Preferences: Project

When Preferences... is selected from the Edit menu the Preferences dialog is invoked. This dialog is structured hierarchically and displays a list of categories on its left side. Clicking on an item displays the options that affect that item.


Project: General

This category of options affects new projects.


New Projects: The options in this group determine where the initial values of new projects will be coming from.


Use Defaults: With this option, the form•Z project defaults are used for all new projects. All of the defaults are fixed, except for the default working units.


Default Working Units...: Clicking on this button invokes the Default Working Units dialog. The content of this dialog is the same as that of the Working Units tab of the Project Settings dialog, invoked from the File menu.


Use Template Project: With this option, the contents of a form•Z template file are used as defaults for all new projects. A template file is simply a previously saved .fmz file that contains your preferred starting environment. The text field of this option shows the path and name of the current template file.


Choose Template File...: Clicking on this button invokes the standard Open dialog for selecting the desired template file.


Ask For Each Project: With this option on, the New Projects dialog is invoked each time a new project is created. This dialog contains the same options as the New Projects group (see above in this section).


Project File Options: Keep Backup: With this option, a backup file is made each time you Save or Save As with the same name. The name of the backup file is made from the name of the original file and the suffix “.fzb.”


The Preferences dialog with the Project: General options displayed.


Project: Files

This category of options affects how a project's files are treated.


Keep Backup: When on, a backup of the project is kept and continuously updated when changes are made.


Number of Backup Files: This option controls how many backup files will be retained. The default is 1. For values greater than 1, the file name for the backup files beyond the first contains a numeric indicator of the file order. That is, for the file "bob.fzm" the backup files would be names "bob.fzb", "bob-1.fzb", "bob-2.fzb", "bob-3.fzb" and so-on. With each file save, the backup files are renamed suchs that the most recent file would always be "bob.fzb" (followed by "bob-1.fzb", "bob-2.fzb, etc.) When the desired number of backup files is reached, the oldest file is deleted.


This option is also found in the "Project Files" section of the "Project Settings" dialog.


Save Undo Information: When on, all the undo information is saved, when a project is saved, and becomes available when the project is opened again.


Keep Ghosted Tool Operands In File: Ghosted objects are created in form•Z in one of two ways: (a) By using the Ghost tool to explicitly ghost an object. (b) By being an operand in an operation that ghosts the original object after the operation is completed. Ghosted objects of type (a) are always saved when a project is saved. Ghosted objects of type (b) are only saved when this option is checked.


Project Files
The Preferences dialog with the Project: Files options displayed.


Project: Auto Save

With these options you can turn auto-saving on/off and specify how it will be applied. Note that the project needs to be saved at least once after it has been created in order for auto-saving to take effect. If the project still carries the Untitled label, auto-saving can not take effect.


Enable Auto Save: With this option on, the active project is auto-saved as further specified. This option is off by default.


Every n Minutes: When on, auto-saving occurs every n minutes.


Every n Operations: If on, auto-saving is every n operations.


Save To Project File: When this option is on, the automatic save writes the data directly to the project file.


Save As Copy: This option creates a copy and leaves the previously saved project as is. The files are saved using the project’s name with “.sav” as the file extension. Additional options specify where the copy is saved: Use Project Folder, Use Application Folder, Use Scratch Disk, and Custom. Use Scratch Disk directs the auto-save files to the same location as the scratch disk. Note that Macintosh operating systems will delete the contents of the temporary folder at restart or log-out. If the scratch disk preferences are set to use the temporary folder, using this option for auto-save files may not be desirable.

When Custom is on, the Set Location... button can be used to select an existing folder for the auto-save location, or to create a new folder. The selected file name is displayed in the Location field below the button.


Incremental File Names: With this option, each auto-save writes a new file. Each new file’s name is created by appending the current date and time to the project’s name. File names may be concatenated, depending on the maximum file name length allowed by the system.


The Preferences dialog with the Project: Auto Save options displayed.


Project: Fonts

These options allow you to specify when text fonts are loaded, as well as the locations where they can be found.


Load Fonts At Launch: When on, all the font information is loaded at startup. When off, the information is loaded the first time text is used.


Default Font: This is a pop up menu from which a default font may be selected. The default font is used when a font that is not available on the computer is used and when placing text for the first time; that is, the default font appears selected in the Text Editor dialog.


Stick Font File Paths...: This area contains a list of folders/directories that will be searched when loading Stick fonts.


Add...: This button is used to add a folder/directory to the list. Clicking on it invokes the Select Postscript Location dialog, which is similar to the standard Open dialog. After selecting the desired location, click on the Use Current button to add it to the list.


