|★ APPLICATIONS ★ BUREAUTIQUE ★ PROPRINT (c) CAMPURSOFT|Amstrad Action) ★|
|Campursoft Proprint: The Protext Print Enhancer||Applications Bureautique|
We set that nice young Simon Forrester to work checking out this new Protext enhancer from Campursoft.
So you've got Protext, and though it's a really nice little word processor and all, its output is still very much limited to the capabilities of your printer (around about four fonts, all of which look identical, and an ugly draft mode). This is where Campursoft saw the gap, and the need for a package that can allow Protext to be as proficient at printing as it is at word processing. Enter ProPrint. ProPrint is a package that intercepts any output directed toward the printer, and turns it from pages of boring straight text, into pages of lovely graphical fonts, at the touch of a button. The one thing to bear in mind here though is that you do need a copy of Protext before you can use ProPrint (obviously), so don't rush into buying this until you're sure you have the kit to run it.
So how does it all work? Well, ProPrint comes in two main parts - the Protext patch, and the character designer. You don't have to design all your own fonts though, as the B side of the disc is stuffed to overflowing with loads and loads of different lettering styles.
The Protext patch part is the program that intercepts printer output, and actually makes use of the codes you insert, calling up different styles, graphics, etc, from the in-text control codes you use in Protext anyway.
One of the first things to look at on a package as technical as this is the manual, as there is virtually no on-screen help within the Protext text editor (except for the usual stuff), so a manual that tells you exactly what's going on, and when it should be going on is pretty much essential. Well, I'm pleased to say that the manual is very clearly written, with a lot of extra help, good ideas, and nice examples ( which can also be found on the disc). As a nice addition, it also has a few little troubleshooting sections to help you out of tight spots.
The character designer (the part of the package you'll be using to create new styles of letters) is. to be frank, good. Gives a nice display of every character in that set, along with a normal and condensed image of the character you're working on at the time. Quite obviously, the designer is in black and white (your print out is as well), giving a nice high resolution to the lettering you're working on. Controlling the pointer is easy with cursor keys to move it, and the space bar to toggle a pixel. You may be misled, however - the resolution of the character you see on screen is not going to be the resolution you achieve on paper if you're using a 9-pin printer as opposed to a 24-pin. When you reduce the number of dots per inch, etc. resolution obviously goes down. Fear not though - though 24-pin printers produce a wonderful print-out, 9-pin printers still produce a quality of text that looks easily as good as it needs to.
Great - so you've got loads of new printer fonts. Fab. What use it that? Well, the printer fonts aren't just your average run-of-the-CPC stuff. They've got a much clearer and better representation on italics, subscript and superscript, as well as being of a slightly more artistic nature than the standard Epson stuff.
ProPrint a Iso prints graphics. Yup, there's a nice variety of box edgings and the like to choose from, making your work look a hundred times better than the standard DMP printout stuff.
So how could a package like this help you? Well, think about it - if you're producing a fanzine, a news sheet, a notice, or the such, the ability to display several high quality fonts will allow you to create some really eye catching designs, giving your work a much more pleasing look.
Think of essays - schoolwork and the like. Instead of producing a slightly naff lump of printer font, you could switch between several styles for highlighting salient points, creating lists, etc.
To sum up, from what we've seen of Campursoft's ProPrint, it looks like it should be a very nice package for two reasons. Firstly, it's serving a purpose that many people could find very useful in conjunction with Protext and secondly, it's a nicely written, easy to use, and incredibly powerful piece of work.