Templot Companion if the A-Z Index tab is missing  click here  
 Beginner's Guide

A beginner's guide to Templot version 091c

by Tony Wilkins

1. THE OVERVIEW.

Before we start to look at Templot itself perhaps I should mention that the computer used to write these notes is a desktop machine and those of you using laptops may prefer, as I do, to plug in an external mouse (via a USB port), otherwise you will have to use the built in touch pad and buttons. Some laptops have a mouse wheel simulator button between the standard two, but many others do not. Obviously if you do not have a mouse wheel you will not be able use this function which was added from version, 091c. The other thing many laptops lack is the separate number keypad and this can be limiting later on.

OK, start up Templot and press the Enter key until the “? Question ?” screen appears. If this is the first time you have run Templot this option may not appear. If it does, select the “No thanks” option with the mouse pointer and click the left mouse button, i.e. press and release.

This is the start up screen and for the beginner presents a somewhat bewildering choice of options, fear not.

The only meaningful button you have is the “Workpad” button, but before we select it, let us first take a quick look at the highlighted Program panel. Along the top is a row of Drop down menus, which I shall call Menus for short. Move the mouse pointer to the “Help” menu, in the Program panel, not the Workpad and it will change colour, in my case with Windows XP it turns blue. Left click the mouse to select it.

Note the Please read this first and the “? Program panel help” options. To select them, move the pointer to the option of your choice and when it changes colour Left click to open. It is worth taking the time to study these as they are provided for your information. There is no point in my repeating their contents here.

Left click the “Workpad” button. Note that I start the name of the item with a capital letter and enclose it in “quotation” marks to indicate the beginning of what to look for on the Templot screen even though they do not on the Templot screen itself; this is to distinguish them from the body of the text.

You will be presented with one of two options depending on how long you have taken before clicking the “Workpad” button. If you have clicked it straight away, the Program panel will just disappear, but if you have spent some time reading the help pages, the likelihood is that you will be faced with another window asking you to choose between T55 gauge or select another gauge. To follow these notes select T55 gauge and Left click the mouse. For the curious amongst you, select the other option, you will be confronted with another window in which every pre-programmed scale / gauge available is shown with the T55 scale highlighted. You may also open this window by choosing the “Session” Drop down menu in the Program panel and selecting the “Gauge and scale” option; Left click. To close the “Gauge / scale selector” box, move the pointer to the red “X” button at the top right of the screen and Left click it to close it.


2. THE WORKPAD.

The screen now shows the Workpad.

The Workpad is the drawing board on which your track plan will grow.

Along the top left there is a row of menus and under this a number of short cut buttons some of which will be explained later.

The information box to the top left shows detailed information about the Control template, the one currently visible on the screen. This tells you that you are currently in T-55 gauge, which is a fictitious gauge, designed by Martin Wynne to make you choose the required gauge. Indeed, Templot will nag you until you do change it. To do this, move the mouse pointer to the “Template” Menu (drop down menu). When it changes colour it is active, Left Click and the menu will appear. Move the pointer down to the “Gauge and scale” line and a sub menu will open showing a selection of the most commonly used settings. To select one, (I chose 18.83 S4 / P4, you will obviously select one appropriate to yourself), move the mouse pointer to the desired line and when it changes colour, Left click and the settings in the Information box will change. If your required gauge is not shown, select the “Other gauges” and Left Click. This will open the same window as mentioned in the previous paragraph. You can scroll through the list with the mouse wheel or use the navigation bar to the right of the window. Select your choice and either Left click the mouse or hit the Enter key.

Before we go any further I am going to define some conventions:

I have already mentioned the Capitalized wording and quote marks in the Templot options.

I shall use the term Menu for Drop Down Menu.

Select means move the pointer to the desired option and nothing more.

Click means press and release, if the mouse button needs to be held down, I will state this at the time.

From now on I shall use Click for click the left mouse button and Right click for click the right mouse button.

Buttons are on the screen or mouse and keys are on the keyboard.

The mouse pointer will be referred to simply as pointer.

To expand the Information box select the “Expand” button, Click.

You can only scroll up and down by using the navigation bar here, the mouse wheel has no effect. There is an awful lot of information displayed about the control template, some of which is self-explanatory, but much of it will be meaningless at this stage but does not matter at the moment, as it will become clearer with experience. Select and Click the “Shrink” button to return it to its original size. If you choose the “Hide” button by mistake, pressing the F2 key will return it to view.

