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Navigation: Interface, Keyboard & Mouse

The Workspace and Canvas

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Unlike a normal graphics program where the image fills the entire editor window, the HelpXplain editor shows a large "workspace" where you can position and edit multiple images and elements. Even if you are editing static images rather than animated Xplains you can work on multiple images in a single window. Each image is stored in a box called a "slide" and you can export each one on its own to normal graphic formats like PNG, BMP or JPG.

The HelpXplain Workspace

The workspace

The workspace is the entire editing area inside the editor window. It is theoretically infinite. It expands in size to accommodate the size of the canvas you define.

The Preview tool


The Preview tool in the HelpXplain toolbar is one of the most useful tools in the entire interface, so it's important to be aware of it. When you click it you get a live, interactive preview of the entire Xplain (project) you are working on, exactly as it would look in a web browser.

The Favorites tool

You will often create elements that you want to reuse. You can do this with the Favorites tool in the Home tab:


Creating Favorites:

1.Select any element or multiple elements in the current slide.

2.Right-click on the element and select Add Selected Object to Favorites in the context menu.
Click on the Favorites tool and select Add Selected Object.

Using Favorites

Select an element in the Favorites preview, then click in the editor to insert it.

Managing Favorites

Select Manage Favorites in the Favorites menu. The favorites are shown in a standard Xplain editor window, just like a slide.

The canvas inside the workspace


The canvas is a rectangular area inside the workspace containing the slides in your Xplain. If you are only editing a single image then the borders of the image and the borders of the canvas will be identical. It is defined automatically by the positions and dimensions of your slides.

What is the purpose of the canvas?

The canvas defines the borders of your Xplain. You cannot place slides outside the canvas – moving a slide simply enlarges the canvas – but you can place objects that belong to slides outside the canvas. If you do this they will then also be outside the "visible window" of your Xplain when it is viewed.

The canvas is not fixed by the original definition. Its borders are automatic, defined by the slides in your Xplain.

Canvas background

The canvas background can be a solid color, transparent or an image loaded from a file.


Transparent background

A transparent background can be useful if you want to put your xplain in a website where you want the background of the containing web page to be visible between the components of your xplain presentation.

The "slippy canvas"


By default HelpXplain uses a "slippy canvas". This means that you can move the canvas around in the editor just by dragging on any empty area of your Xplain with the mouse. You can turn the slippy canvas on and off in the View tab.

Slippy canvas on:
You can tell when the slippy canvas is active because there are no scroll bars in the editor. When the slippy canvas is on you need to hold down SHIFT when dragging with the mouse to select multiple elements.

Slippy canvas off:
When it is off you need to hold down the CTRL key to drag the canvas, and you can draw selection frames directly with the mouse without holding down SHIFT.

The canvas and the preview image

When you publish your Xplains they always include a preview image called preview.jpg. This image has the exact dimensions of your canvas and is shown as the preview in all links to your infographics created with HelpXplain, for example in social media.