Introduction

FFVIEWER is the editor which allows you to create 'annotations', also known as 'overlay fields'.  The principal use of annotations is to allow customization of faxes and e-mailed PDF files by dropping variable information onto the underlying standard document or cover sheet.

From CopiaFacts build 8.1.0.123 the format of annotation captions has been changed to show the annotation number, position, size and attribute codes.  Before this only the word 'Annotate' and the index number of the annotation were shown.  You may see the earlier format in some screen shots in this help document until we have changed them all.

The co-ordinate space for annotations is the top left corner of the page, and the 'position' of the annotation is that of its top left corner.  Increasing co-ordinate values moves right and downwards on the page.  Dimensions are in displayed pixels.

Double-clicking on the image with the left mouse button brings up a small window into which you can type notes, load graphic images, or lift a section from the image graphic .  The window can be moved by dragging its caption, and sized, and you can create any number of them on any page of the document. Annotations can only be edited in 100% zoom size; in other sizes only an outline appears. When an annotation is used to hold a bitmap graphic, the filename of the graphic is held as the annotation text (except when you have copied a section of the image into the annotation and not yet saved it). FFVIEWER can load a color bitmap for PDF annotations or a monochrome bitmap for TIF annotations: if you try to apply a color bitmap to a TIF, all non-white colors will be converted to black.

The letters shown in the annotation caption are the same as those used on the $style command.

Moving and Sizing Annotations

The simplest way to position an annotation is to drag its caption with the mouse, or to drag any of its edges or corners with the mouse.  The dimensions in the caption are updated dynamically when you do this.  You can also undo the last mouse drag action on an annotation by right-clicking the caption and selecting 'Undo last move/adjust' from the menu.  Only one level of 'undo' is supported.

If you accidentally move an annotation and want to restore its position, do not left-click the caption.  This is taken as starting a new move operation and the move you planned to undo will be forgotten.

When you move an annotation with the mouse, it becomes partially transparent, which greatly assists positioning it.  You can set the opacity in the Settings Dialog.

To move or size the annotation by one pixel at a time, first click in the text area of the annotation to give it the focus, then use the arrow keys with the Control key held down to move the annotation and the arrow keys with the Shift key held down to resize the annotation.

Finally, if you know the exact position and size for an annotation, you can edit the values directly.  Right-click the caption and select 'Edit Position/Size' to display a dialog which allows you to edit the co-ordinates directly:

Applying Annotations

When preparing annotations for graphical customization, you will normally not apply annotations to the document.  The annotations will have variable content which will be applied as each fax or e-mail is transmitted.  However for editing special additions to a document, you may wish to apply the annotation to the document.

The contents of the box are not applied to the image until you right-click on the box caption and select one of the "apply" options.  The first menu choice applies the contents of the box and the second also deletes the box.  In the first case, you will only see the change on your image when you move the box away

If you apply text or a graphic to your document image incorrectly, click on the image itself, outside any annotations, to remove the focus from the note box, and then key BACKSPACE to restore the image as it was before the last note was applied.  Only one level of 'undo' is supported.

Annotation Actions and Properties

The annotation caption right-click menu gives access to annotation actions and properties:

Actions and options are selectable for the annotation box by right-clicking on the caption area and selecting from the right menu column:

