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APE Plus
The Ansible Apricot Emulator


Chapter 1: Introduction

A first look at APE PlusInstallation

Chapter 2: Moving Apricot Files to the IBM Compatible

5 1/4 " disk drives3 1/2 " disk drivesCONFIGURATION (main) menuFILE COPYING menu

Chapter 3: Using the Apricot Emulator

The PROGRAMS menuExample: checking SuperWriter installationInstalling ready-defined programsInstalling other programsRunning Apricot programsLeaving APEPLUS.EXEMore information about APEPLUS.EXERunning PC programs from APEPLUS.EXE

Chapter 4: More CONFIGURATION Menu Options

Overall setupUsing the rest of the CONFIGURATION menuLatest general information on APELatest technical information on APE (Direct link to separate document of technical information: click here.)

Chapter 5: Keyboards, Colours and Fonts

KeyboardsKeyboard editorKeyboard converterScreen colour and serial port editorFont editor: full-featuredFont editor: rearrange character table

Chapter 6: Behind the Scenes: Working from DOS

What are all these files?APE.COM basic emulatorMK.COM or 'Minikey'APECAL calculatorFile copying: APEDRIVE and AICOPYTransferring giant data files: AIBAK and AIRESTConfiguration: CONFIG, KEYEDIT, KB, FONTEDIT, FONTTABLAPEPLUS.EXE: command line 'short cuts'Tips and warnings – read this!

Chapter 7: Additional Utilities

SCOPY.EXE single-drive copierANEW.EXE selective copierTODAI.EXE for date-stampingMSDEV.SYS 'MicroScreen' simulator

Chapter 8: Notes on Particular Programs

Sirius software and SIRIUS.KBSmart Integrated SoftwareSuperCalcSuperPlanner and SPLAN.KBSuperWriter and SW.KBWindows 3.0 and 3.1WordPerfect 4.1/4.2 and WP.KBWordStar and WS.KBSpecial loaders and keyboardsKeyboard templatesAPEFORM: creating Apricot-format disks

Chapter 9: Worked Example of PROGRAMS Setup

Instal APE PlusCopy the needed files to the hard diskConvert the keyboard file, if anyInstal the program in APE PlusPossible problems: drive letter mix-ups and video snags

Extended Copyright Information

Chapter 1: Introduction

APE Plus allows you to use Apricot software on any IBM or IBM-compatible computer. It works by creating an electronic 'environment' in the IBM's memory that is very similar to the Apricot's. When APE Plus is active, most programs written for 'generic' Apricots may be safely used on an IBM, together with the documents or data you created on the Apricot.

As APE Plus performs some complex tasks, it is run from a menu of options. In almost every case, this menu is all you need to use. However, this manual deals with all aspects of the APE Plus package, and it is important to familiarize yourself with what the manual contains. Here is a list of what APE Plus can do, and where in the manual you need to look:

APE Plus Main Menu. This is described in detail in Chapters 2, 3 and 4.

Chapter 2 deals with the first thing you need to know: how to move data, documents and programs from Apricot disks to the IBM (either to IBM-format floppy disks or, more likely, to an IBM hard disk).

Chapter 3 tells you how to set up the programs you have copied across from the Apricot and how to run them on the IBM. Many can be run with settings already worked out for you by Ansible Information. You can easily set up others for yourself: in addition, Chapter 9 features a worked example.

Chapter 4 explains how you can modify the menu to suit yourself, and how you can get to some of the 'extra' utilities described below: , keyboard editor, etc.

Copying Apricot disks to the IBM. See Chapter 2 for full details, and Chapter 6 for more information, or if problems are encountered. (For example, if some Apricot files are too big to fit on a floppy disk.) If you have no hard disk and only one floppy drive on your IBM, Chapter 7 shows how to copy Apricot material.

Using and modifying keyboard settings. The old Apricots let you modify the keyboard, so that programs could be used more simply or speedily. This is too good to lose, so APE Plus lets you convert old Apricot keyboard files to the IBM (Chapter 5, under Keyboard converter). You can also create or alter keyboard files with an editor (Chapter 5, under Keyboard editor). Ansible Information has supplied several ready-made keyboard files for popular programs like SuperWriter and WordPerfect (see Chapter 8), and tucked into this manual you should find some keyboard card templates, for use with APE Plus.

Changing screen appearance. Most Apricots had monochrome monitors; APE Plus brings old programs up to date by letting you specify screen colours. See Chapter 5, under Screen colour and serial port editor.

Changing the screen font. Another Apricot feature was the ability to swap display fonts, and to edit fonts if you wished, modifying existing ones or creating your own. APE Plus includes two font editors. If you have an EGA, VGA or better IBM video system see Chapter 5, under Font editor: full-featured. You can load fonts supplied on our disk, or create your own. If you have CGA, Hercules, etc., APE Plus still lets you rearrange the standard character set. (See Chapter 5, under Font editor: rearrange character table'.)

All these features can be run from the APE Plus Main Menu, and in virtually every case this is the best way of using the emulator and its optional extras. Most of the features may also be run direct from DOS. An informal list of the main programs will be found, with annotations, at the beginning of Chapter 6.

Broadly speaking, APE Plus works in the following way. You switch ON the emulator (by loading our menu), you use your former Apricot software, then you switch OFF the emulator (by exiting from the menu again and returning to DOS).

If you have trouble following the manual, look at Chapter 9. This contains a worked example, describing how a typical Apricot program is moved to an IBM compatible.

A first look at APE Plus

Most programs on the APE Plus disk are in IBM format. Do not attempt to use these on the old 'Apricot generic' computers: PC, Xi, Xen, F Series, etc. (Exceptions are noted later in this manual. All programs may be used on IBM-compatibles manufactured by Apricot PLC, including the confusingly named Xen-i and Xen-s.)

Further information about our programs can be read immediately from APE Plus's 'front end' menu, which is displayed by the program file APEPLUS.EXE. Assuming you have our supplied APE Plus master disk in Drive A and have selected this drive, enter:

A>APEPLUS [Return]

(We use [Return] to indicate the Return key throughout. Enter is equivalent.)

