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Wasmer Consulting - NMPlot - User's Guide - Printing Plots


NMPlot User's Guide, Chapter 15: Printing Plots

NMPlot lets you print any plot. You can choose a scale to print the plot at, and add a detailed legend.

Print Dialog Box

To print a plot, you can:

The standard Microsoft Windows Print dialog box appears.

The exact appearance of this dialog box will vary, depending on the version of Windows you are using. However, all versions let you choose a printer. Familiarity with this dialog box is assumed. Choose a printer, and press OK. Your plot is sent to the selected printer.

Page Setup

Microsoft Window's standard Page Setup dialog box lets you select the paper orientation (portrait or landscape) and page margins of your printer.

The exact appearance of this dialog box will vary, depending on the version of Windows you are using. Familiarity with this dialog box is assumed.

To display the Page Setup dialog box, you can:

Print Options

Choose Print Options from the File menu to display the Print Options dialog box. Use it to control how plots are printed.

The Print Options dialog box is a Multiple Page dialog box. See Multiple Page Dialog Boxes for more information.

Scale

Use the Scale page of the Print Options dialog box to set the scale at which a plot is printed.

Select how the scale is determined.

Area to Print

Use the Area To Print page of the Print Options dialog box to select the portion of your plot that is printed.

Select the area to print. You have two choices.

Note:

If the Area to Print is not the same shape as the paper on which a plot is printed (i.e., if the aspect ratios are different), the area printed will be larger that the area requested. For example, if you select an Area to Print that is square, and then print on paper that is tall and narrow, the requested square area will fill the paper to the left and right margins. In addition, a portion of the plot beyond the area requested will appear at the top and bottom of the paper.

Note:

If you print a plot to scale, NMPlot attempts to display the Area To Print at the requested scale. If the requested scale is too large, this area will not fit on the paper. In this case, you have three options: 1) choose a smaller scale, 2) choose a smaller Area To Print, or 3) print to a larger sheet of paper.

Level of Detail

Use the Level Of Detail page of the Print Options dialog box to control how much background map detail is displayed when you print a plot.

Many background maps specify a minimum scale at which various features should be displayed. As you zoom in on such a map, additional detail is displayed. The intent is to prevent excessive detail from cluttering a plot when it is displayed at a small scale. See Background Map Formats.

Use the Level of Detail page to control how NMPlot uses this recommended scale information when you print a plot. You have four choices for how NMPlot determines how much detail to display.

Legends

When printing a plot, you can add a legend that displays information about the plot.

You have full control over the appearance and content of the legend. The legend can have multiple fonts, colors, and borders. Text can be segregated into outlined rectangular areas, much like an architectural blueprint legend. A graphical scale and north arrow are supported.

To change the legend, display the Legend page of the Plot Options dialog box.

A sample of the current legend is displayed.

Press the Edit Legend button to edit the legend. The Edit Legend dialog box is displayed. See Editing Legends for information on editing legends.

Creating a legend from scratch involves a significant amount of work. Therefore, NMPlot gives you the ability to save and load legends to and from files. The intent is that you will create a small number of legends, and then reuse them as needed.

Press the Save Legend To File button to write the current legend to a file. Press the Load Legend From File button to read a previously saved legend. In both cases, you will be asked for the file's name.

NMPlot is distributed with several ready-to-use legends. These legends are stored in files that have the extension .nmplot_legend, and are located in the same directory as the NMPlot program file, NMPlot.exe. If you do not wish to go to the trouble of learning how to edit legends, you can simply use one of these ready-to-use legends.

Tip:

If you intend to create your own legend, you may wish to start with one of the ready-to-use legends included with NMPlot, and then edit it incrementally. You will likely find this easier than creating a new legend from scratch.

Editing Legends

Legend Concepts

An NMPlot legend is an area that surrounds a plot when it is printed. The legend displays information about the plot, such as descriptive text, a graphical scale, and a north arrow. The legend may also include a border around the plot.

NMPlot's legends are based upon a concept of cells. Cells are rectangular areas of the paper that can contain text, graphical features such as scales and north arrows, and other cells. In addition, there is a cell that contains the plot itself. Each cell has a variety of properties, such as a background color, a margin, and a border.

The printable area of the paper (i.e., the paper minus any margins) is the outermost cell. You build a legend by adding cells to this outermost cell, and setting their properties. Recall that cells can contains other cells. The legend consists of a hierarchy of cells, with the outermost cell as the hierarchy root.

There are three types of cells:

Edit Legend Dialog Box

Use the Edit Legend dialog box to inspect and edit an NMPlot legend.

The left side of the Edit Legend dialog box displays a preview of what the current legend will look like when printed. This is know as the legend preview.

The right side of the Edit Legend dialog box displays a hierarchical list of the cells in the legend. This is known as the cell list.

At any given time, one cell is selected. This selected cell is the one that you are currently working with. The selected cell is highlighted in both the legend preview and the cell list.

Working with the Legend Preview

Press the Zoom In button to magnify the legend preview for close study. Press the Zoom Out button to reduce the magnification level.

