New Newsletter – Efofex Insiders

We have created a new newsletter – Efofex Insiders – which is where you will publish all of the technical changes that go on. This is the sort of information that is crucial and interesting to a subset of our customers. Most of you probably do not want to know!

So… if you are a bit of an Efofex guru and want to keep up to date with all of the latest features and changes (particularly with the exciting changes happening with Efofex Parameters), sign up now!

You can sign up here…

Subscribe to Efofex Insiders

Efofex Insiders will be a more active list and you can expect to see articles published most weeks. The digest will be mailed out Monday mornings. Just so you know what you are getting into, we have included a sample article below.

New Prime and Composite Commands for Efofex Parameters

We have added new prime and composite commands to Efofex parameters. You can now define a parameter which is guaranteed to be a prime number like this:

$p=prime(1,100)

$p will be a randomly selected prime number between 1 and 100. The composite command uses the same notation.

Prime numbers are particularly useful for designing parametised algebra questions.

Efofex Insiders is all about providing fine detail without annoying most of our customers. Subscribe now! Efofex Insiders

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New Feature – Voronoi Diagrams

Due to the topic’s inclusion into the IB program, we have added Voronoi diagrams to FX Draw and FX Graph. This new feature has been included into software releases dated after November 5 2020.

If you do not know of Voronoi diagrams, you can find more information here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voronoi_diagram

Note that we only implement the Euclidean distance version of Voronoi diagrams.

Even if you do not teach the IB course, Voronoi diagrams are a fertile source of ideas for investigative activities related to coordinate geometry.

Using Voronoi diagrams is easy.

  1. Create a graph.
  2. On the quick entry screen, type any fixed points you want to include in the diagram.
  3. Make the final function line Voronoi()

4. When you return to FX Draw, the Voronoi diagram will be automatically drawn.

Now you can select the marked point tool and add more points. The diagram will be redrawn interactively.

Marked Points are versatile as you can select and move them dynamically.

Thanks to MM from Pembroke in South Australia for the suggestion!

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Stopping Word From Compressing Your Images

Microsoft Word will sometimes compress your images and this can have a severe effect on your graphics, particularly if they contain text.

Image Quality Has Degraded

You can prevent this quality loss in Word’s options. You can prevent the quality loss in both the current document and all NEW documents.

Word for Windows

Go to Word’s File menu and choose Options

  1. Go to the Advanced Tab
  2. Scroll down to Image Size and Quality
  3. Put a check mark in Do not compress images
  4. Select whether you wish this to apply to the current document or all new documents.
Word’s Option Screen

Word On Mac

The process is similar on the Mac. Go to the Word menu (at the top of screen) and choose Preferences.

  1. Click on the Edit options
  2. Put a check mark in Do not compress images in file
  3. Choose whether you want the setting to apply to the current file or all new files.

Our Recommendation

Teachers tend to produce graphics where high accuracy is required and we recommend that you set Word to Do Not Compress for all new documents – as well as updating the setting for old files you are working on. While image compression has few issues when used on photographs, it can make your output look much worse than it should.

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New Word Integration System – Mac Compatible!

This is exciting!

For the past 30 years, Efofex products have integrated into Word for Windows using some old technologies. Today, we are announcing the release of our new Word Integration system that is simply better. Better, faster, more powerful and, best of all, it works on Macs!

Cross Platform

If you use Word on a Mac, you now have access to Word integration that exactly matches what we are offering on Windows machines. No compromises. You can create documents on a Mac, seamlessly move them to a Windows machines to edit, and then bring them back to a Mac for printing.

Faster

The new system no longer requires the old technologies we used for Classic Mode. Not only does this make the new system cross-platform, it also greatly increases the speed at which you can do simple things like creating and editing graphics. If you regularly go into and out of graphics and equations, you will find the processes up to three times faster.

Safer

And safer. The old system has always been a bit opaque and prone to problems. The new system is far less likely to fail.

Support for Efofex Parameters

The new system provides much better support for Efofex Parameters and its speed advantage can make the regeneration of an existing document up to ten times faster.  You might not have explored Efofex Parameters yet but the ability to use and create self-modifying documents is so powerful and time-saving that we are sure that it will become part of your workflow in the future. In fact, the support for Efofex Parameters is so much better in the new system  that we have decided to not make Efofex Parameters easily accessible in Classic Mode

Transparent Graphics

Classic mode is restricted by the underlying technology so that it can only provide graphics with white backgrounds. This means that you cannot overlay graphics or use a coloured background. Our new integration can provide graphics with transparent backgrounds.

It’s Time To Make The Change

There is now no good reason to keep using our old, Classic Mode system. While we will never FORCE you to change, the new capabilities are so powerful it should be one of the easiest decisions you will ever have to make.

More Information

There is lots of information available to help you make the change.

If you only have time to watch one video, watch this one…

Video – Getting Started With Our New Toolbars

and then…

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Our Classic Word Toolbars Are Being Re-modelled

If you use our Word toolbars on Windows, you will notice a couple of design changes in the latest release. There are no functional changes and you can continue to use the old “classic” toolbars much as you always have.

There are two changes you will notice:

The Efofex tab on your Word ribbon bar has been renamed Efofex Classic.