If you rotate the mouse wheel you will zoom in and out of the current view.

If you hold down the left button you can drag the work pad around the screen, there is however one proviso I shall come to later. This duplicates the functions of the left square of the Zoom / Pan box, the original Templot way of moving around the workpad. The + - buttons zoom in and out and the blue arrow buttons move the view of the workpad in the direction of the arrow resulting in the template disappearing at a rate of knots in the opposite direction to that intuitively expected. To change the direction, click the "Scroll" or "Paper" buttons as you prefer. Note that this setting also changes the direction of the mouse wheel for zooming in and out.

To slow the rate of movement down select the indicator marker in the “Speed coarse” slider, hold down the left button and drag the marker to the left side (minimum position) and release it. This will make the speed much more controllable. If you happen to loose this box it can be recovered by holding down the Ctrl (control) key and pressing the F10 key

This box can be shrunk and expanded in two stages by selecting and Click the << and >> buttons immediately below the words zoom / pan.

A word about help pages. With the zoom /pan box at full size select and Click the green ? to extreme right and a help screen will appear explaining many of the features to be found in this box. Close this and Click the Help menu at the top of the screen. In the menu that appears the three most useful at the moment are :-

“Please read this first”,

“Show shortcut keys list” and “Print F key chart”.

It is surprising just how many Templot users seem to be unaware of these. The best investment you can make is in a ring binder and some plastic wallets in which to file the printouts. As Martin points out Templot itself has many help screens built into it and I have printed out many of these as they contain much useful information.

Incidentally, whilst on the subject of short cut keys, you may have noticed many of the buttons that appear on the screen have one of the letters underlined. This letter is the short cut key for this function. Depending how you have set up Windows, you may need to hold down the Alt key to make the underlines appear.

As mentioned in the overview section, shrink the zoom pan box to minimum, place the pointer on the blue “Zoom/ pan” bar at the top, hold down the left mouse button and drag the box to the right then release the left mouse button, your screen will become cluttered enough as it is.


3. TEMPLATES.

So what is a template? A template is a graphical representation of an item of trackwork, be it a section of plain track, a turnout (point) or half-diamond crossing (two are required to make a full diamond crossing). Templot does not actually store a copy of the template itself, but the data that generates it.

The process begins with the Control template, the (hopefully) grey coloured template you currently have on the workpad. You can only have one control template on the screen at one time and only the control template can be altered.

Templot will faithfully copy the template data from the your first template to your last with the default settings, so it is important to set them correctly at the start.

Now to change the default template settings to something a little more familiar to those of us used to C&L, Exactoscale etc templates.

If you have not already selected your scale / gauge then do so as explained previously.

Click the “Geometry” menu and select “Straight” Click.

Next you may wish to change the timber lengths from the default 9 foot to 8'-6", to do this Click the “Real” menu and go down to “Timbering” and select 8'-6" in the sub menu. Click.

Open the “Real”, “Timbering” menu once more and this time select “Square-on (to main road)”. Note that the selected marker for the timber lengths has moved from 9' to 8'-6" Click.

Repeat the process and this time select “Timber ends in-line”. Click.

You now have a standard style template and I understand that the next upgrade will use this pattern as the default, but until then….

Finally for now, open the “Real” menu once more, and this time select the “Plain track options” and “Rail lengths and sleeper spacing”. Click. Select from the list of rail lengths and sleeper spacings, Click and OK, Click.

Having altered the control template to the desired state, it now needs to be stored. When a control template is stored a copy of it is placed in the storage box and becomes a background template. Your track plan will consist entirely of background templates all linked together and pegged to the workpad. The control template can be used to generate further background templates or a previously stored background template can be copied back to become the control template, which can be considered as being in the foreground and will always be in front of the background templates. Unlike the control template, background templates cannot be altered, they must first be copied back to the control template before being altered and stored once more. It should also be noted that storing a template in the storage box is not the same as saving it to disc. I will come onto saving the contents of the storage box later.


4. THE STORAGE BOX 1.

The storage box will acquire a growing collection of background templates generated when the control template is stored as the track plan develops. Background templates may be used or unused, both are stored in the storage box, but only the used ones are visible on the workpad.

