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  Free Size: What's it?

In the ancient Mac metaphor, the window was an hole through which you could see the paper document. Making the window smaller meant to shrink the visible portion of the document. You were then able to expose the hidden parts by panning, using the scroll-bars. When this metaphor was created the screen was 9" B&W and, quite obviously, programs didn't provide zoom options... As you know many things have changed and today every application tries a variation. Mac OS X started the trend of 1-window-only applications, which todays is becoming more and more popular. This is not so much dictated by the desire of copying other operative systems, but by the need of keeping the desktop tidy. iNMR believes, instead, that no screen is wide enough for an NMR spectrum. Newly created windows occupy all the size they can and this size is 100% used to display the spectrum. The window metaphor is broken. What we still call “window” is now an elastic white sheet. When you resize the “window”, the spectrum automatically fits into it, changing proportions. It's like if you have the choice of cutting a sheet as long and as wide as you wish. This default behavior is called “free size” and is so intuitive that needs no further explanation.


The freedom just described is not available (nor desirable) with today's printers. Before printing you must renounce to the freedom of size. You do this by simply opening the standard ‘Page Setup’ dialog and choosing the paper size. What happens to the window? You can still make it larger or smaller, but it's not an actual resizing as before, is more like zooming in and out. You will notice, indeed, that now the scale labels change size proportionally to the window.

The iNMR window is therefore allowed two states: the free size and the printable state. Once a paper size has been chosen, you can toggle between the two states with the command ‘File/Free Size’. The commands ‘Window/Tile...’, also force windows into the free size. Apart from printing, the state of the window does not limit the operations you can perform. Just choose what you like. You will discover, though, that in some circumstances one state is more productive than the other. When copying a picture, for example, the free size is preferable.


Tiled Windows

These two simple commands change size and disposition of the two topmost document windows, so they take the same size, and lay parallel to each other. They also acquire the “Free Size“ property, if they hadn't it already. You can easily create the same layout with the mouse, but there is a little difference: with the tile command you prepare iNMR for the related command, namely ‘Window/Synchronize’.


This menu command remains dimmed until you tile two document windows, as described above, and the two contain spectra of the same dimensionality. At this point you may decide to synchronize them. After synchronization, the two windows will continuosly display the same spectral regions. If you create a mark into one of the windows, another is automatically created into the other window. To stop this mechanism, select again the command ‘Window/Synchronize’.


Smart Marks

While the previous mechanism (“Synchronize”) is suited to compare identical experiments applied to two different samples, you can use the Smart Marks to compare drastically different experiments applied to the same sample. For example, you can compare an hetero-correlated 2D with an homo-correlated 2D, or a 2D experiment with a 1D one. What happens is that the marks move together when two axes correspond to the same nucleus. In the case of a homo-correlated 2D, the horizontal marks are copied from the vertical marks. For this reason, operate on the latter ones exclusively. The pre-condition to create the Smart Marks is to tile the two windows.

See also

Undoing your Operations inside iNMR


Exporting Bitmaps

Forget What the Books Say