Contextual formatting tool delivers layout sophistication

EidosMedia has added a new formatting tool to its Prime interface, used to create and publish research.

Chief product officer Ismail Gazarin says the new 'Tag Wizard' feature represents an unusual combination of power and simplicity. "Authors apply highly complex formatting with a single click from a context-sensitive menu," he says.

"The menu shows only those options that are applicable at the current cursor position, so users can quickly see and select even the most complicated styles, without searching through format menus."

The Prime interface is used by global financial groups to create and publish research through digital and conventional channels, as well as by leading news-media groups.

The new interface wizard applies styles ranging from simple text formats such as bold and italic, to complex layout structures like embedded block-quotes and sidenotes in the margin, involving the simultaneous setting of a dozen or more text attributes with a single click.

Table formats and graphics layouts are applied in the same way, allowing rich, complex paginations to be created in seconds. Matrix galleries of images and charts are inserted and populated with multiple graphic elements with a few clicks of the mouse.

"The Prime user interface has a rich feature set rivalling those of dedicated page-design applications," says Ismail. "But such a large range of options risks becoming unwieldy for the user. The contextual approach puts a wide range of powerful formatting tools at the user's fingertips, while maintaining the simplicity and usability of the interface."

The wizard owes its flexibility to the end-to-end use of XML for all content handling. It is highly configurable: the menu options can be changed and extended by editing a file describing the document elements and the style attributes applicable to each element. Authors can create rich, elegant layouts without the need for specialized graphic skills."