Ansi Ascii Avatar Editor, A3E 1.00 1992-02-06
(c) 1991 Jonas Hgstrm
JH SoftService HB
Written in Turbo Pascal 5.5
This is the documentation for A3E. It is not the most extensive doc
that has ever been written, but hopefully it will explain most
features and the general idea of the program. If you think something
is missing in the docs, please let me know, because as a programmer
you (hopefully) know exactly what your program does, but you forget
that the people who didn't write it might not.
LIST OF CONTENTS
List of contents
Once upon a time
A word from the author
Greetings and acknowledgements
A3ECONF.EXE, The configuration easy-install utility.
Plans for future versions
ONCE UPON A TIME
This program was once called USA (Ultimate Sysop Ansieditor), but
since there was another program with the same name on the market
already, I changed the name to A3E. To those of you who used this
program under the old name I want to say: It's the same program,
continue supporting it!
If you have a configurationfile from the betaversions, you will be
able to use it, just rename it to A3E.CFG.
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
Yep, it's me again. I just wanted to tell you why I wrote A3E: I had
been using TheDraw for a while, and found it useful (I mean, who
would even dream of making an ansifile in an ordinary texteditor),
but it had some drawbacks in my opinion. The main thing was the
filesystem; every time you wanted to save the file you were working
on, you had to type the name, and if you wanted to save the file as
both ascii and ansi you had to write it twice. Another thing, it had
no support for automating the special codes for BBSprograms. So I
decided something had to be done, I wrote my own Ansieditor. Some
features might have a striking similarity to features in other
programs (for example menus and filehandling looks a bit like tp5.0,
and some others reminds of TheDraw and AnsiPaint), but all the
coding was made by me myself (OK, a few basic routines was made by
my brother and partner Jesper Hgstrm).
I made this program because I felt there was a need for it, but that
doesn't mean I want to give it away just like that. I've spent about
PLENTY of hours to make this program.
If you want to register this program, all you have to do is to fill
out the registration form (at the end of the doc) and send it to me,
via Snailmail, FIDO-NETmail or INTERNET (adress at end of doc).
I also want you to send me some money:
From within Sweden you may send it via postalgiro (at least 70 SEK
to pg 62911111-0, Jonas Hgstrm),
From abroad I'd like you to send me a cheque drawn on a Swedish
bank, with a value of at least 70 SEK (equals about $13 US).
When I've received all information I need from you (including the
money), you will receive a disk containing the latest version of
A3E, the documentation and a personal registration key. Note, I take
no extras, like shipping, and handling, because I know that people
from far away will have to pay some extra anyhow just to get that
cheque in Swedish money.
Make the cheque big, and payable to Jonas Hogstrom, JHSoftService HB
Just to give you few reasons to register A3E (apart from the idea of
the shareware concept) read the following statements:
* The maximal number of BBSCodes will increase from 15 to 100.
* All the configuration-parameters will be fully working.
* The box that pops up when you start A3E will be gone (and the beep
* the registration key will be valid for future versions of A3E
(unless something really unexpected happens, like I loose all my
sourcecode, and have to start all over again)
A3E may bee freely distributed by anyone, as long as the following
rules are kept:
* Nothing is modified, added or deleted in the original files.
* No fee is charged for distribution (sysops may take a fee for the
BBS itself, but not a special fee for A3E).
* Shareware distributors may not make profit of A3E unless they have
a written permission from me (I would like a part of the profit).
* Registration keys may not be distributed AT ALL, by ANYONE (except
me of course).
This program (A3E) is supposed to just edit your ansi/ascii/avatar
files, but I will take NO responsibility if it happens to mess
anything up. I strongly suggests you back up all your important
files that will get in touch with A3E every now and then (btw,
backing up your files once in a while always makes sense). The only
thing guaranteed is that it will occupy a certain amount of
diskspace on your HD...
I have noticed that ansipictures saved with A3E takes about 10% more
diskspace than the same picture saved with Thedraw, I'll try to
optimize this (if you can find out what is wrong, please give me a
GREETINGS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all I'd like to thank ANSI for the standard. And to all
sysops who run BBSes out there, keep up the good work. I'd also like
to thank the people that have helped me with ideas or in any other
way made life easier while working with A3E:
Jesper Hgstrm, for teaching me pascal (a long time ago) and for
having developed some of the basic routines in A3E (he's my brother
so it is not to be regarded as theft). Also for some betatesting
of the program.
