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119 Chapter 5. Beyond Words: Graphical Elements

In this chapter, you’ll learn…

If you take a look at the box Nisus Writer comes in (or choose About Nisus® Writer from the Apple menu), you’ll notice that it’s called “The Powerful Document Processor.” This slogan was chosen because the term word processor is inadequate to describe an application that can produce documents rich with graphics, sounds, and video as well as text. In this chapter, we’ll look at the tools and features available for adding all kinds of graphical elements to your documents. (In Chapter 6 we’ll look at the sound features.)

120 This chapter is intended to give just an overview of the graphics tools, not to be comprehensive. Still, I’ve tried to include all the important details and anticipate the most commonly-asked questions. We’ll begin by discussing the different “layers” Nisus Writer uses to store text and graphics. Then we’ll look at how graphical objects are created (or imported) and manipulated in your document and how text and graphics interact. Lastly, we’ll explore special graphical elements like movies, page graphics, tables, and equations.

The Text and Graphics Layers

Picture your document printed on a transparency. Now imagine placing another transparency in front of it, and a third behind it. You have, in essence, a document that is three “layers” deep. You can see all three, but there are some things that are “in front of” your main text layer and some other things “behind” it. This is a good analogy for the way Nisus Writer handles text and graphics. Most of your work will be done on the text layer, which is the middle transparency by this analogy. The tools available on the text layer enable you to enter, edit, and format text. On the front and back layers you have a different set of tools at your disposal—the graphics tools, which enable you to create, edit, and format graphics. The front and back layers are collectively referred to as the graphics layer. The text layer and the graphics layer interact in important ways, as we will see shortly. Since graphical elements can appear on either the text or graphics layer, you need to understand what each is used for.

The Text Layer

As a rule of thumb, if your Graphics Bar isn’t showing, you’re on the text layer. When the Text Bar is visible, that’s a dead giveaway, but you are also on the text layer if the Sound Bar is visible or if none of the document tool bars is showing. In other words, it is the default layer where most of your work will take place. On the text layer, what you normally have is (as the name implies) simply text. Accordingly, only on the text layer can you do things like 121 run the spelling checker, format paragraphs, or perform a Find/Replace. However, you can also place graphics on the text layer, so that they appear “in-line” along with the rest of your text. A graphic on the text layer is known as a character graphic, because it is treated like a text character for the most part. Character graphics will be discussed in more detail later. For now, the important thing to remember is that the text layer is where the main text of your document lives.

The Graphics Layer

Besides putting graphics on the text layer where they act as characters, you can also place them on the front or back “transparency”—the graphics layer. The major difference between the graphics layer and the text layer is that you can arbitrarily place an element anywhere on the graphics layer you like; you’re not limited by the shape of your paragraphs. In addition, the graphics layer allows you to put elements in front of, behind, or next to your text, while graphics on the text layer are part of the text. To make the graphics layer active, display the Graphics Bar by clicking the Display Graphics Bar button. When the Graphics Bar is visible, the Graphics menu appears on your menu bar. The commands on this menu and the Graphics Bar together give you access to all of Nisus Writer’s graphic editing and placement features.

About Graphic Objects

Before discussing Nisus Writer’s graphics tools, there are some general facts you should know about how the program treats graphic objects. First, let’s define object. An object is an element like a box, line, or circle that you can move or change as a unit. If you draw an oval on a piece of paper, you can’t move it, resize it, or delete it all at once; you must erase it and start again. However, if you draw an oval using Nisus Writer’s Oval tool, you can move, resize, or delete it at any time, no matter what other changes you may have made to your drawing. Any graphic element you create with the drawing tools or import from another program is considered an object; you can also group several individual objects together to form one larger object.

122 Like text, graphics must be selected before they can be changed. Click once anywhere on a graphic object to select it. When you select a graphic, small square handles (the resize handles) appear at each corner (Figure 5.1). Just as you can select noncontiguous ranges of text, you can select multiple graphic objects at the same time (using the Shift key rather than Command-Option). Any attributes you choose for a selected graphic will also be used automatically on all subsequent graphics, unless you manually change the settings. Attributes chosen while no objects are selected will affect new objects that are created, without changing existing ones.

Figure 5.1. A selected graphic, showing the resize handles.

The Graphics Tools

The tools on the Graphics Bar and Graphics menu allow you to draw, select, position, and edit simple graphics. To display the Graphics Bar (Figure 5.2) and with it, the Graphics menu (Figure 5.3), click the Show/Hide Graphics Bar button on the Vertical Button Bar. When the Graphics Bar is displayed at the top of your document window, you are considered to be working on the graphics layer. (The same tools are also available within the character graphic editing window, which we’ll discuss later.)

Figure 5.2.The Graphics Bar.

Figure 5.3.The Graphics menu.

Pressing the Option key while on the graphics layer displays a horizontal and a vertical guide line that intersect at the current pointer position. These guides can help you align graphics that are not close together. They also make it easy to see what your position is relative to the horizontal and vertical rulers.

123 The Tool Palette

The Tool palette (Figure 5.4) contains tools for drawing and selecting graphic elements. To use a tool, click once on the button that controls it. When a drawing tool is selected, the pointer becomes a crosshair (); when the Text tool is selected, it becomes an I-beam (). After using a tool to create or edit an object, the tool remains selected until you either select another tool or switch to the text layer. However, if after using any tool except the text tool, you click once without moving the mouse, the Selection Arrow will become active. What follows is a description of the actions you can perform using the tools on the Tool palette.

Figure 5.4. The Tool palette.

Selecting Objects

When the Selection Arrow is active, you can select, move, or resize graphic objects. There are several ways to select graphics. First, you can position the pointer over any portion of the graphic and click once. Square handles will appear at the corners of the graphic to indicate that it has been selected. To select multiple objects, click the first one, then hold down the Shift key while clicking to select additional graphics. (If you press Shift and click a graphic that was already 124 selected, it will be deselected.) Second, you can click in a blank area of your window, hold down the mouse button, and drag to draw a selection rectangle around any number of graphics. Any object that is completely enclosed by the rectangle will be selected. Third, if you hold down the Option key while drawing a selection rectangle any object it touches will be selected.

You can only select multiple objects if they all have the same anchor setting (Fix to Page or Move With Paragraph). If you try to select objects with different anchor settings, you’ll get the curious error message, Sorry, you cannot select graphics across graphic layers.

Moving and Resizing Objects

To move an object to a different location, simply click and drag. Be sure to click somewhere inside the graphic and not on one of the resize handles. You can move objects 125 anywhere within the printable area of your page. You can also move graphics into (or even past) the right margin of your page. But graphics always stop when moved to the left margin. The only way to place a graphic in the left margin is to select it and type in coordinates manually using the Edit Graphic… command on the Graphics menu. Be aware, though, that graphics placed in the margins may be cut off when printed if your printer does not support edge-to-edge printing.

To resize a graphic, simply click one of the corner handles and drag outward to enlarge or inward to reduce the size. Holding the Shift key while resizing forces the graphic to maintain its original proportions. Some graphics (notably imported PICT images) have four round handles, one on each side, in addition to the resize handles on the corners (see Figure 5.5). These handles are used for cropping—that is, either reducing the visible area of the graphic or increasing the empty space around it. Holding down the Option key reverses the function of the cropping and resizing handles (option-drag a round handle to resize; option-drag a square handle to crop).

Figure 5.5.A PICT graphic with cropping (round) and resizing (square) handles.

When you paste an object on the graphics layer, the upper-left corner of the object will appear at the paste spot—the last place you clicked the mouse (unless you were resizing a graphic). When you access the graphics layer for the first time, the paste spot is in the upper-left corner of the win-126dow. If you don’t know where you last clicked the mouse and would like a visual indication of where objects will be pasted, choose Display Paste Spot from the Graphics menu. A corner icon () will blink at the Paste Spot. The Paste Spot is also displayed any time you press the Command key while on the graphics layer.