To store the control template in the storage box, this time, by way of variation, Right click the mouse and a new menu will appear. You will see a group of three options, “Storage box”, “Store as unused” and “Store & background”, Select “Store & background” Click. The control template will turn blue indicating it has now become a background template.

This brings us to the next important feature of Templot, the Storage box. To access this, Right click and select “Storage box”. Click. The storage box will appear with the template you have just stored visible in the window. It should have a large red dot at the switch end and there should be a red “Wipe from background” button visible in the bottom left corner of the storage box. Place the pointer over it and Click. Three things will happen, the template in the storage box window will turn blue, the template will disappear from the workpad and the button you have just clicked will turn blue and change to “Copy to background”. You have just changed your template from used to unused. Select the blue “Copy to background” button and Click again and the reverse will happen, so if your template should disappear from the workpad, it can still be found in your storage box. There is one exception, which will be covered later.

Again note that there is a “Help” button to the top right corner that will explain many of the functions of the storage box. As they say in the opening line, the Storage box is the container in which you accumulate templates as you work through a Templot session.

As noted above storing a template in the storage box is not the same as saving it to disc. To save all the templates in the storage box to disc at the end of a session, Click the “Save all” button to the right of the storage box and either use the default title or preferably type in something more meaningful. The templates are not saved individually but are saved as a data file, called a .box file.

 

In this instance to save the Master template to disk (as you only have one to save), type master in the file name window and Click the “Save” button. The idea is to keep this template for future reference.

When you start your next Templot project, you may want to Reload this with all your settings saved rather than starting from scratch each time you begin something new, unless that is your next session is to be in a different scale / gauge, in which case you can either start from scratch or reload your Master template and modify the settings to suit, but remember to save it with a different file title or you will overwrite your previous file. Templot will ask you if you really want to do this as a safeguard.

Another useful feature of Templot is that when you restart the program it will ask you if you wish to restore your previous session using Templot’s built in backup file. If you choose yes you will be back to where you left off previously.

We will come back to the storage box a little later.


5. SWITCHES AND CROSSINGS.

For those unfamiliar with British prototype track, the REA semi-curved B – 6 LH in the Information box may not mean much. There is no such thing on the full size railway that is the equivalent of a 5’ or 6’ radius point. Turnouts, to give them their proper name, are specified by a combination of a Switch unit and an Acute or Common crossing of a particular angle. The curvature of the closure rails that link them being a result of the particular combination chosen. To make matters even more confusing for the uninitiated, the angle is not specified in degrees, but is expressed as a ratio such that the figure 6 shown represents in broad terms an increase in divergence of one unit of width for every 6 units of length.

The switch type is specified by the letter B. Switch types carry the letters A (the shortest) to F (the longest) for Bullhead track and Flat-bottomed track also has G switches as well. Additionally Switches are also made in Straight cut, Semi curved and Curved forms changing substantially the geometry of the resulting Turnout.

Standard Crossing angles for Turnouts start from 1 in 4 (although shorter ones are available for Diamond crossings) and go up to 1 in 20 for Bullhead track and 1 in 28 for Flat-bottom track. Modern track has different geometry and I am not including this in my description.

A list of available switch types within Templot can be found by selecting either the “Template” or “Real” menu, Click, and then selecting the “Switch option”, Click.

The “Select switch size and type” box will open. Scroll up to the top and you will see that “BH size B semi-curved flexible switch (REA)” is highlighted. This is the currently selected switch type. If you scroll down the list it will be found that 8 different switch types are already programmed into Templot plus there is the option to enter your own custom switch types if required.

Again the “? Help F1” button to the top right corner of the box provides further useful information. By now you should not need me to tell you how to open it.

To close the Help box, either Click the “Continue” or the red “X” button.

To close the “Select switch size and type” box Click the “OK” or red “X” button.

Next Click the “Template” or “Real” menu again and this time select the “V-crossing options”. This will open the “select V-crossing” box. Note that there is only one set to choose from, unlike the switch options. This is because these are common to all the different types of switches and it is the switches that determine the overall geometry of the selected turnout. Again the “? Help F1” button to the top right corner of the box provides further useful information that I shall not duplicate here. A pattern should be beginning to emerge.

