Dec 082017
File 2 of ALT task swapper/desk accessory programs. Also provides program selection menus, cut & paste, and macro features. File 2 of 2.
File ALT207_B.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category File Managers
File 2 of ALT task swapper/desk accessory programs. Also provides program selection menus, cut & paste, and macro features. File 2 of 2.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
ADDRESS.DAT 25708 291 deflated
ADDRESS.IND 2160 46 deflated
ALT.HLP 6120 1517 deflated
ALTPOP.COM 1290 732 deflated
ALTSWAP.EXE 12167 7811 deflated
ASCII.ACC 42155 22848 deflated
BRIEF.KEY 666 255 deflated
CLIP.CST 902 389 deflated
EDIT.ACC 128959 57033 deflated
EDIT.CST 909 386 deflated
FILER.ACC 85329 40222 deflated
FILEVIEW.DAT 44 37 deflated
HELPME.DOC 18605 6435 deflated
HLP.TXT 4819 1444 deflated
ISMM.SYS 1194 994 deflated
KEYSWAP.ACC 90 55 deflated
MACRO.CST 902 389 deflated
MANUAL.DOC 61233 18805 deflated
MENUPROG.ACC 37985 20575 deflated
NOTE.CST 902 389 deflated
NOTECLIP.ACC 98429 44001 deflated
ORDER.ACC 50325 30237 deflated
ROLODEX.ACC 60895 31354 deflated
WP.KEY 291 129 deflated

Download File ALT207_B.ZIP Here

Contents of the MANUAL.DOC file


Installing And Configuring ALT


To install ALT, you must have a little over 2 megabytes of free
hard-disk space. ALT does not require this much, but it must
have some extra space for installation overhead. You must also
have at least 256 Kilobytes of main system memory to use ALT

Begin the installation by inserting the ALT #1 disk into a floppy
drive in your computer (usually drive A:).

Type: a:install (where a: is your floppy drive)
Press: ENTER

Follow instructions until you see the message:

Enter Source Drive

Enter the drive containing the ALT #1 disk and press Enter.
e.g. A:\ . You should then see the message:

Enter Destination Drive and Path

Respond by entering the drive and directory to contain ALT and
press Enter. e.g. C:\ALT

The installation programs then begins copying files in ZIP'ed
form to your hard disk. Momentarily, the installation program
will ask you to insert the ALT #2 disk into drive A. Do this and

Press: ENTER

Many of the ALT accessories can be run as standalone utilities.
The installation programs gives you the option to give a name to
these utilities in order to run them from the command line. A
series of prompts will appear giving you the chance to edit the
default name for the standalone accessories. You may either edit
the name, press Enter to accept the default name, or press ESC to
avoid creating the standalone accessory.

NOTE: **********************************************************

To install without the INSTALL program, simply copy all the files
to a subdirectory on your hard drive, e.g. \ALT. If the files
are ZIPped or ARCed, then use either PKUNZIP or PKUNARC to
uncompress the files, e.g.


The standalone programs can simply be created by copying the
appropriate ACCessory files to an EXEcutable file. This allows
some of the accessories to be called from the DOS command line
rather than having to access them through the ALT Main Menu. The
accessories that are able to be run separate from the Main Menu
are the Disk Filer (FILER.ACC), Word Processor (EDIT.ACC),
Appointment Calendar (APP.ACC), Calculator (CALC.ACC), and the
Address Book (ROLODEX.ACC). As an example, go to the ALT
directory and

Type: Copy Filer.Acc F.exe
Press: Enter

The Disk Filer can now be accessed simply by,

Type: F
Press: Enter

It is important that the ALT directory is included in your PATH
so they can be accessed from any drive or directory, e.g.


Running ALT on a Hard-disk System

To load and run ALT:

Type: c:
Type: cd \alt
Type: alt

Configuring the Swap Drive

If ALT is being run for the first time, a screen for configuring
the swap drive will be presented. The swap drive is the disk
drive used by ALT for temporarily storing programs run in other
partitions while they are not being used. It is this capability
that allows ALT to give more than one program, the entire memory
resources of your computer. Thus, it is very important that you
spend a few minutes setting up the swap drive configuration
screen correctly. The swap drive configuration screen appears
similar to the following:

Swap Drive Maximum Swap Drive

_ ________ K
_ ________ K
_ ________ K
_ ________ K

The Swap Drive configuration screen contains two columns: a swap
drive column in which you fill in drive letters for the disk
drives available to ALT for memory swapping and a column
specifying the corresponding maximum amount of storage ALT is
allowed to use temporarily on the disk.

Note that ALT's use of your disk space is temporary. It will
only be used as it needs it and then freed upon exiting ALT. You
must enter at least one disk drive letter for ALT to operate. We
suggest using a RAM disk as the swap drive if you have one. This
will make swapping much faster. Another good alternative is to
use expanded memory. To use expanded memory, enter 'X' as the
first swap drive letter. Then enter the maximum amount of disk
space in kilobytes (1024 bytes) you can afford in the
corresponding column to the right. Allow for about 600K per
partition you plan to use plus about 200K for each accessory you
use. You may leave this column blank if ALT is allowed to use
all of the disk space available.