Anders Ivner, for lots of ideas (paintmode and blockblend for
example), and plenty of comments on the docs (my spelling is
Jan Bostrm, my fidohub, for distributing the betaecho and betafile
echo, and never being busy. He also gave me a bugreport on the
Paul Leffler, Betatester, plenty of ideas, for example the Attribute
function (ALT-A), Shortcuts in the menu, corrected spellingerrors...
and a lot more. Keep up the good work Paul 🙂
Jonny Bergdahl, Betatester, for example the path in the directory
Fredrik Lewerth, Betatester, father of Extralines, and for reporting
a BIG bug in Avatar.
Joel Rosdahl, Betatester, for a nice list of bugs and proposals of
features (ex ATKeypad, adjust block, Adapt in draw, configuration
controll). Also for drawing the logo that is displayed in the
beginning and end (drawn with A3E, using a lot of paint, draw,
blend and stuff).
HP Anvin, clever guy, for Linekey, a TSR with the same configuration
of the numeric keypad as A3E.
Per Brax, a sysop, called one day to say that A3E didn't restore his
screensize when he returned to DOS. A big thanks goes to this guy
for reading thourgh the documentation and correcting all the
spelling errors and typos.
My other betatesters, as soon as they (you?) report a bug or give me
an idea for a feature, they will be mentioned by name.
A couple of products are mentioned in this documentation and here is
where they come from.
Thedraw is (c) TheSoft Programming Services and Ian E. Davis
AnsiPaint is (c) Drew Olbrich
Turbo Pascal is (c) Borland International
Remote Access is (c) Andrew Milner
WildCat is (c) Mustang Software
DESQView is (c) Quarterdeck
Avatar is the result of a cooperation between George A. Stanislav and
Wynn Wagner III and is specified in the FSC0025 document.
To run A3E you will need the following:
* A PC compatible computer with preferably 640 kb (never tried any
* A graphic card that handles color (CGA/EGA/VGA, I've heard that
B/W VGA also works)
* MSDos 3.30 or higher (if you haven't, take this advice
seriously: GET IT!).
* Some ansieditors require that you load
the ANSI.SYS driver (or compatible), but A3E does NOT!
If you want to run under a multitasking system, like for example
DESQView, carefully make sure that your multitasker is fully aware
of the fact that A3E will make direct writes to the screen. I've
tried A3E under DESQview with good results, but be careful, it is
easy to get things messed up if you have the wrong setup.
To install A3E, Make sure that the following files are in the same
directory (either on your HD or on a diskette):
A3E.KEY (if you are registred).
If you want to use a BBSconfig you must also put that file in the same
If you want to make it easier to start, put the directoryname in the
path-statement in your AutoExec.Bat.
Once there, you just start by typing the name of the exefile, and
optionally followed by the name of an ansi, ascii or avatar file (on
the same row, before pressing Enter).
It is as simple as that.
A3E will create some files in the directory where you have A3E.exe:
A3E.BLK - If you save a block
A3E.PCK - The picklist (if you are registred)
A3E.DAT - A faster internal form of you A3E.CFG for faster
loading. Do NOT edit this one, it will only cause you
problem. Always edit the A3E.CFG!
The editor screen in general is like any other editor, you can walk
around with your cursorkeys (including home/C-home/end/C-end/C-left/
C-right/PgUp/PgDn/tab/Backspace/delete/Enter) and write your text
(Wordwrap is not included!), but you can also change colors, draw
boxes, copy/move/scroll/delete areas, draw lines and many other
Most features can be reached from the menu-system (you can reach the
menusystem with a light touch on your F10) but there are also
shortcuts to most features. Every feature is explained either in the
section about menues or the section about shortcuts.
There is a built in screenblanker that will blank the screen after 5
minutes (default, but configurable), just press any key and you are
back in the editor again.
ALT - A Attribute change. A screen containing all combinations of
foreground and background colors will appear, and a box
around the one you currently use. Move the box around
with your cursorkeys until you find a nice mix of color
and press Return. "B" will toggle foreground blink
(indicated with a blinking box).
ALT - B Backgroundcolor. Lets you choose the color to use as a
background. Use your cursor to move the indicator to the
ALT - C Centerline. Simply adjusts the line with the cursor on
according with the edges of the screen.
ALT - D Drawmode. This mode makes it possible for you to draw
continous lines (with the asciichars 179 - 218) on the
screen. You can choose between and kind of
lines. Just move the cursor around and see what happens.
When you are ready, just press CR. If your current
characterset is one with linecharacters, this will be
default in drawmode. One exeption is if the "AdaptInDraw"
switch is active, and the character under the cursor is a
linecharacter, then the characterset containing that very
character will be used as default.
ALT - E Exchange attributes. This feature will find every
position on the screen that has the same attributes as
the character under the cursor, and change them to the
current attributes. Handy if you changed your mind about
some mix of color.
ALT - F Foreground. Sets the current foregroundcolor, pressing B
will toggle blink in your foreground. Use your cursor to
move the indicator to the wanted color.
ALT - G Get color. Sets the current color to the one under the
ALT - H Online Help. Gives you a list of all the shortcuts. If
there is a need for it, it could be extended to contain a
small explanation of the features as well.
ALT - I Insert Line. Inserts a line between the current line and
the one above.
ALT - J Jump between pages. You can have up to 8 pages (see the
configuration section) at the same time in your memory,
each in either VGA or CGA mode (50/25lines). Each page
has it's own filename and can be loaded and saved without
interfering with the other pages. Use ALT - J to switch
between the pages, you will be prompted for which number
to jump to.
ALT - K Block commands. First you have to mark a block, the
following options are available:
[B]egin Sets one of the corners in your block. It
doesn't have to be in any special order, and you
can set the first corner again by pressing B if
you change your mind.
[E]nd Sets the corner opposite to the first corner,
marks the block, and takes you to the
[R]ead Reads a block saved in the file A3E.BLK.
[L]ast This option will retrieve the blockcoordinates
you used for your last block. If this is your
first block the [L] option will not be
Move around the screen with your cursorkeys and Home/End/
PgUp/PgDn until you are done. The colors in your block
will invert to show you easier what is marked and what is
Pressing space will have the same meaning as B the first
time and as E the second, you can in other words mark the
block with two subsequent spaces in the opposite corners.
When your block is marked, a menu will appear on the left
side of the screen:
Move Move your block to another place on the screen,
the default color will replace the area where
the block used to be. You can also do stamps
(leave a copy of the block) before you finally
put it where it is supposed to be. There is a
fast way to move the block to the sides: Left -
Home, Right - End, Up - PgUp, Down - PgDn
Copy Just like move but the original will stay and
you can put a copy of your block somewhere on
Delete Removes your block and puts the default
background color there instead.
Scroll Simply lets you scroll the block inside itself.
Try it and see what happens.
Write Writes your block to a file called A3E.BLK. This
block kan be loaded via ALT-K R. This verison
will only handle one block, but in future
versions you'll be able to give them names and
have several blocks at once (for saving logos,
nice ansiparts or whatever).
Blend Let me introduce you to something you've never
seen before in the world of ansi. An automated
feature to blend (mix) colors! Every character
in your block will be calculated together with
it's closest neighbours, and a mediumcolor will
be given to each character. It will look weird
if you do this in a block of text but if you
have an area containing the asciicharacters
176..178, 219 and space ( ) then it will
look marvellous, try it. As the result often
improves with repeated blendings, you can choose
how many passes to perform (so you won't have to
mark the block every time), somewhere between
3-5 is reasonable.
If you want to see an example of the
possibilities of this blend feature, check the
'3' in the logo that is displayed when you load
and exit A3E.
Exchange This works just like the global Exchange
feature, but you will have to specify the colors
once again. First you have to use your
cursorkeys top move to a character with the
attribute that you want to exchange (then press
enter). To specify which color to change to,
just pick the right one from the array that is
displayed (works just like the attributeupdate).
Fill Will fill your block with Attribute, character,
both, foreground or background. You will be
prompted for character and color (or rather
Adjust Prompts you to choose Right, left or center
adjustment of the block.
mIrror You can flip the block horizontally, vertically
Up/lo case You can either turn every alpha-character into
either upper or lower case, or you can turn
every upper to lower and lower to upper (invert)
Intensity Turn the intensity-bit on or off in the whole
bOx This is just like the Alt-O option, but it might
be handy to reach from the block-menu as well.
Draws a box around your block in the current
View If you want a short peek in the screen before
executing another blockcommand.
