The Premium Document Cruncher
MicroText lets you print up to 4 pages worth of text on a
single sheet of paper. It does this by tricking your printer
into using a tiny (3 to 4 point) font. Before printing, the
program reformats the text into a temporary file. Your
original remains unchanged.
When re-formatting, MicroText automatically wraps lines
which are too long, but never breaks words. If a document
has large blank spaces in it, caused by excess blank lines,
MicroText removes them, saving even more space. It leaves
blank line for easy readability.
Your printouts include MicroText's own page numbering, with
the filename included in a header on each of the four pages
on the sheet.
You have complete control over the process. You can add a
left margin, decide whether you want to print graphics
characters, or select one or two columns. You can also set
custom line widths and page lengths to match your particular
needs. There's even more you can do with MicroText.
You can run MicroText from the command line, by simply
adding a filename to the command. MicroText will then
automatically crunch and print the file, using the default
You can also create a special configuration file which loads
when MicroText runs. This file contains information on all
aspects of the print format, and allows you to set the
program up as you like it. It will start that way each
time, unless you delete the configuration file.
You can also use DOS environment variables to control
MicroText, setting line width, lines per page, and the path
for MicroText's data files. This is especially useful if you
use the program in command-line mode.
More information on each of these options is provided below.
This program is almost 3 years old, and is now in Version
4.0, which has a completely new interface, complete with
intelligent drop-down menus. Many other features are new to
this version of MicroText, so if you have used a previous
version, be sure to read this file completely, or you might
To install MicroText, copy all the files on this disk to a
floppy disk or (better yet) to a directory on your hard
disk. If possible, copy the files into a directory named in
the PATH statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. This, combined
with other features I'll describe later, will allow you to
run the program from any system prompt. For more information
on the PATH statement, see your DOS manual.
COLOR.DAT -- Screen color data
MICROTXT.CFG -- Created by MicroText
MICROTXT.DOC -- Manual (try crunching this one first)
MICROTXT.EXE -- Main program
MTMAN.COM -- MicroText help file (view inside program)
PRINTER.DAT -- Created by MicroText
PROGRAMS.COM -- Information on other products
To complete the installation, use the CD command to change
to the directory containing the MicroText files. Then start
the program with this command:
You'll first see an error message, telling you that the
printer driver is missing. Just press a key. Next, you'll
see a message telling you to turn your printer on.
NOTE: Due to all the different types of printers available,
you MUST have your printer on at all times when running
MicroText. If not, you'll experience unexpected results.
Next, you'll be asked to choose a printer from a list.
Choose the closest match for your printer. If you have a 9-
pin dot-matrix printer, try either selection no. 1 or 2. 24-
pin dot matrix printer should try selection no. 3. Hewlett-
Packard LaserJet-compatible users should try no. 4.
Selection number 5 takes you to a special printer setup
menu, which shouldn't be needed about 99% of the time.
NOTE: Microtext does not currently support the HP DeskJet or
any variety of PostScript printer.
Once you choose a printer, installation is complete, and the
program begins. From now on you won't see that screen.
THE MICROTEXT INTERFACE
MicroText, Version 4.0, uses a simple drop-down menu system
which is always on the screen. The top row indicates the
overall function of its submenus. A box drops down from each
of the main menu selections, offering additional choices.
You can select a menu choice by pressing a cursor key to
move the highlight bar to your selection. Press to
carry out the command.
As an alternative, you can also press the first letter of a
main menu option, or the number for a submenu option. Use
the technique which suits you best.
If a menu command requires input from you, an input box will
pop up on the lower part of the screen. Read the box, then
supply the information requested.
MicroText always tries to anticipate your next action,
the highlight bar to the most logical operation. It doesn't
always get it right, but you'll find that it guesses pretty
FILE MENU CHOICES
1. Display Directory of Files [directory]
This option displays a list of the files in the current
directory. It uses the file mask described below. The
current directory is displayed in the menu.
2. Select file mask [*.*]
Here, you can specify the type of files you want to display
with the command above. For example, to see .DOC files, type
in *.DOC in the input box. To see only files with the
filename LETTER, use LETTER.*
3. Change Directory
Use this command to move to a different directory. In the
input box, type in the directory information. It will then
appear in item 1 above. You can use the trailing backslash
or not. Examples: C:\DOS D:\WP\LETTERS\
NOTE: MicroText always returns you to the original directory
when you exit the program.
4. Select a file for crunching 
This command will ask you for a filename of the document you
want crunched. If it's in the current directory, as shown
on line 1, just type the filename. If its elsewhere, enter
the full path and filename. Your filename will appear inside
5. Select an output file [MICROTXT.TMP]
Before printing, MicroText reformats your document into a
temporary file. MICROTXT.TMP is the default, but you can
change that filename by using this command. Most often, you
won't need to.
6. Shell to DOS
If you give this command, MicroText will allow you to give
normal DOS commands, within the available memory. You can
give as many commands as you like. To return to MicroText,
give this command:
7. Quit program
Exactly that. HP LaserJet users will be asked if they want
to reset the printer. This removes the TINY3 font and ejects
the page. If you don't do this, your later printing may be
PRINTER MENU CHOICES
1. Print current crunched file
This command sends your crunched document to the printer.
Use it only after crunching your file from the Crunch menu.
While printing proceeds, you can abort at any time by
2. Send Formfeed to printer
Ejects a page from the printer, or advances the paper for
3. Send Reset to printer
On dot-matrix printers, this command restores the printer's
defaults. (No action for LaserJet)
4. Preview first page
This command presents a graphical preview of your crunched
document, more or less as it will appear on paper. Margins
and line lengths are included. (Requires a CGA, EGA, or VGA
display) Monochrome users will see an error message.
5. Create custom printer driver
MicroText allows you to create a file containing codes for
other printers not supported internally. If you give this
command, you'll see an explanation of the codes. See the
PRINTER CUSTOMIZING section at the end of this document.
6. Load custom printer driver
If you've created a special driver, this command loads it
7. Print alignment page
Most often, you won't need to use this feature. It prints
an alignment pattern on your printer. It includes one line
of numbers to let you count characters across the screen and
line numbers for the rest of the page. Use this to set
appropriate values in the Setup Menu.
LAYOUT MENU OPTIONS
1. One or two columns [2-COL]
This command is a toggle. Each time you press it, you change
from one-column to two-column mode and vice-versa. Two-
column mode is the default and produces 4 pages on one sheet
of paper. This value can be saved in a configuration file.
entry under Setup menu.
2. Print graphic characters [ON]
This toggle determines whether you print the extended ASCII
characters in a document. When it's [ON], MicroText prints
all graphics characters. If it's [OFF], it replaces them
with asterisks (*). Not all printers can handle the
extended characters. Set this toggle the way you like.
NOTE: the TINY3 font for the HP LaserJet has no graphics
characters. This toggle is ignored.
This value can be saved in a configuration file. See info on
3. Add left margin [OFF]
This toggle adds a margin to the left of the page. The
margin width is fixed, and varies from printer to printer,
but allows for hole punching. It's fairly small, to allow as
much text as possible on the page.
This entry can be saved in a configuration file. See info on
SETUP MENU OPTIONS
1. Choose Printer
Use this option if you get a new printer, or just need to
change your selection. You'll see the same menu you saw when
you first ran MicroText.
2. Set wrap point 
You probably won't need this option. It allows you to
customize the width of each column. If your printouts look
like they could hold a few more letters on each line, you
might want to change this value. When you first start the
program, the number will be zero. After crunching, the
current value is shown in brackets.
3. Set Maximum lines per page 
As above, this figure lets you choose a customized number of
lines on each page of your printout. Use it if your printer
doesn't paginate properly, or if you're using non-standard
paper. The figure in brackets is zero until a document has
4. Set screen colors
MicroText can display any colors you like. If you have a
color monitor, use this command to set it up for your
favorites. Just follow the screen instructions. At the end
of the color-setting routine, you can save your choice in a
file, and MicroText will always start with those colors,
unless you change them here.
5. Set path for MicroText data files
MicroText normally looks for its data files in the directory
from which you started the program. You can change that
directory here, if you like.