The first thing you will normally see is a screenful of news about the very latest updates. When you have glanced through this, press Esc, then at the following prompt press N, for No. (This 'urgent' information can later be removed entirely by answering Y here.) The next screen, whose top right-hand corner labels it as the CONFIGURATION menu, will soon become very familiar and has 'Set up and run Apricot programs' as its first option. Before rushing on, we suggest that you press 7 or F7. This simply shows you the text from READ.ME.

More details about APEPLUS.EXE menus are given in Chapter 3.


Make a working copy of APE Plus, and keep our supplied disk as a back-up.

Floppy disk machines. Use the whole-disk copier program supplied with your IBM, usually DISKCOPY.COM; or with our master disk in Drive A, and a freshly formatted IBM disk in Drive B, enter:

A>COPY *.* B:/V [Return]

... other disk drive letters may be substituted as necessary.

Hard disk machines. APE Plus contains its own (harmless) installation procedure. Because some people are justifiably nervous of what software will do without warning to their hard disk, here's how APE Plus instals itself. The program simply creates a directory called \APE on your hard disk, then copies all supplied files to it. At the same time, it will create a batch file called APEPLUS.BAT in the root directory of the hard disk, so that you can run all APE Plus operations merely by entering 'APEPLUS [Return]'.

To instal APE Plus, press the Ins key when you see the CONFIGURATION menu as in item 2 above. A message box on the screen reminds you of this. The bottom screen line will then show this message:

Confirm APE Plus source drive A:

This is checking that the floppy disk drive containing the APE Plus master disk is Drive A. If it is detected in Drive B, the message will reflect this. Press [Return] to confirm, or correct if necessary by pressing the 'real' drive letter on the keyboard. (No need to enter the colon.) The bottom line message will now say:

Confirm destination drive C:

This is checking that your hard disk is Drive C. (You can instal to directory \APE on floppy disk B if you have a second diskette drive: press B here.) When you have confirmed or amended this, the bottom line says:

Are these settings OK (y/n)? Yes

Meanwhile, the message box shows a summary of what is about to happen, as described above. If you now press Y or [Return] the installation goes ahead, with changing messages appearing to report what is happening. (If APE Plus came on two 5 1/4 " disks, insert 'Disk 2' when prompted to change disks.) At the end of this process, you will be running APE Plus from your hard drive, and may safely remove the floppy disk.

If you answer that last question with N, the installation is cancelled, and you will continue to access APE Plus from the floppy disk. Alternatively, if you answer it with Y or [Return], and you have removed the disk from the drive, you will be prompted to insert the disk again.

Just two further steps are necessary before you can run 'old' Apricot software on the IBM compatible.

• All the relevant program and data (or document) files need to be copied from the Apricot to the IBM. This is described in Chapter 2.

• The emulator has to be in use on the IBM before Apricot programs can be run. This happens automatically whenever you select a program from the PROGRAMS menu provided. The procedure for setting up and using the menu is fully described Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.

If this manual looks fairly large and intimidating, please be reassured that all the absolute essentials for ordinary use of APE Plus are contained in the sections just mentioned. Later chapters describe more advanced facilities (editing keyboards to your own taste, for example): read these when and if the need arises.

Chapter 2: Moving Apricot Files to the IBM Compatible

Disks used on the 'old' Apricots cannot normally be run on IBM compatibles. If the new machine has the standard 5 1/4 " disk drives, the differences are obvious, but it is just as true on the more recent 3 1/2 " IBM disk drives. Although the Apricot disk will physically go into the IBM drive, trying to use it will produce an error message. (If the former Apricot disk is at some future time reformatted on the IBM compatible then it will become fully usable on the new machine.) APE Plus itself may be used from either 5 1/4 " or 3 1/2 " disks, but nothing can be done with it until your Apricot material has been transferred to the IBM compatible.

Note that APE Plus will work well with modern 3 1/2 " high-density disk drives, as well as standard low-density ones. In addition, it makes it possible for these disk drives to accept Apricot single-sided disks, as well as the more common double-sided disks.

You will want to copy and run your Apricot programs as quickly as possible, but do pause a moment to decide how you plan to organize the IBM hard disk which we assume you're using. The APE Plus material should by now be in a directory called \APE on this disk. Taking SuperWriter as our usual example, the easiest thing to do now is to copy all the Apricot SuperWriter files to \APE as below, instal SuperWriter as in the next chapter, and run it. But ... if you are moving several Apricot programs you might find it tidier to give each its own subdirectory, specifying (say) \SW as the 'COPY TO' destination in what follows. This directory must then be specified when you come to instal SuperWriter itself.

5 1/4 " disk drives

If your IBM compatible uses a 5 1/4 " disk drive only, your Apricot material will have to be copied from one format to the other. There are various ways of doing this:

• By direct copying on a machine which accepts both types of disk, or by a network linking both types of computer: for instance, using a shared hard disk as an intermediate step.

Many IBM compatibles now have both kinds of disk drive fitted as standard. If yours is one of them, transfer is simply a question of using DOS to copy everything across. For example, if your 3 1/2 " drive is Drive A, and the 5 1/4 " drive is Drive B, enter:

A>COPY A:*.* B: /V [Return]

... HOWEVER, before this is done, the 3 1/2 " drive must first be set to Apricot compatibility. The easiest way to do this is to select option 2 from the CONFIGURATION menu, following instructions below. If you have access to a network, and one of the machines has a 3 1/2 " drive, then the procedure is similar.

• By 'RS-232 transfer' along a cable linking the Apricot to the IBM, with communications software. If you have the appropriate cable and software, consult the software manual.

• By getting someone to do it for you. This will be expensive if a lot of stuff has to be moved, but several firms advertise this service in computer magazines. Ansible Information will also provide this service if required. We charge a set fee per IBM disk, listed under 'File transfer' on our order form. When asking for programs to be copied, please send us your original master disks as supplied by the manufacturer or distributor.

3 1/2 " disk drives

APE Plus allows you to use your old Apricot disks in the 3 1/2 " drive of an IBM, without special preparation. The IBM 3 1/2 " disk drive is temporarily modified by our software so that it can read disks formatted on Apricots, allowing you to copy your material direct, either to a standard IBM floppy disk, or (preferably) to a hard disk. Both single- and double-sided Apricot disks may be used.