You can specify as many as five different swap drives as
available to ALT. It is recommended that you specify your hard
drive as the last swap drive if you are using a RAM disk or
expanded memory. This will give ALT some storage to use
temporarily in case it runs out of space on the RAM disk or
expanded memory. Leave the Maximum Swap Size column blank for
the last drive specified in order to avoid the "Out of Swap Space
Error." For example suppose you have one hard disk C: and no RAM
disk or expanded memory. Then the following simple configuration
will suffice:

Swap Drive Maximum Swap Drive

As another example, suppose you have a RAM disk D: with 3 Megabytes
and a hard disk C:. Then a recommended swap drive configuration might
Swap Drive Maximum Swap Drive
D 1500

This sets up drive D: as the principal swap drive of which ALT is
only allowed to temporarily use 1500K or 1.5 Megabyte. Drive C:
is specified as the secondary swap drive. As a final example,
suppose you have an expanded memory card with 4 Megabytes. Then
you might configure ALT in the following manner:

Swap Drive Maximum Swap Drive
X 2000

This makes the expanded memory card the principal swap drive with
enough memory to swap about three running programs and some
accessories before running out of "disk" space on the expanded
memory card. If ALT needed more than 2000K it would then use
drive C:

NOTE: You must first add the line:

DEVICE = C:\ALT\ISMM.SYS (your path may differ)

to the end of your config.sys file in order to use expanded
memory for swapping or if desired, the install program will
automatically edit the config.sys file if the Instinct memory
manager is not already installed.

The ALT Main Menu

Tapping the key very quickly will cause the ALT main menu to
pop-up, whether you are at the DOS prompt , using an application
program or using an ALT accessory. Note: it is not sufficient to
press down the key to retrieve ALT - you must actually tap
the key, leaving it depressed no more than a fraction of a
second. After tapping , the screen should look similar to the

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Instinct Software\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
] ALT 2.00 ^
]Copyright (C) 1989 Instinct Software. Order(214)739-5543 BBS(214)368-2709^

: Press ENTER to Select. INS to Add. DEL to Delete. :
: 1 C:\LOTUS >123 539 K g:
: 2 C:\WP >WP 539 K g:
: 2 C:\ > 539 K g:

:Rolocards Menus Disk Calc Appointments Editor Notes Kut Paste OTHER Info :
:Names, addresses, phone numbers and an autodialer :

The main menu contains two distinct menu boxes:

* The top menu box contains a list of the currently active
partitions. Each choice displays the drive and path prompt along
with the currently executed command for each partition (123, Word
Perfect and the DOS prompt in the above example). The size of
the partition is also displayed at the far right-hand side of the
selection along with a 'g' if the partition restores graphics
screens. The current partition is marked with an arrow symbol in
the leftmost column. To switch to a new partition, either type
the number of the partition or press the up or down arrow keys to
position the highlighted bar in the top menu area. Use the up
and down arrow keys to select a partition and press Enter. To go
back to the bottom menu box, press ESC or use the up and down
arrow keys to move off of the edge of the top menu box.

* The bottom menu box contains selections for the ALT desk
accessories, utilities and system functions. Items from the menu
can be chosen in one of two ways: either press the first letter
of the desired menu choice or use the arrow keys to position the
highlighted bar over the desired choice and press Enter. The
main menu contains the following choices:

Command Summary

Rolocards - Retrieves a personalized address book with autodialer
Menus - Brings up the program menu manager. Lets you create your
own menus of executable programs that can be run at the
touch of a key
Disk - Retrieves disk filer for moving, copying, renaming and
viewing files
Calc - Retrieves the RPN, algebraic or paper tape calculator
Appointments - Brings up a calendar/clock with appointment pad
Editor - Presents the ALT word processor
Notes - Retrieves a full-screen notepad editor for taking
on-going notes
Kut - Initiates cut mode for the cut and paste facility
Paste - Begins a paste operation of the most recently cut text
Other - Presents a submenu of further ALT commands and
accessories: Clipboard, Key recording, Macro menu, Macro
editor, System functions and Quit
Info - Order form for ALT 2.0!

Other Command Summary

Selecting the "Other" command above, presents you with the following
menu choices:

Clipboard - Retrieves the clipboard for editing previously cut
Record - Initiates learn mode for recording a keyboard macro
Ascii - Retrieves an ASCII table program for viewing the
entire IBM character set
Keys - Presents a list of defined macro keys along with their
descriptive titles
Macros - Allows you to edit, load, and save macro definitions
System - Retrieves a submenu of system commands. See section 1.3.
Quit - Clears ALT from memory, removing any programs
running in partitions along with it.

CAUTION: When you quit ALT in this manner all running programs
will be terminated and any unsaved data will be lost forever.
Make sure all data is saved and all programs in the partitions
are exited before using this option. If you have recorded any
macros that you wish to keep, these must also be saved before

Miscellaneous Features

Command History

ALT provides a command history mechanism for each partition thereby
allowing you to retrieve, edit and re-issue past commands at the DOS
prompt. ALT stores the last 10 commands you typed. Use the
and keys to move backward and forward through the previous
command list until the desired command is located. For example, pressing
the key once retrieves the last command entered. Use the
and keys to move around inside the command. You
can then make editing changes, inserting text as necessary and deleting
text with the key. Use the to toggle from
insert mode to overstrike mode. Command editing begins in insert
mode. A complete list of command editing keys follows:

Keyboard Speed-up

ALT provides a keyboard speed-up mechanism to increase the rate of
auto-repeat when a key is held down. This feature is especially useful
during text editing sessions, dramatically increasing the speed of
moving around while holding down the arrow keys. The keyboard speed-up
feature is activated via the setup program under General setup. Enter
a number from 1 (slowest) to 3 (fastest) in the Speed-up Keys field. Enter
0 to disable the feature altogether. See Appendix A for more information
about using the setup program.

