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How do I create a two column document in Mathcad 15?

mshaw-2
1-Newbie

How do I create a two column document in Mathcad 15?

Hello,

How do I create a two column document in Mathcad 15? I would like to mimic the format seen in technical journals that puts both text and equations in two columns on each page. The content at the bottom of the left column would lead into the content at the top of the right column, just like in a newspaper.

There is not a formatting option to do this, but is there a way to adjust page width, or text and math box width to get the same result. There seem to be two big problems with trying to manually manipulate a document into a two column format.

  1. The math will not function properly. Since Mathcad uses a top down variable assignment structure, any variable in the top right hand column would come before the same variable in the bottom left hand column.
  2. Automatically forcing down blocks of equations and text would cause document formatting disasters if a user had to manually position the contents of an entire document.

Thank you for your help.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Matthew,

I have a method that appears to work okay. You will need the free cutepdf program available at cutepdf.com. Similar programs may also work.

  1. Create a new form (paper size) in Windows using the procedure found on the FAQ page on the cutepdf website. The size should be 4.25 in x 11 in.
  2. In devices and printers, set cutepdf Writer as the default printer. Right click on the printer picture and then click on set as default printer. This step is needed so the new form size will show up in mathcad.
  3. Open your Mathcad program and go to page setup. Select the new form. Set the margins. I used 0.25 in margins on left and right.
  4. Create your worksheet. If your worksheet was already created, you may have to resize text regions within the new page size.
  5. Print to cutepdf file as normal, using the single column form and portrait. DON'T print two columns per sheet at this step.
  6. Open the pdf file created in step 5 with Adobe reader.
  7. Keep cutepdf writer as the printer in Adobe, but select letter size paper this time.
  8. Click on "multiple" , select "custom" and fill in 2 by 1 in the fields on the right. The example figure should show two side by side columns of the first two pages.
  9. Click on "print" to create another pdf file with the two column layout. You probably should give this file a new name.
  10. You probably should reset your normal printer as the default if you are through with the two column needs for awhile.

Now you have a pdf file in two column format that you can send to a publisher. Or you can print the file by selecting your printer in Adobe and making sure that letter size is selected and that you have not opened the multiple option for this printing.

I have attached a simple example of the final product.

Update: the above works for Mathcad 15, not Prime.

View solution in original post

19 REPLIES 19
RichardJ
19-Tanzanite
(To:mshaw-2)

The Mathcad UI is like a whiteboard. It executes from top left to bottom right. There are no pages, let alone columns. The dashed lines you see for pages apply only to printing, not to the way the document calculates. It is possible to simulate what you want, in a limited way, by creating two text regions, one on the left of a "page" and one on the right. Then insert math in the text regions as needed. You can't insert graphs or anything else though, only text and math, so this approach is rather limited.

There may be a way, but a two column page will severely limit the size of your math equations.

I don't have all of the software needed, but I think the following approach might work. What you are really after is a two column document that you can publish or send to a publisher. This usually means a pdf file these days. So the end result is a pdf file with two columns, not a Mathcad program with two columns.

Start with Mathcad. Set the right margin to a little less than the midpoint of the 8.5" sheet of paper. The "little less" is to allow for a margin in the column. Set the left margin accordingly.

Now create your Mathcad worksheet normally, down that column, from page to page. Don't use any columns to the right. This will allow the worksheet to compute correctly in sequential manner.

Now comes the hard part. Find a pdf creator program that will print two pages per sheet of paper, in two columns. All odd pages will be in the left column and the following even page will be in the right column. PDFCreator doesn't do that, but I think you might be able to spend some money and get that capability. PDF Architect has a Forms addon that might be able to do it.

Good luck, and let us know here if you get something that works!

I see one more requirement for the pdf program. It has to be able to take what is within the margins of the Mathcad worksheet and put it into its own column margins. That could be hard to find. PDF Creator can put two pages on one sheet, but it includes the wide margin as part of the page, not just the text portion.

