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Format Brush

The Format Brush and the accompanying Format Palette of Atlantis allow you to format documents in a fast, simple and convenient way.

You can use a special mouse cursor, the Format Brush to literally "paint" your draft documents. You can add formatting to your documents just as an artist adds touches of color to his/her picture. Even the most complex formatting jobs can be done exclusively with the mouse, using the Format Brush and its companion Format Palette.

The Format Palette will be your best introduction to the Format Brush mode. As a default offering, the Format Palette includes a selection of useful formatting templates. You could customize this Format Palette in any way you choose, just as painters do with their own palette (this can be done through the Format Palette panel of the Control Board).

Use of the Format Palette is very easy:

1) Use the down arrow to the right of the "Format Brush" button:

to pull down the Format Palette:

2) Click a desired template item from the above Format Palette.

The special Format Brush mouse cursor is automatically displayed, ready to be used. It carries the formatting characteristics of the selected item.

3) Make a selection of text in your document with this special Format Brush cursor. The appropriate formatting is immediately and automatically applied to your selection.


By selecting any formatting template item from the Format Palette, you will automatically turn the Format Brush mode ON. Until you change the chosen formatting characteristics, the Format Brush will carry them, to be applied to any selection made with it.

You can also turn the Format Brush mode ON by toggling the corresponding "Format Brush" toolbar button first.

When the Format Brush mode is OFF, the corresponding toolbar button is unselected:

When the Format Brush mode is ON, the button is outlined in Aqua blue:

When the Format Brush mode is OFF, all toolbar buttons relating to text formatting (font type, font size, bold, italic, underline, etc, font color, alignment, line spacing, bulleting) show the formatting of the current document selection, if any, or of the text at the current cursor position:

When the Format Brush mode is ON, all toolbar buttons relating to text formatting (font type, font size, bold, italic, underline, etc, font color, alignment, line spacing, bulleting) behave in a different way. These formatting buttons are outlined or highlighted in a special manner, using 3 different colors to indicate the formatting characteristics currently carried by the Format Brush:

  • Formatting characteristics of buttons outlined or highlighted in Aqua blue will not be applied by the Format Brush to a selection. Let's take the above picture as an example. With the above formatting Palette selection, applying the Format Brush to a selection of text will not change font face, font size, italic, subscript/superscript, font color, paragraph alignment etc. The corresponding toolbar buttons are all outlined or highlighted in Aqua blue. They are in a "neutral", unselected, inoperative state.

  • On the contrary, formatting characteristics outlined or highlighted in Red will be applied (added) to any text selected with the Format Brush. In the above picture and example, the Format Brush will ADD the Bold attribute to any selection of text.

    By applying this particular Format Brush setting to a selection, you would for example change

    "Atlantis" to "Atlantis",
    or "Atlantis" to "Atlantis",
    or "Atlantis" to "Atlantis".

    Only the Bold attribute is added in these examples because only the Bold button has a red outline in the toolbar.

  • A third color is used to outline or highlight formatting buttons in the Format Brush mode. Formatting characteristics outlined or highlighted in Blue (eg the Underline button in the above picture) will be removed (undone) from any selection of text made with the Format Brush.

    Let's take the above picture and example again. As we have seen, this particular Format Brush will add the Bold attribute to any selection of text made with it. But there is more formatting carried by the Format Brush in this example. The Underline button is outlined in Blue in this toolbar. So the Format Brush will remove underline (if any) from the selection of text you make with it.

    So by applying the same Format Brush setting to a selection, you would for example also change
    "Atlantis" to "Atlantis",
    or "Atlantis" to "Atlantis",
    or "Atlantis" to "Atlantis", etc, etc.

    In all of the above examples Bold is added and Underline is taken away when present.


First click the Format Brush button to toggle the Format Brush mode ON. It will then look this way:

You can immediately define any combination of toolbar formatting characteristics simply by clicking on the corresponding toolbar buttons.

Never forget the Atlantis Format Brush Color Code:

  1. Aqua blue is the "neutral", unselected, inoperative state for the corresponding button.
  2. Red is for ADDING the corresponding formatting characteristics to a selection made with the Format Brush.
  3. Blue is for REMOVING the corresponding formatting characteristics from a selection made with the Format Brush.

