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Lesson Zero: Window Basics

Launching Smart Characters

To use the Smart Characters word processor, launch Smart Characters from the Windows Program Manager. First, locate the Smart Characters 3.0 icon in the Smart Characters program group, and double click to launch. The Smart Characters 3.0 Program Icon If you have moved the Smart Characters 3.0 icon to another group, you will have to find it there. If all else fails, you can use the Program Manager File | New command to install a new icon in a group that is convenient for you.

For Laptop Users

For those who find double clicking too much effort (e.g., laptop owners with erratic track balls), you can usually achieve the double click effect on an item by highlighting it and pressing Enter.

Main Window Fixed Components

Once launched, Smart Characters displays the word processor main window and menu. The main window consists of various parts. At the top are the main system menu button, the title bar, a desktop that includes all documents that were open when you last quit Smart Characters, and the window size buttons. Experiment with the main system menu buttons: Below the title bar is the main window menu which sometimes shares space with a child window system menu button and window size buttons.

Optional Components

The main window optionally includes the toolbar which displays just below the main window menu, a status bar(5- 2) which displays at the bottom of the main window, and a codes(5- 5) window which displays just above the status bar. The codes window is not visible at this point.

Especially important is the hidden characters(5- 4) window, which floats independently of the main window, and can be positioned anywhere on the screen (although it tries to avoid the insertion point(5- 1) cursor by jumping out of the way).

These optional windows are controlled by the View menu:

Document Windows

The main window holds child document windows, and can also launch other kinds of windows to display and edit Chinese characters, vocabulary drills, conversion and translation utilities, etc. as required.

Smart Characters 3.0 document windows display, edit, and print documents. Document windows are controlled by the Windows multiple document interface. This means that they behave in exactly the same way as, for example, the group windows in Program Manager. You can have as many document windows open as your machine's memory will allow.

Document windows are controlled by the Window menu.

Permanent Document Windows

There are several permanent document windows, which are always available for instant access. They include an internal clipboard(4- 3) window, a list(4- 4) window for displaying and selecting dictionary matches, a symbol window to display browsed Chinese characters, and windows to hold your active user dictionary(4- 7) and dynamic glossary(4- 6).

Closing and Minimizing Windows

To begin in a known state, close any open documents, and minimize the permanent windows. Although you cannot close the permanent windows, you can minimize them and turn them into icons, which is their default state.

Switching between Document Windows

You can switch between document windows using the menus, the mouse, and the keyboard:

The Active Window and Input Focus

Note that the window title bar is highlighted. This means that this is the active window. Also note that a flashing text cursor (called the insertion point(5- 1) or caret) appears. This indicates the input focus: text will be inserted or deleted beginning at that point in the window. In some cases, active windows don't display an insertion point. Smart Characters documents can switch between editing with an insertion point, and hypertext mode, which uses a moveable highlight.

Using the Mouse to Activate a Window

Clicking on a window deactivates the currently active window, and activates the new window. If the window is minimized, the window's system menu appears.

Using Ctrl+F6 to Activate a Window

If the insertion point is not visible, there may be no text displaying in the window. Adjust the window size or View | Zoom to display some text and the insertion point.

Mouse and Keyboard Window Positioning

It is usually a good idea to position and size the window containing the document you are working on carefully, because no one has as large a screen working area as they would like. You can change size by dragging the child window frame, or using the window system menu and the keyboard.

Positioning Windows with the Menus

You can also have Windows arrange your windows in a more or less arbitrary but orderly fashion: With certain numbers of open windows and main frame window sizes (4 here), there may be no difference between vertical and horizontal tiling. Close a window and try again. If you position a window on the right or bottom of the main frame window, then reduce the size of the main window, you will not see the window which is now out of the viewing area. You can use Window | Cascade or Tile to bring the window back onto the desktop.

Adjusting the Zoom and Display Mode

Smart Characters offers lots of different combinations of ways to display and print text. The most fundamental of these are the size and positioning of text in a window, which is controlled by the View menu. Normal view is used for most work. Page view is used to check pagination, and to edit headers, footers, footnotes, and frames (embedded objects or pictures). If you are running a VGA system, consider upgrading your monitor and video card to super VGA resolution. 1024x768 systems are inexpensive, while 1280x1024 systems allow two full-size pages to display simultaneously, which is wonderful for composition and translation.

Projects, Users, and the Desktop

At the end of a user or project session, Smart Characters saves the active dictionary and input method preferences as well as the size, placement, and file names of the open document windows into the current user or project desktop file. The next time you launch Smart Characters or open a project, Smart Characters restores the saved preferences and opens and displays the document files as they were when you last worked on the project.

Each project or user has its own unique name which is shown on the far left of the status bar(5- 2) at the bottom of the main frame window.

Create a New Project

You can create as many projects or user names as you want. Smart Characters ships with (computer language for "includes") several sample projects named: Welcome, Chinese, Bopomofo, and Pinyin. Projects are controlled by the File | User & Project dialog. Because we will be doing Chinese, switch to a Chinese project and create a new tutorial project based upon it: Because we will be doing Chinese mostly with pinyin, switch to the Pinyin project and create a new tutorial project based upon it: Smart Characters copies the Pinyin project to the new project, then switches to it, closing the open windows and re-configuring based on the new project (which at this point is identical to the existing Pinyin project). Note the new project name Pinyin Tutorial on the left of the status bar on the bottom of the main window.

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Last Modified: March 23, 1996

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