FitPlot is a layout program for images / PDFs. Here you can import almost any kind of graphic file (jpg, tif (also multipage), tga, gif, png, psd, eps and PDF (also multipage)).
TIP!: it is possible (from version 3.5) to insert images or graphical objects (mix of text and graphics) simply copying them from other apps (a graphic program, for example) and pasting them into a FitPot document area.
Its main window (see screenshot) represents your printer / plotter page as set in the page setup (or in the quick page size fields).
You can move, rotate, resize, clip your images as you want, manually or numerically.
Let's present the program with its main window screenshot:
Simply talking, the program is very intuitive. To import an image you can either insert from the file menu or by the insert tool
in the toolbar (we will see the toolbar later), but the simplest way is to use drag&drop: select one or more images file on your disk and drop them on the FitPlot white area. You can also drag and drop images from another program or even from the web (drag from browser).
Note: you can perform some automatic operation while importing images (resize, rotate, apply styles, automatic packing). This can be useful in cases such importing a folder of images for a quick print of previews. See insertion preferences here.
Once on the FitPlot area images can be modified in their size and orientation, can be clipped to make some part disappear, can be placed everywhere, even out of the working area. Can be moved back and forth the image stack and you can apply them some style as trim marks, dashes and strokes, shadow and transparency (only for PDFs and raster images with an alpha channel such as png or tiff), show tag with file name, date, size and path.
The main window is so organized:
The window title:
it contains informations about the name of the document and the current page size (bracketed the printable area size, according to the margin settings, see installation -> test your printer).
The toolbar: just below the window title, the toolbar hosts useful FitPlot command, at a mouse click. Fully customizable to your needs. See toolbar paragraph here.
The "environment" settings: below the toolbar you can see
The quick page size control:
(it is quicker compared to the usual page setup menu as usual there in the File menu);
the page setup… button has the same function of the File -> Page Setup… menu and is a quick way to have at hand all sizes proposed by the installed printer drivers. Custom size fields and SET push button allow the setting of any custom page size.
More centered you can see the unit of measure control
you can choose from centimeters, inches and points.
The zoom control (a slider with three buttons, the left one for the min, the right for the max and the center arrow for the 1:1 zoom)
lets you resize your view of the sheet from a minimum of 0.01x (click to the left) to a maximum of 100x (click to the right), passing through intermediate values.
A shortcut is available on the keyboard (click with the mouse while holding down space+command keys to obtain a one step zoom+, click with the mouse while holding down space+command+option keys to obtain a one step zoom-). With the same keys combination, but dragging the mouse, you obtain a box-zoom, that means the boxed area will fit the visible area (zoom in).
Furthermore you can live zoom using the mouse scroll ball (or scroll wheel) while holding the alt (option) key.
Toggle pagination drawer:
at the extreme right there is a little button, grayed by default, that is used to open the pagination drawer. This button is enabled only if you set the FitPlot document to more than just the single default page. (See pagination for further explanations).
The "sheet" area:
this area, surrounded by the vertical and horizontal rulers, is where you make the layout of the objects to print. Drop here images from your disk or from another application, move, resize clip etc.. This area represents the sheet your printer will paint on.
You can control the editing manually with the mouse or more precisely with the info / edit panel.
Other object manipulations can be done with some commands in the toolbar.
Choose plotter sheet size from the usual File -> Page setup menu. Here you can set your own, too.
Save / reopen arranged sheets for later time printing. Margins and paper sizes are saved along with the file.
Save and open as template. You can collect your documents as models for future use.
To know how to organize the template's folder take a look at Templates organization.
Drag and drop your files from Finder or other program to the sheet area.
Easily move the objects with a grid snap (tools ->grid menu options).
You can move a selected object also with arrow keys (1 pt x step). This is influenced by the snapping on the grid too. The movement amount is equal to a grid step at each keys stroke. Pressing the shift key increase of x5 the value of the arrow movement.
