Mac Users – Are Your Word Files Huge?

Recently we began receiving reports that Word files using graphics from our products, being created on Mac computers, were becoming outrageously large. For example, a file which would be about 300kB when created on a Windows version of Word was about 40MB on a Mac.

Our investigations indicate that Microsoft has made a change to the Mac version of Word which causes it to internally save graphics in the extremely inefficient TIFF format. On a Windows machine, Word saves the exact same image in the highly efficient PNG format. This difference accounts for the huge file size discrepancy. This problem is nothing to do with Efofex products, any image placed on the clipboard will be treated in the same way. Our products just tend to highlight the problem (so we get the blame). We have NO idea why Microsoft has made this change.

While we have reported this strange behaviour to Microsoft, we are not expecting any action soon – Microsoft simply does not work that way. We anticipate that, at some stage in the future, Microsoft will reverse this change and file sizes will revert back to what they should be.

While we have no way of changing Microsoft’s software, we can help mitigate the problem. In the latest versions we have included a new beta feature which compresses docx Word files. We do this by opening up the file, finding all of the graphics stored as TIFF files and converting them to PNG files. This can often lead to file size reductions of up to 99% with no loss in image quality.

As this is a beta feature, we have made it non-destructive. If you use the compressor, you will see a new version of the file created in the same directory (Geometry Test.docx would become Geometry Test (compressed).docx.) Your original file is untouched and we implore you to check that the new file opens BEFORE deleting the original file.

The new feature is available on both the Mac and Windows versions of our products.

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Change In OLE Support (If You Use The Word Toolbars)

If you use the Efofex Word toolbars on Windows, we have made a change to the support we offer.

Up until the October 29 release, we have included support for using OLE on PowerPoint. This support added a layer of complexity to the OLE service and we have determined that providing this support was a large part of the issues that some users were experiencing with OLE. As very few people use OLE with PowerPoint (it is now a much better idea to use the new, Graphics ID system with PowerPoint) we have decided to remove the PowerPoint support for future releases.

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If you use our toolbars in Word on your Windows machine, we recommend that you download the latest release. It is likely that your experience of OLE will be improved.

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FX MathPack renamed FX Draw Tools

Today we have launched a rebranding of our FX MathPack and FX SciencePack subscription products. From today they will be known as FX Draw Tools and FX Science Tools.

Nothing Else Has Changed

  • The price has not changed.
  • The products included in the subscriptions have not changed.
  • The processes have not changed.
  • Only the names have changed.

Why have we made the change? Simply because the FX MathPack name was causing confusion and did not reflect the primacy of FX Draw as our main mathematical product. The new name makes it clear that the subscription is really for FX Draw and you get some bonus tools added in at no extra charge. FX SciencePack was renamed FX Science Tools for consistency.

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FX Draw – New Matchstick Tool

We have added a matchstick tool to FX Draw. This allows you to quickly draw matchstick diagrams that can be used to teach students how to identify patterns.

The new tool has been added as a “line tool”.

The tool allows you to draw matchsticks in three sizes, each with five different rendering styles.

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This new feature was the direct result of a suggestion from a user and appears in the September 3 release of FX Draw (V7.003.8). Thanks Marian!

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Lots Of Videos

Did you know that we have added nearly seventy training videos to our collection over the last year? The publishing rate is picking up as well. Seventeen of the videos have been published in the last month! Each of the videos provides you with focused information on an aspect of the software.

So How Do You Find The Videos?

Lots of ways. Nearly two hundred people have subscribed to our YouTube channel which you can find here.

Efofex Training YouTube Channel

The channel will automatically notify you when new videos are published.

Alternatively, you will often find video links at the bottom of posts announcing changes or updates. For example, there is a video at the bottom of the post on drawing box plots using a 5 point summary.

Probably the best way to find videos, however, is to use the new “How Do I Create” box at the bottom of every product.

If you type, for example, Box Plots into this box you will be given a list of pages from our help site that talk about Box Plots. All of our videos have been linked into those pages so you can get information on what you want to do at the moment you want to do it.

We are currently producing videos at a frantic pace and linking to them from our help pages. It has never been easier to access training!

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FX Draw – Improved Compass Tools Available

FX Draw has included compass-like tools for many years, but they have always been a bit difficult to use. The latest version of FX Draw (V7.003.7) now includes greatly improved versions of the compass tools.

Circle Compass

Arc Compass

When you choose either the compass circle or compass arc tool, the top toolbar now changes to show you the current setting for the compass radius.

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The compass radius is currently set to 20mm and any compass circle or compass arc drawn at the moment will be drawn with exactly that radius.

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You can explicitly change the radius to any measurement you want, but sometimes you will want to set the radius to something defined in the diagram. For example, I might wish to set a radius to be the length of AB.

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Rather than breaking out Pythagoras, I can measure my radius on the diagram. Push the compass button on the top toolbar.

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You can now draw a standard circle with the centre at A and moving out to B. Once the circle is drawn, the measured radius is automatically entered into the Compass Radius box, ready to be used on subsequent circles.

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Video – Using the New Compass Tools

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New Axes Style Available

The latest versions of FX Draw (V7.003.7), FX Graph (V7.003.3) and FX Stat (V4.003.3) have added a new style of axes that can be used for any graph type.

The new style removes all of the axes and just shows the scale on two sides of the plane. You can choose the style on the Axes page of graph properties.

This graph style has been requested on numerous occasions by a number of different users.

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