If you’re on the text layer, it is possible to move objects on the graphics layer without displaying the Graphics Bar! Simply hold down the Control key and click the graphic to select it (or press Shift-Control to select multiple objects). You cannot delete objects on the graphics layer until you display the Graphics Bar.

Drawing Lines and Shapes

Most of the tools on the Tool palette are for drawing lines and shapes of various kinds. To use a drawing tool, first click the tool to select it. Then click the crosshair pointer where you want your line or shape to begin and drag to change the size or shape.

Custom rectangle corners do not print correctly on PostScript printers.

When you draw a line, arrow, or arc, it will have only two handles—one at each end. This can sometimes make it hard to select. An easy solution is to hold down the Option key while dragging across the object—anything the selection rectangle touches will be selected.

Adding Text to Graphics

When you select the Text tool, your pointer becomes an I-beam (). Click the I-beam where you want the text to begin and start typing. A dotted rectangle will appear around your text; this defines the area of the text block. The text block expands to the right as you type (press Return to start a new line). When you finish typing, either click another graphics tool or click the I-beam outside of the text block. If you want to make your text block a specific size to start with, click and drag your I-beam cursor to form a box rather than clicking and releasing. If you type more characters than will fit in the text block, they will be hidden until you resize it.

128 You can edit text in an existing text block by selecting the Text tool again. Position your I-beam cursor over the text block and click to place the insertion point inside it for editing. You can double-click to select a word, or Shift-click to select a range, but the other selecting shortcuts used on the text layer are not available in text blocks. When you make changes to a previously created text block, it won’t expand automatically.

To align the text within its text block, choose Left, Right, or Center from the Justify Text submenu of the Graphics menu. The currently selected justification is indicated on the menu. You can also apply any font or size to a text block; however, the only styles available are bold, italic, underline, outline, shadow, condense, and extend. User-defined styles cannot be applied. You can’t mix and match character attributes within a single text block—any change you make to the format of text will affect the entire block. Other things you can’t do in a text block are fully justify the text; use the spelling checker or thesaurus; automatically hyphenate; or use indexing, table of contents, marking, cross-referencing, or footnote features. You can, however, apply any color to a text block—though not in the same way as on the text layer. To color a block of text, select it, choose a Line Pattern of solid, and choose a color from the Line Foreground color menu. (You can also color the background of a text block using the Fill Foreground color menu.)

The Display Palette

This palette (Figure 5.6) allows you to change the way graphics interact with other graphics and with text. Each button on this palette is actually a pop-down menu; the button icon changes to show which option is currently selected.

Figure 5.6. The Display palette.

129 Anchor Menu

Every graphic object is anchored to some point in your document. If you choose Fix to Page, the anchor point for the selected object will be the upper-left corner of your page. This means that no matter how you change the text on your text layer, the graphic will remain in the same position on the page. However, some of your graphic objects may refer to parts of the text on the text layer. If the text moves, you may want the graphics to move too. Choosing Move with Paragraph will anchor the graphic to the return character immediately preceding the nearest paragraph. To see which graphic objects are anchored in which way, choose Graphic Anchors from the Display Attributes menu button on the Horizontal Button Bar. If you have a graphic that is anchored to a paragraph and you want to anchor it to a different paragraph, first change it to Fix to Page, then move it to its new location and choose Move with Paragraph again.

When a graphic is anchored to a paragraph, the return character preceding that paragraph determines its placement. If you delete the return character, you will delete the graphic along with it! If you must delete that character, change the graphic’s anchor setting to Fix to Page first, then change it back to Move with Paragraph after making the change.

Placement Menu

Remember how I said your document is like three transparent sheets? Your text layer is the middle sheet, and the front and back sheets constitute the graphics layer. The commands on the Placement menu allow you to choose whether a given graphic object is on the front sheet or the back sheet. To have a graphic appear in front of your text, select it and choose Front of Text from the Placement menu. If the object is opaque, it will cover some of your text; if it is transparent, you’ll be able to see your text through the object. To place an object behind your text, choose Behind Text. Your text will remain visible in front of the graphic.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using these commands. First, the default setting for graphics is Front of Text; you have to explicitly choose Behind Text to place an object on the back layer. Second, these settings are independent of the layerings among objects themselves. Choosing Send to Back or Bring to Front does not affect an object’s position with respect to the text layer, only with respect to other objects. Third, these settings apply to each graphic object individually. This means that each object in a grouped graphic could have a different setting (see Figure 5.7). Finally, it is possible to have an opaque graphic in front of text without obscuring the text, as long as the fill of the object is set to zero.


Figure 5.7. A grouped graphic whose components have different placement settings.

Text Wrap Menu

In addition to placing your graphics in front of or behind text, you can have the text on the text layer automatically wrap around objects on the graphics layer. To do this, select an object and choose Text Wrap On from the Text Wrap menu. Wherever you move this graphic in your document, the text at its current location on the text layer will flow around it. You can adjust how close the text comes to the graphic by changing the Wrap Border setting in the Edit Graphic dialog box. (Choose Edit Graphic… from the Graphics menu to display this dialog box.) If the text of the current paragraph is fully justified, it will be justified on both sides of the graphic; if it is left-, right-, or center-justified, text on either side of the graphic will assume that alignment.

Nisus Writer treats all objects (even lines) as rectangular for the purposes of text wrapping. So you can’t have text wrap closely around an irregularly shaped object—or can you? You can, if you don’t mind cheating a bit. Check out Figure 5.8. We start with an oddly shaped polygon. Normally, the text will wrap around the entire rectangular area of the shape (1). First, select the object and turn text wrap off (2). Then click to deselect the object and turn text wrap back on. Now draw a horizontal line through your graphic at each row of text (3). When you’re done, select all the lines, change their color to white, and then choose Send to Back (4). Ta-da—irregular text wrap! You may need to adjust length of the lines and/or the Wrap Border (using the Edit Graphic… command) to get the best spacing.

Figure 5.8.Text wrap around an irregular graphic.

Overlay Attributes

The Overlay Attributes menu allows you to change the opacity of graphic objects. Be warned that these settings only work if your graphic is printed on a QuickDraw printer. If you use a PostScript printer, all Nisus Writer graphic objects will be treated as opaque, regardless of how the overlay attributes are set. You can choose As PostScript® from the Display Attributes menu so that your graphics will display on-screen the same way they will print on a PostScript printer. Figure 5.9 shows examples of various opacity settings. 131 Opaque, which is the default setting, means that lines and fill patterns of the selected object will completely hide any objects behind it. Transparent Bkgnd. means that any solid white fill (or white portion of a pattern fill) will be transparent to objects behind it. Choosing Invert causes areas where black and white overlap to invert (if you apply this attribute to an object with any other color, it will turn black).

Figure 5.9. Opaque, Transparent Bkgnd., and Invert overlay attributes.

If you have a color display, you’ll see some additional options, which determine how the colors in one object interact with the colors in the object behind it. Transparent lets most of the background color show through. Translucent and Less Saturation produce similar effects, retaining the foreground graphic’s color and blending it with the color behind. Blend on Darker and More Saturation are also similar to each other, producing darker blends where colors overlap and giving you colored text on a white background when the colored shape overlaps text on the text layer. You can experiment with these settings to determine which blend you prefer.

The Line and Fill Palettes

The Line palette and the Fill palette allow you to set the colors and patterns of lines and shapes drawn with the graphics tools as well as the thickness of the lines (or shape borders). Nisus Writer supports a maximum of 256 colors. Both palettes have three main parts:

Figure 5.10. The Foreground Color selector.

