At 02:00 AM 5/10/2002 -0700, Mira wrote:
>Ian,
>
>I use S-A and everything is selected. No hidden
>layers.
>Even though the strings on all layers could not be
>deleted.
>The strings are definitely selected and could be
>moved.
>E-D doesn't work. S-A selects everything. I checked
>this on all layers. E-L clears the selection but in
>fact it's still there after I refresh.

Presumably Design/Options/Layers/All On has been pushed.

>All these strings used to be text dimensions, board
>layer names (free text), and text in the drill charts.
>All selected primitives could be deleted but the text
>- not.
>These strings could be selected as "free primitives"
>as well. So, I presume they are free, unlocked.

This is a clue. These 'strings' are the result of gerber import (or DXF 
import), since drill chart strings are not displayed in the PCB editor. 
They are not strings, they are free track which look like strings. Unstated 
was whether or not they are locked. In my opinion, Protel should simply not 
delete any locked primitive until it is unlocked, but instead it queries 
the user, who only has two choices: delete them or abort the command. It 
would be useful, sometimes, to be able to delete everything but what is 
locked. As the matter is, one would have to do global edits to turn off 
selection for everything that was locked....

But that is probably not the problem here, or Mira would have told us about 
the "locked" message.

>I just can't get rid of them.

You can get rid of *anything* by saving as ASCII and deleting its records. 
I'd think that would be reasonably safe to do; but always make a backup 
when attempting to edit the ASCII. But it might be simpler to select 
everything except the lines and copy *that* into a new PCB file.

I'd also ask where this file came from. If it is, directly, gerber import, 
it should be easy to edit. But if someone has, for example, made it into 
part of a footprint, and if there are workspace issues (something might be 
outside the workspace), it could get tricky.

A quick check to see if anything is inside the workspace would be to select 
all, then pick it up with the cursor and move it. If the box that appears 
extends outside of the workspace, bingo.

Yes, by all means, post the offending records if you can find them. You can 
do searches on a coordinate, that's one way, if you can find the 
coordinate. What do you see when you double-click on one of these lines? 
You could try globally editing a line that you *can* edit to unlock all 
lines in case lock is involved.

A Protel ASCII database can be loaded in Excel by using | as the field 
separator. Excel, at least the version I have, will prompt the user through 
the load process. But saving the file would be tricky, I'd just use Excel 
for searching and finding and reporting, not for editing, necessarily. 
(Unless one edits through Spreadsheet Export, a whole different animal with 
its own quirks.)

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