Graphical Interface Controls

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Page Controls

GraphPage Controls

Gauge Controls

Switch, PushButton and RadioButton

3D Surface Controls
Molecule View Controls

The unifying concept to the AlphaSquared GUI is that almost every rectangular object on the screen has similar properties and is called a Page.

A simple layout of two currently empty graphs in the AlphaSquared GUI. The top one is active.

Page's are organized hierarchically so that one Page can contain others. Page's often have icons for expanding them, not to fill the screen, but to fill the Page that encloses them. This is an important technique that allows details from distant branches in the Page hierarchy to be conveniently compared.

Almost everything about the interface follows a physically realistic analogy of shrinking and expanding. This resolution independence gives the interface its unexpected look. Just as a printed page can be moved beyond visual range, text in the AlphaSquared GUI can easily be shrunk beyond legibility when desired, although just as easily it can be expanded for reading. With this style the GUI components are resolution independent and can make dramatic use of high resolution displays.

All Page moving and resizing occurs with the right mouse button. Page's can be moved by dragging with the right mouse button within their enclosing Page. Less frequently it may be useful to resize a Page. This is done by simultaneous control-key and left mouse button which will automatically stretch the Page from the nearest corner. The left mouse button is left for interacting with Page components, such as zooming on graphs and clicking command buttons.


The focus Page will have a distinguishing perimeter color when selected. When a Page has the focus it receives all keystrokes.

The controls differ slightly from the currently popular windows paradigm in order to maximize interactivity and the amount of data that can be presented.

Generic Page Controls

left mouse button standard interaction with control - depends on type of Page
right mouse button moves Page by dragging; simple click will redraw Page
control-right button stretch/resize Page by corner nearest to starting location
Clipboard Useful for transferring data between Page's or other programs
control-c (commonly) copies visible data presented in Page
control-v (commonly) paste data into Page - depends on type of Page
Keyboard Navigation
tab move focus to next Page at same hierarchy level
control-PageUp move focus up in Page hierarchy
control-PageDown move focus down in Page hierarchy

Self-explanatory Close and zoom icons can be present in the standard upper right locations on a Page as well. (When a zoom icon is not present, F5 is a temporary alternative.)

If your mouse has a scroll bar, this will function for gradual in-/out- zoom of the Page under the mouse.

GraphPage Controls

GraphPage's are one of the more common Page's. There are many forms for presenting two-dimensional data. X-Y plots and histograms use this format. GraphPage's can contain any number of overlaid data sets called Plot's. They are highly interactive for viewing data over wide scale ranges.

The numeric keypad is fundamental for changing the x- and y- axis scales. Keys / and * at the top of the keypad zoom out and in respectively. (Think of them as high level controls at the top of the keypad.) Vertically aligned - and + control the vertical y-axis scale. Horizontally aligned 'Ins' and 'Del' control the x-axis scale. The arrow keys perform as expected, shifting the view rather than changing the scale.

To immediately zoom in on a small portion of a graph, use the left mouse button to draw a rectangle around the region and the GraphPage will zoom to those coordinates. Double click to zoom back out.

left button use to draw zoom rectangle
left double click use to zoom out
* / zoom out/in on both axes
- + zoom out/in on y-axis
Ins Del zoom out/in on x-axis
arrow keys shift view
(NumLock effect) all keys have same effect with or without NumLock, so 6 is same as right arrow, 0 is same as Ins, etc.
< or > decrease or increase effect of all zoom controls
g or G toggle grid modes

Gauge Controls

Gauge's are the form of control for almost all numeric input. They are also used to display simple numeric results. When used for display they are generally indented, while they project forward when they can be changed. Some have miniature graphic displays, most a simple number.

Number Entry

0-9 . +- e E

type in a number, standard edit controls (backspace, escape), entry is completed with Enter or when focus is lost
Scale Control scale is implicit in Gauge's without graphic displays
left, right arrows
down, up arrows
decrement and increment values according to implied scale
Ins, Del decrease and increase implied scale

Switch, PushButton and RadioButton Controls

These are mostly trivial.

PushButton: Simple click to operate. Changes colors when an event is in progress.

Switch: Double click on desired state to change. Alternatively, single click on a new slider location. (Currently cannot drag slider.)

RadioButton: Single click on button to change state. Alternatively, double click anywhere on whole RadioButton.

Surface3D Controls

Molecule View Controls are here.