Figure 5.11. The Line Pattern pop-down menu.

The Line Weight by Direction indicator and Line Weight pop-down menu allow you to select the thickness of your lines (measured in points). A weight of none is the same as a line pattern of 0. You can set different weights for horizontal and vertical lines. To set the weight for vertical lines, click above or below the Direction indicator to make the top and bottom “brackets” visible (see Figure 5.12). Then choose a weight from the pop-down menu. To set the weight for horizontal lines, click to the left or right of the Direction indicator before choosing a weight. To set the same weight for both vertical and horizontal lines, click in the center of the Direction indicator before making your choice. If the weights are set differently, angled lines (or curves) will have a thickness somewhere between the vertical and horizontal values.


Figure 5.12.Line Weight by Direction indicator with vertical line weight selected.

The Graphics Menu

Choosing Edit Graphic from the Graphics menu displays the Edit Graphic dialog box (Figure 5.13). The options on the left side of this dialog box duplicate the settings on the Anchor, Placement, Text Wrap, and Overlay Attributes menus. The right side offers two additional features. Wrap Border determines how far away from the left and right sides of the object text must stay when Text Wrap On is selected. The Coordinates settings allow you to position a graphic precisely on the page. Enter the distance you want your graphic to be from the top-left corner of the page in the Vertical Coordinates and Horizontal Coordinates boxes. Ordinarily this distance is measured to the top-left corner of your graphic. To indicate the distance from a different point, click another radio button in the diagram.

Figure 5.13. The Edit Graphic dialog box.

Ordinarily you can’t place graphic objects in the left margin of your page—they will always stop at the current margin setting when you try to move them. However, you can get around this using the Edit Graphic dialog box (for example, if you want to put a special tab outside the text area). Select your graphic, choose Edit Graphic, and change the Horizontal value to a measurement less than your left margin setting. Once your graphic is safely in the margin, you can position it more precisely by nudging with the arrow keys.

135 Layering Graphics

As you create graphics, you may draw one object that overlaps another one. The commands Bring To Front and Send To Back allow you to change the ordering of objects to make sure that the shapes you want to be visible are “in front” and the shapes you want to be hidden are “in back.” These commands move graphics all the way to the front or back, no matter how deeply they may be stacked. So if you have many layers, it may take several consecutive Send/Bring operations to achieve the desired order. Also, be aware that you can perform a Bring To Front command even if the object you want to move is completely obscured by objects in front of it. All you need to do is drag a selection rectangle around the area the obscured graphic is in (Figure 5.14), then choose Bring To Front.

Figure 5.14. Selecting a hidden graphic.

Grouping Graphics

Grouping graphics is a way of combining objects so that they will function as a unit for the purposes of selecting, moving, duplicating, and scaling. To create a group, select two or more graphic objects and choose Group from the Graphics menu. (You can only group objects that have the same anchor setting—i.e., the objects must all be set to Fix to Page or all to Move with Paragraph.) To ungroup grouped objects, select the group and choose Ungroup from the Graphics menu. The objects will become independent again but will retain any changes in size or shape that were made while they were grouped.

You can group together objects with different placement or overlay settings, and they will retain their individual attributes. However, any settings you apply to the grouped object will override the individual settings. You can also group objects with different text wrap settings, but if any of the objects has text wrap turned on, the group will as well.

If you ungroup an imported graphic that contains embedded PostScript, the PostScript code will be lost and the graphic may not print correctly.

136 Scaling Graphics

To scale graphics with more precision than clicking and dragging, choose Scale… from the Graphics menu (see Figure 5.15). Enter the percentage by which you want to scale the graphic horizontally and vertically. The Fix to: diagram allows you to indicate which point on your graphic will remain in the same place when it is resized. (Under some circumstances, this dialog box may appear with no point selected. If this happens, you must choose a point manually in order for Scale to work.) Check Scale Text or Scale the Pen to change the size of the text or the thickness of lines in proportion to the overall size of the graphic. If the graphic you have selected was previously scaled, you can click the Unscale button to return it to its original size. If you hold down the Shift key, Scale becomes Quick Scale, which applies the last-selected scaling settings to the currently selected graphics. If you hold down the Option key, Scale becomes Unscale. Unscale will return the selected graphic to its original size.


Figure 5.15. The Scale Graphic dialog box.

The Unscale command and its corresponding button in the Scale Graphic dialog box have some limitations. First, the only objects that can be unscaled are those created with the Polygon tool or the Freehand tool (or imported PICTs); you cannot unscale ovals, rectangles, text, etc. Second, you cannot unscale copies of objects—only originals. And finally, if you scaled the pen or text, these attributes will not unscale; you’ll have to change them manually.

Duplicating Graphics

The Duplicate… command (see Figure 5.16) lets you make multiple copies of a graphic and position them precisely. Enter the number of duplicates desired in the Number of Copies box. Then indicate the offset from the original using the Horizontal and Vertical boxes. (The unit of measurement for the offset is chosen using the radio buttons.) The offset is measured from the top-left corner of the original graphic. If you check Duplicate to Pages, you can put a duplicate copy of the selected graphic at exactly the same position on any range of pages that you choose. If you press the Shift key, Duplicate becomes Quick Duplicate. This will duplicate the selected graphics using whatever settings were last specified in the Duplicate Graphics dialog box.

Figure 5.16. The Duplicate Graphic dialog box.

Rotating Graphics

Any graphic object except a table or equation can be rotated in 90° increments. After selecting a graphic, choose Rotate Right 90° from the Graphics menu. (Right means clockwise.) To rotate a graphic 90° counterclockwise, press the Shift key and choose Rotate Left 90° from the Graphics menu. To rotate a graphic 180°, simply rotate it either left or right twice. To return 138 a selected graphic to its original, unrotated state, hold down the Option key and choose Unrotate.

The Rotate command causes graphics to rotate around their centerpoints. If you have multiple objects selected when you choose Rotate, each object will rotate around its own centerpoint; they will not rotate as a group. To rotate elements as a group, first use the Group command and ungroup them later if necessary.

If you use a StyleWriter or other QuickDraw printer, rotated text blocks may print out jaggedly. Due to limitations in QuickDraw (this is not a problem with PostScript printers), rotated text is printed using the 72-dpi bitmap screen representation rather than your TrueType font. The solution is to get more dots into the bitmap, which we do by enlarging the text, converting it to a PICT image, and then shrinking it again. Here’s how to do it: After typing your text block, use the Scale… command to make it five times larger (i.e., enter horizontal and vertical values of 500%). Then choose Cut from the Edit menu, hold down the Option key, and choose Paste. Choose Scale… again, this time entering values of 20%. Finally, rotate your graphic. It will now print out smoothly, because it will have five times as many dots (5 72 = 360, the StyleWriter’s resolution)!

Nudging Graphics

You can move a selected graphic one point in any direction by pressing an arrow key. You can also nudge graphics using the commands Nudge Right and Nudge Up on the Graphics menu. If you press the Shift key while pulling down the Graphics menu, these commands change to Nudge Left and Nudge Down, respectively. You can change the nudge amount from the default of one point if you want. Choose Set Nudge from the Graphics menu and enter a whole number in 139 points. The current nudge value will appear on the menu, for example: Set Nudge (1 pt.).

If Snap to Grid is turned on (see below), nudging a graphic will move it to the next grid intersection, regardless of what value has been set using Set Nudge.

