Menu-Matic Version 4.5
by BC Enterprises
Table of Contents
Introduction ................................... p. 1
Shareware Notice ............................... p. 2
Installing Menu-Matic on your Hard Drive ....... p. 3
For New Computer Users ......................... p. 5
Requirements to Run Menu-Matic ................. p. 7
Your First Menu-Matic Session! ................. p. 8
Active Keys .................................... p. 9
Time Tracking Functions ........................ p. 9
Using the Menu Installation Program ............ p. 10
Adding New Menu Options ........................ p. 12
Loading a New Menu File ........................ p. 14
Macros ......................................... p. 18
Setting Menu Parameters ........................ p. 19
Auto Execute Function .......................... p. 20
Optimizing the Program for Speed ............... p. 23
Special Symbols Used ........................... p. 24
Modifying PROGRAMS.MEN and DOSCOMM.MEN files ... p. 25
Please remember that this manual is meant only as a
reference. You can probably use the program perfectly well just by
the on-line help.
from BC Enterprises
The Only System Menu Program You Need
Menu-Matic, simply put, is a menu program. It allows you to
create a menu from which you can call your programs with the touch of
one key. For the knowledgeable user, this will save huge amounts of
time. For the novice, this can mean the difference between using and
not using a computer. For executives in charge of computer
operations, it can mean countless hours saved by not having to train
new workers in the complexities of DOS.
**** Attention new computer users! ****
**** Attention new computer users! ****
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT READING THIS WHOLE MANUAL! You don't
need to. You just want a basic menu system that lets you get your
work done quickly and easily. And that's what you're going to get.
You should only read three sections: "Shareware Notice" (skip this if
you really need to), "Installing Menu-Matic on your Hard Drive", and
"For New Computer Users". After reading these three sections, you'll
know everything you need.
If you hit a wrong key in the Menu-Matic, a help window will
pop up. If you get stuck while in the Menu Installation program, push
F1 for help.
**** Attention advanced computer users! ****
**** Attention advanced computer users! ****
You probably don't need this manual at all. Menu-Matic is
very straightforward. The Menu itself does just what you'd expect it
to at all times, and if you hit a wrong key, a window pops up showing
you valid options.
The Menu Installation program (MENUINST.EXE) uses simple pull-
down menus and has extensive on-line help. Just hit F1 at any time.
The only thing you may want to brush up on are the couple of special
characters Menu-Matic uses (in Appendix B, near the end of this DOC
file). These are the real power of Menu-Matic; but, even use of these
special characters is explained in the on-line help.
This manual is meant as a reference. Refer to it if you
have any problems (which you probably won't). Right now, my advice is
to stop reading and start using the program!
Menu-Matic is not a public-domain program. It is
copyrighted, 1987-1990 by Kevin Clark and BC Enterprises. We
believe that this is the best menu system available at any price.
We ask a small payment in return.
If you use this program and find it to be helpful, please
send payment of $35 for one copy, or $30 each for two or more
copies. Site licenses are also available at a low cost. Please
send payment to BC Enterprises, P.O. Box 18, Front Royal, VA
When you send in your registration, you will receive a
typeset manual, and the latest version of the program, at no
additional cost. You will receive notices of updates, and
updated versions of the program will be made available to you for
a nominal fee. You will also have the chance to tell us about
improvements you would like to see. Your suggestions could
become reality. (Even if you don't register, we'd still like to
have your suggestions.)
DISCLAIMER: Kevin Clark and BC Enterprises do not
warrant this software as suitable for any particular application.
We are not responsible for any loss of revenue or potential
revenue, or for consequential, special, indirect, or other
damages or claims. In no event shall the liability of BC
Enterprises or Kevin Clark extend beyond the purchase price of
this software. This statement shall be construed, interpreted,
and governed by the laws of the state of Virginia. Your use of
the program signifies your acceptance of these terms.
Installing Menu-Matic on your Hard Drive
The Menu-Matic comes with a utility to copy the files
from the floppy disk onto your hard drive. This is only a
convenience if you are performing a first-time installation, and
you do not need to use it if you do not want to do so. However,
it is the easiest way to get the program up and running, whether
you are a novice or experienced computer user.
If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Menu-
Matic, then you should definitely use the SETUP.EXE program
since it converts file structures to the 4.5 format.
To use the SETUP.EXE program:
1. Place the distribution disk in your A: or B: drive. Type
SETUP and press -Enter-. A menu appears where you can
specify first-time installation, or upgrade from previous
2. Next, the SETUP program asks which drive to copy the
Menu-Matic files TO. You choose your hard
drive (probably drive C: but the program shows you
which drives are available). Then the program
asks where to copy the files FROM. You choose the drive
containing the distribution disk (probably A:).
3. The program asks you for the directory to copy the files
to. It is recommended you put it in the main, or "root"
directory. To do this, simply hit Enter.
4. The SETUP program then copies the files to the directory
you specified. If you are setting up the menu for the
first time, you are asked if you want to modify your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file to run the menu whenever you turn on your
computer. You will probably want to say that you do.
5. Also, if you are installing for the first time, the
setup program will ask if you want to put the Menu-
Matic in your path. A "path" is where your computer
looks for programs if they are not in your current
directory. If you say that you do want the Menu-Matic
in your path, then the setup program will modify the
"Path=" statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, and will
also modify the MENU.BAT file. In this way, you will
be able to run the Menu-Matic from any subdirectory or
drive, just by typing MENU at the prompt. This is
quite handy, so you will probably want to say that you
do want the Menu-Matic in your path. (The new path
becomes effective only after you reboot.)
6. If you are upgrading from version 3.11 or 4.0, then
the SETUP will convert your old files to the new
format(s). If you are upgrading from version 3.11,
then your MENU.DAT file and MENU2.DAT file will be
converted and the PARAM.MEN file will be upgraded. If
you are upgrading from version 4.0, then only the
PARAM.MEN file is changed. If the MENU.DAT and
MENU2.DAT are converted, then the old files are
renamed to MENU.OLD and MENU2.OLD.
7. If you are upgrading from 3.11, then you need to run
the MENUINST.EXE program. This will be done
automatically, and all you need to do once the program
comes up is exit.
8. Installation is then complete. If you wish, reboot
your computer (by holding down Alt-Ctrl-Del keys at
the same time) and the Menu-Matic should run. Or,
simply switch to the directory in which the Menu-Matic
is located, and type "menu" (do not type the quotation
For New Computer Users
First, relax. Second, don't read this manual any farther
than this section. The Menu-Matic system is extremely simple to
use. You only need to know a few simple commands.
Chances are you only have a few programs you use
regularly that you want to put on your menu. This is how to put
a new option on your menu.
Step 1: Run the Menu-Matic program
Do you currently have the Menu-Matic running? If not,
then you can type MENU at the prompt to run the program. (If you
put the Menu-Matic in a subdirectory -- which you probably didn't
-- then you'll have to change to that directory with the "CD"
command.) If you told the SETUP.EXE program to add MENU to your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file, then you can also run the program just by re-
We'll assume you do have the Menu-Matic up on the screen
Step 2: Choose "Setup Menu-Matic" from the Menu
The Menu-Matic system is really two parts. The actual
menu, and the Menu Installation program. The Menu Installation
program is what you use to add to, delete from, or change the
options on your menu. You run the Menu Installation program from
the Menu-Matic by choosing the option called "Setup Menu-Matic".
(You can also run it by typing MENUINST at the prompt.)
Step 3: Add your new option
The opening screen of the Menu Installation program talks
about shareware. Read it or not, then hit Enter. Now, at the
pull-down menu system, type R for record. Now type A for Add.
You are now at the screen where you add your new option.
Push the F3 function key for Auto Generate. Now you need to type
in the name of the "executable" file you want this option to run.
For example, if you want to run PC-Write, you would type ED.EXE,
because that is the name of the "executable" PC-Write file. If
you want to run WordPerfect, then you would put WP.EXE, because
that is the name of the WordPerfect executable file. The
executable file name is the command you would type at the prompt
to run the program, except that you also need to add its
"extension" (either .COM or .EXE).
