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MathGroup Archive 1999

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response regarding rotated text in PostScript graphics

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg18423] response regarding rotated text in PostScript graphics
  • From: "P.J. Hinton" <paulh at>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 00:11:16 -0400
  • Organization: "Wolfram Research, Inc."
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On 24 Jun 1999, Andrew Watson wrote:

> Saying first that I am a fanatical Mathematica user, in awe of the product
> and its developers, I nonetheless feel compelled to say that...
> I am absolutely astonished that Mathematica 4.0 has *still* not fixed the
> FrameLabel rotated text bug, which prevents vertical axis labels from
> appearing properly when rendered on screen on the Mac. This bug causes
> endless troubles for those of us who prepare figures for both printing and
> live presentation. This bug has been present since time immemorial, but
> elicits only sheepish chuckles from Wolfram developers when mentioned. What
> gives? Is this really something that has stumped the greatest computational
> minds of the end of the millenium? Is it really so low on the list of
> priorities that it has persisted for 10 years? Have you no shame?

The problem with rotated text in PostScript graphics exists in both the
Macintosh and X Window system front ends.  It does not occur under
Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT 4.0.

The PostScript interpreter in the notebook front end works by translating
PostScript drawing commands into analogous function calls in the windowing
system's native API.  If that system (e.g. MacOS API or Xlib) does not
provide services for rotating text, then the text will not appear
correctly on screen as you describe.

Macintosh users can look forward to this problem eventually becoming
obsolete as MacOS X provides the necessary text services.  The Macintosh
development group has assured me that they will support rotated text under
MacOS X.  We hope to have a clean implementation for text rotation in a
future release for X Window front ends, too.

P.J. Hinton
Wolfram Research, Inc.

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