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Opening Symbol Editor
Creating a new symbol
Saving a symbol
Importing symbol from the library
Bitmap import
SVG export/import
Opening the Icon Editor
Symbol scale properties
Exiting the Symbol Editor
Undo/redo
Using the grid
Scrolling the work area
Setting zoom
Refreshing window

3.1 Working with the Symbol Editor

To open the Symbol Editor, press the Symbol button in the corresponding Object, Relationship, or Role Tool (in the Port Tool, the Symbol button is disabled as Ports do not have their own symbols). You can also open the Symbol Editor for a type from almost any place where that type is displayed in a list, by selecting Edit Symbol from the type’s pop-up menu. In a Graph Tool’s Types tab and Bindings tab, and in the Diagram Editor sidebar in the tree view or the top row of the property sheet, Shift-double-clicking the type will also work.

As a result of any of the above, a Symbol Editor opens showing the symbol of that type as in Figure 3–1 (if no symbol has yet been defined for the type, the editor will initially be empty).

Symbol Editor

Figure 3–1. Symbol Editor.

The Symbol Editor window can be divided into seven parts. The usual menu bar can be found from the top of the window. Below the menu bar, there is a toolbar with action buttons for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Redo, Align to Grid, Scroll and Zoom commands (Set Zoom, Default Zoom and Zoom to Fit), as well as the tool buttons for creating various symbol element shapes. The largest part of the window, the drawing area that contains the symbol elements, lies in the middle. On its left side there is a side bar that contains a tree view of the symbol elements placed on the drawing area and a property sheet showing the formatting of the currently selected element. At the bottom of the window, there is a formatting bar for symbol element properties like color, line style and weight, and a status bar showing information about the currently selected elements and grid and zoom settings. When certain tool modes are active (like when editing a template layout), the status bar may provide additional tool info and a link to the tool’s documentation.

Opening Symbol Editor

There are several ways to open the Symbol Editor:
*In a Diagram Editor, select an instance of a type of the symbol you want to edit, hold down the Shift-key and double-click the property sheet’s row with the red text of the type name.
*In metatools (Obect Tool, Relationship Tool and Role Tool) click the Symbol Editor button in the toolbar or select Tools | Symbol Editor.
*In the Symbol Editor, select Symbol | Open... and double-click the type or library symbol from the Symbol Browser dialog. Alternatively, select the symbol from the Symbol Browser and press the Open button. This will open a new Symbol Editor for the selected symbol.
*In a Symbol Browser, select the symbol you want to edit and press either Edit or Open button (depending on the Symbol Browser user interface mode). For more information about the Symbol Browser, see Chapter 3.6.
If the Symbol Editor is opened for a type that has an existing symbol, the symbol is automatically loaded into the editor (if there is no existing symbol definition, the Symbol Editor will initially be empty).

Creating a new symbol

To clear the editor and start with an empty symbol, select Symbol | New. Please note that this new symbol is still attached to the currently selected type.

Saving a symbol

To save the symbol definition, select Symbol | Save or press the Save button in the toolbar. By default, the symbol is saved to its owner, i.e. either a type or library symbol. To explicitly save a symbol to the symbol library or into another type, select Symbol | Save Copy To..., select an existing symbol or create a new library symbol in the Symbol Browser, and press the Save button.

Importing symbol from the library

To import a symbol from the symbol library into the Symbol Editor, select Symbol | Import From Library..., choose the symbol you want to import in Symbol Browser and press the Import button. The individual symbol elements of the imported symbol will be pasted into the Symbol Editor. It is possible to import symbols regardless of their types but please note that if the imported type is of a different type than that currently open in the Symbol Editor, any incompatible elements will be filtered out – e.g. a role line will not be imported into an object symbol, nor a connectable into a role symbol. Similarly, type specific property associations within symbols – like text fields’ connections to properties – will be cleared if the type does not contain the required property. These associations can be reattached by editing the individual symbol elements afterwards.

Bitmap import

To import a bitmap as a symbol element, select Symbol | Import Bitmap... and select the bitmap file from the file dialog that opens. Supported file types are .bmp, .gif, .jpg and .png. For more information about bitmap symbol elements, see Section 3.2.8.

