The WebXealot  Page 4

Xara X. The Infobar (Continued)

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Moving to the right, and just to the right of the Zoom to Drawing icon:

a. Set Line Width This drop down list contains presets ranging from 0.25 points to 72 points. (There are 72 points to an inch). The first three line widths shown on the left are 0.25, 0.50, and 1 point. The top two are less than one pixel in width (a pixel is .75 points) and as such Xara displays them as 1 pixel wide but grays the color to make them appear lighter.

NOTE: When creating Web images, try not to use line weights below .75 points if you want the line to appear solid.

b. Set View Quality (shown on the right) This slider controls the screen display quality and contrary to its appearance has but four settings, not the 8 indicated by the tick marks. The four settings are: Anti-aliased, Normal , Simple, and Outline.

Anti-aliased smoothes the image and creates blending pixels to soften the hard edges. As a result the edges appear sharp and clean. Normal is a non-anti-aliased display. Notice the jagged edge on the sphere and the text.  Simple shows just the shapes with no gradient or non-flat fills. Outline is just that, outlines. As the shadow is a bitmap, it is displayed as an outline. There are two other ways to select view quality: use the Window > Quality option, or right click on the page and select Quality from the pop up menu.

When anti-aliased view quality looks so cool, why would you use any of these other settings? If for some reason, you bring a bitmap into Xara and want to maintain the original image when exporting your image, use Normal. Each pixel will be exported as it came into Xara. Simple and Outline view are good for working with complex images and speed redraw time. Outline is handy when working with many blends as only the first and last blend steps are displayed.

c. Snap to Objects Although this option is available by right clicking and selecting from the pop up menu, or Window > Snap to Objects, or pressing the * on the Numeric Keypad (are there any I missed?), pressing the red magnet icon is often the easiest and quickest method.

d. The Galleries These are covered in Issues 22, 23, and 24.

Moving down and to the right of the Zoom to Drawing icon:


a. Scale Width and Scale Height These text entry boxes permit you to enter a horizontal or vertical value and press Enter on your keyboard to apply the changes.

b. Lock Aspect Ratio By default, the Lock Aspect Ratio icon is enabled (in the down position). Any value entered in the Scale Width or Scale Height dialogs will modify the image proportionately. Disabling Lock Aspect Ratio (in the up position) modifies the selection only in the amount or amounts entered. For example, if a 1" square is selected, Lock Aspect Ratio is enabled, and the width is changed to 50%, the square becomes a 1/2 inch square. If Lock Aspect Ratio is disabled, and 50% is entered in the Scale Width text entry box, the square becomes a 1/2" wide by 1" tall rectangle.

c&d. Angle of Selection and Skew Angle of Selection If you need to rotate an object a precise number of degrees, including fractions of degrees, enter the number in the Angle of Selection text entry box and press Enter on your keyboard. Positive numbers rotate anti-clockwise. Placing a minus sign (-) in front of the value rotates the selection clockwise. A positive value entered in the Skew Angle of Selection text entry box, skews the selection to the right (which I would interpret as clockwise) and a negative number skews the selection to the left (anti-clockwise?). Odd?

e. Flip Horizontally and Flip Vertically Pressing these icons flips the selection  horizontally or vertically. The icons are self explanatory.

f. Scale Line Widths When enabled, line widths scale proportionately. So a 2 point line when reduced by half becomes a 1 point line. When disabled, line weights remain the

TIP: If you finish your drawing and decide to scale it, and all of a sudden all your elegant lines are thick and hideous, press Undo to return to the non-scaled view. Then enable Scale Line Widths and resize again. This also works with brushes that have been resized.