You can use the tools->move menu (command-M) to move all selected objects. A dialog (see figure below) lets you input the deltaX and deltaY values. Just remember that Y values increase from top to bottom of the screen (as the represented plotter sheet first part to come out is the upper one).
There is also a way to move objects around pages (if more than one page is available in the document).
While moving by dialog you can optionally make a copy of what you are moving.
Drag copy (alt key pressed while you click and drag an object). Mouse cursor will change this way
. A copy will be created at the point where the mouse is released.
You can drag an object and drop it on a page in the pages drawer (available when the document has more than just one page).
While drag-copying (alt key pressed) a copy of the moved object will be placed on the page where it is dropped, maintaining the same relative position on the new page. A drag-move (alt+cmd keys pressed) will move the object as above, without copying it.
Another way to duplicate an object: edit -> duplicate menu (command-d) or the tool
in the toolbar.
To delete an object: edit -> delete menu (cmd+backspace[←]) or use the delete tool
in the toolbar.
To give an object border, trim lines etc.: tools -> object print styles (or use the info panel, style popup).
Styles can be applied to an image to put trim marks at its corners, set a shadow, frame it with a stroke or dashed line of various thicknesses, add a tag with file name, file date, file size, file path or a custom text.
The caption text can be showed on any side of the image (see info panel extra).
You can apply even transparency to PDF. PDF usually have their white background set to no-print. You can use this characteristic to superimpose a PDF on a background and make other peculiar tricks as in the scenario 4 example.
TIP! Transparency is supported also by eps and by raster images that own an alpha channel. We can find an alpha channel in images of the kind tiff, gif, png, psd.
You can arrange object in the usual Mac way (tools -> bring to front, send to back etc.).
Contextual menus (right click with mouse) on objects to access most of the above operations.
Move around your view clicking the space bar (as in common graphic programs, the cursor become a
Double click an any image in the view. This cause the file browser to open in search of an image to replace the double-clicked one.
To avoid watermark FitPlot Demo in printing, obtain your unlocking password. See instructions in the about FitPlot... menu.
To activate manual editing, click on the icon
on the toolbar. Once activated, the icon should change in
(manual editing ON). To toggle it OFF, click it again.
With manual editing OFF you can only use the mouse to move the objects (click and drag), this is more practical, if you want not to resize / rotate, because the object area is all reserved to this and, especially with small images (or low zoom) and manual editing ON, it could be difficult to find space to move an object via click and drag.
Instead, with this option enabled, you can freely resize and rotate images around a chosen "
Selecting an object, 9 handles appears on the image borders (and center). Around the handles there are sensible areas (see screenshot above) where you can see your mouse cursor change according with the operation you can perform on that object. Click and drag to perform operation in real time.
you can manually clip an image just clicking and dragging the side's handles.
While approaching the image side's handles with the mouse (with manual editing on), your cursor changes in
Click and drag toward the center of the image to clip the image. Note that in FitPlot versions previous to 2.2 these handles also was for resizing (). Now resizing is possible only on vertex's handles.
Furthermore you can reposition the image inside the new clip area clicking and dragging it with the mouse while holding the command key pressed (the cursor changes in
Clipping is possible also numerically through the info panel.
To help manual editing you can activate / deactivate the grid and the grid snap:
snap to grid off/on
grid visibility off/on
The grid step is configurable in the general preferences.
Clicking and moving an object while the grid snap is on, makes the object to hook to the grid with the corner where the mouse has started dragging.
This is true even with resizing, rotating, clipping.
The magnetic guides
To create a new guide, just click on a ruler area and drag the mouse on the drawing.
Click and drag a guide to move it elsewhere.
Guides fasten on objects leading points (objects must be selected to "attract" guides).
The fasten between guide and point (and vice versa) is evidenced by "snap" sound.
Snap to guides is always on, of course if at least a guide is present.
To place exactly a guide, just double-click it and set the value in the showed field .