SVG export/import

The Symbol Editor provides a mechanism for exporting symbol elements as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) documents and importing these documents back to MetaEdit+. SVG is an XML notation for describing vector graphic images. MetaEdit+ supports the SVG Tiny 1.2 profile – for more information about this format, please refer to www.w3.org/TR/SVGMobile12.

To export the current symbol's elements to an SVG file, select Symbol | Export SVG.... Enter the name for the SVG file when prompted. To import elements from an SVG document, select Symbol | Import SVG... and select the SVG file from the file dialog that opens. If errors are encountered during the export or import, a warning dialog will be shown providing information about the possible cause of the error.

Opening the Icon Editor

To edit the icon for the current symbol select Symbol | Icon Editor. For more information about the Icon Editor, please refer to Chapter 3.5.

Symbol scale properties

It is possible to define whether or not it is allowed to scale instances of this symbol in a Diagram Editor. The scalability option can be set separately for horizontal and vertical scaling in Symbol | Properties.... Disallowing a scale direction here will disable the respective scaling handles in the Diagram Editor when the element is selected there. Similarly, scale related options will be disabled in the element’s Format dialog.

Exiting the Symbol Editor

To exit the Symbol Editor, select Symbol | Exit or close the Symbol Editor window. If there are unsaved changes, a dialog as in Figure 3–2 will be shown to prompt whether or not to save them.

Confirm save on exit

Figure 3–2. Confirmation for save on exit.

Undo/redo

To undo Symbol Editor operations, select either Edit | Undo or press the Undo toolbar button (or press Ctrl+Z). To redo, select Edit | Redo or press Redo toolbar button (or press Ctrl+Y).

Using the grid

Using the grid helps you position and scale symbol elements accurately. When the grid is active, elements are not moved or scaled completely freely anymore, but with defined steps. To set the grid step, select View | Choose Grid... to open the grid size dialog (Figure 3–3). In the grid size dialog you can set the grid step values for both axes either by entering them into their respective number fields or by using the sliders. If you want to make sure that the grid for both axes is the same, check the Uniform grid check box. Pressing the Default button will restore the default grid step values.

Grid size dialog

Figure 3–3. Setting grid step.

To make the grid visible in the drawing area, select View | Show Grid or toggle it on by checking the Show checkbox in the Grid section of the status bar on the bottom of the window. To activate the grid, choose View | Snap to Grid or check the respective checkbox in the status bar. Once activated, all further element operations will conform to the grid steps. However, activating the grid does not force symbol elements to align themselves along it. To do this, select Align | Align to Grid or press Align to Grid button in the toolbar: this will align the top left of the selected elements (or all elements if none are selected) to the nearest grid point.

Scrolling the work area

In addition to the normal scrollbars it is also possible to reposition the work area with the Scroll Tool. You can activate the tool by pressing the Scroll button in the toolbar. Once the tool has been activated, you can scroll the work area by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the hand cursor.

Setting zoom

The Symbol Editor is opened with a 200% zoom by default. To change the zoom, either:
1)Select View | Zoom... from the menu bar or press the Zoom button in the toolbar. This will open a Zoom dialog (Figure 3–4).

Zoom dialog

Figure 3–4. Zoom Dialog.

2)In the Zoom dialog, set the proper zoom value either by selecting from the predefined values or by entering your own value in the Percent field. There are also predefined settings for zooming the symbol to fill the whole drawing area (Fit) and restoring the 200% default zoom (Default).

Or:
1)Select the Zoom Tool from the Symbol Editor toolbar.
2)On the drawing area, press and hold down the left mouse button and drag the magnifier cursor to define the area you want to zoom to. Or, alternatively, position the magnifier cursor on top of the element or area you want zoom closer to and click the left mouse button. This will zoom in one step.

->By default, the Zoom Tool operates in ‘Zoom in’ mode. You can change to ‘Zoom out’ mode by pressing and holding down the Ctrl-key while the Zoom Tool is active.

Or one of the following:
*To set the default zoom (200%) select Default zoom from the toolbar.
*To zoom to fit select Zoom to Fit from the toolbar.
*Select the zoom percentage from the pull-down list on the right of the status bar.
*For zooming in or out step-by-step, press the round + or buttons on the right of the status bar.
*Hold down Alt and use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

Refreshing window

To refresh the drawing area, either select View | Refresh from the menu or press F5.

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