For Move, Copy and Read The following options are
[U]nder With the Under-option, your block will move
around "under" the rest of the screen, and not
[T]ransparent means that a space with the default
background will look like glass. For example,
you have a round shape that you want to move
around, but the block is square, turn
transparent on and you can see the original
screen through the block in the corners.
The combination of Under and Transparent is
perhaps a bit odd, and not completely logical,
you move your block under the original screen,
but the backgroundcolors from the block will
shine through. If it looks weird, just turn
Solid spaces (Shift space) will override the
transparent and under features.
[J]ump You can switch pages and still bring your block
along. The Undo will reset when you arrive at
the new page so if you choose [M]ove, switch
pages and then change your mind, the original
block will not be put back in the original page,
but rather disappear into smoke.
To have blockmode on ALT K is mainly an old WordStar-
convention, but I find it quite all right.
The blockmenu will be active until you press either Space
to quit or ESC to undo.
ALT - L Left adjust line. Moves the line with the cursor on as far
to the left as it will go.
ALT - M MenuToggle. You can switch the toprow between displaying
the menu at all times or to display the current charset
(with associated numerical key), when not in the menu.
ALT - N Hmm, unused (If you have a suggestion of a feature, I
could put it right here 🙂
ALT - O Outline, Makes a frame in the current linestyle, you mark
the box in the same way you mark a block (see ALT - K).
ALT - P Paint mode. Works kind of like draw mode, but this one
just modifies the colorattribute of the charachter.
The following features are available from paintmode:
P toggles continuous painting (everywhere you go will
F Toggles painting of foregroundcolor
B Toggles painting of backgroundcolor
SPACE Paints just the character under the cursor
ALT - Q Ruler, Makes it easier to put things in a straight line
across the screen. By pressung U in ruler mode, the ruler
will move under the text instead of covering it, Press U
again to return to normal mode.
Sorry 'bout the bad connection Q-Ruler, but the other
shortcuts were kind of busy.
ALT - R Right adjust, just like left adjust, but the other way
ALT - S This routine (one of a kind!) will be able to recognize
the special BBScodes a sysop needs, it will also be able
to produce the same ones. If you place your cursor on the
first char in a BBScode the name of the code will be
displayed on the statusrow. If no code can be recognized
a list of those known to the program (via configfiles)
will be displayed and you can choose which one to put on
your screen. (More details about config, see the
ALT - T Tab adjust. Lets you change the distance between
ALT - U Unfurl BBSCodes. All BBSCodes that have a specified
length (see BBSCodeConfig) will be expanded to a string
of respective length, containing 'X'es. This is meant to
make it easy to look at what your screen will look like
when displayed to your Users. If you have codes that will
be expanded to a line-length exceedeing the screen width,
a beep will sound, and that string will have inverted
colors to make it easy to detect.
ALT - V Border fill. If you want to fill the area inside a frame
with the same character, attribute or both, just press
ALT - V and choose what to fill with (color will always
be the current). The characters in Charset 1-5 will be
considered as frames.
ALT - W Scroll the whole screen (Wrap). Use your cursorkeys to
move it around. What goes out to the right comes in on
the left... (what goes out the drain is forever lost 🙂
ALT - X Quit. If you have made changes since last save you will
be prompted for another save.
ALT - Y Delete line. Deletes the line with the cursor.
ALT - Z OSshell. Will open a shell to your OS if there is enough
memory for it. Just type Exit while in OS to return to
NOTE! Be careful about loading any memory-resident
programs (TSR) while in OSShell. It might work this time,
or it might not work at all (A3E might hang and you will
loose everything in memory).
ALT 0..9 Set charset. On the status row you can see a number of
characters, these are the ones that will be typed if you
press Numlock (just light the numlock-LED) and then use
either your numeric keypad or your normal numberkeys on
top of your keyboard. You can change the charactersets by
pressing ALT 0, 1, 2 .. 9.
Here is a list of the different sets (will also be shown
when you change charset via the menu) :
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 + | Ex of how they will be
1 | mapped on the numeric
2 | keyboard:
9 | really handy
As you see ALT - 0 resets the keyboard to normal even
when numlock is on.
