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PC-Browse User's Guide

By Steven B. Levy, Bob Wallace, and Corey Smith

Version 1.00

September, 1989

The unmodified PC-Browse distribution diskettes may be freely copied
and shared in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but
not in Great Britain or elsewhere in the world. Printed copies of this
document may not be copied in any way without a license from Quicksoft.
For more information, see the Licensing Appendix.

(c) Copyright 1989 by Bob Wallace, Quicksoft. All Rights Reserved.

Quicksoft, 219 First Ave N. #224, Seattle, WA 98109. (206) 282-0452.

Printed and published in U.S.A.

PC-Browse is a trademark of Quicksoft.
Quicksoft is a registered trademark of Quicksoft.
PC-Write is a registered trademark of Quicksoft.
Microsoft Word is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
WordPerfect is a registered trademark of WordPerfect Corporation.
WordStar is a registered trademark of WordStar Inc.
WordPerfect is a registered trademark of WordPerfect Corporation.
IBM PC, PC AT, and PS/2 are registered trademarks of the IBM

Any other trademarks should be credited to their respective companies.

Additional editing: Betty Houser

Special thanks to our Beta testers for their suggestions and
corrections, and to all of our registered users for their continued

Package ISBN 0-926447-00-9
Manual ISBN 0-926447-01-7
Disk 1 ISBN 0-926447-02-5
Disk 2 ISBN 0-926447-03-3
Table of Contents

What is PC-Browse 5
About this User's Guide 6
Manual Terminology and Notation 6
Installing PC-Browse 7
PC-Browse Tutorial 9
For People Who Don't Read Manuals 9
What Does PC-Browse Do? 10
Finding, Viewing, and Pasting Text 11
Using PC-Browse Applications 17
More Advanced Applications 20
Developing Your Own PC-Browse Applications 23
Summary 27
Suggested Applications 29
Dictionary 29
PC-Write Page Layout Library 29
Political Party Platform 30
Family Tree 30
Class Notes 31
Telemarketing Script 31
On-Line Help 31
Programmer's Library 32
How to Build PC-Browse Files 33
About Delimiters 33
Rules for Delimiters 33
What are Targets and Triggers? 34
The Linear Search 34
The Lookup Search 37
Requirements for a Lookup File 37
Entering and Sorting the Data 38
Merging the Data 40
Defining the Parameters 41
Using the File 41
Links Between Files 43
Creating an Index Page 43
Using the Index Page 44
Reference Section 45
Getting Help 45
Viewing the Main Menu 45
Running PC-Browse 46
Exiting PC-Browse 49
Popping up PC-Browse 49
File Name Patterns 51
Loading a File into PC-Browse 52
Files You Can Load with PC-Browse 54
Moving Around in PC-Browse 55
Normal Search 58
Case Matching and Wild Cards in a Search 59
Foreign and Special Characters in a Search 61
Searching Multiple Files 62
Keyword Searches 64
Links Between Files 68
Running Other Programs 69
Additional Windows 70
Navigating Within PC-Browse 71
The Location List 71
The Bookmark 73
Pasting and Printing 73
Setting the Output File Name 76
Customizing 77
Descriptions of the Parameters 77

File Load Parameters 77
Startup Parameters 81
How to Define Parameters 85
Summary of Parameters 88
Appendix 89
Using PC-Browse with Other Programs 89
About the Program's Author 89
Licensing PC-Browse 89
Glossary 91

What is PC-Browse?

PC-Browse is a memory-resident program for IBM PC compatible computers
that helps you find information in your files. In its most basic form,
it searches a file (or a number of files) for specific text. It uses
about 60K of memory; or 3K if you put it into EMS memory.

You can pop up a PC-Browse window over your application program, enter
the name of a file to search and the text you want to find, and press
the search key. PC-Browse quickly finds and displays the information
you seek. Press the search key again to continue searching until it
finds all occurrences of the text. You can paste information into your
application program, copy it to a file, or print it. PC-Browse offers
some "navigational" tools, or place markers, so you can quickly move
back and forth between pages of text.

PC-Browse offers a second level of search features, used with easy-to-
build PC-Browse application files. First you can do a linear search for
a keyword in a file, which is a word defined by special characters.
Second, you can do a much faster lookup search in a file whose keywords
are in alphabetic or numeric order. Finally, you can trigger either
kind of search from a cross-reference at one place to a keyword at
another place, in the same file or another file. This link ability
gives PC-Browse a hypertext quality.

Some applications for PC-Browse:

* Create pop up on-line help for a custom application.
* Look-up customer information while you're doing something else.
* Find a lost memo when all you remember is a word or two from it.
* Make catalog and pricing information quickly available online.
* Pop up your company procedures manual.

PC-Browse is a brand new product. As with version 1.00 of any product,
be extra careful. We have tested PC-Browse extensively, but just to be
on the safe side:

1. Save your application file before you bring up PC-Browse.
2. Use extra caution when using PC-Browse with EMS memory (/E switch).

On the other hand, don't hesitate to search for or look at any file
with PC-Browse. Because it doesn't write to the file, there is no
chance of harming your file.

Finally, we'd really appreciate your ideas and suggestions for new
features or changes. We'd also like to know how PC-Browse helps you get
your work done. Write to us at:

Quicksoft - Browse Ideas
219 First Ave N. #224
Seattle, WA 98109

- 5 -
About this User's Guide

This Guide is divided into seven main sections:

The Installation section shows how to put PC-Browse on your computer.

The Tutorial guides you through PC-Browse, giving you hands-on
experience with the sample files included on the PC-Browse diskette.

The Suggested Uses section presents several sample applications of
PC-Browse, emphasizing the lookup search.

In How to Build PC-Browse Files you learn how to build application
files, using the lookup search, the linear search, and cross-

The Reference section contains definitive information on every
PC-Browse operation.

The Customizing section gives detailed instructions on adapting
PC-Browse to your files and preferences.

Finally, the Appendix contains a glossary and special PC-Browse

Manual Terminology and Notation

* The notation means you should press the Enter or Return key.

* This manual uses abbreviations for some keys. These are:

Shf The Shift key
Ctl The Ctrl key
Bksp The Back Space key
Grey+ The grey-colored + (plus) key at the right of your keyboard.
Grey- The grey-colored - (minus) key at the right of your keyboard.

* Text that you should type is often surrounded by double quote marks.
For instance, if the instructions tell you to type "A:", type only
A: and not the quotes.

* If a command requires that you press a combination of keys
simultaneously, they are shown as a unit. For instance, Shf Ctl F1
means press and hold the Shift key and the Ctrl key and while
holding them down press the F1 key.

* If a command requires pressing a sequence of keys, they are shown
following each other, separated by the word "then". For instance, F9
then Grey+ means press the F9 key, then release it and press the
Grey+ key.

- 6 -
* Since most printers are unable to print the entire extended ASCII
character set (0 to 31 and 128 to 255) this on-disk version of the
manual does not contain any. These characters are described or
represented by other printable characters. The printed version of
this manual does contain them, as do most printer manuals.

Installing PC-Browse

The following instructions assume you have some familiarity with your
computer and DOS. If you are unfamiliar with terms such as "default
drive," "file name," "subdirectories," or "path", or with basic DOS
commands such as COPY and FORMAT, you may want to review your PC-Write
or DOS manual before installing PC-Browse.

PC-Browse comes on two 5 1/4 inch diskettes or one 3 1/2 inch diskette.
The Program diskette contains the PC-Browse program plus some
documentation and sample application files:

GO.BAT Types the next file, READ.ME.
READ.ME Text file with any last minute release information.
BR.EXE PC-Browse program; the only file you need to use PC-Browse.
BR.HLP PC-Browse help file (has links to BTUT.BRS and BREF.BRS).
BTUT.BRS PC-Browse on-line tutorial (used with BR.HLP).
BREF.BRS PC-Browse on-line reference (used with BR.HLP).
BRxxx.DEF Various control files to set alternate color combinations.
BRDEF.LST Describes all the BRxxx.DEF files.
AREACODE Area code and city listings, explores linking concepts.
MISUSED Commonly misused words, explores finding the word at the
HAMLET Heavily cross-referenced "To be or not to be" hypertext
QUARTO Subsidiary file used by the HAMLET application.
GLOSSARY Subsidiary file used by the HAMLET application.
DECISION Decision-tree application that shows how to create online-
SAILBOAT A parts list for a sailboat that shows the lookup search.
MENU A menuing application that launches other programs.
CATALET Text file used with the MENU application.
CREDLET Text file used with the MENU application.
PCWRHELP Text file used with the MENU application.
ADDRESS An address "book" that shows the PC-Browse paste feature.
PARTTEM A PC-Write merge template used in building a lookup file.
PARTSRT A sorted parts-list for use with PARTTEM.
SUPPLIER A cross-referenced listing to demonstrate the index page.

The Reference diskette contains PC-Browse documentation. The GO command
on this disk types the instructions for using it. The full PC-Browse
manual is in files BR1.DOC, BR2.DOC, BR3.DOC, and BR4.DOC. You can
print the manual with a DOS command like:


- 7 -
To install PC-Browse on a hard disk system:

1. Choose or create a directory on your hard disk to be your PC-Browse
work directory. Make it the default directory. You can install
PC-Browse either in an existing directory (with your PC-Write files,
for example) or in a directory of its own. To create a new directory
to use PC-Browse and make it the default, at the DOS prompt type:

MKDIR drive:\directory
CHDIR drive:\directory

where "drive" is the letter of your hard drive and "directory" is
the name you want. For example, for a subdirectory called PCBR on
your C drive, type:


Move ahead to "To continue installing PC-Browse:", below.

To install PC-Browse on a two-floppy-drive system:

1. Select a blank, formatted diskette. Label it "PC-Browse Work Disk".
Place it in the B drive, and make B the default drive.

To continue installing PC-Browse:

2. Place your original PC-Browse Program diskette in drive A. Copy the
PC-Browse files to your work diskette or directory by typing:

COPY A:*.*

3. Decide if you want the full plain text manual. The PC-Browse
Reference diskette contains the full PC-Browse manual in plain text
form. If you want these files, replace the diskette in drive A with
the PC-Browse Reference diskette and type:

COPY A:*.*

4. Add a line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file so PC-Browse can find its Help
file. To use PC-Browse from any directory and have PC-Browse help
available, add this line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file (where
drive:\directory is the same as above):

SET PCBROWSE=drive:\directory

5. That's it. Remove your original PC-Browse diskettes and store in a
safe place.

- 8 -
PC-Browse Tutorial

First, A Word for People Who Don't Read Manuals

What's that? You never read manuals? Not even if we say, "Pretty
please?" Aw, c'mon, just the first two sections of the Tutorial. We
promise they'll be short. Just skip the introduction and read the
section What Does PC-Browse Do? Then load PC-Browse and your favorite
word processor (that's PC-Write, right?), and try the examples in the
next section, Finding, Viewing, and Pasting Text.

Many of the hints, suggestions, and sample uses described in this
manual have come from people who tested early versions of the product
as we developed it; we're grateful for their suggestions. In fact, we'd
love to hear from you about how you're using PC-Browse; drop us a line
at Quicksoft.

