Contents of the README.1ST file
SOUP UP QEDIT 2.03
by Gene Catalano (June 1988)
This article, and QEXTRA.ARC (from which this article comes), is a Public
Domain contribution...hence no money or other recompense is requested by
the author of QEXTRA.ARC. I only ask that the author's name be neither
altered nor deleted...that the contents in any file of QEXTRA.ARC be shared
with others in unaltered form and in their entirety...and that, whenever
possible, QEXTRA.ARC be disseminated/shared in its entirety (14 files). All
files were written/created by the author of this article you are now
The author is known to enjoy letters of response, feedback, (constructive)
criticism, and computer topics in general. You can reach him through any
of the following (San-Francisco-based) bulletin board services, via your
KAY*FOG 285-2687 300/1200 N-8-1
SFPCUG 621-2609 300/1200/2400 N-8-1
BAYTALK (for disabled people) 864-6430 300/1200 N-8-1
(KAY*FOG is one of the best BBSs, and is dedicated to novice
(SFPCUG is the "San Francisco Personal Computer Users Group," with a great
collection of conferences.)
(BAYTALK is dedicated to serving disabled people, but anyone is certainly
welcome to drop me a message there. I instruct and assit disabled people
with computers, among other things.)
INTRODUCTION: WHETHER OR NOT YOU USE QEDIT
Whether you use QEDIT or not, this article explains the difference between
ASCII editors and word processors, and discusses the importance of ASCII
This article is actually a part of a comprehensive collection of files, all
to be found in an uploaded package of QEDIT enhancement utilities called
QEXTRA.ARC...and teaches you how to incorporate printer codes,
word-processing format features, and extended ASCII codes (including
graphics capabilities) into QEDIT. If you use QEDIT you may find some
valuable utilities in QEXTRA.ARC, to meet some of your needs that QEDIT
doesn't originally provide. But if you don't use QEDIT, the articles
included in QEXTRA.ARC will teach you important aspects of using word
processors and text editors, and how to have more power over your printer's
capabilities...applicable to most word processors and text editors.
QEDIT was designed to be a powerful ASCII editor, which it is. It is not a
word processor...at least, not until I got my hands on it and "revved" it
WHAT'S AN "ASCII EDITOR"?
What's the diff between an ASCII editor and a word processor?
An ASCII editor (also called a "text," "DOS" or "non-document mode" editor)
does not use extended ASCII and printer [ESCAPE] codes, which are used by a
word processor to create advanced features such as bold, italic, elite,
underscore, and super/subscript printing effects; and fancy formatting such
as automatic paragraph reformat, pagination, hyphenation, footers, headers,
With all these strikes against it, why would anyone use an ASCII editor?
Well, its strength is in the lack of those very things a word processor
For one thing, an ASCII editor is a more expedient environment to type
programming languages, such as EDLIN (for batch files), BASIC, FORTRAN,
PASCAL, etc. If QEDIT used extended ASCII and printer codes, it could not
be used by these programs...for each program interprets these "high level"
codes differently from another program. An ASCII editor types straight,
"vanilla" text...nothing fancy about it. Typing a program (no matter what
"language") with an ASCII editor is often preferred, for the program's own
editing environment is usually a lot more cumbersome to use. (This is
changing with the latest version of language programs like "Turbo BASIC"
and "Quick C," which incorporate advanced editors that mimic features of a
good text editor.)
For this same reason, a file typed by an ASCII editor can be read and
edited by any word processor (absolutely any). Haven't you ever wondered
why one word processor's text is not compatible with another word
processor? That's because they use different high-level codes for the same
features...which codes must be "stripped" by an intermediate program
designed for this purpose, for a file created by one word processor to be
used by another word processor.
Likewise, only text written by an ASCII editor can be telecommunicated from
one computer to another. That's because the "fancy" code used by word
processors is not "standardized," hence the receiving system cannot
translate it...garble or, worse yet, a disconnection or system crash
When "code-stripping" is inappropriate, one must "archive" files to be
transmitted. "Archiving," a technique by which a file or group of files is
compressed into a single file of much smaller size than the original
file(s), not only saves transmission time (due to the greatly reduced
size), but wraps it in a "shell" by which "high level" codes are safely
cloaked from exposure to the telecommunication process. The person at the
receiving end, however, must have an "unarchiving" program compatible with
the one used to "archive" the files, in order to restore their original
(hence workable) form. The best package of archiving utilities I have come
across is PKARC, which includes PKARC (for archiving), PKXARC (for
unarchiving), among other features.
