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Key Order

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I believe it uses the order that they were inserted into the drawing. So the first instrument you used is the first instrument on the list.

Not terribly helpful.

It also does a very poor job of summing things like PARs - 4 or more symbols for the same fixture with different lenses or lamps. And S4 ellipsoidals - many times venues will have more lens tubes than bodies. The built in key tool can't handle that at all.

You're better off making your own.



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Hello Petri

Yes, reports can be sorted and summed. But the Key to Instrumentation is a command in the Spotlight workspace.

Instead of a regular report, it produces a group of text blocks and symbols - not a worksheet. So there is very little ability to customize it.

Unfortunate, since it doesn't count some instruments in a real world way.


Edited by michaelk
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If your programming skill are limited, I fear for the rest of us.

It would be interesting to see how other lighting designers make their keys.

I tend to use a basic standard key that I adjust for each project. The equipment varies so much from project to project that I've found it difficult to make a key that works for everything.

Even with the philosopher's stone, isn't it 12 really complicated steps to turn a report into a golden key?

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Thanks to all for their advice. In the end I took what it generated and re-ordered it myself.

Petri, its true I could have easily created a report but it would have been missing the visuals. I tend to use the key more for identifying symbols and turned the counting part of it off. I'm surprised there is not an option for combining a visual for a symbol with a worksheet.

Knowing that it probably sorts based on symbol insertion order helps for new documents. This is what I suspected the order was.

In the end, I suspect a wish list item might be a field in the lighting instrument record that numbers a instrument type's position in the key (and also in the Lightwright instrument maintenance sort order).

I think each designer's key order may be personal preference. I tend to order by manufacturer and then type. As an example -

Altman 6" Fresnel

Altman 6x9

Altman 6x12

Strand 3380 Fresnel

Strand 6x9

Strand 6x12

ETC Parnel

ETC Source 4-40?

Thanks again,


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I'm not sure it's possible even for Tiresias to come up w/ a key everyone will like...

For example: Unlike Kevin, who groups by manufacturers, I group the key by types. All the conventionals first. ie. Ellipsoidals by manufacturer, then beam -widest to narrowest (or narrowest to widest), then zooms - then Pars (widest to narrowest or...) - then fresnels (largest lens to smallest or...) -then strips/cyc lights, then movers by manufacturer ... then accessories...

But I think everyone does it a little differently. It resists solutions that use classes or alphabetical order, - although symbol folder is an interesting idea... Sometimes I find it useful to include symbols that haven't been used because I want the option to add them later w/o reformatting the key. As you say, many potential logical problems...

The trick is getting the key to do things (that the current Key to Instrumentation command doesn't even attempt to do) like

~total all the parts that make up multi circuit units correctly

~count the total number of Pars - and the total number of lenses/lamps

~count the total number of S4 ellipsoidals - and the total number of each lens tube

~format in an easy-to-read and attractive way

It's not difficult, it just means tweeking the key worksheet for each drawing. (unless you use the same equipment for every drawing.)

It's not a new wish, but I wish there was a way to insert symbols into worksheet cells. The best alternative is to insert the instrument symbols as regular symbols on top of the key worksheet. (so the key symbols don't get counted in the key!) [or if regular symbols are being keyed, then converting the key instances to groups]

And I agree wholeheartedly that a VW-wide key tool is needed.


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I have a symbol key PIO under development. I've put it on the back burner for some other plug-ins, but I can move it up if there's interest.

The way I establish symbol order is to present a dialog with available symbols on the left and list for the key on the right. You can move symbols into the key list and reorder any way you wish.

Because it's a PIO, changing the key list automatically updates the key. Changing font, spacing, scale (it's layer scale independent for including on sheet layers), etc. can be done on the fly.

I can probably incorporate most of your needs.

I've attached an image of one of my key symbols generated with the working version of the plug-in:



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