New Feature for Printer’s Apprentice

May 24th, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

Because font listed in the Registry can still go bad….

Most Windows users know about the the Registry. In short, the Registry is where Windows stores configuration information for both hardware and software.

It also stores information about fonts.

When you drag a file into the Windows Fonts folder, Windows adds an entry for the font to the Registry so that the font will be installed the next time you reboot your PC and start Windows. Font information is stored in the following section of the Registry.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts

The entries looks like this:

Printer's Apprentice - Windows Font Registry

So how does this relate to a new feature in Printer’s Apprentice?

The Fonts section of the Registry can often get corrupt. Your Registry can get populated with invalid font entries by well-meaning applications or by uninstalling software that does not properly clean up after itself. And when this happens, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and manually edit the Registry.

To help with this situation, we are adding a Font Registry editor to Printer’s Apprentice. Ancient versions of Printer’s Apprentice used to have a this feature – it just never made it to the recent 8.x versions.

Here is a screenshot.

Printer's Apprentice Registry Editor

Main Features

  • Lists the overall status of the Fonts section of the Registry.
  • Lists the status of the each font key and value.
  • Lists specific reasons why a given font key is considered to be corrupt or invalid.
  • Lists specific actions to take for a corrupt key – Delete the key or Repair it.
  • Repair function steps you through selecting a font file for the key to point to. If the font is not installed, the Repair function will install it as well.
  • Includes an Export to Text File function for saving the contents of the font section.
  • Includes a Print function.
  • A “Clean All” function will delete all invalid or corrupt entries.

The screen is fairly comprehensive in scope. It is superior to other “Registry Cleaner” tools for the following reasons:

1. The scope is limited to the fonts section of the Registry.
2. The screen shows clear, specific reasons why a particular key is invalid.
3. It offers specific actions to take when a key is invalid.
4. The screen will warn the user if they are removing a key for a font that ships with Windows.

As I mentioned above, the screen is close to being finished. But if you have any suggestions, shoot me a note at helpdesk at lose your mind dot com.

Posted in Fonts, Printer's Apprentice | No Comments »

New Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.28 Available

May 7th, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

We just released the latest version of Printer’s Apprentice to the web site. Version 8.1.28 is a big release and is recommended for all users.

Installation is easy – just download from the link below and install. Any previous versions will be uninstalled. Your previous settings and license key will be preserved.

Download Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.28
http://www.loseyourmind.com/PrintersApprenticeSetup.exe

Complete list of recent changes:
http://www.loseyourmind.com/pa80changes.aspx

Roadmap for future versions:
http://www.loseyourmind.com/pa80roadmap.aspx

If you have any problems or suggestions, send a note to helpdesk at lose your mind dot com.

Posted in Printer's Apprentice | 2 Comments »

New Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.24 Beta Available

March 8th, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

A new beta for our font manager has been posted to the web site. No big changes, just some minor cosmetic tweaks.

You can download the latest beta from this link:
http://www.loseyourmind.com/zipfiles/prnapp81-120308beta.zip

This release can be installed over existing versions. Your license key and font groups will be preserved.

If you have any problems or suggestions, drop me a line at helpdesk at loseyourmind dot com.

3/8/12 Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.24.1 BETA

- NEW: If you click in the text area on the Single Character or Sample Text tab,
  you can use the mouse wheel to change the font size.
- FIXED: Minor cosmetic fixes in Options dialog when Windows display settings
  are using large fonts. 

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New Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.23 Beta Available

March 2nd, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

The latest beta is up on the web site. The big improvement for this version is better support for systems running under “High DPI” or “large fonts” settings. See this recent blog post for screenshots and more information.

You can download the latest beta from this link:
http://www.loseyourmind.com/zipfiles/prnapp81-120301beta.zip

This release can be installed over existing versions. Your license key and font groups will be preserved.

If you have any problems or suggestions, drop me a line at helpdesk at loseyourmind dot com.

3/1/12 Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.23.1 BETA

- NEW: Support for higher screen DPI settings. No more clipped text, etc. Includes high-resolution icons and other cosmetic changes.
- NEW: Improved borders on various progress screens.
- NEW: Completely redesigned shareware splash screen.
- NEW: Added license key recovery link on "Enter License Key" screen.
- NEW: Many other minor fixes.

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Printer’s Apprentice – Support for High DPI displays added

February 22nd, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

Windows has traditionally run at 96 DPI. But depending on your monitor and resolution you might want to increase the DPI so fonts look larger. Windows 7 has excellent support for a variety of DPI settings.

So everything should look great, right? Everything except Printer’s Apprentice…

A beta tester recently sent me a couple of screenshots of Printer’s Apprentice running at 120 DPI. I run my systems at 96 DPI and had never given a thought to testing the software under different conditions.

What a mistake! You would think software designed for managing fonts would be able to handle DPI changes. I completely overlooked the DPI issue.

After a day of work tweaking the forms, I’m pleased to announce that the next version of Printer’s Apprentice will be “High DPI Aware.” (That is the term Microsoft uses for it.)

If you want to take an early look at Printer’s Apprentice, send an email to helpdesk at lose your mind dot com and I will send you information about the beta program.

Here are some before and after shots of Printer’s Apprentice running at 120 DPI under Windows 7.

Main Screen
You will have to click the image to zoom in to see the full extent of the problems. Notice how the “This font is installed” line runs into the text above it. The controls below the character grid are misaligned. And the blue “Installed Fonts” title bar on the left is too short. All of this is cleaned up in the after shot.

