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White Paper: Cover Page Design and Run-time Generation

The Cover Page Generator (COVERPG.DLL) creates Group3 TIF, DCX, or PCX Fax cover pages suitable for FAX transmission. A cover page is created by layering user supplied text, graphics, and bitmap information onto a pre-defined base page, providing a flexible means to create 'desk-top published' quality cover pages. The sheet can either be prepared at time of creation, or just before the image is sent.

A cover page definition consists of a Base image, and a template description. The template describes the positional location of each of the fields on the cover page. To create a cover page, the calling program must first set up an in-memory list of variable data, then call the cover page generator by specifying a base image, an input template, and an output file.

Base images are created by scanning in existing cover sheets, or by drawing a cover page using a Windows based program, and then printing to the Fax Print Capture program or using a desktop graphic program to create a FAX-compatible image. Templates can be created by building an ASCII resource file. This file is then compiled using the supplied BUILDCVR.EXE. Alternately, our fully-graphical cover page designer program can be used to create the coverpage layout.

Demo

CVDEMO.EXE is a sample Visual Basic program demonstrating how to create cover pages. Image creation is handled separately by calling COVERPG.DLL. The demo program makes use of the VBX control to display thumbnails and the Cover Page preview.

Files Associated with the Demo:

  • cov*.tif - source base images
  • cov*.txt - source for templates
  • cov*.cvr - compiled templates
  • logo*.* - logo files
  • sig*.* - signature files

The CVDEMO.EXE finds coversheets, logos, and signatures based on filename. To add a new template, signature, or logo, just copy the file to the coversheet directory.

  • Coversheets: ="cover*.tif;cover*.dcx;cover*.fax;cover*.bmp;cover*.pcx"
  • Template File = (coversheet).cvr
  • LogoFiles = "logo*.*" (must be black and white only)
  • Signature Files = "sig*.*" (must be black and white only)

Cover Page API

The following API is defined by the Cover Page Generator:

  • CpCreateCoverPage () - Creates the cover page
  • CpCreateStringArray () - Sets up field list
  • CpAddStringElement () - Adds a text value to the page
  • CpDeleteStringArray () - Clears out field array
  • CpCreateAttachmentArray () - Sets up attachment list
  • CpAddAttachment () - Adds an attachment to the list
  • CpDeleteAttachmentArray () - Clears attachment array
  • CpSetFileFormat () - Sets output file format
  • CpSetHalfHeight () - Sets output resolution to full or half height

Steps To Create a Cover Page Manually With BUILDCVR.EXE 

  1. Create a Base page
  2. Copy base page to a PCX image, and import into paintbrush
  3. Figure out the co-ordinate values for each field
  4. Prepare a text based template file
  5. Create a CoverSheet template (using BUILDCVR.EXE)
  6. Build Signature, and Company Logo Bitmap files
  7. Build user interface (one dialog field for each template field)
  8. User interface calls cover page with three values:
    • name of base page
    • name of template
    • dialog parameter list

Steps To Create a Cover Page With The Cover Page Designer

[under construction]

Creating Custom Base Images

Create your own set of base images using your favorite Paint, Draw, or Write programs. We recommend using Word for Windows, or Corel Draw.

Define all constant text and graphics fields on a page. Build half height, or full height base images. Included is a sample Word Document file (TESTCVR.DOC) which we used to generate COVER1.tif.

Use the print capture program (IMGFAX.DRV) to capture the output of the page. ImageMAKER Print Capture provides a mechanism to specify the output page name.

Use the provided fax viewer to view the output file, and create a second .PCX copy for later use.

An alternate method for preparing a base image is to fax an existing cover page to yourself, and save as a TIF, and PCX file.

Creating Custom Templates

Load the appropriate PCX image using Windows Paint. Print a copy to the printer for reference. Under the View Menu, select 'Cursor position'.

For each variable location, write down the X/Y coordinates. For single text lines, the coordinate system is the start of the base line for the text (an imaginary line on which the letters lie). For Bitmaps, and blocks of text, the coordinate system is the bounding rectangle (left, top, width, height).

Fax images are big, so don't worry about the size on screen. A typical fax image is 1728 pixels across, and 2200 pixels down.

Create a template.txt file (use one of our examples). The first number in each line is the all important 'field marker'. The field name is for reference only. When you build your own address dialog, then you can define what ever fields you want.

The Format of a Text Based Template File is as follows:

field number, field Name, type, col, row, width, height, variable data...
1, "From Field", "text", 10, 115, 200, 30, "Arial Bold", 23, "default text"
2, "Company Logo", "bitmap", 10, 90, 1700, 70, "center", "bitmap file name"

Field types: Variable Data:

text font name, font height, default value
bitmap center/left/right, default bitmap filename

For Text boxes:

To disable word-wrap (overflow right), specify height as 0
The COL value indicates the start of text
The ROW value specifies the base line (lower case letters hang below this line)

Otherwise:

The COL and ROW value specify the top left hand box coordinate. Text is word wrapped to fill the display box. For now there are no checks for height overflow.

For Bitmap Boxes:

To display as is (no scaling), specify "right" or "left"
To scale to fit width, specify "Center", and make the height value 0
To scale to fit box (proportions stay the same), specify center with height and width specified.

Any Windows supported font can be used as the text font. Best results occur when you use a TrueType font.
Point sizes are relative to the output page size. A standard visible size is around 40 to 50 points. Don't use 12 point, as it will appear far too small.
Once you have defined the Text template file, use BUILDCVR.EXE to create a compiled template.
BUILDCVR template.txt template.cvr
The build utility outputs debug information regarding the status of the build. Should an error occur, compare the original template description with the output from the build operation.
To view a compiled template, use DUMPCVR.EXE.

Creating Custom Logo and Signature Files

Use a paint program to create a Logo image. Export to PCX, or BMP format either by saving the image, or printing to the fax print capture driver (same procedure as capturing a base image). If you do a bitmap drawing, make sure to do it at a very large scale. Typical fax images are 1728 pixels wide.

Alternatively, fax or scan an image from a paper copy to generate an image for processing.

After creating your Custom Logo, or Signature file, you may want to use the Windows Paint program to cut out only that portion of the image which you want. Save the image as sigXXX.pcx, or logoXXX.pcx in the cover page directory.

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