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Basic Operations on Objects


Objects in Business Card Composer are text fields, text boxes, images and Smart Shapes.

All operations on objects can be done by using the Inspector or the program menu and some of them by using the context menu. To open the context menu, Ctrl-click or right-click on an object. The object must be selected before you perform any operations on it.

To select an object, click it with the Selection tool. To select several objects, click them in order holding down the Shift key. The objects will be selected one by one. You can also press and hold down the mouse button to select objects with a frame. All the objects touched by the rectangle will become selected.

 

Moving Objects

To move an object, drag it with the mouse.

For precise movement, select an object and use the arrow keys on the keyboard. For faster movement, press Shift-[Arrow key].

In the Geometry tab of Inspector you can enter the coordinates of the object to place it into an exact location. Measurement units can be changed in the program Preferences (Cmd-,).

When you move an object with the mouse, it snaps automatically to guides and edges or centers of other objects. You may toggle the snap function on or off if you hold down the Cmd key as you move the object. To turn it off permanently, clear the Snap checkbox in the program Preferences. When an edge of the object you are moving aligns with another object, a smart guide is displayed (blue dashed line).

Smart guide

The commands Center Horizontally and Center Vertically in the Format menu move the selected objects to the page center along the horizontal or vertical axis.

 

Changing the Size of Objects

The size of an object can be changed with the mouse. Simply select the object and drag one of the handles on its border. To resize an object preserving its aspect ratio, use the corner resize handles. Side handles resize that particular side only. You can resize an object without preserving its aspect ratio using corner handles by holding the Shift key down while resizing it.

In the Geometry tab of the Inspector, you can enter the dimensions of the object to make it an exact size. Measurement units can be changed in the program Preferences.

When you set a new size and Fix aspect ratio is selected, the side proportion will be preserved.

Several images can be resized together. When you resize a group of selected images, they have a common selection frame and behave as a single image.

 

Rotating Objects

To rotate the selected object, use controls from the Rotate section in the Geometry tab of the Inspector. Images can be flipped vertically and horizontally. Text can not be flipped. To do this, you have to convert it to an image (right-click and select Convert Text to Image in the context menu).

To rotate an object with the mouse, click on it to select it. Then move the cursor over a corner handle of the selection frame. When the cursor icon turns into a bi-directional arrow, drag the handle to turn the object.

Rotate with mouse

Several objects can be rotated together. When you rotate a group of objects, they move around the center of the selection.

 

Grouping Objects

Objects can be grouped together. A group of objects behaves as a single object when you move or resize it.

To group objects, select them and press Cmd-Opt-G, or Ctrl-click (right-click) on selected objects and choose Group in the pop-up menu. The group function can be also found under the Format menu.
To ungroup objects, press Cmd-Opt-Shift-G or choose Format > Ungroup.

Business Card Composer supports nested groups. This is a group of objects that includes a smaller group.

Controls, available for individual objects, may be locked when a group is selected.

 

Editing Objects

To edit text, double click on it.

Double-clicking on an image opens the Edit Image window. Here, you can crop the image or apply Core Image filters.

 

The Fill Option

FillShadow

The Fill controls are located in the Fill & Shadow tab of the Inspector window. Use the pop-up menu (1 in the picture) to choose the way to fill an object.

 

Color Fill

Fill-1

You can change the fill color (9) and opacity (10).

Color Fill lets you change the background of text or fill a Smart Shape with color.

 

Linear Gradient Fill


Fill-2

Linear Gradient Fill fills an image with a gradient fill.

The Color buttons (11) let you choose the two base colors for the gradient.

The Blend slider (12) redistributes space among colors. When the slider is in the middle, the margin between colors lays in the center. When the slider is moved to the right or left, the center of the gradient moves, making one color more dominant.

Blend


Angle (13) changes the direction of the gradient.

Angle_LG


The Center slide bar (14) shifts the colors.

Center

 

Radial Gradient Fill

Fill-3

Radial Gradient Fill creates a circular gradient.

