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2.1 The User Interface of TCM

Figure 2.1: TCM main window.

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When you start up an editor, you will see the so-called main window. For a screen dump of the main window see figure 2.1. To be able to work with TCM you need a two- or three-button mouse. In this manual they are called from left to right: button-1, button-2 and button-3 (or from right to left, if you have a special left-hand adjusted mouse). You can always work with two buttons because button-3 is only used for popping up the Edit pop-up menu in the drawing area, whereas the same menu is also accessible via the menu bar.

Except the basic drawing commands in the drawing area, all parts of the user interface can be accessed by keystrokes as well as by mouse operations. This manual assumes that you are using the mouse as much as possible.

Tiled buttons.

    On the left edge of the main window of the diagram and tree editors there are two sets of tiled buttons containing a bitmap symbol. These contain two kinds of toggle buttons: radio buttons and check buttons. Radio buttons are a set of mutually exclusive selection options. The visual cue is a little diamond that is filled or unfilled. A check button is a non-mutually exclusive selection option. The visual cue is a little box that is filled or unfilled. When you pass the mouse pointer over a tiled button for a second or two, a one line bubble help clue is popped up giving the full name of what the tile represents.

Menu bar.

  The menu bar located under the main window's title bar organizes most of the commands and features of the editors. The menu bar works in a straightforward way: press button-1 on an entry and keep it pressed down. A pull-down menu appears. Drag the mouse to the desired command and then release button-1. The menu is dismissed and the command is executed. Some menus contain nested submenus, called cascading menus, that work in a similar way. You cancel a menu by moving somewhere outside the menu and then releasing button-1.

Some frequently used commands can also be called directly, without going through a menu, by means of a keystroke shortcut, called an accelerator.   For example <Ctrl+L> is an accelerator for loading a document from file. You can see in the text of the menu entries which commands have an accelerator. Some menu entries contain check buttons that indicate that a certain property of the editor is switched on or off. If you select this entry, the value of the property will be inverted. See for example the Show Page Boundary entry in the Page menu. Some other menu entries contain a submenu of radio buttons indicating that a certain editor property has a value that is one from a set of menu choices. Try for example the Page Size entry in the Page menu.

Drawing area.

  The drawing area, also called pane or canvas, is used to create, edit and delete the graphical items of your document by using the mouse. The mouse operations that are distinguished by TCM are summarized in figure 2.2. 

Figure 2.2: Mouse operations.

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The whole drawing area is larger than the main window. You can use the scroll bars on the right and bottom side of the drawing area to view the drawing area that requires more space than is available at any one time. By resizing the main window you can resize the visible part of the drawing area, keeping the other parts of the main window the same size as much as possible. 

TCM has its own coordinate system. By default, the TCM coordinates have the same distance as the coordinates of X Windows.  The origin is in the top left corner of the drawing area. Like the X Window coordinates, the x-coordinates increase from left to right and the y-coordinates increase from the top down. By zooming in or out the ratio between the TCM and X Window coordinates can be updated.

Document Type.

  This is visible as an uneditable text field above the drawing area. See figure 2.3 for how the document types are called.

Document name.

This is visible as an editable text field  above the drawing area. See section 2.2 for how to change the document name.


This is visible as a toggle above the drawing  area. When the document has been modified, but it is not saved yet, it is on. If the toggle is on and you have loaded or created a new document, TCM warns you that the old document will be lost, and you get the opportunity to save the old document first.

Status area.

The result of the last issued command is displayed  below the drawing area in an unshaded and uneditable text field.


The name of the project or working directory  is visible in an editable text field at the bottom of the main window right below the status area. See section 2.3 for how to change the project directory.

Zoom value.

The current zoom percentage is shown  in the bottom-right corner. By performing the zoom commands of the Zoom menu this value is updated.


  This is visible as a toggle beneath the status area. When it is on, the shapes in the diagram or the cells in the table are automatically resized to make it fit the text that they contain (see section 2.5).

In-line editor.

This is visible as a toggle beneath the status  area next to the autoresize toggle. When it is on, text can be typed directly into the drawing area. When it is off, text editing takes place in a text edit dialog (see section 2.5).

Arrow Buttons.

  In the bottom-left corner of the main window there are four arrow shaped buttons by which you can move the entire document over the drawing area. Amidst these four buttons there is a button labeled C, by which you can center the drawing on the first page in the drawing area, at least when the drawing is not larger than a single page. When the drawing is larger than one page, the drawing will be centered on the group of pages that the drawing occupies.

Figure 2.3: Document editors, document types and document name suffixes.

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next up previous contents index
Next: 2.2 Changing the Document Up: 2 Document Editing Previous: 2 Document Editing
Frank Dehne,Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam