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RISC World

It‘s !Calibre time...

Ray Favre introduces Calibre, the RISC OS calendar generator.

It‘s that time of year again when thoughts turn to getting calendars. So why not try !Calibre this time (and next time, and next time....!).

!Calibre is an ideal application for customised calendars for the home or office and particularly for your local Society/Club calendars.

The quality of the end result is solely dictated by the printer/paper combination used and I‘ve been sent some really stunning finished products by users.

!Calibre is freeware and is now up to Version 3.01 (24th August 2008). In the year since its launch it has gained many improvements, mainly suggested by users.

How does !Calibre work?

!Calibre has 10 basic calendar formats, six of which are 1-month-per-page; one is 1-week-per-page and three are 1-year-per-page. Among them are two family calendar‘ formats which allow you to label a blank column for each family member - with a choice of up to 6 columns.

Here are reduced screen-shots of some popular formats.


Format 9: 1-month-per-page 'family' calendar


Format 5: 1-month-per-page appointments calendar


Format 1: 1-month-per-page office/promotional calendar (designed as CD case insert)


Format 7: part of a 1-year-per-page 'year planner'


Format 6: 1-week-per-page 'family' calendar

Designing your own calendar

When you run !Calibre you are first presented with the main display with its attached toolpane.


The Main !Calibre window and attached toolpane

As supplied, and as shown above, the initial calendar shown will be a default design in Format 1 and the year/month/day/week first displayed will be for today‘s date.

A click on any of the radio icons near the centre of the toolpane will change this to the default design of any of the other formats. You can change the default designs, if you wish - and you can also change which format is used at start-up.

The displayed year/month/week (as appropriate to the particular format) can be changed with the nudger icons near the top of the toolpane.

This main display window/toolpane pair is the place where you design your own calendar. You start with the default design in the format of your choice and you then edit it to get a new design.

You can edit (with some differences between formats):

  • the calendar size & position on the paper;
  • the size/position/colour of the main date grid on the calendar;
  • the size/position/font/colour of the year text & its background (if you want the year shown);
  • the size/position/font/colour of the month text & its background (if you want the month shown);
  • the size/position/font/colour of the date text & its background;
  • the size/position/font/colour of the days text & its background;
  • the size/position/font/colour of week numbers (not in all formats);
  • the size/position/font/colour of ordinal dates (if you want them);
  • the size/position/colour of moon phase quarters (if you want them);
  • the language used for month & day text.
  • the size/position of up to three picture areas (for drawfiles or JPEGs).

On top of this you can specify Red Letter Days (with associated added text) and choose how these will appear.

In addition, in some formats, you can choose to start the week on a Sunday or Monday.

All the editing facilities are accessible via the toolpane shown above - except for most of the colours, which are available via menus brought up by clicking (any button) directly over the calendar display.

All the changes you make will be fully visible on this main display, and when you are happy with your masterpiece you can save the new design with a name of your choice - and then consider the printing options.

In the printing set-up window you can decide the range of the print run. For example, for a month-per-page calendar format you might want to print from January to December for one whole year, but the choice is yours - as well as how many copies. There are also several other options here - including a printing preview, see next. An important point to remember is that most of the printing choices are independent of what you are currently showing on the main display - other than the specific calendar design, of course.

Printing preview

As the main display shows the full detail of one calendar page, the printing preview doesn‘t need to duplicate this. Rather, the most important purposes of the print preview facility are to be able to step through a chosen print run to see if the pictures are going to be in the sequence expected - and, when 2 or 4-pages-per-sheet is chosen, to ensure that the position of the calendar pages‘ on the sheet is not overlapping the printing margins.

Language

Thanks to the help of users, !Calibre comes with Dutch, French, German and Spanish alternatives to English, for the month and day names. You can edit the files holding these languages and you can add other languages if you wish.

Customised Red Letter Days (RLDs)

The user can specify up to 150 RLDs in any one calendar year. These days can be shown in their own user-specified colours and associated special text can be added also.

RLDs can be defined in a mixture of ways: those which are only relevant to one calendar year (e.g. someone‘s retirement day); those which occur on the same date each year (e.g. a birthdays); and auto‘ RLDs (e.g. common events such as New Year‘s Day and Christmas Day and other common events with varying dates, such as Easter Sunday, British Summer Time start and end, plus English Public Holidays).

Whatever your choices, the effect is a basket of RLDs which will duly appear automatically if you choose to show them.

Automatic font detection

!Calibre uses up to eight fonts in a single calendar design. This is not a problem in itself but special precautions are needed to cope with the case where the user tries to load a calendar design which calls for a font which is not available on the current font menu of the user‘s computer. (E.g. a calendar design file sent to you by someone else.)

With calendar design files saved from Version 3.00 onwards all the fonts called for in a design file are checked before loading continues. If any of them are not in your current font menu a window will open telling you the errant font(s) and giving you options to do something about it there and then - by changing the fonts to something that you do have, or do nothing‘ and reverting to the previous calendar.

Moon phases

The moon quarters (for GMT/UTC) can be displayed/printed via a single option choice, and you have the standard !Calibre facilities for setting the colour/size/position of the moon symbols. Additionally the choice can be made between Thin/Medium/Thick‘ for the symbol outline thickness, which sometimes helps with the contrast in some colour combinations.

It is worth mentioning that the moon quarter dates used are believed to be accurate: they are not derived from an average‘ formula.

Ordinal dates

For those not familiar with the term, ordinal dates‘ simply means the number of days from the beginning of the year i.e. a number between 1 and 365 (or 366 in leap years).

Once again, the user can choose the font/size/colour/position of ordinal dates and, of course, whether or not to use them.

The Manuals & interactive help

I am a strong believer in not releasing software (nor its subsequent upgrades) without a good Manual. In !Calibre‘s case the Manual is available in five formats: Impression Publisher, OvationPro, HTML, PDF and plain text - so there really is little excuse for not reading it. To make it even easier you can read the manual straight away by clicking here.

Additionally, from Version 3.00 onwards, !Calibre has had comprehensive interactive help.

Final words

In the year or so since it was first released !Calibre has attracted a sizeable and enthusiastic user base.So Why not join them? The price is right!

How to get it

You can download !Calibre from my web-site at http://www.rayfavre.me.uk/dwapps.html. The latest version (3.01 24th August 2008) is also included in the Software directory on this issue of Foundation RISCWorld.

Ray Favre

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