6. Save configuration (becomes default)
Under normal circumstances, you won't need this command. Use
it only if you need to alter the MicroText defaults. This
creates a file (MICROTXT.CFG) containing information on:
1. Wrap point (see 2. above)
2. Lines per page (see 3. above)
3. Data path (see 5. above)
4. Number of columns (1 or 2)
5. Graphic character toggle
6. Path for data files
MicroText looks for this file each time it runs and, if
found, makes those values the defaults. Use this feature to
customize the program. NOTE: you must manually set EACH of
the first three values before saving a configuration.
Here's what a typical MICROTXT.CFG file looks like:
90 (Wrap point. Leading space necessary)
110 (Lines per page. Leading space necessary)
C:\MT\ (Data path. Must include backslash (\))
ON] (Graphic character toggle. Must include bracket.)
2-COL] (Number of columns (1 or 2.)
OFF] (Left margin. Can be ON or OFF. Include bracket)
NOTE: Make sure to use upper-case if you modify the file
outside of MicroText.
NOTE: See also the section below on Environment Variables.
7. Delete old configuration file
Use this command if you've made a mistake in your
configuration, or if you want to revert to the MicroText
defaults. Also, if you use environment variables, you should
delete the file. If you change configuration, then re-save
it, the old file will automatically be replaced.
CRUNCH MENU OPTIONS
1. Crunch current file 
This command is at the heart of MicroText. Once you've
selected an input file, this command reformats it for
printing. The current filename appears in the brackets. As
crunching proceeds, you'll see a count of the lines
processed. On completion, a report will appear with
information on pages saved, etc.
NOTE: If you change parameters for crunching, after
crunching a file, you must give this command again to re-
crunch your file.
2. Delete temporary file [MICROTXT.TMP]
This command deletes MicroText's temporary file. Normally,
you won't need this command, since MicroText prompts you to
delete the file after printing. If you want to exit the
program without printing, however, use this command to get
rid of the file. If you re-crunch a file, MicroText
automatically over-writes the temporary file.
3. View crunch report
Gives you another look at the report you saw after
SPECIAL MENU OPTIONS
1. View input file 
This command lets you look inside the file you're planning
to crunch. You'll see the file on the screen, one screen at
a time. Press any key to view more of the file. Press
to return to the main menu. This viewing utility only moves
forward in the file.
2. Information on other products
I offer a number of other shareware programs. This command,
which calls the file PROGRAMS.COM, will give you detailed
information on those programs. Just follow the screen
3. MicroText registration information
MicroText is a shareware program. If you use it regularly,
please register your copy. This screen offers details.
HELP MENU OPTIONS
1. Command-line options
MicroText can print documents automatically from the command
line. This command provides details. Essentially, you give
the command this way:
The filespec must include all drive and path information.
MicroText will load the file, crunch it, and print it, using
the defaults or your custom configuration. It's easy and
2. Read manual
This command displays an abbreviated version of this manual,
focusing on the menu options. You can use this command any
time to refresh your memory.
OTHER MICROTEXT FEATURES
Those are just the basic features in MicroText. It can do
much more than you'd think, though, and there are many other
options available. Here are just a few:
MicroText recognizes three DOS environment variables:
Tells the program where to find its data files.
Tells the program the maximum length of a line for re-
Tells the program the maximum number of lines per page
MicroText checks your DOS environment each time it runs. If
these variables are found there, it sets the figures in the
variable as the defaults.
To place the variables in the environment, use the SET
command. Here are examples:
NOTE: Do not add any spaces before or after the equal (=)
This tells MicroText to always look for data files in the
C:\MT directory. Substitute your own directory information.
Tells MicroText to wrap lines at the 65th character when
reformatting. Of course, the wrapping is intelligent and
never breaks a word.
Tells MicroText to send a page break after each 120 lines.
Be careful with this one, since too large a number will
cause lines to bleed to the next page, destroying
pagination. Experiment with this figure.
You can use one or more of these variables. You can include
these commands in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file or in a batch file
which starts MicroText. Here's a sample batch file.
Naturally, you'll substitute your own data.
