BRADWAY Software, a small, new, software house, has released Letta-Head for the Spectrum and Epson-compatible dot matrix printer. It is designed to personalise your own stationery, but has a variety of uses, including labels, posters, order forms and invoices. A special option allows cassette labels to be designed without printing over the hole in the middle.
It is run from a series of menus and prompts in the bottom eight lines of the screen. Options are selected by single key entry. The only exceptions are the escape option which is CAPS SHIFT and 1, and where numbers greater than 9 can be entered. The top 16 lines are used for designing the two options of heading and label.
The design features allow text to be added in any one of six fonts, including user-defined graphics. You can vary the height and width of the characters independently, from one to nine character squares. Graphics can be added through the Art option which plots points, draws straight lines, arcs and circles. It also features a fill routine.
Another option allows you to draw boxes with the border varying from one to nine pixels in thickness. The text graphics and boxes are all defined by moving a flashing cursor and using ENTER to mark the corners. Unfortunately, the cursor does not move particularly quickly and it would be nice to see it increase speed when the keys are held down.
If you decide that part of your design is in the wrong place, it can be independently scrolled using the cursor keys, by marking a box around it, to another part.
Plotting graphics is a long and tedious job. Not only must each pixel be plotted individually but CAPS SHIFT is still needed to use the cursor keys. To save time, designs - saved as a SCREEN$ - from graphics packages or other sources can be loaded and altered. All or any part of the design can be erased, and again that is done using the cursor to mark a box round the offending area.
Two useful features are the ability to overlay a chequered grid, to aid design, and the reservation of an area of memory which will hold the design. A design held thus can be loaded back replacing the one on screen or merged with it. You can also exchange the two designs.
Before you design a label, you must select its size. Four choices, three fixed and one user-definable, are offered for both the width and height of the label. In practice, despite a maximum set size of 5in x 1 15/16in, I found that the printing never exceeded 4.25in x 1.5in.
The printing options vary considerably. For labels the only variables are the number to be printed, the number across the paper and the horizontal and vertical separation. For headings the print height and width, the left hand margin and the sheet length can be set. Each sheet can include its own numbering system, starting from any given alphanumeric.
My initial reaction was that Letta-Head would make a useful program for the home but that it might be limited for office use. By the time I had explored it, however, I was prepared to look more favourably upon it. Nevertheless the quality of the printed large-size characters is not sufficient to make the correct impression in business. Using logos created on a graphics package could produce acceptable results.
Publisher: Bradway Software, 33 Conalan Avenue, Sheffield S17 4PG