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Usage & Commands

Workplace organization
Useful hints
Manual editing
Manual clipping
The grid
The magnetic guides
The info/edit panel
Selections & super selections
The toolbar
Specialized tasks
Image Adjust
Serial Duplication
Transform more objects (was scale)
Advanced insertion
Tracking print work
The preferences panel
Environment preferences
Pasteboard behavior preferences(outdated since v. 3.5)
Insertion preferences
Packing preferences
Attributes preferences
About color matching

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)).
vers. 3.5: it is possible 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:


FitPlot main window overview


Simply talking, the program is very intuitive. To import an image you can either insert from the file menu or by the insert tool insert image 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), show tag with file name, date, size and path.

Workplace Organization

The main window is so organized:

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.

Useful hints

Manual editing

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 " " pivot.
Handles / pivots

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.

Operations are:
resize rotate clip set pivot move

Manual clipping

you can manually clip an image just clicking and dragging the side's handles.

Clipping (phase 1) While approaching the image side's handles with the mouse (with manual editing on), your cursor changes in .
Clipping (phase 2) 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.
Clipping (phase 3 - repositioning) 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.

The grid

To help manual editing you can activate / deactivate the grid and the grid snap:

Snap to grid OFF Snap to grid ON snap to grid off/on

Grid visibility OFF Grid visibility 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

  1. To create a new guide, just click on a ruler area and drag the mouse on the drawing.
  2. Click and drag a guide to move it elsewhere.
  3. Guides fasten on objects leading points (objects must be selected to "attract" guides).
  4. The fasten between guide and point (and vice versa) is evidenced by "snap" sound.
  5. Snap to guides is always on, of course if at least a guide is present.
  6. To place exactly a guide, just double-click it and set the value in the showed field
  7. To get rid of a guide, just drag it out passing over the ruler parallel to the guide you are moving.
  8. Snap distance and guide color are customizable in the preference panel.

The info / edit panel

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 the in the toolbar you should see the push button Inserisci immagini that shows/hides the info/edit panel.

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 & 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.

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 toolbar

Just below the window title, there is an area designed to host the most frequently used commands. It is visible by default. Just in case it is hidden, you can let it appear from the Windows menu, Show / Hide the toolbar.

Here you can see also the menu to customize the toolbar. In fact you can choose which of the several tools you prefer to have at hand. Just drag the item toward the toolbar to have it available. Drag away from the toolbar to let it disappear from the bar.
NOTE: each available toolbar command has always an equivalent menu.

Here a brief list of the currently available tools:

Editing tools

Environment settings tools:

System tools:

Specialized tasks:

Specialized tasks

Here's a series of more specialized tasks somebody may find useful, somebody may not.
You can discover FitPlot versatility in the overview section where use of these specialized commands is explained with "real" examples.
Either you can explore each command dialog clicking on the links below.

Image Adjust
Serial Duplication
Transform more objects (was scale)
Advanced insertion
Tracking print work

The preferences panel

The program saves its state every time you quit it, so the next time you start it, you will find the same settings you left.
This comprehends units, display settings, page settings, window size, info panel presence.
These same settings are saved with every file you save.

There are some more general preferences that you can save and will be common to all documents and they are showed in the preference panel.
From FitPlot 2.6 the panel has been logically rearranged in tabs, also because more options has arrived in 2.6 and more have to come in future version, so a re-organization has been needed.

Environment preferences

Init image: if checked, the initImage is automatically inserted when a new document is created. It may be handy because just double clicking on it, opens up the dialog to replace it with another image in your disk.

Page, grid, guides and selections colors: use the color picker to set color FitPlot uses to show the page background, the grid color, selection and super selection rings and guides color. The non white background may be useful because in images with white borders (with grid not visible) can be difficult to see the real image bounds on a white background.
NOTE: the page color has no effects on printing.

Grid step: configurable for the three units available. You can decide to have a grid of 0.125 " or 2 cm or whatever you want. The grid step is saved as general preference (for new documents) and even with the document data (a saved document retains these settings).

Guides snap limit: this value establish the distance where magnetic guides have effect on objects sides snapping.

Image's quality setting (for editing):
Low Res adjustment
This slider, in the environment preferences panel, allows the image's resolution setting when in editing mode, to speed up the redrawing. To see images in high quality to your screen, switch the above toolbar button to "high". When printing, images resolution used is always the best available for each image.
Note that even when high quality is set, while editing (moving or clipping), low quality image is shown.

