TEMPLOT  previous changes up to version 0.68  (March 2001) 

This page lists all the previous program changes in Templot up to version 0.68.c (March 2001).

To see a list of the changes since then and up to the current version, click later changes.

To find which version of Templot you are using, click the help > about Templot menu item. For information about downloading the latest upgrade, click downloads. Upgrades are free to existing users if downloaded.

Changes in v:0.68     Changes in v:0.66     Changes in v:0.65     Changes in v:0.63    

Earlier changes up to v:0.45

Please see also the notes about known issues outstanding.

The changes in version 0.68 (March 2001), (from version 0.66) were these:

  • It is now possible to import from a DXF file into the background shapes. This is intended mainly for use with vectorized scanned bitmaps, so that a scanned map or track plan can be used as a background guide to your track designs (but see also the next item).

     Scanning maps, track plans and other images may require the permission of the copyright owner.

    Only simple line and polyline entities are recognised, and arcs are converted to line-steps. Each line or line-step is imported as a separate background line shape in Templot. The maximum number of shapes is 32000, but you won't want anywhere near that number to keep screen refresh times comfortable. Break the DXF file into several smaller units in your CAD or vectorizing software.

    For suitable free vectorizing software, see  www.wintopo.com  and  www.softcover.com

    Other DXF files can also be imported, such as track plans created in CAD software, and it is also possible to re-import Templot's own exported DXF track plan files. This can be a useful way of comparing two track plans by superimposing one (as conventional background templates) on the other (re-imported from DXF into the background shapes). This is useful when copying a plan to a different track gauge. The imported plan can be scaled up or down as required using the scale all functions in the background shapes without affecting the current track gauge. (But see also the new convert group scale/gauge functions below.)

     This DXF import into Templot is intended mainly for vectorized bitmaps. Only line, line-step polyline and simple arc entities are recognised. If you are creating a DXF file in CAD, please be aware that more complex entities (e.g. spline curves) will not be recognised. Try tracing over such curves as polylines with short line segments only. 

  • Not all scanned images are suitable for vectorizing, so there is also a new picture type of background shape which can contain a scanned bitmap image directly. Again this is intended primarily for use with scanned maps and model trackplans used as a background guide to your design work.

    If you know the scanned dpi resolution and the scale of the map or track plan Templot will automatically scale it to your current drawing for you. If you have scanned an existing printed track template you can incorporate this into your design by setting a scale of 1:1. Likewise for rail-rubbings from existing trackwork, and you may even be able to scan items of made-up model trackwork directly.

    Any other bitmap image can also be used, such as a drawing created in the Windows Paint program for scenic or architectural features.

     This function uses the Windows "Stretch Bitmap" functions for scaling, and unfortunately these fail at higher magnifications, so some trial and error on the scanner may be needed for best results. It may be advantageous to enlarge the original on an ordinary photocopier before scanning it.

     Scanning maps, track plans and other images may require the permission of the copyright owner.

  • There are some powerful new link functions for selected groups of templates and the pegging notch.

    It is now possible to link a group of background templates to the current template while it is being adjusted by mouse action. This means, for example, that you can slide a yard turnout along a goods loop and carry the entire goods yard with it as you do so, with everything remaining in alignment.

    These new link functions also replace the previous shift group onto notch function, and are easier to use.

    Click group linking and linked-notch mouse actions for more information. A tutorial is in preparation. You will need to be familiar with the existing peg & notch functions before attempting to use these new link functions.

  • Bug fix: shift group onto notch now works correctly after notch under bgnd peg & shift current. But see the new link functions above.

  • The shove timbers dialog window now displays a readout of the length, offset and twist angle for the selected timber in addition to the centre dimension. These can be in full-size inches or model mm, and by clicking on them you can enter the data directly.

    Also, the centre dimension can be zeroed as a datum point on a selected timber, so that spacings to adjacent timber(s) can be read off or entered directly.  adjust > shove timbers menu item.

  • The plain track lengths and spacings dialog window now has 6 slots for custom rail lengths and sleeper spacings. This data is now preserved as the current template is changed, and can be adopted from a loaded custom template. Each setting can also be given a name.  geometry > plain track lengths... menu item.

  • The gauge / scale selector dialog window now has a convert group button which converts a selected group of templates to the chosen setting.  control > gauge and scale > other gauges... menu item.

    In theory this means that you can now change all or part of a complete track plan from one gauge to another. In practice things are not always quite so simple, because of the weird array of scale:gauge ratios which we go in for.

    Try converting Foundry Street (in S4/P4) to S7. Almost perfect.
    Try Clungunford (in EM) to GOG-F. Some slightly mismatched joins.
    Try Foundry Street to 00/H0. Most of the joins broken and needing re-pegging. But a lot quicker than starting from scratch.