Now, Back to the Tutorial

Remember your first Swiss Army Knife? Remember looking at all those
blades and gizmos, trying to figure out each one? Remember, too, how
quickly it became indispensable?

Sure, there were better knives if you needed to do some serious
cutting, and real screwdrivers for assembling your bookshelves. But all
of your "real" tools were bulky. There was the Swiss Army Knife, always
ready to work for you when you needed to tighten a screw, or cut a
loose thread. Likewise, PC-Browse is a tool you can always keep on your
computer, to help when you need it to look at or find a file, or get a

PC-Browse is both a familiar and a completely new type of product.

You've already used many of its functions. Pop-up programs (or TSRs)
have been around for years. There are a number of find-text-on-my-disk
utilities. You can use any word processor to view text files and
extract portions of them for further use; even hypertext, or cross-
referenced on-screen information, is used for on-line help in a few
products. In some ways, there's little new in PC-Browse.

What is new is that PC-Browse combines these concepts, with a few more,
into a handy Swiss Army Knife utility. As with any product, there are
two steps to learning it: first, figuring out what it does and second,
discovering how to do it. In this tutorial, you'll learn the "what" and
the "how."

This tutorial is divided into the following topics:

* What Does PC-Browse Do?
An overview of the capabilities of your new Swiss Army Knife.
- 9 -
* Finding, Viewing, and Pasting Text.
How to use PC-Browse with the text files already on your disk.

* Using PC-Browse Applications.
A view of more interesting application files, along with an
introduction to cross-referenced material (hypertext).

* Developing Your Own PC-Browse Applications.
How to develop PC-Browse applications for your own use or for
distribution to other folks.

What Does PC-Browse Do?

In this tutorial, we'll look at some problems you could solve with

1. How can I find the memo on restructuring I wrote 6 months ago?
Pop-up PC-Browse and tell it to search the whole disk for, say,
"restruct." It will quickly find each file containing the search
text, and show you that text in context! A single keystroke moves
from one reference to the next. You can even use multiple windows
to keep track of different references.

2. What's Mr. Walton's address?
If you're typing a letter to him, put the cursor on his name and
pop up PC-Browse to jump to his page in your address file.
PC-Browse can even paste the address right into your letter.

3. What's the area code for El Paso?
Simply pop-up PC-Browse's area code application and ask it to find
El Paso.

4. Is it correct to say, "What's the affect of this decision?"
With our sample misused-words application, just put the cursor on
"affect" and press the hot key. You'll see how to use "affect" and
"effect" correctly.

5. What do we charge for part #73241?
Pop up PC-Browse with your parts list, type in the part number,
and you can look it up in a flash! It takes only a few seconds to
look up any of thousands of parts.

6. How do I add online help to an application or product designed
without it?
You can create a PC-Browse file with an index of help topics on
the first page. A user needing help just pops up PC-Browse, uses
the arrow or tab keys to select a topic, and jumps right to it.

- 10 -
7. Could I do that with an online procedures manual?
Of course. You can use PC-Browse's cross-referencing feature
(hypertext) to let users explore company procedures and decision-
making policies in as much detail as necessary.

We'll answer all seven of these questions in greater detail at the end
of the tutorial.

Finding, Viewing, and Pasting Text

We suggest that you read this section at your computer, with PC-Browse
and a word processing program loaded. It takes only a few minutes to
copy PC-Browse to a disk and try out the dozen or so main commands.

Loading PC-Browse:

1. If you haven't installed PC-Browse on your computer, just copy the
following files from your PC-Browse Program diskette to a work disk
(if you have a hard disk, put them in a new subdirectory such as


2. Load PC-Browse from the DOS prompt by typing:


If you have a full-color monitor, instead type:


You'll see the copyright screen, and then the DOS prompt.

3. Now load your favorite word processor, and create a "scratch" file
for editing.

This file is only for practice, as you explore ways in which PC-Browse
and other applications can communicate. With a hard disk, start your
word processor from the PC-Browse subdirectory if possible (or else
give the PC-Browse subdirectory path whenever you enter PC-Browse file
names during the tutorial).

Like most pop-up programs, PC-Browse works only with text-based
programs such as PC-Write, Word Perfect, WordStar, Microsoft Word in
text mode, etc. PC-Browse won't pop up over Microsoft Word in graphics
mode, other graphic programs, or Windows.

- 11 -
Popping Up PC-Browse:

You should be in your word processor, editing a practice file.

1. Hold down the Shift and Ctrl keys, and press the F1 key.

We'll refer to this process as "Press Shf Ctl F1". This is the main
hot key that pops-up PC-Browse "over" whatever program you're using.
PC-Browse covers the top part of your screen. (If you need to change
this hot key because another of your programs uses Shf Ctl F1, see
the Customizing section.) The initial screen is:

| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
+Esc:Exit F1:Help F6:File F9:Find----------------------------------+

2. To return to your application, simply press the Esc key.

Your word processor's screen is restored. Now press Shf Ctl F1 again
to pop PC-Browse back up.

The basic operation in PC-Browse is file viewing. You can view one file
while you're working in another. Even with a multiple-window word
processor such as PC-Write or Microsoft Word, it's easier to keep a
file you're referring to in PC-Browse and pop it up when you need it.
If you're in Lotus 123 and need to review the memo that describes your
spreadsheet, PC-Browse may be the only way to go.

Viewing a File with PC-Browse:

1. Press F6 to select a file.

2. Type the file name "ADDRESS" and press the Enter key.

PC-Browse quickly loads the file and displays the first page.