What if you don't know the executable file name? Well,
have you ever run the program before? What did you type to run
the program. Just type this, and add either .EXE or .COM. Try
adding .EXE first, then .COM if that doesn't work. Or look in
your program manual.
Once you put the executable file name in and hit Enter,
the program asks you which drive it is on. More than likely, you
have only one hard drive. Your current drive (probably C:) is
already highlighted, so just hit Enter.
The Menu Installation program then searches your hard
drive for the program you specified. If it finds your program,
it writes the necessary commands to add it to your menu. You'll
still have to give this option a name though -- something
descriptive so you'll remember what it does.
Now, push F4 to save your new menu option. Then, push E
for Exit and E again for Exit Program. This should take you back
to your Menu-Matic, with your new menu option on the screen.
Push the corresponding key and your program should run.
To add more options, just follow the procedure outlined
above. Of course, you do not need to exit the Menu Installation
program after each new entry. Add as many as you want, then exit
when you are done.
That is all you need to know to use Menu-Matic. You can
investigate some of the advanced features later, if you want to,
but you don't need them.
Requirements to Run Menu-Matic
To run Menu-Matic you need an IBM PC, XT, AT, PS/2 or clone
running DOS 2.1 or higher with 256K of RAM. Menu-Matic only takes up
RAM while it is actually running. Once you begin an application from
Menu-Matic, it does not take up any memory. Menu-Matic has been run
successfully on many no-name clones, as well as on Kaypro, Laptops,
PC's Limited, and Commodore computers, as well as on PS/2's.
You will probably find that it is impractical to use Menu-
Matic unless you have a hard drive. While use with floppy drives is
possible, the tortoise-like speed of floppy drives means that the
program will run very slowly, especially if you have large data files.
This documentation file will assume the Menu-Matic is running from the
"C:" hard drive, although it can be run from whatever hard drive or
partition you want.
Files Needed to Run Menu-Matic
You should have twelve files on your Menu-Matic diskette.
These files are:
MENUMATC.EXE -- the menu executable file
MENUINST.EXE -- the menu installation program
MENU.MNU -- sample menu file used with MENUMATC.EXE
MENU2.MNU -- data file used to hold linked options. Comes
with options linked to "Dos Commands".
DOS.MNU -- sample menu file of DOS commands
APPS.MNU -- sample applications menu
APPS.MN2 -- "" "" ""
MENU.BAT -- batch file to call MENUMATC.EXE
MENUMATC.DOC -- this file
DOSCOMM.MEN -- file of DOS commands used with MENUINST.EXE
PROGRAMS.MEN -- file of program names used with MENUINST.EXE
SETUP.EXE -- a program to copy the program to your hard
drive and update your files if necessary
NOTE: You must start the Menu-Matic using the MENU.BAT batch file.
Typing MENUMATC at the prompt will not work properly.
Your First Menu-Matic Session!
Start your Menu-Matic session by either rebooting, or logging
into the subdirectory containing Menu-Matic and typing "menu". You
will notice you have several menu options on the screen. You can
choose to run an option by pushing its number (1-8) or its letter (A-
H), or by moving the selection bar to it and pushing -Enter-.
The Menu-Matic is a two-level menu. On the first level you
may have three different kinds of options. You can have options which
execute directly when you choose them (such as the "Exit to Dos" and
"Setup Menu-Matic" options on the screen), and you can have options
which call up a sub-menu (such as the option "Utilities" on the
screen). As you may have noticed, options which call sub-menus have a
dash ("-") as the first character of their names. The third kind of
option loads a whole new menu file, such as the option DOS Commands.
Choose the option "Utilities", by moving down the selection
bar or by pushing "3". You will be presented with a sub-menu
containing a few utilities. Use the selection bar or push "d" to
choose "Directory." Now you are asked to add an argument, or
extension, to command "dir /w/p". Type "*.*" and hit Enter to see
your present directory. This shows another important feature of the
Menu-Matic, that is, the ability to add run-time arguments onto any
After your directory comes up, you will be back in the
Menu-Matic. Now push "4" to load another menu. This is a menu
composed entirely of DOS Commands. If you run any commands from
this menu, you will come back to this menu when it finishes. To
get back to the top menu, push "H". You can have as many of
these different menu files as you wish, and they can call any
other menu files.
