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The Print Control Panel

The Print button in the plot and mplot panels brings up a panel which provides an interface to the hardcopy drivers. The 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.

Under Windows, the Printer field contains the name of a connected printer, initially the system default printer. The up/down control to the right can be pressed to cycle through the list of available printers.

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. 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. In WRspice, the hcopyrmdelay variable can be set to an integer to enable automatic delayed deletion of the temporary file.

If the To File button is active, then this same field contains the name of the 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.

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 the 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 pop-up 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 area 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Dismiss button retires the Print Control panel.

next up previous contents index
Next: Print Drivers Up: The WRspice User Interface Previous: The Mplot Panel   Contents   Index
Stephen R. Whiteley 2022-09-18