Mouse Emulation of Keyboard

If you have a mouse, it can be used with the ALT main menu and the
accessories. Moving the mouse left and right emulates
and keystrokes, while moving the mouse up and down emulates
and keystrokes. In addition, pressing the
Left mouse button simulates the key and pressing the
Right mouse button simulates the key. This feature can
be configured temporarily (i.e., for one ALT session) through
the ALT System Menu (see the next section). The default action can
be set through the General Setup in the Mouse EMulation field.

The ALT Menus

The type of menu (bottom menu box) described above is common to
all parts of ALT. These contain an array of one or two word menu
choices that perform a particular function. Use the left and
right arrow keys to highlight different menu choices. A
description of the highlighted choice appears on the line below
the menu. Pressing ENTER selects the currently highlighted
choice. A faster method of selecting a menu choice is to press
the first letter of the choice.

Deleting Partitions and Quitting ALT

Pressing the DEL key after highlighting a partition with the up
and down arrow keys at the ALT main screen deletes the
highlighted partition. Deleting a partition is very useful for
removing an un-needed partition or when a program running in a
partition no longer responds to keystrokes or "locks up". With
the delete partition capability, it is no longer necessary to
reboot the machine under such conditions, as long as you can
switch back to ALT and as long as the offending program has not
corrupted ALT. ALT and all of the running partitions can be
removed from memory at once by selecting the Quit option from the
Other submenu.

CAUTION: The delete partition capability should not be viewed as
an alternative means of exiting a program. The option should
only be used as means to remove an unneeded partition or a last
resort when a program has "locked up". Using this option to exit
a program will sometimes result in lost data.

The ALT System Menu

The ALT Menus

The ALT system menu allows you to perform various system
configuration functions. To retrieve the system menu:

Select: Other
Select: System

The following system commands are available:

Command Summary

Disable - Disables playback of macro keys. This is useful when
you have defined macro keys that conflict with the usage
of these keys by an application program
Enable- Re-enables macros after disabling with the above command
Fast - Enables fast macro playback. Keys are played back
without regard to the speed at which the application can
accept them. Some keystrokes may be lost in a few
Slow - Enables slower macro playback. Choose this option if an
application program tends to lose keystrokes during macro
Blank - Configures the screen blanking interval. Available
choices are one minute, two minutes, five minutes and
Mouse - Enables/Disables the use of the mouse in the accessories
Clock - Enables/Disables the on-screen clock
Alarms- Enables/Disables pop-up alarm messages

For Those Who Hate Manuals

A commonly-heard complaint about software products is that it
shouldn't be necessary to read the whole manual before using the
product. If you are sympathetic to this point of view, then a
careful reading of this section should help to get you on your
way with ALT, especially if you are already an experienced
computer user.

The Concepts of User Partitions and Program Switching

Like many programs for the IBM PC family, ALT resides in memory so
that it is instantly accessible. However, ALT operates differently
from most memory-resident software. ALT divides the memory in your
computer into one or more partitions. This gives you the capability
to run several programs simultaneously and allows you to switch at
will among them. The partitions are numbered 1 through 8. To switch
to a new partition, tap the key very quickly and then press the
number of the partition desired. For example, to go to partition
2, tap the key and then press 2. Remember, in order to retrieve
ALT, you must tap the key very quickly, not press it.

Partition Configuration

If the partition you are switching to has never been visited before,
then a partition configuration screen similar to the following will
be displayed:

: :
: Open Additional Partition ? :
: :
: Yes/No Y :
: :
: Press Space to Change Memory Size and Graphics :
: :
: Press ESC to Abort :
: :

Normally you will press ENTER at this point to define the new
partition or ESC to abort. However, several options are
available for defining the new partition by pressing SPACE.

The ALT Accessories

To bring up the ALT main menu and select an accessory

Select: the desired accessory

To simply return back to another partition or an accessory,

Select: the accessory or partition.

Generally, ESC will exit you back to the ALT Main Menu while in
an accessory.

Quitting ALT

Occasionally you may want to remove ALT from memory entirely.
For example, you may want to free up the memory it is using to
run a large program. To do so:

Select: Other
Select: Quit
Press: Y

CAUTION: When you quit ALT in this manner all running programs
will be terminated and any unsaved data will be lost forever.
Make sure all data is saved and all programs in the partitions
are exited before using this option. If you have recorded any
macros that you wish to keep, these must also be saved before


Command Summary and Other Essentials

The ALT disk filer provides a powerful tool for managing and
organizing the files on your disk. With the filer, you can
quickly view directories and subdirectories, make new
directories, run programs, move files, tag multiple files for
copying or deleting, find a file anywhere on the disk, change
file attributes and much more. In addition the disk filer
provides "hyper-run" and "hyper-view" capabilities. To enter the


Command Summary

Edit - Edits a single or tagged (multiple) files with the ALT
editor or any editor of your choice.
Copy - Copies single or tagged files
Delete - Deletes a single file or tagged files
File - Changes to a directory, makes a new directory, changes
the volume label, sets file selection criterion, rereads
the directory, displays disk free space and sorts the
files in the display
Program- Executes a DOS command or program
Move - Relocates a file or a group of files to a different
directory or disk
Next - Continues a search
Other - Encrypts, decrypts files, sets file attributes and sends
files to the printer
Rename - Renames a file or a group of files matching a wildcard
Search - Locates a file in the current directory or on the entire
Tag - Marks multiple files for copying, deleting or moving
View - Views the highlighted file or directory with the ALT
viewer or any file viewing program of your choice
2Xecute - Executes the currently highlighted file if its extension
is .bat, .exe or .com

