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Using  The  Mouse  Actions

Much of the design work in Templot is done with the mouse, using what are called mouse actions. For users unfamiliar with detailed track design the mouse actions can be used exclusively, allowing trial template prints to be made without any regard to exact dimensions.

Mouse actions differ from conventional Windows drag operations in two ways:

1. Adjustments are made by moving the mouse. But unlike, say, a Windows scrollbar tab, there is nothing "under" the mouse to be dragged along. Only the relative movement of mouse is significant and in most cases the actual position of the mouse pointer on the screen is immaterial.

2. You don't need to hold down the mouse button while making the adjustment. You can do click-move-click instead if you prefer. Using the mouse this way relaxes your hand, which makes it easier to make fine adjustments. Try it. It also means that you can remove your hand from the mouse to refer to notes, drink coffee, etc., without losing or changing anything.

You can also use the number-pad keys to click the drawing pad (5 key) and move the mouse pointer in 8 directions (other keys 1-9). This is useful when you want to make a very fine adjustment. But remember not to bump the mouse when you are using these keys.

Here is a step-by-step guide to using the mouse actions:

Before starting for the first time, press the F12 function key, or click the arrow pointer button at the top of the pad, to ensure that the drawing pad is properly initialized. You should be seeing a drawing of a complete turnout. (If not, click the track > B-6 turnout reset menu item, and then click the green bar in the confirmation window which appears.)

Now you need to select which mouse action you require. This is normally done using the function keys on the keyboard, and a handy chart of them all to place behind your keyboard can be printed out - click the help > print F key chart menu item.

For quick access to frequent functions, Templot uses the F function keys on the top row of the keyboard.

On some laptop computers and multimedia keyboards in order to get the F keys to work in the traditional way for Templot it is necessary to first press a key marked F-Lock or Fn-Lock, usually located top-right on the keyboard.

On other laptop computers it may be necessary to press or hold down a key marked Fn or Func while using the F keys. This key is usually located bottom-left on the keyboard.

If the F keys don't respond as described below please refer to your computer manual.

There are also some single-key alternative shortcuts to the function keys. For example you can simply press the \ (backslash) key instead of trying to press SHIFT+CTRL-F7 with one hand (the other hand being on the mouse). Alternatively, the mouse actions can be selected from the adjust > mouse actions: menu items.

For now, try pressing F6 to adjust the curving radius of the current template (or click the adjust > mouse actions: current > adjust curving radius only menu item).

action panel screenshot1

Three things happen:

1.The mouse action panel appears, showing two lines of text: F6 curving (the mouse action in force) and xxxx mm (the current curving radius in the main road of the template).

2. The title bar at the top of the drawing pad now also shows F6 adjust template curving = xxxx mm.

3. The mouse pointer changes to a hollow triangle symbol (the mouse action symbol).

With the triangle pointer symbol somewhere near the centre of the drawing pad, click the left mouse button. The exact position doesn't matter, provided it is in the actual drawing area. After a short while several more things happen:

action panel screenshot2

4. The mouse pointer changes to up-down arrows.

5. The triangle symbol in the mouse action panel changes to yellow.

6. If the skeleton mouse draw mode is in force the current template is redrawn in skeleton form showing the rail running edges only.

Now SLOWLY move the mouse pointer up and down the screen. The template will be continually redrawn with a varying amount of curving, and the radius figures will change in both the title bar and the panel. If you have a fast Pentium processor the redraws will respond immediately to the mouse movement and you will be able to speed up the movements.

If you have an older or slower processor, or one lacking maths co-processor functions, the redraws will take longer and may not be able to keep up with the mouse. But the end result will be the same. If this seems frustrating, remember that this is a hobby - there's no great rush. However slow your processor, Templot will generate a template in a fraction of the time it would take with pencil and paper!

When you have made the required amount of adjustment, click (or release) the mouse button again. The triangle symbol mouse pointer returns and the template is redrawn in full.

You can now repeat the "click-move-click" process as many times as necessary to complete the amount of adjustment needed. The current mouse action remains in force until you cancel it.

To cancel a mouse action, do any of these:

After cancelling or changing the mouse action, the most recently used mouse action can be quickly re-selected by any of these means:

Next try the CTRL-F8 move peg  mouse action. Moving the mouse from side to side slides the red "fixing peg" symbol along the track centre-line. Leave it somewhere near the middle of the turnout.

If you now repeat the F6 curving  action you will see that the response is slightly different, with the turnout "fixed" to the pad at the peg. Try also the F8 rotate  and F9 slide  actions.

Now experiment with some of the other mouse actions, some of which respond to both directions of mouse movement simultaneously.

For example F7 shift  which moves the turnout across the drawing pad to the desired position. Don't confuse the shift mouse action with a normal Windows drag, you will find that it works regardless of where the mouse pointer is positioned on the screen.

Don't confuse the re-positioning shift functions in Templot with the SHIFT key on the keyboard.

