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revised 13-Feb-02

In  the  Storage  Box

Your storage box  is a container in which you accumulate a collection of templates as you work through a Templot session. All the work you do in Templot is done with discrete templates, either individually printed, or arranged on the background to form a complete track plan.

To see the box, select the control > storage box menu item on the drawing pad (CTRL-O). The storage box has its own menus and keyboard shortcuts described below which are independent of those for the drawing pad.

Each time you have a current template on the drawing pad which you want to keep, you can add a copy of it to your storage box by clicking the control > store as unused or the control > store & background menu items, or these same items in the right-click menu. You might want to do this because:

You can also add an unused copy of the current template to the box by clicking the store current button on the box itself.

You can quickly sort through your collection of templates using the left-right arrow buttons, or the slider device above them, and view the templates either as individual drawings or in list form by clicking the show box list / show drawing buttons.

Stored templates can be copied to the background drawing, so that they appear behind the current template on the drawing pad. In this way you can build up a complete track plan. A separate list of the background templates is displayed when you select the box > background list menu item (CTRL-B).

Stored templates which have not been copied to the background, or have been wiped from the background, are called unused templates. Stored templates can be copied to the background drawing and wiped from it as often as you wish in trying different track configurations.

Stored templates can also be copied back to become the current template on the pad for further work, and you can choose whether this causes the existing stored template to remain unchanged, or be wiped from the background, or be deleted from the box completely.

( When templates are added to the box they are normally placed at the end of the stored template list, and allocated a new template number. If you select instead the control > restore & background menu item, the new template will be inserted in the list at the position from which the last one was copied out to the pad. In this way you can modify a stored template and restore it to the box without disturbing the numbering.)

Templot maintains a continuous copy on file of your storage box contents and background drawing, and can restore them automatically at the start of the next working session.

In addition, all or part of the contents of the storage box can be saved in a named data file and reloaded at any time.

The automatic restore function works correctly even if the previous session terminated abnormally because of a system malfunction or power failure, so there is no need to repeatedly save your work simply as a precaution against these events.


The working of the storage box is as follows:

The show box list and show drawing buttons let you choose to see either a drawing of each template, or a list of all the templates in the box (which can also be printed out).

Each template is numbered in the box list for reference, and the number of the selected template is displayed above the left-right arrow buttons.

As you sort through your collection of templates, several things happen:

In addition to the left-right arrow buttons and slider, templates can also be selected by clicking the required line in the list.

The order of templates in the list can be changed by clicking the brown up and down arrow buttons alongside the list. The selected template is moved one position up or down accordingly for each click on the button.


The storage box has its own menus and keyboard shortcuts which are independent of the drawing pad. Most of the menu entries are self-explanatory. Here are some further notes about some of them:

The box menu includes items for deleting and clearing all templates, and for copying them to and wiping them from the background. The box > toggle unused/background menu item swaps the state of every stored template, i.e. all the unused templates are copied to the background, and all the existing background templates are wiped to become unused. This is useful when you want to compare two different designs by swapping between them.

The box menu also includes items for printing the details of the box contents. You can print a simple list of all the templates, or have a complete printout of the info and memo texts for all of them. Bear in mind that this could use several sheets of paper. The printer font used for these lists can be changed in the program menu on the control room window. (If you want to print the texts for a single template, click the info button and then click the print button in the text window.)


The files menu

items concern the saving and reloading of the box contents from data files. When reloading, you can choose to add the loaded templates to the existing contents instead of replacing them. And when saving, you can choose to save all the stored templates, or only a selected group of them.

In this way, by selectively saving templates and adding them from files, you can build up a fresh drawing from previously saved templates.

There is no limit to the number of templates in the box, you can add templates from as many files as you wish in building up your track plan. But you should try not to have more of them copied to the background at any one time than you actually need to work on, otherwise screen re-draw times will become frustratingly slow.

The difference between the files > reload... and files > add... menu items is that reload additionally gives you the opportunity to clear the existing box contents first, and is the only option available when the box is empty.

files > save group... is only available if a group of templates have first been selected. For more information about using the group select functions, see the notes for the group menu below.

The reload..., add file..., save all... and save group... buttons duplicate the commonly used menu entries for convenience.

The files > restore previous menu item restores the box contents and background drawing to the condition they were in when you quit the previous Templot session. You can do this it any time and as often as you wish, independently of any saving or reloading you may have done since. This function works correctly even if the previous session terminated abnormally as a result of a system malfunction. Be aware that this function re-instates the box contents as they were when you quit the previous session, not as they were when you last saved them to a data file.