The Directory Tree and Changing the Directory

Moving around in the disk filer is easy and swift. A directory
tree is always available to present a panoramic view of your
directories. From here, selecting a directory to view is as easy
as pressing the ENTER key or the left mouse button. To retrieve
the directory tree:

Press:F2 or SPACE

Tree Keys

ENTER - Select the highlighted directory
F2, SPACE - View directory tree of a different disk drive
Left, Right - Move to next or previous sub-directory
Up, Down - Move to next or previous directory
Home, End - Move to the first or last entry
ESC - Abort the directory search and return
A-Z - Move through directories which begins with the
letter pressed
F10 - Re-read the directory tree

3.4 Tagging Files

Several operations, i.e. moving, copying, deleting, and printing
allow you to perform the operation on a group of marked files as
well as to a single file. A single file can be "tagged" for
these operations by using the arrow keys to highlight the file
and pressing the '+' key ( a file can be un-tagged by pressing
'-' ). Another method for marking larger groups of files is
available from the filer main menu. To access these marking

Press: F10
Select: Tag

Executing Programs

ALT provides two ways to execute commands from within the disk
filer: the Program command and the Xecute command. The Program
command pops up a prompt allowing you to enter a DOS command.
The Xecute command allows you to execute the currently
highlighted command ( if its extension is .exe, .com or .bat ),
pausing only to let you edit the command line arguments.
Re-stated, the Program command lets you type in program or DOS
commands and the Xecute command provides a "point-and-shoot" or
"hyper-run" method of running commands.

Setting Up

For the Program, and Xecute commands to function properly, the
disk filer must be given an additional amount of memory to run
the programs in. The default extra memory given to the disk
filer is 250 Kilobytes. This value can be changed via the
Filer/Appointment options in the Setup program under the field
"extra memory". The new value will not be used until the next
time ALT is loaded. You may need to increase the amount of
additional memory given to the disk filer if you encounter the
following error:

Execution Error - 'Insufficient Memory'


Run the DOS directory command from within the disk filer:

Select: Program
Press: Ctrl-X (Clears the command line)
Type: dir *.*
Press: Enter

Command Line Macros

Command Line Macros provide a powerful mechanism for supplying
path, directory, and filename entries to the Xecute, Edit,
Program and View commands. Command line macros begin with a '$'
character and are replaced with the appropriate file or directory
information at runtime. As a simple example, suppose that the
file hlp.txt is currently highlighted in the disk filer in the
directory \alt and you performed the following steps:

Select: Program
Type: type $PN

then the filer would respond by executing


since ALT reserves the keyword $PN as a macro for the pathname of
the currently highlighted file.

The following command line macro keywords are reserved for use by
the disk filer. When a command line macro keyword is
encountered, the disk filer replaces it with the appropriate
entry before sending the command to DOS. Assume for the sake of
example that the file CHKDSK.COM is currently highlighted and the
file COMMAND.COM is tagged in the directory C:\MSDOS.

Macro Keywords

$PN - The Pathname of the highlighted file, in our example
would be replaced with C:\MSDOS\CHKDSK.COM
$FN - The Filename of the highlighted file, here replaced
$DR - The current DRive, in our example, C:
$DIR - The current DIRectory, in our example \MSDOS
$PT - The pathnames of Tagged files, in our example,
$FT - The filenames of Tagged files, in our example
$PU - The pathnames of Untagged files. Same format as $PT
$FU - The filenames of Untagged files. Same format as $FT

3.8 Viewing and Editing Files

The disk filer allows you to point to a file and view or edit it. To
view a file, highlight the file you wish to view,

Press: F10

You can also view a file (as long as it doesn't end in .bat, .com
or .exe) by simply highlighting it and pressing ENTER.

To edit a file, highlight the file you wish to edit,

Press: F10
Select: Edit

By default, the ALT editor is retrieved to edit the text file.
You may alter the choice of editors while ALT is running,

Press: F9
Select: Editor

At this point enter the name of the editor you wish to use as you
would type it on the DOS command line. Use the $PN command line
macro keyword to send the editor the name of the file to edit.
For example if your editor is named edit.exe, enter:

edit $PN

Enter a blank line to restore use of the ALT editor by pressing

Hyper-View Capability

The disk filer lets you specify an alternate "viewing" program to
use in place of the ALT viewer. This way, if you already have a
favorite file viewing utility you needn't sacrifice using it to
use the ALT disk filer. Furthermore, you can configure ALT to
automatically select a viewing program based on the extension of
the file to be viewed. For example, you can configure ALT to
bring up Lotus 123 to view files with a ".WKS" extension, PKARC
for files with an extension of ".ARC", and the ALT viewer for all
other extensions.

Configuring "Hyper-View"

The Hyper-View configuration information is contained in the
file, 'FILEVIEW.DAT', which must reside in the ALT directory.
When the disk filer is first entered, it attempts to read
'FILEVIEW.DAT' from the ALT directory for the "hyper-view"
configuration . FILEVIEW.DAT is a pure ascii-text file in which
each line in the file contains information on how to treat a
different file extension. The following examples are for Word
Perfect, ARC, and ZIP files,


The FILEVIEW.DAT file consists of a line for each file extension
to be managed by the HyperView facility. The first field is the
file extension and must be enclosed in double quotes. The rest of
the line comprises the command to run when a file with the
specified extension is viewed. Any disk filer keyword except for
tagged keywords may be used in the command specification. Any
file that does not match any of the supplied extensions is viewed
with the default file viewer. The FILEVIEW.DAT file may be
modified at any time. To get the disk filer to recognize the
changes, go into the disk filer and:

Press: F9
Select: Update


Essentials of the Appointment Calendar

The appointment calendar provides a convenient way for you to
keep track of your daily activities and meetings. In addition,
alarms can be set to remind you of important appointments ahead
of time. Alarms are functional so long as ALT is loaded. You
need not be in the appointment calendar to receive alarms.