    This function is also useful with custom gauge settings, as in the single-slip tutorial for example, making it possible to shorten the check rails at both ends of the diamond (or on an entire track plan) with a single click.

    (For gauge conversion ideas see also the new import DXF function above.)

  • There is a new tools > make tools: > options menu item which gives you the options of cancelling or retaining any blanking and shoved timbers data in creating the new template. (This is referred to in the diamond-crossing tutorial.)

  • There is a new mouse pointer for use with the zoom rectangle function, which should solve some problems with Windows NT/2000 (I hope). (Not available with the "classic grey" colour scheme.)

  • It is also now possible to select a group of templates by clicking and dragging a similar fence rectangle around them, and there are some options for the way this works.  control > group select > fence options > menu items.

  • It is now possible to enter the length of a template in terms of angular swing (change of direction). This makes it easier to set a curved template which turns through exactly 10 degrees, say, or through an angle of 1:7, for example. This feature is only available for fixed-radius curves at present - transition and slewed templates will follow in later upgrades. Not available for straight templates obviously. track > lengths (degrees)... menu item.)

  • Repeat clicking on a background template now toggles its pop-up menu on and off, curing a previous niggle when zoomed in close.

  • There are some new modification functions for all the drawing pad colours (pad > pad drawing colours > modify all colours > menu items) :

    • invert produces an inverse video effect. Click again to revert.
    • rotate rotates the red, green and blue components. Three clicks to revert.
    • swap red-blue interchanges the red and blue components. Click again to revert.

    By clicking these functions in various combinations, the number of pre-set colour schemes available is significantly increased. They may (or may not!) be to your liking.

  • There are two new mouse actions for the background shapes, scale all and rotate all. The rotation centre is the current position of the spacing-ring tool.

  • There is a new user-defined pre-set peg position. adjust > set peg options > set user position at peg menu item (to set the pre-set position), and adjust > set peg options > peg on user position menu item (to return the peg there at any time subsequently). This will be useful in conjunction with the new link functions (see above).

  • The printed template page origin can now be set in page-size units, in addition to millimetres. print > page orientation/origin > set page origin... menu item. This is useful when you want to re-position the pages but still retain the trim margin alignments with previously printed pages.

  • New adjust > shift/rotate current > shift radial centre to notch menu item.
    New adjust > set peg options > peg on mid-length menu item.
    These two functions are useful in creating turntables and sector plates.

  • The restore previous function for the storage box contents now remains available from earlier Templot sessions if the previous session was quit with an empty box.

  • There are new grid in front of shapes options for the background shapes for both the screen and printed templates. This is intended mainly for use with the new picture shapes containing bitmaps. (see above).

  • (For version 0.68.b and later) changes to the custom gauge/scale settings :

    • It is now possible to give each custom gauge/scale setting a name (maximum 15 characters).

    • The defaults have been modified to simplify conversions from one custom setting to another.

  • Other minor changes and bug-fixes have been made.

The changes in version 0.66 (October 2000), (from version 0.65) were these:

  • There are three useful new make split tools. These split the current template into two separate templates.

    the make separate approach track and the make separate exit track functions apply to turnouts, and create a new separate plain track template.

    the make split at peg function applies to plain track, and splits the template at the current peg position.

    The newly created template can then be adjusted independently of the original.

    These new functions can be usefully combined. After splitting off the approach or exit track from a long turnout template, that track can be further split into two. Or after inserting another turnout in it, the new approach or exit track could be split off again. This way of working offers an alternative to aligning the current template over background templates. (tools > make split > menu items).

  • When using the shove timbers functions, there is now an option to show all shoved timbers in blue. This makes it much easier to see which timbers have already been shoved.

  • There are some new pre-set peg positions in the adjust > set peg options menu:
    peg on end of planing
    peg on switch heel
    peg on CESP (crossing entry straight point)
    all of which are useful when superimposing partial templates for complex formations.

  • New set peg option : When setting the fixing peg at the switch toe-point (peg on TP), repeatedly selecting this setting now toggles the peg alignment angle between the main-road and the turnout-road, similarly to the working for the deflection-point and fine-point. In the case of the toe-point, the turnout-road alignment corresponds to the switch planing angle at the blade tips.
    adjust > set peg options > peg on TP menu item (CTRL-2)
    adjust > set peg options > peg on DP
    menu item (CTRL-3)
    adjust > set peg options > peg on FP
    menu item (CTRL-4

  • The working of the show info button on the gauge and scale form has been revised. The list of dimension details now shows all variances from the current template in red. (Previously only the first-found variance was highlighted).

