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Status of VUTRAX 12.1a Before Release of 12.1b (22 June 1999)

VUTRAX 12.1a (17 Apr 1999)

  • Graphics files are interchangeable with Vutrax 12.0a..g. Other files are forward compatible, and in general backwards compatible if new features are not used.
  • All programs are updated. They are only explicitly listed when significant changes exceed those listed in this section.
  • Complete new HELP system including an integrated browser, search engine, and completely new integrated tutorials.
  • Major revision of file names handling, including user preferences for inclusion of the directory paths (FNSTYLE).
  • Provision for setting initial environment variables, path etc. on-masse or by program.
  • 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.
  • Message Box positions override the Windows 'screen centred' position, and are located adaptively relative to the active window or dialogue box. User options are available.
  • A system wide 'Recent Files' system is implemented, separately listing Vutrax Graphics and text files. Various convenience/security disable features are available.

Version:    DRAFT 38.04d (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 13 July 1998 - 17 Apr 1999


  • A fuse/circuit breaker with device name beginning 'R', 'E' or 'X', can lead to differentiating 'Milli' from 'Mega' using an 'R' character at the decimal position in the device name. (This behaviour is included in the detailed documentation.)
    Recommendation: Start the name with 'F' for 'Fuse'.
    To fix the problem in an existing artwork unprotect the symbol, and edit the device data point.
    e.g. for a 100mA fuse already mismatched, make the change
    device RESETFUSE#R1 silk F1
    device FUSE(RESET)#100mA silk F1

Operating System Problem:

  • If the DRAFT 'GROUNDPLANE' facility misbehaves, and you are sure your outlines are valid, it is probably due to faulty Region handling in your Windows system.
    Avoidance: SAN 201 suggests diagnosis & workarounds.
  • Powerplane Isolation & Thermal Break pad sizes associated with a pad are included in pad listings.
  • Pad listing can be controlled to match subsets of their name fields (e.g. to locate every 'Mounting Hole').
  • The [Command History] dialogue includes file browsing.
  • The [Edit Options] browse facilities includes file browsing, automatically invoked when appropriate.
  • 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.
  • Display of multiple drawings and starting additional menu threads from within DRAFT.
  • 'View only' and 'Practice' option. There are various means of forcing the setting for use in view-only stations.
  • The contents of <string> when searching Script, Data or Silk points discards trailing spaces in the command.
  • When a new file schematic file is started the Script orientation defaults to a 'remain readable' setting.
  • Combinations of the command repeats (*<n> ...) and the FIND command generate a range of messages including counting the number of commands completed.
  • Pausing over menu items automatically generates 'Hints'.
  • MAKELIB footprint libraries are checked for duplicate or updated entries, and provides options to deal with them.
  • 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.
  • LAYER setting option 'C' introduced to make [Partial Layer] setting intuitive.
  • ERASE avoids moving to the next point if it is not on a displayed layer. This avoids subsequently erasing things you can't see.
  • WIDTH+ & WIDTH- use more convenient default handling, and accept partial THOU or Metric increment sizes.
  • New form PRIVILEGE+ command prefix allows you to switch to ANY mode temporarily.

Version:    DRAFT 38.05c (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 Apr 1999 - 14 June 1999
Problems Fixed:

  • Some inappropriate SEG, MAKELIB and SCRIPT command variants, and PICK SHUFFLE, can be used while in View-only mode. There is no security problem - changes can not be saved.
  • PICK ON applied to structure(s) with some points already picked does not set the rest of the points.
    Avoidance 1: For selected structures use PICK TOGGLE.
    Avoidance 2: For named (or all) structures first set all OFF, then set all ON.
  • Groundplane fill leaves an avoid area (and thermal ties where selected and appropriate) for blind or buried VIAs even when these do not appear on the filled layer. The layout is functional (no violations) but non-optimal.
    Workaround: SHOW only the groundplane layer, and drag the fill back across the offending unfilled space.
    Fix: Development version 38.05a Dev C available on request.
  • PAD dimension settings were limited to 6553 Thou, and the message gave the wrong limit. Now uses 65532 Thou.
    Workaround: Set up the pad in all other respects, Save in Expanded text, and then text edit the header entry
    PAD <number> <letter> <Half X-size> <Half Y-size>
    to set the 4th and 5th fields to whatever you need.
    Fix: Development version 38.05a Dev D available on request.
  • [Cleanup Database] from (File) (CLEANUP) unnecessarily asked how to re-display the file. Always reply [Display].
  • [Cleanup Database] from (File) (CLEANUP) when using a path or filename which includes embedded spaces, saves the changes correctly, but then gets confused about what the filename is.
    Workaround: [Cancel] in the dialogue, then select [Open Recent Files] from (File), and finally [OK].
  • Screen listing functions malfunction when using an installation path which includes embedded spaces.
    Workaround: Prefix the typed command with FILE- and a space.
    e.g. List data points using LIST- LISTD
  • SCREED IN and OUT variants rejected commands that included quoted or space separated path names.
  • The FILE prefix (writing tables to file) did not work if the destination name includes embedded spaces.
  • IF EXIST <filename> in macro files did not accept quoted space embedded filenames.
  • Hierarchy directives didn't allow spaces in file names.
  • Typed command DATA/ in modes that request confirmation then did nothing. Not part of normal operation.
    Workaround: Use command D/ instead.
  • After analysing a schematic DRAFT may want to Save even though there are no changes - just let the Save take place.
  • [Save As Expanded Text] from (File > Save As) updates the original file - not what you might expect.

