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Technical Support and the Latest Information for VUTRAX Users

Issue Number 29

March 1999


Vutrax 12.1 is planned for release early in April 1999.
The primary content of this bulletin is an outline of the enhancements. Operational details of the changes are embedded in the installed product.

A major area of change has been in the on-line Help! system. There is now an integrated browser, search engine and completely new integrated tutorials. These features will make the required hint, tip or detail easy to find and use.


When available, this issue of the software can be supplied from Downloads situated on our Web site ( or on either CD-ROM or Floppy Disks.
Those who have subscribed to the Software Maintenance Agreement and require CD or Floppy media should return:

      • The Configuration Disk
      • Master Floppy Disks (if you have any - do not return the CD-ROM)
      • Any Interface Disk(s) you have
      • A note of your media preference

'Download' customers will need to contact us to arrange for a configuration file.
'Freeware' customers can update from downloaded materials alone. The same limits and indefinite use apply.

Users who have not subscribed to the Software Maintenance Agreement and would like to know more details of the costs involved, please telephone
or e-mail the Computamation office on:

- 01525 261 381 -
- -


Vutrax Environment

  • Complete new HELP system including an integrated browser, search engine, and completely new integrated tutorials.


  • A system wide 'Recent Files' system is implemented, separately listing Vutrax Graphics and text files. Various convenience/security disable features are available.

Recent Files

  • A new tool for searching VUTRAX (and other) text and graphics files according to many criteria. Display uses a viewer or editor appropriate to the file type. VUTRAX graphics files are specifically steered to the found item. Accessed from the menu as [Search] from (File).

Recent Files

  • Windows Printer output now includes running headers which variously include file name/title, time/date & page number. The feature includes user controls for left/right positioning, suppressing or rearranging fields, & font.
  • Many users are annoyed by the way Windows message boxes (simple text messages with Yes/No, OK, OK/Cancel etc. buttons) are placed by Windows at the centre of the desktop, sometimes over what they want to view, or in a position unrelated to the window. Most VUTRAX modules can override this default and adaptively locate the box relative to the active window or dialogue box. User options are available.
  • Major revision of file names handling, including user preferences for inclusion of the directory paths (FNSTYLE).
  • Provision for setting initial environment variables, path etc. en-masse or by program.

Graphics Editor (Draft)

  • Display of multiple drawings and starting additional menu threads from within DRAFT.
  • Pausing over menu items automatically generates 'Hints'.
  • 'View only' and 'Practice' option. There are various means of forcing the setting for use in view-only stations.
  • MAKELIB footprint libraries are checked for duplicate or updated entries, and provides options to deal with them.

Recent Files

  • DRAFT warns you if the drawing you have just Opened is too large for your configuration to SAVE.
  • AUTONAME command introduced to simplify library building.
  • ERASE avoids moving to the next point if it is not on a displayed layer. This avoids subsequently erasing things you can't see.
  • LAYER setting option 'C' introduced to make [Partial Layer...] setting intuitive.
  • When a new file schematic file is started the Script orientation defaults to a 'remain readable' setting (option NUT).
  • Combinations of the command repeats (*<n> ...) and the FIND command generate a range of messages including counting the number of commands completed.
  • Pad listing can be controlled to match subsets of their name fields (e.g. to locate every 'Mounting Hole').
  • Background library selection shows any description of the currently selected item in the dialogue box.
  • Better control of character set switching in dialogues. for handling of Mu and similar characters.
  • The contents of <string> when searching Script, Data or Silk points discards trailing spaces in the command.  
  • Powerplane Isolation & Thermal Break pad sizes associated with a pad are included in pad listings.
  • The [Command History] dialogue includes file browsing.
  • The [Edit Options] browse facilities includes file browsing, automatically invoked when appropriate.
  • New form PRIVILEGE+ command prefix allows you to switch to ANY mode temporarily.


  • Project based menu systems can be introduced and used concurrently, and stored with the job.

Recent Files

  • User based menu systems can be introduced providing different users of the same system different basic setting.
  • Pausing over menu items and dialogue box controls automatically generates 'Hints'.
  • Many changes and extensions to support VUTRAX 12.1 features.

Rat's Nest Generation

  • After errors in libraries the library is scanned for problems arising from multiple updates or incompatible types. These can be fixed on your selection. For non-library files you can automatically start the editor on the offending file.
  • The new -Y option ([Extra Options] from Make Rats Nest) allows selected aspects of the Layout (.LAY) file to revert to their defaults (e.g. silk legend position or size, rotation, gluespots and marker sizes).

Recent Files

  • Undocumented files (BUILDLIB.BAT and BUILDLIB.ASC) previously generated only when using the library index, are replaced by just BUILDLIB.BAT generated for all Rats-nest builds ([Build from Rats Nest] from (Tools > Library > Make Job Library)).


  • Make Job Library (BUILDLIB) lists missing devices to file LIBWARN.ASC as well as to screen, so that long lists can be examined. The results file is also checked for incompatibilities.
  • The POWERPLANES dialog allows more splits (up to 5) per powerplane layer.
  • Support for DXF import/export up to AutoCAD 14.
    • The LWPOLYGON entity is recognised for import. For compatibility, POLYGON is still used on exported data.
    • DXF import accepts VERTEX entities with no layer attribute.
    • DXF export avoids layer changes in Polygons terminated because of layer changes in a VUTRAX structure.

Vutrax Shell

  • FULLPATH generates environment variables for the full path of a filename, plus drive, directory, name, & extension parts. Given a wildcard it can loop in a command file to process files, including subdirectories and hidden files.
  • SETSTR provides a variety of facilities for manipulating, searching & comparing strings, and processing searched lists of files.
  • VTXDLG PASS allows hiding of passwords.
  • The TABLE filter has options for handling quoted fields.
  • Provision for initial custom settings of the path (use of option /K in the Shortcut).
  • INCLUDE command introduced to process command in another file 'in-line'.
  • Run-time controls PAUSE and VTXRUN are extended.

See Text Editor

  • 'SEE NEW' prompts for a proper name when the file is to be saved.
  • Shift+F6, Ctrl+F6 & Ctrl+Shift +F6 provide paragraph justification to right, centre and left margin.
  • Shift+F5 & Ctrl+F5 keys can set explicit upper/lower case.
  • The -H option is invoked automatically on very big files.

Library Checker

  • A new utility (Checklib) to check physical libraries for duplicate or incompatible sets of footprints.


  • Command sequence building and execute facilities - standard sequences of plots can be stored, edited, & selectively replayed.

Recent Files

  • Formal support of A3 paper size on HP Inkjet printers, and options on A4 and A3 HP Inkjet printers for forcing paper size and ignoring margins.
  • Extensive clarification of PLOT control file names.

Recent Files

  • A set of CNC and Photoplot control files for 0.0001" resolution is available.
  • Support of reduced pad sizes for solder paste is enhanced by permitting the PLOT option form S-  <undersize>

Gerber 274X

  • Options /W and /S can have their numeric values as a separate argument, optionally separating a - from the digits.
    (Supports simplification of Gerber 274X photoplotting.)
  • GERB274X option /M<min aper> specifies the minimum dimension of aperture that can be created. Default is 1 THOU.
  • The GERB274X utility (used separately or automatically from PLOT), produces more confirmatory messages.

Computamation Systems Ltd.

Tel: +44 (0)1525 261 381 E-mail:

Vutrax is a registered trademark of Computamation Systems Ltd.