A range of preset turnouts can be found under the Quick set menu. To access this either go “Main > Program panel” &  Click the “Quick set “ button, or go “Template > New template (quick set) Ctrl+Q”. Again a help button is provided.

It is also important to realize the every template is defined as having a Main Side and a Turnout Side although in the case of plain track and half diamonds, it is less obvious which side is which. For a turnout, the Main Side (MS) is to the left for a right hand turnout and to the right for a left hand turnout and the Turnout Side (TS) is the side to which the diverging road is going and is obviously the opposite side to the Main Side. What defines the handing of a turnout is the side to which the diverging road goes, as a switch pair will have a nominally straight stock rail, (even if the main road is curved it will be a continuous smooth curve) and a bent stock rail to match the angle of the switch rail planing. This may take the form of a Set or a Joggle. A Set consists of a single bend just ahead of the Switch rail tips whereas a Joggle consists of a reverse bend just ahead of the switch tips. The rail with the Set or Joggle will be on the side to which the diverging turnout road goes.

The significance of the MS and TS may not currently be obvious but will become so later on when you discover the make parallel tracks and similar functions and need to know which side they will appear on.

(See the Templot companion website under www.templot.com / Templot companion / Real track for more information on prototype track.

Also under Misc and Links.)


6. THE PEG AND NOTCH.

The Peg and Notch functions can be very confusing at first. Think of the Peg as pegging the template to the workpad, each template has one peg although it can be moved to a number of pre-set positions and can also be moved with the mouse along centre lines and rails. It will be seen on the current template as either a red dot or circle depending on the magnification. All adjustments to the control template are relative to the peg’s position, so one needs to think about which of the numerous peg positions is required before starting to make the required adjustments or attachments.

The Notch, of which there is only one for the entire workpad, is used to link templates together. Until it is used, it will be found sitting on the workpad origin (x=0, y=0) and is a white square with black edges. To use them one must first position the Peg where one wishes to attach the next template. As an example take a Turnout, for instance the master template you saved earlier. Open the storage box if it is not already open, and select the green “Wipe to the control”, or “Copy to the control” button, depending on whether the template is used or unused. You have now made this the control template. You can only alter the control template.

The most commonly used peg positions are 0,1, 5,6,8,9.

To demonstrate these you will need to add a short approach track to the control template. To make sure the peg is at the correct position, hold down the Ctrl key and press the 0 (zero) key on the top row below the function keys, then either go “Action > Mouse actions : geometry > Adjust approach length” or simply press the F3 key. A mouse action box opens and the pointer changes to a triangular target mark. Move the pointer to the left of the screen and Click. The pointer changes to a double-ended arrow. Move the mouse to the right and watch the approach track grow as the turnout moves to the right. Extend the approach track to about 50 mm; the figure is shown in the mouse action box. To terminate the action, Click again, it is toggled on and off by Clicking. To close the mouse action box, move the pointer over the little x button in the mouse action box until it turns red and Click.

In all probability, you have now lost the crossing end of the turnout off the screen. To be able to see the entire control template, Click the dot button below the “Geometry” menu. (It will show “Zoom to fit current template” if the pointer is held over it.) This zooms the current template to fill the screen.

All number keys referred to are those in the top row below the function keys.

The peg is currently at Ctrl 0, the extreme switch end of the turnout.

Hold down the Ctrl key and press the 1 key. The peg moves to the switch end track joint. If there is no approach track, Ctrl 0 & 1 are effectively the same.

Hold down the Ctrl key and press the 9 key. The peg moves to the crossing end but at the far end of the main track exit road.

Hold down the Ctrl key and press the 8 key. The peg moves to the crossing end joint on the main track.

Hold down the Ctrl key and press the 6 key. The peg moves to the crossing end joint on the turnout track.

Hold down the Ctrl key and press the 5 key. The peg moves to the centre of the crossover road at the current track spacing.

A full list of peg positions can be found under the “Geometry > Peg positions” menu.

Once more hold down the Ctrl key and press the 9 key. This will position the Peg at the extreme crossing end of the template. You now need to place the Notch under it. Hopefully you are now beginning to get the hang of selecting the menus (drop down menus), so I no longer need to go into detail. Either go “Geometry > Notch > Put notch under peg”, or press the Divide key (/) if you have a number keypad. The notch should now be sitting directly under the Peg. The most important thing now is to Right click the mouse and select “Store and background”, Click, or the next bit will not work. Now Right click again and Click  “Hide the control template” to un-tick it and make it visible again, or press the HOME key on the keyboard.