Windows 95 Warning! In Windows 95 and 98, the 'DOS boxes' (access to DOS via the 'MS-DOS Prompt icon) do not allow the low-level disk access needed for our software to read Apricot disks. If using Windows 95/98, you should go to the Start menu and select first 'Shut down' and then 'Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode' before using APE Plus to copy Apricot disks. Now read on....

Assuming you have installed APE Plus to your hard disk:


... if you are in the APE Plus directory; or:

C:\>APEPLUS [Return]

... from the root directory. This runs APEPLUS.BAT, which loads the main program. The result in either case should be the CONFIGURATION (main) menu, as below:


Ansible Information APE Plus emulator
>  1  Set up and run Apricot programs
   2  Copy from or to Apricot disks
   3  Screen colours and serial port        +----------------------------+
   4  Keyboard table editor                 ¦ Press TAB to change setup  ¦
   5  Convert Apricot keyboard files        ¦       INS for installation ¦
   6  Font table editor                     +----------------------------+
   7  Latest general information on APE
   8  Latest technical information on APE
   9  Exit to DOS
Directory is C:\APE
Select by number, or with cursors and RETURN >1

Data and programs may be copied from Apricot-format disks by selecting option 2 from this menu. You may move the Up and Down cursor keys, and press [Return], or go straight into your choice by pressing either 2 itself or function key F2.

Selecting option 2 causes the following new screen – the FILE COPYING menu – to appear.


Ansible Information APE Plus emulator
>  1  Select files from directory
   2  Copy all specified files
   3  Query before overwriting file?        No
   4  Change COPY FROM details              A:\*.*
   5  Change COPY TO details                C:\APE
   6  Swap TO and FROM
   7  Copy with AICOPY (last resort)        No
   8  Exit to APE programs menu
   9  Exit to APE configuration menu
Select an item 1

Now place an Apricot disk in the appropriate 3 1/2 " floppy drive. It is time to specify which Apricot programs and data are to be copied, and to where. The usual default is to copy from Drive A, with no subdirectories, to the currently used directory on Drive C or another hard disk. To make a selection from this menu (which is described in detail immediately below), move the Up and Down cursor keys and press [Return] ... or press the relevant number, or the same-numbered function key:

1. Select files from directory. This selection will search the disk or drive identified in option 4 as 'COPY FROM' and display a directory of what it finds. This enables you to select particular files you want to copy (rather than to copy everything regardless, which is covered by option 2). Use the cursor keys to move through the directory. Press Space bar to pick out a file for copying. (Press Space again at the same place, if you change your mind.) Press [Return] to copy all the files you have selected. Press Esc or F10 to return you to the above menu without copying.

2. Copy all specified files. All files identified by the 'COPY FROM' description will be transferred to the 'COPY TO' directory.

3. Query before overwriting files? The initial setting is No; you can change it to Yes by selecting 3 or F3. With Yes set here, the program will pause and ask for confirmation whenever it is about to copy a file and finds a similarly named file in the COPY TO directory. To confirm, press [Return], Space or Y. N (No) will skip the file. Press Esc to skip the file and stop copying.

4. Change COPY FROM details. You need this if your 3 1/2 " disk drive is not Drive A. Select 4 and you may edit the 'COPY FROM' text using cursors, Backspace, Del, etc, to change the description. When finished, press [Return]. 'COPY FROM' normally includes the file specification *.* (wildcards may be mixed with other characters; for instance, to copy all the SuperWriter program files you could change this to SW*.*).

5. Change COPY TO details. This option may be needed for three possible reasons:

6. Swap TO and FROM. This reverses the direction of copying. Selecting 4 in the above menu would change 'COPY FROM' to C:\APE\*.* and 'COPY TO' to A:\*.*. Selecting it again would restore the text as in the menu.

7. Copy with AICOPY (last resort). Trouble with copying? You may have a nonstandard 3 1/2 " drive, as on some Zenith computers, or nonstandard DOS, as on some esoteric IBM clones. Our AICOPY utility tackles these awkward cases but does not recognize subdirectories on Apricot floppy disks – hence the 'last resort' warning. The initial setting here is No; change it to Yes if wanted by pressing 7 or F7. With Yes selected, AICOPY will be used for all file copying commanded by options 1 or 2 above.

8. Exit to APE programs menu. Moves to the current PROGRAMS menu: see below.

9. Exit to APE configuration menu. Returns to CONFIGURATION menu: see above.

Chapter 3: Using the Apricot Emulator

The APEPLUS.EXE menu concentrates most of APE Plus's features into a few easily used menus. It can be used not only to 'set up' APE Plus, but also to run your Apricot software with minimum bother.

To use the Apricot emulator, enter:


... if you have changed to the APE directory of the hard disk, or:

C:\>APEPLUS [Return]

... from the root directory (which runs APEPLUS.BAT).

Either of these commands will take you to the CONFIGURATION (main) menu, as shown in the previous chapter. Whichever way you get to it, the main APE Plus menu lists eight separate options, of which the first is the one to use for Apricot emulation. The functions and uses of the other options are all described in the next chapter.

Apricot programs may be set up and run by selecting option 1 in CONFIGURATION. (For longer-term use, to run programs with a minimum of fuss, you can make APEPLUS.EXE load straight into the PROGRAMS menu. See Overall Setup.) Select this line with the Up and Down cursor keys and [Return], or by pressing either 1 itself, or function key F1.


You will see a new menu headed PROGRAMS 1 as follows, with SuperWriter as the first option. APEPLUS.EXE allows you to set up and run any Apricot program you wish. We have made SuperWriter our pre-set example because this is about the most commonly used Apricot software, but most other programs can be installed and run from this menu. A large number can be set up automatically.

Ansible Information APE Plus emulator
>  1  SuperWriter [SAMPLE SETUP]                                          <
   2                                     +------------------------------+
   3                                     ¦        Other options         ¦
   4                                     ¦ INS    change current item   ¦
   5                                     ¦ DEL    delete current item   ¦
   6                                     ¦ R      restore last deletion ¦
   7                                     ¦ PgDn   next PROGRAMS menu    ¦
   8                                     ¦ TAB    change overall setup  ¦
   9  Exit to APE configuration menu     +------------------------------+
Directory is C:\APE
Select item to change or run >1

So as not to limit you to only 8 Apricot programs, we offer two further menus, each with 8 virgin 'slots' for you to set up as you will. These menus are PROGRAMS 2 and PROGRAMS 3. They are reached from PROGRAMS 1 by pressing PgDn ['Next PROGRAMS menu']. PgUp ['Previous PROGRAMS menu'] allows you to move the other way, from 3 to 2 or from 2 to 1. The CONFIGURATION menu can be directly reached from all Programs menus via option 9.

If you do not want to run SuperWriter, but wish to replace it as the first option with another program, it may be deleted. With the cursors in place, press Del. After a (y/n)Yes or No – query, the SuperWriter installation is removed. Any other installed program may be removed as simply. (There is also an 'undelete' feature, if you have second thoughts: press R to Restore the last-deleted program installation.)

To instal another Apricot program, we suggest you practise with SuperWriter first! Here is a brief run-through of how we installed SuperWriter. If you follow this it will enable you both to instal other programs correctly and to modify the APE Plus pre-defined installations (of which more below) as you please. See also Chapter 9 for a worked example of setting up a program.

Example: checking SuperWriter installation

With the arrow indicators placed against SuperWriter, press the Ins key. Now watch the prompt line at the bottom of the screen as you move through the next few steps. Press [Return] to move to the next. (As each line is accepted, it moves up and is visible above the current one.)

A note on text entry: APE Plus uses the same 'line editor' in most cases where you need to type text. The prompt message begins 'Enter' if there is no existing text and 'Accept or edit' if something is already there. Normal use is made of the left/right cursor keys, Home/End (go to start/end of text line) and Del. Esc erases the entire current text and [Return] completes the entry. To allow quick replacement of existing text, an 'Accept or edit' line is also erased if the first key you press produces a character; to insert something right at the start of the line, press Ins first.

Accept or edit menu description This enables you to change or enter the name or description of the Apricot software as it appears on our menu. Here, for instance, you could add a version number to 'SuperWriter', or delete the [SAMPLE SETUP] reminder in the supplied menu. If you want nothing changed, press [Return]. Pressing F10 here or at any of the following prompts will skip straight to the final request for confirmation; see below.

Accept or edit program pathname This is where you enter the full command (including directory paths) for running the former Apricot program.

Accept keyboard: SW.KB (y/n)? Apricots allowed you to load a special keyboard setup to work with your software. Some keyboard files were standard parts of a software package (and the programs would not work properly without them); others simply offered more logical key layout and made programs easier or quicker to use. All such files had the extension .KB. APE Plus allows similar keyboard files to be loaded: it too looks for the .KB extension.

The next item depends on your IBM video system. If it's an 'EGA' display or better (and the font feature has not been suppressed by your own changes to the Overall Setup as in the next chapter) you will see:

Accept font: Default (y/n)? This allows use of the Apricot facility for changing display fonts. We provide a few sample fonts with slightly different screen appearances. Press Y or [Return] for no change, or N to select from a menu of available fonts, exactly as with keyboards in the previous item. In the menu box, pressing Space requests no special font (that is, 'default' ... but any font selected for overall menu use, as in the next chapter, will carry over to the program.)

Otherwise the prompt is ...

p> Instal FONT (y/n)? This is our compromise for the comparatively rare cases when a different screen character table is required, usually for a Continental character set, but the computer lacks the display facility for changing fonts. In normal use, answer No to this question by pressing N or [Return].

Further (y/n) queries follow. In all cases, pressing [Return] leaves the existing setting unchanged. Remember that you can skip the more esoteric items towards the end, by pressing F10 at any point.

Load calculator (y/n)? This allows you to use a keyboard calculator, modelled on the Apricot's own, which will be loaded and unloaded whenever you use this program.

Set IBM cursor (y/n)? This gives you the choice between the 'big' Apricot cursor, and the 'underline' IBM cursor. If you answer N for No to this question, you will be given a full-sized block cursor. This is faithful to the Apricot standard, but will drive you mad by flashing on and off. All our own program setups therefore say Yes here.

Ask for command (y/n)? If Yes is set here, APEPLUS.EXE will pause before actually running the selected program, and request 'command' text which is to be added after the program name. E.g., if you wish to load SuperWriter and a document called B:MYFILE, this pause will allow you to type in 'B:MYFILE' before the program loads.

Pause after run (y/n)? Whenever you quit a program like SuperWriter, you will be returned immediately to the APE Plus menu. Entering Y here produces a pause for breath, and requires the press of a key to continue. Use this if a program habitually displays important or interesting messages when it finishes (in particular, error messages which might otherwise instantly vanish as our menu reappears).

Divert from A: (y/n)? Some Apricot programs perversely demanded that the default drive should always be A. (SuperWriter is not one of them; hence the N here.) As most IBMs run from the hard disk, Drive C, this can be a problem: a Y here will deal with it. What happens: whenever the program tries to read or write Drive A, it will actually access the directory specified as part of its own 'program pathname'. See our earlier explanation of 'pathname'.

Divert from B: (y/n)? Similar to the above; here it's possible that a former Apricot program demanded that documents or other data be on Drive B. Again, SuperWriter is not one of them; hence the N here.

p> Enter optional APE commands SuperWriter requires no such thing, so leave this blank. A few programs could require specialist extra commands (see the notes below on APE.COM basic emulator), and this is the place to enter them. Probably the most useful one to know is that if you enter X here, the Apricot emulator will not come into action. This means that you can, if you wish, use this menu to run existing IBM software.

Are these settings OK (y/n)? Enter Y for Yes or press [Return] if you're happy; N to scan through the setup information again and perhaps make changes.

SuperWriter is now ready for use. With the arrow indicators placed against SuperWriter, press [Return]. You may also press 1 or F1 to run item 1, no matter where the indicators are.

Up to 8 programs can be installed on this menu, and 8 more on each of the PROGRAMS 2 and PROGRAMS 3 menus. You may edit the setup as often as you like. Whenever it's changed, all the information is saved to a file called MENU.APE, and this is reloaded the next time you run APEPLUS.EXE. Here's how to instal extra programs:

Installing ready-defined programs

We have already defined numerous familiar Apricot packages, and any or all of them may be installed to the remaining empty slots on the PROGRAMS menus.

First move the cursor to one of the empty slots, and notice what the message box on the right of the screen says. Press Ins.

The message box is now headed Auto installation, and there follows an alphabetical list of software packages familiar to most Apricot users. Many more programs are available than can be shown in a single message box! To see more of them, press PgDn for a further boxful of program names. (You may also page backwards through the list with PgUp if you 'overshoot'.)

To instal any of these programs, type the letter that appears against the program name, or move the cursor to it and press [Return]. For example, to instal Cardbox 2.1 (which at the time of writing appears as item C on the first list ... though this could change), either press C or move the cursor to 'c' and press [Return].

The program details are installed immediately. The message box says: 'Installed. Please check the directory path and setup now.'

Look at the bottom line of the screen. The first of the messages that you ran through while checking SuperWriter ('description') has scrolled past and the second ('pathname') awaits your correction. The answers to all the prompts represent how we have set up the program; if you want something different, this is the time to change it. Remember that you can run this installation procedure as many times as you like ... remember also that if you have a change of heart you can delete the whole thing entirely.

An important point to note here is that we have not included any directory path information in the pre-defined installations. SuperWriter will for example instal not as C:\APE\SW.COM but as plain SW.COM. If the SuperWriter program files and APE Plus are all in directory C:\APE, there's nothing to worry about: C:\APE will be the 'default' directory which appears on the CONFIGURATION and PROGRAMS screens. But if the files are to be in directory C:\SW (say), you should correct the pathname now. Press Ins and then type C:\SW\ ... the new text appears in front of the existing SW.COM to give C:\SW\SW.COM. Then press [Return] to go on.

One more reminder: these definitions do not include working copies of the programs we have named. We assume that you will have moved over your own legally obtained copies from the Apricot.

If you do not find your favourite software listed in 'Auto installation', press Space and read the following section and, if still perplexed, Chapter 9.

Installing other programs

What if you have a program completely unmentioned here?

Move the arrow indicators to an empty slot, and press Ins. Press Space to skip the auto installations. You can now follow the prompts at the bottom of the screen (see SuperWriter example above), entering the installation information at the keyboard. If you make mistakes, you can cancel what you have done and start again, or run the whole installation procedure as often as you like ... or delete everything. For a worked example, see Chapter 9.

Running Apricot programs

To run any program that appears on the menu, simply move the Up or Down cursor keys; End will take you to the bottom of the menu, and Home will take you to the top. An item may be selected by moving the pointers to the line on which it appears, then pressing [Return] or Enter ... or you may simply type the number or the equivalent-numbered function key. For instance, pressing 1 or F1 will run SuperWriter from the first option.

If the program has been properly set up, it will load under APE Plus, allow normal use, and on quitting return you to the PROGRAMS menu.

If the program cannot be run (most commonly because its files have not been copied from Apricot disk to the appropriate IBM disk or directory), the message 'Can't find or run program' will briefly appear. This message is also seen when a pathname refers to a floppy drive (e.g. A:\SW) whose disk is missing, corrupt or unformatted.


Press F10 or Esc, or the given menu option. (When you are in any of the PROGRAMS menus, you go first to the CONFIGURATION menu, before a second press of F10 or Esc produces the final query asking if you want to go back to DOS.) To provide some consistency between our programs, F10 is always an exit key.

More information about APEPLUS.EXE

Once you've finished your setting-up you might well prefer to load straight into the PROGRAMS menu without passing though the CONFIGURATION screen.

To request this, just press Tab instead of a number, arrow or function key when at the prompt in either the CONFIGURATION or a PROGRAMS menu. This will produce the overall setup 'questionnaire' described further below ... whose very first question concerns which menu to start with.

APEPLUS.EXE needs to write MENU.APE changes to the current disk. If you use it from a diskette copy of APE Plus, do not write-protect this copy.

Running PC programs from APEPLUS.EXE

If you like the way APEPLUS.EXE can be used as a front end, remember that it is entirely possible to set up and run conventional IBM software from the menus. The only difference, when editing the setup, is that against the prompt 'Enter optional APE commands' you should place an X.

Chapter 4: More CONFIGURATION Menu Options

We have so far dealt with the two most pressing tasks when starting work with APE Plus: moving Apricot material to IBM disk format, and then setting up and running Apricot programs.

The CONFIGURATION menu lists a number of other options, and this chapter briefly describes them.

Overall setup

The first thing to know is that various aspects of the APE Plus menu may be configured to suit yourself. Press Tab to see a series of options which appear on the bottom line:

Begin with CONFIGURATION menu (y/n)? Once you have set up these menus to run the programs you require, you might as well go straight to them whenever you start. Entering N here will take you direct to the PROGRAMS menu (and next time the question will read 'Begin with PROGRAMS ...').

The next two items in the box depend on your IBM video system. With older display hardware, such as CGA, Mono or Hercules, they will not appear. If your computer has an 'EGA' (or better) display you should see:

Allow EGA/VGA font features (y/n)? You would normally keep this at the default setting Yes, to allow the option of displaying your programs and documents in one of several alternative screen fonts. (These can be used for all the APE Plus menus as well as your programs ... or you can choose different fonts for each program, as already described.) If you select N for the font features to be omitted, the question which follows will be skipped, and option 6 of the CONFIGURATION menu (see below) will produce the simpler editor which rearranges the character table but does not let you redesign characters.

Accept MENU font: Default (y/n)? (This question appears only if you have selected Y for the question above.) Press Y or [CR] for no change: the APE Plus menus will be displayed in the screen font you can presently see. If you'd like a change, press N and a boxed menu of alternative fonts will appear. Select by moving the cursor and pressing [CR]; press Space to restore the default. The font you choose will be used for all APE Plus menus and programs, unless you have used the PROGRAMS menu to choose a different font for any particular program.

Accept or edit COMMAND path Sometimes APE Plus needs to use the file COMMAND.COM, whose pathname is almost always C:\COMMAND.COM. APEPLUS.EXE normally reads the information from DOS, but under special circumstances it could be baffled: you can correct it here.