APPLY TO IMAGE The contents of the annotation box are pasted onto the fax image under the annotation box, but the annotation box remains on the screen for re-use.
APPLY AND DELETEThe contents of the annotation box are pasted onto the fax image under the annotation box, and the annotation box is deleted.
DELETE The annotation box is deleted.
COPY IMAGE INTO ANNOTATIONThe contents of the document immediately under the annotation window will be copied into the annotation as a graphic, replacing any annotation text.  This feature can be used to capture a graphic such as a signature from a faxed-in or scanned-in document.  You will normally want to save the annotation as a bitmap after this copy operation.
SAVE ANNOTATION INTO BITMAP FILEWhen the annotation contents are a graphic image, this menu item allows it to be saved as a monochrome bitmap.  This feature can be used to save a signature or other graphic captured from a faxed-in or scanned-in document.  The file name selected from the save dialog is placed in the annotation text string so that the bitmap can be cleared and reloaded if required.
SHOW BITMAP GRAPHICThis item will be enabled only when the annotation text appears to be a filename with file extension '.BMP'. Selecting it causes the specified bitmap to be loaded into the annotation window.  The size of the annotation is not changed when the bitmap is loaded, even if the bitmap is a different size, and bitmaps are never scaled by FFVIEWER.  This feature allows a prepared bitmap containing a signature or other graphic to be loaded for use in a graphical cover sheet template.  Unchecking this menu item causes the bitmap in the annotation to be cleared and the annotation text consisting of its filename to be restored.
SAVE AS DEFAULT ANNOTATION SIZECauses the size of the current annotation to be used as the default size for newly created annotations.
SAVE AS DEFAULT SHADOW SIZECauses the size of the current annotation to be used as the size of the transparent annotation image which appears when an annotation is dragged in transparent mode. Dragging large annotation images in transparent mode can be unwieldy.
HELPBrings up this help file.
EDIT POSITION/SIZEDisplays a submenu to enter exact position and size.
SET FONTThis selection brings up a standard font selection window. Your selection will be applied to the current annotation box and will be the default for any subsequent boxes you create. You must ensure that any font you select for Graphical Customization is also available on the machine running the CopiaFacts server which will actually be customizing your document. Colored fonts should only be used on PDF annotations.
SET COLORSet the background and border color of the annotation (appears on PDF annotations only).
MULTI-LINEWhen checked, the annotation box will accept multiple lines of text and will word-wrap entries if the ASCII_WRAP variable is non-empty. The height of the box must be increased and decreased manually when you change the state of this menu item. If you uncheck this item when there are multiple lines of text in the box, only the first line will be visible.
KILL BLANK LINESIn a multi-line edit box, a line that expands to blank will be suppressed.  This is intended for use in address fields, where separate data variables are placed on successive lines for each address component.  Using this option will close up any gaps in the resulting text lines.
AUTO-WIDTHChecking this item in a single-line annotation box will cause it to grow and shrink automatically as you enter text in the box.  It is not used in multiple-line annotation boxes.  When used in a graphical customization template, this attribute is applied after macro-expansion, but only to annotations which are boxed, reversed, or opaque, and which are not displayed at an angle.
TRANSPARENTWhen checked, you can apply the contents of the box without affecting the image to the right of the text on each line.  When the menu item is not checked, the entire area of the box is painted onto the image.
BOXEDThis item can be checked to cause a box to be added to the image when the annotation box is applied to it.  The box corresponds to the text area of the annotation window, not including the caption.
REVERSEDText will be applied white-on-black instead of black-on-white.
CENTERThis item can be checked to cause the text in a box to be centered when the annotation is applied to the image.  The text in the annotation box is not centered until it is applied.
RIGHTThis item can be checked to cause the text in a box to be aligned right when the annotation is applied to the image.  The text in the annotation box is not aligned right until it is applied.
HTMLA small subset of HTML syntax will be actioned in this item, to allow attributes such as bold, italic and underline to be applied to sections of the text. For details, see the description of $style.
CONDITIONClicking this item brings up a dialog into which you can enter the name of a variable which may be defined in the FS file.  When the condition has been specified the annotation will be applied in graphical customization only if the variable appears in the FS file.  To remove the condition, delete the entry in the pop-up dialog.
WRAPCHARBreaks words between characters in a multi-line, non-HTML annotation if the word does not fit on the line.  This setting only affects text defined in the annotation, not in included files.
ANGLEClicking this item brings up a dialog into which you can enter a text angle between -180 and 180 degrees.  Positive values lift the right-hand end of the text, negative values lower the right-hand end of the text.  The center of rotation is the top-left corner of the annotation text box. Text is displayed horizontally until it is applied to the document, at which time it is applied at the appropriate angle and position.  Your annotation box must be 'single-line', and should be big enough to contain the full text when written horizontally, making allowance for variable expansion in the case of Graphical Customization.  But since text is not clipped to the annotation text box dimensions, it is always applied as 'transparent' and never as 'boxed' or 'reversed'.

For examples showing how to position annotations on landscape-mode faxes, and for using vertical text orientation in annotations, see the $angle topic.
SEND TO BACKChanges the sequence in which annotations are applied during Graphical Customization. The annotation numbers will be different after the file has been saved and reloaded.
BRING TO FRONTChanges the sequence in which annotations are applied during Graphical Customization. The annotation numbers will be different after the file has been saved and reloaded.
MOVE TO PAGETransfers an annotation to another page of the document.  After selecting this option, click on one of the pages in the thumbnail view.  To abandon the operation, click anywhere on the current page.  You must enable thumbnail view in the settings dialog in order to use this feature.
COPY TO PAGETransfers an annotation to another page of the document.  After selecting this option, click on one of the pages in the thumbnail view.  To abandon the operation, click anywhere on the current page.  You must enable thumbnail view in the settings dialog in order to use this feature.

To remind you of the existence of the annotation menu, a yellow hint is displayed when you move the cursor over the title bar of an annotation.  If you do not wish to see these hints, you can turn them off from the Options page of the Settings Dialog.

Adding variables in annotation text.

When editing an annotation, right-clicking in the window brings up a menu from which you can pick variable names which are the most commonly required in annotations:

The selected variable (with preceding @ sign) is placed in the annotation at the position of the cursor.  You can suppress either the 'job' items or the 'user' items, or both, from this menu by using the checkboxes on the Options page of the Settings Dialog.

The same right-click menu in the annotation text area can also be used to select an open dialog for BMP annotation files.