Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some questions and answers, mostly taken from email from BeadWizard users.

Recent Questions

16 August2002

Q. Can I make a PDF file with BeadWizard?

A. Yes. If you have a program installed that creates PDF (Portable Document Format) files. PDF is a format created by Adobe (the guys responsible for PostScript, PhotoShop, and some other highend graphics stuff!) that is usable across all types of computer systems. Most of you have downloaded Acrobat Reader which lets you view PDF files, either by itself or as a feature of your web browser. Go to Adobe Acrobat Downloads if you don't have it.

To create PDF files, you need to install a program that in some ways will act like a printer. You can buy the full Adobe Acrobat program (way too much $$ for most folks). A less expensive alternative (and there are probably others) is pdfFactory from Fine Print Software , which offers a free trial download of the product.

Another program I've come across is a PDFWriter from Adobe. It comes as a part of some versions of PhotoDeluxe, their lightweight program that often comes with scanners. If in your printer selections you see "Acrobat PDFWriter" and wonder what that is and where it came from, now you know.

With any of these products, you "print" your pattern to make the PDF file by selecting program's PDF option in your printers, then giving a file name and selecting save. PDF files are easily shared, and aren't a lot bigger than the BeadWizard files - and are much smaller than the bmp files that BeadWizard can create. They can be opened and edited in some graphics programs, such as CorelDraw.

24 May 2002

Q. How big a pattern can I make?

A. The limit is about 32 1/2 inches in either direction. Using Delicas in peyote stitch, that works out to 610 across by 450 high.

Q. So what's new with version 1.02?

A. Some people already have some of the bug fixes and new features. This update is to bring all BeadWizard users up to the same version.

20 May 2002

Q. When you cut and paste, where is the "handle"? When I cut and then make a new pattern and paste, I have to do it numerous times to get it placed properly on the new grid.

A.The "handle" for pasting is at the upper left corner of the block of beads you are pasting. You can hold the mouse button down while pasting and move the beads around to get them positioned just right. You might have to hit the spacebar occaisionally while doing this to make sure all the beads are being redrawn while you move them, so you see they are placed correctly.

Q. Is there a way to do a large fill?

A. For filling large areas, there are the filled rectangle and filled ellipse tools. You can also use the selection tool to highlight any number of beads (they may even be separated), then switch to the paintbrush, select your color, and paint just one of the selected beads - voila - they are all painted! If you want to give the whole pattern a "background color", you can use the selection method I just mentioned, or the filled rectangle.

If you want to fill in all the beads you've not colored (say, the remaining background) you can set the color selection to the "remove color" button (first on in the palette), then use menu Edit/Select by Color. This will highlight all the beads you've not colored in. Be carefull, this will also get those you left blank (to be white).

Menus and Buttons

Q. Sometimes some of the beads "disappear", either when filling them in, or after some menu has been on the screen and gone away? What's with that?

A. Windows is not always able to keep up with all the command to redraw each and every bead, or it forgets where it put them while other things were happening on the screen. To fix this, you can use the menu option View/Refresh Pattern, or simply hit the space bar on your keyboard. This will force Windoze to redraw all the beads currently visible on your screen.

Q. I kept trying to find a "new pattern" thing, but I didn't see the paper thingy appear when I clicked on the arrows since it appeared up at the top.

A. Sometimes (no, most of the time) I forget that the default when you get the program is that menus only show most recently used items, unless you keep the menu open a few seconds or click the down arrows. If you would rather have full menus visisble all the time, you need to change a setting yourself. Right-click on a blank area of the any of the toolbars, select the Customize... option. Go to the Options tab, uncheck "Menus show recently used command first". Then click the "Reset My Usage Data" button, and OK the message that pops up from that. Then you will always see the full menu, every menu.

Q. The installation seemed to go well the computer re-booted but I can't find an icon for BeadWizard. What have I done wrong?

A. BW doesn't place an icon on the desktop, but it does add itself to the list of programs when you press the Start button, select Programs. You should see a blue wizard's hat. If you want a desktop icon, all you have to do is go into Explorer, and if you let BW use its default installation location, look in Program Files/Black Hills Software/BeadWizard. Find the icon for the program and click/drag to your desktop area, and drop the shortcut (a little curved arrow should appear on the icon.)

Q. The "cut & paste" function has me baffled. Sometimes the icons are greyed out so I cannot use them at all. When they are available, I can make a "copy" selection but it will not "paste". Any suggestions?

A. These buttons (and corresponding menu selections) are gray when they can't have an effect. Cut and Copy are only available if you have selected some beads. Paste becomes available only after you have cut or copied something. You should see similar actions with the Undo/Redo buttons and menu options in both BW and most other Windoze programs.

Q. Are there "save points" so that if you don't like what you've done you can revert back to an earlier copy?

A. It has "undo" and "redo" tools, so that you can step back through your most recent changes, and put them back if you choose. There is no builtin file-based save-points, if that is what you are referring to.

Colors and the Palette

Q. Is there a way to create a color palette based on all the beads I have? I'm not sure that I want to do a palette with over 100 colors, but I thought I'd ask. And do you have any thoughts of being able to label palette colors with industry-standard DB (Delica Bead) numbers?

A. You certainly can do this. You can edit any and all color buttons with the Colors/Edit color menu item. Then you can use Colors/Rename Color to give the button whatever name you want (i.e., DB-25, Turquoise, or DB-25-Turquoise....) Then use Colors/Save Palette to store this selection under a specific palette name. When you've modified all 40 basic color buttons, add more with Colors/Add Color. When you start a new pattern, use the Colors/Open Palette to bring that palette into the pattern, use the colors you want, then you can reduce the clutter with Colors/Compact Palette.

Q. Tell me how to get the right colors when converting a picture to beads.

A. Say you go to convert, and you let the program use the current (default) palette - 40 basic colors, pretty much representing the full spectrum. You'll get a pattern that might look a bit odd - especially if the picture has a dominance of some narrow range of the spectrum that you really want to capture. Clear the beads, then try again using the "Create Palette from Image" selection. Set a number that is your best guess as to maximum number of colors you want to use (the result will usually be a few less than that.) You'll then get a pattern with better fidelity.

The other way you can control things is to create a palette representing the beads you intend to use, then BW will convert the picture to that specific color selection.

When it comes to the process of a) creating a limited palette based on colors in a picture, and b) converting groups of pixels in the picture to single beads, there are many theories and techniques. I used the best ideas I could steal, er, adapt to this process. I read three theses, many articles, and looked at a lot of code to get here. Sometimes I'm amazed it works at all. You should have seen me jump the first time I ran it and it actually converted a picture!

Q. What's the maximum number of bead colors that you can work with at once.

A. 255 , but I wouldn't recommend using that many!

Q. Can I have more than 41 colors on the screen.

A. Yes, the palette will expand as you add colors. Or you can delete excess colors by what I call "compact palette", which reduces the palette to just the colors actually in use.

Q. Wonderful. I assume the colors are generated from Windows color Palette dialog box and named as you make them up? Is a number the only possible name for the beads? You say it lists bead _numbers_. Is the maximum color number 255 per palette--not that anyone really needs that many.

A. Yes, you create colors in a dialog similar to the basic Windoze color chooser, with RGB and HSL values available, as well as the graphic color picker. If you do not supply a name to a color, it is listed with its RGB values, but you can assign any name you want to the colors. In the color listing, you get the ID number (its position on the palette), the name or RGB, and the number of beads in the pattern of that color. Example:

Color ID 	Color Name or RGB 	Number of Beads 
2 		White 			1855
13	 	R:1 G:147 B:0	 	871
18 		Red 			1198
27 		Gold			 869

Q. What is "color ID" on the beads in the Pattern Info/Colors box?

A. Basically - it's the position of the color on the palette toolbar. Guess a little programmer-speak snuck through.

Q. Can you select a color and do a wholesale color change of that color to another?

A. Yes. Two ways of doing that. If you modify a color in the palette, that changes all beads that were the original color to the new color. (Essentially, beads are tied to a particular palette button -change the button,change the beads). You also can select all beads of a given color, then apply a different palette color to the selected beads. That way, you don't change the basic colors of your palette. This second method also works with any selection of beads, whether you do a group (click-drag) selection, or select several 'unrelated' beads.