Accept or edit DOS utility directory What is wanted here is the location of the DOS utilities supplied with your computer, in particular the file called SUBST.EXE. Most people keep such utilities in the main directory \ of the hard disk or in a directory called \DOS. The first is our default. If yours is different, please identify it here. (It's needed for the Divert from A/B options in PROGRAMS setup. See also last section of Chapter 9.)

Show any URGENT.DOC on load (y/n)? Our last-minute message will grow very irritating as the weeks and months go by, and you certainly won't need to see it after the first couple of times. N entered here will get rid of it. (Reinstate it with Y here if desired.)

Omit permanent HELP boxes (y/n)? The same is possibly true of our friendly message boxes. N here will get rid of them ... they can be restored whenever you choose.

Are these settings OK (y/n)? When you press Y or [Return] to accept, any changes you have made here will be saved to MENU.APE, and in future the menus will act slightly differently.

Using the rest of the CONFIGURATION menu

Options 1 and 2 (the PROGRAMS and FILE COPYING menus) have now been covered. Here are brief notes on the others, to give you the feel of what's available; full instructions for the more powerful facilities like the keyboard and font editors follow in the next chapter.

3. Screen colours and serial port Most Apricot software was set up to run on monochrome monitors, but the IBM world offers many more choices of display. This option allows you to choose how your programs will look. The menu that appears should be self-explanatory, but it's safe to experiment with the settings. Run the program as many times as you like. All changes are saved to a file called CONFIG.APE, which should be in the same directory as APEPLUS.EXE. As well as control over the RS-232 serial port, this option also covers the keyboard operating speed. Full details appear in the next chapter.

4. Keyboard table editor This option runs our keyboard editor, allowing you to create or 'customize' keyboard setups for use with APE Plus. See next chapter.

5. Convert Apricot keyboard files If the program you are using required a special keyboard on the Apricot and we have not already provided one, this option allows you to modify the old keyboard file into a format which APE Plus will accept and work with. See next chapter.

6. Font table editor Two possibilities here, depending on your video system. If the video card allows you to define your own display fonts, option 6 summons our full EGA/VGA font editor. If not, or if you've asked for the EGA/VGA features to be omitted (in Overall Setup, above), you will see the somewhat less versatile character table editor – which, without allowing characters to be redesigned, does let you substitute others when they're displayed. This is usually done to cure problems with foreign alphabets. See next chapter.

7. Latest general information on APE This option displays the current READ.ME file, which will contain news of the latest updates, new facilities, and so on.

8. Latest technical information on APE This displays the DOS ASCII text TECHDATA.DOC, which describes more arcane matters. Nothing in this file needs to be read for ordinary use of APE Plus, but have a look if you find yourself with a problem. The same file is provided in Windows ANSI format as TECHDATA.TXT.

9. Exit to DOS You may also exit by pressing Esc or F10.

Chapter 5: Keyboards, Colours and Fonts

This chapter reveals more about APE Plus's setup and shows you how to edit keyboards or convert old Apricot ones, to change the screen colours, and to modify the display font if you wish.


Because of the differences between Apricot and IBM keyboards, APE requires an 'emulated' keyboard setup on the IBM. Whenever APE Plus is in use, even if you have not specified a particular keyboard to be loaded, your IBM computer keyboard will behave in an Apricot-like way. The cursor keys, Home and so on will generate appropriate Apricot characters

F1 to F8 will produce the characters from the eight standard Apricot function keys HELP, UNDO, REPEAT, CALC, PRINT, INTR, MENU and FINISH. These are the keys on the top row of the PC/Xi keyboard, and F1 to F4, and F6 to F9, on later Apricots ... including the F-Series machines. If these characters are recognized as program commands – such as the HELP key in SuperWriter – they will perform as on the Apricot.

F9, F10 imitate the first two keys of the PC/Xi/Xen MicroScreen.

F11, F12 (where present on the IBM) imitate the next two keys, 3 and 4, of the MicroScreen.

End imitates the missing Apricot CLEAR key.

Scroll Lock imitates the missing Apricot STOP key. The behaviour is a little different: only a second press of Scroll Lock will start the halted screen output again, rather than any other key. IBM AT keyboards have the Pause key, which irritates because a second press does nothing (you must use another key.)

Alt + numbers (main keyboard; not number/cursor pad) will imitate the entire MicroScreen. E.g., Alt 2 produces the code for MicroScreen key 2 (INS MARK in SuperWriter).

When we refer here to the imitation of function and MicroScreen keys, we mean those that are assigned by the Apricot default keyboard. If the program you are running uses a non-standard keyboard, then that keyboard must be loaded. Apricot WordPerfect is one example of a program that does this.

All the APE Plus files with extension .KB contain keyboard tables.

Should you want to see in more detail what the default keyboard consists of, we provide it on disk as APRICOT.KB; you can use the keyboard editor (see below) to browse through this. APRICOT.KB is frequently useful use as a starting-off point for editorial tinkering to produce a customized keyboard for some application. Remember that APE Plus contains a copy of this keyboard setup, and will always use it unless you specify another .KB file.

On IBM 'AT' keyboards with two sets of arrow keys, APE Plus follows the usual cursor-key arrangement in that the 'number-pad' keys produce numbers, except when NUM LOCK is turned off, and the 'arrow keys' will just move the cursor. However, if you use the keyboard editor (see below) to change the arrow keys, this will also affect the similar 'number-pad' key when NUM LOCK is off.

The 'type-ahead buffer' also changes invisibly. APE Plus lets you type up to 128 characters in advance while the computer is busy and not reading the keyboard (the IBM standard is a miserly 16; the Apricot standard was 80).

Keyboard editor
(Option 4 on the CONFIGURATION menu)

We supply several specialist keyboard files for SuperWriter, WordPerfect and so on. But because you could want to adjust these to your own preferences, or create new ones for other software, the APE package includes this editor.

As mentioned previously, using APE will automatically load an 'Apricot-default' keyboard. If your software was designed to work with this default keyboard – SuperCalc is one such – then you don't need to worry.

Select option 4 from the CONFIGURATION menu to see the initial keyboard editor screen. This shows the setup of the first ten keys. At this stage, no keyboard table has been loaded for editing, so the entry for every key is blank. Select a keyboard to examine or edit by pressing function key F3 ('Load') and picking, say, APRICOT.KB from the menu box.