Before:
Printer's Apprentice main screen - before

After:
main-good

Options Dialog
The problems are not as evident here. But they are still there. The vertical spacing between the checkboxes is cramped. And text is getting clipped off on the “Warn before uninstalling Windows fonts” checkbox.

Before:
Printer's Apprentice Options

After:
options-good

Read Fonts progress dialog
This is, by far, the worst offender. This screen is totally unacceptable under high DPI conditions. There is supposed to be a progress bar and Cancel button below the text. But they are almost completely cut off by the bounds of the form. The line you see at the bottom is actually the top of the progress bar. And you can just see the upper left corner of the Cancel button. Useless.

Before:
readfonts-bad

After:
readfonts-good

Posted in Fonts, Printer's Apprentice | 2 Comments »

Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.22 Beta Released

February 16th, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

A new version of Printer’s Apprentice was posted last night.

Download: Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.22 Beta

Here is the list of changes.

2/15/12 Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.22.1 BETA
- FIXED: Addressed a problem with flicker and drawing problems on the
  Sample Text tab.
- FIXED: Took care of a problem in the Print All Fonts In Folder
  that caused an "object not set" error.
- UPDATED: The help file has been updated with new information about the
  main window and the Options dialog.

Posted in Printer's Apprentice | 1 Comment »

Printer’s Apprentice – Beta testing has started

February 8th, 2012 by Bryan Kinkel

The next version of Printer’s Apprentice, our font manager for Windows 7, has started.

This release has lots of changes. So the more testers, the better.

If you are interested in being part of the testing crew, drop me an email at helpdesk at loseyourmind dot com.

Here is the latest list of changes.

2/3/12 Printer’s Apprentice 8.1.21.1
- NEW: Redesigned splash screen. Redesigned progress dialogs for reading font folders.

- NEW: Options dialog has been completely redesigned.

- NEW: Can change the size of the ASCII/Unicode values on the Character set chart.

- NEW: Support for non-US keyboard layouts in the Keyboard tab and printed font catalogs / sample sheets. The Printer’s Apprentice keyboard will  also update when a new keyboard is added or selected using the  Windows Language bar.

- NEW: Font samples are now anti-aliased wherever possible.

- NEW: Font display in main window includes a new header with the font name, file name and file size. There is also a line of text indicating the specific installed/not installed status for the font.

- NEW: Added column to the lists on the Font Files and Font Groups tabs indicating the installed status of the font. Installed fonts have a small Windows symbol in the column.

- CHANGED: Options for Unicode and character set are now contained in a single dropdown below the font display.

- CHANGED: Removed "Drop Shadow" checkbox from the bottom of the Single Character and  character set screens. It is now in the "Font Viewing" section of the Options dialog.

- FIXED: Fixed a crash that could occur if you selected a ZIP file in the Font Files font groups tab.

- FIXED: Bug in A4 paper size was not working correctly for some drivers.

- FIXED: Under certain circumstances, creating a font group and renaming it resulted in a "system.io.DirectoryNotFoundException".  

- FIXED: A variety of issues that could pop up when navigating between fixed and removable drives in the Font Files tab.

- FIXED: Fixed a crash that would occur if you selected File|Print All Fonts In Folder  while an invalid removable drive was selected.

- FIXED: Under certain circumstances, selecting the Help > Check for New Version menu triggers an "entry point TaskDialogDirect was not found" error.

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More changes for Printer’s Apprentice 8.1

December 9th, 2011 by Bryan Kinkel

We have added a new header bar to each of the font display tabs. This provides room to provide the following pieces of information:

  • Font name
  • Font file format (TrueType, OpenType or Type 1)
  • Font file name and size
  • Installation status
  • A link button for installing or uninstalling the font

The font name list (down the left side of the screen) also display this information. But the new header bar really makes the information stand out for the currently selected font.

Check out some screen shots below.

shot1   shot2

shot3 

Drop us a line at helpdesk at loseyourmind.com if you are interested in being a beta tester.

Posted in Fonts, Printer's Apprentice | 2 Comments »

Simplified Dialog Boxes for Printer’s Apprentice 8.1

November 9th, 2011 by Bryan Kinkel

I’m currently working on streamlining the look and feel for the dialog boxes in Printer’s Apprentice. (See the previous post about the Options dialog.) The splash screen looked like something that shipped with Windows XP. So I went back to a plain background with a simple curved border.

The old splash screen.

shot2

The new splash screen. This is just a draft and may change a bit more.

shot1

What do you think?

Posted in Printer's Apprentice | 2 Comments »

Printer’s Apprentice – Screenshots from the next version

October 24th, 2011 by Bryan Kinkel

A while back I received a feature request from a user. At the time, it seemed pretty easy to implement and I added it to the To Do list.

The user simply wanted a way to increase the font size of the ANSI/Unicode values that are in the upper right hand corner of each cell in the Character Set tab.

charset

Adding the code to change the size was easy enough. The next step was to add the font size selection drop down to the Options dialog. It would look something like this:

font-size

I have not really looked at the Options dialog in a long time. But the new option didn’t seem to fit on any of the existing pages. And the more I looked at the Options dialog, the more dated it looked.

options-old

So I took the opportunity to redesign the Options dialog. Instead of the tabs, option groups are listed down the left side of the form. This allows me to easily add additional option groups as needed.

options-new1      options-new2

I don’t have a release date for the next version – there are still a couple of other things I’m working on. But I welcome any comments or questions you might have. Contact me at helpdesk at lose your mind dot com.

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