Numlock Use charset. When the numlock-LED is lit the numeric
keypad and the ordinary numeric keys on top of the
keyboard will display the respective character from the
Scrollock Allcharsmode. When the scrollock-LED is lit you can
produce exactly any character on your keyboard. the
escape key will for example give you a '' and your
Enter key will give a chr(13), DeleteLine (CTRL-Y) and
Insertline (CTRL - I) will be disabled via shortcuts,
but reachable from the menu. The high chars (127..255)
that are not in any characterset can always be produced
by holding your ALT-key and typing the number of the
character on the numeric keypad.
CTRL - Y Delete line, same as ALT - Y, but I put it here as well,
just because I'm used to finding it here myself.
CTRL - CR Split line. Moves the rest of the line (right of the
cursor to a new inserted line just below.
ESC UNDO. Pressing Esc will always undo the last major
command or mode you used and restore the screen to what
it looked like before. If you press Esc a second time, it
will restore the screen to what it looked like before the
SHIFT - Esc Save Undo. Pressing SHIFT - Esc will reset the undoscreen
so that the next time you Undo anything it will at least
not go further back than the current state.
ALT Menu. If you "tap" the ALT key without pressing any other
key meanwhile, this will be a handy shortcut to the menu.
RightShift Can be configured to work as a tap on ALT when pressed
both at the same time. In DESQView the ALTkey is a little
special and that interferes with A3E.
F1 OnLine Help, just as ALT - H
F2 Save. See menusystem, Filemenu
F3 Load. See menusystem, Filemenu
ALT - F3 Pick. See menusystem, Filemenu
ALT - F9 Toggle screensize.
F10 Menu. Sends you to the topmenu.
SH - BS ClearScreen, keeps the filename. prompts first.
SH - Home Moves to the first character on the line. If the line is
empty, it moves to column 1.
SH - End Moves to column 80 of the current line.
SH - Space Solid Space, This is not an ordinary space. It looks like
a space on the screen, but it cannot be seen through. If
you for example move a block under a solid space, the
space will cover the block as if it were a character, It
will also cover the ruler. They will be saved and loaded
as solid spaces as well.
To be able to tell a solid space from a normal space, the
solid space will shimmer in different colors when you
position the cursor above. It will also indicate on the
statusrow with the number 255, instead of 32 like hte
CTRL - Space writes a space with default colors at the cursor
Insert Toggles insertmode. When Insert is on, your cursor will
be small, and when Insertmode is off, your cursor will be
large. Another thing is that with Insert OFF, the screen
won't be messed up by delete and backspace.
SH - Insert Inserts a space with current colors at the
SH-CAPS Inverts the capsstatus of the character under the cursor.
Here is a sample statusrow:
X: 4 Y:21 P:1 *INSC COLOR NONAME.SCR #32 A3E vN.nn 15:12:39
coords Page flags color filename char version Time
Coords simply give you the coordinates of the cursor.
Page shows the number of the current page.
Flags indicate the following:
* The file has been modified since last save
I Insert is on
N Numlock is on, meaning you will get the current charset
when pressing a numerical key
S Scrollock is on, meaning you will get a nice graphical
character when pressing the ESC, Backspace, Enter or
alphakeys together with CTRL
C Capslock is on, meaning... just in case your LED is
Color is written in the current color (change it with ALT - F or
ALT - B if you don't like it).
Filename is the namepart of the current file (path is omitted).
Char shows the asciicode for the character under the cursor, if you
want a listing of all existing asciicodes, try your dos manual, or
some other reference manual (or just type every character you can
think of and look on the statusrow 🙂
Version: N.nn indicates the current version of A3E.
Time, selfexplanatory 🙂
The menusystem is easily reached by pressing F10. Once in the
menusystem you can choose from the topmenu and enter a submenu
(press CR). Once in a submenu you can choose a menuitem by moving
there with cursor up/down or go to another submenu with cursor
left/right. Most menuitems are followed by a key-combination
representing the shortcut for the feature, others can only be
reached via the menusystem. Here follows a presentation of the
menuitems (those explained in the Shortcut-list will not be
repeated, just referred to).
There is also an alternative way to make menuchoices, in both the
topmenu and the submenus. Every menuoption has one character
highlighted, and by pressing that character on the keyboard you will
choose that option. I've tried as far as possible to make this
menushortcut the same character as the normal shortcut, and for
those menuoptions that didn't have a normal shortcut I've tried to
choose it as logical as possible.
FILE COLORS FRAME/FILL SCREEN MODES
The topmenu can be replaced with a display of the current Charset
(toggle with ALT - M) when you are in normal editing mode, but will
always be there when you enter the menusystem. Every time you enter
the topmenu you will get to the position you last were at.