The other sample menu is called "Applications". This has
samples for how you might enter Word Processors, Databases, etc., onto
your menu. These may or may not actually work, depending of course,
on whether you have the program in question, and if it is the
subdirectory specified. If not, you'll just get a "Bad command or
file name" message. The point in including this menu file is so you
can have something to refer to when setting up your own menus.
While you are at the Main Menu screen, there are a few other
keys which are active. These keys are the 10 function keys (more
about that later), and the key combinations ALT-S, ALT-M, and ALT-A.
If you hold down the ALT and hit S you will see a screen giving some
statistics about the hardware and software on your system.
The ALT and M key combination shows you which "Macros" are
assigned to the 10 function keys. These keys can be used in a number
of different ways, and will discussed in some detail under the section
about using the Menu-Matic Installation program.
The ALT and A key combination shows you what options are to be
run at pre-scheduled times. This works in combination with the macro
function, discussed later.
Notice that from anywhere except the Main Menu screen, you may
hit ESC to cancel and go back to where you started. On the Main Menu
screen, you must choose the "Exit to DOS" option to end the program.
Remember, to return to the Menu-Matic, just type "menu" at the DOS
Time Tracking Functions of the Menu-Matic
The Menu-Matic has built-in functions so that you can track
how much time you spend in your applications. The Menu-Matic does this
by writing a file showing when you entered the Menu-Matic, when you
exited from it, and which choice you exited to. Thus, by comparing the
time when you exited the Menu-Matic to, your database perhaps, with the
time when you re-entered Menu-Matic, you can see how long you spent in
The format of the file written by the Menu-Matic is the
Date Time -- Entered Menu-Matic
Date Time -- Exited to (Option Name)
If you choose to keep a "Cumulative" record, the program
will always append the log of your actions onto a file called MENU.LOG.
If you choose the "Daily" record, the program will keep a daily log of
your activities rather than a running day-to-day log. The daily log
writes to a file called LOG(date).MEN. For instance, on December 30,
the file name would be LOG12-30.MEN. This name is set from the system
date, so be sure your system date is correct. Your system date is set
by typing DATE at the system prompt, or putting DATE as a command in
your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
Using the Menu-Matic Installation Program
When you choose an option to run from your Menu-Matic, the
program writes a batch file and then executes this batch file.
Obviously, then, the program needs to know what commands are to be
placed in the batch file. This is done by using the Menu-Matic
installation program. THE ONLY WAY TO SET UP YOUR MENU-MATIC FOR
PROPER OPERATION IS TO USE THE INSTALLATION PROGRAM PROVIDED. Since
the menu installation program is basically a database, we will refer to
the menu options as "records." Each separate line of a record is
called a "field". A collection of records for your Menu-Matic is
called a "Menu File".
If you are presently running the Menu-Matic, and are at the
top menu, then hit -2- to go to the installation program (otherwise,
start the program by typing "menu", and then choose -2-). You may
read the opening screen if you wish, and then hit Enter.
Along the bottom of the screen is a line which shows you the
current Menu File. It also shows the amount of free memory you have,
and also the amount of free disk space you have. If either of these
numbers becomes dangerously low, they will flash. A flashing number
does not mean immediate danger, but it means you should be aware that
it could become a problem.
Along the top of the screen is the pulldown menu system. This
type of menu system should be familiar to most users. Along the
top of the menu are the headings: File, Records, Macros, Setup,
Auto Exec, and Exit. You may access these either by pushing the
key corresponding to the first letter of the name, or by moving
the selection bar and hitting Enter. Once you choose one of these
main headings, you will be given a further list of choices.
After you choose one of these, you may be given still more
choices. You will notice that, in certain cases, you may be
unable to choose a command from the pull-down menu. This is
because the command is inapplicable, such as trying to change a
record in a blank Menu File.
