BigPrint configuration windows explained

Grid setup

The grid setup window is used for superimposing a grid on the printed image. The grid is useful for verifying the scale of the printout, checking sizes, and for aligning the printed pages when gluing together a multi-page mosaic. The diagonal grid is especially useful for alignment, as lining up the lines ensures not only proper lateral alignment, but proper spacing as well.

Grid size: Grid line spacing for the grid. Diagonal grids only intersect with every other point on the horizontal/vertical grid, so the horizontal distance between intersecting points on the diagonal grid will be twice this value.

Units: Selects measurement units used for specifying the grid size.

Show grid: Turns the vertical/horizontal gridlines on and off.

Show grid diagonals: Turns the diagonal gridlines on and off.

Grid extends past image: Selects whether the grid extends to cover all the pages, beyond the image. This can be helpful for lining up pages, but slows down printing on ink jet printers as the print head must scan the entire page.

No grid over image: You can turn off printing of grids over the image. This option is useful if you are using BigPrint to print large photograph mosaics. If you have margin around the pages of your printout, it may be useful to extend the grid past the image so that you still have an alignment grid outside the actual image.

Also see tutorial

Ink saver

The ink saver window is used to lighten images for printing so that less ink or toner is consumed on printing. Images can be lightened by adjusting the brightness and gamma. In addition, BigPrint can ligten parts of the image that are not near an edge. This feature is most useful when printing 1:1 templates from images with large dark shapes in them.

Normal colors: Turns off color adjustments

Lighten some: Moderate ink saver presets

Lighten more: Stronger ink saver presets

Custom: Custom image lightening settings. If you modify any of the settings in the rest of the window, the setting will automatically switch to "custom".

Brightness adjust: A simple image brightness adjust slider

Gamma adjust: Image "gamma" is another means of adjusting the brightness. Gamma adjustments primarily affect the gray zones of the image. Parts of the image that are completely black will stay black. This can be useful to lighten an image that consists of grayscales and black lines in a way that leaves the black lines black.

Fade around edges: This enables fading of image areas not near edges. The two parameters below this checkbox are specific to fading around edges and are only visible if the "Fade around edges" is turned on.

Narrow / Wide: This slider controls how wide the area of fading around the edges will be. This slider is only visible if the "Fade around edges" checkbox is checked.

Edge detection: This slider sets the sensitivity of the edge detection. Different settings may be optimal depending on how clean the image is and how much contrast the edges provides. This slider selects how sensitive the program is to edges. Note that edge detection is primarily useful on drawings and photos with a very clean background. Busy backgrounds will also trigger as edges.

Also see tutorial

Print setup

This window allows you to configure your printer, how much overlap to leave between drawings, which pages to print, and printer scale calibration.

Configure printer: This pops up your printer specific configuration screens. Use this to select paper size and print quality.

Portrait / Landscape: Use this to select whether pages are printed in portrait mode (vertical pages) or landscape (horizontal pages). Depending on the shape of your final drawing, it may fit better with either layout. The main window updates immediately when you change this settings, so you can get a sense of how it fits.

Horizontal/Vertical: These fields control how much each page covers. This can be useful if you want each page to cover some round units, such as exactly 8" or 20 cm.

Overlap: controls how much page overlap you have. Page overlap and the corresponding horizontal/vertical settings always add up to your printer's printable area, so changing the overlap always changes the per page horizontal/vertical and vice versa. Note that a printer's printable area is generally smaller than the actual paper size.

Units: Selects which units the above fields are in

Print overlap area: Whether or not to print the overlapping parts of the pages. This can only be enabled if you have nonzero overlap. With this turned off, the part of the pages that overlap is not printed. In my experience, diagonal grids make it easy to align pages even without overlap.

Center image: If the set of pages used to print the image is larger than the image, the image can either be in the top left of the total area, or centered in the total area.

Show calibration distance on printout: Whether any currently displayed scale mark or measurement distance is to be shown on the printout.

Print only pages in selection: This checkbox is only available if you have selected an area of the printout. With this option enabled, only those pages that are spanned or partially spanned by the selection rectangle are printed.