  • The command [Find Last Silkscreen] from (Place > Silkscreen Ident) or from (Symbol > Attributes) (Option V in FIND) would match R* to R1 and RV1. Now requires a digit as the first wildcard character. (Option VW provides the previous scheme).
    Development version 38.05a Dev E available on request.

Version:    VTX12 11 1.02a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 29 Jan 1999 - 22 Feb 1999


  • More help on what to do when things go wrong, tailored for 32 bit versions (with VUTRAX-12) and 16 bit (with only 11). The actual functionality of the program is unchanged.
  • SAN 184 provides the detail for handling conversion problems.

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.03a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 21 Oct 1998 - 22 Feb 1999


  • BUILDLIB lists missing devices to file LIBWARN.ASC as well as to screen, so that long lists can be examined.
  • BUILDLIB checks the result file for incompatibilities.
  • 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 export avoids layer changes in Polygons terminated because of layer changes in a VUTRAX structure. DXF import accepts VERTEX entities with no layer attribute.
  • The POWERPLANES dialog allows more splits (up to 5) per powerplane layer.

Version:    TOOLBOX 11.04a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 Apr 1999
Problem Fixed:

  • Build Job Library will snatch away warnings of devices not found in the libraries if you confirmed that it should overwrite a previous library file.
    Avoidance 1: Look in file LIBWARN.ASC for the warnings.
    Avoidance 2: Delete the old file or choose a new name.

Version:    PLOT 15.04c (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 22 Feb 1999 - 17 Apr 1999

  • Support of reduced pad sizes for solder paste is enhanced by permitting the PLOT option form S- <undersize>.
  • Command sequence building and execute facilities - standard sequences of plots can be stored, edited, & selectively replayed.
  • A set of CNC and Photoplot control files for 0.0001" resolution is available.
  • The 'U' option (Butt-ended lines) revised to accept THOU and Metric values instead of raw coordinates, and option listings exclude butt-ended items only in the graphics.
  • Formal support of A3 paper size on HP and Epson ESCP/2 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.
  • An output file name (option F) can include Wildcards (* and ?) which are filled in using the source file name. Useful for use with stored plot command sequences.

Version:    PLOT 15.05a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 18 June 1999

  • Execution of Plot command lists does not work is there is a space in the installation directory name.

Version:    GERB274X 1.02a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 22 Feb 1999

  • 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.

Version:    FOOTLIB 3.01a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 2 Apr 1999

  • Default exclusion list adjusted for Vutrax 12.1.
    Users who build there own indexes should add \VUTRAX\DOCS\*.* to their exclusion list to eliminate tutorial items.

Version:    SCHEMLIB 3.01a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 2 Apr 1999

  • Default exclusion list adjusted for Vutrax 12.1.
    Users who build there own indexes should add \VUTRAX\DOCS\*.* to their exclusion list to eliminate tutorial items.

Version:    OBJLIB 3.01a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 2 Apr 1999

  • Default exclusion list adjusted for Vutrax 12.1.
    Users who build there own indexes should add \VUTRAX\DOCS\*.* to their exclusion list to eliminate tutorial items.

Version:    WIRE 67.04a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 29 Jan 1999 - 22 Feb 1999

  • The new -Y option 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Version:    WIRE 67.05b (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 4 May 1999 - 14 June 1999

  • The name used for 'no-connect' is checked to be either N/C or NC. To suppress the check, add the directive CHECKSOFF on a line preceding the GLOBAL directive, or in the menu entry add CHECKSOFF before your non-standard 'no-connect' name.
  • Support for quoted filenames in PEERREF and DRAWING directives.

Version:    CONNECT 27.04a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 June 1999

  • File names in quotes where not accepted. Hence names with spaces could not be used.

Version:    SEE 10.02b (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 22 Feb 1999 - 17 Apr 1999

  • The -H option is invoked automatically on very big files.
  • Shift+F5 & Ctrl+F5 keys can set explicit upper/lower case.
  • Shift+F6, Ctrl+F6 & Ctrl+Shift +F6 provide paragraph justification to right, centre and left margin.
  • 'SEE NEW' prompts for a proper name when the file is to be saved.
  • Multiple Paste operations (Ctrl+V and Ctrl+R) are handled individually by UNDO, rather than grouped.

Version:    MENUVTX 10.03c (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 4 Sep 1998 - 17 Apr 1999


  • Many changes and extensions to support VUTRAX 12.1 features.
  • Project based menu systems can be introduced and used concurrently, and stored with the job.
  • Optional compression of menus to save disk space.
  • 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'.

Version:    MENUVTX 10.04b (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 Apr 1999 - 11 June 1999
Problems Fixed:

  • Redundant icons and/or status message boxes may appear when initially creating a project or user environment.
  • Directory selection size info has a ceiling of about 2GB.
  • Using just a drive letter (X:) or root directory (X:\) for explicit menu directories (a 'not recommended' option) builds names of the form X:\\name which fail on networked systems.
    Workarounds: Create directory FUDGE on the drive, and enter the project or explicit path as X:FUDGE\..\ or X:\FUDGE\..\ More simply, use a subdirectory on the drive instead.
  • When using [Squash Menus & Exit] or when updating a system, if there are spaces in the path name then there may be problems subsequently uncompressing the menus.
    Workaround: Use the Windows [Run] facility to execute
    where \VTX DIR is wherever you installed Vutrax (with drive letter if required). Needs all four " symbols.
  • Spaces in the installation path name prevented automatic resumption with the last USER setting from working reliably.
  • [New System Menu] from (Tools > Start) malfunctioned if there is a space in the installation directory name.
    Workaround: Start within DRAFT, or use the Vutrax Icon.
  • If you have your system set up to use
    [Explicit Directory] from (File > Project)
    (a 'not recommended' option) then unless this happens to be in a subdirectory of the Vutrax installation, it will not be updated automatically when Vutrax is updated. You will need to update appropriate *.MNU files explicitly.

Version:    VTXHELP 1.00c (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 3 Mar 1999 - 17 Apr 1999

  • Controls the HTML based help and Tutorial system, starting the viewer, processing search requests, and unpacking the HTML files.
    This issue is designed to work with the WEBVIEW browser.

Version:    VTXHELP 1.01a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
                           (Part of VTX12 1A HELP 1 update)
Entry Date: 4 May 1999 - 12 May 1999
Problem Fixed:

  • Keyword searches finding just one section may crash Webview. Workaround: Use [Find Keywords], select [Logical OR], add keyword CALLME. Ignore unwanted VTXSHELL in the results.
    Fix: Implement SAN 197 to patch ...\WIN32\VTXHELP.EXE using
    2E 67 69 66 22 0 ;
    11 22 33 44 55 0
    but adding options -L2 -H2 to the VTXPATCH command line. Note: A side effect of this patch is that sometimes extra rows of buttons are displayed on Help pages.
  • Sections rearranged and provision made for a glossary.
  • Tutorial now includes using Vutrax as a 'Taping table'.

Version:    WEBVIEW 4.1 (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 3 Mar 1999

  • HTML Browser for local file operation and a local CGI query handler. There is no Internet access capability. It is used with VTXHELP to provide Vutrax Help and Tutorials.
    We have no control over this 3rd party (16 bit) product.

Version:    VTXSETUP 12.1e (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 Apr 1999 - 11 June 1999
Problems Fixed:

  • Directory selection size info has a ceiling of about 2GB. Checks for sufficient space nevertheless work correctly.
  • If the Vutrax installation folder name has embedded spaces then the VTXSHELL start icon does not establish the path and other settings. There is no impact on routine operation.
    Workaround: Alter the shortcut with " quotes after /K as in
    ... /K "c:\vtx folder\SHELLINI.BAT"
  • Hot Key Shortcut Ctrl+Alt+L for VTXSHELL was assigned even if the user didn't want them. All others worked correctly.
    Workaround: Select [Properties] and remove it.
  • Handles Windows 2000 Beta 3 onwards directory, group names, Start & Desktop folders in the new manner.
  • Now has limited capabilities with Windows 2000 Beta 2.

Version:    VTXSHELL 4.02b (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date: 21 Oct 1998 - 17 Apr 1999


  • 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.

Version:    VTXSHELL 4.03a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date: 23 Apr 1999 - 12 May 1999
Problem Fixed:

  • DIR reports of remaining space have a ceiling of about 2GB.
  • Identifies Windows 2000 as such (was Windows NT 5.0).
    n.b. Requires matching VUTRAX.BAT for correct function.

Version:      VTXFIND 1.00a (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date:   22 Feb 1999

  • A 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).

Version:      VTXFIND 1.01a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date:   4 May 1999

  • Result dialogue is brought to the top when search completes so it can't get obscured by subsequently raised windows.

Version:      CHECKLIB 1.00b (VUTRAX 12.1a)
Entry Date:   22 Feb 1999 - 17 Apr 1999

  • Utility to check physical libraries for duplicate or incompatible sets of footprints, and offer various options to fix the problems.

Version:      CHECKLIB 1.01a (VUTRAX 12.1b)
Entry Date:   1 June 1999

  • Some of the diagnostic messages have been clarified.