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A novel fabrication method for soft x-ray transmission grating and other optical elements is presented. The method uses focused-ion-beam technology to fabricate high-quality free standing grating bars on transmission electron microscopy grids. High quality transmission gratings are obtained with superb accuracy and versatility. Using these gratings and back-illuminated CCD camera, absolutely calibrated x-ray spectra can be acquired for soft x-ray source diagnostics in the 100-3000 eV spectral range. Double grating combinations of identical or different parameters are easily fabricated, allowing advanced one-shot application of transmission grating spectroscopy. These applications include spectroscopy with different spectral resolutions, bandwidths, dynamic ranges, and may serve for identification of high-order contribution, and spectral calibrations of various x-ray optical elements.