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Why does font size change with zoom?

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Pat Butler

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When I zoom into a sketch the font size changes. I'm not rescaling the sketch, just zooming in to take a closer look. I'll do that to adjust the font size and location of some of my dimensions. The font size suddenly gets larger as I take a closer look at it. That isn't right.

I still think the entire rescaling/zoom feature is totally messed up. Any way to fix this?
 

Randall Garrett

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Pat,

When you "zoom" in Apex, it is actually rescaling. For better or for worse, it has been that way since the very first DOS version, circa 1986... ;-)

It would take a lot of work to change it in Apex/Medina and not enough people are bothered by this to push it to the top of the list. We may see a tweak form time to time, but no major rewrite is in the works. Still, when you zoom in, the "virtual font size" (poor choice of wording) changes to match the current rescale/zoom level, so you are able to make relative changes on selected items - just select it and use the [+] or [-] keys. Mouse users can use the wheel to change size and/or rotate.

Maybe you should give Steven a call here and let him do a Team Viewer thing so we can see an example of what you are trying to do. We might not be able to make a major code change, but maybe by witnessing/understanding the situation we can make some suggestions for techniques and/or come up with a tweak that will make things better in an update. The last thing I want to do is to make a change that will perhaps satisfy 2% while upsetting the other 98%... Still, if we can make things better for everyone, we'd like to try.

FWIW, products made with the Nexus engine use "zoom" vs. rescale as printing to a particular "hard copy" scale isn't as important as it once might have been.

Hope this helps!
...
 

Pat Butler

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Thanks for the info. I guess it's confusing when there is a zoom feature as well as rescaling and they both do the same thing.

This sort of behavior is extraordinarily unusual for a graphic's type of program. Where it becomes a problem is when I zoom in to move my dimensions around. I might only be able to see a few dimensions and want to resize them to match other dimensions on my sketch. If I know that I typically use a 10-point font then I would expect to always see 10-points irrespective of how closely I'm looking at it.
 

Randall Garrett

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Pat:

I think I understand the issue. Maybe we can schedule a tech session where we can monitor your screen so we can watch what you are doing, just to make sure we're understanding the issue. Like I said, I think I "get it", but it would be best to observe so I can see about making a tweak which would perhaps make this more of a non-issue for you... :)

Just in case you are interested (LOL), here is some history on this topic - meant to try and explain what is going on under the hood. When one zooms in on (say) a bitmap of something like a sketch, everything would appear larger/thicker, etc. So, when we put in a zoom feature (ages ago), the only tool I had to do this was to compare the extents of the previous draw window with the extents of the "zoom window" to derive a ratio for scaling. Remember, in Apex, we're not using a bitmap underneath - if we did, you couldn't really edit is the way you do with a vector file - so when "zoomed' in, we're really redrawing everything at a smaller numerical scale to make things larger. So, since fonts are controlled bu their face and point size, what the software attempts to do is to temporarily change their point size to match the new (temp) scale. This in itself is sort of "dicey" because early on, Windows did not support "decimal" point sizes - that is, we didn't have access to (say) a Verdana 10.2 point font - we had Verdana 10, then Verdana 11, nothing in-between. So (again, "back in the day"), we'd have to so some rounding when someone zoomed in or zoomed out. Today (thank goodness) we have more font control to work with, but some of the legacy rounding stuff is still in the code to account for old files done before the days where we had "decimal precision" on fonts. Support for really old formats is not a big deal to most fee appraisers, I know, but it is a big deal to assessment departments that have thousands - to - millions (really) of sketches going back to the DOS file days. We've tweaked and tweaked on this portion of the code over the years and while it is not perfect, it seems to work pretty well for most people, so we've simply not had enough complaints for the issue to be brought to the forefront in the update list. It seems there are always other items that more people want addressed... ;-) Still, we don't have any "agenda" on this sort of thing - if enough people want it changed/tweaked, we're happy to move this up the list... :)

Anyway, the way it should be working (if it is not, that is why I want us to see it messing up while you are using it) is when you zoom in on an area, when you select an item (i.e. a text label), the font size as shown in the DDT/EDDT should change to match what it should be relative to the current "zoom" level. You should be able to select it and use one of the controls (plus or minus key, or the mouse wheel) to make the selected label larger or smaller visually... the font size that shows up is simply for one's reference - to see it changing larger or smaller. When you "un-zoom", the selected item's font size should recalculate to match.

