Layouts

Layouts provide an interface for composition of print jobs.   A layout shows a sheet of paper based on the default size and orientation of a paper sheet for the default printer.    We add components such as maps, drawings and images to layouts by dragging and dropping them into the layout.  

 

An item added to a layout is called a frame.   When first added, a new frame fills the entire layout.  We Alt-click within a frame to choose it for editing, which allows us to resize the frame and to move it about.  When we are happy with the size and position of the frame we click outside of the frame to finish editing it.

 

Creating and Printing a Layout:

 

  1. Right-click in the Project pane and choose New Layout to create a layout.

  2. Open the layout.  The layout appears sized to the default sheet of paper for the default printer.

  3. Drag and drop a component into the layout. It appears as a frame that fills the layout.

  4. Alt-click on the frame to choose it for editing.  Edit handles will appear.

  5. Resize the frame and move it as desired.  Click anywhere outside the frame when done.

  6. Double-click within a frame to enable that frame for panning and zooming within the frame. Adjust the viewport as desired and then Click outside the frame when done.

  7. Choose File - Print to print the layout.

 

Commands

 Drag and Drop

Drag and drop a component from the Project pane into the layout to add it to the layout as a frame.

Alt-click

Put the Alt-clicked frame into edit mode where it can be resized and moved.   Drag a border or edit handle to resize.  Click within the frame and drag to move the frame to a different position.

Double-click

Put the double-clicked frame into exclusive pan/zoom mode.  All panning and zooming commands will apply only within that frame.  This allows us to pan and zoom the view provided by the frame into that frame's component.  If a double-clicked frame is partly off-screen or if it is too small for reasonable panning/zooming, the frame will be autozoomed to be larger, filling the layout window.

Click

Click outside a frame to end edit mode established by an Alt-click or to end pan/zoom mode established by a double-click.

Esc

Press the Escape key to exit alt-clicked mode for editing a frame or ctrl-clicked mode for panning/zooming a frame.

File - Page Setup

Set paper size, orientation of Portrait or Landscape, and margins.  By default, margins are 25.4 mm (1 inch).  Changing the paper size, orientation or margins with an existing layout that already has some frames will automatically adjust the placement and size of existing frames.   Changes made in page setup will be saved into the layout.

File - Print

Launch the usual Windows dialog to print the layout.  Any changes made during use of the File - Print dialog and subsequent dialogs to paper size, orientation or other attributes will temporarily try to adjust the placement and size of existing frames for that immediate print job, but will not be saved into the layout.   Use File - Page Setup to make persistent changes to the layout.

Keyboard Selection Commands

The usual Selection keyboard commands work, as well as Edit - Select All, Edit - Select None, and Edit - Inverse, from the main menu.   A selected frame's border will change to red selection color.

 

 Ctrl-A

Select all.

Shift-Ctrl-A

Select none.

Ctrl-I

Invert the selection.

Mouse Selection Commands

The same mouse selection commands work in layouts as they do in drawings.  Adding the Ctrl key to a mouse click or click and drag makes selections. Adding the Shift key to those Ctrl mouse motions means to deselect.

 

Select

 

Ctrl-click

Select or de-select the frame.   Ctrl-clicking a selected frame will de-select it.

Ctrl-click and drag

Draw a selection box to select all frames any part of which is within the box.

Ctrl-click-and-drag <release Ctrl> <finish dragging>

Draw a selection box to select all frames entirely within the box.  

 

 

De-Select

 

Shift-Ctrl-click

De-select the frame.   No effect if the frame is not selected.

Shift-Ctrl-click and drag

Draw a selection box to de-select all frames any part of which is within the box.

 

Shift-Ctrl-click <release Ctrl> <finish dragging>

Draw a selection box to de-select all frames entirely within the box.

 

See the main Selections topic as well as the Example: Mouse Selection in a Drawing Window topic for illustrations using objects in drawings.  The same motions apply to frames in layouts.

 

Tutorial Example

Choose File - Create- New Layout or Right-click into an empty portion of the Project pane and choose New Layout.

 

il_dlg_create_layout.png

 

Provide a Name for the layout as desired and then click Create Layout.    Optionally, to launch an SQL query that creates a layout in the Command window, press the Edit Query button.

 

icon_layout.pngA new layout component appears in the project.  Double-click on the layout to open it.  Illustrations that follow show the layout window after it has been undocked.    We can zoom in or out and pan the layout window as desired, using the usual commands that apply to windows.

