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New Grid

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The Filled puzzle type is the standard type of crossword. When this is selected, you can choose to prefill alternate squares in any of four ways. A Wordsearch puzzle has words running in different directions hidden amongst a jumble of other random letters.

New Text Window makes a new blank window for text, or for creating your own word-list (see "Use Window").


Pict file - a standard Mac format. Picts are normally associated with low resolution images OK for the screen but not much else. However, Pict files can store the information as vectors, meaning high resolution on any device (same as when you 'copy' a grid). Then again, not every drawing program can use this vector information, which is a shame. So if you open it in another program you may find it only uses a 72dpi representation of the data.

Quicktime Export takes you to Quicktime's own graphic conversion dialog box, where there are many file formats and compression settings available.

NB For the next two options, there must be an associated Clues window open.

SimpleText. You can save the grid and clues as a SimpleText file, with the image embedded at the beginning of the file. Again this is a very standard Mac format and you can assume that every Mac owner will be able to open such a file. TIP: If you accidently delete the picture of the grid, type an Option-space character, and SimpleText will reinsert it (you may have to force the window to redraw itself before you can see it).

Web Page. This creates an HTML file containing the title, the grid as a JPEG, and the clues in a two-column table underneath. You could then upload it to your web site with an FTP program like Fetch. You will notice a gif file that came with Version 2.6 called xwordback.gif. If it is in the same folder as the .htm file it will be displayed by the browser as a background. You could of course make your own gif and rename it to xwordback.gif.

If you want more control over how the JPEG file is created, after making the web page, go to Quicktime Export and save the grid with the same name as the old JPEG (so that it matches the .htm file). More info.

NB Quicktime Export requires Quicktime 3, and the JPEG creation in 'Web Page' requires Quicktime 4 to be installed. The web page will still create the HTML file - you just won't have the JPEG. In this case, save the grid as a Pict, convert it to a JPEG in a program such as Graphic Converter (or copy and paste it straight in), making sure you save it as 'yourtitle.jpg' in the same folder as the .htm file.


In addition to the current printer driver's usual selections, you can choose to print the title (ie the filename), the letters (so you don't have to blank the grid before printing), and the text from the most recently used clues window (in one or two even-length columns). You can print all the colours as full black (different from choosing the printer driver's black and white setting, which would print lighter colours as greys). This means you can work in technicolor but make serious printouts! However if you selected a colour for the title that will be printed in colour (why else change from the default black?).


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This is where you make changes which apply to the program as a whole, rather than a particular grid.

The "Maximum word length" box allows you to set a maximum length for words automatically chosen by the "Fun" or "Wordsearch" fills. This option sometimes produces abetter spread of words, if you reduce the value from, say, 15 to 12.

Decide if you would like the program to open with a "New Grid", or "Open File" dialog box, or nothing at all.

Space bar fills square means that you can insert filled squares as you type with the spacebar. This is a quick method of making a grid which some people asked for.

Allow duplicates in text-fill: checking for duplicates slows the process down slightly, and with a large dictionary they probably wouldn't occur anyway.

Ignore apostrophes needs a little explanation. If you had the answer: CURATE'S EGG, then if checked you would get (7,3) in the Clues window, otherwise (6'1,3). Compilers seem to use either so I thought it best to let you decide.

The option for Solutions text also applies to the reminder answers in Clues windows, incidently.

Grid Settings

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This is where you make changes to a particular grid. A few explanations:

Text attributes->Style menu. Font attributes cannot be individually removed - select 'plain text' first.
After changing the square size, or the size of the letters or numbers, click in the 'Positioning' box to immediately see the new proportions.
'Bar width' only applies to 'Plain' grids.

TIP: It can sometimes be useful to select the empty 'Square pattern' (it's right in the middle of the pop-up) should you want invisible blanks.