3. Browse through the file by pressing the PgDn or PgUp keys.

These keys scroll the file one line at a time, within a page. To
scroll faster, a whole window at a time and across pages, press
Shf PgDn or Shf PgUp. If you reach the start or end of the file,
PC-Browse beeps. Little triangles just above the lower right corner
point up or down to show you which direction you can scroll.
- 12 -
4. Look at the major PC-Browse functions on the menu at the bottom of
the window:

| |
+Esc:Exit F1:Help F4:Backtrack F6:File F7:Paste F9:Find F10:First-page+

5. Press and hold the Shift key by itself to view another group of

| |
+Esc:Unload F4:View-locations F7:Print ----------PgUp/Dn:more+

Now you've seen both of the PC-Browse menus. This will be easy.
There are a few more function key operations, not on these menus.
You can use PC-Browse with an alternate pair of menus which show all
function keys but with more abbreviated labels (see: Customizing).

6. Release the shift key to see the Main Menu again.

7. Press the F1 key to see on-line help.

You can use PgDn, Shf PgDn, and so on to browse through the help
screens. When you're done, press the Esc key (or the F1 key) to
return to PC-Browse.

Let's search for Spencer Katt's address in this file.

Searching for Text in One File:

1. Press the F9 key to type the Find text. Type:


The Find text is the text you're asking PC-Browse to search for.
We're searching a single file, ADDRESS, as you can see on the top
line of the window.

2. Press the Grey+ key to begin the search.

You don't have to press the Enter key after typing the Find text. If
you do press Enter after typing the Find (or the File) text, either
Grey+ or a second Enter starts the search. The Grey+ key is the
darker + key on the right side of the keyboard.

PC-Browse finds the right address immediately. Of course, this is a
small file, but it can search files quite rapidly, even on a basic
PC or XT. Mr. Katt's address is on the screen, and the word "Katt"
is highlighted.

What if this is not the Katt you're looking for? Press Grey+ or
Enter to continue the search. Since this is the only Katt in the
ADDRESS file, PC-Browse will beep and tell you it couldn't find it.
- 13 -
PC-Browse can interact with your host application in two ways. First,
when you pop it up, the word at the cursor (if any) automatically
becomes the Find text. Second, you can paste selected text directly
into your application, just as if you had typed it yourself.

3. Press Esc to return to your word processor.

4. Enter "Walton" on a line in your practice file. Leave the cursor
just after the "n".

5. Try to remember the address. Scratch your head, since you don't
know it, unless you've done the Tutorial before!

6. Press Shf Ctl F1 to pop-up PC-Browse. The Find text will be the
name "walton".

7. Press Enter or Grey+ to search. PC-Browse finds "Walton" this time.

Let's paste this address into your word-processing practice file.

Pasting Text Into Another Program:

1. Press Esc to return to your word processor, and put the cursor at a
place in the document to insert the address. Press Shf Ctl F1 to
pop-up PC-Browse again.

2. Press the F7 key. The Paste Menu appears:

| |
+Esc:Cancel F4:Start mark F5:Marked text F6:Filename F7:Window F8:Page+

3. Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to move the cursor to the first line
of the address.

4. Press the F4 key to start marking lines for pasting.

5. Use the Down Arrow key to extend the marked (highlighted) area
through the last line of the address.

If you didn't start with the right line, simply move the cursor to
the correct first line and press F4 again to restart the marking

- 14 -
| |
|Jack Walton |
|1139 73rd Place |
|Seattle, WA |
| |
|Victoria I. Warshawski |
|Lake Front Drive |
|Chicago, IL |
| |
| |
+Esc:Cancel F4:Start mark F5:Marked text F6:Filename F7:Window F8:Page+

6. Press the F5 key to tell PC-Browse that you want to paste the marked

PC-Browse asks when you want to paste the text:

| |
+Esc:Cancel paste F9:Paste now F10:Paste when Paste-hotkey pressed----+

Your word-processor's cursor (since it's the host application, this
cursor is not visible) was just after the "n" in "Walton", but you
want to paste it to the line below. Press F10 to tell PC-Browse you
will press the Shf Ctl F7 key to paste these lines into your
application. (You could press F9 to paste them after "Walton", and
put it on the next line with your word processor.) Pressing F10 (or
F9) returns to your word processor.

7. Move to the next line in your word processing file, make sure you're
in "push" or "insert" mode, and press the Shf Ctl F7 hot key. The
address is pasted into your file.

You can also print text if your printer is hooked up (Shf F7 on the
Main Menu), or print text to a file (Shf F6 to set the file name,
then Shf F7). See Printing and Pasting in the Reference section for
more information.

We knew where to look for Mr. Walton's address. What if we don't know
what file it's in?

Searching for Text in Many Files:

1. Press Shf Ctl F1 to pop-up PC-Browse again.

This time, we'll search the entire directory (or diskette) for
references to "walton".

2. Press F6 to type a file name. Type *.* and press Enter.

The "*.*" says to search all files in the current directory. These
are the same wild card characters you use with DOS. You could type
- 15 -
"?." for all one-character file names or "*.doc" for files with .DOC
extensions. Since we haven't specified a particular file and haven't
told PC-Browse to search yet, no file is loaded into the PC-Browse

3. Press F9 to type the Find text. Type "walton" and press Grey+ to
begin the search.

This multi-file search can present the results to you in two ways:
showing you each file in turn, or showing you a list of files by
name. Now PC-Browse asks which you would like, with the following

| |
+Esc:Cancel F9:View each match as found F10:Collect matches and list--+

4. Press F9 to see each file containing "walton".

PC-Browse quickly loads and scans each file in turn, looking for the
Find text. As it scans a file, it displays the file name at the top
of the window. When it finds your text, it displays the file,
highlighting the text found. If this is not the reference you were
looking for, you could press Enter (or Grey+) again to keep
searching. Don't do this quite yet, however.