  • The restore previous function has been extended to include a restore prior-previous option, which works similarly but restores your data from the Templot session before last, i.e. two sessions back. (files menu on the storage box window).

  • There is a new geometry > curved (transition) > new settings... menu item, which permits changing the curving to a transition and direct entry of the data immediately.

  • Bug fixes: The following bugs have been fixed in version 0.66.a:

    • Clicking the zoom rectangle buttons now works correctly when the background shapes functions are in use.

    • The generator > track centre-lines option switch now works correctly when rebuilding a background which contains centre-line-only templates.

    • The tools > make functions now restore all shoved timbers on the newly created template.

    • Likewise the track > insert turnout in plain track function restores all shoved timbers on the current template.

    • The fixing peg co-ordinates are now shown correctly when using the CTRL-F8 move peg mouse action.

  • Minor revisions have been made to the way the radial end marks are drawn.

The changes between version 0.63 (July 2000) and version 0.65 (September 2000) were these:

  • The base line radius and curving offset options have been abolished. I felt that these little-used options were one degree of complexity too many, and their abolition eases the way for the later introduction of other curving options. Existing data files which include curving offsets are modified on loading as necessary.

    All track radius dimensions in Templot are now measured to the track centre-line, unless otherwise stated.

  • There is a new no timbering option for the timbering style (geometry > timbering > menu options). This was a fairly glaring omission, for while there are several ways of omitting timbers from the screen display and printed templates, previously the only way to exclude them from the template data file was by using the shove timber functions to omit individual timbers. This no timbering option is useful for level crossings, paved goods yards, tram tracks, etc.

  • New set peg options : When setting the fixing peg at the deflection point or the fine point, repeatedly selecting these settings now toggles the peg alignment angle between the main-road and the turnout road. This is useful when superimposing partial templates.
    adjust > set peg options > peg on DP
    menu item (CTRL-3)
    adjust > set peg options > peg on FP
    menu item (CTRL-4

  • Transition curves:

    • There is a new transition fixed (roll-out) mode when using the mouse actions to adjust the start and length settings for a transition curve. This maintains the transition alignment fixed and changes the initial or final radius respectively to match the transition. The previous radii fixed (normal) mode remains unchanged, adjusting the transition alignment between fixed radii.

      Experiment with these two modes, the effects are quite different (adjust > transition zone options > menu items). Remember to position the fixing peg first, otherwise the results may be not at all what you intended.

    • The tools > make double track and the tools > make crossover functions can now make the necessary adjustments for transition curves automatically, instead of requiring manual intervention. (It is not mathematically possible to have two exactly "parallel" transition curves, so a check of the track spacing and final manual tweaking might in some cases still be necessary).  

  • Template printing:

    • There is a new grey-shade printing option. This produces a neater result than simple black & white printing, without using valuable coloured ink.

    • The print window now includes a print intensity slider, which permits individual pages to be lightened or darkened as required. This avoids any need to change the print colours when changing between the printer's Draft/Fast and Final/Slow print quality settings.

    • Background templates can now be printed with a coloured rail infill, as for the current template. The preset colour is sea-green.

    • The timber infill style for the printed templates can now be set independently of the pad settings.

  • Gauge and scale:

    • The most common model railway gauge/scale combinations can now be set directly from the control > gauge and scale menu items, without needing to access the full list.

    • There are new options when changing gauge and scale, setting the new current template as a mint template, or alternatively matched as far as practicable to the previous current template.

  • When printing out the help notes, it is now possible to set a left-hand margin for binding them together into a manual (program > printer font + margins... menu item on the control room window). The notes can also be saved to a text file.

  • The information panel can now be re-sized in the usual way by dragging the edges or bottom right-hand corner.

  • Bug fixes: The following bugs have been fixed in version 0.65.c:

    • Timber numbers were not being correctly shown for very long templates when zoomed in close.

    • The exact scale gauge option was failing if accessed more than once per session.

    • The turnout timber fill spacing between the switch and crossing was occasionally incorrect. Template data files in which these timbers have been shoved may need adjustment on reloading.

    • The arm length on the fixing peg was not being adjusted on a change of scale.

    • The template names were not being restored when retrieved from the parking bay.

    • The set peg options menu bullets were showing incorrectly at times.

  • Other minor design improvements have been made to the printed templates.

The changes between version 0.45 (Dec 1999) and version 0.63 (July 2000) were these:

  • Mouse actions can now be done as conventional button-down drags if you prefer. The changeover is automatic, Templot detects which method you are using. I much prefer click-move-click, but now you have a choice. The mouse labels have been replaced with a new mouse-action panel with additional functions. There are also some new mouse-pointer designs for the mouse actions.