 

il_layouts01_01.png

 

A new layout starts out blank.  A layout appears as if it were a sheet of paper sized to the default size of paper and default portrait or landscape orientation for the default printer, with a dark line border marking the edge of the paper.   A very fine, light gray inner border indicates the default margin, similar in size to the default margin in Word.   The illustration above uses Letter size paper in portrait orientation.  Letter size  paper in the US is similar to A4 international size paper.    

 

If we would like to change the page size or margins, we can do so using the File - Page Setup dialog.

il_dlg_page_setup.png

 

For example, to change the page size to A4 international size, open the layout and then choose File - Page Setup.  In the dialog choose A4 paper size, an orientation and the desired margins.  The default margins, 25.4 mm, are 1 inch margins.   In the above illustration we change the default 25.4 mm margins to 10 mm margins.   We press OK to apply the changes.     For this example we will use A4 paper size and 10 mm margins.

 

Changing the paper size, orientation or margins with an existing layout that already has some frames will automatically adjust the placement and size of existing frames.

 

To add content to a layout, drag and drop a component such as a drawing, image, map, labels component, etc., from the Project pane into the layout window.

 

il_layouts01_02a.png

 

We drag and drop the Mexico example drawing from the Project pane into the layout.  Elements within layouts are called frames.  Dragging and dropping the Mexico drawing into the layout adds the first frame to the layout.  A newly-added frame fills the layout, with the contents of the frame zoomed to fit the margins of the layout.   

 

il_layouts01_02.png

 

To resize or to move the frame, we Alt-click anywhere within the frame.    Since a newly-added frame fills the layout we can click anywhere within the margins of the layout.

 

il_layouts01_03.png

Alt-clicking within a frame chooses that frame for editing.   A darker border line appears around the frame with editing handles at the corners.    To end editing mode we can click anywhere outside of the frame.

 

Alt-clicking a frame allows us to resize the frame by dragging the borders or by dragging the editing handles.   We can also move the frame by clicking within the frame and dragging to move the frame  to a new position.    We cannot resize a frame or move it beyond the fine lines designating the margin.

 

We will resize the frame to a smaller size by dragging the upper left editing handle.

 

il_layouts01_04.png

 

With the frame resized as desired we click within the frame and drag to move it.

 

il_layouts01_05.png

 

We will drag the frame upwards to a new position.

 

tech_tina_sm.png

Snapping: Bringing the borders of an alt-clicked frame near a margin or near the border of another frame will tend to snap to the margin or other border.   This is a very subtle effect that occurs only when the frame borders being moved are very close to the margins or other borders.

 

il_layouts01_06.png

 

We are happy with the new position of the frame but now we would like to change the viewport, to pan and zoom what the frame shows of the Mexico drawing.   To do that, we double-click within the frame.

 

When a frame has been Alt-clicked into editing mode, we can end that either by clicking outside the frame, or by double-clicking on the frame to put it into pan/zoom mode.

 

il_layouts01_07.png

 

Double-clicking within a frame moves the focus of pan and zoom commands into that frame and draws a thick border around the frame to indicate it now has the focus of pan and zoom commands.  For example, instead of the mouse wheel zooming the entire layout window in or out, moving the mouse wheel will zoom only the contents of the double-clicked frame.tech_tina_sm.png

 

Autozoom:  When the size of the frame on our monitors is small, Manifold will automatically zoom into the frame in the layout so that when the layout has the focus for pan and zoom we can do sensible work with it.   To go back to the previous view after panning and zooming within the frame, we can click outside the frame and then click the Back button on the main toolbar.

 

il_layouts01_08.png

When a frame has been double-clicked into pan/zoom mode we can pan and zoom within the frame, as has been done above, to provide a closer view of the province of Durango within Mexico.  All of the usual panning and zooming commands that would work for a map window will work within a frame that has been put into pan/zoom mode with a double-click.  For example, we can right-click and drag to draw a zoom box within the frame.

 

il_layouts01_09.png

 

Press Esc or Click anywhere outside of the frame to end the exclusive focus of pan and zoom commands within the frame.     If we want to edit the frame's size and position, we can also exit pan/zoom mode by Alt-clicking the frame to put it into edit mode.

 

il_layouts01_10.png

 

We have now added our first frame to the layout. It appears with a faint border to show the extents of the frame.  Like the margin lines, the faint border appears only in the layout as a guide and will not appear when the layout is printed.   

 

We have resized the frame and moved it into the desired position on the sheet of paper, and we have panned and zoomed the viewport within the frame to show that part of the Mexico drawing we want within the frame.

 

Next we will add another frame, also showing the same Mexico drawing.

 

il_layouts01_11.png

 

We again drag and drop the Mexico drawing into the layout.   As before, it appears as a new frame that fills the layout and is zoomed to fit.   