The echo functions are Templot's implementation of cut and paste functions, mainly intended for use when you are running more than one sesion of Templot concurrently (Windows NT/2000/XP only). The currently selected template can be sent or another one fetched as required between the respective storage boxes.

The echo functions are independent of the Windows clipboard, and an echo will survive a Windows restart.

Selecting the files > export dxf... menu item generates a DXF drawing exchange file from the complete background for transfer to other CAD or drawing software. For more details click the ? help button in the DXF window which appears. Click to see some examples of the use of DXF exports from Templot.

For some further notes on working with files in Templot, see also utterly baffled.


The edit > delete menu item deletes the selected template from the box, and from your background drawing if it is a background template. You can undo this by clicking edit > undo delete, provided you have made no subsequent deletions. The delete button duplicates the menu item for convenience. Or you can use the DELETE key shortcut while the box is showing.


The group menu

items allow you to perform operations on a group of templates instead of on a single template. The group can include background and unused templates. Templates which are part of the group are indicated in the box with a square  symbol alongside the number, and are drawn in the group colour on the drawing pad.

To add or remove the selected template to or from the group, click the select (toggle) menu item. Other menu items permit forming a group comprised of all the stored templates, or all the background templates only, or all the unused templates only. To remove all templates from the group click the select none menu item.

The invert selections menu item removes all the existing templates from the group and forms a new group comprising all the others. When you want to select a group containing all the templates except for a few, it is usually quicker to select just those few and then click invert selections.

This is also a useful way to split your drawing into two files, using the save group... menu item, which creates a data file containing only the group templates.

The group select buttons on the storage box duplicate some of the menu items for convenience.

In addition to the save and copy functions in the group menu, there are several shift and rotate functions in the drawing pad menus which apply to the templates in the selected group. In this way the templates comprising a complex track formation can be re-positioned on the drawing as a single unit.

Many of the group select functions are duplicated in the control > group select > menu items on the drawing pad, but in this case apply only to background templates. To include unused templates in a group the storage box group functions must be used.

Templates can also be added to a group as they are added to the box from a data file. This is useful if you know they will all need to be re-positioned, or simply to identify them in a different colour on the pad. For more information see the notes for the on add only option below.

The group > toggle group unused/background menu item works in the same way as the item in the box menu (see above), but in this case applies only to the selected group of templates. By using this function in conjunction with invert selections, or by forming a group as templates are added from a file, you can compare different possible designs by superimposing groups of templates.


The options menu

items provide several options to let you customise the way your storage box works. The various settings are:

on store from pad >

The show box setting shows the storage box whenever a template is added from the drawing pad.


on store & copy from pad >

These settings apply when a template is stored and copied immediately to the background from the drawing pad. The hide current template setting causes the current template on the drawing pad to be hidden, so that the background template newly created from it can be seen. If you select copy behind current, the new background template won't be visible until you shift the current template from its position covering it.


on make current >

These settings apply when you click the make current template button to make the current template on the drawing pad a copy of the currently selected template in the box:

wipe from background causes this template to be removed from the background. It remains in the box, but becomes an unused template. Use this setting when you want to modify a template which is on the background. Store it again when you have modified it, and copy it again to the background.

copy over background. Use this setting when you intend to use the copied template elsewhere, and do not want to disturb the existing background.

The copy onto notch and copy onto datum settings cause the copied template to be shifted to these locations, saving the need to move them after copying.

The name settings let you choose whether the template's existing name should follow it to the pad, or a new name be used for the current template.

If hide box and redraw is selected, the storage box will be hidden after the template is copied to the pad, otherwise it remains showing.


on copy to background >

These settings apply when you click the copy to background button to copy the currently selected template to the background. If the show list setting is selected, the background templates list will be shown for editing, or to change the display options.


modify on rebuild >

These settings apply when you click the rebuild or rebuild group or rebuild all menu items and buttons.

Normally when a background template is rebuilt, the stored settings for timbering and rail lengths remain unchanged, and are used for the new background drawing. But if the timbering+lengths as current option is selected, the background templates being rebuilt will have these stored settings changed to match the current template:

  Plain track sleepers length and width.
  Plain track rail lengths and sleeper spacings.
  Turnout timbers length and width.
  Turnout timber spacing, equalizing and centralizing settings.
  Timber randomizing settings.

This option is useful when you want to update all or part of the background drawing to correspond with the current template, for example if a custom setting has been entered for the rail lengths. It also makes it easy to produce different versions of your drawing, for example one version with equalized turnout timbering and one with square-on timbering.

Remember to reset the timbering+lengths as stored menu option afterwards, otherwise subsequent rebuilds may modify your background templates unintentionally.