  • Background templates can now be highlighted for copying or group selection simply by clicking anywhere on them. The previous method of holding the shift key down and moving the mouse pointer over the name label also remains available and has been retained for cases where templates are overlapping. Either method pops up an extended  background template menu for the template.

  • There are several new functions to align the current template with a background template, including a new snake mouse action which is similar to slide, but with the curving line fixed. ( see important note below ).

  • The template names have been simplified; the suffix numbers have been abolished.

  • "Keeps" are now called stored templates, as requested by many users, and are now stored in the storage box. I'm not convinced that this change of terminology was necessary or is an improvement, but the demand was overwhelming.

  • Templot data is now virtually crash-proof. The storage box contents are automatically saved and restored between sessions, even in the case of an abnormal Windows termination, so there is no need to do frequent saves simply as a precaution against this.

  • The drawing pad now has a panel with buttons for improved access to the spot zoom functions, which now include a zoom-in rectangle option.

  • Background shapes can now be adjusted by mouse action at any time, and the currently selected shape is highlighted in red. Additional shapes can now be added from file, without reloading. There is also a new fit all shapes option for the pad view setting.

  • Background shapes now include dotted lines (intended for baseboard joints and framing locations, with solid lines for the outlines), and target marks for alignment purposes.

  • Background shapes functions now include scale all by..., shift all by..., rotate all by... , and convert rectangles to lines. These functions permit much more flexible manipulation of baseboard outlines on your background shapes drawing.

  • There is a new concept of a mint current template, and a new quick-set function to create mint templates for common turnout sizes.

  • Transition curves now have two useful easement to/from straight pre-sets.

  • The radial centre co-ordinates for the template curving line can now be entered directly, and the co-ordinate dimensions are now included in the info text.

  • The group-select functions have been improved, and the storage box has a new group menu. It is now possible to save only a group of templates in a data file. This replaces the previous save singly file options.

  • There is a new format for the .box data files which includes the info and memo texts, and therefore eliminates the need for separate .ixt files. Version 0.63 will read either format, but files saved in the new format are not readable in versions earlier than 0.48. There is an option to save data in the old format if necessary.

  • DXF files can now be scaled to match the current print size, and/or exported in inch dimensions, and now also include the timber numbering. The drawing limits option now restricts the exported data to the visible pad view.

  • The timbers are now drawn with an infill of either solid colour or a hatched pattern, which makes the drawing less confusing when zoomed in, and is an aid when shoving timbers.

  • The shove timbers functions have been revamped. The timber selector mark has been abolished and replaced with the ability to select a timber for shoving by simply clicking on its number. Several more functions are now included in the buttons in addition to the mouse actions. Shove data can now also be entered directly.

  • There is a new parking bay feature, which allows up to 3 templates to be temporarily parked to one side and later retrieved, independently of the storage box functions.

  • The timber-equalizing now includes a new constant angle option.

  • The previous "straight" type crossings have been renamed regular crossings to avoid confusion in curved turnouts. There is a common misconception that the roads through the crossing should be dead straight, even in a curved running line, which would lead to some rough running. Templot is based on correct prototype practice, and maintains a uniform curving line through the main road.

  • Timber numbering is now shown for background templates in addition to the current template.

  • There is a new modify on rebuild option in the storage box to match background timbering and rail lengths with the current template.

  • The new adjust print size mouse action is convenient when you are more concerned with the fit on the pages than the exact size reduction.

  • Templot now reads command line parameters, and can therefore be launched by double-clicking on a  .box  or  .bgs  file icon in Windows Explorer, if you choose to set up the appropriate file associations on your computer. Caution: If using Windows 95/98 avoid inadvertently launching more than one instance of Templot, as you may then have problems with a shortage of Windows resources.

  • A few known bugs have been fixed:

    • The rebuild all button was corrupting the storage box info texts.

    • Default file extensions for .bgs and .cal files were not being set.

    • The snap to sleeper functions were attempting to operate on track centre-line only templates, with confusing results.

    • The large red led display on the data-entry form was not resizing properly at 96ppi, and has been abolished.

    • De-selecting generator > track centre-lines also occasionally removed part of the vee rails (fixed on v:0.63).

The new align current functions may not work correctly on background templates which were originally created by a version of Templot earlier than 0.56.

To use these functions on such templates, they must first be normalized to bring them into line with the current version. Select the program > normalize all templates menu item on the control room window.

