Annoying inconsistency: closing windows with ESC or not?

some function windows can be closed comfortably and quickly with ESC, others are awkward to close specifically with the mouse…

It should be possible to close ALL windows in the same way (with ESC) (with the exception of the shortcut editor, of course)

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I do understand this, though there’s always the Alt+F4 shortcut for closing windows not handled by an Esc.

Interestingly, closing a window in Cubase with ESC dates back to the Atari days.

On Microsoft Windows, closing a window with Alt+F4 dates back to its earliest days, and was most famously used by the Chaos Computer Club displayed on banners at the back of Microsoft marketing events. You can still use Alt-F4 to shut down windows from the desktop (the desktop itself is a “window”).

Personally, it’s one issue I’ve always had with Cubase; pressing ESC should (intuitively) just stop what you’re doing, but if in e.g. a MIDI editor, it closes the editor window and “accepts” whatever changes you’ve made. Yes, it’s convenient for a quick workflow, but for the sake of one more mouse-click or key press, I’d rather have an Accept/Cancel option.

Isn’t it standard in Windows to be able to close certain child windows with Esc, such as tool and dialog windows?

Yes, but the generally understood function of the ESC key is to interrupt or escape out of what you’re doing. In the MIDI editors, it has the same effect as clicking an OK button in a dialog box, i.e. it accepts the change you’ve made even if you’d rather not.

This is just a minor quibble of mine and I’m not looking to change this, however it’s another example of the invonsistencies that exist. Given the overhaul of UI in C13, it may be that some of these will be addressed over time.

Hi, no. It’s up to the dev to create a listener for the Esc and close a form upon press.
But, many times, especially in modal forms with no “Yes/Cancel/No” choices, it’s common to set Esc to close the window.


From my experience there are a lot of apps on Windows that let you close dialogs with the Esc key. It is the equivalent of the Cancel button. The Enter key is the equivalent of the OK button.
Windows’ own “old” dialogs work in this way, too.

I must be misremembering. I haven’t programmed anything with the Windows API in years, but I have no recollection of having to specifically map the Esc key to cancel modal windows.

For the user it is not important whether the developer has to take care of it manually or if it is automatic. The important part is that the user experience should be the same across the board.

Well, that was my point. I was under the impression that it is standard behavior in Windows.

Closing a dialog window in Windows with ESC is fine – it should be the same as CANCEL, if one is provided, but hitting ESC and having the same effect as OK + CLOSE is not standard.