Drawing using Pixel Units :: PowerCADD


I'd like to draw in PowerCADD with the Units set to pixels (for example to draw web ready graphics) but don't see that as an option in the Drawing Setup Dialog. Can I draw in pixels in PowerCADD and if so, how?


Any version of PowerCADD or PowerDRAW
PowerCADD v7 and Mac OS? X Tiger or newer recommended


PowerCADD let's you customize the Drawing Setup for Scale and Units. All that's really required is getting the scale and units set correctly and you're away to the races. The real piece of missing information is that 1/72" is the magic number. We won't get into the specifics as to why and how pixels can be different sizes for output nor will we review the interesting history behind how a postscript printing pixel came to use the standard of 1/72" (let us know if you are really interested and we'll consider putting together an article on the subject). Suffice to say that for our purposes a pixel is 1/72" or 0.013889" and if we work from that math, the rest is easy Smile

We'll describe the steps to create the appropriate drawing setup and scale settings in PowerCADD v6 (the latest version as of this writing) but the same fundamental steps apply regardless of what version of PowerCADD or PowerDRAW you're using.

What to Do

To draw using pixel units in PowerCADD, do this:

  1. choose File? Menu > New
  2. choose Layout Menu -> Drawing Setup -> Units tab
  3. set the drawing units to decimal inches
  4. set the unit accuracy to zero decimals (after all, we can't have a decimal of a pixel, we're drawing to the nearest whole pixel which seems logical)
  5. in the first Scale field enter a value of 1
  6. in the second scale field enter a value of 72
  7. set the grid spacing to 1" x 1"
  8. the remaining values don't really matter and may be set to anything you'd like. The dialog should look something like this:

  9. Click on the Show Tab and make sure the Units check box is NOT checked
  10. Press OK to close the Drawing Setup Dialog

You have successfully setup a drawing to create objects based on pixel units! Great and now is likely a good time to save this drawing as a Stationery Pad so you can use it again and again.

To see how it works, do this:

  1. choose Window Menu -> Edit to make sure the Edit Window is open
  2. click on the Rectangle Tool and start to draw
  3. observe the Edit Window is displaying values in pixel units. For example use the Edit Window to enter a width of 320 and a height of 240 to create a box which is 320 x 240 pixels.

And that's all there is too it, once we realize that 1/72" is the magic number it all falls together.

Now that you've read all these steps, it seems like a good time to mention can also click here to download a pre-made PowerCADD stationery pad which is already set to draw in pixels. The file is a PowerCADD v6 Stationery pad and requires and can be unzipped using Stuffit Expander or Mac OS X Panther or Tiger utilities.

We hope that helps

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

PixelStationery.zip37.08 KB
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