Stepping Out II

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On: 2021-12-06 19:51:13
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On: 2023-08-17 21:39:04
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What is Stepping Out II?

A fact of Mac life is that most documents, even one-pagers, contain more than the physical Mac screen can show. To see more, you normally use scroll bars to tell your applications which way to shift your view. Large monitors show more of any given document, and practically eliminate the need for scroll bars. Their only drawbacks are that they are expensive, bulky, and don't quite fit in a nook or cranny of a tote bag. That's where Stepping Out II steps in.

Stepping Out II is a software substitute for a large screen display. As such, it has no physical inconveniences or limitations. With enough RAM in your Mac, you can have the equivalent of an immense screen.

How is it possible to see a wide view with a small monitor? Well, scrolling is still required, but Stepping Out II handles that for you, instantly and smoothly.

Stepping Out II convinces your programs that they’re writing to a large RAM-based virtual screen. So they open and fill working windows much larger than your Mac screen can show at once. You can easily navigate these wide expanses because the edges of your screen become sensors that trigger lateral or horizontal scrolling. Whenever you touch an edge with the cursor, off you go. You don't need to click somewhere and wait. Instead, you mouse left, and you go left; you mouse up, and you go up.

All application windows, although larger than usual, behave normally. They retain their scroll bars, which you may never need if you set up a virtual screen that's large enough. If you're typing text into a wide document, Stepping Out II follows the cursor as it touches the edge of the screen and autoscrolls as you type. I find Stepping Out II especially useful, and often indispensable, for graphics and desktop-publishing programs where, for a modest amount of RAM, I can have a tabloid-sized monitor with instant reduced or enlarged working views.

To use Stepping Out II, you must copy the icon into your System folder and restart. Thereafter you can activate it and customize it through the Control Panel, even from within an application. During the setup process, you can define and name new virtual screens or edit the attributes of existing ones.

You can then designate one screen size as the default. Screen sizes can be specified in pixels or inches or by dragging the corner of a rectangle that represents the virtual screen. Stepping Out II then calculates and displays the RAM required for the job. During startup, Stepping Out II reserves enough memory to ensure that you can have your big screen anytime without shortchanging your applications in mid session.

To keep the menu bar and any leftside tool palettes in view, you can set up resizable nonscrolling regions along the top and the left side of the physical screen. These areas remain perfectly functional, but they never leave your sight. It’s now possible to efficiently use Stepping Out II with Excel and other spreadsheets because the formula bar can remain visible in a nonscrolling region regardless of the location of the active cell. One drawback; You cannot fix any tool palettes at the bottom or right of the screen. This can be a problem if that’s where your application has an unmovable control area like a scroll bar or palette (as do Cricket Draw, PageMaker, LaserPaint, and others).

Stepping Out II automatically shifts your view to any dialog box that pops up or to any window that becomes active — a welcome feature when using applications like MultiFinder, Reflex, or Excel. Other useful features are activated with Command-Option key combinations: Screen reductions of 25, 50, and 75 percent; screen shots the size of a full page; a resizable rectangular magnifying lens that follows the cursor, and enlarges the covered area from 2X to 16X. In both the magnified and reduced views, the tools and features of your applications are fully functional. If you hold down the Option key while launching an application, you’ll have a large screen until you quit (this feature is not MultiFinder compatible, though).

On a Mac II, the extra speed essentially nullifies Stepping Out IIs processing overhead. Now for the expensive news: If you work in color or grayscale, you'll need at least two megabytes — and more if you use it with high-end graphics programs like Illustrator 88 or PixelPaint for example: A 12-x-12-inch screen uses 798K at 256 colors, 433K at 16 colors, 251K at 4 colors, and 160K in black and while. You can minimize the RAM expense by adjusting the virtual screen size to the exact dimensions of the usable document area, not to the physical page dimensions. If your application is usable in black and white, as most are, you can do your large-screen work in that mode, then deactivate Stepping Out II and shift to color for the finishing touches.

Stepping Out 1.1p was reviewed in depth in the March '88 issue of MacUser Stepping Out II is larger, but also vastly improved in features, speed, and transparency. Every noted shortcoming of version 1.1p is fixed. I highly recommend this solid product for your graphics arsenal. Use it. It’s one of the best productivity tools around.

Parascandolo, Salvatore. (October 1988). Stepping Out II. MacUser. (pgs. 77-78).

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Motorola 68K

Compatibility notes

  • 1 MB RAM

Note:  Macintosh II and MultiFinder friendly

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