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The BurrTools Menus

Below is a brief overview of the main menu entries with references to the places in the text where a more detailed explanation is provided.

This menu holds the procedures for handling files within BURRTOOLS and for exiting the program (→File Menu).

Toggle 3-D
Swaps the 2-D and the 3-D grids for the Entities tab (→ Navigating in 2-D and 3-D).

Contains a sub-menu with 3 entries. One allows you to export the contents of the 3-D viewer that can be used to create high quality solution sheets (→ Exporting Images). The next allows you to create STL files for 3-D printers (→Exporting to STL). The final entry exports the current content of the 3D-view to a vector image (→ Exporting vector images)

This opens up a window containing lots of possibly useful information about the shapes of the puzzles (→ Chapter Status).

Edit Comment
Allows appending textual information to the puzzle file (→ Adding Comments).

This menu item provides some preferences settings (→ Config Menu).

Shows a window with some information about the program.

The File Menu

The File menu has all the traditional entries for handling files. Many of these are well known from other software and don't need much explanation. Some of the items also have keyboard shortcuts as indicated in the menus. Prior to executing most of these commands a warning (and option to cancel) is given whenever changes to the current design haven't been saved yet.

Starts a new design after removing all the information of the current one. The first thing that happens when you start a new puzzle is that you will be asked which spacegrid to use. When BURRTOOLS is started it defaults to using the cubes spacegrid, so if you want to use another grid you need to use this menu.

Opens a BURRTOOLS *.xmpuzzle file. A notification will pop up when a partially solved design is loaded. Short cut: [F3].

This entry opens a traditional file dialogue that allows importing PUZZLESOLVER3D files (*.puz) into BURRTOOLS. Although these imported designs often can be subjected to the solver right away, some postediting may be required because of the differences in the way BURRTOOLS handles holes in the result and duplicated pieces. BURRTOOLS will import all the pieces from the *.puz file and assign them to the shapes S1 to Sn-1. Accordingly, the result from the PUZZLESOLVER3D file will be assigned to the last shape (Sn ). Also a problem definition is automatically created (→Chapter Puzzles and Importing).

Since all imported shapes consist only of fixed voxels, the result shape may need some editing (puzzles that have internal holes or pieces not filling the outskirts of the result shape) to make the solver run. Also, duplicated pieces should preferably be deleted from the Shapes list (→Creating Shapes ).

Saves your work into a *.xmpuzzle file. If the design had not been saved before (indicated with 'Unknown' in the BURRTOOLS windows title bar) the Save As command will be activated. Short cut: [F2].

Save As
Allows you to save any changes to a new file, thus keeping the original design the way it was.

Allows you to convert the current puzzle from its current gridtype into another grid type (→Chapter Converting Shapes

Import Assms
With this menu entry you can import a set of existing assembly solutions of one problem as new shapes into your puzzle (→Chapter Importing Assemblies as Shapes)

Shuts down BURRTOOLS.

Except when the solver is actually running, saving your work is always possible. This means that after stopping (pausing) the solver it is possible to save the results found thus far. Later on these partially solved puzzles can be loaded again and the solving process may be resumed. This allows you to subject 'huge' problems (e.g. "Coming of Age" from Brian Young) to BURRTOOLS and have them solved in several sessions overnight or whenever you don't need your computer for other tasks.

The Configuration Menu

The Config item on the menu bar opens a new window (Figure Config) to set some options for the GUI. These settings will be stored in a file that is either in your home directory (UNIX) or in your profile (WINDOWS). The program will use these settings each time it is started.

Figure: The configuration window

Use new rotation method
This option allows you to toggle between the old way the shapes are rotated and a new way. With the old method a shape always returned to the same orientation when the mouse was dragged back to the starting position. The new method allows rotating a shape by drawing circles on the screen.

Use openGL display lists
This option enables an optimisation for the 3-D viewer which makes it faster when drawing complex shapes. Sadly it seems to be that some OpenGL implementations don't properly support that option. So when you experience crashes when you edit shapes or rotate something in the 3-D view, try disabling this option.

Fade Out Pieces
This option affects the way pieces that become separated from the rest are depicted. Hence, the effects are visible only after running the solver (→ Visibility of Pieces).

Use Lights in 3D View
This option toggles the use of a spotlight in the 3-D viewer. When disabled, the items in the 3-D viewport get a uniform (high) illumination, whereas enabling this option provides a more rendered appearance of the objects by adding a spotlight in the upper right corner of the 3-D viewport and shading the faces of the objects. However, on some systems this may result in a relatively dark left bottom corner that can hamper a clear view of the objects.

Use Tooltips
By default BURRTOOLS shows tooltips for most of its controls, but to the more experienced user these soon become very annoying. This option allows you to switch these tooltips off.

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