Radial gradient

The Color buttons (15) let you choose the two base colors for the gradient.

Radius (16) changes the size of the spot of color in the middle.

Center (18) moves the color spot out of the center.

When the color spot is not in the center, the Angle control defines its offset direction.

 

Image Fill

Fill-4

You can only fill a Smart Shape with an image.

The Scale type pop-up menu defines how an image will be inserted into a smart shape. Scale type is explained in the Working With Smart Shapes section.

The Browse button lets you choose an image on your computer. Or drag and drop an image from the Source panel into the box (20).

 

The Line Option

Line

Border lines can be made visible or invisible by using the Line check box in the Fill & Shadow tab of the Inspector.

Use the Color button (2) to change the color and opacity of a line.

Adjust the thickness of the line using the Thickness controls (3).

The Pattern pop-up menu lets you choose dashed, dotted, and other types of lines.

 

The Shadow Option

To add and control the shadow of an object, use the Shadow section in the Fill & Shadow tab of the Inspector.

The distance from the shadow to the object (6), its angle (5) and blur (7) can be adjusted with the help of the respective controls.

The Color button (8) lets you change the color and opacity of the shadow.

A shadow can also be added to text (to the letters), if you select a portion of text and apply the shadow as described above. Note that the shadow controls in the Inspector produce a different shadow than controls in the standard Font dialog.

 

Aligning Objects

The Alignment tab of the Inspector has several options for aligning objects. Select two or more objects and click one of the align buttons. You can align left edges, right edges, top edges, and bottom edges. You can also align the centers of the objects vertically or horizontally.

If you need to align several objects, first select them. Open the Alignment tab of the Inspector and select the type of the alignment you need. The same commands can be found in the Format > Align menu.

You can align objects to a guide lines. To add a guide line, select Insert > Vertical Guide or Insert > Horizontal Guide in the menu. To delete a guide line, right-click or Ctrl-click on it and select Delete Guide. To align an object to the guide line, move an object near the guide until it snaps.

 

Distributing Objects

Alignment

The commands from the Format > Distribute menu and the Distribute section of the Alignment tab of the Inspector affect how selected objects are distributed on the page. These commands are used to create equal spacing between objects and can be only used for three or more objects.

Distribute > Spacing Horizontally – move the middle object(s) horizontally to make the horizontal spacing between the edges of the objects equal.
Distribute > Spacing Vertically – move the middle object(s) vertically to make the vertical spacing between the edges of the objects equal.
Distribute > Centers Horizontally – move the middle object(s) horizontally to make the spacing between the vertical axes of the objects equal.
Distribute > Centers Vertically – move the middle object(s) vertically to make the spacing between the horizontal axes of the objects equal.

 

Changing the Object Order in the Layout

Objects in the same layer may form a stack, laying one over another. To change the position of an object in the stack, use the Bring Forward, Bring to Front, Send Backward, Send to Back commands in the Format menu.

Bring Forward (Opt-Cmd-F) places the selected object one level higher.
Bring to Front (Shift-Cmd-F) places the selected object above others.
Send Backward (Opt-Cmd-B) places the selected object one level lower.
Send to Back (Shift-Cmd-B) places the selected object below others.

When you add objects to a document, each subsequent object lays over the existing ones in the stack. In other words, the image added later will cover the ones added earlier. The commands described here help to arrange the order in which objects appear in the layout.

The commands listed above affect objects within the current layer (background or foreground).

The commands Move To Background and Move To Foreground from the Format menu move the selected object to another layer. If you move an object to another layer, it will appear in front of other objects in this layer.

In some cases you may need to select an object that is fully covered by another one and cannot be accessed by mouse click. For instance, to resize or move an image used as the background for text. The easiest way to access lower objects is using the throughout selection. Click several times on the pile of objects holding down the Cmd key. Each time you click, the next object behind the current one will be selected. If the front object is not transparent (is a picture, for instance), you will see only the selection handles of objects behind.

 


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