You can hit F1 from just about anywhere in the Menu
Installation program to receive context-sensitive help.
Open retrieves a previously created menu file for you to work
on. You will be given a list of all files in the current directory
with the extension *.MNU. Choose one of these to work with.
New lets you create a new menu file. Just type in the name of
the new file, the extension .MNU is automatically added. If you type
in the name of already-existing file, that one is retrieved for you.
Print lets you print nice reports of your menu structure.
When you choose this you will have several further options, which
should be self-explanatory.
Top Level and Linked Level
The Menu Installation program starts out at the top level of
the Menu File. If you choose to go to the "Linked Level", then you
will be prompted by a box on the right upper side of the screen. This
box will appear whenever you need to enter a record name or number.
You will notice that when the box comes up, it contains the name of
the first record. Also, a pointer appears at the left of the record
names in the list of records. Use the up arrow or down arrow to move
the pointer to the record you wish to select. The name in the box on
the right will change as you move the pointer. So, if you wish to
work on the records linked to "-Utilities", you would move the
pointer until it was on "-Utilities" and then hit -Enter-. The list
of main level records will disappear, and the list of records linked
to "-Utilities" will appear. Now you may proceed with whatever
operations you wish on these linked level records.
When you want to go back to the main level, choose the "Top
Level" command. Of course, you do not need to return to the Top Level
to in order to exit, or to use any of the other functions available in
the installation program. You need only return to the main level to
perform operations on the main level records.
Note that in order to designate a main level record as being
a linked option (i.e., one that calls a sub-menu) you must place a
dash ("-") as the first character of the record. There will be more on
linked options later.
This shows you any directory you specify, although only the
first 800 files are shown. To see the current directory, just hit
This tells a little bit about the Menu-Matic Menuing
System. You may like to pay attention to listing of the size of
the MENUMATC.EXE program and the MENUINST.EXE program. If these
do not match the actual size of the programs you have, then there
could be a problem. You may want to contact BC Enterprises for
original program diskettes straight from the source. These are
available for only $5 each.
Adding Menu Options
This option does just what it implies. It adds new records
to your Menu-Matic. You may place up to sixteen records on the main
level, and up to five records on the linked level.
You may mark a title for password protection by placing a
plus sign ("+") as the first character of the title. There will be
more about passwords later as well. Note that this symbol can be
combined with the dash character. However, the dash must be placed
before the plus sign if they are combined. If you want to password-
protect all your options, then use the "Password Everything" option
from the Setups/More Options heading.
After you enter the option name, you enter the DOS
commands that you want this selection to run. These commands may be 60
characters long, and there may be up to ten commands per menu option.
If any command can take another argument, to be added when it is
executed, make an asterisk ("*") the first character of the command.
For instance, if the option is to be "Directory" then you might use the
Option Name: Directory
Command 1 : *dir
Command 2 : pause
Command 3 : menu
When you execute this option from the menu, the program will ask you
to add an argument to the end if you wish: You might add on to the
command "d:*.*" for a complete command of:
Or, you may decide not to add any command, in which case you could
simply hit -Enter-.
You can also add a user prompt in combination with this. A
quotation mark on a line containing the "*" symbol means that
everything following the quotation mark is a prompt. So, for the
above, you could use:
Command 1: *dir "Enter a file mask
The ability to add arguments makes the Menu-Matic extremely
flexible. For instance, you need only one option for getting all your
directories, rather than one option for every drive and subdirectory.
Of course, specifying that an option may take an argument will slow
down speed of execution since it will require an extra step at run-
time. Only use this if you think a certain command will often need an
argument. For instance, your word processor may take a file name when
invoked, so that you could use an argument from the menu. However, it
might be just as easy for you to enter the file name when you actually
get to the word processor. Experiment.
As has been said, you can mark a title as a linked title,
with sub-menus, if you place a dash ("-") as the first character of the
title. Now for some explanation of this.
Basically, marking something as linked title means that it
is going to be an option that does directly execute, but calls another
set of options (a sub-menu or sub-options). For instance, if you have
three word processors, you might make a title on the Main Menu "-Word
Processors". Then when you chose this option from the Main Menu, you
would be presented with three sub-options, your three word processors.
