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MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

  • 1.  MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 24 days ago

    Happy #MapInfoMonday,

    Today, we are diving into the preferences to highlight 13 that you should give some attention to. The content in this article has earlier been published in a technical support article.

    MapInfo Pro has a wide variety of preferences that control how the software behaves, how it calculates and how it displays elements. This article provides an overview of the most important of these settings. There are more settings to tweak, but these are some common preferences.

    Accessing the preferences

    In MapInfo Pro, the preferences are found on the Backstage area via the PRO tab then Options.

    Units

    Under the Systems Settings in the top left corner, specify the preferred units for displaying area and length. These units will be applied to new map windows and used as a default unit when calculating for instance areas via SQL.

    The paper units will control the units in new layout windows.

    Out of the box, MapInfo Pro uses American units. This can be changed if you normally are using, say centimeters, meters, and hectares or maybe square meters.
    You can also change the units for existing map windows using Map Options


    2. New tables

    Also, under System Settings but in the lower right corner, you find the New Tables options. These settings control how new tables by default will be created. Select between the Standard MapInfo Table format and the new Extended MapInfo Table format. The benefit of the latter is that it isn't limited to 2GB file sizes like the standard MapInfo Table format and that it supports Unicode.

    Using the classic MapInfo Table format or the new Extended MapInfo Table format would depend on the specific use case:

    MapInfo Table format:

    • Having clients or co-workers still using the 32-bit version
    • Not having very big datasets

    Extended MapInfo Table format:

    • Having very big datasets, files larger than 2GB
    • Having many columns. The Extended Table format supports up to 999 columns
    • Working with data from all over the World, say India, Russia, China, Japan - Unicode would be very helpful

    3. Default Object Styles

    In the Style Preferences default styles for new objects when adding new features to a layer/table can be specified.
    Assigning specific 
    Insert Styles for individual layers which will be used when adding a record to a specific layer can also be managed on a per-layer basis using the Layer Settings of the specific layer.

    As defaults, the styles are all black & white but you can change to any color you desire.

    4. Highlight Control

    The Styles Preferences also can specify a certain style to be used on selected features. Selected features will be shown with these styles/colors in the map window.

    Make sure to set a Translucency for the highlighted features. This makes it possible to see when two identical features have been selected. If translucency is not specified, the highlighting of the second will remove the highlighting of the first, and you will not be able to see that the two features are selected. 

    5. File Locations

    Using the Directory Preferences the location of a number of specific file types can be specified. A list of different "file types" that can be specified and locations for such as Tables, Workspaces, SQL Queries, and Images. Either note where files are stored for easy access, or change the locations to a familiar location.

    Change the Initial Directories to a location where your data of that type resides.

    These default file locations will be used for example when opening tables and workspaces.

    The Open dialog has on the left side of the dialog a list of four typical locations. Switch between the MapInfo Places to make it easier to switch between specific file locations.

    6. Performance Settings

    For the Object Processing tools that use multi-threading, the Concurrency Level can be set to influence how many of the cores of the computer will use. It goes from 1 core via 25% of the cores, 50% of the cores, 75% of the cores to all of the available cores. If you set it to Full, it will use all the cores available the computer might be hard to work with outside of MapInfo Pro when MapInfo Pro is using these Object Processing tools.

    The recommended setting is either Aggressive or Intermediate. It can be set to full if requiring the processing speed and you don't have to use the computer while MapInfo Pro is processing data.

    The Smart Indexing option allows MapInfo Pro to evaluate if it's faster to drop the column index before doing table update statements and then create the column index again afterward. In certain cases, this can cut the processing time substantially.

    It is recommended to set Smart Indexing to Auto.

    7. Managing Ribbon Tab Switching

    MapInfo Pro has been built to be context-aware. This means that it will try to reflect the current context - for example, the currently active window - in the ribbon. Some users find this very helpful where other users find it annoying. You can change the Ribbon Tab Switching to None to turn off the switching of tabs.

    8. Ribbon and Tool windows state

    By default, MapInfo Pro will save the current state of the ribbon and the tool windows when shutting down MapInfo Pro. But sometimes, it may be better not to save these changes by default, but save them only for certain changes that need to be kept. This behavior can be controlled via the Application Settings dialog.

    It is suggested to have the states loaded on startup and save on exit for a beginning. Experiment with these settings to suit an individual workflow.

    9. Auto Save Workspace

    With the 64 bit releases of MapInfo Pro, there have been some changes to the way MapInfo Pro works with workspaces - or projects as they might be called in other software products. MapInfo Pro now has the concept of a current workspace. The Workspace Preferences can be used to take better advantage of this concept.

    One of these preferences is the option to Auto Save Workspace every x minutes. In this way, MapInfo Pro will automatically save changes to the workspace while working.

    For Auto Save Workspace, the recommendation is to turn it on in specific situations where a lot of work would be saved to the workspace, such as moving labels and changing layer settings.

    It is recommended that you enable the Backup On Save to keep a backup when overwriting your current workspace file.

    10. Prompt to Save Workspace

    With the introduction of the Current Workspace concept, MapInfo Pro will prompt more aggressively for saving a workspace for example when shutting down MapInfo Pro. To manage this prompting a new setting, Prompt to Save,  was added that can be turned off, or only prompt when a workspace has been opened. It can also be set to prompt every time.