If you have a publisher in mind, maybe they have a program that can take your single narrow column and reformat it to a two column layout?

This problem may be overcome if you create a new paper size which is half the width of the paper you intend the finished product to be on. You create this in the printer option dialog, not within Mathcad. After you have done this you can chose that paper size in Mathcad and create your worksheet. Using the appropriate software it could be possible to print two pages on one sheet of normal size, side by side. Not sure which software or printer driver would allow for that, maybe fineprint and pdffactory are worth a look.

Werner,

That's the road I've been trying to follow, but my HP 5510 printer doesn't seem to have the abilitiy to create a new paper size for computer printing. However, both PDF Creator and CutePDF allow two pages per sheet printing. So if a printer can be found that allows setting a 4.25" x 11" page size (or half of whatever paper needed), the method will work. I've tried the process with Mathcad and the KG page size and it worked.

Update:

I found that PDF Creator allows custom paper sizes, so I created one of the right size. But there is still a problem. The margins set in Mathcad 15 have to be based on one of the fixed paper sizes shown in Mathcad. It doesn't know about the new size to be used by the PDF Creator program. I'll play with this some more tomorrow.

I haven't played around with this for various reasons. Mainly because I think that Matthew was just looking for an easy way to do it, like chosing some hidden configuration settings. And then I think I will never be in need for that kind of feature, as setting all the font sizes down to a size where two columns may make sense wouldn't be appreciated by my old eyes ;-). OK, maybe a better idea would be to make the custom sheet twice a high as the standard sheet and let the printing do the scaling, if that would be possible.

The subject Mathcad and presentation quality comes up in this forum now an then (mostly when it comes to the quality of graphs) and the conclusion always is, that Mathcad simple isn't the tool to use - unfortunately.

You should be able to chose the new paper size in Mathcad, but only if you chose the printer you made it for ( in page setup menu, bottom right "Printer").

But I am not sure if it would be possible to chose the half width page in Mathcad and the full width page in the printer driver. I guess this could be the banana skin.

Matthew,

I have a method that appears to work okay. You will need the free cutepdf program available at cutepdf.com. Similar programs may also work.

  1. Create a new form (paper size) in Windows using the procedure found on the FAQ page on the cutepdf website. The size should be 4.25 in x 11 in.
  2. In devices and printers, set cutepdf Writer as the default printer. Right click on the printer picture and then click on set as default printer. This step is needed so the new form size will show up in mathcad.
  3. Open your Mathcad program and go to page setup. Select the new form. Set the margins. I used 0.25 in margins on left and right.
  4. Create your worksheet. If your worksheet was already created, you may have to resize text regions within the new page size.
  5. Print to cutepdf file as normal, using the single column form and portrait. DON'T print two columns per sheet at this step.
  6. Open the pdf file created in step 5 with Adobe reader.
  7. Keep cutepdf writer as the printer in Adobe, but select letter size paper this time.
  8. Click on "multiple" , select "custom" and fill in 2 by 1 in the fields on the right. The example figure should show two side by side columns of the first two pages.
  9. Click on "print" to create another pdf file with the two column layout. You probably should give this file a new name.
  10. You probably should reset your normal printer as the default if you are through with the two column needs for awhile.

Now you have a pdf file in two column format that you can send to a publisher. Or you can print the file by selecting your printer in Adobe and making sure that letter size is selected and that you have not opened the multiple option for this printing.

I have attached a simple example of the final product.

Update: the above works for Mathcad 15, not Prime.

View solution in original post

Well done, Harvey.

I also noticed, that under Win7 you don't get the Printer selection button in Mathcads page setup dialog window. So probably setting the pdfprinter as default as you wrote is the only way here.

I just tried your proposal, but I used a page of double height instead of half width. It worked OK but I just noticed that Mathcad will make the page breaks as it would be a normal sized page and not double height. Not sure if io made something wrong.

I just tried and 8.5x22 in form and it worked fine in Mathcad 15. This approach will allow longer lines, but they will be reduced in print size when printed.

