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Print Control Panel

The Print Control Panel is a highly configurable multi-purpose printer interface used in many parts of Xic and WRspice. This section describes all of the available features, however many of these features may not be available, depending upon the context when the panel was invoked. For example, a modified version of this panel is used for printing text files. In that case, only the Dismiss, To File, and Print buttons are included. Most of the choices provided by the interface have defaults which can be set in the technology file. The driver default parameters and limits are modifiable in the technology file. The Print Control Panel is made visible, and hardcopy mode is made active, by the Print button in the File Menu.

Under Windows, the Printer field contains a drop-down menu listing the names of available printers. The initial selection is the system default printer. This default can be set with the DefaultPrintCmd variable.

Under Unix/Linux, the operating system command used to generate the plot is entered into the Print Command text area of the Print Control Panel. In this string, the characters ``%s'' will be replaced with the name of the (temporary) file being printed. If there is no ``%s'', the file name will be added to the end of the string, separated by a space character. The string is sent to the operating system to generate the plot.

The temporary file used to hold plot data before it is sent to the printer is not deleted, so it is recommended that the print command include the option to delete the file when plotting is finished. The RmTmpFileMinutes variable can be set to enable automatic deletion of the temporary file, if necessary.

If the To File button is active, then this same text field contains the name of a file to receive the plot data, and nothing is sent to the printer. The user must enter a name or path to the file, which will be created.

Xic normally supplies a legend on the hardcopy output, which can be suppressed by un-checking the Legend check box. The legend is an informational area added to the bottom of a plot. In contexts where there is no legend, this button will be absent. In Xic, a legend containing a list of the layers is available. In WRspice, there is no legend.

The size and location of the plot on the page can be specified with the Width, Height, Left, and Top/Bottom text areas. The dimensions are in inches, unless the Metric button is set, in which case dimensions are in millimeters. The width, height, and offsets are always relative to the page in portrait orientation (even in landscape mode). The vertical offset is relative to either the top of the page, or the bottom of the page, depending on the details of the coordinate system used by the driver. The label is changed from ``Top'' to ``Bottom'' in the latter case. Thus, different sized pages are supported, without the driver having to know the exact page size.

The labels for the image height and width in the Print Control Panel are actually buttons. When pressed, the entry area for height/width is grayed, and the auto-height or auto-width feature is activated. Only one of these modes can be active. In auto-height, the printed height is determined by the given width, and the aspect ratio of the cell, frame box, or window to be printed. Similarly, in auto-width, the width is determined by the given height and the aspect ratio of the area to print. In auto-height mode, the height will be the minimum corresponding to the given width. This is particularly useful for printers with roll paper.

The full-page values for many standard paper sizes are selectable in the drop-down Media menu below the text areas. Selecting a paper size will load the appropriate values into the text areas to produce a full page image. Under Windows, the Windows Native driver requires that the actual paper type be selected. Otherwise, this merely specifies the default size of the image.

Portrait or landscape orientation is selectable by the drop-down menu. In portrait mode, the plot is in the same orientation as seen on-screen, and in landscape mode, the image is rotated 90 degrees. However, if the Best Fit check box is checked, the image can have either orientation, but the legend will appear as described. If using auto-height, the legend will always be in portrait orientation.

When the Best Fit button is active, the driver is allowed to rotate the image 90 degrees if this improves the fit to the aspect ratio of the plotting area. This supersedes the Portrait/Landscape setting for the image, but not for the legend, if displayed.

The landscape mode is available on all print drivers. The behavior differs somewhat between drivers. The PostScript and PCL drivers handle the full landscape presentation, i.e., rotating the legend as well as the image by 90 degrees. The other drivers will rotate the image, however, the legend will always be on the bottom. In this case, the image may have been rotated anyway if the Best Fit button is active, and rotating provides a larger image. The landscape mode forces the rotation.

Xic provides a Frame button which allows a portion of the graphical display to be selected for plotting. This sets the view produced in the print, which otherwise defaults to the full object shown on-screen (the full cell in Xic). To set the frame, one uses the mouse to define the diagonal endpoints of the region to be plotted. This region will appear on-screen as a dotted outline box. Deselect the Frame button to turn this feature off, and plot the full object. In Xic, if the display contains transient objects such as rulers, DRC error indications, or terminals, it may be necessary to use the Frame command if these objects are not included in the cell bounding box. If the objects extend outside of the cell boundary, they may be clipped in the plot, unless the frame is used.

The available output formats are listed in a drop-down menu. Printer resolutions are selectable in the adjacent resolution menu. Not all drivers support multiple resolutions. Higher resolutions generate larger files which take more time to process, and may cause fill patterns to become less differentiable.

When a PostScript line-draw driver is selected, a Line Width numeric entry area appears, which can be used to set the width of the lines used for drawing. The value given is in points, a point being 1/72 of an inch. Different printers may respond to the specified width in different ways, depending on physical characteristics. The default, when the line width is set to 0, is to use the narrowest line provided by the printer. At times, using fatter lines improves visibility for presentation graphics and similar.

Pressing the Print button actually generates the plot or creates the output file. This should be pressed once the appropriate parameters have been set. A pop-up message appears indicating success or failure of the operation.

Pressing the Dismiss button removes the panel and takes Xic out of hardcopy mode. The same effect is achieved by pressing the Print button in the File Menu a second time.

next up previous contents index
Next: The Format Menu: Hardcopy Up: The Print Button: Print Previous: The Print Button: Print   Contents   Index
Stephen R. Whiteley 2022-05-28