Thursday, March 11, 2010

Secret weapon of the Format Brush

You could hardly be unaware of the Format Brush of Atlantis – a tool to format text exclusively with the mouse in the most convenient and natural way. Its button – – sits right in the middle of the Atlantis toolbars.

There are two standard ways to use the Format Brush:

1) If you need to format a single text fragment, select it in the document, then click a suitable format in the drop-down menu attached to the Format Brush toolbar button. The selected text fragment is immediately reformatted accordingly.

2) If you need to apply identical formatting to multiple text fragments, first make sure that there is no selection in the document (click anywhere in the document to cancel any selection). Then either click the Format Brush toolbar button, or directly choose a format in the associated drop-down menu. This will activate the special Format Brush mode. Since Atlantis has no selection to target, no formatting will be applied to the document straightaway. But the mouse pointer will take on a special shape if you hover it over any document text:

This "paintbrush" mouse cursor can now be used to "select" text fragments, just as you would with the standard mouse cursor. But you won't only select text. You will also apply the formatting currently loaded onto the Format Brush to the target fragments of text.

Now you might ask "how can I tell which formatting is loaded onto the Format Brush?" Or "how can I load different formatting attributes onto the Format Brush?"

As you probably noticed, when you activate the Format Brush mode some of the Atlantis toolbar commands become framed or highlighted with aqua, blue, or red coloring:

This special color coding indicates

  • which formatting will be appliedred color,
  • which will remain inactive (unchanged by the Format Brush) – aqua color,
  • and which will be removed if found in the target fragments (blue color).

In this way, you can tell what exactly will happen to the fragments you "select" with the special "paintbrush" mouse cursor. Note that the Format Brush color coding is explained in details in the corresponding topic of the Atlantis Help.

The formatting attributes loaded onto the Format Brush can be changed in two different ways. You can either

  • click any of the formatting toolbar commands framed with one of the 3 special colors, and adjust the corresponding value(s) as suitable,
  • or choose one of the preset Format Brush items available directly from the associated drop-down menu .

When you are done, you can cancel the Format Brush mode with a click on the Format Brush toolbar button itself , or with a press of the Esc key.

All the above is part and parcel of the standard behavior of the Atlantis Format Brush and it might be no news to you.

But you might not be aware of this other way of using the Atlantis Format Brush mode:

Let's suppose that the Format Brush mode is on, and you have loaded appropriate formatting characteristics onto the Format Brush. Put the mouse aside and use the keyboard instead. Use the cursor keys to navigate within the document text. In the document window, the blinking caret or "insertion cursor" will show you where any typing would add new text to the document. Type text as needed. The Format Brush mode being active, the typed text will automatically be formatted as specified for the current Format Brush.

For example let's suppose that you loaded "bold+italic" formatting onto the Format Brush. You can now add new "bold + italic" text to any spot in the document. Simply navigate to the target location with the cursor keys and start typing. Atlantis will automatically format the typed text as set for the Format Brush mode.

No comments: