selection in keyin lists

I referred to this briefly in last week’s blog about mouse selection, but on further reflection I think it’s important enough to give it its own article: the KeyIn dialog boxes let you interact with the drawing too.

Graphical Selection 

Take KeyIn Boundary Conditions for example.

KeyIn Boundary Conditions with too many similar items

Here I want to edit the pressure on the left side of my dam, but I have six boundary conditions, all of them are red, and I didn’t do a good job of naming them.  I can tell by the symbol it isn’t one of the standard Fixed BCs but how can I remember which of the other three it is?

Easy.  Instead of selecting an item in the list, click on the edge of the dam itself.  As your mouse approaches it the cursor changes to the “Line Selection” cursor, indicating that there’s something you can click on.  When you click, it figures out you’ve clicked on the “Reservoir pessure” boundary condition and selects it in the list.

Multiple Selection

Most lists in GeoStudio (such as the list of BCs above) also support multiple selection, allowing you to change properties on more than one item at a time.

In my example above I have two “Reservoir pressure” BCs because I’m running some experiments.  They’re both Fluid Pressure with the same elevation but different gamma values.  I can select both, change the elevation one time, and both will have the new elevation while retaining all their other properties (gamma, name and colour).

When more than one item is selected, you’ll notice those fields where each item has different values will be blank; where every item has the same value the value will be displayed.

Multiple selection in a list

Multi-selection in lists follows the standard Windows approach:  ctrl-clicking (holding down the Ctrl key while you click) items in a list will add to the selection; ctrl-click a selected item to unselect it; shift-click to select a range of items (everything between your previous click and this one); double-click any item (or press Ctrl-A) to select everything.

And of course you can use the single selection, line selection and rectangular selection techniques we saw last week to graphically select straight from the drawing.

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mouse selection

Continuing with last week’s theme of efficient use of your mouse, this week I’ll show the three ways to select things with the mouse.

There are three ways to select objects on your drawing:  single selection, line selection and rectangular selection.

Single Selection

This is the obvious one that everyone knows:  click on an object to select it. 

Note, though, that in some modes you also have to pick what type of object you’re going to select.  In Draw Materials, for example, you first pick from the dialog box whether you want to assign the material to regions or to lines.

Draw Materials

Line Selection

Line selection is probably the least obvious one, but it can be very helpful.  Hold down the Shift key and click once.  Continue holding the Shift key and you’ll see a dashed line following your mouse around.  Click a second time to complete the selection.  Everything on the line between the two clicks will be selected.

Line selection (also referred to as “shift-selection”) is especially useful for selecting points or lines along an angled surface.  For example, drawing boundary conditions on a slope.  (This was even more useful in v6 and older versions where you were applying BCs to the nodes, without the luxury of being able to simply click on a the line.)

Using line selection to apply a boundary condition

Rectangular Selection

Rectangular selection is another common one most of you will be familiar with.  Drag a rectangle (click the left mouse button and move the mouse without releasing the button) around the objects you want to select.  Any object that is completely contained by the rectangle will be selected.

It’s mostly because of rectangular selection that some modes (like Draw Materials) force you to choose what you want to select.  Since materials can be applied to regions or to lines, if you dragged a rectangle around a couple of regions we need to know whether your intent is to apply the material to those couple of regions or to all the lines.

All of the Draw modes support these three basic selection types, as does Modify Objects.  Even some of the KeyIn dialogs support graphical selection–try KeyIn Materials, for example, and click on a region in your drawing.  Draw Graph supports even more advanced selection, but that will be a topic for some other time.

Do you have any tricks you’ve learned that help you make the most of GeoStudio?  Leave a comment so we can all benefit!

prettying up reports

SLOPE/W 2007 adds a simple reporting feature.  In Contour you can choose View – Report to generate a report that describes the project definition and summarizes the results.  The report is pretty basic and you don’t have much any control over what gets included or excluded at this point (though I certainly hope that will change over time).  But there is a lot you can do with the report after it’s generated to “pretty it up”.

Because the report is a .html file you can view it in any web browser.  But if you have Microsoft Word on your computer, then GeoStudio will actually open the file in Word to allow you to edit it.  (Outside of GeoStudio you can right-click the file and choose Edit to open it in Word.)

Adding or Removing Data

Of course the simplest thing you can do with the report is to remove data you don’t want or add additional data.  You can copy the list of points from a function (KeyIn – Functions) and paste them into a table in your report if you want that level of detail, or delete the list of lambda values if you don’t really care about them.  Since you’re editing this in Word, whatever Word can do, you can do.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words 

The first thing I do when creating a report is to add a couple of snapshots of my problem:  one of the definition, one of the critical slip surface.  Create the report by switching to Contour and choose View – Report.  Give it a name and click Save.  It opens in Word. 

Now switch to Define.  It’s probably a good idea to turn on the Region Labels and Point Labels in the View Preferences so you can visually connect the tables of point and region properties with their locations in the drawing.  Then choose Edit – Copy All to copy the problem definition to the clipboard.  Switch over to Word, move your cursor down below the File Information section, and paste in the picture.

