Forum: New paper organizer software - "Plans Unfolding"

Hi All,

Some of you might be interested in free software I released ("Plans Unfolding") for creating convenient, pocket-sized paper organizers. Using LaTeX as a typesetting engine, a high quality PDF file is generated of 16 mini-pages, which is then printed on both sides of a sheet of letter paper and folded to create a small booklet that can fit in your pocket. The Windows interface directly supports several types of standard pages (List, Text, Calendars, Contacts, etc.) and maintains all user data between sessions. It also provides page types not seen in conventional organizers, such as a Vigenere Cipher page for on-the-go encrypted text and an Astronomy page with a calculated planisphere of current star/planet/moon locations along with other astronomical data. Beyond this, custom user-designed pages can be easily written in LaTeX script and shared in the Plans Unfolding forum and image galleries.

If you'd like more information, the Plans Unfolding home page is at http://www.plansunfolding.com/.

Ron

[Updated: Minor edits, inserted photograph -- DJ]

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Ron_D, Nice Job!

This is exactly what I was looking for. I was just about to look through CTAN to find a package to tweak. As a LaTeX-er, I'm not really interested in the front-end, but I am eager to hack your LaTeX templates;)

Thanks,
Pluto

Re: Ron_D, Nice Job!

Thanks, Pluto.

I've tried to give ultimate flexibility in customizing the LaTeX back-end of this for anyone who really wants to do more than use the default layouts. Text-type pages can include LaTeX or TikZ drawing commands to create virtually any page design desired. I just added a simple page script to the online collection to create a background grid on a page, a one-line command. There is a menu function that allows you to input custom LaTeX preamble commands (such as including new packages, creating new colors and macro definitions, etc.) and also to input custom commands to operate on the layout of either side.

The LaTeX code itself, of course, is in plain text files and can be altered in any way you want--for example, if you don't want fold lines or page numbers printed you can comment out those lines in the PlansUnfolding.tex file by prepending a % character (I just did that for stylistic reasons in my latest personal version, and I'll make this a menu function in the next release). Maybe you want to print data that is produced by another program; if the program saves the data to a .csv file you can use the included datatool package and custom LaTeX code to automatically read in the data and typeset it on a page. And so forth--LaTeX is great for this, and LaTeX scripts can be shared online. Appendix E in the User's Manual describes the whole software structure in detail for low-level hacking like this.

Please let me know if you find any improvements to the default LaTeX script that I can incorporate into the next release. And I'd like to assure others here that you don't need to know LaTeX to use the program!

Ron

Plans Unfolding

Another LaTeX user here. I have been so wanting to find something like this for so long. Thanks Ron! The downside is that I am exclusively Ubuntu, so I would use the front end if it were made available for Linux. Any chance you might rework it using an OS-agnostic toolkit so that it would be portable?

Many thanks.

BTW, I am using TeXLive 2007 now but was a very happy user of MikTeX on Windows for many years.

Re: Plans Unfolding

Hi Pavneet,

ygor here graciously offered to test out a Mac OS X port of the software earlier, but the details of compiling the software and my unknowns about package installation for the MacTeX distribution of LaTeX led me to suggest that I should try to get hold of a Mac and work it all out myself first.

However, it is more straightforward for Linux, and you've used MikTeX before as well as TeXLive, which is perfect, so if you don't mind I will PM your account here with a few directions for compiling the software source code on Linux with the FreeWrap program. The interface software is written in the Tcl/TK language, which can be compiled on any platform, and I did try to write the software to be platform independent (the only exception being the Windows auto-launch of the PDF output file at the end of the build).

Ron

PlansUnfolding

This thing took forever to install, but after it did...It worked perfectly.

The manual is a piece of work...Well done!

I love the "Treasure Map"

I love the "Treasure Map" that's brilliant and just what I need most. :)) Thank you for sharing this. It's like a much updated and expanded idea of the PocketMod http://www.pocketmod.com/ or MiLo http://www.successminders.com/2005/12/03/introducing-milo which I both learned about here too and have used.

Re: I love the "Treasure Map"

I'm happy to acknowledge Melissa Hall as the creator of the "Treasure Map", originally designed as a template for 3"x5" cards right here on DIY Planner!

http://www.diyplanner.com/node/426

I found this template so useful that I incorporated it into Plans Unfolding as a standard page type, printing entries at locations on the printout that would align with Melissa's background image. Prior to releasing the software I asked Melissa if I could include her page design, and she said that was fine, so all thanks go to her for this really nice feature.

Ron

Plans Unfolding for A4 Paper Released

Hi All,

Since some people here have requested this, I wanted to announce that a version of Plans Unfolding has been released that supports A4 paper output. The Users Manual and the online custom page scripts have also been updated to accommodate this format. The links for these can be found on the Plans Unfolding home page at http://www.plansunfolding.com/.

Ron