Some Notes on QuickTac 4.0

What does QuickTac Do?

QuickTac is a paint program building a grid of dots. Once an object is drawn, it may be "undone" but otherwise it is no longer an object but just existing dots. These dot pattens can be directly embossed, or saved into a file that can be read into Duxbury DBT or MegaDots.

Embosser Setup

Embosser setup works like it does in Duxbury DBT (versions 10.5 and above), except that it is accessed through File, Page Setup in QuickTac instead of Global, Embosser Setup as in Duxbury DBT. One difference between embosser setup in QuickTac and in Duxbury DBT is that in QuickTac, you only see embosser models that can produce graphics.

Drawing Tools

Drawing tools all appear on the toolbar and also in the Tool menu. Once any tool is selected, it displays its own step-by-step instructions to the right of the image. What has confused people most to date is the meaning of certain terms in the list of fills. QuickTac says "remove internal dots" for fill when it means that drawing a new shape will "white out" the interior. "No fill" means that the interior will retain whatever dots were already there before you began to draw. Please note that one of the line patterns available for all drawing tools is "remove bounding dots". That just means the dots for the object are removed rather than drawn.

Cut, Copy and Clear

Cut, copy, and clear all work as they do in a basic "Paint" program. But you must remember that you are cutting, copying, or clearing a rectangular collection of dots, not an "object" as such.

Paste, however, is a bit odd. When you paste within QuickTac, the pasted dots will show up somewhere on your image. If they show up where you don't want them, then you must be sure that your next click is within the area that was just modified by the paste. Click and hold to drag the pasted dots around to where you want them. If you don't think to do that, and click somewhere else instead, then all is lost except to Undo.

Cutting and pasting between QuickTac and other applications is not presently supported.

There is one hidden feature. Shift-click any place, regardless of what tool is selected, to toggle a single dot. Any other "hidden features" that you might find are likely to be bugs.

And there is one "power feature" that does appear on the menus. If an area is selected, then you can choose "Save as Fill" from the Edit menu to save the selected pattern of dots for future use in filling new shapes that you create.

Importing BMP files into QuickTac

Another approach is a direct import of an already made BMP. (Copy it to QuickTac folder). That worked too, but size seems to be important and which embosser you use. You can see the effect of if with the picture open in QuickTac (open Page set up and click on the different embossers). Changing orientation (portrait, landscape), can change how much you get in of the picture.

To reverse the procedure you can export:

Importing and Exporting SIG files

The .DXG is the default format when you save a file in QuickTac. (DuXbury Graphic) You can also "Save As" and select the alternative .SIG format. At the current time, Duxbury DBT itself has not been modified to accept the import of DXG files, hence you need to save your QT files as .sig files to import into Duxbury DBT.

Q and A

Q: What version of Duxbury DBT does QuickTac work with?
A: Starting with DBT 1.5, DBT starts out embossing by sending out escape sequences that take an embosser out of graphics mode. So using DBT 10.4 or below would be an exercise in frustration, since you would have to power down and power up the embosser frequently to reset the embosser take out graphics mode and revert to text mode.

Q: How do you do a raised line grid?
A: This is best done by hand, with the line tool, assisted by guide lines available through "View Grid".

Q: If you import a .sig file into DBT, does one need to change any of the controls or does DBT work out automatically what to do?
A: You do need to make sure that you are importing a file which is correctly sized. In other words, if you have designed something for let's say "11 inch Wide" paper, you will have a problem if you try to import it in to a "11 inch narrow" DBT document.

Q: How do you control the graphics resolution when you import a SIG file into DBT?
A: DBT "infers" the resolution at which to emboss the image from the image size. However, it sometimes infers something other than what you intend. In this case, position your cursor at the graphic and select Layout, Picture, and then the resolution you want. (The menu items are listed as for Index embosser resolutions, but also work for ET embossers.) The hard part of this procedure is positioning the cursor at the graphic. Ironically, this is most easily done in coded view. Place the cursor just before the [gd] code. If your image occupies the full page, you may also need to disable headers, footers, and page numbering in DBT. These can be re-enabled following the picture. DBT does not automatically suppress headers, footers, and page numbering to make room for a large graphic. Instead, it might omit the graphic. Carefully review your file before you emboss.

Q: What about BRG and BRF files?
A: These are imported and exported just like SIG files. Follow the instructions above for SIG files.


Q: Can I import a QuickTac SIG file into MegaDots?
A: Yes, but it helps to use the latest MegaDots software. Caryn has made some modifications to MegaDots 2.3 to make this practical. Here are her notes:

Running the mega-gr.exe replaces two files in your MegaDots program folder: graphics.rul and switches.wps and adds a new macro called fix-gr. The revised file switches.wps adds a new import file type called Graphics.

When you run the fix-up file, it prompts you for the folder in which to put the files. The default choice is c:\program files\mega23. If you have MegaDots installed somewhere else, then change this response to the appropriate folder for your system.

Here's the last step in setting up the changes. In the Megadots Preferences menu, go to File import. Press the Insert key to add a new entry. For the file extension, enter: .sig <Enter>

Set Style selection to Spacing same. Then press F10 twice and use the Save preferences command. That's the end of the initial set-up.

Now here's how to import a .sig file. Just tell MegaDots to open the file. Immediately press Shift-F10 and type the macro name fix-gr to turn it into a MegaDots graphic. Running that macro also puts the graphic into your MegaDots clipboard, so that you can paste it into a MegaDots document. If you find it easier, you can do the following. When you import the file initially, add space -? after the filename, and then select Graphics from the list of choices.