The F5 size  mouse action can be used to change the size of the current turnout, from a short stubby one to a long slender one. This mouse action might seem jerkier than the others because Templot normally "snaps" the turnout size to the nearest sensible size based on full-size railway practice. Before trying F5 size, return the fixing peg to the left hand end of the turnout (CTRL-F8 move peg  mouse action again), otherwise you may find the results confusing at first.

If the pad zoom setting is locked you may not see all of a long turnout. Press the PAGE UP key to free the zooming so that the whole turnout fits on the screen as you change the size. Then try pressing PAGE DOWN to lock it again and compare the effect as you move the mouse.

The turnout length may also be locked. Try pressing CTRL-PAGE UP to free the length and CTRL-PAGE DOWN to lock it as you change the turnout size with the mouse.

You can also pre-set one of the mouse actions to be available by double-clicking on the pad. This is initially set to be the CTRL-F4 move pad  mouse action, but you can change it to another with the adjust > double-click options menu items. After adjusting the view you can quickly revert to your previous mouse action by double-clicking again, or by pressing the BACKSPACE key, or by clicking the triangle mouse action symbol button.

As an alternative to double-clicking on the pad, you can instead click (once) the double-click button at the top of the pad marked with two clicks. This is safer than directly double-clicking the pad when no existing mouse action is in force, because accidentally clicking on a background template in those circumstances has a different meaning.

If you choose to make the mouse action adjustments with the mouse button down, as for a normal Windows drag operation, after a short while the upper line in the mouse action panel will be prefixed with a bullet mark ( ). This shows you that Templot has recognised that you are working with the button down, and that the adjustment will terminate when you release it.

While moving the mouse you can experiment with the screen refresh modes. Press the INSERT key to toggle between on-screen  and off-screen  refresh. The former will give the fastest response but with some screen flicker. For more information select the pad > screen refresh options > ? refresh help menu item.

Depending on how your mouse settings are currently configured in Windows, you might find that the mouse actions respond too quickly or too slowly to movements of the mouse. You can change the response rates to suit your system and/or your own preferences by selecting the adjust > modify mouse response menu item. The response rate is also determined by the current zoom setting. Zoom in more closely to get a finer response when you need greater precision.

If you find that you still cannot get the exact setting you require when using a mouse action, click the lower line of text in the mouse action panel to enter your required figure directly.

Sometimes the mouse action panel will obstruct your view of the drawing. You can drag it and re-size it in the usual way, or you can hide it without cancelling the mouse action by clicking the upper line of text, or by pressing the DELETE key on the keyboard. Pressing DELETE again will show it again. Or you can prevent it appearing at all by selecting the pad > mouse options > hide mouse action panel menu option.

Unless you intervene, the panel re-sizes itself to accommodate the text lines. If you re-size it in the usual way by dragging the sides or bottom-right corner, it will remain at whatever size you set until the mouse action is cancelled.


Handy Hints:

Occasionally if you accidentally fumble the mouse the automatic detection of button-down drag mode may catch you out. If you know which method you prefer and intend to stick to, you can lock the mode in the program > mouse action menu items on the control room  window.

When using Templot's mouse actions you will be using your mouse to make some precise adjustments. It might be a good idea to open the bottom of it and clean out any fluff which has accumulated on the spindles and rollers. The difference this can make to the ease and precision of use is amazing.


For some further notes about the way the mouse actions work, see also utterly baffled.


Linking the pegging notch to the current template mouse actions:

  If you have just started using Templot it is recommended that you leave reading the following notes until you have become more familiar with using the mouse actions and the peg & notch functions.

Clicking the adjust > notch options > link notch to template at peg menu item moves the pegging notch under the fixing peg at its current position on the current template, in the same way as the normal  > notch under peg function (DIVIDE key).

In addition however, if the peg is at a pre-set position (peg-indicator showing numbers 0 - 9, N, or U), this position within the template will be remembered, and the notch will be maintained there as the current template is adjusted by mouse action.

Note that it is not subsequently necessary for the fixing peg to also remain at this position, you will often want to move it to a different position to maintain the track alignment for the mouse action.

If the peg is not at a pre-set position (peg-indicator showing F, M, or S), for example after moving the peg manually (CTRL-F8 move peg mouse action), the notch will follow the position of the peg as the current template is adjusted by mouse action.

The linking will be cancelled if you move the position of the notch manually, or click the > notch unlinked menu item.

N.B. This linking to the current template applies only while a mouse action is in force. Other changes to the current template will not change the position of the notch on the drawing pad. The normal unlinked peg and notch functions are used in this case.

Handy Hint :

This function is primarily intended for use when a selected group of background templates have been previously linked to the notch. In this way a whole group of templates can be maintained in alignment with the current template while it is being adjusted. For more information about linking a group of templates to the notch, please click group linking.


more notes here soon

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page revised  © 22-Sep-2005
minor revision  © 07-Aug-2011