Earlier changes between version 0.01 (Aug 1999) and version 0.45 (Dec 1999) were these:

There was a small bug in the slewing maths, preventing the tools > swap current end-for-end  function from working correctly. I have fixed the bug, but you will find on reloading files saved from earlier versions that templates containing a slew now require a slight length adjustment. While making this adjustment you might also like to try the new alternative slew mode 2 for which there is a variable slew factor which is adjustable by mouse action. For more information select the geometry > slew (nudge) > slewing data...  menu item and see the help notes.

I have changed the name of the previous turnout menu. It is now called the track menu. This is to avoid confusion when plain track is being drawn. The first entry in the menu is now a label showing TURNOUT or PLAIN TRACK as the case may be. A more prototypically correct name for the contents of this menu would be "layout" (which is what it was called in older versions of Templot), but that has a different meaning in model terms so I have avoided using it.

Also the previous element menu is now called the generator menu to clarify the distinction between the primary toggle switches which it contains and the secondary option toggles available in the pad and print menus and on the background list window. I have also moved this menu to the left-hand side of the pad with the same intention.

There are several changes to the keyboard shortcuts. The most important to note is that F3 is now the approach length mouse action, and CTRL-F4 (or just the 4 key) is now move pad view.

This swap will irritate existing users, for which many apologies, but is intended to make the length adjustments less confusing for new users. Access to move pad is now also available by double-clicking, and the panning controls are now always ready for use, so having move pad in the "front row" of function keys is no longer justified. It is still available on a single key, the 4 key.

To adjust the length of plain track, either F3 or F4 can be used. 

Here's a brief summary of all the version 0.01 to 0.45 changes:

A.  Design  Functions :

1.  New snap-length functions.

2.  Timbering changes in the make-crossover-tool function.

3.  Peg, notch and shift data shown in the information panel.

4.  New make-return-curve tool.

5.  New mirroring tools.

6.  Shove-timber functions extended.

7.  New maintain-overall-length mouse action.

8.  New invert-curving and invert-handing functions.

9.  New swap end-for-end tool function.

10.  New insert-turnout-in-plain-track function.

11.  Background-Shapes functions include text labels and other changes.

12.  Template name labels can be moved.

13.  Template name labels can be converted to shapes for printing.

14.  Sleepering of the return curve for parallel crossings.

15.  Bug-fix in slewing maths (mode 1).

16.  Additional slewing mode 2 with more adjustment.

17.  New examine-peg function.

18.  New blanking option to permit drawing of the crossing only.

19.  Direct entry of shifts and rotates extended and simplified.

B.  Printing  Functions :

1.  Support for continuous banner printing on z-fold or roll-paper if the printer permits.

2.  Fit-single-page print size option.

3.  Print Entire Pad includes the radial centres marks.

4.  Print Entire Pad option to include or omit the current template.

5.  Small size printing limits the number of grid lines.

6.  Improvements to the Print form.

7.  Font for the page-preview screen labels can be changed.

8.  Page map sheet can be printed.

9.  Page origin can be moved for a better fit of the drawing on the printed pages.

10.   Multiple print runs simplified for very large drawings.

11.   Page outlines on the pad do not extend beyond a maximum print run.

C.  Productivity  Functions :

1.  Custom conversion factors so that data can be entered in any units of choice.

2.  Bug-fix for Windows regional settings (using comma as decimal point).

3.  New repeat-last-mouse-action function.

4.  Save Shapes reminder on quitting.

5.  New keyboard shortcuts avoiding the number-pad for laptop users.

6.  Bug-fix for add templates from files after group shift/rotate.

7.  Automatic edge-panning option (mouse on edge of pad).

8.  Pad paper-bunching to see both ends of a long template.

9.  Improved selection and highlighting of background templates.

10.  Fine mouse movement and clicking available on the number pad keys.

11.  Pre-set mouse actions available on a double click.

12.  Pad View Fit Current Only ( SHIFT-F11) now works as intended and is also on the  .  (full stop, period) key.

13.  Peg position indicator.

14.  Undo delete in storage box.

15.  Panning controls remain permanently available.

16.  New reload option. The current template can be minted from the final template loaded, thus automatically setting the gauge and scale.

17.  Immediate reload from the control room without opening the box.

D.  Other  changes :

1.  Former TURNOUT menu heading now renamed TRACK.

2.  Former ELEMENT menu heading now renamed GENERATOR.

3.  "Bright Night" colour scheme (16-bit).

4.  To avoid confusion, disabled available-later menu items are now marked:  ( n/a ) 


The following shortcomings are known about and pending attention. Sorry about any inconvenience in the meantime:

The cancel button on the printer setup dialog is not being recognised. Please click cancel all remaining pages on the print window when it appears. 

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© 29-Mar-2001.