Pasteboard behavior preferences (outdated since v. 3.5)

This panel has been overcome by the new version 3.5. Now images copied from other programs (or via Drag&Drop from browsers) are always saved (in a temporary directory).
If you decide to save the document with such images, you'll be requested to save them, where you decide, using a prefix (so that the images will be named with your prefix plus a progressive number).
If you choose not to save, quitting the document will free the temporary images folder.
This has been necessary to give all images the possibility to use the new images adjust feature.
A side effect of this new behavior is that pasting images from a vectorial program, will preserve its "vectoriality", saving it as a PDF, with all advantages (resizing with no loss of quality).

Use of symbolic link.
Another problem with linked images was uprising when, after a document was saved, the linked images were moved to another place. Reopening that document, the broken link logo showed up in place of the no more found image. This has been solved with the automatic use of alias, so an image imported in a FitPlot document should be always trackable, even if moved some other place on the same disk.

Insert preferences

Here you can establish how to behave when inserting new images on the FitPlot area. These regards resizing, constraining, rotating and applying styles as well as packing after insertion.
As explained before in the PBoard preferences, you may prefer to be asked each time if apply presets or not, and apply or not automatically.

Packing preferences

From the 2.6 version of FitPlot (on user suggestions) the packing algorithm has been improved including now two options, one suitable for users with single page printers and one suitable for plotters where the width is the roll width and the height is virtually unlimited.

Attributes preferences
Since version 3.5 it is possible to copy attributes from an image and apply the same attributes (paste) to another one.
You can copy dimensions (area), angle, shadow attribute, line, dash, tag together with image retouch settings.
Which attributes to copy / paste and which not is determined in the "attributes" tab in the preferences panel.
Copy/Paste attributes preferences
Note: The image adjust panel has its own push button to copy / paste just the image retouch attributes.

About color matching

Many users complain that FitPlot has a bad color management. Their prints that are good in Photoshop, give bad results when printed in FitPlot.
I have not the needed "know how" to give FitPlot all that color management controls as Adobe programs do.
Fortunately, as far as I know from Apple documentation files, FitPlot does manage color profiles by default.
Being a Cocoa Application and making use of the NSView and NSImage classes, automatically each image displayed in FitPlot uses its color profile (if previously assigned). If the image is untagged (has no color profile assigned yet), the program assigns it the default Generic RGB profile (or generic Gray or generic CMYK profiles).

Since version 3.2 / 3.5, FitPlot is able to change the color space of an image assigning it directly from inside FitPlot. Of course FitPlot does not change the original file on the disk, it just creates a copy on the fly. You can find this feature in the new image adjust panel and this is available on raster images only (so PDF, EPS, PS are excluded from this).

Apart this new opportunity, the application itself does not manage directly color profiles, but delegates this task to the underlying ColorSync® technology so it is a good practice to have a previously assigned color profile from other specialized programs or from the image source itself (scanners, camera etc.).
From my daily use, I obtain good results on Epson Stylus D88 and HP Designjet 500PS doing this way:

For my personal purposes this works very well, but I am not a color management expert.
I have made some research on the web and here are some useful excerpts I have found:


"...If our monitor is profiled correctly, and our RGB .tif .jpg is tagged with an embedded profile, FitPlot will display it correctly, and it will print correctly as long as the printer honors the source embedded profile and converts it to a good target printer profile.
Of course except if the file has over-saturated, out-of-gamut colors or tones that the printer inks technology can't reproduce on the chosen paper!..."


"...When you print to a PostScript printer, the Print dialog includes additional options under ColorSync.
The Color Conversion pop-up menu gives you two choices:

Printing to a Raster Printer
A raster printer is a non-PostScript printer such as an inkjet printer. There are two ways to print color-managed files to a raster printer:


Hoping these hints can solve some printer quality issue, I know that there are better application than FitPlot to manage color matching.
Hence, if you need professional color matching, do not base your whole work on FitPlot only, and use, as long as you can, professional color matching tools and programs.
I am not responsible for what FitPlot can or cannot do to your works / products.
I welcome your comments regarding this topic. Please send my an e-mail to .

ColorSync logo ColorSync and the ColorSync logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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