    Most users prefer to have it turned on, but only when a workspace is open.

    The newly added Save Locally if Mapped Drive option (added to MapInfo Pro v2019.3) has been added as we saw a number of customers getting corrupted workspaces when saving these to a mapped network drive. This option saves the workspace locally first, and then it copies the workspace file on to the mapped network drive.

    11. Default Coordinate Systems

    This preference sets the default projection/default coordinate system. You find these preferences on the Projection tab in the Map Preferences dialog.

    The Session Projection can be specified. This is used for example when extracting coordinates from spatial features through SQL queries. The Table Projection is used when you are creating a new table

    It is recommended to set both the projections to the typical coordinate systems used in a country/state/area.

    12. Method for calculating distances/areas

    In the same place as above, set whether you prefer MapInfo Pro to use Spherical or Cartesian distance and area calculation.
    • For projected data Cartesian calculations gives the best result.
    • For lat/Long data Spherical is the only option.
    You can also set this for the individual map using the Map Options dialog.


    ​13. Browser Alternating Row Color

    For browser windows, specify the preferred Alternating Row Color.

    Setting it to a color different from white makes it easier to follow the rows across in the browser window as shown below.


    Stay tuned for another #MapInfoMonday ​post next week!

    ------------------------------
    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Principal Presales Consultant | Distinguished Engineer
    Precisely | Trust in Data
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 24 days ago
    Installed with latest MapBasic under: \SAMPLES\MAPBASIC\DumpPrefs  is the source for a tool that will output the current Preference settings being used in MIPro to an easily readable text file.  See function GetPreference() in Help for detailed info.
    e.g.:
    System Color Default is: Monitor Setting
    System Workspace preference for AutoSave is ON
    Copy Text to Clipboard is CHECKED
    Copy Bitmap to Clipboard is CHECKED
    Copy Windows Metafile to Clipboard is UNCHECKED
    Copy MapInfo Map Object to Clipboard is UNCHECKED
    Copy Windows Enhanced Metafile to Clipboard is CHECKED
    Copy EMF+ to Clipboard for Enhanced windows is selected
    Paper & Layout Units: Inches
    Distance Units: Meters
    Area Units: Square Meters


    ------------------------------
    Bill Wemple
    Principal Software Engineer, Quality Management
    Precisely, Inc
    precisely.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 23 days ago
    Peter,

    What would be great would be a very simple option to save all of these preferences to a file, which can then be loaded on to another installation. Without that, it is a laborious process to ensure all new MapInfo installations have common settings across an organisation - especially things like the file locations lists.

    Thanks

    Matt

    ------------------------------
    Matthew Lee
    Deep End Services
    South Yarra VIC
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 23 days ago
    Hi Matt

    That's a good point you bring up here.
    The settings are saved to the file MapInfoPro.prf stored in your Roaming AppData folder for MapInfo Pro. You can get to this folder using this file path: %AppData%\MapInfo\MapInfo.

    You can configure MapInfo Pro on one computer and then shut down MapInfo Pro. Now the settings are saved to the preference file mentioned above.

    This file can be copied to other computers that should use the same preferences. Be aware that the Roaming AppData location is user-specific. This folder is not created during installation but created when the user starts MapInfo Pro for the first time. You can of course manually create the folder and copy any files into it. This could for example be done with a batch job that also installs MapInfo Pro.

    Also, note that the preference file is used by new versions of MapInfo Pro installed onto a computer where MapInfo Pro already has been used. In these cases, the user will keep his preferences from the earlier version in the new version.

    ------------------------------
    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Principal Presales Consultant | Distinguished Engineer
    Precisely | Trust in Data
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 23 days ago
    Hi all

    When ever I need to re-install MapInfo, there are a number of setting changes I make to the PDF Driver, which can be helpful.

    Under Printing Preferences:
    1. Paper Settings tab:  Change default resolution from 600dpi to 300dpi.  300 dpi is sufficient for most PDF outputs and results in smaller PDF file sizes.
    2. Image Compression tab:  Change Color Image compression from Default Compression to JPEG Compression.  When printing maps with imagery, it also results in smaller file sizes (about half the size), without loss of quality.
    3. PDF Options tab:  Tick on Font Embedding and tick on Embed Licensed Fonts.   Necessary when using certain fonts, otherwise some symbol fonts will be substituted in the PDF.
    4. Advanced Options tab:  Tick on Enable Postscript Simulation.  Rectifies some output issues.

    Cheers

    ------------------------------
    Kalu Ribush
    Dept. Jobs, Precincts & Region (VIC)
    Melbourne VIC
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: MapInfo Monday: 13 Preferences to check and configure in MapInfo Pro

    Posted 23 days ago
    Thanks Kalu,

    Those are all good recommendations.
    And just to make it clear, if you make these adjustments from inside MapInfo Pro, they will only last for the current MapInfo Pro session.

    If you make the changes from the Windows Control Panel (Is that still the name Microsoft uses?) via Printers & Scanner, the settings will stick for good.

    ------------------------------
    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Principal Presales Consultant | Distinguished Engineer
    Precisely | Trust in Data
    ------------------------------