Help!Here are some basic bugs, deficiencies, and workarounds for Laidout 0.093. Click here for help for previous versions.
For how things are supposed to work, take a gander at the Screenshots page, where each screenshot has an accompanying description of what is going on. Please also post any questions, comments, or other problems to the general Laidout mailing list.
You can also check out:
Laidout doesn't do what I want! What's up with that?
The huge development team, currently consisting of one (1) person, me, Tom Lechner, can only type so fast! You are more than welcome to post critiques on the Laidout mailing list, flame Laidout in your own personal blog, or get involved with development. Also, you might consult the current Features page, the development Roadmap and also the software comparison page. Just remember that time wounds all heels, er, that is, heals all wounds.
Someone told me I could use Laidout to make booklets from Scribus. Is he off his meds or what?
Indeed you can with or without pharmaceuticals, but with some limitations. You can import a Scribus file, reimpose it, then export to a Scribus file, and viola! Booklet city! If you find any problems, please let me know, as I haven't tested it beyond a few relatively simple test files. See here for more info about the limitations using a combination of Laidout and Scribus.
How can I bypass the new document dialog?
You can pass in a few arguments from the command line such as the following. All the ones with the '-n' option create a new document according to your comma separated specifications. If you have spaces in your spec, you should put quotes around it. You can specify the type of imposition (singles, booklet, net, or other saved imposition resources), the paper size (letter, legal, ...), the number of pages, and whether it is supposed to be portrait or landscape:
> laidout --help > laidout --version > laidout file1.doc file2.doc > laidout -n 'letter, 2 pages' > laidout -n 'net, a4, landscape, 40' > laidout -n 'legal, landscape, booklet, 44' > laidout -n 'box 1 2 3, 6 pages'
Alternately, in your laidoutrc file you can specify a default template to load when Laidout starts. The first time you run Laidout, a laidoutrc file is created that has descriptions of things that you can put in it. This file gets put in ~/.laidout/(version)/laidoutrc. Put a line in there that says something like:
If it is not an absolute path, then the name you give will be searched for in your ~/.laidout/(version)/templates directory. So for instance, if you have a file named ~/.laidout/(version)/templates/blah.laidout, then Laidout will default to that when starting. You can also specify a template from the command line:
> laidout --template blah.laidout
If you have defined a default template and instead want to go straight to the new document dialog without using that default template, run Laidout like this:
> laidout -N
Selecting objects seems really screwy. Is this human error, or a design flaw?
While object selection and moving got some much needed attention in 0.092, there are unfortunately still some terrible temporary design flaws. You may currently select an object and its parent, and moving those is really bad news. Also moving objects that are nested will not currently update the parent group's bounding box, which is silly. These things will, that is to say should, be corrected by the next release (I know I keep saying that!!).
I click print, and it says "To file:" or "By command:". Isn't that terribly limiting?
I know it's rather silly to have a 'desktop publishing program' and not have a decent way to send things
to the printer, like printing with a certain default DPI and other settings, but what do you want for a 'Version 0.093'?
There are many plans for it by version 0.1. If you have Cups, you can "print by command" with "lp" as the command.
Laidout creates a temporary postscript (at some point I will change this to be pdf, to allow printing with transparency)
file, and sends that to the command. If you print to a file, you could do
the same thing manually like this:
I just pulled out half my hair trying to undo! How can I undo???
It is not advisable to make mistakes. See also this question.
When I export or print documents, how can I tell if Laidout is working, or is just frozen?
Yes, that is a bit irritating, and it is because I have not really implemented progress dialogs yet. In the meantime, you can run a system monitor such as gkrellm. When the cpu box is going full bore, that's probably a good sign. except those rare occasions when it is stuck in an infinite loop.
I exported to pdf, and the file is stupendously enourmous. Do you think I like wasting space?
Pdf optimization doesn't quite exist in Laidout yet. Dpi is not adequately taken into account, and if you have multiple instances of the same image, the image is copied into the pdf for each instance, rather than just once, and image data is not currently compressed, which is really stupid, I agree. I'll fix it some day, I swear. But seriously, in this day and age, drive space is cheap.
What is all that stuff scrolling by on the terminal when I run the program? It slows things down a lot!