MicroText can also crunch many non-ASCII documents. It can
handle files created by Microsoft WORD, WordStar, and many
other word processors. You may see some asterisks in the
file, but the text will be there. Unfortunately, MicroText
can't cope with WordPerfect files, unless you use the
- (Text In/Out) command.
It can also print DBASE files, but doesn't format them
neatly. Spreadsheets are another specialty. Just tell your
spreadsheet to print to a file, instead of to the printer.
MicroText can print these files, in single-column mode, up
to 180 columns.
Source code files from programming languages are another
good use of MicroText. By choosing one-column mode, you can
see long lines of code without breaks. Just crunch the
source code file and print.
Print all your shareware documentation with MicroText. Set
the margin on and you can put the printouts in a three-ring
binder. Just imagine how much paper and space you'll save.
Consider using MicroText to print archival copies of all
kinds of documents. If you have a collection of short
documents, you can combine them into a single file and
create a crunched printout. Use the DOS COPY command to
merge your files. Here's a good example:
COPY/A filename1 + filename2 + filename3 +.... MERGE.DOC
Then just load MERGE.DOC into MicroText and print away.
MicroText requires DOS 2.0 or later, 256K of RAM, and CGA,
EGA, or VGA ONLY for the page preview. If you have a
monochrome system and try to use the page preview feature,
you'll see an error message.
MicroText is protected under the copyright laws of the
United States. The program and this document are Copyright,
1990, by the author, George Campbell. All rights reserved.
MicroText is not in the public domain. It is shareware.
If you use this program, please register your copy by
sending the $10 shareware fee to:
1472 Sixth St.
Los Osos, CA 93402
The latest version of this program is always available on
the SLO BYTES BBS. (805) 528-3753.
BBS SysOps and shareware distributors are welcome to
distribute this program, as long as no changes are made
without my written permission. Users of MicroText are
welcome to share the complete program with their friends
and others. Please keep the program and documentation
Registered users will receive the latest version, without
the shareware screen at the end of the program. They are
also entitled to mail and BBS support.
SPECIAL NOTICE: Any user who contributes a new printer
driver is entitled to free registration for MicroText, and
will receive a complimentary copy of the registered
version. Just send your driver to the address above or
upload it (with your address) to the BBS number listed
1. Since MicroText creates a scratch file, you must have
enough disk space to hold that file. Typically, it will be
somewhat larger than the original text file. Allow for it.
2. If you're designing printer drivers, test them with
short files. It saves lots of time.
3. Any time you're testing MicroText, work with short files.
Working With Print Enhancers:
Various programs are available to enhance print quality for
most Epson-compatible 9-pin printers. MicroText interfaces
perfectly with these program. My favorite is "The Image
Printing Utilities." LETTRIX is another good bet. Using
one of these programs, you can produce near-laser quality
USING MicroText with Laser Printers:
HP LaserJet, Series II printers use some special techniques
for printing with MicroText. A soft font, TINY3.SFP is
downloaded by MicroText to your printer. It remains in the
printer until you shut the printer off. In order not to
conflict with other soft fonts, this font uses the font
number, 1333, as an identifier. You can even specify that
font number for other printing chores, if your software can
handle soft fonts.
The font, TINY3.SFP is a fixed-space font at 3.8 points,
with 21.5 characters per inch. It has only the normal
keyboard characters, ASCII 33 to ASCII 127, and takes up
very little memory. As used in MicroText, line spacing is
set at 12 lines per inch. NOTE: since TINY3 doesn't have
any graphics characters, MicroText turns graphics filtering
OFF automatically if you choose the HP printer.
You may download the font to your printer outside of
MicroText for other uses. Use the command:
COPY /B TINY3.SFP LPT1:
The font number, 1333, is built into the font itself, as is
the 12 lpi line spacing. To access the font in an external
document, just include a line in your document containing
the following HP printer control information:
Where you see "Esc," include the actual ASCII character 27.
In most editors, you do this by holding down the key
while you type 27 on the NUMBER PAD on your keyboard. The
command above makes TINY3 the primary font. Send EscE to
the printer to reset it when you're done printing with
I just wanted to add that information for LaserJet junkies.