by Steve Lopez

Last week we looked at a ChessBase 8 feature geared toward chess instructors distributing their lessons in the electronic medium. But a significant number of chess teachers like to create printed handouts of chess problems. There are also quite a few players who like to create tactics worksheets for themselves, to be used on occasions when they're not at a computer. How can this be accomplished?

ChessBase 8 allows the user to make multi-diagram printouts, i.e. paper printouts in which more than one diagram appears on the page. It's a pretty simple process in which the trick is to understand the procedural stuff.

Obviously, the first step is to have a game open on the screen, and to be sure the current position is one you want as part of your printout. Go to the File menu, select "Print", and then select "Insert diagram in list" from the submenu. You'll see the following dialogue appear:

This dialogue lets you set various configuration options to determine how the diagram will be displayed. The dialogue opens to the "Print diagram" tab, so we'll look at these options first. In the "Options" section, you'll see a number of check boxes:

The next section is "Style". You have two options here -- "Black and white", which (obviously) means that you get a standard black and white board with no colors used, while "Board on screen" means that the same style of board and pieces that appears on your computer monitor will also appear in the printout, including the board and piece colors. As a caveat, let me say that black and white is the way to go here if you're planning on photocopying your printout to create handouts for your students/chess club/ etc., unless you have access to a color copier. A gorgeous color printout may look hideous when photocopied on a black and white copier.

"Size" is the next section. "Default size" is already checked, in which the program determines the size of each diagram. Unchecking the box, however, activates the "Size" and "Indent" boxes, which let you resize the diagram and set its indentation from the left margin of the page.

Another file tab at the top of this dialogue is "Coordinates". Leave the "Coordinates" box checked if you want algebraic coordinates displayed on the board's edges in your diagram. If you leave this box checked, you'll get a list of various configuration options (such as "All sides" or "Bottom and left") which should be self-explanatory. Unchecking the box negates the whole shebang and provides no coordinates in the diagram's margins.

The third file tab is "Diagram title" which lets you set a headline ("header") and/or footline ("footer") for that diagram. There are check boxes for both "Headline" and "Bottomline". The headline appears above the diagram in the printout; selecting "Players" inserts the player names for the game from which the diagram was taken, while "Print text" lets you type your own header text in the box provided.

"Bottomline" provides still more options:

After you've set these parameters, click "OK" to add the diagram to your ongoing diagram list.

When you're ready to print the diagram list, go to the File menu, select "Print", and then "Print diagram list" from the submenu. This displays a preview of what your printout will look like on the page. Click the "Print" button in this display to print out the diagrams.

You can clear the entire list (removing all diagrams from the list at one shot) by going to the File menu, selecting "Print", and then "Edit diagram list" from the submenu. In the dialogue that appears, click "Clear" and then "OK", which removes all diagrams from the list at a single pass.

Experiment with the different printout options -- the print preview feature lets you easily view the result without having to physically print out page after page until you find the configuration you desire.

Until next week, have fun!

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