Archive for the ‘Windows Design Software’ Category

Changing the Border Colors in Ez-Architect

February 25, 2013

In the last post I showed you how to change the internal colors and patterns of an object.

Changing the border color is just as easy as changing the inside color. You just have to use another finger.  Here’s a simple circle with a black border. Note the status box to the left of the patterns/colors bar. It shows the same configuration. (In this case, it’s a white circle. If it was transparent, it would look the same.)

Here's a simple circle with a black border.

Here’s a simple circle with a black border.

To change the color of the border, just use your third finger on the right mouse button and you’ll easily change the border color. Select the object, right-click your mouse on the color that you want and you’ll change the border. Note that the status box to the left of the color/pattern palette matches your object (well, my object).

The same circle with the border changed to purple

The same circle with the border changed to purple

And if you don’t want borders on your objects, you can either change the border color and the inside to the same color as you can see below. OR you can choose a line width of zero, the first line on the line palette that looks like this:

–      –

The same circle with the border and internal color changed

The same circle with the border and internal color changed

It would look perhaps a little smaller (depending on the line width) if the border width was zero. In both cases, the status box to the left of the pattern/color bar shows both the currently selected border and inside colors, whether you have a line width of zero, or a wider line. That’s so you always know the current color configuration.

Next time, fun with patterns.

Have you done any experimenting with making your own patterns or changing pattern colors? We’ll have some fun with this.

Colors & Patterns in Ez-Architect-It’s Easy when you Get it.

February 3, 2013

Ez-Architect is VERY dynamic when it comes to using colors and patterns. However it can be a little confusing at first. But once you “get it” you’ll be an expert every time.

Here’s a little lesson:

When you start Ez-Architect, the program will begin with default settings. Most objects will be white with thin black borders, like this. (I have placed the standard object over some red so you can see that it’s white-on the inside.)

White rectangle with a narrow black border

White rectangle with a narrow black border

Now, to emphasize our example, I’ll increase the size of the border so color and pattern changes will be obvious. I have selected line width 4 by clicking on the widest line in the icon bar to the left. Be sure to select the object before changing the line width.

White Rectangle with wide Black Border

White Rectangle with wide Black Border

Now, I can play with color changes. To change the inside of the rectangle, simply left-click on a color or pattern from either row of colors & patterns on the color bar. Be sure to select the rectangle first.

Rectangle with new Inner Color

Rectangle with new Inner Color

The same rectangle with a pattern inside. Select the rectangle, then select the pattern. Notice that the pattern is visible at the left of the pattern/color bar.

Right-click on any pattern to fill the rectangle.

Right-click on any pattern to fill the rectangle.

Next time I’ll show how to change the the border color and pattern. Then we’ll learn to change the pattern colors.

What is your favorite use of colors and patterns in Ez-Architect?

Network Printing from XP to a Windows 7 Printer

November 4, 2012

Did you ever try to set up to print from XP across your network to a Windows 7 computer with the printer attached?

If you’ve tried this, you already know it’s not fun, and to call it frustrating would be generous. With some help from online research, I found a solution that worked, to my shock. It’s not something you would guess—ever— so prepare to follow the instructions and be delighted at the results. And it’s NOT in the on-screen instructions in Add-Printer!

After many frustrating hours of trying to connect our XP computer to our HP 2200D printer, which is connected to the newly upgraded Windows 7 computer, I discovered some unusual instructions online which worked perfectly. In fact, I found them in more than one place.

I realize that this is a rather obtuse post since we’re usually talking about home design software. But really, if you can’t print, what good is the software!

I’m posting this for anyone else who has had trouble getting network printing in order.

If you have a mix of Windows OSs, especially Windows 7 with XP, you are looking at some frustrating challenges if you try to install the Windows 7 printer at the XP machine following the normal instructions. In other words if you follow the instructions in add-printer, it will not work. (a most unusual occurance when following Microsoft instructions, right?), it will ask you to locate drivers (for the XP computer) but will not tell you the names of the drivers you need, nor where to find them. You get a little browse dialog that will take you anywhere you want to go to find that elusive .inf file. But even if you found it, you wouldn’t know that you found it because you don’t know its name. So it might be right in front of your face. But what good will it do. So succeeding with the ostensibly easy wizard instructions will only end in frustration. Forget that and follow along below. You’ll be glad you did.

In our circumstances, Windows 7 initially led me into the installation for the HP 2200D and it installed the Microsoft driver (I’m pretty sure). And the printer works fine from Windows 7. [As an aside, I later installed some HP Universal drivers and they were much more limited than the Microsoft driver, so I through them out–no duplexing there.].

Be sure to share the printer in Windows7 and give it a share name that doesn’t have spaces. (Spaces in the share name may or may not cause problems. But we are trying to avoid and solve problems here, not cause more, right.)