Now go Ctrl 0 (zero) as above and the Peg will go to the start of the template. To link them either go “Geometry > Notch > Shift onto notch”, or press the Multiply key (*) on the number key pad. They will be joined perfectly aligned. If it is facing the wrong way, which it should not be in this example, simply press the Multiply key (*) key again, then “Store and background” to save the new template in the storage box. If you are using a laptop, you will probably not have separate number keypad. However, all is not lost as most modern laptops have a hidden number keypad accessed by holding down the Fn (Function) key and pressing the relevant key, you may have to search for these depending on your particular computer.

Thus far we have dealt with pointwork, however most of the layout will consist of plain track. There are several ways of generating lengths of plain track, you have already seen one when using the “Action > Mouse actions : geometry > Adjust approach length F3” option. To generate a length of plain track at the crossing end of the turnout go “Action > Mouse actions : geometry > Adjust overall turnout length F4” option. To split this length from the turnout go “Tools > Make split > Make separate exit track Ctrl+E. This should have stored the turnout as a background template and the control template has now become a length of plain straight track. If you cannot see all of it, Click the dot button below the “Geometry” menu as before, or press the SPACEBAR on the keyboard.

For the next demonstration of how the peg functions, hold down the Ctrl key and again using the number keys in the top row below the function keys alternatively press the 0 and 1 keys. The peg will jump from one end of the template to the other. Put the peg on the Ctrl 1 end and go “Action > Mouse actions : geometry > Adjust curving radius only F6”. Click to activate the mouse action and watch the radius change as the mouse is moved. Leave it curved and Click again to deactivate and then cancel by Clicking the x button. To undo these changes move the pointer to the << button under the real menu and Click it, the likely result is that nothing appears to happen. Click it a second time and the track should return to a straight section. Click it a third time and the track will rejoin the turnout.

Now move the pointer to the >> (re-do) button to the right of the dot button and Click this several times to see the curved track re-appear. These buttons are very useful for undoing mistakes. Click the << button to get back to the straight track again and this time move the peg to the Ctrl 0 end before pressing the F6 key. Note the track curves relative to the opposite end where the peg is. Click the << button to get back to a straight length of track again.

Now go “Geometry > Peg positions > Peg on mid length”. Now press the F6 key and see the effect of curving the track section. This clearly demonstrates the effect of having the peg in the different positions. Most of the Action > Mouse actions : geometry > options are peg dependent for their effects.

An alternative way to create a length of plain track is to open the Storage box and find an unused turnout template. Copy this to the control template and then go “Template > Convert to plain track Ctrl+L” and Click the OK option in the dialog box that opens. If you have already placed the Notch where the plain track is to be attached, then I prefer to place the peg at the Ctrl 1 position and then press the * {multiply} key (Shift onto notch). If the track is the wrong way round then press the * key again.


7. THE STORAGE BOX 2.

If you now open the storage box, you will find that it contains 3 templates and that some additional controls have appeared. The arrow buttons and the slider bar allow you to move through the selection of templates in the storage box. If you Click the < button twice you will find that template 1 is now unused (blue) whereas 2 & 3 are used (red). These can be changed as noted earlier.

I have already explained how to use the green “Wipe / Copy to the control template” within the storage box button to select the template you wish to operate on. There is a more convenient way of doing this directly from the workpad.

Earlier it was noted that if you held down the left mouse button the workpad could be dragged with the mouse, this is only true when the mouse pointer is not over a background template. If it is over a background template when the left mouse button is pressed or clicked, the template is highlighted (in white) and a menu opens. We are looking for the three “ Copy / Wipe & Delete to the control” options. There are subtle differences in the way these work and can be a source of confusion.

Copy to the control leaves the background template on the workpad and in the Storage box and copies it to the Control template. This is the option to use when you wish to make a copy the background template to operate on, but leave the existing background template alone.

Wipe to the control deletes the template from the workpad but leaves it in the Storage box as unused and makes it the Control template.  This option is used when some detail of the background template needs to be altered.