Remove: Clicking on this button removes the highlighted item from the list. If no item is selected or the list is empty, this button is dimmed and inactive.


Absolute Path, Relative To Application: Selecting one of these radio buttons applies the respective type to the highlighted path.


Search Nested Folders: When this option is on, the file search extends to all the folders inside the listed folder and all the folders inside them, until the desired file is found. When this option is off, the file search takes place only at the level of the folder listed in the selected search path.


The Preferences dialog with the Project: Fonts options displayed.


Project: File Search Paths

These options are used to specify the search paths (list of directories), when looking to locate an image file that cannot be found in the expected location, which is where it was at the time it was applied. By default four preset search paths initially appear that can be deleted, new paths can be added, and the attributes of paths can be changed using button commands and options available in the dialog. File search paths can be either absolute or relative. An absolute path is a complete description of the location of the directory from the top of a volume to its location. A relative path is a location based on another location. For example, if a search path is set to be relative to entity A, the search is applied to the folders contained in the folder that contains A.


At its top, the File Search Paths area displays a list of the search paths. A check mark in the column on the left indicates that a path is active. Clicking in this column toggles the path between active and inactive. Inactive paths are not searched, but they remain in the list for future use. Search paths can be highlighted by clicking on them. When highlighted they can be removed or changed from absolute to relative or vice versa. Search paths also can be repositioned in the list by dragging them. Their order in the list is significant speed-wise, as the search always starts at the bottom of the list and moves upward.


Add: Clicking on this button invokes the standard folder dialog for selecting a folder. The new directory is then added to the list.


Remove: This button removes the highlighted path from the list.


Absolute Path, Relative Application, Relative To Project File: These radio buttons apply the respective type to the highlighted path.


Search Nested Folders: When this option is off, the file search takes place only at the level of the folder listed in the selected search path. When on, the file search extends to all the folders inside the listed folder, and all the folders inside them, until the desired file is found.


The Preferences dialog with the Project: File Search Paths options displayed.


Project: Undo

These options allow you to specify the depth of the undo records, which applies to all projects, not just the active project.


Use Undos: When on, which is the default, undo records will be kept and undos will be available. When off, undos will not be used.


Unlimited Undos: When on, which is the default, form•Z does not limit the number of undos that are available since the project was started.


Last n Operations: When on, only the specified number of operations are available to be undone. Operations that were executed before that number of operations cannot be undone anymore.


At Most n KB Disk Space: This option allows you to limit the undo records to the specified amount of disk space. Once the limit is reached, earlier operations are overwritten and cannot be undone.


Last n Minutes: When on, form•Z limits the undos to operations that are not older than the specified number of minutes. Operations executed before n minutes cannot be undone.


Save Undos in Project: With this option on, the undo records are saved with the project file. When opening the project file again, the undos are available and operations executed in the previous session may be undone. Note, however, that undo records are not cross-platform and they are only available when the project is opened in the same platform (Macintosh or Windows) in which the undos were saved. The time limit for the undos applies to the accumulated time that the project was open. Note that, when undos are saved to the project file, form•Z cannot clean up obsolete data that may have accumulated during the session. Therefore, when this option is on, project files may grow quite a bit. Exactly how much also depends on the undo options that affect the depth of the records.


Reset After Saving Project: When on, form•Z resets the Undo records every time a project is saved.


The Preferences dialog with the Project: Undo options displayed.


Project: Modeling

The options in this group affect a variety of modeling features.


Execute Operations Between Smooth And Facetted Objects: When the operands are both of the same type, the resulting object is also of the same type. However, when they are of a different type we need to specify what the result will be, which is done by the options in this group, which affect the insertions, Booleans, sections, trim and split operations.


Always Smooth: The result is a smooth object. This is the default.


Always Facetted: The result is a facetted object.


Facetted If Objects Have More Than n Faces: The result is facetted if it has more than n faces. It is smooth otherwise.


Warn Before Clearing Control Parameters: Certain operations transform the type of an object, which may cause it to loose the parameters it had for the original type. When this occurs and this option is on a warning is issued.


Beep When Deselecting: With this option on, a beep sounds when objects are deselected.


Use Shift Key For Multiple Pick: With this option on, which is the default, selection of more than one entity requires pressing the shift key. When off, multiple objects can be freely picked by simply clicking on them.


Auto Select New Elements: With this option on, all new objects, lights, etc. remain selected after they have been created.


Use Tap Keys: This item controls the Tap key shortcuts. This item is on by default.


The Preferences dialog with the Project: Modeling options displayed.


Project: Modeling: Animation

There is a single option in this group that allows you to Enable Animation or disable it. It is enabled by default.


Project Modeling Animation
The Preferences dialog with the Project: Modeling: Animation option.