PRINT SOFTWARE GALLERY
Typesetter, Page Designer and Rubber StampReviewed by George Adamson
XLEnt's Typesetter ($34.95), Page Designer and Rubber Stamp ($29.95 each) are ambitious printer utilities exclusively for the Atari. Even users without artistic skill will be able to do rather sophisticated mixing or even overlaying of graphics and various sizes of typography on the same page.
Typesetter is one of the first programs to take advantage of the 130XE's extra memory. Flip it over and there's Typesetter 65, a version for 48K and 64K Ataris.
The main program is divided into three parts. There's a text editor where font styles and sizes may be changed. The sketch pad will draw or stamp an icon in a desired location on the screen. And there are dot-matrix printer options. These are limited to Epson compatibles (including Gemini, although the printout may be 40 percent smaller) and NEC or ProWriter compatibles.
In Typesetter 65, the I/O functions allow loading of a font, a GR. 7 + /8 screen, a Page Designer page, a Typesetter page, saving a type page, and reading the disk directory. Fortunately, the program can access a second disk drive.
Typesetter 130's 10 text editor functions include all of the above plus saving and loading pages and disk formatting. It can also italicize type, but the process becomes long and laborious if many lines are involved. It can also create special-effect "sliced" type.
An editor window in both versions displays current character height and width, row and column location of cursor, margin settings, and function messages. The computer even signals if a character is too wide for the end of the line. [CONTROL] R rotates letters horizontally or vertically across the page.
Sketch Pad mode has three different brush widths, six different fill patterns from solid to checkerboard, and built-in circle and sphere drawing commands. The 65 version is limited to joystick control, but the 130 program (which has an X-Y coordinate counter) also has KoalaPad or AtariTouch Tablet options.
Three print options are possible: vertical full height like a normal typewriter page (resolution 702 x 312 for 65 and 768 x 336 for 130), vertical half-page height, or horizontal full-page sideways.
Instead of the usual 320 x 192 resolution limitation in Graphics 0, Typesetter 65 allows printing with 704 x 624 resolution. Typesetter 130 allows maximum resolution of 768 x 672. While the 65 version uses one continuous block of memory (with only three bytes to spare), the 130 version divides a page into top and bottom halves.
The whole page is viewed through a scrolling window (like a spreadsheet). It uses a "page" of 88 columns, so saved Graphics 7 + /8 or Page Designer screens can either be placed in the middle 40 columns or expanded to fit the middle 80 columns.
Typesetter's instruction book is very thorough but you'll probably have read it several times before running the program to learn the many [CONTROL] options.
Companion program Page Designer (48K only) is not as spectacular as Broderbund's popular $44.95 Print Shop (Antic, June 1985), but it's very functional, easily saves screens, and is better for mostly-text files such as newsletters.
It creates half of a page at a time, can display legible 80-column type on a monitor or TV screen, serves as a layout guide for Typesetter, and includes a utility that decompresses KoalaPad and Atari Touch Tablet files to use with the software.
There are 14 character fonts to pick from by stepping through the directory with the [RETURN] key and then using the [SPACE BAR] to make a type choice. Another font creates borders, but the graphics mode uses only a joystick.
All the commands are shown in the screen window. However, documentation is very sketchy, not even mentioning which printers are supported.
Rubber Stamp (48K only) lets you create and save your own little icons. It can be a stand-alone printer utility, or used with other XLEnt packages. It, too, works with Epson-compatible printers (with special options for Gemini or Mannesmann) or NEC and ProWriter compatibles. The command structure is similar to Typesetter 130, and a second drive is helpful but not necessary.
One of Rubber Stamp's four utilities would alone justify its purchase the ability to convert any Print Shop icon into Typesetter format. Typesetter icons cannot be converted to Print Shop, however, because they are higher resolution (more dots per space). And besides, who would want to do it anyway?
The main Rubber Stamp program divides the screen into four quadrants. A picture or text can be stamped in any of them. Then the stamp can be moved anywhere on the screen, or expanded, shrunk, mirrored, duplicated, rotated, reversed, and turned upside down. Ruber Stamp can also produce labels, 1-99 at a time.
The graphics editor allows joystick or touch tablet drawing and filling, plots true circles, spheres, ellipses, and boxes, and sets up inverse video for digitized photos. Although Rubber Stamp is quite versatile, it lacks HELP screens because the programmers tried to cram as many features as possible into 48K. Therefore, a new user must keep the extensive and well-done documentation at hand.
The text editor includes many of the special effects found in Typesetter such as italicized and sliced type, 32 height and width combinations, and type overlaid on art.
With the extremely fast 16x16 editor, you can create your own character sets by using a joystick or the arrow keys, and toggling individual bits on or off with the fire button or spacebar. The joystick method is faster. Each character is displayed in an editing window by selecting the corresponding ASCII number 0-127. Then characters can be saved to disk.
Once you have Typesetter, Page Designer, Rubber Stamp and a compatible dot-matrix printer, the only other thing you'll need is a copy machine to handle your printing needs right at home.
($34.95, 48K or 128K disk)
($29.95 each, 48K disk)
P0. Box 5228
Springfield, VA 22150