WHY I WENT TO ALL THIS TROUBLE
Among the overpopulated family of ASCII editors, QEDIT is the best (in my
book). It is such a powerful ASCII editor, that even top-line word
processors have yet to match many of the features it does have. For
example, all of QEDIT's commands respond with split-second timing. It has
multi-file loading and multi-window capabilities, user-configurability of
all its keystroke commands, user-configurable "help" menu, and optional
So I'm hooked, and prefer to use QEDIT whenever possible, even over
WORDSTAR and WORDPERFECT. Why not try, I thought, to "soup up" QEDIT to
also use most print functions and as many fancy formatting features as
possible, in order to further reduce my need to switch to a word processor?
So, after several weeks of tinkering with QEDIT's flexible environment via
it's keystroke configurability, macro features, and "literal" command, I
managed to turn QEDIT 2.03 into a full-blown word processor! (Its
"literal" command provides a door by which I can access all the printer
codes that my printer is capable of.)
In the process, I learned new things about computers, printers, and
programs...especially printers...so now I don't feel so frustrated anymore.
Hopefully, QEXTRA.ARC will do the same for you.
Granted, some of my word processing enhancements mimic the earliest word
processors, in that it's not a completely "WYSIWYG" ("what you see is what
you get") environment. For example, justifying my text is strictly a
printer command, and will not justify the text on screen. But this is the
case with only a few commands...and even the most advanced word processors
have yet to show italics, proportional spacing, elite, bold, and numerous
other features on screen, that appear during print-out. (WORD PERFECT and
other advanced word processors "highlight" or use color coding to represent
these print features...or do nothing at all.)
Also granted, I can never get QEDIT to automatically hyphenate words,
instantly generate footers, headers, global pagination, footnotes, and
indexing...which I only need ten percent of the time anyway. Therefore, by
incorporating all of the commonly-used word processing features into QEDIT,
I now use it for ninety percent of my word processing needs!
Another reason why I have such a vested interest in souping up QEDIT is not
personal, but to serve the needs of some of my handicapped clients, who
have very limited or no use of their hands. Since they must use a stick
between their teeth to strike a key (or use a "sip-and-puff" device), a
word processor that provides a pop-up menu for all its commands is very
attractive indeed...as it frees them from the terribly frustrating
experience of multiple-keystroke commands (sometimes as many as 4), so
necessary to utilize the myriad features provided by sophisticated word
QEDIT has such a pop-up menu. Therefore, by "enhancing" QEDIT with word
processing features that meet most everyone's needs ninety percent of the
time, I have created an ideal word processing environment for these
clients. None of my "added" commands require more than a 2-key multiple
keystroke...but there is even a way around that, by using a Public Domain
(free!) program called STAYDOWN. It "toggles" the [ALT], [CTRL], and
[SHIFT] keys, so that when one of these is hit (as the first part of a
multiple keystroke command), it "stays down" until the second key is hit.
There are other "ALT-CTRL-SHIFT toggle" programs easily available through
Public Domain and Shareware, but none of the ones I have come across
(except STAYDOWN) automatically "untoggles" after hitting the second key.
Instead, you must hit the ALT, CTRL, or SHIFT key once more, to "untoggle"
it. This created much confusion for my clients, as they often forgot which
keys were toggled, and which weren't. This has nothing to do with their
disability, for even "handed" users are frustrated by having to remember to
manually "untoggle" a key.
This file, README.1ST, is one of 14 files in my package QEXTRA.ARC, and
introduces you to them. These are the files:
README.1ST The file you are now reading
QCONFIG.ART Expedites user configuration of QEDIT 2.03
QFORMAT.ART How to create word-processor "format" features
Q-L-FORM.ART How to create word-processor "legal format" features
QPRINTER.ART How to create printer codes
QASCII.ART How to create extended ASCII code features
ASCII.MAC Ready-to-use macro file for extended ASCII
CLEAR.MAC Dummy macro file to "clear" loaded macro file
FORMAT.MAC Ready-to-use macro file for "format" features
L-FORM.MAC Ready-to-use macro file for "legal formats"
PRINT.MAC Macro file for print codes
TEST.PRN File to test printer compatibility with my printer
SAMPLE.BOX Examples of extended ASCII line-draw features
TEMPLATE Alternative to using macro files, except
FORMAT.MAC and L-FORM.MAC
As you can glean, all files ending with ".ART" are articles, and all files
ending with ".MAC" are QEDIT macro files I created.
The macro files are ready to use, if you want to use the same macro
assignments for which they are configured (ALT-0 through ALT-9 and ALT-Q,
ALT-W, ALT-E, ALT-R, ALT-T, and ALT-Y). One exception: PRINT.MAC...because
your print codes most likely do not match all, or any, of mine. This is
thoroughly discussed in QPRINTER.ART, and simplifies, as much as humanly as
possible, editing the printer macros with your own printer's codes.
Each article describes how to use the macro files, and how to create each
macro key in those files...thereby allowing you to assign different macro
keys than I have, and customize any to suit your preferences.
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