Make sure your network connections are working. I won’t get into networking issues here. Just be sure that all of the computers belong to the same workgroup. And that you can see all of the shared items from one computer to another. This means you can see the shared printer on the Windows 7 computer from the XP machine (even though it’s useless at this point for printing).

Here’s how to do it and you will wonder how it can work. But it does, and in the end I din’t really care how.

Here’s a quick run through of all the instructions.

1. Be sure that the printer on the Windows 7 computer is shared. For this example, let’s say the share name is THEPRINTER.

2. From the XP computer, browse your network and make sure you can see THEPRINTER.

3. On the XP machine, select to add a printer. At the first dialog, choose to “add a LOCAL printer” NOT a printer on the network. (This is just temporary and will be changed.) Add it at port LPT1. And continue through the wizard. Yeah, this is really weird since there is no printer attached to the XP. So lie to the wizard. (Wizards lie all the time anyway, right?)

4. Go back into the printer’s Properties (right-click on the printer), select Properties, then select Ports, and add a NEW port for the printer and put it in this form and call it \\nameofwindows7computer\THEPRINTER.

XP will load some drivers.

Print a test page and you’ll be cheering with glee. To be honest I was dumbfounded as I heard the printer rumbling in the next room! Yea me!

Note: from the Windows 7 computer you control the printer permissions for the remote computer (print, change printer settings, etc.) At first the XP only had permission to print. I changed this so that the XP has other permissions so that user can control the output a bit more. Double click the printer in Windows 7, click Customize Your Printer, click the Security tab click Everyone and set the permissions you want to give to Everyone.

Have you gone through this before? LMK!


Ez-Architect – A Bug has been found!!!

September 6, 2012

Okay, we admit it. We’re not perfect. But really, all these years and no one ran into this until last month! Really, has anyone been using this software?

Is your “printed” page blank?

Does your printout not fit the page properly?

Is it cut off where you don’t expect it to?

There are several reasons that these things may happen.

And here are several things to check:

First: Check your scale. For example if you selected 1/4″ = 1′. Given that a sheet of paper is 11″ long, the longest object you could place (at that scale) on the one sheet would be 44 feet, so if you have an object longer than 44 feet or if any part of your plan exceeds 44 feet, it cannot fit on a single sheet of paper.
If you select 2 sheets by 1 sheet of paper, the drawing (at the 1/4″= 1′ scale) will cross over two sheets. However, if you tell the program 1 sheet but draw something that is bigger than the one sheet, things don’t work so well, the program doesn’t really know how to handle it, so it prints just part of it.

Second: Check your paper size. As noted above, if your plan is bigger than the paper size you’ve selected, the printing won’t work properly. Items will be cut off or will try to print (oddly) to the only available page. And please note: there is an anomaly in Ez-Architect where this happens. Suppose you select legal paper and 2 x 2 page layout. If you save your plan and then open it again and then go to the paper size dialog, it will say “letter.”  Note this is only a dialog error not an error in the program. Because if you look at your plan and its layout, you’ll see that your plan is still has legal sized pages.

Third: Check your page layout. This refers to how many pages your plan will cover.

Fourth: Check your printer resolution.

The faint lines that occur on some of the printed objects relate to printer resolution and capability. I, too, can see your plan on my screen (which is set at 1440 x 900 resolution) and some objects print very weakly on one printer (b/w laser) in most of the “better” settings I’ve tried (it is an older printer). However my other printer (color inkjet) printed the plan very nicely, where the lines that hardly show on the laser printout are somewhat light on the inkjet, but they are clearly there, just delicate looking. So you might try another printer or different printer settings so you can see the objects without having to alter your plan.
The other option is to make all the lines in the objects that aren’t printing thicker.  Just select the object and change the line width. Experiment with printing to see what thickness prints adequately before you make them too thick, as on my screen some of the line thicknesses don’t look any different from each other on the screen.

And here’s the clincher, or is it the clinker?

Did you set your page orientation to Landscape? Yes, oh my, if you set your page size for Landscape, your plan will not print! oh my, and oh my again; so many thousands of you out there using this software for years and August 2012 was the first time anyone ran into this problem. Are we all so Portrait oriented that we never ever tried to print the wide way. My goodness, how normal we all must be.

Never fear, the developer has been notified along with a list of other minor glitchees and suggestions for the improving the program. So, if you’re reading and you’re a user who has wishes, now’s the time to get your wish on the wish list for the next update. We don’t know when, but we can say, eventually. But if you don’t speak, you won’t be heard. So let us know.

Sometimes the Simplest Things Elude Us

July 21, 2012

How to “erase” a line or object in Ez-Architect.

Use the selector tool, select the line or object.

Press the delete key.

Not to be facetious, but for those not experienced with object-oriented graphics programs, some functions may seem elusive. Since each item on the screen is an object that has to be dealt with as a whole, it can be moved, stretched, shrunk down, exactly duplicated; but you can’t remove just a part of it. You can shrink it, like in the case of a line. Come to think of it you could remove part of it only by covering it up with another object (and then, you’d want to group the two objects so they stay together). But it’s not like a painting program or photo editing program where you can work with and change a single pixel on the screen–where you can erase part of something, or smear it, or distort it with painting tools.