To enter the appointment calendar:

Select: Appointments

To enter the appointment scheduler, move to the appropriate day:

Press: ENTER

Adding Appointments

New appointments can be set in two ways; you can modify an
existing appointment time by moving the highlighted bar to the
desired time and pressing Enter or you can insert a new
appointment time by pressing Ins. In either case, a window
appears for setting appointment information.

Setting Appointments and Alarms

The top line of the notes is shown in the appointment window
after leaving the appointment view window; therefore, it is
important to enter a brief description about the appointment in
the first line followed by any further explanatory text in the
subsequent three lines. At the bottom of the appointment view
window are fields for the date and time for an appointment alarm.
The date for the alarm defaults to today's date. Leave the time
field blank for no alarm or enter a time (usually a few minutes
prior to the appointment time). If you wish to receive a daily
reminder for the appointment beginning several days in advance of
the appointment, enter a date in the alarm date field which
corresponds to the desired number of days ahead of the

Handling Alarms

When the time comes for an alarm that you have previously set
ALT, reminds you of the event with a "Pop-up" alarm message.

You can return to the application you were running by pressing
ESC. At this point you should switch to the appointment calendar
to review which alarm was activated:

Select: Appointments
Press: F7
Press: Enter
Press: Enter

The appointment for the alarm due is displayed in a window for
your review.


A Calculator for Every Need

ALT offers you three calculators:

* An adding machine-like calculator with continuous printed tape

* A Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) calculator with numerous
scientific, business and statistical functions

* An algebraic (parentheses) calculator with scientific

Choose the calculator that best suits your needs:

* If you just need to do some simple calculations like adding a
column of numbers, choose the Tape calculator

* If you are familiar with the operation of an RPN calculator,
and you need advanced business functions like loan payment
calculations, statistical or scientific functions, choose the
RPN calculator

* If you are not familiar with the operation of an RPN
calculator and you need access to scientific functions, choose
the Algebraic calculator


Editor Essentials

The ALT editor is a full-featured ascii text file editor. Many
commands are available for moving around a document, entering
text, marking blocks, moving & deleting blocks, printing,
document formatting, etc. The editor is keystroke compatible
with "Wordstar", but you can customize the program to match the
operation of your favorite word processor. For example,
keystroke templates are included to mimic BRIEF, and Word
Perfect. Information about configuring the editor is presented in
the chapter on the setup program.

Capabilities and Options

The editor offers many options such as left and right margin
adjust, word wrap, insert/overwrite mode, tab-settings, and
auto-indent. Advanced features include multiple-document
editing, split screen editing, and document print formatting.
The screen display may be split so that one document appears in
the top half of the display and the other document in the lower
half. There are a number of formatting commands that can be used
to control pagination, page numbering, print headers, footers,
multiple underlines, single underlines, etc.

The Editor Display

To retrieve the ALT editor:

Select: Editor

Editor Keys

The editor defaults to WordStar keystroke compatibility. For
this discussion, the following conventions are used:

A triple keystroke combination is written as CtlK-Q, i.e.,

Press: Ctrl (continue holding the key)
Press: K (then let both keys up simultaneously)
Press: Q

Most editor operations which request input from the user can be
aborted by pressing the ESC key. The Ctrl-X key can be used to
clear input lines.

Block Operations

A block is a contiguous section of text in the document that is
marked by a starting location and an ending location within the
document. Once the block is marked, a number of operations are
available that use the section of text. For example, Delete
Block, Copy Block, Move Block, Print Block are available.

The block is formed by marking the start and end positions in the
text of the document. The block will be highlighted in a
different color. Note that the starting block position must
precede the ending block position in the document. The start
position is marked with the "Start Block" command (default
CtlK-B). The end position is marked with the "End Block" command
(default CtlK-K). The two ends of the block can be changed at
any time.

Window Commands

The edit screen can be divided into two windows, allowing you to
edit different parts of the same document or more than one
document at a time. When you start the editor, there will be one
window that occupies the entire display area. A second window
can be opened that will split the display area horizontally. The
advantage of using the two windows are:

* You can view different parts of the same document.

* Two documents containing related information can be displayed

* Text from one window can be easily moved to the document in
the other window using the Block HOLD capabilities.

Commands are available to switch between the two windows and to
close a window if two windows exist.

Printing with Formatting Commands

Formatting commands are used for formatting the printed output of
the document. Commands are available to allow printed page
output, headers, footers, specify number of lines per page, page
breaks, line spacing, .... Full details on the formatting
commands are explained in the printed manual which is included
with the ALT+ version.


Essentials of the Address Book

The address book maintains an address card book and phone
directory. Among the features of the address book are:

* Provides for two phone numbers, address, company name, title
and free form notes for each card.

* Prints address labels or envelopes for some or all of the
cards in the address book.

* Dials numbers automatically if you have a Hayes compatible
modem. You need only point at the person you want to call and
the number will be dialed for you.

* Provides 26 dialing codes for dialing long sequences like a
SPRINT code or sequences like 9 + to get an outside line

* Provides the capability for marking several names for calling
or printing.

* Supports an unlimited number of separate address books. For
instance, you can have one for business contacts and one for
friends and relatives.

* Shows the cards in two different views: index tab only and
expanded card.