[Edit]
I added an image showing (from top to bottom)
Selecting a dimension
Zooming in with the Zoom Window function
Same Dimension selected


What we might be able to do is to offer a user setting that does not show the recalculated size when zoomed in but still does the scaling underneath. That is, if the "original" size was (say) 10 pt. and you zoomed in, instead of showing (say) 15 pt., it would still show 10 pt but allow you to change it to something else. We'd need to make this a user setting because most everyone else is used to it working differently and changing the default behavior default would (rightfully) upset many others.

Sorry this got so wordy. It is a difficult topic to explain, and probably not very interesting to most people, LOL.

Let me know if you'd like to work with us on this aspect and I'll get someone to get with you and schedule a session.

Hope this helps!

...
 
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Pat Butler

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Hi Randall- sorry for the delay in responding. I understand what you are saying and the program works as you described it. It's just very unusual for any program to have that sort of behavior. Use the zoom feature in any Microsoft program and you'll see that irrespective of the zoom level the font size stays the same.

Same with every graphic program I've ever used from Adobe and Corel (I own all of their programs- yep, thousands of dollars worth). Anyway, something like a font size should be explicitly declared. That is, if I choose Arial 10 point then it should always be 10 point even if I choose to zoom in to look at it closer.

On the other hand, if I choose to rescale a document then of course I expect the font size to change proportionally with respect to the rescaling factor. As it stands, your zoom feature is functioning just like a rescaling function. It really makes it difficult to zoom in to take a closer look at some crowded text to be able to move the text around. As soon as I zoom in for that closer look then the text adopts a funky point size. That makes it difficult to add any new text without having to reference other text sizes prior to typing. My guess is that many appraisers don't fine tune the look of their sketch and don't have a problem with it.

I can appreciate that no one else has complained about it, but the behavior is definitely very unique as compared to most other programs.
 

Randall Garrett

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Pat:

The summary is I think I know what you want and I'll look into it. The below is only my misc. rambling thoughts and probably only of interest if you care WHY or really want to be involved with a "fix." If you do, read this and we can continue - I am happy to do so. if not, you'll just have to wait until we have time to make a change and the change will be what most people want... :)

I understand the problem and I know what you mean. Please note that what I am trying to describe is a known issue and stems from a time when "zooming in" did not support decimal point sizes. Hence, when you zoomed and the program needed to figure out the equiv. scale or point size of the text to "render", it had to do some rounding - because if the zoom window demanded that the new font size needed to be (say) 27.3 pt, we simply had to round it to either 27 or 28, with 27 being the obvious choice. Again, remember this all stems from the early DOS days and the basics have been carried forward simply because not many people really cared... :-\

Anyway, it CAN be changed - now. And on the surface, I don't see a major problem with the system maintaining the original point size when "zoomed in" (actually, rescaled)... The "real" point size will, of course not really BE the original because (again) you have actually (temporarily) rescaled the drawing. I don't expect you to agree or understand WHY we rescale internally, but the fact that we DO means that when you "zoom in" (especially from a huge scale (say 1:120) to pretty tight (say 1:10), when we show something like Tahoma 10 pt., you will not have much granularity to scale with, That is, you can go from 10 to 11 or 10 to 9, etc. - or whatever you type in. Obviously, when you are at a small point size, the effect of changing it downward is not linear... as you you get closer to 1, the size grows tremendously. SOME of this can be mitigated by using "decimal" font sizes - i.e. 9.9, 9.8, 9.7, etc. Maybe that is good enough. Still, then the question comes up, "Do we change the way font sizing works to accommodate?" The way is has always been is that when you use the [+] or [-] key, it changes the font size upward or downward by one. So, does it now do it by 1/10th now? If I change this, it will really upset existing users because the re size function will now appear to be 10 times slower to the average user... :-(

Not all is lost, however. Perhaps it can work this way only when zoomed in (?) That would be inconsistent, but if it is what most people want, that is fine - we'll do it.

The other option that comes to mind is to enable holding the [Shift] key down to do "tenths" just like drawing with the Arrow key. That poses a bit of a problem because we do not require the user to hold the [Shift] key down to get the +/= key to perform the "shifted" function of +... Same with the minus key. We simply interpret either + or = to mean plus (larger by one increment), just as we interpret _ or - to mean minus (smaller by one increment.) Of course, we could change this, effectively forcing people to use the [shift] key or only the keys on the numeric pad, but you should understand how people would complain, LOL.