Before we move to the next section of the Tutorial, we'll describe two
other features related to finding text, with suggestions for exploring
these features on your own.

Exploring on Your Own:

First, suppose you're not sure this is the "walton" you're looking for.
You could search for another with the Grey+ or Enter key, but how would
you get back to this one if you wanted to? PC-Browse offers two ways to
do this. The first method is to open another PC-Browse window. The
second method uses the automatic location list.

1. Press F2 to Open another window.

There's room on your screen for two windows (you can set this; see
Customizing). PC-Browse copies the current window to the bottom half
of the screen, and all activity now occurs in this lower window. The
upper window is "frozen" for now.

2. Press Enter (or Grey+) to search again in the new window.

PC-Browse first saves your place (location) in a list. In a few
seconds you'll find another reference to "walton". Let's return to
the first "walton" you found.

- 16 -
3. Press F4 to return to the previous location.

Even if that reference was in a different file, PC-Browse quickly
switches back to the first one. It saves your "trail" back to where
you started, if it can. When the list gets too long (about ten
levels by default) it only saves the most recent locations.

4. Return to the upper window by pressing Shf F2.

This closes the lower window. The original text returns to the lower
part of the screen.

What if you want to search your entire hard disk for "walton"?

5. Press F6, type "\*\*.*", and press Enter.

The "\*\" represents all directories on the disk. We've extended the
DOS asterisk convention a bit. Just as "\brs\*.*" tells PC-Browse to
search all files in the BRS directory, "\*\*.*" tells PC-Browse to
search all files in all directories.

Press Enter again to start the search. You can also press Grey+
right after typing the File text to start searching immediately.
Since the PC-Browse directory, if you created one, is one of the
last directories, it may take a while to reach the ADDRESS file.

PC-Browse asks you to press F9 to see each file containing the
search text, or F10 to see a list of all such files. If you have
more than one disk drive, you can also search multiple drives. For
example, "ce:\*\*.*" searches both drives C and E.

Using PC-Browse Applications

PC-Browse comes with a number of sample applications. Some are useful
on their own; others simply help you explore the various tools of the
PC-Browse Swiss Army Knife.

We'll start with two "real" applications that you may find useful. Then
we'll use some of the "demonstration" files to explore more features,
such as hypertext. Finally, we'll look more closely at these files so
you can learn how to design your own applications.

1. If you haven't already loaded PC-Browse and then your word
processor, please do so. Make sure you have a practice file loaded
in your word processor.

2. Pop-up PC-Browse by pressing Shf Ctl F1.

3. Press F6, type the file name AREACODE, then press Enter.

4. Press Ctl PgDn and Ctl PgUp to browse through the file page by page.
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Each page has an area code, the state and time zone for that area
code, and a list of the major cities in that area. Since this file
(like most PC-Browse oriented files) is divided into pages, you can
look through it quickly with Ctl PgDn. In this file each page is
shorter than the window, but that's not always the case. (You can
look at a longer page with the scrolling keys PgUp and PgDn, but
they don't skip across pages like the Ctl PgUp and Ctl PgDn keys.)

What's the area code for El Paso? We need to find El Paso in the

Finding an Area Code for a City:

1. Press F9 and then type "El Paso".

Previously, we used Grey+ to start a search. However, it searches
from your current position in the file to the end. Since you may be
in the middle of this file, we need to search from the top.

2. Press F10 or Shf Grey+ from the Find prompt to search from the start
of the file.

PC-Browse finds El Paso and highlights it. Since the 915 area code
covers two time zones, El Paso is noted specifically as being on
Mountain Time.

+File:areacode---------------------Find:El Paso-----------------------+
|915 |
|Texas (CST/MST) |
|Abilene (CST), El Paso (MST), Midland (CST), Odessa (CST) |
|San Angelo (CST), Sweetwater (CST) |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
+Esc:Exit F1:Help F4:Backtrack F6:File F7:Paste F9:Find F10:First-page+

Let's try a harder city to spell, such as Hamtramck (near Detroit).
Luckily, we don't have to spell the whole word.

3. Press F9, type "hamt", then press F10 to search from the beginning.

PC-Browse finds whatever text you type; you're not limited to whole
words. You can also use PC-Browse wild cards in the Find text, as
described in the Reference section under Using Wild Cards in a

Note that a city in this area code, Warren, has the same name as a
city in another state. The city name is followed by a
cross-reference to this other state, with the state abbreviation in
a different color (depending on your monitor type).
- 18 -
4. Press Tab to highlight the cross-reference (to Ohio).

The Find text changes to the text you highlighted, surrounded by a
pair of "funny characters." These characters indicate a cross-
reference, or hypertext link.

5. The Find text is now "oh" surrounded by PC-Write's bold face
characters (code 2). Press Enter to search for it.

PC-Browse finds the first page in the file with OH as the "page

title." You can now check the area code for Warren, OH rather than
Warren, MI.

Automatic cross-referencing is the heart of the hypertext concept. You
select text that is specially marked, and then at the press of a key
you're whisked off to the material referenced by that text.

In PC-Browse terminology, the "OH" that you tabbed to is called the
trigger keyword, because the code 2 characters trigger a search for
other material. When you pressed Enter, PC-Browse jumped to the target
keyword of that search, the on the Ohio page. This type of
searching is called keyword searching.