Setting/Changing Pattern Size and Type

Q. Can BeadWizard convert to peyote and brick stitch

A. Not directly, but one can copy a pattern design and paste it into another pattern document set to a different stitch type.

Q. After creating a pattern grid, can I edit it to add or subtract rows?

A. Not in this version. What you can do is copy the portion of the current pattern you want, then make a new pattern at the desired size, and paste the design into that. (see below)

Q How do I change the pattern size after I've imported a .bmp file? (I tried changing in the 'pattern settings' dialog box, but those are display-only.)

A. Right now you cannot change the size of a pattern. I've ideas how to implement that in the future, but for now, here's a technique I've used with Chris's works. Select (highlight) and copy the filled in pattern you want. Create a new pattern of the size you need, paste the selection in. This can work for eliminating unwanted rows/columns, or for putting a design into a larger pattern.

Q, I cannot figure how to make the pattern bigger. I got an image imported, used the zoom in, but when I printed it, it was tiny and it was just the grid without a picture. What am I doing wrong?

A. The zoom on screen is just on screen. When printing, you must use the File/PageSetup menu to specify any magnification of the printed pattern. You can also set margins there, to better center the pattern if you desire. BeadWizard does not print the picture, just the bead pattern.

Q. What are the vertical and horizontal bead limits?

A. As to limits, it is essentially unlimited - though the larger the pattern, the more computing horsepower you'll need to keep it moving along. (OK, I just did a quick test and could make a pattern 450x450 beads [32x24 inches!].

Using Imported Images - Converting to Beads

Q. Can I use an image that I create from my scanner from a drawing or xerox copy to create a pattern?

A. That's exactly what's needed. For BeadWizard, be sure to save the image in .bmp (Windows Bitmap) format, as a True Color (or 24bit) color image.

Other Stuff

Q. How does this program handle bead counts. I like to know before I print how many of each bead I'm using.

A. The Pattern Info/Colors menu selection will list the colors from the palette that are actually used, and how many beads of each color. You can select and copy this list, then paste it into Notepad or your word processor. BeadWizard does not directly print this list, yet.

Q. Does it make a beading map? line 1- line 2 etc

Q. How about converting patterns to a word chart?

A. No, I don't have that built in this version. Others have asked about this also, so it'll go high on the list of features for future editions.

Q. Can I print an enlarged version of the pattern? So far, my printing experience results are a pattern which is true to the size of the beads. I prefer to print and bead from a larger than life pattern- say four times the size of the real beads. Can I accomplish this in Bead Wizard?

A. Yes. See the File/Page Setup menu option. Here you can select an enlargement level for printing, and set margins to better place the pattern. The largest magnification is 2X.

Q. Is there a realistic graph available?

A. Do you mean a three-dimensional display, with highlights such as Beadscape does? If so, not yet. If you mean does it create the graph in sizes that realistically portray the beads, yes. I believe I'm using a good average size for Delicas, and displaying them at (initially, without zooming) the realistic size.

Q. Will you be providing software updates as they are available? Will there be a fee for the updates?

A. Updating the program depends in part on how well it does in the market. I have many items on the to-do list for possible future upgrades, but economics do come into play. If I find I must put out a bug-fix release, that would be no charge. Version Upgrades will have a charge (as with most programs), but I would keep it reasonable enough that users will not mind too much (I gotta leave you money to buy beads, after all!)

Q. Will we be able to install Bead Wizard on more than one computer? For instance, if I put it on my ancient pc that I've kept so long because it has BeadPlan on it & I can't move that....then can I put Bead Wizard on a new computer if/when I get one?

A. The license on BeadWizard lets you install it on any computers you own, so long as you only use it on one at a time. I don't mean by that that you have to uninstall it from one and then install on another. Put it on all, just only play with one at a time. (Like I'm really going to come to your house and check up on you ) Just please don't lend it to your beading pals to install on their PCs.

"BeadWizard" and the BeadWizard logo are Trademarks of Black Hills Software.

The BeadWizard character illustration is Copyright 2002, Black Hills Software.

Page updated 4/30/03