Maybe we could add a user preference setting in the Configuration dialog (?) We get teased a lot for having so many options and it sometimes makes new users feel that Apex is more complicated to use... Something competitors like to point out. Funny, offering more options means more complicated instead of less options meaning less capable, LOL. Go figure. Options are there because a significant number (5 or 10%?) of users want one particular portion or the other to default to working differently than the way it ships.

I THINK that perhaps the BEST (least problems for long-time users) way to do this is to allow a modifier key when resizing with the mouse wheel. We already allow it when rotating, so we should be able to allow it to work with resizing. It could only work with systems on XP and Vista, but that is 95% of the users anyway. FWIW, resizing EXISTINT items with the mouse wheel works best when the "Enable Click Lock" option in enabled (Tools/Configuration - Drawing tab, Left Click Functions group.)

Anyway, my point is that we have certainly thought of may different ways to change things in Apex over the past 20 years or so. We know that many things are in there due to my own pin-headed designs from "way back when." Still, thousands of people now consider these things to be "normal" and they get upset when I change them. What you are asking for might be do-able and I am happy to do it IF I can figure out a way to not break something that others are used to. Your points are (somewhat) valid as comparing "any/every" graphic program and Apex. Yes, they ARE different, but Apex does things that they do not - and vice-versa, of course. Apex is designed as a vector sketcher that calculates when you draw and then does some other things in the background for particular users' convenience. The OPERATIVE work is "sketch" - it is not a CAD program (though it has a real CAD engine underneath), it is not an Illustration program (though people obviously use it to make illustrations), etc. Hence, it works a certain way. You can't ask Illustrator to to automatic calculations or pass that data back and forth with an appraisal program. It can pass an image, perhaps, but not data.

Anyway, I understand about the convenience of keeping the original point size showing. Doing so poses some problems, but perhaps we can make it (at least) somewhat better - I'll just have to try and run it past some beta testers to see if they flip out, LOL. I think we agree that when you "zoom" in, the (pixel) size of a text or dimension label should also "blow up" - otherwise, it would be disproportionate. I believe what you want is for the selected item to report back it's original size so you can make changes to a few items and be consistent, right? So, even IF the actual font size (because it is rescaled) is (say) 42, you want it to show 10 (or whatever the original size was)... You want to change it to (say) 9 and then change others to the same or whatever and then when you zoom out, it would report 10 on the originals and 9 or whatever on the altered ones. So, when does the original size get established? When the program fist loads? Is it calculated from the user's default settings? Or do you want me to just do SOMEthing and see how it works out? ;-)

Of course, all of this is really complicated because all the other program you mention or want Apex to emulate use a real Zoom, and we do not. As I have mentioned, there is a reason for this and it stems back from the early days. It would be a major undertaking to change this and a LOT of people would not like the results. Basically, in the early days, users wanted things to print to a specific scale - say, 1:10 or whatever. Apex has always worked in a "WYSIWYG" mode. (remember THAT term? LOL) That is, the drawing pad always tries to show you what is going to print. Today, you have a choice that is sort of "whole page" or "page width"... Most people using the latter because the drawing pad is sized to the sketch area on the typical page for the addendum with subject header above and calculations below. Programs that use zoom typically do not accommodate architectural or engineering scaled output - i.e. one inch on the pint-out - 10 feet in real life. Nor do they typically work in a "final print" mode... You draw, zoom, pan, whatever as appropriate to accommodate the subject material, your screen size and resolution. When you are done, if you want everything to fit on one page, your tell the program to make it fit and don't care what the scale is. This is not the case with CAD programs or other programs that try to print to a specific, stated scale. Yes, I have all those program and more... :) I know how they work - I know the things they do better than Apex and I know the things our users say Apex does better. IF I can find a way to blend in some things AND not have it upset the majority, I am happy to do it, but when it happens is pretty much dependent on the "popularity" of the change. I'm sure you understand...

Sorry for being so verbose... Maybe some of this will spark some additional constructive topics?

...
 

Randall Garrett

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Pat:

As a follow-up, and hopefully more on track than the previous rambling "rant", I really do think I envision/understand what you want. You are right, we don not zoom - we rescale. That just has to be for now, so the question is - how do we accomplish what you want, right?

May I suggest you try something? I'd prefer to get you on a live session so we could do this "real time", but we've not been able to get you to hook up yet so this will have to do for now.