6. Press F4 to return to the page you started the cross-reference from.

As you jump around a cross-referenced document or group of
documents, pursuing ideas and connections, you can always work your
way back up the trail you followed.

Checking a Commonly Misused Word:

1. Press F6, type the PC-Browse application file name MISUSED, then
press Enter.

This file contains about 100 often misused words, listed in an index
in the first page. Each word in this list is the trigger to a page
of information about correct and incorrect usage of the word. To get
back to this first page at any time, press F10 (or Shf Grey+).

2. Use Tab and Shf Tab to select words. The Find text reflects each

Since this list is arranged as a table, you can also use the four
Arrow (cursor) keys to move about it. When the trigger words are not
in nicely lined-up rows and columns, only Tab and Shf Tab select

Let's assume you're writing about Swiss Army Knives and "Their Affect
on Software Utilities". Should you use "Effect" instead?

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3. Select (with Tab or Arrows) affect (or effect) and press Enter.

PC-Browse displays a page of information about the use of the words
"affect" and "effect". A little reading, and you discover that the
correct word here is "effect."

You can also conduct a keyword search by typing in a word directly.

4. Press F9, type "alter", and then (instead of pressing Enter) press
F3. This converts the Find text to a trigger keyword and does a
keyword search from the start of the file.

Of course, that's a lot of keys to check one word. Now let's see how to
call PC-Browse directly from your application and check a word with
just one keystroke.

5. Press Esc to return to your word processing practice file.

Assume that you're typing along when you're confronted by the
devastating question of using "it's" or "its" in a sentence. You
could pop up PC-Browse, press F9, type the word, and press F3, or
you could pop up PC-Browse, point to "its" in the index at the start
of the file, and press Enter. But there's an easier way.

6. Type "its" (or "it's") in your word processing practice file. With the
cursor still on or just after the word, press Shf Ctl F3.

PC-Browse pops up and automatically jumps to the page where "its"
and "it's" are discussed. The Shf Ctl F3 hot key is simply a
shortcut to look something up from your word processor or other

More Advanced Applications

From here on, the Tutorial is addressed to users who might want to
create their own PC-Browse files, whether for their own use or for use
by others. If this doesn't describe you, here's a good point to leave
the Tutorial and simply begin using PC-Browse. As you work further with
the program, feel free to turn to the Reference section of the manual
to learn more about the features we've introduced here.

"Hyper-Documents" That Span More Than One File:

1. Load the sample PC-Browse file HAMLET. Use the Tab key to mark the
trigger keyword "To be..." on the first page, and then press Enter
to link to the famous speech.

This file contains a heavily annotated version of the most famous
passage in English-language theatre. Normally when you read
Shakespeare, the footnotes are distracting, pulling your eye to the
bottom of the page and making it hard to concentrate. Most notes
- 20 -
contain only simple definitions of obscure words; notes about the
content refer to essays at the back of the book, so you have to flip
back and forth.

Hypertext solves these problems. HAMLET is simply a neutral example
of some heavily cross-referenced material. It could be a procedures
manual or employee handbook, on-line help specific to a Lotus
payroll application, or a genealogy record.

2. Use Shf PgDn to browse through the speech a bit. When you're done,
use Shf Grey+ or F10 to return to the first page, and then Tab to
the reference "Quarto Text". It will appear in the Find text prompt
surrounded by the trigger delimiters, code 22 and code 20.

The so-called First Quarto is the first published version of
Shakespeare's Hamlet; it's different, to say the least. Note the
word (a file name) in brackets after the reference. This means the
cross-reference is in another file. The Find text doesn't show the
other file name, but PC-Browse keeps track of it.

+File:hamlet-----------------------Find: quarto text -----------------+
|of the play. |
| |
| The text given here of "To be, or not to be" is from the First |
|Folio; the few significant differences from the later Quartos are |
|noted in the cross-references. |
| |
| This famous speech also exists in the First Quarto in a much |
|different form (see Quarto Text [quarto] for comparison.) |
| |
| (Press F4 to return to previous view) |
| |
+Esc:Exit F1:Help F4:Backtrack F6:File F7:Paste F9:Find F10:First-page+

3. Press Enter to find the target of the cross-reference "Quarto Text".

PC-Browse automatically switches files. The file name on the top
line changes.

4. Tab to the "To be..." trigger, then press Enter to view this speech
as it appeared in 1602. Now Tab to the note on "Marry" to the right
of the text.

The "Marry" trigger also cross-references to another file, but here
you can't see the file name. When you build a PC-Browse file, you
decide whether a cross-reference shows the file name or not. Here it
would have been distracting. In fact, we could have made "marry" in
the text itself the trigger, once again hiding the file name.

5. Press Enter to follow the "Marry" cross-reference into the GLOSSARY

- 21 -
6. Press F4 a few times, backtracking along your reference trail and
eventually returning to the HAMLET file.

If you did some exploring already, the location list may have filled
up, so you may not get all the way back. Explore this file on your
own, tracing some of the cross-reference trails between the
different files.

"Hyper-Fast" Searching with Lookup Trigger Keywords:

So far in this Tutorial, we've been looking at normal text searching
and one type of PC-Browse keyword search, linear keyword searching.
Here we'll look at the other type of keyword search, lookup keyword

A lookup search is extremely fast; it can search a two megabyte file in
under 2 seconds on a PC AT. A file designed for lookup searching has
several special requirements: the keywords must be unique, and the
pages in the file must be sorted by keyword. Lookup files are usually
created from a database program. Common uses include parts lists,
customer names, and so on.

1. Load the PC-Browse file SAILBOAT.

We have a customer who ordered part 9047; we need to know how much
it costs.