This may sound somewhat confusing, but linking options is
not difficult to do. As mentioned, you first must mark one or more of
the titles as a linked title by placing a dash as the first character.
Note that when marking a title as a linked title, you need not add any
further DOS commands to it. Any DOS commands would just be ignored
anyway, so the title alone is sufficient. You may link up to five sub-
options to any of the records on the main menu. These options may also
be password protected by putting a plus sign ("+") as the first
character of the sub-option. Also, note that you may not want to start
names of the sub-options with the same letter. When in the menu, you
can execute sub-options by hitting the first letter of the option
(which is high-lighted), as well as with the selection bar. However,
if more than one sub-option starts with the same letter, then the first
option will be executed, regardless of where the selection bar might be
at the time. If you password protect any of the sub-options, then you
may execute it by hitting the letter after the plus sign.
The more sub-options you use, the greater the set-up time for
the menu will become. If you are using a slow computer, such as an
8 megahertz XT compatible, then at some point you may feel the set-up
time is too much. If this happens you may want to delete some of
your little-used sub-options. If you are using a 286 or 386 based
computer, then the set-up time will not be very much even if you use
the entire 80 possible sub-options. Setting up separate Menu Files is
much faster than using sub-options.
Returning to the Menu-Matic
When specifying DOS commands, you will probably want to return
to the menu when the sequence is done. To do this you must return to
the menu directory and then execute the MENU.BAT file. If your menu
is in the root directory, you might use the following commands from a
Command 3: cd \
Command 4: menu
You might use the following commands from a different disk and
Command 4: cd \
Command 5: c:
Command 6: menu
Loading Another Menu File
To have your menu record load another Menu File, you use the
symbol "#" as the first character of Command 1:. After the # sign,
you type the name of the Menu File to load, without the .MNU
extension. For instance, to load a Menu File called DOS.MNU, you
Command 1: #dos
You do not need to put anything else on the other command lines,
because it would be ignored anyway.
In each Menu File you use, you will want to put a record which
allows you to get back to the previous menu file, or to another menu
file. If you don't put an option to return to a different menu file,
then you may find yourself stuck. If that happens, hit Ctrl-Break
several times, then choose one of the options on the menu. Then, the
computer should ask you:
Terminate batch file?
To which you say Y (for yes). Then run MENUINST and add an option to
load another menu file.
Description and Password
After the data entry lines for your DOS commands, there are
two more lines. These are "Description" and "Password". If you choose
to enter something in the Description field, then this text will be
displayed on the bottom line of the Menu-Matic when the selection bar
is placed upon the corresponding entry.
The "Password" field enables you to enter a separate password
for each record, if you so choose. You can set a general system
password (under the main pull down heading Setup, then System Password)
which will be the password used if you do not enter separate passwords
for records. In other words, if you mark something for password
protection, by placing a "+" sign as the first character (or second
character with the "-" sign), and you do not add a password in this
field, then the password expected at run-time will be the general
system password. If you do choose to enter a separate password here,
then that will be the password expected rather than the system
password. If you do not set a system password or enter a password in
this field, then the Menu-Matic will accept anything for the password
For security purposes, the Menu-Matic automatically adds
the command "echo off" at run-time as the first command of any option.
This means that the commands executed are not displayed on the screen.
If you want the commands displayed when it runs, then make "echo on"
the first DOS command of the option.
You will note that there is a box at the bottom of the data
entry screen with a list of the function keys and what each does.
Besides these function keys, the following keys and key combinations
are available for use with the data entry editor: Moves cursor one character to the right
Moves cursor one character to the left
Moves cursor one word to the right
Moves cursor one word to the left
Moves cursor to the first data entry field
Moves cursor to the last data entry field
Moves cursor to the beginning of the field
Moves cursor to the end of the field
Erases everything from the cursor to the
end of the line
Delete character to left of cursor,
moves rest of field left one space
Deletes character at cursor position,
moves rest of field left one space