Software from Md. lets you make custom graph paper

APPLE A DAY

Plugged In

August 30, 2007|By DAVID ZEILER

Here's a question for those of you who went back to school this week, particularly those focused on mathematics: Where do you get custom-made graph paper?

Thanks to a Westminster company called Black Cat Software, you can use your Mac to do it with Graph Paper Maker (shareware, $19.99). Black Cat has produced quite a few shareware products for the Mac since its founding in 1991, such as Audiocorder, a nicely executed sound recording program.

I can barely remember using graph paper when I was in school, but as an English major I treated math the way Mac aficionados treat Windows -- I dealt with it only if necessary. Doing a quick search on Google revealed numerous sources of free PDF graph paper files, but among those PDF files are many permutations. If you need something tailored to a specific situation, you could be in for a lot of hunting.

That's the purpose of Graph Paper Maker: It provides complete control over the creation of a grid. Options include not just power over line spacing but also the thickness and color of the lines; the size and font of the labels; linear or log scales and even the paper size. Should you want to generate something quickly with less fuss, there's an Easy Graph Wizard that winnows your options to a less daunting eight data fields.

When you've finished adjusting all those settings, a click on the Generate button creates and saves a PDF file of your graph paper. To print copies, you'll need only open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader or Apple's own Preview application included on all Macs. Once you have the PDF file, you can open that customized graph paper any time you want to print more copies -- you don't need to re-create it in Graph Paper Maker.

In addition to square grids, Graph Paper Maker has a menu that offers a few more exotic variations, including Isometric Graph Paper, Axonometric Graph Paper, Trapezoid Graph Paper and Hexagon Graph Paper.

Don't ask me what people use it for. But someone must need this stuff; Graph Paper Maker debuted just over a year ago. And Black Cat has covered just about every possible customer. Not only is the Mac OS X version Universal Binary, the latest release -- 1.6.1, released Aug. 16 -- also can be had for Mac OS 9. How many companies are releasing software for OS 9 these days? Oh, and there's a Windows version, too.

Dave Zeiler blogs about Macs and other Apple products at baltimoresun.com/apple.

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