Montage Help Contents Montage Help

Desktop Windows

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When you launch Montage, the main window that appears is called a Montage Desktop (not to be confused the Windows desktop, written in all lower case).  Any number of Montage Desktop windows can be open simultaneously, subject to the limitations of your computer's memory and screen space.  Each Desktop is associated with its own Montage metafile, and these can be opened and manipulated independently.

A Montage Desktop window is movable and resizable, and it includes standard optional elements, such as a title bar, a main menu, a background, and a status bar.  Some essential components that are not always visible are the Montage Options context menu and the built-in timer.  The interior of a Desktop contains an arrangement of user-defined Montage Shortcuts (with or without icons), each of which can launch virtually any sort of Windows application.  In addition to Shortcuts, a Desktop can contain any number of built-in viewers (not shown in the screen shot below).  Whatever options and arrangement of the view you construct is saved automatically (or manually), so you can later restore the same state simply by opening a montage.

Annotated screen shot of a Montage DesktopAnatomy of a Desktop

This annotated screen shot shows the basic elements of the "standard" style of Montage Desktop on the Windows desktop, including an open Shortcut (outlined in red) and its associated external application window, an instance of Notepad.  This montage was launched by double-clicking on the link to "sample montage.mo3", at the top.  The context menu was activated by right-clicking on the Montage Desktop window's background.

You can choose any background color for each Montage Desktop, but a more interesting stylistic variation is the graphical montage, which has a background image or wallpaper overlayed with transparent Shortcuts.  In either case, the same basic features and capabilities are supported.


Just as Windows allows you to display a background image that covers the desktop, Montage has a similar ability for each of its Desktop windows.  Supported image file types include .ANI, .BMP, .CUR, .DIB, .GIF, .ICO, and .JPG.  In addition, Montage supports up to nine alternate wallpapers, which can be rapidly switched, either through menus or hot keys.  This feature is particularly useful in connection with graphical montages, where each background may represent entirely different picture of the same area.  For example, one wallpaper might display a photographic image of region of the sky, another could add annotations identifying constellation lines and named stars, another could include superimposed grid lines as a coordinate reference, and additional wallpapers might display the same region in different spectral ranges, e.g. radio frequencies, infrared, x-ray, etc.  The placement of Shortcuts on top of these backgrounds would be exactly the same, but the appearance could change dramatically as one switches between different wallpapers.

The View menu has a Wallpaper submenu, including commands to Insert, Append, Change, or Remove a wallpaper from the list associated wallpapers for this montage.  Each wallpaper can be selected via an Alt+number key combination, or by picking one of the numbered choices listed at bottom of the menu.  Also you can cycle between available wallpapers by pressing F3 to see the next or Shift+F3 for the previous wallpaper.  An option allows you to toggle the wallpaper display on or off, and the fit-to-wallpaper option causes Montage to automatically size the Desktop to fit the dimensions of the wallpaper graphic.  (If the image is smaller than the Desktop window, it is tiled repeatedly to fill the entire background.)  The Desktop context menu's Background submenu includes most of the basic wallpaper commands and options, plus some that are less frequently used.

Working in combination with dynamic Internet fetching, Montage's support of wallpapers effectively provides a powerful image browsing capability.  Unlike a conventional browser, which simply displays an image, Montage makes it possible to precisely annotate and interconnect related images, integrating local files and applications with an unlimited amount of graphical content, which can be automatically retrieved on demand across the Internet.

The timer

Each Montage Desktop has its own internal timer, responsible for periodically monitoring and refreshing various dynamic elements, such as highlighting open Shortcuts, auto-detection, tracking external Shortcut properties, refreshing dynamic Explorer icons, and displaying Shortcut tips.  Options relating to timer settings are under the More, Timer Refresh and More, Advanced submenus, and Tips, Delay Time in the global Shortcuts dialog.  (It shouldn't be necessary to change these from their default settings, unless you have a very slow machine.)

Montage Options context menu

When you right-click over the background area of a Montage Desktop, a context menu appears.  This context menu allows you to perform most of the actions that can be done through the main menu, plus some additional ones.  (Menu options appearing in dark green apply only when built-in viewers are enabled.)

Tip: Don't be intimidated by the complexity of this menu - frequently used commands and options are readily accessible, and many are also provided through the main menu.  Since these "global" settings are assigned and preserved on a per-montage basis, it should not be necessary to adjust most settings more than once.  By employing a few template montages with your preferred settings, you can create new montages that are already configured to a convenient starting point.

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Montage Help page, last edited: 12/31/10 16:20
Copyright SpaceTime Systems 2003-2011