Dec 232017
VFLIP is a TSR utility that gives the user instant control of numerous features of the Hercules Graphics Card Plus and the Hercules InColor Card.
File VFLIP.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category Display Utilities
VFLIP is a TSR utility that gives the user instant control of numerous features of the Hercules Graphics Card Plus and the Hercules InColor Card.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
VFINST.EXE 88428 33035 deflated
VFLIP.COM 4939 2737 deflated
VFLIP.DOC 20806 6424 deflated

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Contents of the VFLIP.DOC file

VFLIP.COM--Hercules Resident Video Control Utility v3.0
Documentation File


VFLIP.COM is a memory-resident utility that gives the user
instant control of numerous features of the Hercules Graphics
Card Plus and the Hercules InColor Card. In text mode, VFLIP
flips among the three possible character modes (ROM text, 48k
RamFont, and 4k RamFont) of the Hercules RamFont cards. This
capability is useful since other memory-resident programs that
alter the screen may not function properly in 48k RamFont mode.
In graphics mode, VFLIP can toggle between the two graphics
pages. Additionally, VFLIP can select any of five
user-specified video modes, including RamFont configurations with
non-standard character sizes. On the Hercules InColor Card,
VFLIP can select one of three color palettes and can toggle
between the normal and alternate attribute sets. Regardless of
the Hercules Card or video mode, VFLIP can blank the screen,
either on demand or after a specified time period. Finally,
VFLIP can toggle the blink-bit in the display mode control port.
Each of these features is discussed in detail below.

Starting VFLIP

To load VFLIP, be sure VFLIP.COM is in your current drive or
directory, or available in your DOS path, then type:

VFLIP [Enter]

Changing VFLIP's configuration

VFLIP comes with predefined hot-key sequences for all of its
functions and five preprogrammed video modes that can be
selected. If these key sequences and selections (listed below)
are suitable for your work environment, you will not need to
change VFLIP's configuration. However, if you find that some of
VFLIP's hot-key sequences conflict with the key sequences used by
other memory-resident utilities or applications, or if you want
to redefine the video modes that can be accessed with VFLIP's
"Select Video Mode" feature, you will need to run VFLIP's
configuration utility, VFINST.EXE. To run this program, make
sure VFINST.EXE AND VFLIP.COM are in your current drive or
directory, or available in your DOS path, then type:

VFINST [Enter]

When the program loads, you will see a menu with various options
displayed in the left column and their corresponding key
sequences in the right column. Use the Up- and Down-Arrow keys
to move the highlight to the option that you wish to change and
press [Enter], then type the hot-key sequence (two or three
keystrokes) that you want to access that option. The first
keystroke must be [Ctrl] or [Alt]. Two options, "Select Video
Mode" and "Select Palette Configuration" display secondary menus
when selected. These options are explained in more detail
elsewhere in this document. To exit VFINST without saving your
changes, press Escape. To exit VFINST and save your changes,
press Q.

Notes: VFINST has extensive built-in help facilities. To get
context-sensitive help with a particular feature, press F1. To
get a reminder of which keystrokes control the program, press F2.

In order for changes made with VFINST to take effect, you must
reboot your system.

Disabling VFLIP

To disable VFLIP, be sure VFLIP.COM is in your current drive or
directory, or available in your DOS path, then type:

VFLIP /r [Enter]

Note that this option does not remove VFLIP from memory, but
merely disables it. To re-enable VFLIP after it has been
disabled, type:

VFLIP [Enter]

VFLIP Features

Note: in the sections that follow, when we indicate the hot-key
sequences to be used for accessing VFLIP's various features, we
will, of course, refer to the default sequences. You can
substitute key sequences of your choice by means of the VFINST
program (see above).

