump to the next predefined stop) don’t worry if the spacing looks shorter or longer in your file, as long as it is a single tabulator, you’re fine. Don’t try to compensate by using multiple tabulators, and don’t use space at all here.

Now, that should be it. Save the file (you should probably make a backup of the original file before overwriting it), start CC3+, make sure you are in the overland mode, and if you look at the info menu, you should now see that the menu lists a shortcut key after the List command.

And that should be it. From now on (while in overland mode), you can press Ctrl+L to instantly start the List command.


So, what if the command you need isn’t in the menus? Well, it is easy to add it. First of all, you need to know the command line equivalent of the command. Most commands are in the menus, but some new ones might not be. For this example, let us assume you wish to have the command that automatically creates an appropriate sized screen around your map, the COLLARAUTO command.

All you need is to figure out the right place to position it in the menu file. I recommend identifying another command that you want this to appear below, and then simply add this to the next line in the menu file. Just make sure to not leave any blank lines around, you have probably already seen that there are no empty lines in the menu files, and nor should it be. This command sounds like it fits in the edit menu, so I am going to place it below the Change Background Color command. I just find the spot in the file, make a new line for my command, ending up with something like this (I’ve included the line above and below to show it in context):

Change background color:|CHANGEBC;
Create Screen	^E:|COLLARAUTO;

And voila, we can now press Ctrl+E to quickly create a screen. (Note that I found a free shortcut key by searching the file). If you are wondering about the ampersand (&) characters that appeared in some command names in the file and not others, these are accelerator keys used for quickly selecting things from the menu, but while shortcut keys work at any time, accelerator keys only works when the menu are open, they are intended to help you quickly select from an opened menu. And as such, they are optional


Now, to finish out with creating a global shortcut that doesn’t just apply to a single mode. For this to work, you will need to create a file called fcw32.imn if you don’t already have one. This is a text file like the other menu files, but the contents of this one is being added to the menu regardless of mode. So be a bit careful with this one. For example, to add the two shortcut keys we have been working on to this file, you can make the contents of the file something like this.

List	^L:|LIST;
Create Screen	^E:|COLLARAUTO;

What this will do is that it will add a new menu at the end of the menu bar called Custom, and you will find all your custom shortcuts there.  You should obviously NOT define your shortcuts in the individual .mnu files if you add them here. Also, make sure the file is actually called fcw32.imn, if you create it with Notepad, it loves adding that .txt extension, making the file actually called fcw32.imn.txt, which won’t work. And if you have Windows set up with default settings, it will even hide that last .txt extension, making it even more difficult to spot the problem. But if windows lists the Type of the file as “Text Document”, this is probably what happened.


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