Using the Grid

Nisus Writer gives you an optional (nonprinting) grid as a tool to help you align graphics. Choosing Display Grid from the Grid submenu of the Graphics menu will make the grid visible (Figure 5.17). You can move objects with the mouse (or nudge them with the arrow keys) to align them with any of the grid lines. If you choose Snap to Grid from the Grid submenu, any object you move will align its upper-left corner with the nearest intersection point on the grid. As you move the graphic, it will jump from intersection to intersection. In addition, any graphic you create or resize will be constrained so that all its corners touch an intersection point on the grid. The Snap to Grid setting can be active even when the grid is not displayed.

Figure 5.17. The graphics layer with the Grid displayed.

To customize the grid measurements, choose Grid Options… from the Grid submenu. The dialog box shown in Figure 5.18 will be displayed. Type the desired width and height between grid lines in the entry boxes. If you wish to choose a new color for the grid lines (the default is cyan), click the Grid Color box to display the Color menu.


Figure 5.18. The Grid Options dialog box.

In the Grid Options dialog box, as in most other dialog boxes that ask for measurements, the default measurement unit is the one specified for the Ruler in the Measurement Preferences dialog box. However, you can manually type in a different unit of measurement after the number you enter and Nisus Writer will convert it for you. For example, if your default unit of measurement is inches, you could type 1.5 cm in the Grid Width box and 18 pt in the Grid Height box. (Nisus Writer’s abbreviation for pica, by the way, is “pc”—not “pi.”)

Character Graphics

While most of your graphics will probably be on the graphics layer, you may want to put some of them on the text layer—for example, if you want to include a graphic in the flow of a sentence (). A graphic on the text layer is referred to as a character graphic, because it is treated like a text character. That is, it has a particular point size, it can be highlighted and cut, copied, pasted, or moved like the rest of your text; it obeys the justification and line wrap settings of the paragraph it’s in; and it moves just like any other character when you add or delete text. You can even do a (limited) Find/Replace for a character graphic (see Chapter 11). Tables, equations, and movies and pictures that you import are all types of graphics that can be placed on the text layer.

You can create character graphics directly in Nisus Writer, too, using the built-in drawing tools. Just choose Character Graphic… from the Insert menu and a graphic editing window will open. Draw your graphic using the graphics tools, and when you close the window, the graphic will be inserted at the current insertion point. If the graphic 141 box on the text layer is not large enough to show all of the graphic you just created, press the Shift key and double-click the graphic to expand it to full size. If you’ve already created a graphic on the graphics layer and you want to move it to the text layer, cut it, switch back to the text layer, and then paste it.

Character graphics have a few unique characteristics. First, all character graphics have round cropping handles on the sides in addition to the square resizing handles—just like imported PICTs on the graphics layer. Character graphics can also be moved within the line they’re on. To move a character graphic, first click once to select it (and release the mouse button). Then click and drag it. You can move it up, down, left, or right within the boundaries of the current line spacing. If you press the Command key while moving it, you can avoid the line-boundary limitation, but I don’t recommend this, as you could lose the ability to select your graphic if it moves out of the space it thinks it should occupy. Instead, to move a character graphic to a different line, either cut and paste it, or drag across it to highlight it then drag and drop it into its new home. To return a character graphic to its original size after resizing or cropping, press the Shift key and double-click the graphic.

If your character graphic is in PICT format (this includes any graphic created in Nisus Writer), you can also change its color by selecting the graphic and applying one of the text colors on the Color submenu of the Style menu.

Importing Graphics

So far, we’ve been concerned primarily with graphics created within Nisus Writer. You can also import graphics that were created in other programs. Nisus Writer comes with everything you need to import PICT, EPS, and MacPaint (bitmap) graphics; other formats can be used if you obtain the necessary XTND filter from a third-party source. Graphics can be imported using the Clipboard or the Import command.

Another way of importing graphics into your document is to use Publish & Subscribe. The advantage of using Publish & Subscribe is that if changes are made to the graphic in the program that created it, the changes will automatically be reflected in your document. For instructions on using Publish & Subscribe, please see Chapter 10.

142 Using the Clipboard

Any graphic that can be copied to the Clipboard can be inserted into Nisus Writer. In most cases, graphics copied to the Clipboard are in PICT format, which is the standard Macintosh format for exchanging both bitmap and object-oriented graphics. Sometimes PICTs on the Clipboard also include PostScript information that is used when printing them. To insert a graphic that is on the Clipboard, choose Paste from the Edit menu. The graphic will appear at your current insertion point (if you’re on the text layer) or paste spot (if you’re on the graphics layer). Sometimes when pasting imported graphics on the graphics layer, you will see the dialog box shown in Figure 5.19. Nisus Writer can often import object-oriented PICTs as Nisus Writer objects, meaning that they can be “ungrouped” into their component parts for editing. To attempt this, click Nisus Objects; to leave the graphic as a single PICT file, click PICT. If Nisus Writer is unable to separate such a graphic into component parts, it will paste it as a single, uneditable object. If the graphic on your Clipboard is not in PICT format and you’d like to convert it to PICT, press Option while choosing Paste. You can even convert graphic objects created in Nisus Writer to PICT format by choosing Copy or Cut followed by Option-Paste.

Figure 5.19.The Paste as PICT? dialog box.

Using the Import Dialog Box

Nisus Writer can also import graphic files that are stored on your disk. To import a graphic file, choose Import from the File Access submenu of the File menu to display the Import dialog box (Figure 5.20). The File Type pop-up menu at the 143 bottom lists all the file formats for which you have an import translator (XTND filter) installed. Nisus Writer includes just three filters for graphic formats—PICT, EPSF, and MacPaint. Choose one of these formats from the list to limit the display to that format, or choose All Available (Unknown) to display all your files. Navigate to your file, select it, and click Open. The graphic will be placed at the insertion point if you are on the text layer or at the paste spot if you are on the graphics layer.

Figure 5.20. The Import dialog box, showing available import formats.

While Nisus Writer only ships with filters for EPSF, PICT, and MacPaint, it is capable of handling other formats as well (like GIF and TIFF) if you have the appropriate filter. For more tips on importing (as well as finding and installing additional filters), see Chapter 8.

Graphics imported using this dialog box are treated the same as any other graphic in your document, with one exception. While you can resize or rotate imported EPS files, you may be unhappy with the results when printed. The EPS format includes two parts: the PostScript code used for printing and a PICT image used as a screen preview. When you resize or rotate an EPS graphic, you’re really only affecting the preview, and in most cases the graphic will print as if it had not been modified. You can, however, generally crop EPS graphics with good results.

144 Page Graphics

Nisus Writer has a unique feature that allows you to import a graphic image of a page from another Nisus Writer document. A page imported in this way it known as a page graphic. Like other graphics, a page graphic can be placed on the text layer or the graphics layer; it can also be scaled, resized, cropped, or rotated. And if you want to edit it, you can open the original document just by double-clicking the page graphic. To insert a page graphic at your current insertion point or paste spot, choose Page as Graphic… from the Insert menu. The dialog box shown in Figure 5.21 will be displayed. Locate the file that contains the page you want to import. Enter the page number you want to import in the Page Number: box. To reduce the size at which the page is displayed, enter a percentage in the Scale Page: box. (This is often a good idea, because when you import a page at full size, you may have difficulty seeing and selecting the crop and resize handles.) Then click Open to insert an image of the page in your document. A document containing two page graphics is shown in Figure 5.22.

Figure 5.21. The Page as Graphic dialog box.


Figure 5.22.A document with page graphics.

You can insert a page graphic even if you have not yet created the page you wish to insert. To do this, choose Page as Graphic and click New. A funny-looking graphic (Figure 5.23) will be placed in your document. Do as it says—resize it (don’t crop it) to the size you want and double-click it. A new, untitled document will open, with margins and page height set to match the graphic you just double-clicked. Enter your text (or anything else you wish) in this document, then click the close box. You will be asked to name the document. After you click Save, an image of the newly created page will be stored in your document.