Nope, Ez-Architect is just Easy. Sometimes not to fancy. But powerful.

What other functions have you discovered in Ez-Architect (or any of our home design programs, for that matter) that were so easy that you had to say DOH! and hit yourself on the forehead when you figured it out?

Ez-Architect for Landscaping & Gardening along with Landscape Vision

July 7, 2012

Are you working outside these days. Don’t let Ez-Architect fool you. You can use it to plan your garden, organize your landscape plan, and all other outside wonders that occupy us this time of year.

Use the trees and plants that you’ll find in the Ez-Architect libraries to place in your landscape. Take photos and use them in your plan, or sketch or draw your plants to place them in your plans. Always save your special drawings, photos & sketches in your own library so you can re-use them.

Combine the details of Ez-Architect with the tools in Landscape Vision and you’ll have the garden and landscape planned and planted before your sunscreen dries. (Be sure to swab it on. No one needs a sunburn.)

What kind of Features Do you Crave in Ez-Architect?

May 28, 2012

The developer does update Ez-Architect periodically. We have not come up with many new feature ideas as we believe the program is very complete and powerful as is.

Here are a few things we’ve come up with:

Text tools
1. improve text functionality. Have text operate in the more common way:
Select the text tool, drag a box and start typing. If the text gets too big for the box, expand the box automatically instead of forcing the user to expand it.

2. When you select a text box to edit and you click in it, make the cursor land where you click instead of at the beginning of the text.

1. Enable users to re-order the layers.
2. allow users to arrange layers: bring to front/send to back. Example: if you make a plan and then you want to add a layer with floor colors or patterns, it’s not easy to get the carpet beneath the floor (and furniture, if any).

don’t require users to install as admin

Object Properties
Change Dimensions
1. Add option to keep the aspect ratio so if one dimension changes, the other changes automatically to keep the aspect ratio.

Speak soon if you have an opinion. The above suggestions are pretty minor and wouldn’t likely comprise a major upgrade.

But if you’ve got a feature you’re craving for, you really need to tell us. Our M.O. has always been to listen to our users as we go to new versions. So if you aren’t talking (writing), we can’t give you what you want. The people who use our software a lot are the best experts. So we’ll lend you an ear, if you’re willing to “speak.”

How to Change Your Output Parameters in Ez-Architect

April 30, 2012

How do I print in Landscape mode?

How do I switch from Landscape (letter size) to larger size (e.g. 11 x 17)?

When you’re drawing a plan in Ez-Architect, you’ll want to predetermine, as much as possible, what the final shape and size of your plan will be and how you want it oriented on a printout.

If you have a large, detailed plan, you probably won’t want the whole thing jammed onto one sheet of paper. If you plan ahead as much as possible, you won’t have to resize and rescale your drawing and its objects. But never fear, if your foresight isn’t perfect, you can resize and rescale everything.

Please note: I strongly suggest that you save your plan often as you go through these steps so that you don’t lose your work, or mess it up without having the last good version saved. Save often with different names so you have a good trail of the changes.

If you know you want your drawing to print in landscape mode, use File/Page Setup and set your page to landscape. This orients your plan on paper, and also modifies the screen parameters so that your screen also looks like a landscape sheet.

Ez-Architect defaults to a one page drawing. So if you know you want your drawing spread over several pages, like 11 x 17, for example, then you’ll use the Layout/Drawing Size menu to resize your plan to 1 x 2 pages.

Now, if you’ve already drawn your plan, or even part of it, you may want to change the drawing scale to match the larger parameters of your plan. To change the scale so that what you’ve drawn fills the larger drawing size, go to Layout/Drawing Scale and then change the scale so that what you’ve already drawn fills the new size. Be sure to check the check box to Rescale Objects.

If you’ve made your drawing larger because you need to just move beyond the current edges of the drawing size that you started with, don’t change the scale. Just add pages with the Layout/Drawing Size menu. Then you can extend your drawing beyond the edges of what you started with, drawing outside the lines, if you will.

Since most printers print only 8.5 x 11, if your drawing is larger on screen, after you print you’ll need to tape together the pages so you have a full rendering of your plan.

What is your experience with plans of many pages?

How to Change Colors in Ez-Architect

April 25, 2012

You can easily change line (and fill) colors in Ez-Architect.

To change a line color in EZ-Architect:
Select the line in question, then RIGHT click the new color from the color palette. Your line (and the dimension line, if it’s showing) will switch to the new color.

Note you can also change the external line colors for objects like rectangles, circles, etc. Just select any object, right click on the palette to change the outline color. Left click on the palette to change the fill color.

Text and pattern colors can also be changed (for this you might read the manual).

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