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Online Manual: Configuring Noah!

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Configuring Noah!

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Noah! is highly configurable. The options available range from whether the menubar is hidden to what kind of colors to use.

To change Noah!'s settings, launch Noah! and select Preferences... from the Edit menu. When you are finished configuring Noah!, click on the OK button to close the dialog box and save your changes, or the Cancel button to close it without saving your changes. See below for a full description of all the available options.

Interface Preferences:

Show Full Apple Menu

When this box is checked, the normal Apple menu will be available, with all the contents of the Apple Menu Items folder. When unchecked, the only item in the Apple menu is the About Noah!... item. The default setting is off. Usually this should be off, in case your child accidentally selects something from the Apple Menu, gets access to the Finder, and starts renaming all the files on your desktop, something that has happened to me more than once while I was developing Noah!.

Command Keys On Menus

When this box is checked, menu selections will be available via command key shortcuts. When off, you have to select items from the menus to activate them. The default setting is off. Keeping this off is a good idea, because when it's on, Noah! can be quit with command-Q, and when an excited 12 month old is hitting every key on the keyboard, command-Q tends to happen often.

Show About Box At Startup

Sets whether the "about box" should be shown when Noah! is launched. The default setting is on. Normally, you'll want to turn this off, so you can just launch Noah! and go. The "about box" is always available from the About Noah!... menu item in the Apple menu.


When checked, Noah! will play sounds every time a button is pressed or the mouse is clicked. The default setting is on. Noah! is much more exciting when sounds are played, but there may be times when you would rather have them off.

Don't Hide Menubar

Sets whether or not to hide the menubar. When checked, the menubar will never be hidden. The default setting is off, with the menubar hidden. The menubar always becomes visible if you move the mouse where the menubar should be. If you prefer to have the menubar always visible, check this box.

Lightning Effects

Turns the "lightning" effect on or off. The default setting is on. When active, clicking the mouse causes lightning to strike the shape that is shown. It's kind of neat.

Clear Screen

When checked, Noah! will erase the screen after the specified number of shapes have been drawn. The default is on, with a clear setting of 10 shapes. Usually you'll want this on to reduce screen clutter. After a while, the shapes and pictures no longer stand out.

Graphic Preferences

This section describes the changes that you can make to the appearance of Noah!'s graphics.

Note: the size settings (pen size and picture size) are relative to your monitor's dimensions. The sizes are roughly equal to 2/5, 3/5, and 4/5 of your monitor's size, plus a random variation.

Pen Size: Teeny, Average, Really Big

Pen size affects the size of lightning and shape boarders. The default setting is Average.

Picture Size: Little, Medium, Gargantuan

This describes the size of the shapes and graphics, and to some extent the size of the letters. The default setting is Medium.

Letters Are: Upper Case, Lower Case, Keyboard Setting

The letters that are drawn respond to this setting. If upper case is selected, then the letters appear in capitols, regardless of whether shift or caps lock is down. If lower case is selected, then the letters appear in lower case. If keyboard setting is selected, then the letters follow the shift and caps lock keys, as they would in a word processor. Keyboard setting is the default.

Color Preferences

This preference allows you to choose the kind of colors that Noah! uses. These selections only apply to drawn shapes and letters, not to pictures.


When selected, Noah! uses primary colors, bright reds, yellows, and blues.


When selected, Noah! uses secondary colors, orange, green, and violet, in addition to the primary colors.


If you really want to, you can also add tertiary colors, and Noah! will show red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Black, White, and Red Only

If this is selected, Noah! will only show shades of gray and red. This option is available because some people believe that very young children can only perceive black, white, and red, and don't develop the ability to distinguish between other colors until they are older.

The default color setting is Primary and Secondary. The tertiary color option is probably not necessary, as children tend to like primary colors better. The black, white, and red option is likewise probably not necessary, mainly because I think the black, white, red theory is silly. But it is an option nonetheless.


The preferences dialog also has a preview box in the lower right corner. At any time while changing Noah!'s settings, click in this box to see how it will look.

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Published January 13, 2001