Figure 5.23. This placeholder will appear when you create a new page graphic.

Page graphics maintain a dynamic link to the document from which they came. If any changes are made to the page in the original document, they are immediately reflected in the page graphic. Furthermore, the original document need not 146 even be on the same volume as the document you are creating. So, for example, you could use page graphics to compose a newsletter out of short articles that are stored on the (shared) hard drives of your office mates. As each person makes changes to his or her article, the changes are reflected in the master document.

Double-clicking a page graphic opens the original document. The document window will be shown at the same size and position on your screen as the page graphic. If you have moved either the “source” or “target” document since you inserted the page graphic, Nisus Writer will open a dialog box asking you to locate the original file. If the original file is not available, you will not be able to edit the page graphic, although you can still crop, rotate and resize it.

Linking documents using page graphics is similar to Publish & Subscribe (which we’ll discuss in Chapter 10). For example, you can move a document containing page graphics to another computer and print it out at full resolution without the original files from which the embedded pages came being available. (You won’t be able to edit an embedded page without the original file, however.) But page graphics offer several advantages over Publish & Subscribe. First, you’re linking not just the text of the document but the layout as well—all formatting, graphics, and so on appear exactly as in the original. Second, you don’t create any extra “edition” files when inserting page graphics, saving disk clutter. Furthermore, the entire original page—including any graphics—is stored in your new document, so you can crop or resize it at any time to display more or less of the page.


It is easy to include QuickTime movies in your document. To insert a movie, choose Movie… from the Insert menu. The dialog box shown in Figure 5.24 will appear. Navigate to find a QuickTime movie file. When you select a movie, a thumbnail 147 preview of the first frame will appear in the left side of the window. (If for some reason the file does not already contain a preview, click Create to create one.) When you click Open, the movie will be inserted into your document at your current insertion point (or paste spot, if you’re on the graphics layer). A movie looks like any other graphic in your document, but if you select it, a QuickTime badge, or icon, will appear in the corner of the image to identify it as a movie. Movies are treated exactly like other graphics—they can be cropped, resized, cut, copied, pasted, and so forth.

Figure 5.24.This dialog box allows you to import QuickTime movies.

To play a QuickTime movie in your document, first double-click it. This opens a floating movie window (Figure 5.25) that can be moved anywhere on your screen, and it’s in this window that the movie is actually played. To display the standard QuickTime control bar, click the filmstrip badge. Or, to bypass the control bar and play the movie directly, double-click anywhere in the window. The movie window will always float in front of any other windows you have open, and you can have multiple movie windows open at once (even if they come from separate documents). To close a movie viewing window, click its close box.

Figure 5.25. A floating QuickTime movie window, with the control bar displayed.

There are some QuickTime movies that contain only a sound track and no images. These, unfortunately, cannot be imported into Nisus Writer. If you attempt to import a sound-only movie, a badge will appear at your insertion point, but it will disappear when you try to play it! Also, AIFF sound 148 files will appear along with QuickTime movies in the Import Movie dialog box. If you select an AIFF sound file in the dialog box, you can click Play to hear it. However, clicking Convert will cause the file to be converted to a sound-only QuickTime file and inserted into your document—at which time you’ll have the problem just mentioned. See Chapter 6 for a way to import AIFF files into your document.

The EGO Format

The last two graphical elements we’ll discuss—tables and equations—behave in most ways like ordinary graphics in your document. However, they share a special characteristic: both depend on a mechanism called Edit Graphic Object (EGO). An EGO-format graphic is not a stand-alone file, but rather a format that allows the entire object to be stored within a host document (in this case, your Nisus Writer document). If you click once to select an EGO graphic, a badge will appear in the corner to show which application created it. Double-clicking the graphic opens it using the creator 149 application. Applications that support EGO communicate with each other using Apple events and thus require System 7 or later. The Nisus Table Tool and the Nisus Equation Tool are special versions of stand-alone applications that support the EGO format (Tycho Table Maker from Macreations and MathType from Design Science, respectively). Other EGO-aware applications include DeltaGraph Pro and Expressionist.

There’s no way to add a menu command to allow single-click insertion of an EGO object from another application. However, you can insert a “blank” object from another program and make it a glossary entry (see Chapter 12). You can insert this copy at any time with a couple of keystrokes, and double-click it to create a “new” graphic in the EGO application.


Although Nisus Writer’s documentation includes an entire volume devoted to tables, I’ve provided a very condensed set of instructions here. Rather than going into the theory of table design or giving extensive examples of the numerous transformations you can perform, I’ll briefly summarize the major features here and try to give you a feel for the unusual paradigms the Table Tool uses. I’ll also point out how to overcome some of the obstacles you may face.

You can also create tables using the Equation Tool’s matrix template (see below under “Equations”). Among other benefits, the Equation Tool allows you to position items in cells more precisely and to include tab settings in cells.

As you work in the Table Tool, you’ll notice that the interface is different from what you find in Nisus Writer and that you don’t have access to some of the tools you have come to expect. For example, the keyboard shortcuts are very different (see Appendix A for a complete list), you can’t put graphics in a table, and you can’t check spelling in a table. In short, you should treat it as a completely different program. Also, remember that once a table is placed in your document, Nisus Writer treats it as a graphic. Like any graphic, you can crop or resize it. But you cannot index a term in a table, include a cross-reference in a table, or mark text in a table. In addition, since it is a graphic, it must fit entirely on one page. Any portion of a table that extends past a page boundary will not be printed. (But see below under “Stupid Table Tricks” for some ways around this.) Finally, unlike some other word processors, you cannot convert tabbed text directly into a table or vice-versa.

150 Inserting Tables into Your Document

To insert a new table into your document at the current insertion point or paste spot, choose Table… from the Insert menu. A Table Tool badge will appear as a placeholder, and the Table Tool will open, presenting you with the dialog box in Figure 5.26. Enter the number of columns and rows you want your table to have initially—you can always add or delete columns and rows later. The Target Size settings can generally be ignored, since you can change the table size at any time. If you check Size to Target, then your table cells will be stretched (or shrunk) to fit exactly in the number of pixels indicated by the target size. Again, since you can change the size of your column and rows at any point, there is generally no reason to check this option. After filling in your table, click the close box to place the table into your Nisus Writer document. To edit a previously made table, just double-click it to open it in the Table Tool.

Figure 5.26. This dialog box lets you enter the starting size of a new table.

If your table is inserted on the text layer, be sure the line height setting for the line it’s in is Auto or Line, so that the line can grow to accommodate the full height of the table. A setting of Fixed may cause part of your table to be cut off.

Entering and Editing Text

Once you’ve chosen a starting table size, your table will be displayed as in Figure 5.27. Notice that the cell in Column 1, Row 1 has an extra border around it. This indicates that it is the active cell—the one where text will appear when you type. (The coordinates of the selected cell are also indicated in the Status Area.) You can begin typing into this cell, or click in another cell to place text there. Pressing Tab will move the insertion point to the to the next cell to the right, wrapping to the next row if necessary. To select text within a cell for editing, you must use the mouse; you cannot select text using the keyboard as you can in Nisus Writer. Pressing an arrow key will move the insertion point to the next adjacent cell in the direction indicated by the arrow.


Figure 5.27. A new, untitled table in the Nisus Table Tool.

When selecting text within a cell, it is easy to let the mouse slip and select the entire cell or a range of cells. To constrain your selection to a single cell, hold down the Option key while clicking and dragging the mouse.

Selecting Columns, Rows, and Cells

To select an entire column or row, position your cursor over the column or row number on the ID Bar—at which point it will turn into an arrow ( or )—and click once. To select multiple columns or rows, click and drag across the range you wish to select. The cursor will become a plus sign () while you drag, to indicate that you are adding to your selection.

