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Help and FAQ

Many images and a few empty text boxes on ZUI Story Turbo

Many images and a few empty text boxes on ZUI Story Turbo

Help notes for Story Turbo v2.2

For Mac install notes see bottom of page >

Note: if you copy and paste from Word or Mac word processors, it will contain characters and control codes that the software cannot save properly. The editors in Story Turbo are Rich Text editors (RTF) so please use standard character settings when writing. Microsoft Word, Libre Office and Apple Pages etc are for final checking and formatting of the work.
A filter will be added to the next version of Story Turbo to import from popular word processors.

KEY THINGS TO KNOW:

  • Add Text box and add Image by using the buttons at top left of toolbar
  • Use drag and drop to add many images at once (drag to an empty part of the canvas)
  • Add box and Image

  • Boxes (images and text) can be dragged about at their top
  • Images can be dragged at any position of the image
  • Double click on images to get formatting (see later for details)
  • Move around the whole layout by clicking on the Canvas background (shows a hand icon) and dragging – but any boxes must be deselected
  • Use the Info Map and the red box (top left) to move around the canvas
  • Zoom goes from 2% to 400%, and there are many keyboard shortcuts and menus to do this and more
  • Reset zoom button will position the view to top left, at 100%
  • Publish button at top right can export the whole canvas layout or just your window view as word processing text, an image, a web page, and there is help and advice for exporting to Facebook, WordPress and other CMS


Group boxes and images

Ctrl click on top of box or image to select.
To drag a group, use ctrl drag.

Tip: Add box: if you add boxes or images, they arrive selected, so you can add any number of boxes (click on Add Box button) then drag them all off to an empty area for working.

Snap to Grid
This is on right of toolbar at top. It has a pixel spacing value, and a tick box for on or off.

Snap to grid is used for neatly lining up boxes, so a good value is 10-30 depending on use. If you set a large value can get Instagram-style layouts.

There is no visible grid, so you have to drag to make it ‘snap’ to the correct place. The right and bottom of boxes also snap.

Images

Click on the Image button at the top to open a browse for image. Note the shortcut is not Ctrl O, that is Open Story. It is Ctrl Shift I.

There are 4 tabs on this. Web text is not enabled yet.

You can scale, stretch, rotate, flip and set crop.

Note: It is better to rotate before stretching an image.

Image button top left on control bar

Image button top left on control bar


Double click an image to get the Image format preferences.

Image format preferences

Image format preferences

Drag and Drop Images

Has to be onto empty canvas space, not on top of a text box. You can add many images at once, by selecting using Shift or Ctril before drag and drop.

Image Width

Note: X (width) and Y (height).

See above format screen:

Original Width: 500

This is the start width when first imported and scaled.

The actual file size for width and height is shown in blue text underneath and might be large, like 4000 x 2672 pixels (as in this example).

So to resize the image, either use drag on the corner (if Fit to Box is set On) or change it here.

Note:
Images are very large things and affect performance, especially if photographic, so we have an import auto resize to 500 pixels (dots) wide.

The import scale range is 100 pixels to 1000 pixels, as with larger sizes there are performance issues.

This means any image larger in size than the Preference setting (in pixel width) will be imported to that width. If it is smaller, it is left the same size.

The program is using all images at the same time on a canvas, not as in image editors, where there is one active file.

How to change import scale width

If you want to import screen dumps, which are 1024 px or bigger wide, just right click on the background Canvas and change the ‘Rescale image width/height’ option to 1000, or whatever it is. See Prefs image below, I have changed it to 1,000 px already, it is usually 500 px.

If you are using small images in your layout, change the import size to a smaller size – it will improve performance.

TIP: if you want to import an image at the correct onscreen size each time, say 500px, then 600px for two images, then 250 px for three images, etc, right click on the Canvas to get General Preferences, which has the import image scale size in it.

This will change your startup Preferences so be aware you might want to change it to your ‘normal’ setting before you exit.