Delete to the control deletes the template from the Storage box and the Workpad and makes it the Control template, which, as it then becomes the only copy, needs to be used with caution as if you do not save it before selecting another template, it will be lost forever. (This is the exception noted in Storage box 1.)

A question I am often asked is how do I change the default project title. There are several ways of doing this. In the Storage box go “Files > New project > Box title”, or more directly, go “Edit > Box title” and change it to your desired name.

A third option is to open the Program panel under the Main menu and go “Session > Project title” to open the title box.

Now when the storage box contents are saved the new project title will be saved with them.


8. BACKGROUND SHAPES.

Background shapes are another very useful feature built into Templot and although I feel they are getting a bit beyond the beginners level I will spend a little time explaining them because if you have a scanned map of your track plan you will want to use it to design your track plan.

Do not confuse background shapes with background templates they are quite different.

To open the Background shapes window go “Main > Background shapes Ctrl+S”.

Note the “? Help” button to the top right of the window as usual.

Note the blue box to the top right of the background shapes window. This is currently set to line. Lines can be drawn with the mouse by Clicking the “Draw with mouse” button, place the pointer where you wish the line to start and hold down the left mouse button, drag it to the end position and release the mouse button. Labels and target marks can also be placed with the mouse, however I generally prefer to enter the dimensions directly by Clicking the desired shape button first and then the  “Enter dimensions” button and entering the numbers directly. Rectangles and circles can only be done this way. This function is useful for marking the edges of baseboards and the like. Beware that if you enter a dimension that coincides with one of the grid lines, you may not see it as the grid line will be in front of it with the “Grid in front of shapes” option selected in the “General options” box.

If you are planning a layout based on a prototype that you have a scanned map for, then this function really comes into it’s own. Certain conditions have to be fulfilled for this to work correctly. The file must be in bitmap format .bmp and you will need to know the dpi figure it was scanned at. If you do not know what the dpi figure for your map is then find the file and Right click it. At the bottom of the list you will see “Properties”, Click this and in the window that opens Click the “Summary “option. This will show you the Horizontal and vertical resolution dpi figure. If your map is large, the resultant file will also be large at 300 dpi especially if the file is scanned in colour and this can slow down the response time of the program when zooming in to high magnification. For this reason 100 dpi will be found a reasonable compromise in monochrome (1 bit) or at worst 8 bit grey scale.

A copy of the .bmp picture file must be stored in same folder under the Templot Shapes folder where the Templot generated .bgs file will be stored or Templot will not see it when you next attempt to reload your background shapes and you will end up with a blank rectangle on the screen. I know this will not mean much at present, but all will become clear shortly.

Return to Templot.

In the “Shape “ box Click the “Picture” option and then Click the “Enter dimensions” button, select the “Scanned map or prototype track plan” option and Click. To begin with use the default options 0 for X and Y dimensions. Click the “Enter” button to go onto the next step. You will now be asked to enter the dpi figure that the map was scanned at, 300 being typical. If this figure is wrong then change it to the correct figure, both width-wise and height-wise. The next thing you will be asked for is the scale of the map. At first 1:480 may seem an odd ratio, but this is the scale that the railways used, 40 ft to the inch 12 x 40. If you have an ordinance survey map then the most likely scales will be 1:1250 or 1:2500. You only need to enter the large number in the box, not the 1. When you have entered all the data, Click the OK button and a “Load picture image into picture shape” window will open. Browse to find the .bmp file previously saved in the shapes folder and Click the open button. If the scale you have chosen is incorrect it will become obvious and you will have to try again using a different ratio.

To delete an unwanted shape, open the background shapes box if not already open, highlight the unwanted shape by selecting and Clicking it, then select and Click the “delete shape” button on the top row.

When you have successfully created your background shapes it is important to save your settings by selecting and Clicking the “Save all as” button on the top row of the “Background shapes” window and selecting a suitable file title then saving. This can then be reloaded subsequently by opening the background shapes window and selecting the “Reload” button in the top left corner. Note that the background shapes are stored quite independently of the track templates in different files.

You can now proceed to design your layout using the background map as a guide. One should though be aware that OS maps are not always 100% accurate and nothing beats a good selection of photographs of your chosen prototype for confirmation or not as the case may be as to what was actually there at the time.