Your entry area, headers, group headers, title, and note cells each constitutes a separate zone. A selection cannot cross zones. So, for example, you can’t select a range of columns that includes both entry columns and header columns, or a range of rows that includes the title. The Table Tool does not support any kind of noncontiguous selection.

Normally, when you select a column or row, you select its header as well. To select column(s) or row(s) without the headers, press Option while making your selection.

You can select a single cell by clicking anywhere inside it. To select a range of cells, click in a cell and drag across the range you wish to select or click once in one corner of the range and shift-click in the other. When you select a range of cells, the cell you first clicked in is still considered the active cell—if you begin typing while a range of cells is selected, your text will appear in that cell.

152 The standard editing commands Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, and Undo can be used in the Table Tool, with some qualifications. Choosing Cut or Copy will cut or copy the contents of all highlighted cells. However, Clear (or pressing the Delete key) only removes the contents of the active cell, no matter how many cells are selected. The Paste command tries to match the contents of the Clipboard with the number of selected cells. In case of a mismatch, a dialog box will appear to alert you. The Nisus Table Tool has only one level of Undo.

Resizing Columns and Rows

The Table Tool can automatically expand cells horizontally or vertically as you type. To turn on autosizing, choose By Rows or By Columns from the Autosize submenu of the Table menu. If you choose By Rows, then your columns will remain at the width you set and your rows will expand downward. If you choose By Columns, the rows will remain at a fixed height and your columns will expand rightward. Choose Don’t Resize to turn off autosizing. If you have autosizing turned off and you type beyond the cell boundaries, choose Resize Now… from the Table menu to adjust each column or row of your table so that it’s the minimum size necessary to show all its contents. Choose Preferences… from the File menu to set a default autosizing method.

You can also adjust row or column size manually. Position the cursor ( or ) on the dividing line between the columns or rows on the ID Bar, then click and drag to adjust the height or width. To give a row or column an exact size in points, select it, choose Row Height or Column Width from the Table menu, and type in the value you want. If multiple columns or rows are selected before resizing, they’ll all be made the same size.

Inserting and Deleting Columns or Rows

To insert a new row or column, press Command plus any arrow key. A new column or row will be added in the direction indicated by the arrow. You can also insert multiple columns or rows at one time. If you select three rows and choose Insert from the Edit menu, three new rows will be 153 inserted above your selection; selecting multiple columns before choosing Insert will cause that number of new columns to appear to the left of the current selection. To delete columns or rows, select one or more column or row and choose Delete from the Edit menu. If you choose Insert without having an entire column or row selected, a dialog box will appear asking whether you want to Shift Cells Down (to create new rows) or Shift Cells Right (to create new columns). Likewise, if you choose Delete without having a column or row selected, you’ll be asked whether you want to Shift Cells Up or Shift Cells Left.

There is no easy way to move a column or row; you must use Cut and Paste.

Formatting Your Table

There are two levels of formatting in the Table Tool—the cell level and the table level. Commands on the Format menu allow you to change the attributes of individual cells or characters within cells. On the other hand, commands on the Settings menu are used to affect the entire table. We’ll talk about character and cell formatting here and the global settings below.

Commands on the Format menu only apply to existing text or to text that will be entered in the active cell. Character formatting doesn’t stick to empty cells. If you select all the cells of a table you’ve just created and change the font, for example, you will find that as soon as you leave the selected cell the font reverts to its default setting. To select formatting attributes that apply to the entire table, use the commands on the Settings menu.

Character Styles

The first four submenus on the Format menu—Font, Size, Style, and Color—are self-explanatory. These commands apply only to the selected text (or to the text that will be typed at the insertion point, if you have nothing selected). The Superscript and Subscript commands on the Style menu, unlike their counterparts in Nisus Writer, affect only character height, not size.

User-Defined Styles

As in Nisus Writer, character attributes can be combined into a user-defined style. To create or edit a style, choose Define… from the User Style submenu of the Format menu. Click New to create a new style; the dialog box shown in Figure 5.28 will appear. Type in a name for your style and choose the desired attributes from the pop-up menus. Then 154 click Set to save your style definition. User-defined styles are added to the User Style submenu. They are defined on a table-by-table basis, rather than being stored as a global preference.

Figure 5.28. Nisus Table Tool’s Style Definition dialog box.

If you have styles that you use frequently and don’t want to redefine them every time you create a new table, here’s an easy solution. Create an empty table, and define the styles you want to use (without entering any text). Insert this into your document and make it a glossary entry (see Chapter 12).

Cell Color

The Cell Color submenu of the Format menu contains the same list of colors found in the Text Color submenu. However, whereas Text Color refers to the color of the characters, Cell Color refers to the background color of the cell. You can easily mix and match cell color and text color—for example, put white text on a black background or blue text on a yellow background.


The V(ertical) Align and H(orizontal) Align submenus allow you to change the alignment of text within a cell. Choose Top, Center, or Bottom from the V Align submenu to adjust the vertical position of your text, or choose Left, Right, or Center from the H Align menu to change the horizontal alignment of text. Choose Decimal to align the decimal points in a column of numbers. You can specify a character other than the period (.) to serve as the basis for alignment by choosing Preferences… from the File menu.

Decimal alignment in the Table Tool works by “watching” what you type, rather than by examining the contents of the cell. So if you apply this setting after your text has 155 been entered, your numbers will align at the right edge of their cells. To force an existing number to be decimal-aligned, you need to make a change to the cell (perhaps deleting and retyping a digit). If you have a lot of cells that need to be reformatted as decimal-aligned, use the Replace command to replace every period with another period. Better yet, select the column you want to be decimal-aligned and choose Decimal before entering your numbers.


Leading is the amount of space between lines. To change a cell’s leading, choose Leading… from the Format menu. In the Leading dialog box, enter a new value for line spacing. Although in every other application known to humanity, increasing the value for leading increases the amount of space between lines, for some reason the opposite is true in the Table Tool. If you want the line spacing to be farther apart, enter a negative number; if you want it to be closer together, enter a positive number. The values entered represent points more or less than the default spacing, which is about 120% of the font size.


A margin is the area between the edge of a cell and the text it contains. To adjust margins, select one or more cells and choose Margins… from the Format menu. Enter the values you want to use in the Cell Margins dialog box (Figure 5.29). Each cell can have a different set of margins. To change margins for an entire zone (entry, notes, headers, etc.), choose the corresponding command from the Settings menu (see below).

Figure 5.29. The Cell Margins dialog box.

156 Using Dingbats

Dingbats are special characters that can be used to represent data graphically in your table. When you install Nisus Writer, a font called Dingbats is added to your system; this font is used by default for dingbats in the Table Tool (but you can change it by choosing Preferences… from the File menu). To display the available dingbats, choose Show Dingbats from the View menu. A scrollable palette of dingbats (Figure 5.30) is displayed. When you’ve found the symbol you want to use, click it once. The symbol will appear in the Dingbat Indicator (at the upper-left corner of your window). To place the selected dingbat at the insertion point, press Command-Option-G. (This has got to be the least intuitive procedure in the entire program!) Dingbats are not affected by any other font changes you make to a cell.

Figure 5.30.The Dingbats palette.

The Fill Commands

If there is some text that will be identical in a series of cells, you can save time and energy by typing it in once and using the Fill commands to copy it into the other cells. To copy a value from a cell into additional cells below it, select the cell containing the source text and drag down to extend the selection to include all the target cells. Then choose Fill Down from the Edit menu. If your selection includes multiple columns, the uppermost value in each column will be copied into the selected cells beneath it. Fill Right does the same thing, only left to right.

