What's new in Empire Express

Empire Express 2.3.1 (Basic and Deluxe)

  • If you have pictures in your Empire Express documents, open them with this version before upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina or later. This Empire Express will automatically convert pictures that are incompatible with Catalina to a compatible format. For more information choose Help > What's New in Empire Express 2.3.1.
  • The General pane of the Inspector now shows the picture type. The type is in parentheses in the Standard Description.
  • Fixed an issue with macOS 10.14 Mojave and later where clicking the filled area of some objects didn't select them.
  • With Mojave the pointer liked to be an arrow more than it should be. This has been improved.
  • We're now using Swift, Apple's modern programming language, for a few bits of Empire Express with plans to use it more. Swift is swift.

Empire Express 2.3 (Basic and Deluxe)

  • Empire Express has been optimized for your Mac and is now a 64-bit application. No more warnings when you open it.
  • Fixes compatibility issues with macOS Mojave. Now you can see the tools in the tool palette and the rotation cursor.
  • Supports macOS Mojave Dark Mode. Allows you to focus on your plan while the dark menus and palettes recede into the background.
  • Parts list window is now wider by default so all columns are visible when you first open a parts list.
  • Improved dragging between windows on macOS 10.13 and later.
  • All editable text is now Unicode and is saved as such. You can use symbols, emoji, etc. anywhere you can edit text.
  • New 64-bit document format. Empire Express version 2.3 can read older documents but older versions cannot read the new format.
  • Empire Express 2.3 requires Mac OS X 10.9 or greater.

Empire Express Deluxe 2.2.4

  • Fixed an issue where the Catalog menus were not in alphabetical order on some Macs running macOS High Sierra 10.13.
  • Added UK O 1:43.5 to the model scales in the Plan Specification window.

Empire Express Basic 2.2.4

  • Added the new Micro Engineering HO code 83 #5 turnouts and ladder tracks.
  • Added the Peco HO code 83 Double-Slip #6 Turnout.
  • Improved the Tutorial and Examples menus in the Help menu.
  • Fixed an issue where track could fail to connect if you modified its geometry with the Inspector.
  • Fixed an issue where the Catalog menus were not in alphabetical order on some Macs running macOS High Sierra 10.13.
  • Added UK O 1:43.5 to the model scales in the Plan Specification window.

Empire Express Deluxe 2.2.3

The full-featured, paid edition of Empire Express has a new name: Empire Express Deluxe. Other changes are:

  • Added the new Micro Engineering HO code 83 #5 turnouts and ladder tracks.
  • Added the Peco HO code 83 Double-Slip #6 Turnout.
  • Improved the Tutorial and Examples menus in the Help menu.
  • Fixed an issue where track could fail to connect if you modified its geometry with the Inspector.

Empire Express Basic 2.2.2

Introducing Empire Express Basic, the free edition of Empire Express which includes most of the features of the paid edition. Empire Express Basic has the following limitations:

  • You cannot edit layouts with more than 50 objects.
  • It does not include the Group and Ungroup commands.
  • It does not include the catalog creation commands: Show Catalog in Finder and New Custom Object.

Empire Express 2.2.1

  • Fixed an issue where the minimum compatible version of Mac OS was set incorrectly. Empire Express 2.2.1 requires Mac OS 10.7 or later.

Empire Express 2.2

  • Empire Express is now sold through Apple's App Store.
  • In previous versions the Empire Express application was in an Empire Express folder along with supporting files such as the Catalog. Now the Empire Express application is installed directly in the Applications folder.
  • The tutorial and examples that were previously in the Empire Express folder are now available from the Help menu. To open the Tutorial, choose Tutorial from the Help menu. To open the Examples, choose Examples from the Help menu.
  • If you've customized the Catalog, please be aware that the Catalog folder is now stored in a new location. To open the Catalog folder, choose the command "Show Catalog in Finder" from the File menu. See Empire Express's Help for more information.
  • The Peco On30 track, which was incorrectly labeled On3 in the Catalog, is now correctly labeled.
  • Fixed a crashing bug that sometimes occured when an Empire Express document was opened using the Finder and then later closed.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred while editing text with macOS 10.12 Sierra.
  • Empire Express 2.2 requires Mac OS 10.7 or later.

Empire Express 2.1

  • By popular demand we've added the following track to the Catalog: Bachmann HO E-Z Track, Micro Engineering HO, Micro Engineering HOn3, Micro Engineering N, Micro Engineering On30, Micro-Trains Z Micro-Track, Peco HOn3, Peco HOn30 (OO-9), and Peco On30.
  • And we've updated the following track: Atlas HO Code 83, Atlas HO Code 100, Atlas N Code 55, Atlas N Code 80, Kato N Unitrack including superelevated and street track, LGB G, Lionel O FasTrack, Peco HO Code 75, Peco HO Code 83 (North American), Peco N Code 55, and Peco N Code 80.
  • You can now lock objects in a plan to prevent accidental moves or modifications.
  • Fixed a bug with OS X 10.7 and later where graphics or pictures from other applications could not be pasted into plans.
  • These changes requires a new document format. Older versions of Empire Express can not open documents saved with version 2.1.
  • Fixed an issue where the message "Empire Express can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer" was displayed.
  • Fixed cosmetic issues and improved compatibility with newer versions of OS X.
  • Empire Express 2.1 requires Mac OS 10.6 or later.
  • OS X 10.7, 10.8 and 10.9 have a search bug that causes issues with Empire Express Help. If you're using one of these versions of OS X, please read how to work around this bug.

