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Teaching Tools: Help

Welcome to the Square One Teaching Tools Help documentation. This is the on-line help file that accompanies the Teaching Tools Teaching Tools software. You can use the menu below or displayed on the left of this page to navigate.


Teaching Tools are a series of utilities and applets initially developed to explain and demonstrate important building analysis concepts through animation and interactive play. Their graphical nature makes them useful to individuals interested in the field, in demonstrations by teachers, lecturers and academics or to student groups used as part of structured workshops. Over the past few years they have been gradually refined through use in a range of different courses and are now available for public download.













Window Controls

In the top-right corner of each tool you will find the Window Controls. These allow you to access the context menu (described below) as well as minimising, maximising and exiting the tool.

At the time of writing, maximising is fine, however there is a problem with restoring the window on some computers. The issue is that the window retains its maximised size whilst reverting to its original position within the screen. If you experience this problem, simply move the window (see below for more details) such that you can access the Resize button (again see below for more details) and then dragthe window to the size you require.

The Context Menu

All the teaching tools share a set og common context menu items. You can access this menu anytime using either the menu button in the Window Controls area or by right-clicking the mouse anywhere in the tools main window.

Open Data File...

This menu item displays the Windows File Open dialog allowing you to select a file to be openned by the Teaching Tool.

All the Teaching Tools share a very similar ASCII text file format. This comprises a series of lines of the form token = value. Each token is specific to a particular type of data not a particular tool. Each tool can read any of the files created by any other tool, but will pick and choose only the data it can actually use from each file.

This means that, where several tools share similar types of data, you can easily share information between them. As described below, the same data and format is used for copy/paste, so you can just as easily transfer data between tools directly.

The following is an example of a file:

# squ1 Design Sky
# Date: Tue Aug 1 09:23:26 GMT+0100 2006
# User: saram2 on SQU3

Latitude = 53
DesignSky = 6300 Lux
Save Values to File...

This menu item displays the Windows File Save As dialog, allowing you to create a new data file or overwrite an existing one. Each tool saves both input and output data to its file. Hence, in some tools, you may have to perform calculations before the result values become available.

Copy Values to Clipboard

This item takes exactly the same data that would be saved to a file and places it in the same format as text in the Windows Clipboard. From there you can then paset it into any other Teaching Tool and, if it recognisies any of the tokens, it will automatically update.

This way you can easily share data between tools or copy/paste results from any tool into a word processor or spreadsheet.

Paste Values from Clipboard

When you choose this item, the tool will attempt to read the text currently contained in the Windows Clipboard. If it finds any recognisable tokens within the text, it will interpret them and update itself with the new values.

The tools are quite tolerant of different text formats so you can even copy/paste data from other applications.

Remember Window Position

Select this item to store the current position of the tool within your screen as the default start-up position. By default the tool will be positioned by Windows relative to the last openned application window in your current session.

Forget Window Position

Select this item to clear any previously set window positions.

Toggle Window Scale | Aspect Ratio

By default, each tool will retain its aspect ratio and scale to the size you choose. However, some tools display graphs or images where the exact size is important so you can use these items to toggle on/off the scale and aspect ratio features.


Displays the Windows Print dialog allowing you to print the current tool's window to a printer on your system.


Closes the teaching tool. You should be aware that these tools do not consider changes to their data to significant, so you will not be prompted to save before exiting.

Moving and Resizing

You can move any Teaching Tool around on your screen by clicking and dragging the left mouse button in any unused area of its main window. Obviously this means not clicking inside a button or on an option selector, however these are clearly indicated by a Hand cursor.

You can resize any tool using the Resize button located in the bottom-left corner of its main window. Simply click and drag the left mouse button on the indicated slashed lines and you should see a 'rubber-banding' line indicating the new size of the window.

By default, the tools will try to maintain their original aspect ratio so may not occupy the full area of the new window size. However at least one full dimension will be used.


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