Load If the current file has been changed, you will first
be prompted to save it.
Thereafter you will be prompted for a new filename
(you may also choose from a filelist) and the file
is loaded into the editor.
Save Will save your file to the formats specified in
"Write to". If filename is NONAME (default), or if
the file hasn't been saved before during this
session you will be prompted to confirm or change
the filename, and you will also get the possibility
to set which modes to save the file in (same
procedure as described in "Write to", later in this
Pick Lets you load one of the most recent files into the
editor, and restore all the settings from last time
the file was edited (this does not regard
New Clears the screen and sets the filename to NONAME.
Directory Shows a directory from a specified path and
filemask. By pressing any letter you will move to
the first file/directory that starts with that
character. (F4 for a new mask) NB! Only the first
512 files in your directory will be shown, but that
should do in most cases.
If the extention in the filemask is .$$$, all files
matching the extentions for ansi, ascii and
avatarfiles will be shown.
Write to Change the path, name and extensions of your file.
You can also set which modes to save the file in
(Ansi/Ascii/Avatar). Pressing the function-key
associated to each filemode will toggle save of that
specific filemode ON/OFF.
Change dir Change to new directory and make it the default
LoadMode Specify which mode to use when loading. Trying to
load an ansifile in avatarmode will surely mess up.
When loading a file the Automode will try to
determine the type of file it is, and this really
works well. I suggest you have this as your default.
The only time it will be incorrect is when you try
to load an asciifile that contains either an
ESC-character, ^V or ^Y as these are used to
recognize Ansi/Avatar. The loadmode will also
determine which filemode will get the original
OS shell See shortcutlist, ALT - Z
Quit Quits A3E. If current file is modified, you will be
prompted to save. Same as ALT - X.
Foreground See shortcutlist, ALT - F
Background See shortcutlist, ALT - B
DefaultBack lets you choose the background color that will be
used when you insert new lines or at the end of a
line where you press del.
GetColor See shortcutlist, ALT - G
Attribute See shortcutlist, ALT - A
Framescreen Puts a frame around the whole screen.
Frametext puts a frame surrounding the text on the screen.
Frame See shortcutlist, ALT - O
Fillscreen Fills the whole screen with a character, attribute
Fillframe See shortcutlist, ALT - V
DelLine See shortcutlist, ALT - Y and CTRL - Y
InsLine See shortcutlist, ALT - I
ClrScr Clears the screen, keeps the filename. Prompts
CenterLine See shortcutlist, ALT - C
RightAdjust See shortcutlist, ALT - R
LeftAdjust See shortcutlist, ALT - L
Set Tabsize See shortcutlist, ALT - T
Set CharSet See shortcutlist, ALT - 0..9
ScreenSize Sets the screensize to the chosen one (CGA handles
no more than 25 lines, it is useless to even try ).
If you have an EGA-adapter the later menu choice
will give you 43 lines, and if you have a
VGA-adapter or higher, you will get 50.
ScrollScreen See shortcutlist, ALT - W
DrawMode See shortcutlist, ALT - D
AllChars See shortcutlist, Scrollock
InsertMode See shortcutlist, Insert
PaintMode See shortcutlist, ALT - P
BlockMode See shortcutlist, ALT - K
BBSCodes See shortcutlist, ALT - S
UNDO See shortcutlist, ESC
Save UNDO See shortcutlist, SHIFT - ESC
Show SolidSpaces All solid spaces (#255) will flicker until you
press a key. This is an easy way to detect unknown
solid spaces that mess up your blockmove, centerline
Configuration of A3E can be made in A3E.CFG, and so far the
following options are available, default in brackets (those marked
with a * will only work if you are registered):
INSERT = ON/OFF [ON]
Sets the default insertmode in the editor
*TABSIZE = 0..9 
Sets the default tabsize (changeable with ALT-T)
ANSIEXT = EXT [ANS]
ASCIIEXT = EXT [ASC]
AVATAREXT = EXT [AVT]
Consists of up to three characters (NO Point) and sets the
default extension for each saveformat
SAVEANSI = ON/OFF [ON]
SAVEASCII = ON/OFF [ON]
SAVEAVATAR = ON/OFF [OFF]
Specify which formats to save as default
*MENUBG = Black Lightgray
*MENUHIFG = Blue Lightblue
*MENUHIBG = Green Lightgreen
*CURRENTFG = one of Red Lightred
*CURRENTBG = Cyan Lightcyan
*DEFAULTFG = Magenta Lightmagenta
*DEFAULTBG = Brown Yellow
*SUBMENUFG = Darkgray White
Make your own color setup
*SAVEPICKLIST = ON/OFF [OFF]
Should the picklist be saved between each time ?