Width (%) / Height (%): These options are used to compensate for printer scaling errors. In general, ink jet printers will produce output that is very close to the size it should be. Laser printers can have errors in scale of about 1%. It's best to print an empty page with just a grid to check. Also see the tutorial section on printer scale calibration

BigPrint will automatically use the height and width scales the other way around when you switch between landscape and portrait orientation. However, BigPrint does not know what the relative orientation of different paper sizes are in your printer, so you need to re-enter these after you switch paper sizes.

File menu

For opening and closing files

Open: Opens a file. You can also open a file by dropping a file onto the main window.
Close: Closes a file.
Save as BigPrint file: This saves the current file, with settings embedded. The file will have the extension of type ".bpf", and is intended to be opened again later by BigPrint. This is useful if you wish to re-print part of an image again later, with exactly the same settings.
Save image as: Saves the image as bitmap, with cropping, grid, and InkSaver applied. This is useful if you want to apply the InkSaver fading, or the grid, and wish to manipulate the image in another program.
Paste image: Pastes an image from the windows "clipboard". If you select "copy" for an image in another program, you can select paste in BigPrint to import the image. You can also capture screenshots by pushing the "PrintScrn" on the top right of your keyboard while an image of interests is on screen. Then go into BigPrint, and select this option to import the screenshot.
Exit: Exits the program.

View menu

Controls how large the image is viewed on the screen

1:1 screen pixels: Zoom the image so that image pixels correspond to screen pixels.
Zoom in (+): Zoom in. You can also zoom with the mouse wheel or by pushing "+" on the keyboard.
Zoom out (+): Zoom out. You can also zoom with the mouse wheel or by pushing "-" on the keyboard.
Fit to screen: Auto size image to fit the window.
Actual size: Size the image to be 1:1 on your screen. This assumes that you have and LCD monitor, and that you have entered the correct monitor size
Enter monitor size (current xx.x"): Enter your monitor size (diagonal measurement)
Units: Allows you to switch the displayed units between Centimeters, Millimeters, and Inches

Image menu

Controls aspects of how the image is displayed and calibrated

Calibrate scale by distance: This feature allows you to scale the image by selecting two points on the image, and telling BigPrint how far these points are apart. BigPrint will then scale the image so that the points are in fact this distance apart. This makes it easy to scale scanned in drawings or photos of unknown scale from just one known dimension on the drawing.
Enter image resolution (xx.xx px/cm): If you know that your image is 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch), you can tell BigPrint to scale the image at 300 DPI. You can also specify it as dots per centimeter or dots per millimeter.
Enter pixel pitch (x.xx cm/px): Similar to the previous option, but one enters the pixel spacing (distance per pixel, as opposed to pixels per distance). 0.01 inch per dot is the same as 100 DPI
Measure image: Once your image is calibrated to size using one of the above options, you can place two markers on the image and BigPrint will indicate how far the markers are apart. This is useful for measuring a drawing.
Select: Allows you to select a rectangle on the image. If you are zoomed all the way out the mouse will be in select mode by default. However, if zoomed in, the default mouse action is to pan the image.
Crop: Once a part of the image is selected, you can crop the image to that part. (see tutorial)
Undo crop: Undoes cropping.

Print menu

Controls aspects of printing

Landscape orientation: Toggles paper orientation between Portrait (vertical) and Landscape (horizontal)
Print settings: Opens up the print setup window
Print preview: Opens up the print preview window. If you have more than 10 pages in your output, it's advisable to preview only a subset of the pages by selecting "print only pages in selection". in the print setup window. Previewing too many pages may cause your computer to run out of memory.
Print:Start printing.

Grid menu

Controls the image overlay grid, which is useful for aligning pages of a printout.

Horiz/Vert grid: Toggles the display of the horizontal and vertical grid lines on and off. A check is shown next to this option if the grid is turned on.
Diagonal grid: Toggles the display of the diagonal grid lines on and off. A check is shown next to this option if the grid is turned on.
Customize: Opens up the grid setup window

Ink saver menu

The ink saver menu controls color lightening so that your printouts use less ink or toner.

Normal colors: Turn off ink saver color lightening.
Lighten areas: Inksaver presets for lightening solid areas of the image
Lighten more: Inksaver presets for further lightening solid areas of the image
Custom: Opens up the custom ink saver settings window

Help menu

Help: Pops up the help
Check for updates: Check online to see if a newer version of BigPrint is available
About: Check version and licensee info for this program

Also see the Tutorial