|3 General Concepts|
After you start up Ipe, you will see a window with a large gray area containing a white rectangle. This area, the canvas, is the drawing area where you will create your figures. The white rectangle is your "sheet of paper", the first page of your document. (While Ipe doesn't stop you from drawing outside the paper, such documents generally do not print very well.)
At the top of the window, above the canvas, you find two toolbars: one for snapping modes, grid size and angular resolution; and another one to select the current mode.
On the left hand side of the canvas you find an area where you can select object properties such as stroke and fill color, pen width, path properties, text size, and mark size. Below it is a list of the layers of the current page.
All user interface elements have tool tips—if you move the mouse over them and wait a few seconds, a short explanation will appear. The mode toolbar allows you to set the current Ipe mode. Roughly speaking, the mode determines what the left mouse button will do when you click it in the figure. The leftmost five buttons select modes for selecting and transforming objects, the remaining buttons select modes for creating new objects.
Pressing the right mouse button pops up the object context menu in any mode.
In this chapter we will discuss the general concepts of Ipe. Understanding these properly will be essential if you want to get the most out of Ipe.