Character-Mode Options

The principal reason for the existence of VFLIP is that certain
aspects of the operation of the Hercules Cards cannot be detected
by software. For example, a pop-up program like SideKick cannot
determine whether a Hercules Card is in 48k RamFont mode before
writing to the screen. Consequently, the pop-up program may
appear with inappropriate characters and attributes when it
pops-up over a 48k RamFont screen. With VFLIP, the user can
switch the Hercules Card to ROM text mode while using the pop-up
program and, when the pop-up is finished, restore 48k RamFont
mode. For example, if you use SideKick in conjunction with
WordPerfect 5.0 in RamFont mode, you know that SideKick does not
display properly in this mode. With VFLIP, you can select ROM
text mode and then bring up SideKick. When you put SideKick
away, you can restore 48k RamFont mode.

For situations like that described above, VFLIP provides three
"built-in" video modes: ROM text mode, 48k RamFont mode, and 4k
RamFont mode, all using an 80 x 25 screen configuration. These
three modes will be adequate for the majority of your
applications. The default hot-key sequences for these three
modes are [Alt]+[LeftShift]+T, [Alt]+[LeftShift]+R, and
[Alt]+[LeftShift]+F respectively. If you need additional video
modes, such as RamFont mode with a 90-column screen configuration
or graphics mode, use the "Select Video Mode" feature (see

Toggle Blink Bit

This command toggles the blink bit of the Hercules Card's display
mode control port on or off. On the Hercules Graphics Card Plus,
in text mode or 4k RamFont mode, this determines whether
characters with the blinking attribute set will blink or not. In
48k RamFont mode, the state of the blink bit determines which of
two attribute sets will be available. When the blink bit is ON,
the available attributes will be normal, underline, overstrike,
blinking, and high-intensity. When the blink bit is OFF, the
available attributes will be normal, underline, overstrike,
reverse-video, and boldface. Most 48k RamFont applications use
the blink-OFF attribute set, but a few, such as Nota Bene and
XyWrite require the blink bit to be ON.

On the Hercules InColor Card, the effect of the blink bit is
influenced by active attribute set ("normal" or "alternate") in
addition to the current video mode. In text mode or 4k RamFont
mode, when the normal attribute set is active, the blink bit
simply determines whether text with the blinking attribute will
blink. When the alternate attribute set is active, the blink bit
determines the number of background colors that can be displayed.
When the blink bit is ON, there are 8 possible background colors.
When the blink bit is OFF, there are 16 possible background
colors. In 48k RamFont mode, with the normal attribute set
selected, the state of the blink bit determines which of the two
48k RamFont attribute sets described above will be displayed.
When the alternate attribute set is selected in conjunction with
48k RamFont mode, the blink bit has no effect.

Graphics Page Flip

There are some circumstances in which it is desirable to flip
between the two graphics pages of the Hercules Card. Some
memory-resident programs correctly detect the Hercules Card's
graphics mode and set the card to text mode before popping-up.
The difficulty arises when these programs quit and return the
Hercules Card to graphics mode. Because there is no reliable way
to determine which of the two graphics pages is active, the
program may restore the Hercules Card to graphics mode with the
wrong page displayed. With VFLIP, the user can hot-key to the
correct graphics page. If the Hercules Card is in graphics mode,
the default hot-key sequence [Alt]+[LeftShift]+O will initially
set the displayed page to 0 (the first page), and subsequent
repetitions of this key sequence will flip the active page
between 1 and 0. The graphics page-flip hot-keys are only active
if the card is in graphics mode. That is, no action will occur if
the page flip is invoked while the Hercules Card is in text or
RamFont mode.

Note: if you have a graphics program which uses both pages of the
Hercules Card for display, the program will not be aware of page
changes made by VFLIP. For example, Freelance Plus can load two
drawings at one time, storing one in each of the two graphics
pages. If you switch pages by means of the menu commands or key
sequences provided by Freelance, the program will work properly.
If you use VFLIP to switch to the drawing on the second page and
then try to work on that drawing, Freelance will not know that
the page has been switched, and will continue to modify the
hidden drawing on the first page.

Blanking the Screen

VFLIP includes a screen-blanking utility that replaces and
enhances the former Hercules SAVE programs (HGC SAVE or
SAVE.COM). VFLIP's screen-blanking feature performs both
keyboard-controlled and timed screen blanking.