If nothing appears against any particular key, you may assume that the IBM default setting will be used by that key.

You can move around the editor screen with the cursor keys, altering key functions to your taste (see below for more details).

N.B.: Do NOT try to load keyboard setups brought over from the Apricot, before first converting them as described below. The only keyboard files you should edit with APE Plus are (a) those supplied on our disk, (b) files you have created yourself with this editor or (c) files you have converted from Apricot format with the converter program.

Here is a guide to using the keyboard editor:

Help information

This is obtained by pressing function key F1 for a help screen.

Moving about the keyboard editor screen

arrow keys for normal movement about the screen

PgUp to the previous screen

PgDn to the next screen

Ctrl PgUp to the start of the keyboard table

Ctrl PgDn to the end of the keyboard table

Home to the top of the current screen

End to the bottom of the current screen

Using the editor to change keys

Each key displayed on the edit screen can accept eight keystroke commands: two each for NORMAL, Shift, Ctrl and Alt settings.

Move the cursor to the first of these under the setting you wish to change, and press a key. Its value will be entered at the cursor position (the cursor itself will not move, so if you change your mind, press another key). When you eventually save this keyboard, that character as shown in the table will be the new value of the selected key when APE Plus and this keyboard table are loaded.

When changing a key combination to generate a single character, it doesn't actually matter which of the two locations you pick: e.g. putting an 'A' in either of the positions in the Ctrl column against key number 2 (which confusingly generates the numeral '1') will cause Ctrl 1 to generate a capital A. If you put characters in both positions, the key will generate a two-letter sequence in the order in which you have placed them.

CONTROL characters – that is, a key combination created by holding down the Ctrl key while pressing another – are shown as ^ plus a letter. Thus ASCII character 1, known as CONTROL-A, appears on the display as ^A.

If you want to enter a character outside the 'typable' range, remember the standard IBM trick: hold down Alt and enter the ASCII number on the number pad, whereupon the character will be entered the moment you release Alt. (This is so useful in so many applications that we suggest you don't mess around with Alt plus number pad keys, even though you can reprogram them.)

Remember that when nothing at all appears in a particular location, the key is unmodified: it does just what it did before.

The most important remaining function key commands are briefly summarized on the next-to-last line of the editor screen. Here is a fuller description.

Del clears the current key combination, restoring it to 'unmodified' status.

F4 sets the current key as a 'hot key' to toggle APE on and off. The key combination Ctrl - (grey 'minus' on number pad) is normally set up as the hot key, but you are welcome to change it.

F5 sets the current key as a 'null'. The effect, in APE, is to cancel the key altogether. This might be useful if in some application the End key (let's say) did something irritating if unmodified, but isn't required for your specialist use: turning it off altogether means that you can hit it by accident without tears.

F6 sets the current position of the current key as 'FN-KEY' ... meaning an IBM function key. This allows the provision of normal IBM function key facilities, which are otherwise removed by APE. For example, F3 on an IBM repeats the last MS-DOS command line. With the standard APE keyboard it doesn't: you get the graphics character generated by the corresponding Apricot key, REPEAT. Pressing Del in the editor screen, with the cursor on F3, will restore this. But if a modified F3 is actually convenient for your program, you could use F6 to assign 'FN-KEY' to the Shift, Alt or Ctrl position of F3.

F7 sets the current key combination as CALC ... i.e. 'turn on calculator'. In all the ready-made keyboards supplied on this disk, some position of function key F4 has been made the CALC key, consistent with the position of this key on an Apricot. If F4 alone is used for other purposes, try it with Ctrl or Alt!


• To make the PgDn key generate ^B (CONTROL B), the code which moves to the bottom of a SuperWriter document:

Move down through the keyboard table until you find the PgDn key line, numbered 81. (The arbitrary numbers aren't ours: they are IBM keyboard scan codes.) Move the cursor to this line and one of the two 'Normal' columns. If there's something there already, clear the key with DEL: a single character can be overwritten by the next step. Hold down Ctrl and press B. ^B appears at the cursor position and the key is programmed. (Note that this makes no difference to PgDn in the keyboard editor itself.)

• To make Shift F1 generate ^OP (CONTROL-O and P) for the SuperWriter page insertion toggle:

Move as before to the keyboard editor line for F1 (numbered 59). Take the cursor down to this line and across to the first of the two columns under Shift. Hold down Ctrl and press O. One touch of the right-arrow key moves the cursor to the second column: press P. (In this instance it doesn't matter whether you select lower or upper case.) The key is now programmed.

• To make the Backspace key generate the SuperWriter 'delete left' character, ASCII code 127 or 'DEL':

Move to the Backspace key, number 14: 'Normal' position. Clear any existing programming with Del. To pop in character 127, hold down Alt and type 127 on the number pad. When the Alt key is released, ASCII code 127 will appear at the cursor position: a small triangle . This code also means 'delete' to many other word processors.

Loading, saving and finishing

F2 saves the current keyboard table to a .KB file: you're given the option to change the filename first, and to cancel the save if it looks like overwriting an existing file.

F3 loads a new keyboard file which you can pick from a directory box as in PROGRAMS setup.

F10 takes you straight back to PC-DOS ... but if the current keyboard table has been modified and not saved, you're asked whether you really want to leave the keyboard editor now.


Although the IBM PC keyboard itself stops at key number 83, clones and compatibles can offer keys with higher numbers. We have therefore allowed editing of possibly nonexistent keys all the way up to 127.

For example, the Amstrad PC1512 has keys numbered 112 (Del) and 116 (Enter). Other IBM clones may have others. You can check this by making up a temporary keyboard table which modifies keys 84 to 127 with selected characters – use this test table and see whether any of your keyboard's 'extra' keys are changed. IBM AT clones have slightly extended keyboards, and the editor takes note of their differing \, F11 and F12 keys ... codes 86, 87 and 88 respectively. (In fact the editor detects the presence of an AT keyboard and changes some of the key code labels in its display screens appropriately.)

U.K. keyboards

We assume that if you want a keyboard compatible with British use you will have run the KEYBUK or KEYB program, or whatever your local equivalent might be. These programs ensure that the £ key produces '£', etc. APE will leave these key assignments unchanged if nothing new is specified in the keyboard table. (You may of course alter this with the editor.)