General Preferences Story Turbo v2.0

Right click Canvas - General Preferences Story Turbo v2.0

The import scale size of 500 pixels width can be changed in Preferences (off File menu), or use right click on the Canvas to get to it.

X and Y are the offset in the containing box. This box has a color that can be changed just like text boxes.

The file size width and height is also shown in blue.

If you use the Scale X (width) and Y (height) by percentage, this enlarges or reduces the onscreen size of the image (and box) but does not reload the image.

Saving and Images

All images are saved with the Story Turbo file so you do not need to copy them around separately. They are saved at the imported size, not the original size, so if you are working on a project that might need changing later, perhaps keep all images and Story Turbo files together.

Preferences for lots of settings:

Prefs are on the File menu

or right click on the background Canvas area.

For more on Preferences, see bottom of this page.

Link Tool

This is to open web links and also file (disk) links, but it did not save properly in our XML format so it will be working for the next version.

Templates: File / Open templates this will be updated with next version.
For now, Save your template files (with your special number of boxes, colors, images etc) into a folder and just open them as files.

For 2.1: Templates files have the suffix .stm
So you should see files:
filename.stm

Example files

These are available on the website, you can save them to a work examples folder.
Go to Download page >

Some are useful work-related tutorials (the blog and presentation ones and others), some are fiction related (how to write guides) and some are settings for various screen sizes.

DEFINITION of terms – see after the Help content.

HELP TIPS – BASICS

The View

Your view is of a Canvas with many boxes on it, each box is
an editor for text. Images can also be loaded.

Info Map

This is the small map in top left. It is interactive, you
can drag the red box (the View) around to see your layout of Boxes.

How to move about

The easiest way to move around is by clicking and dragging
on the Canvas background.

How to move quickly from one Box to the next or previous Box

Press
Ctrl Tab for next Box
Shift Ctrl Tab for previous Box

How to move Boxes around on the Canvas

Just click at the top of the Box and drag it about.

Boxes are not in any stack order, they are all at the same level ‘vertically'; but clicking on one to select it will bring it to the front.

Add box and Clone box – this box will appear on top of the others.

Delete / Add Box

Delete is done with the small x at top right.

Add Box is on the top menu bar. Added on top of the other boxes.

Application settings

These are the window size that the application opens with.

Canvas settings

This is what you work with, the actual size of the
background area. This is usually bigger than your view.

Use click and drag to move the Canvas around (it looks as if
the Boxes are moving, it is the background).

Scroll buttons and Canvas size

If you use the Scroll buttons it expands the Canvas � but this
is not easily visible. The actual size of the Canvas is always in File menu / Statistics.

Moving around the view

The scroll buttons at edges of the view actually add
space to the canvas, that you can then move boxes or your layout into.

It looks as if the View is moving.

So just make extra space, then drag your boxes around.

If you can’t see all the Boxes, use Zoom to reduce the view
– a 50% view will show more Canvas.

Outside the Canvas

Reset View

Panic button – if you get lost this is your way to reset the
boxes back to the top left corner, with 100% view.

Editing text

All text editing controls are in the top panel.

Note that paragraph center, justify and right align work onscreen but do not save, this is a quirk of the RTF format we use. So you can use them for layouts if you are going to export as an image.

Colors

Color background of the box.

Color and width of the box border.

Text font color.

Text background color (each letter or whatever is selected).

TIP

Text can have font color, and box can have background color.

Use color to make titles and headings, alerts and warnings.

TIP

If your writing is going slow, make some inspirational,
character-building, life-enhancing, weird, stupid or downright rude titles
around your main text.

Boxes

These have a border width and border color. Use this to help
visual grouping as a memory aid.

TIP

For instance, all:

Characters can have their own red border box, or a
pale color background to the box.

Places, blue border/background.

Plotlines, green border/background.

Use whatever colors you want.

Zoom

Zoom slider control is on top bar.