The second change is in the layout of the buttons. All of the same buttons are there, we have just moved things around and made the less used buttons smaller which should minimize confusion.

The changes have been made because we are deprecating the old, classic toolbars. We are NOT removing them and you can continue to use the toolbars as you always have if you wish.

There is more information on the exciting replacement for the old toolbar soon!

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Goodbye FX Dynamic. Hello Dynamic Mathematics Documents!

Ok. We got it wrong.

It seems that calling our new dynamic document feature “FX Dynamic” has been a mistake as we have had a lot of people asking us how to install “FX Dynamic”. The name is just too close to our product names and lots of people have decided it was a new product.

It isn’t! It is just adding a (really) powerful new feature to existing products.

We have decided to drop the FX Dynamic brand-name and just call the feature what it is – Dynamic Mathematics Documents Using Efofex Parameters. We know the name is long but it is far more descriptive of what we have added and far less likely to be thought of as a new “product”.

We are still really excited about it though! In fact, we are even more excited about it than when we announced it two months ago, but more on that development in a little while.

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Perhaps Our Most Exciting New Feature Release Ever!

We have just uploaded new versions of FX Draw, FX Equation and FX Online that include what we think is probably our most exciting new feature release ever – FX Dynamic.

What makes it so exciting? Well imagine a situation where two classes need to do a test on two different periods in the same day. You would really like two separate versions of the test but that is not practical. Enter FX Dynamic.

FX Dynamic lets you create new versions of YOUR questions, potentially with fully worked solutions, at the push of a button. Everything can be updated – graphs, diagrams, equations. There are almost no limits to what you can produce.

FX Dynamic in action in FX Draw

If you are using Word on a Windows machine, we have added a button to the Efofex toolbar. One push, sit back, and in a few minutes you can have a completely new version of your test, worksheet or exam.

Best of all, FX Dynamic is included free as part of your FX Draw Tools subscription. Just download the latest version, take a look at the video below, and you are on your way – or alternatively, just wait for others to create FX Dynamic documents and push one button.

Download the new versions today!

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FX Online Improvements

The FX Online Beta has been out for three weeks and we have just uploaded a version that adds three new features. FX Online is our new, mathematical web publishing system.

Add Audio To a Page

You can now add an audio file to any page you create. You can either use an existing file or record your own, dulcet tones to describe the concept on the page.


Arrows

We have also added a new, arrow tool that permits you to add quick arrows to your diagrams.

Example

You can see both of these new tools in action in the Introduction To FX Online example web lesson.

Web Preview

We have also added an option to preview how the page will appear in a web browser.

Using , For Decimal Points

The latest version also fixes an issue where a number of features where not working when used in locations which use , as the decimal point.

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MAJOR New Product Added to FX Draw Tools – FX Online

Introducing FX Online!

It is with nervous excitement that we are announcing the inclusion of a totally new tool into FX Draw Tools. Introducing FX Online!

FX Online is a turbo-charged version of FX Draw that is solely focused on the design, uploading and hosting of mathematically aware web lesson sets. FX Online brings the power and familiarity of FX Draw to web-based materials. Here’s an example of a web page from an FX Online lesson set where I have displayed half of the solution.

Anything you can draw in FX Draw, you can now publish to the web with FX Online. FX Online is, however, much more than FX Draw. We have added interactive, web-based features that allow you to create more dynamic web experiences – with much more to come.

Importantly, you don’t need to be a web design expert or understand the vagaries of the Internet. If you have used FX Draw in the past, you are already most of the way to designing and hosting your first lesson set.

FX Online will be included at no extra charge in your FX Draw Tools subscription. There are a few small caveats but for most people, FX Online is a bonus.

Samples

Take a look at this small collection of web lesson sets that we have designed to demonstrate some of the power of the new tool. All of these have been created in FX Online and uploaded to the web at the push of a button. They will give you a quick introduction to some of FX Online’s capabilities.

Introduction to FX Online

Spiralling Triangles

Introduction to Trigonometry

Congruent Halves

The final two lesson sets show how you can create two (or three) different versions of the same material with or without solutions – all from the one file.

Year 10 Test with Solutions

Year 10 Test without Solutions

So Why Are We Nervous?

We are releasing the beta version FX Online earlier than we would really like as it is so applicable to teachers trying to teach students remotely. Had the current crisis not occurred we probably would be announcing this in a few months.

What’s missing is comprehensive training materials, speed enhancements, final testing and some of the nifty new features we have planned. We have decided that, at the moment, a tool that does most of what we intended is better than no tool at all.

What you can expect is a flurry of new materials and updates over the next few months. We have hundreds of things planned for FX Online that will enhance its already huge set of capabilities.

What we can promise is that anything you create now, will be editable in newer versions. As we add new features, you will be able to go back and make your lesson sets even better.

Download Now

The FX Online beta has been added to the latest download. Visit out Downloads Page and start exploring now!

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New FX Draw Feature – Create Scaled or Translated Copies

FX Draw allows you to scale selected figures by moving the scale handle.

The latest version of FX Draw allows you to create scaled or translated copies of a figure. To access this feature RIGHT-CLICK on the scale handle.


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