Budget DTP

3 : Hardware and Software Needed and Recommended

You will need a RISC OS computer having at least one megabyte of RAM. You will also need a printer. Most popular dot-matrix types can be used, but whether their quality is acceptable depends on what you are attempting to do. You will need a laser printer or an inkjet printer if you wish to fully exploit the system's capability. If you have a suitable computer, you will probably already have the following software, supplied with the machine or with RISC OS if obtained subsequently:

  • !Edit
  • !Draw
  • Fonts
  • !Printers
  • !Paint

The above represents the absolute minimum requirement for the DTP activities described in this book.

Outline Fonts

The most important items to obtain is a selection of outline fonts.

Outline fonts are stored as plotting instructions which are independent of font size. The result is smooth, perfectly shaped characters at any size, both on screen and on paper. The illustration below contrasts a large point sized "A" in Trinity Medium produced by the old bitmap system with the same character produced from the outline font system. The improvement could hardly be more obvious. Even 12-point print from the outline font system is noticeably better than that from the bitmap system.

With the introduction of RISC OS 3 with the A500 the outline font system was adopted as the standard for the Acorn computer family and many outline fonts are available. As well as commercial fonts there are a large number of public domain outline fonts in circulation, but their quality is not as good as that of the commercial products.

All these outline fonts may be used with !Draw and !Edit, and if you should subsequently decide to purchase a full DTP package, you will be able to use all your outline fonts with that too.

Manipulating Outline Fonts

When you have the Outline Font Manager, there are two further items of software that you should consider purchasing. The first is !FontFX previously from The Data Store, now from APDL, price about £10. This allows you to perform an almost infinite range of manipulations and special effects using outline fonts. Its use is considered in more detail in Chapter 8.

The other is the Font Editor application, !FontEd. This Acorn application is available free. Its original purpose was the creation of new outline fonts and the modification of existing ones. However, it can also be used to convert outline font characters to !Draw-compatible path objects, making possible a more limited range of the same kinds of effect as produced by !FontFX.

(Note that !FontEd is now rather old and is not really suitable for use with later high quality Acorn fonts. !DrFonty or !FontFiend from APDL are much better alternatives).

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