Only background templates can be modified on rebuild. To modify unused templates, temporarily copy them to the background and rebuild them as a group. (In the group menu, click the select all unused,  copy group to bgnd,  rebuild group,  and wipe group  menu items in sequence.)


on reload or add >

When templates are saved a record is made in the data file of whether they are currently background templates, or currently unused templates. On reloading them, you can choose whether unused templates in the file should be loaded, and whether background templates in the file should be immediately copied to the background or loaded as unused.

To have them copied immediately to the background select the update background menu item. If ignore background is chosen, they will be loaded as unused and not go on the background until you copy them to it. These settings have no effect on templates which were originally unused when saved.

If the load all templates option is selected, all templates in the file will be loaded into the box. If ignore unused templates is selected, only background templates will be loaded into the box. Any unused templates in the file will be ignored.


on add only >

Templates added to the box from a file can be formed into a new selected group or added to an existing group.

If the form new group menu option is selected, any existing group selections will be cleared and the templates added will form a new group. If add to existing group is selected, no changes will be made to any existing group selections, and the templates added will be selected in addition. If ignore group is selected, no changes will be made to any existing group.


on reload only >

These settings apply after reloading the storage box (but not for add or fetch echo). If mint current from final template is selected, a mint current template will be created from the final template loaded. This is useful at the start of a session as it automatically sets your previous gauge and scale ready for further work.


restore on startup >

These options permit you to customise the way the automatic restore on startup function works. Changes you make here will take effect the next time you start a Templot session, they have no effect on the current session.

If auto restore previous data is selected, the next time you start a Templot session your storage box and background drawing will be automatically re-instated to the condition in which you leave it when you quit this session. If ask is selected, you will first be asked whether you want this to happen. These option settings will persist for subsequent startups until you change them.

If start with clear box and pad is selected, the automatic restore function will be ignored for the next startup. This option setting will apply for one startup only, and will revert to ask for subsequent startups unless you change it each time.

Regardless of which option you choose, the previous box contents can be restored at any time by selecting the files > restore previous menu item. For more information see the notes for the files menu above.

start with clear pad does not remove the current template, which is always present on the drawing pad, but can be hidden (CTRL-W).


Background  List

The background list window is an annexe to your storage box, listing the templates which have been copied from the box to appear on your background drawing. To see the background list click the control > background list menu item on the drawing pad, or the box > background list menu item on the storage box, or press CTRL-B.

To remove a template from the background, select it in the list by clicking or using the arrow keys, then click the wipe button. This will not delete it from the storage box, it simply becomes an unused template, and can be restored to the background drawing by clicking again the copy to background button on the box.

To remove all the background templates, click the wipe all button.

Templates appear on the background reflecting the settings of the drawing pad generator menu items which were in effect when they were copied to the background. They can be updated to correspond to the current settings on the generator menu by clicking the rebuild or rebuild all buttons.

But you will only see these changes if the relevant show option boxes are ticked. These boxes let you customize the way background templates are shown on the screen, they have no effect on the printed output or a DXF export file.

If you are building a complete track layout in the background, it is sometimes less confusing to display the background templates in skeleton form only, with the rail outer-edges and perhaps the timbers omitted. This can also significantly speed up the screen re-draws for a large track plan. But if you want to print them this way, you must remember to make the necessary changes in the generator menu and then click rebuild or rebuild all. You can if you wish then restore the generator settings for the current template on the pad without affecting the background.

If you want to print the entire drawing including the current template without rails or timbers, a quicker way which does not affect the background drawing on the screen is to use the print > printed element options menu items. Be aware, however, that you cannot use these options to print features which were never generated.

Clicking the box button returns to or shows the storage box window again.


Handy Hints :


The storage box contains the template specification for each template, not an actual drawing of it.

When a template is selected it is only then redrawn in the box using the current settings from the pad generator menu. This means that if, say, you have switched off the timber outlines since the currently selected template was added to the box, it will now appear without any timber outlines. If you then copy the drawing to the background these settings will be locked in, so that it will appear in the background without timber outlines, and remain so even after you switch them back on.

But the template specification itself has not changed. You can restore the timber outlines to the storage box drawings simply by switching them back on in the generator menu. And you can also restore them to the background drawings by clicking the rebuild or rebuild all buttons on the background list window, or the generator > rebuild group and generator > rebuild all background menu items on the drawing pad.

Templot occasionally needs to use the current template itself in some storage box operations, so you may see some unexplained changes take place on the drawing pad behind the storage box. But your existing current template is always restored when these operations are complete.


more notes here soon

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page revised  © 22-Sep-2005