Empire Express 2.0

Empire Express 2.0 contained many new features and improvements which are described below.

New Inspector and Measure windows

The Info window and Customize window in previous versions have been replaced with a Measure window and an Inspector window. The Measure window is a compact window that shows the mouse position, the ruler tool measurements, and the car capacity of the currently selected track. You can use the Inspector window to examine and change information for the selected objects in a plan.

Using the inspector window you can set information for more than one object at a time. For example, you could select multiple objects and set the brand for all of them at once.

The pen color, pattern, and width and the fill color and pattern have been moved to the Appearance section of the Inspector. In previous versions of Empire Express the color and pattern menus did not show the color or pattern of the currently selected object. Now you can use the Inspector to quickly view the colors and patterns for the selected object(s).

Millions of colors

A much broader selection of colors is available now; instead of 256 colors you can now choose from millions of colors. Click a color well in the Inspector to open the standard Mac OS color picker window. This window allows you to set the color using a variety of methods including a magnifying glass which allows you to pick any color visible on your screen. You can also create and save your own color palettes in this window.

Improved text

Empire Express now takes full advantage of the Mac OS X text system for text shown in plans. You can now use more than one font, style, alignment, and color in a single text box. You can use the Font panel to preview and select fonts and the Color palette to preview and select colors for text. You can check spelling and even use text rulers to set tab stops, etc. within text.

Text no longer changes color or size when you start or finish editing it. You no longer have to use the text tool to start editing an existing text item. Instead you may select the text item by clicking it with the selection tool and then press the Enter key.

To support all of these text improvements, it was necessary to drop the following classic font styles: outline, shadow, condensed, and extended. Also to use bold or italic text, a bold or italic version of the font must be available. Some fonts such as Geneva do not offer bold or italic, but an equivalent font does. For this reason, Empire Express 2.0 automatically converts Geneva to Helvetic when it reads documents created by earlier versions.

Improved undo

Previous versions of Empire Express could undo only the last 25 operations. Now the number of undos is limited only by the amount of computer memory available; it is essentially unlimited.

In addition you can undo past document saves - saving documents no longer clears the available undos.

Improved appearance

Improved appearance in the plan window and supporting windows makes Empire Express easier on the eyes and easier to use:

  • Improved feedback and appearance during draw, resize and rotate. Objects are much easier to see.
  • Dragged objects are now translucent and show the whole object instead of just a dotted outline.
  • Smoother drawing of flex track
  • Smoother printing
  • Easier to read fonts in all windows

Searchable help

Empire Express now provides searchable help making it easy for you to find the information you're looking for.

Now a Universal Application

Empire Express 2.0 is a universal application built for PowerPC and Intel based Macs. On Intel-based Macs, start up is now nearly instantaneous.

Other improvements

  • The parts list window has multiple columns that you can rearrange and resize. You can click the column headers to change the sort order.
  • The File menu now has an Open Recent menu for opening recently opened documents.
  • New Deselect All command in the Edit menu
  • The Window menu now has Minimize, Zoom, and Bring All to Front.
  • In the Save dialog you can now type file names with a length greater than 32 characters.
  • Sheets are used for Save, Print, etc.
  • The plan window responds to the mouse scroll wheel. If you have a Mighty Mouse you can use its scroll ball to scroll both vertically and horizontally.
  • The mouse pointer changes to an arrow with a plus sign to indicate when an object will be copied.
  • If you copy or drag plan objects to another application, the objects will be copied as a PDF graphic.
  • The key to toggle the auto connect option during a drag was switched from the Command key to the Shift key.
  • After you enter your registration information, you no longer have to restart Empire Express.
  • If you enter your registration incorrectly, an alert will be shown when you click OK instead of after you restart.
  • The Show Pages command has been removed because Print preview is easier to use than Show Pages. The Preview application shows both full size and thumbnail pages making it easier for you to decide which pages you want to print. Choose Print and click the Preview button in the Print dialog to see the preview.
  • Help tags are now shown for the tool palette and some of the other windows.
  • You can end polygon drawing by pressing any key.
  • The pointer for the rotation tool is now a curved arrow. As before, you may click a handle to rotate the selected object(s) or click on another part of an object to move it.
  • The Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons in the plan window have been replaced by menu commands in the Plan menu. Keyboard shortcuts for these commands allow you to zoom in and out using the keyboard.
  • Zooming has been improved so you don't lose your place when you zoom in or out. The point at the top-left corner of the plan window before the zoom is still at the top-left corner after the zoom.
  • Plan specifications are shown in a sheet instead of a window making it easier to compare specifications for two different plans.
  • It is now easier to click lines to select or drag them.
  • Empire Express 2.0 requires Mac OS 10.3.9 or later.

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