The text options in the Maptek Vulcan software have issues. I have known about many of the issues for years. Text is one of the low level things that everyone always seems to be complaining about but nobody ever gets around to fixing. This pain point was brought to my attention lately when I wanted to put a degree symbol on a vertical cross section plot.
There are two problems here. One is accessing the degree symbol in the first place. Vulcan is not like Microsoft, with a chart of symbols you can use. In order to even get the degree symbol you have to look up the key strokes to reference the ascii character. Once you have done this the next problem is getting the symbol to appear in 3D.
Maptek Vulcan has three methods to create text. Each has some good functionality but none have all the functionality. In this case I want to place text in vertical section view so 2D text is out because it only works in the X-Y plane. This is too bad because 2D text has the option to be converted to 'true type font' a classification that allows it to use all the fonts installed on your operating system. This departure from the ugly computer fonts is a big draw for using 2D text.
Screen text would work in this instance, but I never know how screen text will look in the final plot until I actually plot it out. Screen text is also called the 'surprise font' because it stays the same size on the screen, but the size on the plot is based on the font height set when it was created so you might be surprised to see how large or small the text is when it finally prints. This can be problematic but will work given enough trial and error.
The ideal solution here would be 3D text. This option will create text in whatever plane I am viewing when it is first typed, so I can use it in a vertical section. Another positive factor is the ability to plot the text as it appears in Vulcan. No 'surprise font' text sizes here. Unfortunately, 3D text doesn't have the option for using 'true type font' so I'm stuck with the computer fonts from the 80's. The last straw is that 3D text won't display the degree symbol. It will appear in the 'Text Edit' panel but when it goes to the Envisage window it disappears.
To get the degree symbol in Vulcan text you need to hold down the alt key and type 0176 (alt+0176). This works for most Microsoft applications (Word, Outlook, etc...). This part took a while to find but at least it has a useable solution.
The workaround for displaying the degree symbol in section view is to use screen font (SMALL, NORMAL, MEDIUM or LARGE) and play around with the text size until it works for the scale I'm plotting.
A Better Solution
The real solution here would be to correct the font problems that have plagued Maptek Vulcan for years. What needs to happen is a simplification of the options. We don't need three options that all do kind of the same thing but in a slightly different manner. What we need is one option that has all the necessary functionality.
3D text is the only option we need. Text should be saved in the plane I was in when it was created. The 'true type fonts' should be available in 3D text.
The functionality of screen text needs to go away. Have you tried to zoom out with screen text loaded? Everything becomes a mess. You can't see anything because the text starts to smash together and obscure all the detail of your design. You might think you want screen text but you really don't.
The Bug Log - QAM-3509
I talked to the folks at Maptek and they have logged a bug for this issue (QAM-3509). Right now the bug log is just about adding the degree symbol functionality to 3D text but I hope that someone there will see the bigger picture and make some fundamental changes to the way text works in all of the Maptek Vulcan software.
There is also a QAM log for adding 'true type fonts' to 3D text. With this upgrade (QAM-1070) Maptek might as well give up the other text formats. 3D would then have all the major functionality of the other text types making 2D text and Screen text obsolete.