Give any appropriate number of clicks on any single toolbar formatting button until you achieve the proper color coding for the button. Take your pick of formatting characteristics this way and you will instantly create a Format Brush carrying your customized formatting characteristics. Make a selection of text with this customized Format Brush. All the formatting characteristics carried by your customized Format Brush will be immediately and automatically applied to your selection.

Note that you can also choose which Font Type and/or Font Size will be applied by your customized Format Brush. Simply turn the Format Brush mode ON and pull down the Font Type list from the toolbar. All font types installed on your system will be available for selection from the list:

When you select, then click a font type in the above list, the Atlantis toolbar display changes to reflect the Format Brush new settings. You obviously can carry out the same procedure to set the font size from the Font Size combo box. Here is a screen capture:

In the above picture and example, the currently active Format Brush will apply (add) Comic Sans MS 12 (red color code) to any selection made with it.

So using this particular setting of the Format Brush, you would change

"Atlantis" (Arial 11) to "Atlantis" (Comic Sans MS 12),
"Atlantis" (Arial 11) to "Atlantis" (Comic Sans MS 12),
"Atlantis" (Arial 11) to "Atlantis" (Comic Sans MS 12), etc, etc.

Now suppose you have the following Format Brush settings:

This particular Format Brush carries the Bold, Italic and Comic Sans MS 12 formatting characteristics. Let's suppose further that you no longer wish to apply the Comic Sans MS font type formatting to any new selection. All you have to do is to insert your mouse caret in the Font Type combo box, delete the text found in there, then press Enter on your keyboard. You will get the following display:

The Font Type combo box is no longer highlighted in Red and does not display any specific font type any longer. Instead it has taken on the Aqua blue "neutral" color. This means that the newly set Format Brush will only carry the 12 font size attribute to be applied to any new selection made with it.

Note: you could apply the same method to the Font Size combo box to cancel the Font Size characteristics from that particular Format Brush.


Now let's suppose you want to create a Format Brush carrying formatting characteristics which are not directly available from your current toolbar arrangement. You can no longer use the above procedure and simply toggle or select available toolbar formatting commands. In such cases you have to call up the Font Format and Paragraph Format dialogs to specify formatting characteristics that are not accessible through the toolbar controls, eg paragraph indents, character spacing, interparagraph spacing, etc. These dialogs can be accessed through the Format | Font... and Format | Paragraph... main menu commands respectively.


Let's sum up. The Format Brush mode works in the following way:

  • Activate the Format Brush mode by clicking the corresponding toolbar Button image button.
  • Specify the formatting characteristics that you wish the Format Brush to carry. You can use
    - either the available toolbar formatting buttons or combo boxes,
    - or the Font Format and Paragraph Format dialogs to specify formatting characteristics not directly accessible from the toolbar.

Note: toggle the toolbar button or press the Esc key to deactivate the Format Brush mode.

As we mentioned at the top of this page, there is an alternative and convenient way to load your Format Brush with the appropriate formatting characteristics. You can choose any of the format templates already available from the Format Palette. Use the down arrow to the right of the special Format Brush button:

to pull down the Format Palette:

Choose and click a formatting item from the Format Palette.

The special Format Brush mouse cursor is automatically displayed, ready to be used. It carries the formatting characteristics of the selected item.

Make a selection of text in your document with this special Format Brush cursor. The appropriate formatting is immediately and automatically applied to your selection.


When the Format brush mode is on,

  • entire words can easily be formatted simply by double-clicking them,
  • entire paragraphs by triple clicking any word inside the relevant paragraph,
  • if Format without selection box is checked in "Tools | Options... > Edit" dialog of Atlantis, you won't even have to make a selection of text. A single click on the relevant word will be enough to format it when the Format Brush is loaded.

Notes. When the Format Brush mode is on, you can still type text in your document. But it gets automatically formatted with the characteristics currently loaded to the Format Brush.

A single isolated text fragment, or a column block, or a multiple selection can be formatted without activating the Format Brush mode. Simply make a selection of text, then choose and click the desired format from the Palette. The selected formatting will instantly and automatically be applied to the selected text. The Format Brush mode will not be activated in this case.

See also...