Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 1 / FALL 1979 / PAGE 14



Palo Alto, CA

I have used every text editor or word processor for the PET that I could get ahold of. This word processor is by far the best. And Commodore will soon release an even more advanced word processor with more added features. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of the preliminary version. I have used it for one month now, and I use it heavily, for word processing is my major use of my PET.

The Commodore Word Processor can be used with the PET or CBM models 2001-16 and -32, N or B version microcomputers, equipped with a Commodore model 2040 Dual Drive Floppy Disk and Commodore model 2022 or 2023 Matrix Printer. A separate version is also included for use with any ASCII printing device, such as a NEC Spinwriter.

The Commodore Word Processor is character oriented with direct cursor editing. It is extremely easy to use. I will try to cover its many features and commands in an overview.

The top two lines of the screen are reserved for STATUS indicators. These two lines indicate your cursor location by line and column numbers as well as other important information. The other 23 lines continually display the text you are working on. It can be scrolled both up and down using the CURSOR UP or CURSOR DOWN keys, and at an amazingly quick speed too. This scrolling speed can be increased to the point of a blur by hitting the CONTROL key before using the CURSOR UP or DOWN.

SHIFTING. All alphabetics are lower case, shift for upper case. The SHIFT LOCK key on the PET works as usual, shifting all the keys. In addition, the backslash key has been disabled and now functions as an ALL CAPS LOCK. This is different from the SHIFT LOCK in that it only shifts the 26 alphabetic keys. The numbers, for example, still come out numbers and are not shifted.

CONTROL KEY. The REV/OFF key has been deactivated and is now used as a CONTROL key. This allows commands to be issued such as CONTROL s to set a tab.

TEXT FILES. To either LOAD or SAVE a section of text press SHIFT and HOME/CLR. First you give the file name. When loading a file, you need not spell out the complete name but can take advantage of the 2040 disk's pattern matching routines. Next you specify whether to LOAD or SAVE that file (simply hit "S" or "L"). If you specify LOAD, you do not have to indicate from which drive, it searches both drives for the file. Of course for a SAVE you must specify which drive number. If you try to SAVE a file with a name that already exists on that drive, the program asks you if you wish to OVERWRITE the existing file or not. If you wish to overwrite it, simply hit "Y" for yes. This is handy for updating your files.

REPEAT. All non-letter keys are equipped with automatic fast REPEAT except the CONTROL key. It takes about 1 second to get from one side of the screen to the other with a repeating cursor key. Repeat is also very handy for use with the Delete and Insert keys.

TAB. You may tab over to the next set tab location by hitting SHIFT "arrow across" key. To set or clear a tab, place the cursor in the correct column and hit CONTROL "S" (to set) or CONTROL "C" (to clear). To clear all tabs hit CONTROL "K". Set tab positions are continually indicated by half boxes on the second status line over each column with a set tab. This is very convenient.

HOME. Hitting the HOME key takes you to the start of the text presently on your screen. Hitting it once more takes you to the very start of all text presently in memory, or column 1, line 1.

DELETE. Pressing the DELETE key will delete the character immediately preceding the present cursor position. Holding the key deletes entire strings. To delete an entire line at a time simply put the cursor at the start of the line and hit the CONTROL key then the DELETE key for each line to be deleted. To delete the remainder of a line simply hit RETURN. All text below a deleted section is moved up as necessary.

INSERT. The INSERT key functions as usual and repeats if held down. It pushes the entire paragraph over one space to the right beginning at the cursor position. If the paragraph runs out of expansion room all text beneath it is moved down one line. You may also enter INSERT MODE by pressing SHIFT and CONTROL. While in insert mode you may type in what you wish to insert and the text is moved as mentioned above to make room for each character as you enter them. The delete key still functions as usual. Press SHIFT and CONTROL again to return back to normal mode.

RETURN. The return key is graphically illustrated on the screen as a left ARROW ACROSS character. This character is not printed when formatted onto a page. The RETURN key deletes the remainder of the line you are on and puts the cursor on the first position of the next line. It is normally used only when you wish the printer to begin a new line, usually at the end of a paragraph or title. You do not hit RETURN after every sentence. This makes typing a paragraph much easier.

CENTER. Type a SHIFT COLON ":" (graphically illustrated as a check mark) at the beginning of any line you wish to be centered on the printed page. End the line with a RETURN. The formatter will automatically center the line within the margins when printed. You can center each line of a whole paragraph by preceding it with a SHIFT COLON and ending it with a RETURN.

SEARCH. The Editor will search through all text for any character, word, or phrase. Simply put the string you wish to search for on the first line. Then hit CONTROL ‘f’. The editor will place the cursor immediately after the first occurance of the search string. CONTROL ‘f’ will take you to the next occurance, etc. till the end of text.

COPY. Similar to the SEARCH function, the Editor can COPY the word or phrase that is on the first line anywhere you place the cursor and type CONTROL ‘*’. This saves the time of typing the same phrase or company name over many times.

ERASE. One can erase all the text by typing CONTROL ‘e’ followed by ‘a’ (for all). Typing CONTROL ‘e’ followed by ‘r’ erases all text after the cursor position.

MERGE. Text from a file on disk can easily be merged into the file you are presently working on. Simply place your cursor on the line where you wish to merge the new text. Then LOAD the new text.

MOVE. Whole sections of text can be moved from one place to another. This is helpful if you wish to rearrange your paragraph order.

HYPHENATION. Semi-automatic hyphenation is available. You just place a special hyphen symbol (shifted ‘@,’ graphically displayed as a ‘-’) where you would like the word hyphenated if need be. When printed the word will be hyphenated at that point if necessary, otherwise the hyphen will be ignored.

FORMATTING FUNCTIONS. When your text is formatted onto the printed page you have many print features to control. Line spacing is variable, single, double, or other. Margin release and indentation is handy to use. You can set both Right and Left margins. The nicest feature is the justification feature. You can have your printed copy justified both left and right.

APPEND. Since there are two distinct and separate text areas, you many compose lines or paragraphs in the alternate text area and number them. Later while writing your text you can call any of your previously defined lines by number. Thus you can have a disk of numbered paragraphs which you load into the alternate text area. These then can be called into your main text as you need them, in any order.

VARIABLE DATA BLOCKS. Here is a feature I was pleased with. You can have variables in your text. This is ideal for form letters. First compose the letter, leaving blank the name & address, and other variable info, such as amount of money owed, etc. Then in your alternate text area enter the name, address & other info needed, in the correct order as used in your main text. You can enter this info for more than just the first one. When done with the data for the first, simply begin the sequence again for the second, then the third, etc.

The variable data in your main text can be filled manually, semi-automatically, or automatically. Also, there is a special printing option which will print your main text and fill in the variable data as it goes. It will type one right after the other (hopefully you put in some page commands at the end of the letter).

TYPING OPTIONS. You can do more than just type one copy of your main text. You can type up to 255 copies of the text. And as mentioned above you can have variable blocks filled as the printer types.

DISK COMMANDS. Most commonly used disk commands are available while using the Commodore Editor. They are simplified too. To Initialize a diskette in dirve 1 simply type CONTROL ‘*’ to get into disk control mode. Then type ‘il’. That is all there is to it.

END NOTES. I am sure you will be hearing a lot about this Word Processor from Commodore. And remember, I have described the first version. Another version is in the works that makes this one look primitive. I will be telling you about that one as soon as I see it. If you are looking for a good word processor and you have a NEW PET and DISK and PRINTER then I highly recommend this particular one.