To enter the address book:

Select: Rolocards

The address book screen first appears in condensed telephone listing
mode. In this mode only names and phone numbers are shown and appear
in sorted order. For example, the address book might look like:

The following commands are available from the address book menu:

Command Summary

Add - Adds a new card
Call - Dials the phone number on the current card
Delete - Deletes the current card
Edit-Codes - Changes or adds dialing codes for inclusion into phone
File - Changes address books
Modify - Updates an existing card
Print - Prints cards
Quit - Closes the address book and returns
Search - Finds the nearest matching card
Untag - Removes the tag for all cards
View - Displays the current card in expanded mode


The address book allows you to dial phone numbers automatically,
if you have a Hayes-compatible modem. Calling options are located
under the Call selection of the address book main menu.

Using the Setup Command

Pressing the setup key, F9, provides you with the following

Display - Selects telephone or address-book mode
Modem - Configures port number and phone type for autodialing
Printer - Sets up printer characteristics
Modem options - The modem options allow you configure the port
number used by your modem and whether your
phone is pulse or tone.


Notepad Essentials

The notepad is a smaller, faster version of the ALT editor. The
notepad automatically loads in the file "NOTES" from the
directory in which ALT is installed. Pressing ESC in the notepad
automatically saves the NOTES file and brings up the ALT main
menu. Please note that if the ALT key is tapped, the ALT main
menu is retrieved without saving the NOTES file. To enter the

Select: Notepad

Once inside the notepad, press F1 to retrieve the notepad help.
The notepad is functionally identical to the ALT editor except in
one regard: the notepad is capable of editing only small files (
20-30 Kilobytes ). As with the editor, the notepad defaults to
WordStar keystroke compatibility but this can be overridden with
the setup program. Chapter 9 should be consulted for information
regarding the functionality and use of all of the ALT editors
including the notepad.


User Menus Essentials

ALT provides powerful, user-definable menus for organizing the
use of your computer. User menus are accessed by selecting the
Program selection under the Accessories submenu. In other words:


At this point the user-definable menus are shown. Selections are
chosen by pressing one of the letters 'A' to 'P' or by moving the
highlighted bar to the desired selection and pressing ENTER.
With user menus you can:

* Set up your own menus for running programs automatically with
the touch of one key

* Define a setup command sequence that is performed each time a
program is run from the user menu

* Build submenus, to provide a separate menu for each of
several users or to layer a complex set of user menus in a
logical hierarchical fashion. Submenus are distinguished
from program selections by the appearance of a DOWN ARROW to
the right of their description.

Selecting a program on the user menu will cause ALT to search for
a partition large enough to run the program and will then load
and execute it.

Defining User Menus

User menus are defined by pressing F10 while at the User Menu
screen. After pressing F10, you will be presented with two menu

Add/Modify - Add a new menu selection or modify an existing one
Delete - Delete an existing menu item

Adding A Program Menu Item

As an example, consider adding a menu item which will run a copy of Lotus
123 which resides in a directory named C:\lotus:

Go to the ALT program menus

Press: F10

ALT will then ask whether you are defining a submenu or a program.

Select: Program

You will then be presented with the following pop-up window which
should be filled out as shown (if you have Lotus 123 on your
disk, fill in the drive and directory for Lotus 123 as it exists
on your disk):

: Description of Program :
: Lotus 123 :
: :
: Program Execution Command :
: 123 :
: :
: Program Directory :
: \lotus :
: :
: Drive C Memory Size 500 K :
: :
: Pause After Program (y/n) ? N :
: Add Options To Command (y/n) ? N :
: Are Graphics Allowed (y/n) ? Y :
: :
: :
LMMMMMMPress F9 For Initial Keys RecordMMMMMM9

This screen presents you with several items used to define the
program menu selection:

Drive - Enter the letter of the disk drive where the
program to be run resides, e.g. A,B, or C. Leave
blank to the use default drive

Memory Size - Enter the minimum amount of memory needed by your
program to run successfully. Leaving this item
blank will cause ALT to select the largest
available partition

Directory - Enter the path where the program file can be
found. For example, if your Lotus 123 program
resides in a directory named \LOTUS, enter \LOTUS.
Leave blank to use the default directory. Do not
enter a drive letter in the path

Description - Enter a descriptive name of the program. This will
appear on the menu line.

Command - Enter the name of the program file ALT will run.
For example, to run Lotus 123, enter 123

Pause - Answer Yes, if you want a pause to occur after
exiting your application program before returning
to the program menu. This is useful for menu
items which issue a DOS command such as dir

Add Options - Allows you to add command line options to a
program menu command. The program menu will pause
just prior to running your application so that you
can type any command line parameters.

Graphics - Specify Yes if the program runs in graphics mode
on a color monitor

Swappable - Specify No if running a communications program

Setup Sequence - A powerful option in the menu definition screen
is the setup command sequence. This sequence is a
series of keystrokes that will be "played back"
after the program is loaded and run.

Running Programs from the ALT User Menus

Once your menu selections for running programs have been defined,
it is easy to select a menu item. Just press the letter key
associated with the menu item (the associated letter appears to
the left of the menu item) or use the arrow keys to position the
highlighted bar over the desired selection and press ENTER.


Macro Essentials

A keyboard macro is a sequence of keystrokes that you can execute
by pressing a single key. The keystroke sequence is called the
macro definition while the key used to execute the definition is
called the macro key. To explain macro operation in another way,
pressing a macro key causes ALT to momentarily take over the
keyboard and "type" the macro definition. As a simple example, if
you were writing a large document that contained the phrase
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION in numerous places, you could
"redefine" the F1 key as a macro key to "play back" the phrase
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION every time it is pressed. This
would save you from having to type the phrase repeatedly.