9. PRINTOUTS.

Before delving into the depth of printing your track plan, it is perhaps worth mentioning that it is perfectly possible to print individual track templates as opposed to large sections of track work. However, before this can be done some initial setting up is required. The exact sequence of events will depend to some extent on your particular printer and driver so I will try to cover the generalities.

Once anything requiring template printouts is selected, a printer window for the default printer will open. I normally choose the “Printer setup…” option under the Print menu to get this out of the way before I print anything. This will allow you to select such things as the paper size, orientation and print quality. If you have not run a calibration set-up yet then choose A4, as the calibration page will always come out at A4 size even on larger paper. For maximum accuracy though one should run a calibration setup for each size and type of paper for which you intend to print your templates. When these have been selected and Okayed, another window opens asking what type of printer it is, select as appropriate.

You will next be faced with the calibration screen. You are perfectly at liberty to print your templates uncalibrated, but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have not run a calibration test, it is recommended to do so as this will enable you to print templates to the highest accuracy within your printer’s capability. Follow the procedure and print a test sheet. This will have a large and small box printed on it. Templot requires you to measure either one of the two and enter the measurements into the boxes on the screen. It is worth trying to measure to at least the nearest 0.2 mm and if possible estimating to 0.1 mm for maximum accuracy in the final printing. Once this has been done then save the .cal file for future use when prompted.

In theory it should only be necessary to have one calibration file for each type and size of paper, but especially for larger size sheets of paper, I have found that it can be useful to have a range of preset calibration files as the paper size seems to vary slightly with changes in atmospheric humidity much more than with temperature.

Once you have your calibration file loaded you are ready to begin printing your templates. To print just the control template, first you will need to set your control template to the required settings (see Switches and Crossings section above) then go “Print > Print the control template F11”.

Having got as far as producing a track plan, you will eventually wish to print this out. To print all or part of a larger track plan go “Print > Print entire pad Ctrl+F11”.

For both options a print window will open and as usual there is a help button at the top right hand corner.


10. FILES.

A summary of some of the file types used by Templot includes;

.box files contain all the data used to generate the background templates and some additional information on the current settings. Although Templot creates a working copy file as it goes along, this is used as the default file the next time you start Templot, you should save your files at the end of each session as you may not want to reload the same track plan next time. It is also not a good idea to keep the same file name and overwrite the previous file, use a different name such as the date stamp file name suggested in the save file name box.

.bgs files contain the data for any geometric background shapes created and reference data for any picture shapes that have been loaded in, but not the picture shape itself, these are loaded as the original .bmp Bitmap file.

.cal files contain the data for the paper sizes you have calibrated.


11. BACKUPS.

Not strictly a Templot issue but the importance of Backups cannot be stressed too highly. One of the sad facts of computer life is that they eventually go wrong, and it is only then that the value of backups is fully appreciated. There are numerous backup programs available and the low cost of external USB hard drives makes it even less excusable for not purchasing at least one and doing so. It is generally recommended to make a new backup copy at least once a month and if you use your PC frequently then once a week may be more suitable. At the very least make a separate copy of all your data files on a regular basis. If you need to run the recovery disc that either came with your computer or you created when it first came, (you did make a recovery disc, didn’t you?) you will loose all your data, as the recovery program will return your computer to the factory state. You have been warned!

Important files can be copied to a memory stick in between for additional security. Ideally these should be kept somewhere different to the PC.

The system I have adopted is to have two external hard drives and use them alternately to create my backups plus said memory stick. This system has served me well over the years and I have lost very few files as a result and those I have were usually down to human error.

What ever you do, don’t leave it till it is too late.

I hope you have found these notes helpful and their wordiness hasn’t put you off. Although there are further areas of Templot I have not mentioned yet, I think these are getting beyond the realm of the beginner and one has to draw a line somewhere or it will never get posted. If however, they have encouraged you to delve further and explore some of the many other functions Templot offers then they will have succeeded in their aim of getting you over that initial hump that can be so discouraging at first.

There is also an absolute wealth of information in the Templot companion and this forum and it is well worth taking the time to search, as it is highly likely that someone else has already encountered the same problem and has found the answer. That is how I started.


Good designing.

Tony W.                04/12/11.   v1.0

link to this page: http://templot.com/companion/beginners_guide_tony_wilkins.php