I envision that you are using the Zoom Window function when you "zoom" in, right? That is, you select the Zoom icon/command and then fence the area you want to zoom in to... If not, I think most/all of this applies, but I'd need to check - that is why I'd prefer to be looking at your screen on-line and have you able to see ours... Anyway, from what I gather, you want to select various items and re-size them to be cosmetically more pleasing, uncrowded, whatever. When you change them, are you selecting then changing them one at a time or are you using [Ctrl] Click to select multiple items and change them all at once?

Do you find yourself zooming in so tight that you have to un-zoom then re-zoom to another area? If so, perhaps you should must zoom in once and then use the [M] or Move command as a real-time "Pan"... That way you can change the font to the "weird number" required and pan around while remembering the "weird number" if you want to be consistent. That is, it should be just as easy to remember changing something from (say) 47 to 38 as it is from 10 to 8...

Finally, you may find it most convenient to us the mouse wheel to change sizes. Given the right now, the sizes are "weird" when zoomed in, you're not able to use conventional sized to determine how you want them to look. Hence, what you are wanting to do is simply make them larger or smaller, and I would guess that you'll do this visually. Select the item, and while it is "rubbered" (red), use the mouse wheel to size it up or down. When it is at the size you want, just remember THAT number. Go to the next item and do the same or [Ctrl] click several others then select the font button to change them all at one time. Again, if you find you have to zoom in on several areas, you are either zooming in too tight, or you can use [M] to pan around without having to un-zoom and re-zoom. Every time you zoom in via zoom window, it changes the temporary scale which changes the font size reported. So, if you want to be consistent, don't zoom in/zoom out/zoom in again so much.

Remember that enabling click lock can really help when using the mouse wheel in Apex. What it does in not something seen in most other programs, but was done to assist users, so you might want to try it.

Again, I understand what you think is a deficiency. I am not trying to be defensive. I am try to help by saying I know the problem (for you), I might be able to change it to work better, but it may not happen for a while, so I am offering some tips to make things perhaps work better for you in the interim. I really think it would be good if we could get you on a live session. Who knows, you might get so used to the "Apex way" that you'll be after MS, Corel, Adobe, etc. to change the way THEY work, LOL (j/k, of course)
...
 

Pat Butler

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Randall- I'd be available some time this week to do a live session.

I think the font size should relate to the printed output. That's the way the EVERY program I've ever used does it. So if I choose a 10-point Arial then that's the size I'd expect to see it printed out at, even though its actual size on the screen will likely be different.

Insofar as a screen display, that font should be displayed based upon the % screen view (zoom) that is chosen. For example, if I choose to display the sketch at 100% of its size on the screen then the 10-point font should look exactly the same as how it prints out. If I zoom in to see 1/2 of the page then the APPEARANCE of font size should double even though it keeps its 10-point property.

Look at MS Word. If you choose the "print layout" mode along with a zoom level of 100% then the screen image of the font matches the printed output. I usually work in "Page Width" mode myself which will give the font a larger screen appearance yet still retain the same font size property.

A program like Adobe Photoshop has a "Print Size" zoom where the image on the screen shows up at the same size that it will print it.

Your program doesn't have to be that complicated. The user doesn't have to know what % the zoom is being scaled at. I think most of us eventually take a look at the entire page just to make sure the sketch will fit and make sure the text is readable at its chosen font size.

The problem I have with changing the font size dynamically using the mouse or plus/minus keys is that it is difficult to differentiate between the smaller font sizes when I'm zoomed way out. So I eventually zoom in to see the relative differences between my chosen text and the adjacent text that I want to match. That's when the numbers end up changing.

I run into this situation usually when I'm adjusting the text size around a front porch that has a lot of in's and out's. I'll zoom in on one side of the porch to adjust some dimension text that is too tight. Once I've done that then I'll go over the other side of the porch to do the same thing. However, I try to match the font size that was used on the left side. It's difficult to have to read the font size from the left size when it's always changing. Also, I can't just dynamically change the text size with the mouse or keyboard because the other side of the porch is now out of my view! It woud be much easier if I knew in advance that my default text size was 12 and my smaller size was 8 for example. See attachment for details.

What's your available for a live session? Thanks Randall....
 

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Pat Butler

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One more real world example that I run into all the time. Have a good weekend.
 

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Randall Garrett

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OK, Pat - lets try to schedule something so I can get someone to show you some techniques to help mitigate your issues.

[Edit] I forgot about spring break - Robert is off this week, so we'll have to schedule the call for next week. Please send me your contact info off-line and I'll get Robert to contact you.

rgarrett [at] apexwin [dot] com

...
 
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