Customizing the Screen Designer Interface

The Screen Designer interface, accessed through the workspace Structure view, is made up of a design window and two companion tools. The central design window displays the screen form on which you place controls to create a character-based or graphical user interface for your program. The tools are the Screen Component Toolbox, which displays all of the standard ACUCOBOL-GT screen controls and available ActiveX controls that can be added to your screen form. The Property window displays a configurable list of properties associated with the selected screen or control.

The appearance of the design window and the contents of the Property window are configured through the Screen Designer section of the Tools > Options interface. This topic addresses the options for customizing the appearance of the design window. Property window configuration is discussed in Establishing Screen and Control Defaults.

By default, when you create a new screen or open an existing screen in the Screen Designer, the screen form appears covered with a grid of black dots. This grid does not directly correspond to any generated COBOL code, but instead acts as a visual aid to help you position and align controls on the screen.

To configure the appearance and behavior of this grid:

  1. Open the Tools > Options interface, expand the Screen Designer tree, and select General.
  2. To change the size of the cells making up the grid, enter a number between 3 and 20 in the Grid width and Grid height fields. (You can either select the value from the drop-down list or type the entry in the field.)

    By default, the size of each grid cell is set to a width and height of 10 pixels. This corresponds to the default value for the screen CELL SIZE property.

  3. If you would like each control that you place on the screen form to automatically align to the grid boundaries, mark the Snap to grid check box.

    Note that even when this option is selected, you can still select a control and move it in any direction one pixel at a time by using the keyboard’s arrow keys.

You can also configure one additional Screen Designer behavior through this interface. If, when you draw a new control under an existing control in the Screen Designer, you would like the new control’s left boundary to align to the left boundary of the existing control, mark the Auto alignment check box. This automatic alignment occurs when the boundaries of the two controls are within 5 pixels of each other horizontally.