BBSCONFIGFILENAME =filename.ext 
The name (not path) of your BBSConfiguration file. This file
must be kept in the same path as your main configuration, see
further the BBSConfig.
DEFAULTCHARSET = 0..9 
Sets the default charset.
*DEFAULTANSIDIR = Drive:\Path 
If you have all your fancy files in a special directory
(c:\ra\display for example) you can set the path here and A3E
will start with your directory as defaultdir.
LOADMODE = Ansi/Avatar/Ascii/Auto [Auto]
Sets the default Loadmode, see Filemenu-loadmode for further
specifications. Auto recommendable.
MENUSHORTCUTS = ALT/LRShift/Disabled [ALT]
Lets you make a shortcut to the top menu row (together with F10).
ALT - "Tap" (that is press and release) the ALT button.
LRShift - Tap the left and right shift at the same time.
Disabled - No shortcut.
This is mainly to avoid interference with for example
DESQView which use the ALT-key to activate it's own menu.
*SCREENBLANKTIME = 0..255 
Specify the number of minutes you want before the screen blanks.
0 disables screenblanking completely.
*MAXPAGES = 1..8 
How many pages do you want to have available (each page takes
4-8 kB of heap memory (depends on if you run 25/43/50 lines))
MENUON = ON/OFF [ON]
If you want a display of the current characterset on the
toprow, specify off.
FORCEASCIICR = ON/OFF [OFF]
With Forceascii ON every line saved in asciimode will have a
Carriage Return, and Linefeed in the end. If it is OFF, lines
that are exactly 80 characters won't have these.
CTRL-Y-DELLINE = ON/OFF [OFF]
If you want CTRL-Y to be synonym to ALT-Y (an old and common
standard) then specify this setting ON. Otherwise CTRL-Y will
normaly return asciicharacter 25 (arrow down).
SORTBBSCODES = ON/OFF [OFF]
Makes it possible to sort your BBSCodes in an alphabetical
EXTRALINES = 0..5 
Specifies how many linefeeds to be added to the end of your
files (can be individually changed).
ATKEYPAD = ON/OFF [OFF]
If you have an AT keypad (84 buttons), you can make sure that
you can have the character sets on top of the keyboard, and
have the cursor controls on the keypad. Make sure that Numlock
WORDSTAR = ON/OFF [OFF]
Enables the classic wordstar commands for cursor movement.
NB! Wordstar is disabled when you press scrollock and
put the editor in "Allchars-mode". Wordstar is only available
in editor-mode so far, not in paint-, or drawmode.
ADAPTINDRAW = ON/OFF [ON]
(Adapt in draw) If you start DrawMode while having the cursor
on a linecharacter, this switch will make drawmode default to
the characterset containing that very character. Characters
that appear in two different sets will give the lower one.
*DEFAULTVGAEGA = ON/OFF [OFF]
Puts your screen in VGA/EGA-mode as default.
*USESWAP = ON/OFF [OFF]
With UseSwap, you can enable swapping of A3E to EMS-memory,
or disk (if you don't have enough EMS). This gives you an
additional 200-300 k free memory in dosshell, on the other
hand, swapping to disk takes a long time.
If you find that swapping is too slow, just turn it off again.
INVERTUNDERCURSOR= ON/OFF [ON]
A small feature that inverts the foreground intensity under
the cursor to make the cursor visible even on "" characters.
It will slow down cursor movement about 15% on a fast
keyboard. On a slow one you will not notice.
All configuration (including BBSCodes) will be loaded from the
directory where you start your A3E.EXE, if you don't specify the
path in the environment variable A3E by putting something like this
in your Autoexec:
A3ECONF.EXE, THE CONFIGURATION EASY-INSTALL UTILITY
If you dont like to edit configuration files in a texteditor, you
might use the "configuration easifyer", A3ECONF.EXE. Just put it in
the directory with your A3E.EXE and configurationfiles together with
the two files A3ECONF.FRM and A3ECONF2.FRM and run it.