With keyboard macros, you can automate almost any task that you
perform on a computer. As you become more familiar with keyboard
macros, you will learn to recognize keystroke sequences that you
use frequently. By saving such sequences as a macro definition,
you can turn even the most monotonous or complex tasks into a
streamlined, efficient operation.

Recording Keystrokes

A simple example will explain the use of keyboard macros more
fully. Begin this example at the DOS prompt (e.g. C: ) with ALT

Select: Other
Select: Record

You will be prompted to press the key you wish to define

Press: F3

You will then be prompted for an optional title

Type: Do A Directory Listing
Press: Enter

You are now back at the DOS prompt in record mode. At this
point, anything you type will be remembered by ALT. A clicking
sound will occur with each keystroke to remind you that you are
in record mode.

Type: dir *.*
Press: Enter

The current directory listing should now be displayed. Next,
terminate record mode and thus complete the macro definition for
the F3 key:

Select: Quit

Playing Macros Back

The recorded keystrokes can now be played back at any time by
pressing the macro key F3. Try this yourself:

Press: F3

Notice that the keystrokes, dir *.*, were "played back" just as
if you had typed them yourself and the computer responded with a
directory listing. The only difference is, by using a keyboard
macro, you only had to press one key instead of seven to perform
the directory listing.

Using The Macro Titles Menu

A second way to play back a macro definition is to select it from
the macro menu. Return to the DOS prompt:

Select: Other
Select: Keys
Select: F3....Do A Directory Listing
Press: Enter

The macro definition will play back just as if the F3 key was

Instant Macros

Sometimes you want to quickly record a sequence of keystrokes,
but you don't want to bother with going through the macro menu
and giving the macro a title. For example, while in an editor
you might need to create a macro which goes to the beginning of a
line, inserts a tab and then moves to the next line. You can use
an instant macro. An instant macro can be recorded without going
through the normal ALT menus. Ten keys available for instant
recording: AltF1, AltF2,... AltF10. To begin instant recording
for AltFn, press Alt-Shift-Fn, where n is 1,2,...10. For
example, to begin instant recording of the AltF3 key, press

Ending Instant Record

Recording will continue until the key is tapped. Tapping
will stop recording immediately. No menu will appear. To play
the macro, simply press AltF3.


Edit, Load and Save Essentials

ALT supports the loading, saving and editing of macro definition
files. These functions are accessed through the Macros selection
of the ALT main menu. To see the options available:

Select: Other
Select: Macros

The following choices are revealed:

Edit - Retrieves the macro editor
Load - Loads a file of pre-existing macros
Save - Saves the current macros to a file

The Macro Editor

ALT provides a powerful editor for updating, maintaining and
adding commands to macro definitions. The editor contains many
of the features of the ALT text editor. In addition, the editor
performs error checking upon exit to insure the correctness of
the macro definitions. If an error is found, the cursor is moved
to the error and an appropriate message is given.

If any keys are defined, their macro definitions will be
displayed. There are three parts in a macro definition:

* The key or key combination defined
* A description of the key
* The macro definition

As a simple example, consider the simple macro definition of the
last chapter. It would appear as follows in the macro editor:

>dir *.*{Ret}

In this example, the keyword macro marks the beginning of a macro
definition. F3 is the defined key. The title is "Do A Directory
Listing" and the body of the definition is "dir *.*{Ret}". All
macro definitions look more or less like this example. See the
Advanced Macro Command section for a more detailed explanation of
the symbols in the definition.

Macro Editor Command Summary

The operation of the macro editor is identical to that of the ALT
editor except that the macro editor performs syntax checks on the
contents of the editor before exiting. See Chapter 9 for a
description of the functions available in the macro editor. To
exit the macro editor, press ESC. The editor will give the
option to Keep or Abort. If errors are detected, the cursor will
be positioned at the offending site and an appropriate error
message will be displayed.


Essentials of Cut / Paste

Cut & Paste Screen allows you to effectively cut out a portion of
text on your screen at any time. The cut portion of the screen
can then be placed (or pasted) to another application (including
ALT accessory functions). Furthermore, the cut text can be edited
using the clipboard function in ALT before pasting.

Invoking the Cut Function

To begin a cut operation:

Select: Kut

At this point the screen will appear exactly as it did before
entering the record macro menu. The cursor can be moved around
to different areas of the screen with the arrow keys. To select a
block of the screen, move the cursor to one corner and press the
anchor key: the period ('.') or the plus key '+'. Any subsequent
movement of the cursor will highlight a block on the screen.
This block marks the text that will be selected. Press ENTER to
complete the Cut operation of the marked text.

The Paste Operation

To paste after a cut operation, go to the application where you
want the cut portion to be pasted and move the cursor to where
you want the upper left corner of the paste to begin.


The contents from the last cut operation are thus pasted back to
another application.

Editing in the Clipboard

Sometimes you may want to edit the contents of a cut screen
before pasting it to an application. ALT provides a clipboard,
(i.e. an editor), for doing just that. To invoke the clipboard:

Select: Other
Select: Clipboard

To save the contents of the clipboard for paste back later:

Press: Esc

You will be given the option to Save or Abort. Select Abort if
you do not wish to save the changes made.

The clipboard operates otherwise identically to the ALT editor.
For more information see Chapter 9.


A setup program is provided with ALT to enable you to configure
various functions and operating parameters used by ALT and its
accessories. The setup program allows you to specify such options

* The state of general operating modes including screen blanking,
the ALT hot-key, mouse usage, and other miscellaneous functions.

* Colors, printer modes, and communication ports used by the
Appointment Book.

