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Using the CAD Drawings

The Showbook Application has a special talent that goes beyond the ordinary browser. Showbook can present CAD Drawings on the screen and allows you to resize them and print them to exact scales.

A CAD Drawing shown in the Showbook Application Window


In Showbook, a vector picture is defined as a CAD Drawing. This definition distinguishes it from a Showbook Image. Both Images and Drawings are termed pictures in the Windows operating system. However, a Drawing is really a vector picture consisting of objects, while an Image is a bitmap of pixel dots making a picture. This subtle difference comes to play as the drawing is resized on the screen. Vector Drawings have no loss of detail when resized on the screen or printer, while Images loose quality when resized. Furthermore, Drawings contain highly accurate dimensional information. Building dimensions or maps are very accurate in the Drawing window and if you print a drawing the printout can be scaled with a ruler to determine dimensions.


About the Drawings

All of the CAD drawings were created in Cadrail, a full featured CAD program for drawing railroads.


Drawing Views

Showbook has many different options that allow you to define how much of your drawing appears on the screen and what information to show on the drawing. There are several ways of magnifying or reducing the size of the drawing on the screen and the exact view that appears in your view window. Move the drawing within the Showbook application window using the scroll bars on the right and bottom of the window. You may enlarge or reduce the size using the Zoom functions on the Drawing Tool Bar. You will also find options for changing your view of the drawing on the VIEW menu found on the Main Menu Bar

One of the most important concepts in CAD is that the x, y, z coordinate grid system you draw within represents full size in real life. This coordinate grid is then mathematically resized by Showbook to fit on the computer screen. You may position and resize the drawing on the screen any way you like, at any time. Only the visible image changes size on the screen, the overall mathematical drawing remains infinite in size. You can view any part of the drawing space or coordinate system through the application window on the computer screen. In the computer, instead of you moving around in space, the drawing is moved past a fixed window (the computer screen).  This is similar to the way a word processing program may show a page of paper on the Windows screen. 

Keep in mind that the computer screen size and the drawing coordinate system used to represent dimensions in the drawing are completely different things. The drawing dimensions represent how big something is in real life. To show this on the Computer, the life size drawing coordinate system must be reduced to fit on the screen (or printer paper). 

Showbook can reduce (or enlarge) your drawing view on the screen by any factor. You may look at any rectangular window on the drawing at any time. Showbook can do this because what it remembers about the drawing is simply a mathematical coordinate system and this coordinate system can be any size on the screen. Therefore, sizing the drawing on the computer screen is simply a matter of telling Showbook what drawing coordinate window to show. 

The concept of sizing the drawing on the screen is further complicated by the Windows operating system. This is because you can use Windows to size the Showbook application window. You then have a window on the drawing within a window on the screen. The outer window is the edge of the Showbook application and your drawing is inside this window!



When a Drawing is show in the reader, the Drawing Tools on the Main Tool Bar will become visible. You can change the size of the drawing on the screen with the Zoom buttons on the Drawing Tool Bar (see below). You can make the layers in the drawing visible and invisible with the Layers tool bar (see below).

The Drawing Tool Bar


Zoom In Fence


Select Zoom In Fence from the Top Tool bar or from View on the Main Menu bar to magnify the drawing view. 

To use Zoom In Fence:

  1. Select the location of one corner of the Zoom window on the drawing Plan View. 

  2. Select the opposite corner of the Zoom window. Showbook will temporarily resize the Plan View so that the Zoom window you select will fill your current window on the screen. Showbook will make the minimum dimension of the Zoom window you selected on the drawing match the minimum dimension of your current screen window.


Zoom In or Out

You may magnify (or enlarge) your drawing view using the Zoom In tool and Reduce your view with the Zoom Out button on the Top Tool bar or the Print Dialog box.

To use the Zoom In/Out tool:

  1. Click the left mouse button on the tool bar. 

  2. Showbook will magnify or reduce the drawing size on the screen. To use smaller steps, click the Right Mouse Button on the Zoom tool.


Zoom to Last View

Switch back to your last drawing view using the Zoom Last feature (only valid if you have previously Zoomed In). Zoom Last may be selected from the Top Tool bar or from View on the Main Menu bar.


Show All Objects

When Show All Object is selected , Showbook will change the drawing size to show all the objects in the drawing (the entire drawing limits).


Layer and Styles Tool Bar

You can modify the visible Layers in a drawing using the Properties Tool bar. 

Activate the tool bar by clicking on the Layer and Styles Display on the Top Tool bar. 

Visible Property

You can select individual Layers to appear on the drawing screen using the Visible property on the Properties Tool bar. Furthermore you can Freeze individual Layers in the drawing using the Freeze property on the Properties Tool bar. The Visible and Freeze properties are selected on the Properties Tool bar by clicking on the V column or F column for that Layer. 

To make a Layer Visible on the screen, click on the V column so an X appears for that property. When the column is blank the Layer will not be visible on the screen and you can not draw with objects in that layer.

When you select the Freeze column on the Properties Tool bar you will see the Frozen Layer on the screen, but you will not be able to edit the objects.

If you click the header bar of the Properties Tool on the V or F you can turn on or off all the Layers in the drawing at one time.

Scrolling the View

You may move your drawing view across the screen with the Scroll Bars on the right side and bottom of the Showbook application window. See your windows documentation for scroll bar operation instructions.

Printing a Drawing

Select Print Drawing from the Menu Bar or click the Print button to activate the Print Drawing dialog box.




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