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OCAD 11. File | Import : Journal #7

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New symbol set or meld a map – colours to the top

Colour table prior to import
Colour table prior to import

You’ve imported a new symbol set to an existing map, converted various symbols and then realise some of those symbols are not showing up on the map. Or maybe you have imported an existing map to meld with a new or adjacent map and have the same issue.

It is likely that the colours for those symbols are below every colour in the original symbol set. If there are many new symbols and/or many existing symbols, it can be time consuming to move colours up the table. But all is not lost.

Fixing the colour table sequence

Take a copy of your map for safety. Select all the new symbols, right click and Delete. File | Import the new symbol set as an empty OCAD file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table. After import, all the symbols on the map are re-engaged with the new symbol set and should now be visible.

Getting it right first time

Colour table after import
After import, new colours in top

For a clean run, simply File | Import the new symbol set as an empty OCAD file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table. If you are melding an existing map file then File | Import that file and select the option to place colours at top of colour table.

Looking ahead

This function is on the OCAD AG wish list to include in Map | Load colours & symbols from… That will negate the need to have an empty map file when you simply wish to import new symbols.

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Suppress Autojoin with the Shift Key

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A Mark Roberts handy hint

If, like me, you draw a lot of suburban streets to their correct size (see you will find that OCAD autojoins rather aggressively because it takes into account the width of the symbol when deciding the autojoin threshold.

Drawn offset – now joined!

So if you have autojoin on (I like it) and are zoomed all the way in (32x) to precisely draw a road which is 10 metres wide, OCAD will autojoin that road to any other similar road which is within 10 metres, which is 32mm on the screen! When drawing with the bezier/curve tool it will even bend the road to make it join.

Drawing two roads which don’t quite meet; if the distance between their endpoints is less than the width of the road they autojoin. When using the bezier tool not only does the endpoint move but also the angle.

This makes drawing roads that join at a roundabout very arduous as you have to correct all of the autojoins – not only their location but their angle. Even worse, the autojoin occurs when you finish drawing the object – so if you have panned as you draw the road, the autojoin at the beginning will happen out of sight.

Junction becomes an overpass?*!

Another example is a wide symbol (bike path with exaggerated width) stopping either side of a narrower symbol (narrow road) – the second bike path will always autojoin across the road to the first one.

Drawing a path which is broken for a road – if the path symbol is wider than the road symbol, the second line autojoins and leaps across the road.

This is obviously a bug but I have not been able to persuade the OCAD people to agree.

Ah, a solution of sorts

They have added a feature to OCAD 11 in response to my nagging: if you hold down the Shift key as you finish drawing an object, it will suppress autojoin. Note that different drawing tools finish drawing in different ways. The bezier/curve tool requires a right-click.

Drawing a road which joins a roundabout – if the road joins near the start/finish of the circle, it autojoins.

Shift is not the most obvious choice of key to suppress autojoin; if you hold down Shift when you start drawing a line it will force an autojoin and merge to any neighbouring similar object.

Organised Grime

Mark Roberts can be found hanging out at Organised Grime.

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Trimming Contours and other Lines

A Mark Roberts handy hint

Trimming contours at the edge of your map is a common and painful requirement but here’s a hint to reduce the hard work.

[This works just as excellently for trimming northing lines – Ken]

 The old way

First, here is the way I’ve always done it.

I have Preferences|Context Menu off and I have a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-1) for Object|Cut Object|Cut Line.

Starting with the first contour selected and the cutting tool selected:

 Left click on contour to cut it

Right click twice to unselect contour and revert to selection tool

Left click on the next contour to select it

Ctrl-1 to select cutting tool …

 The easy method

Select th ecutting tool:

 Left click on contour to cut it

Alt-Left click on the next contour to select it

Left click on contour to cut it …

 Alt forces a different object to be selected and you still have the cutting tool! This method cuts contours with two clicks instead of four clicks and a keypress.

Thanks to Hubert Klauser at OCAD AG for this hint.

 Other methods

Map|Export Part of Map or Object|Crop Objects will also trim contours for you. But if you are trimming at a boundary line feature like a fence or a road, that gets trashed in the process.


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OCAD 11. File | Import : Journal #5

Import OCAD file – the pain

Colour table before import
Colour table before import

Ever imported an OCAD map or symbol set so you could replace many or all symbols and colours in the base map? I did when converting an orienteering map to a public recreation map.

Converted my first few roads to the new symbols and wondered why they disappeared from the map. I realised that the colours for the new symbols were all lower in the colour table than colours for existing symbols. Thus my new symbols were blocked where there was an old symbol in the same location. e.g. a green or yellow area symbol. What a pain moving each colour up.

The solution

Colour table after import
After import

When importing all symbols and colours, OCAD 11 offers the opportunity to place colours at the top of the colour table. So as you convert symbols, they should still show up on the map. On some maps it may be wise to convert area symbols last else your unconverted line and spot symbols may be invisible under the higher placed new area colours.

Wish list

This function could be useful also when Map | Load colours from (and symbols) is used. OCAD AG now has that on their wish list.