Zoom level is saved with document.

Zoom type:

There are two Zoom types. It is as if your view of the
canvas is going up and down a vertical (out of the screen) Z plane slider. This
is the 3D aspect of the application.

1/ Center zoom – this zoom in and out from the mid-point of
the view (not extents).

2/ Top-left zoom – zoom from top left corner.

3/ Zoom Extents – shows all the Boxes.

Reset View

This sets Zoom to 100% and position the Box layout into the
top left. This is useful if you get lost in the Canvas.

TIP

If you have a creative block or are bored, slide the Zoom
control up and down, fast or slow, in time to music or just go mad with it (it
will not break off). This will make you feel much better about your work.

Canvas

Canvas is a strange concept as in theory it goes on forever.
But we only show the area that has boxes on it. Zoom goes in and out of this,
as if the viewer is on a slider going up and down (in the z axis).

Scroll buttons

These are used instead of normal scroll bars as we had
problems linking it all together using them. In Windows version, you can switch
them back on again as well as the scroll buttons.

These add extra Canvas space – and the Box layout moves to
show it being created.

If the extra Canvas space is already present just not in
View, it just moves into that space.

Background color

This applies to the overall background (the canvas). You
can have any color you want. Color does not carry on to Export.

TIP

Again if bored make your background color something
startling, pink, orange, lime green etc.

Use two monitors for red and green and go 3D.

Preferences

Try these out.

Automatically select box on mouse over – this means a box
will become selected just by moving the mouse cursor over it.

TIP

Using on a smaller screen? Or larger?

Set your preferred window size, background colors, etc, in
Preferences; this will be used for your New docs from then on. You can also
save a default document with zoom level and types of boxes and use this to make
a set of different Story files. Some of these are in the example files so use
those or edit them to suit. This is for:

Desktop computer with large screen.

Netbook with small screen.

Print

These large canvases are hard to print on normal printers. You can Publish (export) the canvas or window view as an image and print that with whatever scaling you want.

Publish (export) – button to right of toolbar

This lets you move your work outside of Story software as word processor text, as an image, as a web page, or to a blog or social media.

Text formatting is exported (bold, font face, size etc).

Save as – to Export

‘Save as’ also lets you choose the format, normal Sto file, html (web), rtf (text with formatting, a Story Template file (which will then appear in your Templates folder and Open dialogue).

To get an overall export of the layout as you have made it,use

Publish (export) Story image

This takes an image of the window view you have, or all canvas to the extents of all boxes.

So arrange your view before exporting.

It makes the image to clipboard (memory) or saves it as a PNG file.

Publish (export) as web page

Makes a web page of the window view. This creates a folder for any images. Useful if you want to place it online.

Undo

This works on text (and text formatting like color) edits
only (with Ctrl z as usual), and has a history so just keep on going back in
time. But no Redo.

Canvas features and Box drags etc, zooms, etc., are not on
any undo so Save as (temporary name) before you go off on a major
rearrangement.

TIP

If you want to try some major edits on a story, just make a
new box the same size and copy/paste all the text into it, or use File/Clone Box.
Then edit one of them. Or make several and edit in different styles and
directions. Box Clone is in the Java version.

This means you can mess about as much as you like.

TIP

The canvas is a big as you want. If you drag a box to the
bottom right corner, it will stutter, as due to the scale, new bits of canvas are
added before you drag into them.

IN USE

We hope people will give us feedback on using the software
as it is very open ended – the controls are simple and obvious, anything can be
done. Small canvas, huge canvas, many or few boxes, colors, plain – whatever you want.

1/ DEFINITIONS

Words used in Story software

Canvas

The overall background on which the Boxes rest

Box

An editing or editor box.

This is a multifunction Box, text, colors, images. Can be
resized and dragged about.

View

The bit of the canvas that you see, zoomed in or out, is
called the view.