That stuff is debugging info written to stderr. The easiest way to get that stuff to go away is to run
the program like this:
When I choose Net, it's always a dodecahedron. Wtf?
You may specify a 3-d model to be used as the basis for unwrapping. Currently, the polyhedron will be automatically
unwrapped. As of 0.093, you can unwrap in 3-d by using Polyptych, called from the "Edit current document settings" under
the document button in the upper left, then
"Edit imposition", then (finally)"Edit with Polyptych". Laidout must have been compiled with opengl to make this work. When starting Laidout,
you can enter the filename of an OFF
file to be used as the basis of the imposition. You might use the fabulous Antiprism programs to generate
a plethora of polyhedra to use, but beware that Laidout is currently geared only for definitions
of polyhedra where the sides do not intersect each other.
#Laidout 0.092 Document imposition NetImposition defaultpaperstyle name Letter width 8.5 height 11 dpi 360 portrait abstractnet Polyhedron name Laid out Cube vertices \ 1 1 1 #vertex 0 -1 1 1 #vertex 1 -1 -1 1 #vertex 2 1 -1 1 #vertex 3 -1 1 -1 #vertex 4 1 1 -1 #vertex 5 1 -1 -1 #vertex 6 -1 -1 -1 #vertex 7 face 0 1 2 3 face 1 0 5 4 face 2 1 4 7 face 0 3 6 5 face 3 2 7 6 face 4 5 6 7 page 0 pagestyle PageStyle width 11.44122806 height 0.8221181412 pageclips layer 0 visible prints
Why are there so many red and green corners all over the place?
Those designate axes for the various objects. Red is the X axis, green is the Y (you can remember this by thinking RGB -> XYZ). The corner is the origin. You can toggle the displaying of axes and/or bounding boxes by pressing 'D' (meaning shift-'d').
Why are there awful ugly ridges in my gradients? They should be smooth as silk!!
The colors in the gradients are currently computed from a linearly interpolated stitching function, which basically means you are stuck with stinking, itchy burlap rather than silk. The adventurous might read up on the various export formats and modify the outputted files to instead use more arbitrary sampled functions. This feature might appear in Laidout someday.
Why is path editing all fubar?
Path editing got some attention in 0.093, but there are still some serious deficiencies. For instance, you cannot currently see path transparency on screen. This will be fixed when I finish reprogramming my screen renderer. Besides, if you are doing anything serious with paths, you should use Inkscape instead, as Inkscape is VASTLY superior in that regard.
I just spent 9 hours making layouts with a lot of page bleeding and it prints all wrong! Where can I get a voodoo doll of you to stick things in?
Page bleeding is not implemented properly. The current actual bleeding can be seen in whichever view you are exporting. This is a big problem. I am in the process of rewriting impositions to be able to do complex nets and bleed properly, so that bleeding will even wrap properly across net impositions that are derived from polyhedra. You're on your own about the dolls.
Why is Laidout's interface totally unuseable?
The interface works for me! Besides, what do you want for a version "0.093", in the "Mostly does what I want on my machine" stage of development? I mean who uses version numbers like "0.093" anyway? In future versions, the interface will be much more explanatory and configurable. Maybe.
The entire interface of Laidout, as well as basically all of its code is experimental. In any case, as time goes on, I will be developing a more formal specification of the Laidout Human Interface and Usuability Guidelines, which will not be referred to as the LHIAUG, because experts say that that acronym is totally unusable, but will be referred to collectively as Ligaments, which refers symbolically to the glue that binds us all together as a species.
A current first principle, or Ligament, is that speed of use and providing all the functions I need to make my art books trump all other concerns, as long as I am the only confirmed developer and user of Laidout. Another Ligament is that programs should be able to start up from scratch in no more than one or two seconds. Some allowance may be made if the document one is trying to open is enormous, but starting the program, even complex, full featured programs, should be very rapid, such as with Blender. Furthermore, control-w is NOT A SUBSTITUTE for control-q!! Also, developers should NEVER EVER say that their program or distribution "just works", because when it inevitably does not "just work", then, in the eyes of users, the developers become PURVEYORS OF LIES, whether they know about the problem or not. This is "just fact".