 

The new frame appears as if it were a layer above the first frame that we added.   The transparent background of the Mexico drawing allows frames below to show through where there are no objects in the Mexico drawing, just as if frames were layers in a map.   

 

We Alt-click within the new frame to choose it for editing.   

 

il_layouts01_12.png

 

We drag the uppermost border down to reduce the size of the second frame.  

 

il_layouts01_13.png

 

We now double-click within the frame to move the pan and zoom focus exclusively into that frame.    This will allow us to adjust the view the frame shows.

 

tech_tina_sm.png

Shortcuts:  When a frame is selected for editing with an Alt-click and we next want to move the focus into that frame for panning and zooming, we do not have to first click outside the frame to end editing mode.  We can simply double-click into the frame and it will immediately switch from editing mode into panning and zooming the viewport mode.   Likewise, if we have double-clicked a frame to put it into exclusive pan/zoom mode, if we want to switch to editing mode we can do that directly by Alt-clicking the frame.

 

il_layouts01_14.png

 

When we double-click the frame a thicker border appears.  We can then pan and zoom within the frame to zoom out a bit, providing a bit more white space around the drawing of Mexico.    We then click outside the frame to end the exclusive focus of pan and zoom commands within the frame.

 

il_layouts01_15.png

 

Our final result is a print layout that contains two frames, both of which show the same drawing but with different views.  One frame shows all of Mexico while the other frame shows a zoomed in view of the province of Durango.

 

Although this example shows two frames that both show the same drawing, we are not limited to only using the same drawing within a layout.   We could add more frames by dragging and dropping maps, other drawings or images into the layout.   

Layouts are Dynamic

Layouts are dynamically updated to automatically show any changes made in the components which frames show.   For example, if we make changes to the Mexico drawing all frames that show the Mexico drawing in any of our layouts will automatically update.

 

il_layouts01_16.png

 

Suppose we open the Mexico drawing in its own window, as seen above.

 

il_layouts01_17.png

 

Using the Style panel we can change the formatting of the drawing.

 

il_layouts01_18.png


As soon as we change the formatting, frames in the layout that show the Mexico drawing also will change to show the new formatting.

 

Beta Info:  Depending on the beta build, when working with layouts we may have to dock/undock or choose View - Refresh to update the layout when the style changes in the drawing.  This will be fixed soon so layouts always automatically adjust to any changes outside the layout.

Printing

To print, with the focus on the layout we choose File - Print in the main menu.   We can print directly to a printer or to a PDF file.   In this example we will print to a PDF file.

 

il_layouts01_19.png

 

In current Windows editions, to print to a PDF file we choose Microsoft Print to PDF  in the File - Print dialog and then we press the Print button.   In the resulting dialog we provide a name for the file and press Save.   Windows "prints" the layout into a PDF file.

 

il_layouts01_20.png

 

Opening the PDF in Adobe Reader we see it is, indeed, a PDF of our layout.   tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution: Some printers and print-to-PDF packages will ignore Windows Control Panel settings for that printer's paper size, and also will ignore paper size as specified in Page Setup.  Instead, they will insist on using some default paper size, such as Letter, even if we want to print A4 or vice versa.

 

In the File - Print dialog when working with a new printer or PDF printer it is usually a good idea to click on Preferences, and then if necessary to reach paper size settings to click on Advanced and then to ensure the desired paper size has been set.  

 

When changing paper sizes using File - Print, and then Preferences and then Advanced, with most printer drivers (including print-to-PDF drivers) we change the paper size only for that one print job.  After that print job the printer may jump back to the previous setting.  To change the printer's mind about what it should be doing by default we may have to dig into the Windows Control Panel settings for that printer to change the preferences for that printer.

Layout Properties

All properties of layouts are exposed in tables, which enable us to use SQL and programming to manipulate layouts.   For example, changing the Page Setup changes the properties of the layout.   

il_dlg_layout_properties01.png

We can see the properties of a layout by right-clicking on the layout in the Project pane and choosing Properties, or by choosing View - Properties for an open layout window.   

il_dlg_layout_properties02.png

Like everything else in Manifold,  we can reach the data for layouts in a table, with the properties available in the mfd_meta table as seen above (relevant records selected to emphasize them).  

 

In addition to managing layouts with a point and click user interface, we can manage layouts with SQL and programming by manipulating the properties of a layout.    

 

il_dlg_layout_properties03.png

 

Consider a layout as seen above, where we have added a third frame that shows regions in France.