* Colors and customization files for all the editors.

* Editor key assignments.

* Which drives are available to ALT for swapping and limits on
individual drive usage.

* Filer and Appointment Calendar colors, memory usage, etc.

* Calculator, Menu Program and Ascii Table colors

* ALT main menu colors

Once you have made configuration choices in the setup program,
they will remain in effect each time you run ALT unless
overridden by a command line option or until changed with the
setup program again. The setup program, SETUP.EXE, was put into
your ALT directory by the installation procedure. Any time you
wish to make a change to the current ALT configuration simply run
change to the ALT directory and run "setup". The changes will
take effect the next time ALT is run. If you make a change with
the setup program and ALT is currently installed, you must exit
ALT and rerun it in order to see the effect of the changes made.

Running the Setup Program

Go to the DOS prompt
Type: cd \alt (or wherever ALT resides on your disk)
Press: Enter
Type: setup
Press: Enter

Setup Keys

The following keys are active in the setup program:

TAB - Move to next field
ShiftTAB - Move to previous field
Enter - Move to next field
Up/Down - Move to field above or below
CtrlHome - Move to first field in screen
CtrlEnd - Move to last field in screen
CtrlEnter - Bring up Exit Options
F9 - Retrieve Color choices
F10 - Bring up Exit Options
ESC - Bring up Abort Options
Home - Move to start of field
End - Move to end of field
Ctrl-X - Clear field

Setup Options

To configure ALT you must first choose the Setup screen containing
the option you wish to configure. The available screens are:

General Setup
Address Book Options
Editors, Notepad Options
Assign Edit Keys
Swap Drives
Filer, Appointment Options
Calc, Menu, Ascii Options
Main Menu colors

To select a setup screen use the up and down arrow to highlight
the desired selection and press ENTER. Alternatively, press the
highlighted letter of the desired selection. After selecting a
setup screen to modify, use the tab key to move to the desired
field(s) and make the desired change(s). To save the newly
changed setup data:

Press: F10 (or press Ctrl-ENTER)

To exit without saving changes:


Changing Colors

You can configure the colors used by ALT for the main menu and
most of the accessories. This is done by selecting a color field
from one of the setup screens and entering an attribute number
from 0 to 127. Upon leaving the field, the chosen attribute is
shown with a "musical note" character to show how the choice will
look. An easy way to select an attribute value is to press F9
while in an color selection field. A window will appear
displaying the 128 possible attributes. Use the PgUp, PgDn, Home,
End and the arrow keys to move the red marker to the desired
attribute. Press Enter to select the attribute, or press ESC to
abort the selection. For example, to select a green character on
a blue background:

Press: F9
Press: Down
Press: Right
Press: Right
Press: ENTER

Color definitions made in the setup will take effect the next
time ALT is run; however, you can often see the effect
immediately by running the standalone version of the modified

Editors Options

This screen defines four sets of options, one for each of the four
ALT editors: the Notepad, Editor, Clipboard and the Macro Editor.

Notepad AutoSave

Entering 'Y' in this field causes notes to be loaded
automatically into the Notepad when ALT is run and saved
automatically when the Notepad is exited with the ESC key.


All four editors can be configured separately to give a different
look to each.

Extra Memory

This field defines the amount of extra memory to be allocated
for the editor (does not effect the notepad, etc.). This value determines
the maximum size of text file that can be edited. The more memory
allocated to the editor, the greater the size of file that can be
loaded into the editor's memory. The size specified is in kilobytes
of memory and is approximately the size of the file that can be edited.

Custom File

An editor customization file can be specified for each of the
four editors. Enter a valid pathname of a customization file in
this field. See section 9.5 for a description of the format of
editor customization files.

Key Def. File

Enter the name of an editor key definition file. Always specify
the drive and full pathname to make certain the editor can find
it. Two such files were put in your alt directory at


We hope this brief on-line manual helps you to get started with
ALT. The 200 page manual distributed with the ALT+ (registered)
version contains complete information on all aspects of using of
ALT. Only a few parts of the manual were used to form this
document in order to conserve disk space. Please see the file
PROBLEMS.DOC. The most commonly asked questions and answers on
all parts of ALT are included in this file.

SHAREWARE NOTES: The documentation is based upon the ALT+
(registered) version of ALT. Only parts of the manual have been
included here to form this document file. There are few
differences between the ALT+ version and the ALT SHAREware version.
Some limitations have placed on the Shareware version, none of
which should at any time prevent you from experiencing the full
power of ALT. The limitations primarily are

1) Only 2 partitions are available for switching from
one program to another. There are 8 partitions available
in the ALT+ version.

2) The address book has a limit of 20 names.

3) The appointment book has a limit of 25 appointments
and alarms.

4) Only the Algebraic calculator is distributed, the
Reverse-Polish-Notation (RPN) and the Tape calculator are
each shown in screen form.

5) 500 bytes of keyboard macros. ALT+ has a maximum limit
of 10 Kilobytes.

Orders can be placed through either the Instinct Order Line
(214)-739-5543 or the Instinct Bulletin Board System
(214)-368-2709 (1200/2400/9600 Baud,8 data bit,1 stop bit,no parity).
ALT+ is available for $49.95 + Shipping/Handling + 8% sales tax if Texas
Resident. The on-line ordering form can also be accessed by simply
selecting Info from the ALT Main Menu. Foreign checks must be
payable by a U.S. bank.

Include Shipping & handling charges as follows ->

48 State Contiguous US $3.00
Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, $6.00
Europe $8.00
Other $10.00

 December 8, 2017  Add comments

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