Undo: the Graphic Designer’s Favorite Command

The truth behind that USEFUL command everybody (who uses a computer for a living) owes their life to

I was throwing some lines on Illustrator the other day, and suddenly, a thought crossed my mind; how many times do I use undo (command+z on Mac, ctrl+z on a PC) on a project… a hundred times? A thousand??

After that thought, a feeling of gratefulness followed: I love undo. I must use it at least a thousand times on each project. And not only in Illustrator. When you’re cleaning a picture in Photoshop, what do you use like a madman? UNDO. When you’re coding an html, php or css (or any other language, really) file, what command do you constantly use? UNDO. Even when writing emails, I use it instead of just deleting sometimes. I had to know, who blessed humanity with this beautiful gift… This is what I found.


What is Undo?

Undo is a command in many computer programs. It erases the last change done to the document reverting it to an older state. In some more advanced programs such as graphic processing, undo will negate the last command done to the file being edited.

Source: Wikipedia

This means, you have the ability to revert any mistake you make, by just pressing a couple keys, which is a huge advantage over any task made without a computer.


The Origin of Undo

Apparently, the first software that included an undo command was Bravo; released in 1974 and developed by Xerox PARC, was the first WYSIWYG document preparation program. After releasing the software, a research pointed out that users though that It “would be quite useful to permit users to ‘take back’ at least the immediately preceding command”.

Thi computer may have used Bravo, therefore, Undo.

IBM 5100 Portable Computer (1975) – Photograph by Cliff Ayotte


Who Invented Undo

As to who invented it, I would credit Butler Lampson and Charles Simonyi, who were the creators of the Bravo software, but it’s also awesome knowing that the idea came out of a poll made to users.

I decided I was going to find a way to count the times I use undo on my next project. I’ll let you know how much I use it.

As always, thanks for reading, and please share!


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