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TOPIC: Notes from a Noob ...

Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 5 days ago #18119

  • donspace
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My purpose here is not so much to request help as to offer little bits and observations from the viewpoint of someone very new to ComicRack. As I wade through the manual (120+150+ pages! Wow!) and begin using the software, I'll drop a few notes in this thread which may prove helpful to others that come fresh to the program. As a side-effect, I imagine veteran users will have the opportunity to provide clarification on matters I'm a bit foggy about.

So, for my first missive:

GET THE MANUAL!!!

I know a lot of users want to just get to it and start reading their comicbooks. Who needs a stinking manual, right? And sure, the software is intuitive enough you can do that. Regardless, I highly recommend the manual. 600WPMPO has done remarkable work putting it together, creating a document that is a much better read than your average user manual. I'm actually enjoying this thing. More importantly, ComicRack has so much more depth and features than you're ever going to find without a little guidance.

Get the manual from the Downloads dropdown menu on this site. Load it up. Enjoy!

D
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Last Edit: 6 years 4 days ago by donspace. Reason: Fixed page count as pointed out by 600 below
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 5 days ago #18122

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donspace wrote:
Regardless, I highly recommend the manual. 600WPMPO has done remarkable work putting it together, creating a document that is a much better read than your average user manual. I'm actually enjoying this thing.
Thank you sir for the kind words :)
donspace wrote:
...120+ pages! Wow!....
..er.. maybe you meant 150+ pages (or you are using an older edition (latest is 5th)
Now Playing: The ComicRack Manual (Online)

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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 4 days ago #18131

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TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL

TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL

Well, that was bloody obvious, wasn't it? Obvious, yes. But there's more to it than that so stay with me here. I'm recommending that besides reading the manual, you use ComicRack when you do. This gives you the ability to test out all those nifty features while you read. To really understand all that coolness, you have to see it in action.

However, as you may have noticed (assuming you actually did download it--you did, didn't you?), the manual is a pdf document. ComicRack doesn't handle pdf's so well right out of the box; if you've already tried to use CR to read the manual, you already know what I mean. You need to download Ghostscript and install it first. Don't ask what it does or how it does it. It works--all you need to know. Here's the link in case you haven't got that far in the manual: Ghostscript

Once you've got that installed, open up CR and drag the manual over into the reading window--that's the big window. Then you'll be reading the manual and using the program at the same time ... one of the best ways to learn anything really. If you're one of those "hands-on" learners, it's the only way to roll.

If the whole "drag manual into the reader window" gives you any trouble, you can open the manual from 'Rack by clicking File on the top menu. You don't see the top menu? Oops! Well ... stay tuned for Tip #3.
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Last Edit: 6 years 4 days ago by donspace.
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 1 day ago #18228

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TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL
TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL

TIP #03 - WHERE'S MY MAIN MENU?

Lose your Main Menu? No? Well I did. Not sure how I misplaced it, but I eventually figured out where I put it. ComicRack includes a couple of different ways (at least) you could hide your Main Menu, so here's what you need to know in case you can't find it for any reason: F10, Shift+F10, and the ALT key. Depending on how the Main Menu is being hidden, you may need a couple of those to get it going again. The funny thing about these three keys (or key combinations) is that they will not always work all the time. So start tapping away at those keys until you get the desired result. Don't worry, you won't break anything.

But in case you need some additional explanation about what's actually happening, I'll give it ago (and leave it to greater minds than mine to clarify whatever I screw up).

Shift+F10: This toggle is expressly used to hide/un-hide the Main Menu.
F10: Toggles the Minimal User Interface (MUI). This has a the side-effect of hiding your Main Menu along with several other things. Note that this key won't do anything at all if your Browser Window is currently open/active.
ALT: Will access your Main Menu, whether it is hidden or not, unless you're in MUI mode. In which case, it does nothing. Note that ALT is not a true toggle. It only temporarily accesses the Main Menu until you do something else.

There. I'm not sure how much this tip will help anyone else out there, but it sure made me feel better once I figured it out.

D
Java devil, you are now my bitch.
Last Edit: 6 years 1 day ago by donspace. Reason: Corrected typos
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 1 day ago #18272

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+1 karma to donspace for helping all the noobs out there become better ComicRackers... :-)
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 17 hours ago #18334

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TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL
TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL
TIP #03 - WHERE'S MY MAIN MENU?

TIP #04 - TWO MORE IMPORTANT FUNCTION KEYS

This will be quick and painless. While you'll want to be familiar (eventually) with all the different keyboard shortcuts, I've found a few function keys you really, really want to get to know. We've already talked about F10 (and it's first cousin Shift+F10). Now we'll meet F3 and F11.

F3: Toggles the Browser Window/Sidebar.
F11: Toggles Full Screen Mode.

Basically, if you want the full screen effect for whatever you're about to read, hit F3 first then F11. You can also use F10 to really fill up the screen by getting rid of the tabs and, with Shift+F10, the Main Menu. There ... nothing but Comicbook Goodness.

By the way, as you'll find nicely illustrated in your handy ComicRack User Manual, mouse-clicks can sub for F3 and F11 both. A single left click in the Reader Window is the same as hitting F3; a double click works just like F11.
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Last Edit: 6 years 16 hours ago by donspace.
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 6 years 13 hours ago #18340

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Don't forget, F12 is also an option (and for folks like me who use multiple monitors also certainly preferable).
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 5 years 11 months ago #18359

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TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL
TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL
TIP #03 - WHERE'S MY MAIN MENU?
TIP #04 - TWO MORE IMPORTANT FUNCTION KEYS: F3 & F10

TIP #05 - WHAT DOES F12 DO?