You can make the screen go blank on demand by typing the hot-key
sequence [Alt]+[LeftShift]+O. This is useful if a nosy intruder
interrupts your work, or if you walk away from your computer and
don't want to leave your work on display. To restore the screen
after blanking it with the hot keys, repeat the same hot-key

The timed screen blanking feature of VFLIP monitors keyboard
activity. If no keystrokes have been entered for the time-out
period (default 5 minutes), VFLIP will blank the screen. Typing
any key restores the screen. To enable the timed screen-blanking
feature, load VFLIP from DOS with one of the following
command-line options:

VFLIP ON Loads VFLIP and enables screen blank feature for
the default time-out period of five minutes.

VFLIP ON n Loads VFLIP and enables the screen blank feature
for the time-out period in minutes specified by
'n,' where 'n' is a number between 1 and 60. For
example: VFLIP ON 15 will load VFLIP and enable
the screen blanking after 15 minutes of
non-activity at the keyboard.

VFLIP OFF Disables the automatic time-out screen blanking

The option to disable the screen blanking feature is necessary in
certain circumstances. Some programs take complete control of
the keyboard. With such programs, VFLIP doesn't get the
information that indicates that you are typing, and therefore
blanks the screen after the time-out period even though there is
keyboard activity. Another situation where you may want to turn
automatic screen blanking off is when using a program that gets
input primarily from a mouse, such as a drawing or CAD program.
VFLIP does not sense mouse activity, so even though you are
looking at the screen and working at the computer, the screen
will blank after the time-out period. This will be annoying, so
turn the automatic screen blanking feature off before starting
such a program. Microsoft Windows and Hayes SmartComm are known
to be incompatible with VFLIP's SAVE feature. You can make a
batch file that runs the VFLIP OFF option before starting such a

You only need to turn the screen blank feature off if you have
previously enabled it. For instance, if you load VFLIP without
any of the screen save options, there is no need to turn it off.
The blank-on-demand feature will always be active, even if you do
not specify an automatic time-out option on the command line.

Notes: When the screen blanks, any data (or background color on
the InColor Card) displayed on the top scan line of the screen
will remain. This is the normal operation of the screen save
feature and does not indicate a problem.

If, like many Hercules Card users, you load one of the older
screensave utilities (HGC SAVE or SAVE.COM) from your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file, be sure to remove it before enabling the timed
screen-blanking feature of VFLIP. Having two screen blanking
programs in operation at the same time will only result in
Selecting a Video Mode

VFLIP's built-in ROM text mode and 4k and 48k RamFont mode
options will meet most of your needs, but there a situations
where you may need to initialize other video modes. The "Select
Video Mode" option allows you to initialize all of the common
video modes of the Hercules Graphics Card Plus and Hercules
InColor Card, including graphics mode with either page displayed
and both RamFont modes with a full range of character sizes.
VFLIP's built in video-mode keys all use an 9 x 14 character
matrix, resulting in an 80 x 25 screen format. Some RamFont
programs, such as 1-2-3 or Framework, use a 90 column screen
configuration. Many of these program use a shorter character
height as well, to provide a greater number of screen rows. If
you use such a program, and you wish to be able to restore its
screen to the proper format after using a memory resident
program, you must use one of the "select-a-video-mode" key
sequences (defaults [Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F1] - [F5]). If your
screen configuration is not among the preprogrammed selections,
you will need to run the VFINST configuration program and create
a new video mode. First, choose "Select Video Mode" on the Main
Menu. Next move the highlight to whichever of the video-mode
selections you wish to modify and press [Enter]. In the window
titled "Video Modes," move the highlight to "Select a RamFont
Mode," and press [Enter]. You will see a new window titled
"RamFont Menu." Move the cursor through the columns, selecting a
character height (8-16), character width (8 or 9), a RamFont mode
(4k or 48k) and an attribute set (normal or alternate). Note
that the attribute setting only affects the InColor Card. On the
Graphics Card Plus this setting makes no difference.

