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Topic: Fine-Tuning Print Variables (Read 3721 times) previous topic - next topic

Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Several years ago, I started a community band for adults.  I found it useful to create my own arrangements of public domain materials, using NWC.  I now have about 40 such arrangements, which have anywhere from 10 to 25 separate parts for the various band instruments, depending on my instrumentation at the time.  These could be shared with others (friends; or Scriptorium; or by selling for actual money!), but all such uses suffer from the same defect.  In order to get a useful printed sheet of music with a pleasant appearance, the various print variables must be tweaked or nudged until the hardcopy passes scrutiny.  Several previous posts have gone into some of the details, such as working in Page Setup with Staff Size, Margins, Font Sizes, etc.  That is all well and good if I am doing the tweaking myself, but I am not at all comfortable about asking a friend or customer to go through the same process for each page of output.  The problem is that the variables in Page Setup are GLOBAL variables.  As such, one setting might work just fine for perhaps half of the needed parts.  The others must be adjusted on an individual basis, but these new settings either never get saved, or if saved, they mess up the settings for the parts already printed.  What is needed is a set of LOCAL variables, one set for each staff, which would act as plus-or-minus increments to the already established global variables.  These could be saved with the other data in the file, and would permit the next user to print each page without any additional tweaking -- that is to say, I would do the work once, but then that chore would not get passed along to other users.  [Quick example:  Staff Size = 25 points might work for most parts, but the flute part might have more notes and require a 21 point Staff Size to fit on the same number of pages -- the local variable would be adjusted from 0 down to -4.]

Please notice that your print algorithm would not change; it would only be necessary to feed it variables which were the sum of each global variable plus the corresponding incremental local one for each staff.  The local variables would be initialized to zero, and adjusted from a new tab (Staff Setup?) reached via Edit (Staff) Properties (General/Visual/Midi/Instrument/new tab).

Other tweaking mechanisms such as Force System Break are already localized with each staff.

I generally like to add lyrics to these charts by layering each part with a lower staff which contains the lyrics; using layering is a great convenience and avoids the necessity of adding lyrics to each staff.  It is sometimes necessary to adjust the Offset up or down to give the lyric line some clearance.  This is a similar problem, with a slightly different mechanism, since each staff already has various lyric options.  What is needed is an additional localized staff variable which would increment the Offset variable of the layered lyric staff; if this sounds like too much trouble, it is only marginally important compared to the other suggestions.

Finally, have you given any thought to finding a keyboard shortcut to toggle layering on and off.  Right now, it is necessary to do File/Page Setup/Contents/Allow Layering/OK, which is 5 clicks.  A few seconds later (after a tweak), the same process repeats.  OK, icons help, and sometimes "Contents" is already highlighted. But ... after about the 50th time to do 25 tweaks on all those instrumental parts, it does get a little aggravating.  A nice "Toggle Layering" icon would also do the trick.

Thanks for version 2 beta.  My check will be in the mail tomorrow.  I've been onboard since 1997.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #1
If you sent me some of your music, even with all of the "tweaks" already done, I might have to "retweak" everything, because we might have different printers/drivers.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #2
version 2 has View/Allow Layering. A distinct improvement!

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #3
NWC 1.75b also has this improvement (history).

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #4
There are two tweaks that I think v2 might be in a better position to implement than v1.

Cue size notes. (Now that we have cue size accidentals).

Global and local "squeezing" of notes, to allow more to fit on a line. There are so many times I complete a piece and no matter how I tweak thing, I end up with my final measure all on its own on a final page. :-(

Okay, three tweaks.
Separate staff sizes (heights) for first and subsequent pages. This is simply to work around the change in layout due to titles on the first page. I'd be happy with a global (spread staves vertically to fill page) tick box.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #5
Re: Cue sized notes. I have requested a couple of times a property for "grace notes": 1) steal time from following note (current behavior), 2) steal time from following note (especially useful for percussion, where the "main" note is on the beat, the grace note is before), or 3) Don't steal time (count as an ordinary note, useful for cue notes, as requested in reply 4.)

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #6
Workarounds abound in version 2, when they're needed.

PeterJ's printing problem can be solved by using PDF Creator, a freeware program that should be easy to create.  It takes a while to "print" the part, but it's then saved to a file as a PDF file.  Anyone with freeware Acrobat Reader can then open and print it, and they won't even need to have NWC.

As two have pointed out, Allow Layering is now a toggle from the View menu - mousable or keyboardable.  Alt-V, A (is that 2 or 3 keystrokes?)  I don't think there's an icon for it, and that would be handy for some of us, I guess.

Andrew's problem with the orphaned measure on the last line is a problem for me too.  I can get around it be working backward a system at a time to insert system breaks, but it is cumbersome.  The extend last system feature is ok if the system is almost the full page width, but if you only have a measure on that line, it isn't very pretty.

I like William's "don't steal time" suggestion, but I'd prefer to have cue notes that are slightly larger than grace notes.  I wonder if it would be feasible to allow systems to have different standard note sizes?  If so, the cue notes, in the other size, could be entered on a layered staff at the appropriate spot.  The rest of the layered staff would be padded with hidden rests and bar lines.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #7
I usually handle "the orphaned measure" by finding some rests somewhere, making them invisible, and inserting the rests as text items.  That way I can control the amount of space taken up.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #8
... indeed.

Since my use is songs (choir), a lot of the music has verses and refrains that conveniently fits across one or two systems. But if there is a final ending (usually, consisting only of the note being prolonged), the final measure is "orphaned." The only acceptable visual solution is the squeeze it onto the last system, somehow.

Since the final notes rarely involved detailed notation, it is easiest to insert them as text, whcih will not cause the final measure to overflow, if you are lucky.

Re: Fine-Tuning Print Variables

Reply #9
the best