2. Press F9 and type "9047" as the Find text. Press F2 to do a lookup

PC-Browse places special characters around the Find text to turn it
into a lookup trigger. A lookup search isn't noticeably faster on a
short file such as SAILBOAT. By the time your parts file grows to
100K or so, the speed difference will be obvious.

Cross-references within the file can also trigger a lookup search.
There's one for the part we're looking at, a "Barberhauler Bullet
Block w/Becket." It's actually the special trigger characters, not
the F2 or F3 key, that indicate a lookup search is appropriate. This
parts list is designed for lookup by part number, but it could have
used a part name instead. Your database program can create a lookup
file for each case.

You could also search for a part by pressing F9, typing the part
number, and pressing F3 to do a linear keyword search. This would
not search as quickly, however. You could even press F9, type the
part number, and press Grey+ to just search for the number as normal
text. This is as slow as a linear search, and it would also find the
same number within a phone number or address, not just as a part

- 22 -
As you see, from the user's perspective lookup keyword searching is
almost the same as linear keyword searching. The differences are
internal, within the file. In the next section, we'll examine these

Developing Your Own PC-Browse Applications

In this last section, we'll see how PC-Browse files are created by
examining them "side-by-side" in your word processor and in PC-Browse.

To follow along in this section, you'll need a word processor that can
display the ASCII characters between 1 and 31, often called control
codes. PC-Write is ideal; however, the non-document mode of WordStar
also works, as well as WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, and most other word
processors in their "no-format" modes. You can build PC-Browse files
with any word processor or editor that can produce ASCII text; you
don't have to use control codes. The files we'll examine were built
using these control codes. PC-Browse files that use control codes are
cleaner looking, since the control codes are invisible.

A Simple PC-Browse File: AREACODE

1. If you haven't already loaded PC-Browse and then your word
processor, please do so.

Follow the instructions in the first part of this Tutorial, under
Loading PC-Browse.

2. Load the file AREACODE into your word processor. Pop up PC-Browse
(Shf Ctl F1) and then press F6 to load AREACODE there, too.

Some word processors may keep a file open, preventing other programs
from using it. PC-Browse loads a file in read-only mode, but your
word processor may still have it locked out. In this case, return to
DOS and make copies of the files AREACODE, MISUSED, HAMLET, and
SAILBOAT under alternate names. Now you can look at one copy of the
file in your word processor and another copy in PC-Browse.

3. Press Esc from PC-Browse to return to your word processor. Note the
form feeds separating each PC-Browse page, shown as a pair of
characters, code 12 and 15, or "^L".

Information in a PC-Browse file should be divided into "bite-sized"
nuggets for easy digestion by users. PC-Browse can handle pages of
any size, but 5 to 20 lines, or one window full, is a good size for
most application pages. Consider breaking up longer material into
two or more pages, connected with hypertext links.

4. In your word processor, go to the first line of the file and scroll
horizontally to the end (In PC-Write, press End. In WordStar, press
Ctrl-Q D.) Note the material in brackets that begins [BR=.
- 23 -
The text in brackets defines the file characteristics for PC-Browse.
It looks for [BR= when it loads a file, in the first 160 characters
of the first line. We place it out beyond character 80 in our files
so that it doesn't show up on the screen and confuse users. The /I,
/J, and /K parameters define the characters that delimit trigger and
target keywords in this file.

The /I part gives the first and last character of a target keyword.
The target keyword is the text sought during a keyword search
(either a linear search or a lookup search). The /I:60.62 says a
target keyword is any text that begins with character 60 ( < ) and
ends with character 62 ( > ). These characters are called
Delimiters. Note the "" on the second line of the file; since
it's surrounded by angle brackets, "NJ" is a target in this file.
The target delimiters can be different in each application; that's
why there can be a [BR= line in each application file.

The /J part gives the delimiters for a linear search-trigger
keyword. Here, /J:2.2 says that a linear trigger is any text with a
character 2 on both sides of it. (In PC-Write, this appears as the
bold face font; in WordStar, as "^B".) On the fifth line of the
file, note the two cross-references, "DE" and "OH", surrounded by
these symbols. PC-Browse does not display characters whose ASCII
value is less than 32. Therefore they make ideal characters to use
for delimiting keywords, since they don't interfere with the text.

The /K part would give the delimiter for a lookup search-trigger
keyword. Here, /K is undefined, since this file isn't designed for
lookup searching.

The various keyword delimiters highlight their keyword on screen.
Characters less than 32 that aren't used as delimiters also
highlight text on the screen, making them valuable for emphasizing
words. You can control both kinds of highlighting (see Customizing).
You'll see an example of this when we look at MISUSED.

5. Pop up PC-Browse to see how this file appears in a PC-Browse window.

Skip back and forth through the file in PC-Browse and in your word
processor to see how it looks in PC-Browse and what's really in the

PC-Browse Index Page: MISUSED

1. Load the file MISUSED into your word processor. Pop up PC-Browse and
load MISUSED there, too. In your word processor, find [BR= on the
first line of the file.

The target and trigger keyword delimiters are different here from
those used in AREACODE. Also, neither the target nor the trigger
delimiters for this file are visible in PC-Browse, because both are
less than 32.
- 24 -
2. Scroll your word processor file down about 20 lines until you come
to the page titled "ACCEPT versus EXCEPT". Pop up PC-Browse and
press Ctl PgDn from the first page to find this page, too; then
press Esc to return to the word processor.

This page has target keyword delimiters around ACCEPT and EXCEPT at
the top as well as general-emphasis "font" characters around the
words as used in a sentence. The in-sentence words are neither
triggers nor targets; they are just emphasized with the PC-Write
bold font, character 2. Some monitors show this emphasis
highlighting better than others; pop up PC-Browse briefly to see how
it appears on yours.

