Managing multiple figures in a GUI
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I have 2 figures in a GUI and I want to have one of them (smaller one) always on top of the other one (larger one) even when the larger one is the active figure. How can I achieve that?
Note: I don't want to have the smaller figure as a 'modal' since I am actively interacting with the larger one.
Walter Roberson on 25 May 2012
Unfortunately in some window managers, only the upper-most window can receive keyboard input. On those systems, this is not under the control of the individual programs.
The two relevant controls in window managers are often known as "autoraise" and "click to type". "click to type" means that you need to click on a window in order for it to receive keyboard input, but does not in itself imply anything about the window being brought to the foreground. "autoraise" means that as soon as you interact with a window it is brought to the foreground.
For many years I worked on a Unix system configured with autoraise and "click to type" both turned off. I found that to be very productive. For example I could have a small document with some text I needed in the foreground, and have my larger active window underneath, and then I could transcribe from the one to another with both areas of interest visible. With the OS-X system I am using now, the document I am typing into must be the foreground, so I would have to keep raising my edit window to type to it, hiding the window that had the information I needed to type in. A challenge to short term memory.