Application

The overall Application window that the software creates and
is within, is called the window

Extents

The canvas area bounded by the outermost boxes – the whole
working area whether visible or not.

Zoom, zooming

The scale of the view of boxes and canvas. The Zoom slider
varies continually from 0-2% to 100%

Center view and corner zoom types (see Preferences) scale
the canvas and the boxes; flower center view scales the boxes only, leaving the
canvas the same.

Imagine a slider going up and down from the computer screen,
straight out to your eye; the scale depends on how far you are on that slider.

The percentage shown is the layout dimension scaling, caused
by this sliding.

Zoomable user interface or ZUI

Story software has a zoomable user interface or ZUI (the
canvas, zoom, drag etc.).

Layout

The layout is how you lay out the boxes on the canvas area, by
dragging into position. Examples are available; see these to get some ideas.
How much of your layout is visible in the view depends on the zoom.

Drag, dragging

Moving a box around the canvas, is called dragging.

Click and press on the top editing area when selected.

Resize, resizing

Changing the size of a box is called resizing. This is
done with the usual small handles on the corners and sides of the box.

Pan, panning

Moving the view up or down when zoomed in, using the scroll
bars, or pressing the mouse button down when over the canvas, to use the hand
icon, is called panning.

Preferences

These are the defaults that can be edited, off File menu, or
right click on Canvas.

Window start up size can be controlled, to give a default
for smaller or larger devices.

There are many settings here, including box border width (as this is same for all boxes in v1.1)

The Preferences file is stored the location in your Preferences file.

Moving or removing an installation

If you want to move the installation, there is a Deactivate Story Turbo feature on the Help menu. Then email us to reinstate the software on a new machine.

Mac installs

Note: Not for older Mac PowerPC G4s and similar due to Java not updated on these machines. This is not available for Mac OS X v10.4 or PowerPC-based Macs, due to Apple policies.

May 2014
Just had a support query, Story Turbo installed but would not run, the solution was to re-install Java. This should not be needed as the app is self-contained and does not need any external code (which is why it is safe from recent Java concerns).
So if you get this, just update Java on your Mac.

The program uses Java. See this note from Apple Discussions

“The [Java] updates were for 64-bit ICBMs (Intel-chip-based Macs) and not PC-based or 32-bit Intel-based Macs. […] It is quite a bit of work to get it qualified for those older machines [such as G4s] and Apple’s decided not to expend the effort.”

If you upgrade the Mac OS on a G4 (I have one myself) it still won’t run the new Java code, sorry.

This will run on all modern Macs, not PowerPC ones. Any problems just let us know..

7 Comments

  1. Mark Andrews says:

    Hi, I bought a license to Story Turbo, which arrived in good order by email. But the email message didn’t have a download link to the software, nor can I find the link on this web site. Where can i find the link? Thank you in advance for your time & help – MarkA

    1. GeoffD says:

      NOTE Story Turbo 2.2 is now FREEWARE so there is no need to get a license. The latest installer has some minor updates so if you are a previous license holder, please download and reinstall.

      Old reply: The download link is in the Paypal response, please email using the Contact form of info AT story turbo dot com

  2. Karig says:

    Is the .sto file cross-platform? In other words, if I have a .sto file produced by the Windows version of StoryTurbo, will that file work with the Mac version (and vice versa)?

    1. GeoffD says:

      Yes the .sto file format is cross platform, with Story Turbo and Story Lite on PC and Mac.

      Also the text boxes (not images) .sto file will open on Story Live the online web app – you have to register first to use the cloud storage.

  3. conny says:

    Liked this software…until I discovered that there is no auto word wrap in text boxes!

    Major omission, and even though it’s free it’s unusable for me :(

    Hope you can fix this.

    1. GeoffD says:

      Editing and text wrap etc is done at 100% zoom in this version, will be editable at all zooms in next release.

    2. GeoffD says:

      It works at 100%, this is getting fixed in version 3 due 2015
      Thanks for comment
      Geoff


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