I have a confession to make ... I wasn't really planning to talk about F12 at all. So it splits off your Reader Window ... big deal, right? Now you got two 'Rack windows instead of one ... yippee. But then someone--not naming names...you know who you are--said "Don't forget F12." So I went back and took another look.

I stand corrected. F12 rocks. This toggle key as the effect of giving you a "stand alone" reader, which isn't bad. But it also gives you a giant, stand alone Browser Window. Once you really get to work organizing your library, the bigger Browser Window is going be very useful. Also not that, once you've split your Reader off, the Main Menu stays with the Browser window.

Like I said, it is a toggle, so you can quickly re-join the windows. You can swap back and forth between Browser and Reader with ease using standard Windows keyboard shortcuts like Alt+Tab. You can use the MUI (F10) and Full Screen Mode (F11) on the stand alone Reader just like usual. Note that if you are in full screen reader mode, swapping back to the Browser Window will toggle that off. If you are not in Full Screen Mode, you can use F3 to switch between Browser and Reader (I love that ability).

Even if you don't use two monitors (though I can certainly imagine the appeal), F12 is still going to prove pretty handy to have around.

On a side note, anyone know where I can get another monitor cheap?

D
Java devil, you are now my bitch.
Last Edit: 5 years 11 months ago by donspace. Reason: added info
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 5 years 11 months ago #18467

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donspace wrote:
TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL
TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL
TIP #03 - WHERE'S MY MAIN MENU?
TIP #04 - TWO MORE IMPORTANT FUNCTION KEYS: F3 & F10
TIP #05 - WHAT DOES F12 DO?

TIP #06 - BASIC NAVIGATION

If you've been following along so far, you're already using ComicRack to read the User Manual. Or maybe you skipped straight to reading your eComics. Can't blame anyone for that--it's the whole reason the software exists.

Either way, you've already discovered the basic navigation tools. While this is all quite intuitive, I'm going to spell 'em all out anyway, just in case you missed any. I also imagine others will point out the stuff I miss.

First, a couple of special keys or key combos:

Ctrl+7 & Ctrl+8: Depending on personal preference and available screen size, you can read comics in either single page [Ctrl+7] or double page mode [Ctrl+8]. While I tend to prefer single page myself, this is all about personal preference. Both options are available from your "reader toolbar" as well, along with anything else you'll ever need to customize your Reader. You should see the toolbar at the upper right of your Reader Window. If you don't, just hit F10 (always remember, F10 is your Friend).

If you opt for the MUI, your toolbar goes bye-bye along with other stuff, as noted earlier in this thread. One of the reasons I prefer keyboard over mouse when reading is the MUI ... You can use a few simple keys to do everything the reader toolbar does, quick and easy.

Layout (Control) Keys:
Ctrl+1 = Resizes your view to the actual image size.
Ctrl+2 = Resizes the view to make the entire image fit.
Ctrl+3 = Fit width (default setting usually ... and probably best reading option)
Ctrl+4 = Fit width "adaptive" (I'm not sure what this does and haven't had any use for it.)
Ctrl+5 = Fit height (works well if you can rotate your monitor)
Ctrl+6 = Fit best ... not sure how well this works. Let me know.
Ctrl+7 = Single Page (as described above)
Ctrl+8 = Double Page (ditto)

Arrow (Scrolling) Keys:
Down Arrow = Scroll Down or, if you're at the bottom the page, go to the top of the next page.
Up Arrow = Scroll Up or, if you're at the top of the page, go to the bottom of the next.
Left Arrow = Same as your Down Arrow.
Right Arrow = Same as your Up Arrow.

Other Keys:
Page Up = Bottom of the previous page.
Page Down = Top of the next page.
Home = Top of the current page.
End = Bottom of the current page.

There are a dozens of other keystrokes available for all kinds of navigation options and Reader customization. But I'm only getting into the basics here. More to come ...

D
Java devil, you are now my bitch.
Last Edit: 5 years 11 months ago by donspace. Reason: Typos. Always typos.
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Re: Notes from a Noob ... 5 years 11 months ago #18571

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TIP #01 - GET THE MANUAL
TIP #02 - READ THE MANUAL
TIP #03 - WHERE'S MY MAIN MENU?
TIP #04 - TWO MORE IMPORTANT FUNCTION KEYS: F3 & F10
TIP #05 - WHAT DOES F12 DO?
TIP #06 - BASIC NAVIGATION

TIP #07 - OVERLAYS & SCROLLING

In honor of the holiday, here are a couple of ComicRack features I'm especially grateful for ... Overlays and Scrolling.

I love the overlays, the "Film Strip" most of all. That's the one you'll see if you hover your pointer near the bottom of the Reader Window. Functional and visually appealing both! There are several other overlays and I recommend them all. In general, anything that pops up in a slightly transparent black-grey box is an overlay. ou can turn each of them off by clicking the "close" icon on whichever overlay you may not like. All the overlays can be switched on/or via preferences (or Ctrl+F9) and scrolling down to the Overlays. There are also a couple of options you can play with should you like.

Now ... the Auto Scroll. Simply put, this option scrolls your reader area faster. Instead of moving down on the page a wee bit with each click of the down arrow (or up arrow going the other direction), you'll slide half a page (more or less) to the next area you need to read. Pretty simple really, but also simply great.

Now, there may be a little confusion about which keys control this option. It could be Ctrl+S or it could just be the 'S' key. On my installation of CR, it is simply the 'S' key. But the manual and the main menu seems to think it is something else. Start with the 'S' first. Or select the Read option from your Main Menu and find the Auto Scroll near the bottom of the drop-down box.

If you're not auto-scrolling already, I strongly suggest you do it. Do it now. You'll thank me later.

D
Java devil, you are now my bitch.
Last Edit: 5 years 11 months ago by donspace. Reason: fixed the misplaced "quote" code
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