 

il_dlg_layout_properties04.png

 

Opening the layout's Properties dialog, we can right-click onto the value of the property for Item.2 and choose Edit, to show the complete contents of that value.  That shows us the data for that frame, the source of data, [France] and other information such as the Z order, with 0 being the uppermost frame in the stack of frames in the layout.

 

il_dlg_layout_properties05.png

 

In the Properties dialog we can Ctrl-click the row for Item.2 to select it and then we can press the Delete button.

 

il_dlg_layout_properties06.png

 

That deletes the item from the properties of the layout and also deletes any references to that property from the mfd_meta table.

 

il_dlg_layout_properties07.png

 

The corresponding frame in the layout is also deleted.

 

Note: With beta builds and undocked layouts we may have to dock and undock for the layout to refresh, or to choose View - Refresh.  Betas are fun!

Z Order

Changing the values for Z for a frame in a layout's properties allows us to specify where in the display stack the frame should appear.  

 

il_layouts01_21.png

 

In the illustration above we have added a frame that contains a map with two layers, a drawing layer showing buildings in Monaco and an image layer showing the Bing Satellite image server imagery for Monaco.   We have edited the Z value in the map frame's properties to be 2 and have changed one of the two Mexico frame Z property values to be 0 while leaving the other at 1.   That specifies the map's frame will be drawn lower than the two frames showing Mexico.

Image Rendering

When printing, images will be rendered to the full resolution available within the image.    That can provide some astonishingly high resolution in the case of imageserver images which are brought in on demand.

 

il_layouts01_22.png

 

For example, the above shows a PDF created from the layout which includes a map that has a Bing satellite image layer.   The PDF supports high resolution so Manifold automatically brings in whatever tiles are required to utilize that high resolution.

 

il_layouts01_23.png

If we zoom further in there is no apparent pixelation in the image, a result of the high resolution available for such images from the Bing server.   The vector layer showing buildings is also razor sharp.

 

Notes

Not in Viewer - Layouts are not included in Manifold Viewer or Future Viewer.   Viewer cannot compose layouts or print layouts.

 

Layouts are Fully Parallel - Layouts are not only dynamic, they are fully parallel.  As parallel processes make changes to components those will be updated within any frames in which they appear in any layouts.   For example, if we create a data source using some remote server that contains large vector drawings but the combination of a remote server and a slow connection requires a few minutes for the data for a really big drawing to make its way to our workstation, when we drag and drop that drawing into a layout we will see how the frame for that drawing becomes populated within the layout as data comes in from the remote server.

 

WYSIWYG in Process - Layouts as currently implemented are only approximately WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") when View - Zoom to Native has been applied so that the size of the layout on our monitor is approximately that of the sheet of paper which the layout represents.   If we zoom further in or out the sizes of symbology will stay the same, unlike a sheet of paper as seen in a PDF display where the symbols will get smaller as we zoom out.    Plans are to provide a zoom lock by default for layouts to provide a more WYSIWYG effect to better mimic the fixed zoom of a sheet of paper.

 

Rendering Engines - Tools - Options settings in Manifold control what rendering engine is used for display to the monitor.   The same settings influence what rendering engine is used for printing layouts.  By default, Manifold will use the Advanced engine, with hardware acceleration if available. The Advanced engine supports both antialiasing and alpha (layer opacity) for layers and frames in layouts. If that is turned off in Tools - Options the Basic, Software engine will be used.    The Basic engine also will be used if printer drivers do not support use of the Advanced engine.   Antialiasing and layer opacity are not supported by the Basic engine.   The lack of layer opacity can be an immediately visible effect when using the Basic engine, but the lack of antialiasing might not be noticeable given the very high resolution (thousands of DPI) of some printers. Manifold recommends use of the Advanced engine for best results.

 

Frames Incorrectly Positioned  - When printing directly to a printer or printing to a PDF, if some frames in the resulting printout are incorrectly positioned, such as overlapping or appearing slightly pushed together or pulled apart, the problem is often caused by a mismatch between the paper size specified in File - Page Setup for the layout and the paper size that is used by the printer or print-to-PDF software.   Most frequently this is the result between the tug of war between use of A4 sized paper and use of Letter sized paper.

 

For example, if we have specified A4 paper size with 10 cm margins for the layout and have arranged the frames in our layout for that paper size and those margins, but we print the layout on a PDF printer that uses a default paper size of Letter, the resulting PDF will have the frames moved closer together vertically since Letter size paper is not as tall as A4 paper.  Manifold will automatically move the frames to try to adjust to different paper sizes.  