Press the Change Sample Paper Size button to select the size and orientation of the hypothetical piece of paper used to display the legend preview.

Press the Print Sample Legend button to print the legend preview.

Click on a cell in the legend preview to select it. Double-click on a cell to displays the cell's Edit Legend Cell dialog box, which allows you to inspect and change the cell's properties. See Edit Legend Cell Dialog Box.

Working with the Cell List

The cell list displays a hierarchical list of the cells in the legend being edited. The selected cell is always highlighted. To change the selected cell, either use the arrow keys, or click on the cell to be selected.

To edit the properties of the selected cell, you can:

The cell's Edit Legend Cell dialog box, which allows you to inspect and change the cell's properties, is displayed. See Edit Legend Cell Dialog Box.

Use either the keyboard or the Move buttons to move the selected cell.

Key Button Action
Alt +    Move selected cell up in the cell list.
Alt +    Move selected cell down in the cell list.
Alt +    Move selected cell in one level towards the root of the cell list.
Alt +    Move selected cell out one level away from the root of the cell list.

Use either the keyboard or the Add buttons to add a new cell as the child of the selected cell.

Key Button Action
Alt + T;     Add a new text cell
Alt + H     Add a new horizontal organizer cell
Alt + V     Add a new vertical organizer cell

Delete the selected cell by either pressing the Delete button , or by pressing the Delete key.

Edit Legend Cell Dialog Box

The Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to inspect and change the properties of the selected cell.

The Edit Legend Cell dialog box is a Multiple Page dialog box. See Multiple Page Dialog Boxes for more information.

Text Page

The Text page of the Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to change the text of a text cell.

Type the desired text in the box provided. The text can have as many lines as desired: press the Enter key to insert a new line.

The text can include symbolic fields, placeholders for text that is automatically inserted when the legend is printed. For example, the field {ConciseGridDescription} is automatically replaced with a short description of the plot's primary grid.

Symbolic fields can also represent graphical elements, such as a north arrow. Of particular interest is the {Plot} symbol, which represents the plot being annotated by the legend. Each legend should contain exactly one text cell that has the {Plot} symbol as part of its text.

Some commonly used symbolic fields are:

Field Description
{ConciseGridDescription}   Short description of the plot's primary grid
{DetailedGridDescription}   Longer, more detailed description of the plot's primary grid
{Metric}   The data metric of the plot's primary grid: i.e., what is being measured by the grid. For example, "aircraft noise" or "water temperature"
{Units}   Physical units of the plot's primary grid. For example, "dB" or "degrees C".
{GridFilename}   Name of the file containing the plot's primary grid
{CurrentDate}   Date on which the plot is printed
{CurrentTime}   Time at which the plot is printed
{Plot}   The plot being printed
{NorthArrow}   An arrow indicating the direction of north on the plot
{MapScale}   A graphical distance bar showing the plot scale. You can change the units used by the graphical map scale: see Physical Units.

Press the Insert Symbolic Field button , located to the right of the text box, to display a list of fields from which you can choose. See Symbolic Fields Text Control for more information.

Size Page

The Size page of the Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to specify the horizontal and vertical size of a cell.

You can specify both the cell's width (i.e., horizontal size) and height (i.e., vertical size). Since the width and height are specified in an analogous manner, only the width is described in detail.

Select the method used to specify the cell's width. You have four choices.

Style Page

The Style page of the Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to specify the visual appearance of a cell: its color, font, and justification.

Background color - Select the background color of the cell. See Color Control for information on selecting colors.

Note that for some organizer cells, the background color will not be visible, as the entire cell will be filled with other cells that have their own background colors. Typically, you will set the background colors of all text cells, and all organizer cells that have non-zero margins.

Text Color - Select the color of the cell's text. This is relevant only for text cells.

Text Font - Select the font used to display the cell's text. This is relevant only for text cells. See Font Control for information on selecting fonts.

Horizontal Justification - Select how the cell's contents (either its text or its child cells) are horizontally justified. You have three choices: Left, Center, and Right.

Vertical Justification - Select how the cell's contents (either its text or its child cells) are vertically justified. You have three choices: Top, Center, and Bottom.

Margins Page

The Margins page of the Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to specify a cell's margins. The margins are white space around the edge of the cell, similar to the margins on a piece of paper.

Choose the method used to specify the margins. You have three choices: specifying a single margin for all four sides of the cell, specifying different margins for the left-right and top-bottom sides of the cell, and specifying the margins for all four sides individually.

Type the desired margin or margins, and select the units used to specify the margins.

Borders Page

The Borders page of the Edit Legend Cell dialog box allows you to specify a cell's borders. The borders are optional lines that can be drawn around some or all of the four edges of the cell, just outside of the margins.

Choose the method used to specify the borders. You have four choices: displaying no borders, specifying a single border style for all four sides of the cell, specifying different border styles for the left-right and top-bottom sides of the cell, and specifying the border styles for all four sides individually.

Select the desired color(s) of the line(s) used to draw the borders. See Color Control for information on selecting colors.

Type the desired width(s) of the line(s) used to draw the borders, in millimeters. If a width of zero is specified, then the border is not drawn.


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