Don't be confused by the fact that we used character 2 as a trigger
keyword delimiter in the file AREACODE. Each PC-Browse file can have
the same delimiters, or every file can use different ones. You can
develop a style and stick to it for your applications; we've mixed
and matched in ours for demonstration purposes.

3. Return to the start of the file in both PC-Browse and your word
processor. In PC-Browse, all of the columns line up; in PC-Write and
some other word processors, they also line up.

The trigger keywords must line up in columns to be selected in
PC-Browse with the up and down Arrow keys as well as the Tab key. If
there is an index page, it is normally the first page of the file, but
a row-and-column index works on any page.

Cross-References to Other Files: HAMLET

1. Load HAMLET into your word processor. Pop up PC-Browse and load
HAMLET there, too. In your word processor, find the [BR= in the
first line.

This file uses visible delimiters for target keywords (characters 60
and 62, the angle brackets) and hidden delimiters for the linear
trigger keywords (characters 22 and 20).

2. In your word processor, look at the third paragraph. Note that the
trigger keyword "Quarto Text" is followed by a word in brackets.

The word in brackets is the name of the file that will be loaded and
searched when the user Tabs to this trigger and presses Enter to
follow the link.

This cross-reference file name in brackets is visible in PC-Browse.
Pop up PC-Browse to confirm this. A bracketed file name must follow
the trigger immediately (one space between them is allowed, to keep
the screen from looking cluttered).

- 25 -
3. In your word processor, scroll down about 30 lines to the middle of
the soliloquy. Find the trigger keyword "Rub" followed by a word in

This is also the name of the file to load when the user Tabs to this
trigger and presses Enter. Because the file name starts with a
question mark, it is invisible in PC-Browse. Pop up PC-Browse to
confirm this.

4. The triggers in parentheses to the right of the soliloquy may not
line up in your word processor. Pop up PC-Browse briefly and press
Shf PgDn to reach this part of the file; confirm that they are
aligned in PC-Browse.

PC-Write font characters (values 0 to 31) are not displayed in
PC-Browse; therefore, they're ignored in counting column positions
for alignment. The line with the "Rub" note also has a trigger in
the text of the soliloquy. Therefore the "Rub" note may appear to
the right of the "Coil" note a few lines below in your word
processor, since there are no other triggers on the "Coil" line.

Lookup-Search Files: SAILBOAT

1. Load the file SAILBOAT into your word processor. Pop up PC-Browse
and load SAILBOAT there, too. In your word processor, find the
"[BR=" text.

This file uses a visible start-delimiter for targets (character 35,
#) and hidden delimiters for the lookup triggers (characters 22 and
20). This time there is no linear search-trigger, only a lookup

The end-delimiter for target keywords in this file, character 8, has
a special meaning to PC-Browse. It indicates that a target keyword
is ended by any character that is not a letter or a number. So in
this file any space, end-of-line, or other non-letter-or-number
after the word or number marks the end of the target. In this file,
the ending delimiter is usually the end-of-line.

Here, too, character 2 is used for emphasis on part names and

2. Look at the second page of this file (part #1012, the shroud pin).

In a lookup file, each page must contain exactly one target (1012 on
this page). It can contain any other information you wish. The
targets must also appear in ASCII-sort order (basically
alphabetical, with numbers sorting ahead of letters). It is this
ordering that makes lookup searching so fast even on huge files.

- 26 -

That's your guided tour of PC-Browse features. There are a number of
features we haven't covered, such as more Hot Key shortcuts, search
wild cards, printing information, and the many customization options.

We started this Tutorial by asking a series of seven questions in the
section "What does PC-Browse Do". Now we'll give the specific answers:

1. How can I find the memo on restructuring I wrote 6 months ago?

Pop up PC-Browse, press F6, type "\*\*.*", and press Enter. Then
press F9, type "restruc", and press Grey+ then F9. If it's on your
disk, PC-Browse will find it.

2. What's Mr. Walton's address?

Put the cursor on "Walton" in your word processor. Pop-up PC-Browse,
press F6, and load the ADDRESS file. Press Enter or Grey+ to find
the address. To paste in the address, press F7, move to the first
line of the address, press F4, move to the last line, press F5, and
then press F9.

3. What's the area code for El Paso?

Pop up PC-Browse and press F6 to load the AREACODE application. Then
press F9, type "El Paso", and press Grey+.

4. Is it correct to say, "What's the affect of this decision?"

Put the cursor on "affect", pop up PC-Browse, press F6, and load the
application MISUSED; then press F9, then F3. Read the text of the
page PC-Browse displays.

5. What do we charge for part #9054?

Load the SAILBOAT file, press F9, type "9054", and press F2 to do a
lookup search for the part number.

6. How do I add online help to an application or product designed
without it?

Cannibalize a copy of the MISUSED application. Build a table of
contents of all the terms you think users might look under; set them
up as keyword triggers to help-text pages, as they are in MISUSED.
Even if a specific term isn't in the table, users can search for it
by typing it at the Find prompt and pressing Enter. You could even
build a series of sub-indexes; certain terms in the table of
contents could link to another table with additional choices.

- 27 -
7. Could I do that with an online procedures manual or decision tree?

Adapt the sample DECISION file, "What To Do on the Weekend". This is
a computerized decision tree for deciding what to do on a weekend in

8. Explore PC-Browse on your own. Modify our sample files to see how
they work. Experiment.

What do you mean, there wasn't a Question 8? Life always gives you a
Question 8 -- "Where do I go from here?"

- 28 -

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