Selecting a Palette (InColor Card Only)

On the Hercules InColor Card, VFLIP can select one of three color
palettes. The first, which corresponds to the default palette of
the IBM EGA or VGA, is built into VFLIP and cannot be modified by
the user. The other two palettes are user-specified. Both are
palettes created with the Hercules SETCOLOR.COM utility (version
2.2 or later). The first is a palette that you have specified by
means of the HPAL environment variable (see the appendix at the
end of this document). The second is a palette that you may
specify on the command line when you load VFLIP. To specify a
palette on the command line when loading VFLIP, emulate the
following example:

VFLIP /p [path]palname.ext [Enter]

Where palname.ext is the name of a palette file created with the

Toggle Attribute Set (InColor Card Only)

This option allows you to select one of the InColor Card's two
attribute sets, "normal" or "alternate." The normal attributes
are those associated with the monochrome display adapter:
blinking, high-intensity, normal, reverse-video, and underline.
The alternate attribute set provides CGA/EGA style text and
background colors on a per-character basis. For a more detailed
description of the InColor Card's attribute sets, consult your
Hercules InColor Card Owner's Manual.

Toggle Character Width

Unlike most of the commands in VFLIP, this one does not have an
immediate effect. It does not program the RamFont hardware to
change the character width, but merely modifies the CRT_COLS
variable used by DOS to keep track of the current character
width. Programs which use this variable to determine their
screen configuration will be affected accordingly.

Cycle Character Height

This command, intended for use in RamFont mode, varies the
character height from 8 through 16 pixels. Each successive
execution of this command increments the character height by one
pixel. When the character height has reached 16 pixels, the next
execution "wraps" to a height of 8 pixels.

Appendix 1: VFLIP Default Key Sequences

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+T ROM Text Mode

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+R 48k RamFont Mode

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+F 4k RamFont Mode

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+O Toggle Screen On/Off

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+B Toggle Blink Bit

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+A Toggle Attribute Set (InColor Card Only)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+G Toggle Graphics Page (Graphics Mode

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+A Toggle Attribute Set (InColor Card Only)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+W Toggle Character Width (8 or 9 Pixels)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+H Cycle Character Height (8-16 Pixels)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F1] Video Mode 1 (Graphics Mode Page 0)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F2] Video Mode 2 (Graphics Mode Page 1)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F3] Video Mode 3 (ROM Text Mode)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F4] Video Mode 4 (RamFont 8x9 48k Norm)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F5] Video Mode 5 (RamFont 9x14 4k Alt)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F7] EGA/VGA Palette (InColor Card Only)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F8] HPAL Palette (InColor Card Only)

[Alt]+[LeftShift]+[F9] Command Line Palette (InColor Card Only)

Appendix 2: The HFNT and HPAL Environment Variables

Because the various Hercules display adapters are not equipped
with readable registers indicating the boards' current status, it
has heretofore been impossible for applications which alter any
of the boards' extended registers to restore their previous
states. In particular, many users of the RamFont boards (GB112,
NB112, and GB222) use 4k RamFont mode with a user-selected font
file as their default text mode configuration. In addition, many
GB222 users use a custom color palette created with Hercules'
SETCOLOR program as a part of their default configuration.
Heretofore, it has not been possible for applications which alter
the user's font or color selections to restore them to their
previous states on termination. To alleviate this problem,
Hercules proposes that users create two DOS environment
variables, HFNT and HPAL. These variables specify the path and
filename for a 4k RamFont font file and (for InColor Card users
only) for a palette file created by the Hercules SETCOLOR.COM
program (version 2.2 or later). These environment variables take
the following form (no spaces around "=" allowed):

SET HFNT=\path\filename.ext

SET HPAL=\path\filename.ext

These variables, if present, will be used by VFLIP to locate and
load the appropriate font and palette files as described above.

Appendix 3: VFLIP and Other Memory Resident Programs

We have done our best to make VFLIP "well behaved," but we can't
guarantee its successful coexistence with each of the multitude
of memory-resident programs and operating environments currently
in existence. In particular, VFLIP may have difficulties with
other programs which take control of the keyboard, such as
keyboard-enhancement utilities. If you experience difficulties
in using VFLIP, we recommend that you try changing the order in
which your memory-resident programs are loaded. If this does not
solve your problem, you may find it necessary to disable VFLIP
with the /r switch under some circumstances.

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