You probably didn't select the new form size in Mathcad.

HARVEY HENSLEY wrote:

I just tried and 8.5x22 in form and it worked fine in Mathcad 15. This approach will allow longer lines, but they will be reduced in print size when printed.

You probably didn't select the new form size in Mathcad.

Not sure about that. When I went to page preview in Mathcad I saw the long page, but it would be only filled up to half its height as it it shown by the page breaks in the normal view. I just gave it quick try and maybe I got confused over wher to set which paper size. Will give it a second try in some leisure hour.

Werner,

It does seem that the print preview sometimes takes a few tries before it gets it correct. I don't know what the secret is.

One thing I should add is that the paper size for the last file or printing by Adobe of the two column format needs to be set in the Printer>Properties>Paper/Quality>Advanced location. Select Letter (or your appropriate size).

Attached is the final pdf which was based on an 8.5x22 inch column which was then reduced to 4.25x11 for the 2 column format.

Great job, Harvey. Its a pity that Matthew seems to have lost interest.

I assure you that I have not lost interest. Just side tracked by projects with more urgent deadlines.

Harvey, thanks for the great suggestions, I'm looking forward to trying them out. When that happens I'll let the community know how that turns out.

Thank you all for the help!

Werner_E
24-Ruby IV
(To:mshaw-2)

Matthew Shaw wrote:

I assure you that I have not lost interest.

Glad to hear! 😉

Matthew,

You are welcome. It was a fun challenge. I hope you find a use for the procedure. For my reactor modeling book I had to go the other direction and print landscape to get things on a page.

The examples I posted included a border around each column. You can exclude that if you wish. Also, once you create the two column pdf file, if you decide to print it, you need to switch the printer, and unselect the multiple page button. The letter size should already be set in the file.

If you do want the border, you may need to create a page in the windows forms that is just under half width. When I printed one the border lines on the left and right did not appear.

I know there are a lot of steps, but once you learn them it is not difficult, and the first few don't need to be repeated once the new page form has been created in Windows.

Harvey

Very well done Harvey!

I just had time to run through this example and I have been able to create the attached PDF document. As you can see from this file there is a thurough derivation of a hydrodynamics governing equation that I have succesfully includeded. I am well on the way to having a document that I can send in a two column format!

Now, I have issues with equations being too long and "Ctrl + enter" does not help. As you can see in the attached PDF, the 3rd to last equaiton has run off the page. Using "Ctrl + enter" after the minus sign still leaves the exponent hanging over the right margin. I've done some searching on equation wraping in Mathcad and found that the best option is to create variables that can be strung together with the correct arithmetic operations. I find that process obscures the true purpose of an equation. I will search for my own equation wrapping solution, let's not convolute this thread with something that should be a seperate topic.

As a last request to finalize the two column page. Modifying the page numbers might be a good final touch to make this two column page format complete. Each column currently gets its own "page number". Tricking Mathcad into only paginating the ODD number pages, but with consecutive numbering, would leave each two colum page with its own centered page number.

Thank you agin for a great and quick solution!

Instead of having page numbers in Mathcad, maybe you can get Adobe Reader to create page numbers for the final file with the two columns. That way there would only be one page number for each sheet. I think this is possible, but I'll leave it to you.

I don't know if Adobe Reader can add footers with page numbers, but I know for sure that pdffactory and/or fineprint can add headers, footers and also watermarks with date, time, page numbers. They are commercial programs, though (both of the same company).

Having numbered columns will work fine for my current use and distribution of the Two Column document. Werner you're right that Adobe Reader does not have the functionality to add page numbers. I think I share a hope with other Mathcad users that the program can be a Math program which creates LaTeX quality documents. Mathcad is a very good program, but as I manually adjusted the width of all my text blocks I could hear Donald Knuth groaning

Back to how well Mathcad works, I was able to fit the long equation within the column just by trusting Mathcad's built-in units management. In the document I previously attached I had been preforming unit conversion within the equation.

Thanks again!

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