 

Not all printers allow changing paper size in print options during a print job.  Most do, but not all.   Some printers will require opening the Windows Control Panel and then setting preferences for the printer to match the paper size that will be used by layouts. tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution: Some printers and print-to-PDF packages will ignore Windows Control Panel settings for that printer's paper size, and also will ignore paper size as specified in Page Setup.  Instead, they will insist on using some default paper size, such as Letter, even if we want to print A4 or vice versa.

 

In the File - Print dialog when working with a new printer or PDF printer it is usually a good idea to click on Preferences, and then if necessary to reach paper size settings to click on Advanced and then to ensure the desired paper size has been set.  

 

When changing paper sizes using File - Print, and then Preferences and then Advanced, with most printer drivers (including print-to-PDF drivers) we change the paper size only for that one print job.  After that print job the printer may jump back to the previous setting.  To change the printer's mind about what it should be doing by default we may have to dig into the Windows Control Panel settings for that printer to change the preferences for that printer.

 

Problems Printing Hard Copy - Manifold prints directly to printers using standard Windows printing subsystems.   Windows subsystems for printing are highly dependent upon the quality and quirks of individual printer drivers. That is unfortunate because printer drivers are often extremely low quality, poorly-debugged and poorly-maintained software.   Even in the case of high quality printer drivers it is easy for printer drivers and Windows editions to get out of sync over time.   Any problems with printer drivers can cause unexpected results when printing a layout directly to a hard copy printer.

 

Using a recent Windows edition, such as Windows 10, can reduce printing problems.   Another way to deal with problems with printer drivers is to use the Microsoft Print to PDF capability within Windows 10 to print to a PDF file, and to then view that PDF file and to print it using Edge, Chrome or Adobe Reader.   That strategy brings to bear the combined resources of Microsoft, Google and Adobe in dealing with printer driver quirks.   

 

Using Microsoft Print to PDF or some other PDF printer system is also a good way of debugging hard copy printing problems by excluding possible problems within Manifold as the cause.  If Manifold correctly "prints" a layout to PDF via Microsoft Print to PDF or via some other PDF printer system, then any problems printing hard copy to a specific printer probably are problems not within Manifold but are problems within the printer driver or within the interface between Windows printing subsystems and the printer driver.    

 

In contrast, if Manifold prints similar errors to either the hard copy printer or to a PDF printer then a possible problem in Manifold should be reported to tech support.

 

Print to PDF Software - Current Windows systems such as Windows 10 provide  Microsoft Print to PDF capability as a built-in "printer."   Manifold therefore uses Microsoft Print to PDF as a useful reference point for PDF printing.

 

Other print-to-PDF software is also available from sources other than Microsoft and could be used as an alternative.  For example, Adobe provides software that creates an Adobe PDF "printer" such that whenever a document is "printed" to that printer a PDF is created.    

 

Free software such as FreePDF can also be installed to create PDF "printers."   FreePDF is honest software that does not install any adware, spyware, malware or other idiocy.   It seems to be a reasonable, free alternative to Adobe PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF.   FreePDF uses Ghostscript as a PDF engine, which makes for well-understood results.  tech_angus_sm.png

 

Caution:  Some PDF packages deliver advertising or spam upon installation.   Be wary of packages that may install adware, pop open spam/upsell dialogs or which might hijack browser settings or install unwanted extras. Always pay careful attention during installation sequences to avoid installing unwanted adware.

 

PDF printing software varies widely in quality and capabilities.   Depending on the print-to-PDF software used, the resulting PDFs created can vary greatly in size and rendering quality, and may result in errors or strange displays depending on which PDF viewer is used.  The Advanced rendering engine within Manifold usually provides the best results with most PDF printers.

 

Initial testing indicates Adobe PDF, Microsoft Print to PDF and FreePDF provide a good balance of quality and capabilities.

 

Problems Viewing PDFs - PDFs from any source may be displayed different in different PDF viewers.   For example, it is routine for Adobe Reader to display PDFs slightly differently than the PDF display capability build into Microsoft's Edge browser, and both Adobe and Microsoft may display PDFs slightly differently than the Opera browser or Google Chrome.

 

How a PDF appears in a different viewer may also depend on which PDF printing software was used to create that PDF.   Microsoft Print to PDF usually works well when results are viewed in Edge but not always in Adobe Reader or Chrome.  Adobe PDF and FreePDF seem to work well with Adobe Reader, Edge and Chrome.  

 

If an obvious visual problem occurs in the results when printing a layout to a PDF there are several things to try by way of debugging:

 

 

 

 

 

If the above debugging indicates a possible problem within Manifold, that should be reported to tech support.

 

See Also

Getting Started

 

User Interface Basics

 

Maps

 

Tables

 

Queries

 

Drawings

 

Images

 

Labels

 

Project Pane

 

Contents Pane