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The X-Label Utility
 The X-Label Utility
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Matthias Bartelmann (MPA 222)

Purpose and Usage of xlabel

xlabel is a graphical user interface that simplifies selecting addressees and printing address labels for MPA preprints. It allows to create and use private address data bases.

Options and Command-Line Arguments
xlabel supports the following options and command-line arguments:
xlabel [-u user] [-a] [-d file] [-n number] [-t] [-h] The options are summarised in the following table.

Option Argument Meaning
-u user-id specify the user whose address list should be used
-a (none) use the complete address data base (discouraged)
-d file name name of a private address data base file
-n integer number of lines per screen
-t (none) mark all addressees as selected
-h (none) print a short help text

Basic Usage
xlabel extracts from an address data base all addresses that are marked by a certain user-id. For historic reasons, the user-id has three characters only. In most cases, it does therefore not agree with the user's login name. The usage of xlabel thus depends on whether you know or don't know your user-id in the data base. Not every user at MPA does have a user-id in the address data base.

If you know your user-id, enter xlabel -u [user-id].

If you don't know your user-id, enter xlabel only.

In the latter case, xlabel tentatively assumes your login name to be identical with your user-id. If this fails, you are asked to select a user-id from a list of all available user-ids. To do so, move up and down the list with the scroll bar and double-click with the left mouse button on the user-id you wish to select.

Once a valid user-id has been selected, a list of addressees is displayed, each of which has a check button. Click on a check button with the left mouse button in order to select or unselect the corresponding addressee.

If the list is too long for the screen, it is split in pages. You can then browse through the list with the buttons [<<] and [>>] (backward and forward, respectively). Each time you switch pages, the number of selected addressees is displayed in the top part of the window.

If you have reached the last page of the addressee list, the [>>] button is replaced by [Print]. If you press that button, the selected addresses are extracted from the data base, converted to PostScript, and sent to the printer. Per default, the printer specified by the environment variable $PRINTER is selected. If $PRINTER is not set, ps3 is used. The name of the PostScript file and the printer are displayed.

After printing, the [Print] button is replaced by [List]. If you press that, a private data base for the user-id is extracted from the complete address data base and written to a file whose name is displayed in the xlabel window.

Advanced Features
If you are likely to select just a few of the addressees listed, the default of xlabel to mark all addressees as unselected is convenient. If you wish to select almost all of the addressees, use the xlabel -t. All addressees are then selected by default.

Ultimately, you may wish to create your private data base file. The list created by xlabel when you press the [List] button in the end may serve as a starting point. If you have such a private data base, you can call xlabel -d [data base file]. Addresses are then read from your private file rather than from the master data base.

If you do not have a user-id yet, you might consider browsing the complete data base. If you wish to do so, use xlabel -a.

If you wish to change the number of addressees displayed per page, use xlabel -n [integer]. The default is 20 lines per page.

Appendix: Address Data Base Format
If you edit your private data base, please adhere strictly to the format specified here. xlabel will not work reliably otherwise.

  1. Each data base entry consists of two lines. The first line starts with U: , the second with A: (note the blanks!).
  2. The line starting with U: contains a list of user-ids. The list starts and ends with + signs, and there are + signs between the list entries.
  3. The line starting with A: contains the address. Address fields are separated by @ signs. The first and the second field (usually last and first name of the addressee) are interchanged when printed. This is to have the data base entries start with the last names, but the printed labels start with the first names. After the second field, all @ signs are replaced by line breaks in print.
  4. The maximum number of address lines is six, including the name of the addressee. Further lines are ignored because they would not fit on the address labels.

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Letzte Änderung: 6.5.2003