Adding an image to a report

Then I switch to Contour and repeat the process, pasting the picture into the report just above the “Critical Slip Surfaces” section for a graphical view of the results.

Adjusting Styles

Another change you can make to reports to personalize them is to change how they look.  Everything in the report is styled using a style sheet, which makes it super easy to modify a style in one place and give the entire report a different look.

You’ll notice for example that most lines start with a black label followed by a blue value.  Lets change all the values to red italics just to show how you’d go about it.

In Word you can display a list of all styles used in a document by hitting Alt-O and then S.  (In Word 2003 and older that’s Tools – Styles, and in Word 2007 it’s the same as clicking the little “expand” button on the Home toolstrip at the bottom of the Styles section.)  One of the styles you’ll see is called “value.”  Right-click on it and choose Modify to edit the style.  Change the colour to red and click the “I” button for italics, then hit OK.  All the values will now be displayed in red italics.

Modifying a style

Obviously this is a rather simple and contrived example, but it introduces you to the power of styles.  You can link the report to an existing corporate stylesheet to get your corporate letterhead and colours in the report instantly, or just play with the styles to make them look good to you.

Give Us Feedback

The reporting feature is new in version 7, and we’re still fleshing it out, trying to understand how people are using it.  Like any feature, some people want it to do one thing, others want it to do something else.  So leave comments on this blog or email us.  Tell us how you use the report, what you find yourself always changing, whether you need reporting only for SLOPE/W or also in the other products.  We really do read every email or comment you send us and all of them get discussed.

undo

We’ve had undo & redo in our products for a couple of versions now, but version 7 has taken it up a notch.  Besides adding undo into Contour (previously it was only in Define), we’ve added an undo description and undo within most dialog boxes.

Undo Description

Every action you perform now has a “description” that shows up under the Undo command so you can see what it is you’re about to undo (or redo).  For example, here I’ve sketched a line and then drawn a region.

Undoing two actions

Undo Several Levels

If you just click the Undo button you’ll undo the last action.  But you can also click any item in the list to undo everything up to (and including) that item.  So in the example above if I clicked “Sketch Line” I would undo my new region and my new line in one fell swoop.

Undo in Dialogs

You’ll notice most dialog boxes have their own Undo and Redo buttons down in the lower-left corner.  These let you undo only the changes you’ve made in this dialog box.

undodialog.gif

After you close the dialog box, all those changes get wrapped up into one undo item in the global undo list.

Other Undo Tips

  • When you save a file, you can still undo to put things back how they were before saving.  But if you close the file and re-open it, you can’t undo back to the way things were before closing it.
  • If you make a change in Define and then switch to Contour, the undo description will say “[Define]” after it to let you know you’ll actually be undoing something in a different view.
  • By default you have ten levels of undo, which means you can only undo ten changes back.  If you’ve made eleven changes, that first one can not be undone.  If you have a computer with lots of memory, you can increase the number of levels using the Tools Options command.  Set the “Undo/Redo Levels” value to a higher number, or set it to 0 (zero) to tell GeoStudio never to stop keeping track of your changes.

keyin shortcuts

If you’re an existing user of GeoStudio you’re already familiar with the “KeyIn” vs “Draw” paradigm that’s pretty much unique to GEO-SLOPE products.  The KeyIn and the Draw menus have essentially the same items in each.

The KeyIn menu in SIGMA/W 2007   The Draw menu, also in SIGMA/W 2007

For Regions, Lines and Points, the idea is that in KeyIn you can type them in (useful if you know the exact coordinates to 10 digits of precision) but in Draw you draw them on the screen.

Materials, Beams, Bars and Boundary Conditions are a little different.  You always have to use both the KeyIn and Draw menus.  You first KeyIn the definition of the object (the material properties, for example), then you Draw that material by clicking on an existing region.

That’s straight-forward conceptually, but in v6 (GeoStudio 2004) it meant lots of unnecessary clicking.  If you’re in Draw Element Properties (now renamed to Draw Materials) and you realise you need a new material, you have to exit the mode, KeyIn Materials, add the material, close the box, Draw Element Properties again.

That’s all changed in v7.  You can still do it the old way if you want, but you don’t have to.  In fact I find the only thing I use the KeyIn menu for any more is KeyIn Analyses.  All the other KeyIn items you can reach from their Draw command.

Let’s keep looking at Draw Materials for example.  Notice the “KeyIn…” button right on the dialog box.

Notice the KeyIn button on nearly every Draw dialog box

Always start by using the Draw command.  If you need to define a new material, click the KeyIn button, define your material, and when you click Close it will already be selected for you in the Draw dialog.

In fact if you’re adding that material and you realise you need a new function for it, click that button labeled “…” – it’s a shortcut to the appropriate KeyIn Functions command (there just wasn’t room to write that all out on the button).

The “…” button is a shortcut to KeyIn Functions

Use the KeyIn buttons, define materials, boundary conditions and functions only when you need them, and you’re on the road to being an efficient GeoStudio modeler.