157 Footnotes

The Table Tool has built-in footnotes. To insert a footnote, choose New Footnote… from the Table menu. (Your Notes cell must be visible.) A superscripted number will appear at your insertion point, and a dialog box will open, allowing you to enter your footnote text. When you click OK, your note and its reference number will appear in the note cell at the bottom of your table. Existing footnotes can be edited by selecting the text in the note cell and making changes. To delete a footnote, select the footnote number in your table (not in the note cell) and cut it.

If you try to delete a footnote by selecting the footnote number and pressing the Delete key, you’ll get an error message saying you should use the Delete command instead. Don’t believe it! If you choose Delete, all the text in the cell will disappear. The only way to remove a footnote without removing the entire contents of a cell is to use Cut.

All About Settings

The Table Tool’s Settings menu contains commands that affect your table as a whole (unlike the Format menu commands, which affect individual cells or characters). One reason for the distinction is to allow you to create Settings files, which make it easy to reformat an entire table quickly—more on those in a minute. No fewer than nine dialog boxes are accessed through the Settings menu, and they are all nearly identical. I’ll describe the Entry Settings dialog box first, and then point out the important differences in the others.

Entry Settings

Figure 5.31 shows the dialog box presented when you choose Entry… from the Settings menu. Entry refers to the table cells in the body of your document—i.e., anything that’s not in a header, title, or note. The pop-up menus provided mirror the commands in the Table menu: Font, Size, (user-defined) Style, Horizontal and Vertical Alignment, Text Color, and Cell Color. To change default leading, enter a number in the Leading entry box that is the opposite of how much leading you want to add (see above). Clicking Margins… brings up the familiar Cell Margins dialog box to allow you to set default margins in points.


Figure 5.31. The Entry Settings dialog box. Other settings dialog boxes are very similar.

The settings you choose in the Entry dialog box will apply to all new text you enter as well as all existing text unless you have already made manual formatting changes. Any cell to which you’ve made a manual formatting change becomes “immune” to any changes made from this dialog box. The moral of the story is: choose your settings first, if at all possible!

Title and Notes Settings

A special cell at the top of your table holds the table’s title; another at the bottom holds the footnotes. You can make changes to the title or notes settings by choosing Title… or Note… from the Settings menu. An additional pop-up menu in these dialog boxes, called Placement, allows you to choose whether these cells are Inside or Outside the table’s frame (see below). Choosing None deletes the title or notes cell. (You must remove any footnotes from the notes cell before it can be deleted.) The Numbering pop-up menu in the Notes Settings dialog box allows you to choose whether Numbers, Letters, or Symbols are used as footnote markers.

Column and Row Header Settings

Headers in the Table Tool are special cells at the top of each column or the left of each row that contain a designation or description of the items in that column or row (see Figure 5.32). To add headers to your table, choose Column…, Row…, or Both… from the Headers submenu of the Settings 159 menu, and then choose Horizontal (or Vertical) from the Layout pop-up menu.

Figure 5.32. A table with column and row headers.

Group Header Settings

A group header in a table is an extra header that appears outside (above or to the left of) your regular headers (see Figure 5.33). Group headers may also span the width of two or more columns or the height of two or more rows. Unlike regular headers, group headers need not apply to every row or every column; you can create a group header for two rows, for example, without creating empty group header cells for the rest of your rows. To create a group header, select one or more header cells and choose Group from the Edit menu. Like regular headers, group headers have their own set of formatting specifications.

Figure 5.33. A table with group headers.

Other than creating column and row group headers, there is no way to “merge” or “straddle” cells in a Nisus Table Tool table, as you can in some other table editors.

Grid Lines and Frames

The Table Tool calls the lines that separate rows and columns grid lines. The frame is a border surrounding the table as a whole. Choose Grid… from the Settings menu to 160 change the grid attributes (Figure 5.34). To turn off horizontal or vertical lines, choose a thickness of None. Choose Frame… to make the same modifications to the frame surrounding your table. If you choose Select… from the Lines submenu, you’ll see the dialog box in Figure 5.35. This represents all the possible grid and frame lines in your document. A checked box indicates that the line is present; an empty box means it’s not.

Figure 5.34.The Grid Line Settings dialog box.

Figure 5.35.The Line Selection dialog box.

Control over which lines are visible is limited to the horizontal and vertical lines as a whole within the main part of your table. Unfortunately, you cannot arbitrarily change the border of any particular cell or group of cells.

161 Shading

When you choose Shade… from the Settings menu, you will see the dialog box in Figure 5.36. This allows you to apply automatic shading to alternating rows or columns. In the example shown, the selected shading is two green rows followed by one white row in a repeating pattern. If you use both row and column shading, the row shading will take precedence—the column colors will only “show through” where the row color for a given cell is white.

Figure 5.36. The Shade Settings dialog box.

Normally, any part of your table that is white will appear as opaque white in your Nisus Writer document. To make white areas “transparent,” choose Preferences… from the File menu and uncheck the box labeled Fill Table Background with White.

Units of Measurement

A number of dialog boxes in the Table Tool require a numerical measurement value to be entered. The unit of measurement used throughout the Table Tool can be points, picas, inches, or centimeters. Choose the measurement you want to use for your table from the Units submenu of the Settings menu. To make the change permanent, choose Preferences… from the File menu.

162 Settings Files

All of the settings that are adjusted using the Settings menu can be stored in a special Settings file. By applying a given Settings file to a table, you can reformat the whole thing with a single command! Settings files do not contain the number (or size) of columns or rows in your document, so they can apply to tables of any size or shape. To create a Settings file, first adjust all the settings to your taste using the Settings menu commands. Then choose Save Settings… from the Settings menu to name and save the file. To apply those settings to another table, open (or create) the table and use the Apply Settings… command.

Reorganizing Tables

The commands Sort, Swap, Flip, and Turn… on the Table menu give you several ways to reorganize your table data.

The View Menu

The View menu regulates the on-screen display of your tables. The first three commands, Hide Title, Hide Notes, and Hide Headers, will temporarily make the selected zone invisible but will not remove it from your table. To display one of these zones again, choose Show Title, Show Notes, or Show Headers. If you choose Lock Headers, the “closed padlock” icon will appear in your status area, and the headers will not move when you scroll in your table. This is useful when you have a large table and need to see both the bottom edge and the column headers (or the right edge and the row headers) at the same time. The Page Preview command shows you a display of your entire table, even if it is too large to fit on a 164 single page. The command Show Dingbats will display the Dingbats palette; to hide the palette, choose Hide Dingbats.

The Find Menu

The Table Tool has its own (limited) Find and Replace feature. Choose Find… to search for a string of text in your table or Replace… to find and replace text. After you’ve performed a Find or Replace, choosing Find Next or Replace Next will move to the next match without requiring you to go through a dialog box.

Exporting and Importing

The Table Tool can export tables in tabbed text, comma text, or SYLK format. Choose Export… from the File menu, select the desired format from the pop-up menu at the bottom of the Export dialog box, and click Save. You’ll notice that in addition to the three file formats mentioned, there is a fourth format—PICT on Clipboard. When this is chosen, the Table Tool places an EGO-format table on your clipboard rather than creating a disk file. You can then switch to Nisus Writer (or any other EGO-aware application) and choose Paste to embed the table in your document. Exporting a file in PICT on Clipboard format can also be done without going through this dialog box simply by pressing Command-Option-C.

If you already have tabular data in a tab-delimited, comma-delimited, or SYLK file, you can easily convert it to a table. Choose Import… from the File menu. Make sure you have chosen the correct file format in the pop-up menu at the bottom of the Import dialog box. Then locate your file and click Open. The Table Tool will create a new table with the appropriate number of rows and columns to accommodate your data. Since you created this new table using the Table Tool itself and not Nisus Writer, you will have to press Command-Option-C to copy the table in EGO format, then switch to Nisus Writer and choose Paste to insert the table in your document.