You will probably find it quite easy to use. Just enter the data as
you want it to be installed, switch pages with PgUp/PgDn and press
F10 to save it.
The configuration doesn't have much errorchecking yet, but on the
other hand, you can't misspell the commands, just the parameters.
One of the specialities of A3E is the special BBScodes (ALT - S),
but to make it work you have to have a special configuration file
for this. You specify the name of your BBScfg-file in A3E.CFG with
the option BBSCONFIGFILENAME and here is how it works.
Each BBSCode consists of one to two control characters, a
description and a length (length is optional and only used for the
Unfurl-BBSCodes-feature (see ALT - U). The rules for making the
configuration are rather strict, so please try to stick to them.
there are three different ways to set a code in the configfile:
with a ^-sign followed by an Upcase letter:
ex: ^A = asciicode 1
^S = asciicode 19
with the numbersign (#) followed by a number between 0 and 255:
ex: #4 = asciicode 4
#65 = asciicode 65
with any single asciicharacter (except the ^ and the #):
ex: S = asciicode 83
= asciicode 218
There can be maximum 2 asciicodes for each code, separated by a
space, and after the asciicodes comes an explanation of the code
surrounded by qoutationmarks ("). The length, if included, is
written as a plain number, between 1 and 80, and separated from the
closing qoute in the description by a space.
Here are a couple of sample codes:
^S ^B "System Time" 8
^F A "Users full name" 45
#6 #68 "Business/Data phone number" 10
E "Voice/Home phone number" 10
There can be up to 100 codes in your configfile, and the
explanations will be truncated to maximum 36 characters.
I've made default configurations for 2 different BBSes:
Remote Access (1.10) - RA110.CFG
(1.01) - RA101.CFG
Wildcat (2.50) - WC250.CFG
NOTE! Some of the codes for RA110 have a special syntax, look at the
comments in the config or rather in RA's documentation.
If you have a BBS that is not covered by the configurations I've
made, please feel free to make your own. If you think they might be
of use to anyone else, send them to me and I'll distribute them with
There is an option in the normal config that makes it possible to
sort the BBScodes in an alphabetical order. This might work in your
setup, and it might not. I've found the case with RA110 that has one
code that is ^K and a lot of codes that starts with ^K and then has
another character to follow. If this is the case and the first
mentioned code is checked before the later, the others will never be
recognized, no matter what, when you do a BBSCodes identify (my tip
is to put all codes with just one character in the end of you
BBS-config and skip the sorting).
PLANS FOR FUTURE VERSIONS
More than one 48/41/23 rows available to edit for the same file
Implement ExecSwap (so you will have more memory when you are in
Save blocks as Ascii/ansi/avatar.
Screen animations for making a picture slide in from the left or
pop up from the middle if it is asked for (animations takes a lot
of diskspace and are slow for modem users).
If you have any suggestions for features you would like to see in
A3E, I'd be happy to hear it (there are still one or two shortcuts
unused...). I'm also very happy for bug reports (I want this to be a
bug-free program before the end of this century :-).
Contact me in any of these ways:
Adress...: Kungsbergsgatan 8c
S-582 53 LINKPING
S W E D E N
Fax......: +46-21-350524 (might take some time, it
belongs to my parents.)
BBS......: +46-33-201819 (talk to the sysop, my brother)
InterNet.: [email protected]
REGISTRATIONFORM (also as Register.FRM in the A3E archive)
ZIP and city:_______________________________________________
Tick the diskette-format you would like to get A3E on:
____ 5" 1/4'
____ 3" 1/2'
If you are a sysop, what's the name, phone number, nodenumber
and software of your BBS:
Where did you get hold of A3E:
__ a friend
__ a BBS (give me phone or nodenumber:______________________)
__ FTP (please enter site:__________________________________)
__ a shareware distributor:_________________________________
What version of A3E Do you have right now:__________________
IF you want info on future updates, please state either a
FIDO nodenumber or an INTERNET-adress:______________________
My suggestions on how to improve A3E:_______________________
If you find any of the questions above violating your
personal integrity, you are free to refuse answering them
(does not include your adress and wanted disksize), I'm
just kind of curious about the ways that A3E travel...
dont forget to send me the money, the amount is stated in
the section about registration. DS.
<-- End of A3E.DOC -->