To get rid of a guide, just drag it out passing over the ruler parallel to the guide you are moving.
As we have seen above, manual editing is one way to operate making up the layout.
The other way, more powerful and precise, is the use of the info / edit panel.
It is visible by default, but, just in case, you can recall it from menu Windows -> Show info (cmd-i).
Also in the toolbar you should see the push button that shows/hides the info/edit panel.
It brings a free rotation field, a free scale% field, numerical positioning fields, width or height constrain fields, clip controls and other goodies and it is a powerful object editor/inspector.
Selections and super selections
When one or more objects are selected, a coloured ring surround them.
The ring colour may be orange or cyan (tough you can change these colors in the general preferences). Cyan means that the object(s) is(are) part of a selection of more objects. Orange means that the object is part of a selection and it is also the "super selected" one. Each selection has always one member that is super selected. This one is the object we are referring to with the info panel.
You can use the stepper to cycle through the selected objects Obj #
On the main window you should see, between the selected objects (cyan ring by default), one with a different selection ring color (orange by default). This, together with the little thumbnail in the info panel, should let you easily recognize which object the info panel is referring to.
If the object is a pdf (or even a multipage tiff) with more than one page, you can choose here which page to display / print. PDF page 1/5
You can use the stepper to cycle through the available pages. You can use the keys pageUp, pageDown, Home, End on the keyboard too.
Use of the pivot point "
You can numerically establish the position of an object writing numbers in the Xpos and Ypos fields. The object will get the new position in order to have its selected pivot in the just given Xpos and Ypos. NOTE: handles refers, in this case, to the current object bounds (that will be different from thumbnail representation when the objects is rotated).
While using rotation and scale fields, instead, the pivot has in the object the same position as in the thumbnail, being the hing for the operation.
The same behavior (handles that follows possible rotation) we have on width and height operations, so if the object is rotated 90°, the width value we type refers, in this particular case, to the "visual" height. This may be deceptive, but so it is.
The padlock button
unlocks objects. This may be useful to prevent unwanted moving.
Flip: vertical and horizontal symmetry operations are performed always on axis passing by the central pivot.
The style popup: to show / edit the print style for the object.
You can choose one or more items between these:
TIP!: numeric fields Xpos, Ypos, width, height, angle, scale, clippings accept input of mathematical operations, automatically calculating the result. For example you can input 3+3*5 and it will turn out to be 18.
The Info/Edit Panel expanded
Click on the little arrow to expand the Info Panel and bring to visibility other important fields and controls:
The clipping fields: identified by the scissors icon, here you can edit image clips numerically.
The Tag side slider (enabled if a text tag style is selected) orient the caption on one of the four sides of the image.
The Custom text field (when custom text style is enabled) lets you type the desired custom text to show on the image side you select with the above tag side slider. The custom text can be concatenated with the other text styles (size, date, name and path).
The Change link push button brings up the file browser letting you choice another image to replace the one the info panel is referring to.
The Reveal push button show you where the image resides on your disk and alert you if the image is not found.
TIP! When just imported, an object is at its "natural" shape represented by scale=100%, rotation = 0, all clips = 0. Modifying it (resize, clip or rotation), a little orange • point appears next to the modified fields to show the object has lost its originality. Resetting a value to the original, will cause the point to disappear.
The items list panel
To get better control of all elements in a FitPlot document, a new panel has been introduced with version 4.
You can activate it from menu Windows -> Show items list (cmd-ì).
Also in the toolbar you should see the push button that shows/hides the panel.
In this panel:
You see inserted images in distinct rows, each showing a thumbnail, its lock state, image file name and image complete filepath.
When one or more image is / are selected on the document, relative rows are hilighted.
Viceversa, clicking on a row in this panel makes a selection of the relative image in the FitPlot document.
A double click on a row in the panel causes the "replace image" procedure to start, bringing up an open dialog to choose a replacing file.
Clicking the lock icon on the row causes the relative image to be "protected" by any modification.