165 Stupid Table Tricks

There are a few more things you should know about tables, but they don’t fall into any reasonable category. Here’s a smattering of miscellaneous table tidbits for the truly table-hungry:

Cool Uses for Tables

Even if you don’t need to present “tabular” information, you can use the Table Tool to work around some of Nisus Writer’s inherent limitations. Here are a couple of suggestions.

167 Equations

Nisus Writer’s Equation Tool is a special version of Design Science’s MathType equation editor. It allows you to quickly and easily create simple or complex mathematical expressions of nearly any kind (which we’ll refer to as equations for convenience—even though they may not really be equations). Like the Table Tool, the Equation Tool uses EGO to embed its objects in your Nisus Writer document, so they can be edited at any time simply by double-clicking them.

The Equation Tool is identical to the full stand-alone version of MathType with one important exception: it will only launch when Nisus Writer is running. So you can’t launch it from the Finder to create stand-alone equations or embed equations in another program, unless Nisus Writer happens to be running in the background.

While the section above describing tables was pretty thorough and detailed, I’m going to give only a quick overview of the Equation Tool. There are several reasons for this:

What I’ll show you here are the basic tools and techniques for creating equations and some clever uses for equations in your documents.

Inserting Equations into Your Document

To insert a new equation into your document at the current insertion point or paste spot, choose Equation… from the Insert menu. An Equation Tool badge will appear as a placeholder, and the Equation Tool will open with an empty 168 equation window (Figure 5.37). After entering your equation, click the close box to place the equation into your Nisus Writer document. To edit a previously made equation, just double-click it to open it in the Equation Tool.

Figure 5.37. The Equation Tool’s editing window.

If you want to create a simple expression, you can simply begin typing at the insertion point. The Equation Tool intelligently formats many kinds of mathematical expressions. For example, if you type a single lowercase letter, it assumes it to be a variable and it makes it italic. But if you type in sin, tan, lim, or any other common function, it will not be italicized. Likewise, the Equation Tool automatically adds the optimum amount of space around mathematical operators, parentheses, and other symbols, and uses an en dash (–) for a minus sign even if you type a hyphen (-). Because of this automatic spacing, pressing the Spacebar will normally do nothing.

You can manually insert spaces of various widths and override other preset formatting using keyboard shortcuts. See Appendix A for a complete list.

Using Templates

The key to creating complex expressions is the Equation Tool’s template system. Templates are ready-made containers for fractions, roots, matrices, and other constructions. They 169 are found on the Template palettes, which are similar to pop-down menus (see Figure 5.38). Each palette contains a set of related templates; the general category is shown by the icon on the palette indicator.

Figure 5.38. The Template Palettes bar with the Fractions & Radicals palette displayed.

Templates form the basis of the following Easy Steps to creating equations:

Easy Step 1: Insert a template.

Easy Step 2: Fill in the blanks.

It’s that simple! Let’s take a very basic example: a fraction. To create a fraction, choose the full-size vertical fraction icon () from the Fractions & Radicals palette. Type a number into the top box (where your insertion point is); the line will expand to the width of your number. Press Tab to move the insertion point to the bottom box, and type a number there. That’s it—Figure 5.39 shows your completed fraction. Entering other expressions is just as easy: insert the template first, then fill in the blanks. To start a new line within any lot, press the Return key.

The symbols associated with the template will automatically expand (horizontally and/or vertically) to fit whatever you type in the blanks. You can move your insertion point from one slot to the next either by clicking with the mouse or by using the keyboard. Pressing Tab or Enter will take you to the next slot; Shift-Tab will move the insertion point backwards one slot; arrow keys will move you one character or line at a time (more keyboard shortcuts are listed in Appendix A).

Figure 5.39. A simple fraction created using the Equation Tool.

You can expand on the template concept by placing one template in a blank created by another. For example, you can 170 begin with parentheses (), insert a fraction into the blank, put a radical in the numerator position and a numeral with an exponent in the denominator position (Figure 5.40). By continuing to place templates within templates, you can construct very complex expressions as easily as filling in the blanks.

Figure 5.40. Placing one template within another.

171 There are a couple of other template tricks you should know about. If you choose one of the shaded superscript/subscript templates (see Figure 5.41), a superscript/subscript slot will be attached to an existing number or expression (the one containing your insertion point). You can also put symbols around existing expressions. For example, if you’ve already typed x–2 and you want to put it inside a square root symbol (), select what you’ve typed and press Command while choosing the square root template. The existing material will be placed into the slot of the new template.

Figure 5.41. The Superscript/Subscript template palette.

Using Symbols

In addition to the template palettes, the Equation Tool features a series of Symbol palettes. These contain symbols for mathematical and logical operators, Greek letters, and much more. Like the template palettes, they are grouped in related sets. To insert a symbol into your equation, simply locate it on a palette and select it with the mouse. The third symbol palette from the left (Figure 5.42) is particularly important—it adds embellishments (diacritical marks, arrows, primes, etc.) to existing characters. To add an embellishment, select a single character and then choose the symbol you want to add from the embellishment palette. You can add as many as you like; each subsequent embellishment will be “stacked” above the previous one.


Figure 5.42. The Embellishment Symbols palette.

The Template, Symbol, and Macro Bars

If there is a template or symbol that you use frequently and would like to be able to access without finding it on a palette, you can place it on the Template or Symbol bar. All you need to do is choose Open Template Bar or Open Symbol Bar from the File menu, choose the symbol or template you want to add from a palette as usual, and close the window. In addition to storing individual templates and symbols, you can store entire expressions (of any size) on the Macro bar. The Macro bar is hidden by default; to display it, choose Macro Bar from the View menu. Unlike Nisus Writer macros, a macro in the Equation Tool is simply a prebuilt expression that can be entered into the editing area with a single mouse click. To add (or edit) a macro, choose Open Macro… from the File menu. In the dialog box that is displayed, enter a number from 1 to 32 (corresponding to the positions, from left to right, on the macro bar). Create (or paste) your expression in the macro window, and close the window to add it to your Macro bar.

Using Styles

Like Nisus Writer, the Equation Tool makes use of styles for formatting characters in equations. A style in the Equation 173 Tool consists only of settings for font, size, bold (on or off), and italic (on or off). The predefined styles are found on the Style menu and should be suitable for most applications. While the Equation Tool makes an educated guess about what style each character should be in, you can override it at any time by selecting the character(s) and choosing a different style from the Style menu. If you wish to change the settings for any of the styles (or to set your own attributes for one of the two User Styles), choose Define… from the Style menu to display the dialog box shown in Figure 5.43. Enter the desired values and click OK.

Figure 5.43. The Equation Tool’s style definition dialog box.

Equation Tidbits

There are a few other facts you should know about equations.

Fun with Equations

You may be thinking, “I’m sure the Equation Tool is wonderful, but I never use equations. What do I need it for?” I’m glad you asked. I rarely use equations in my own documents, but I use the Equation Tool a lot for other things. Here are some neat nonmath things you can do.


Figure 5.44. Diacritical marks created using the Equation Tool’s Embellishments palette.

Figure 5.45. The Change Matrix dialog box.


Figure 5.46.A table created using the Equation Tool’s matrix template.


After reading this chapter, you should be able to create, import, and manipulate graphics like a pro. I hope I’ve also sparked your imagination with some unorthodox applications of tables and equations. In Section IV of this book (chapters 14–18), we’ll look at more real-world examples of graphical elements in your documents, and walk through some concrete techniques for overcoming some of the challenges of combining text and graphics meaningfully. Right now, we’ll turn our attention to the other nontextual side of Nisus Writer—sound.

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1999 by Joe Kissell

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