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Note that when you Copy Pict the PICT information is vector rather than bitmapped, like an EPS file, so there is no degradation of resolution at different sizes. I've tried exporting grids to QuarkXPress and it seems to work just fine, even when resizing. Copy copies text as normal in a text window, or the word from a grid if you have selected a space. Likewise Paste pastes clipboard text into a selected space - as much as will fit and according to the allowed characters.



Symmetry Two rotational and four reflective about the axes shown.

Autofill Method See the discussion below. Note that 'Fun' is only enabled for 'Filled' grids and where there is no prefill pattern which would get in the way. 'Mixed' is only enabled if you have selected a dictionary other than 'Main', so the program knows which one to use in conjunction with it. 'Wordsquare' requires a blank, square grid.

Keep Word If you "keep" a selected word, it will remain during textfill and clear frame functions. Not available during Wordsquare filling. (See notes on the 'clear' button above.)

Open Clues will open a new text document (printable and saveable) containing a kind of clue template.
Open Solution is similar to above, but the format is suited to a text-based solution to a puzzle.

There are some basic text edit functions, but you will probably want to paste the text into your word processor or DTP package. For a puzzle's clues, type them in between the clue number and the bracketed length number. The text contains tabs, so you can easily align the numbers (use a right tab) and the start of the clue (left). The solutions are there to remind you, but don't forget to delete them when you print the puzzle!

Toolbar shows or hides the toolbar.

Anagrams In Popup If ticked, when you select a space, instead of showing a list of words which fit the space, the popup menu will show a list of possible anagrams of all the letters in the space, and of all subsets of the letters. However, Mac menus can only show up to 32 disabled items.

Number This Space (Command-U - think of Un-number.) If a space is selected (by double-clicking one in Text mode), you can remove it from the numbering sequence, or put it back. To reset all the numbers, in Fill mode click on a square twice.

Statistics A slightly silly, but undeniably colourful window with various bits of info about the puzzle. It can actually add together two numbers (the numbers of across and down clues) to calculate the total! 


(only enabled for WordSearch puzzles)

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Make Puzzle Starts Autofill - the same as clicking the Toolbar autofill button.

Open Clue List In this case, the 'clues' are regarded as the words used to make the puzzle


Notice with WordSearch puzzles words can still be typed in, and squares blacked.



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Create Makes a new XWord-compatible 'user' dictionary from ANY file. So, for example, if you elect to convert a JPEG file it probably won't find many words at all! Duplicates are automatically ignored. Please still give XWord Studio plenty of memory if converting large files. How do I do that?

NB The newly-created dictionary should be saved in the 'Dictionaries' folder with the XWord application. If you have not selected "Folder that is set by the application' in the Finder's General Controls panel, you will have to navigate to it when saving the new file.

XWord Studio dictionaries can be edited, but you may have to tell your word processor to open any kind of file rather than just text files. At the start of the Main Dictionary there are some notes saying what can and cannot be changed.

Use Window If the current window is a text window, selecting "Use Window" makes a dictionary from whatever words or phrases are found in it. (The setting used in 'Create...', above, is used to decide whether to include phrases. You can change it by selecting 'Create...', checking or unchecking the "Include phrases" box and cancelling.) Then when you select a grid, you will find the new dictionary added to the list and ticked, ready for use.

The new dictionary name will be the name of the text window prefixed by 'Dic from...'. To avoid confusion, it is best to save the text window with a meaningful name before selecting "Use Window". Otherwise you may overwrite an earlier file called, for example, 'Dic from Untitled'. You may from time to time want to weed out these extra dictionary files from the dictionary folder, but they won't be loaded unless selected.

Note: If working with very large lists of words, please use the 'Create...' method.

Add Word Gives you the opportunity to add a word to the currently-selected dictionary.

Delete Word If you are sure you don't want a word to remain in the dictionary you can permanently delete it from the file.

Then follow the dictionaries found at application launch. The list is updated after a conversion, but if you want to force an update, select 'Create' and immediately 'Cancel'. However, new dictionaries will not be available to already-open grids.