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planchart  Tutorial

Lesson 3

Embellishing the chart

This lesson deals with: Adding text; Drawing bars; Adding pictures; drawing lines, shapes and symbols and Printer options

Having clicked the 'Design' button  the following type of chart is displayed drawn to your specification.

Above the chart is a menu.

You now have the opportunity to use the menu to do the following on the chart:

Add Text
Add Bars
Add Pictures
Add Shapes, Lines and Symbols

Add Text: To add text click on   on the menu line. The following window is displayed: 

From this screen you can choose a Font, set the font to Bold or Italic, set the size, set the font color and any background color you wish.

The text you add can be a single line or it could be a whole paragraph. Simply press the Enter' key at the end of each line. You can also have vertical text. After each character you type press the 'Enter' key. Press 'OK' after you are satisfied with the text and properties.

After you press 'OK' this window will close and the text will be placed in top left of chart. Drag the text to the position you require it. At any time you can edit previously placed text and move it.

Edit Text: To edit text double click anywhere on the text or right-click on the text and select properties. The above box will be displayed for text to be edited.

Add Bars: Two types of bars may be used; traditional and modern

Traditional bars: planchart automatically provides one bar already drawn in the top right corner. See it with blue diagonal lines. This is your starting point. Click on it to select it. Next Right Click on it, a drop down menus is displayed. Select copy. An identical copy will be placed on that line to the left of the chart. Drag the new bar to the line and date where you want it to start. Look at the bottom right corner of the bar. There is a red dot. Place the cursor over the red dot. The cursor shape should change. Drag the end of the bar to the date where you want the bar to end. Now Right Click on the bar. A drop down menu will appear. Select Properties. The following screen will be displayed:

You can select the color you wish the bar to be. You can select simple designs to be drawn inside bars such as Horizontal Line, Vertical Line, Diagonal Line etc or you can choose more complex designs as shown on the right side. You can also have a picture in a bar. You be be asked to choose the picture you want. You can also set the height of the bar here. Note that the height set here is just for this bar. If you wish to set the height for all bars you can do so from the 'Format' menu. To make further bars simply copy any visible bar and move to your required position.

Modern bars: planchart is issued with a number of .gif files automatically stored in a folder called bargifs under planchart's installation folder. These gif files may be used to create bars. To create a bar, click Picture in menu and select Add New. Select a gif file showing the bar style you like. The picture will be placed on the chart. Drag the picture to the location you want and re-size to your requirements. Examples:

Creating bars using this feature has significant advantages over the more traditional bars styles and patterns. Apart from it being more modern looking it can be re-used on other charts quickly and easily by using the Load from .plt feature in the Picture menu. For example, we can create a project for the first time and make bars using these .gif files. At a later time, we can design a chart with entirely different dates and recall these bars. We can then re-locate the bars to new dates.

Add Pictures: To add Pictures click on     from the menu. A file dialog window will open for you to navigate to the location of the picture and to select it. Currently BMP, JPG and GIF formats are supported. An example of the dialog box is show here.

Note: In some circumstances, depending on your mouse movements this window will appear to disappear. You will find it in the bottom task bar.

After clicking OK the picture will be displayed on the chart. The bottom right corner of the picture will have a red dot. Very large pictures will cover the whole chart and the red dot will not be visible.   In this case keep moving the picture up and to the left. You need to get to the red dot in the bottom right corner of the picture. Once there you can re-size the picture by dragging the red dot up and left. You may have to drag the picture down again to have sufficient space to re-size. You may have to do this several times depending on the how big the picture was.

To summarise: Pictures can be moved by placing the cursor on it and dragging or re-sized by grabbing the red dot in bottom right corner and dragging.

Note on Printing pictures: If pictures are not printed please check the option at the bottom of the Print Window  and re-try.

Printer Options (Select Printer)

If you have a choice of printers or you wish to change some of your printer's characteristics, click the 'Select Printer' button available on the design window or the 'Printer Setup' menu item when viewing the chart. The following window is displayed:

The current printer is displayed at the top. This is the printer planchart will use to obtain its default settings for width and height of the chart. If you have more than one printer and wish to use another, click 'Get full Printer List'. planchart will show all the available printers. Double-click a printer in the list to make that printer the default printer for planchart to use.

On the right side of the window, planchart tells you the current orientation set for the printer. In the example screen above it is Landscape. You can set the orientation you want (some charts may look better in portrait, others may suit landscape) by clicking the appropriate button ( Portrait or Landscape). Remember to change the dimensions on the design screen to suit the required orientation. planchart does not do this automatically because you may want for example a small landscape designed chart drawn portrait.

By clicking the 'Printer Setup Dialog' button you will be taken to your currently selected printer's Dialog box. Every printer will offer it's own set of features there. Please consult your printer's documentation to see the facilities that are available for your printer.



  To Add Shapes, Lines and Symbols click  from the menu. The following is displayed:

Selecting color

The top left corner, from black to white are 8 available primary colors. is the color palette. Click any of these to draw in that color. The black and grey boxes below that allow you to select from a palette. Click and the following palette will be shown:

You can select a color shown or mix colors (for a new color) by moving the slider against Red, Green and Blue. Having selected your desired color click 'Set'.

To draw a line, shape or symbol first select the color by clicking on it.

Lines and shapes

Below the color palette are the shapes. A line, oval or circle, open box and filled box. Click on the required shape. In default the line or outline of the shape is drawn  with a thin line. A fatter line can be drawn by you clicking on one of the 6 line widths shown or by setting the width to a set number of pixels. You can opt to draw the line or outline as dashes rather than continuous. For dashed lines, thickness of line does not apply. Click on the position of the chart you want to draw the line or shape and drag to the required size. Note that once drawn you cannot change or move it. If you have drawn the object in the wrong place or size you can remove it by selecting 'Draw' from the top menu and then selecting 'Undo Last Draw'. The 'Undo Last Draw' will work backwards numerous times, so you can erase from the last item drawn back several drawings.


On the right side of the Draw toolbox are symbols. There are hundreds of symbols available from various fonts. You can scroll up or down to see the rest of the symbols one line at a time or you can click 'Next' to see the next 30. The set shown are the ones available for the font shown under 'Symbols Font'. You may use any Font but fonts with useful symbols are Webdings, and 3 sets of Windings. It will be useful for you to acquaint yourself with the symbols available with these 4 fonts. You can of course add more of your own.

To use a symbol, click on the required symbol, click on the required color and set the required size (trial and error can be put to good use here). Click anywhere on the chart. You can easily remove unwanted symbols by right clicking it and selecting remove.  

The symbol will be drawn near the top left of the chart. Click on the symbol and drag it to its required position.

Once drawn, the symbol can be later treated as text. You can Right Click on it and change its size and color and indeed add to it. In addition you can re-call these from a saved chart onto your current chart by using the 'Load from .plt" menu under 'Text'.

Please close this window after use. Clicking on the chart when the Draw window is open will attempt the last action taken.

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