Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming

Cut and Paste IDL Graphics Windows

QUESTION: In very old Windows versions of IDL you used to be able to cut and paste graphics windows from IDL into Powerpoint. This is no longer available, it appears. Is there some other way to do this?


ANSWER: Yes, it is possible. Here is a solution that uses the IDLgrClipboard object for the cutting and pasting operation. The program is named Clipboard. It accepts a single argument, which is the window index number of the graphics window you wish to copy to the clipboard. If you don't supply an argument, the current graphics window will be used. So, for example, you could write code like this:

   IDL> Window, XSize=400, YSize=400
   IDL> Plot, Findgen(11)
   IDL> Clipboard

Now the contents of the clipboard can be pasted into another application. I have successfully pasted the contents of IDL graphics windows into Framemaker, Powerpoint, Photoshop, Excel, and Word documents.

The code is very simple, as I show you below.


PRO Clipboard, windowIndex

; This procedure copies the window identified by the
; window index number (or the current window if an index
; number is not provided) to the clipboard.

IF N_Elements(windowIndex) EQ 0 THEN windowIndex = !D.Window

   ; Is this a valid window?

IF windowIndex LT 0 THEN BEGIN
   ok = Dialog_Message('No current window to copy. Returning...')

   ; Catch window setting errors.
Catch, error
   Catch, /Cancel
   ok = Dialog_Message('Specified window is unavailable: ' + $
      StrTrim(windowIndex, 2) + '. Returning...')
   WSet, thisWindow

   ; Set active window.

thisWindow = !D.Window
WSet, windowIndex
Catch, /Cancel

   ; Take a snapshot of window. Pay attention to visual depth.

Device, Get_Visual_Depth=thisDepth
IF thisDepth GT 8 THEN BEGIN
   snapshot = TVRD(True=1)
   snapshot = Color_Quan(snapshot, 1, r, g, b)
   snapshot = TVRD()
   TVLCT, r, g, b, /Get
s = Size(snapshot, /Dimensions)

   ; Create an object graphics image and hierarchy.

palette = Obj_New('IDLgrPalette', r, g, b)
image = Obj_New('IDLgrImage', snapshot, Palette=palette)
model = Obj_New('IDLgrModel')
model->Add, image
thisView = Obj_New('IDLgrView', ViewPlane_Rect=[0,0,s[0],s[1]])
thisView->Add, model

   ; Create a clipboard

theClipboard = Obj_New('IDLgrClipboard', Color_Model=1, $
   Dimensions=[s[0], s[1]], N_Colors=!D.Table_Size, $
   Resolution=[1.0/!D.X_PX_CM, 1.0/!D.Y_PX_CM], $
   ; Copy the snapshot to the clipboard.
theClipboard->Draw, thisView

   ; Destroy the objects.

Obj_Destroy, palette
Obj_Destroy, model
Obj_Destroy, thisView
Obj_Destroy, theClipboard

   ; Restore the current window.
IF thisWindow NE -1 THEN WSet, thisWindow


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