Keyboard converter
(Option 5 on the CONFIGURATION menu)

If you would like to use a keyboard setup brought over from the Apricot, use this option to convert it before editing or working with it.

You will see a new menu of options which can be selected by cursor movements, function keys or numbers, as follows:

0. returns you to DOS with the changed KB.EXE setup, if any (see KB.APE, noted below).

1. swaps between the two types of Apricot keyboard: either PC/Xi or Xen/F-Series.

2. swaps between the two most common IBM types of keyboard: either PC/XT or AT. (The program will normally choose the one it detects.)

3. lets you decide whether to 'copy' or 'ignore' nulls in Apricot setups.

What this means: One Apricot keyboard might have deactivated CONTROL + C because it crashes the program; you would want the same when running it on the IBM, so select 'copy'. In some other case, deactivated keys in Apricot keyboards could transfer and disable some useful IBM key.... (We have however arranged that the Alt key will never be disabled in a converted keyboard.)

4. prompts you to select an Apricot .KB file to convert.

5. load 'original' Apricot keyboard tables directly into APE. Communicate the table directly to APE. (APE.COM must be loaded for this to work, though: see next chapter.)

Esc (or F10) exit to DOS without changing anything.

After selecting any needed options, press 4 and enter the Apricot keyboard file name: say MY.KB. The converter will create a new file called MY.KB (suitable for use with APE), and rename the original as MY.KB! with an exclamation mark. The result in MY.KB will be necessarily imperfect (Shift and CONTROL settings of number-pad and MicroScreen keys vanish; 'normal' MicroScreen keys are transferred to Alt + numbers, and long strings of key-commands are truncated to the first two), so as soon as the conversion has taken place you are offered the opportunity to load the keyboard editor and tinker with the result. Press Y in answer to the (y/n) question ... we strongly recommend examining the converted keyboard, just in case.

Any options selected with KB.EXE are saved to a disk file called KB.APE, which will be read the next time you run KB.EXE.

Shift positions of certain keys are ignored, to allow the IBM standards to take over. E.g., on Apricots Shift 6 produces $, but on most IBMs it produces ^. Ditto, the perennial problem of whether Shift 3 and 4 produce the £ or # signs. These have been strategically omitted: converted keyboards will leave all these keys unaltered.

Screen colour and serial port editor
(Option 3 on the CONFIGURATION menu)

This is a general configuration editor which gives control over several facilities: colours, RS-232 serial port settings, printer port (serial or parallel) and, where the computer allows, the keyboard repeat rate and delay.

The main menu allows you to change the way in which Apricot 'screen attributes' (bright/dim, underline, inverse video) are shown with APE Plus on your IBM display. Colour and monochrome attributes can be altered independently; the configurator shows whichever set of attributes is appropriate to your system. Its display should be self-explanatory. When you select this option it will show either the default attributes built into APE Plus itself or, if previous changes have been made, the current state of play. You are invited to press 1 to 8 to modify one of the eight listed Apricot attribute combinations; 0 to save the current changes and exit; Tab to restore the original defaults; or Esc to abandon this editor without changing anything.

For example, pressing 3 prompts you to choose the way text appears when an Apricot program has commanded 'inverse video' text. (It does not cause 'normal' text to appear as 'inverse video'. To alter the appearance of 'normal' text you should select option 1.) On a colour monitor, you are prompted to alter the background or foreground appearance by pressing the indicated letters A to P and Q to X respectively, or even to make the text blink with Z. There are plenty of opportunities to select colour combinations which are both meaningful to you and easy on the eye. All currently available colours are shown with their code letters on the editor screen.

(Most present-day colour systems allow an alternative to blinking: they can be set to produce eight additional 'bright' background colours instead, matching the 'bright' foreground colours. Pressing Ins in the colour editor screen will swap between 'bright' and 'blink' options set with the Z key.)

On a monochrome monitor there are only five allowable combinations, plus blinking; you might need to distinguish something like 'underlined inverse-video' text (not normally displayable by an IBM mono system) by having it blink, however revolting this appears.

Select 9 for a serial port menu allowing you to set APE Plus defaults for serial input/output: change the values of baud rates etc., and optionally specify a serial-connected printer. APE Plus only offers the baud rates specifically supported by the IBM BIOS: 110, 150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 4800 and 9600 baud. This option is chiefly provided to drive serial-connected printers and the like; full-featured communications software does not transfer well from the Apricot, for the simple but irritating reason that Apricots offered far more complex and powerful 'comms' facilities than IBMs....

If you have the extended IBM AT (101/102-key) keyboard and operating system, an additional option 9 on this 'serial port' menu provides control over the keyboard repeat rate and repeat delay while you're using APE Plus. Maximum or near-maximum repeat rate and minimum delay can speed your system surprisingly.

All changes made and accepted by selecting 0 in the first menu are stored in a small file called CONFIG.APE. If this is found when APE Plus comes into action, the CONFIG.APE information is read by APE Plus and replaces the built-in 'default' settings. This file is also read by all the main APE Plus programs (including the front-end menu itself): your colour settings have a universal effect.

Font editor: full-featured
(Option 6 on the CONFIGURATION menu)

This editor appears if your IBM's operating system reports that it can load alternative screen display fonts (usually meaning that it's an EGA, VGA or better video system). As well as rearranging the character table at will, it allows you to modify the appearance of individual characters and even design new ones.

We have based it roughly on the original Apricot PC/Xi font editor, with some streamlining and simplification. The screen shows three rectangular boxes: the complete ASCII character set as it now appears, the Font Cell with the pixel pattern of the character currently selected in the ASCII box, and the Edit Cell in which you can actually change a copy (for safety's sake) of a Font Cell character ... or create new ones from scratch.

On an AT keyboard, the number pad keys steer a cursor in the ASCII box and the arrow keys in the Edit Cell. On other keyboards, you can use the number/cursor keys for both, switching with Tab or Num Lock.

All font characters have a maximum width of 8 units (bits); the maximum height is 14 for EGA-type or 16 for VGA-type displays. Instead of Apricot's .CHR files, APE Plus fonts are kept in files with extension .C14 or .C16 respectively. See the disk directory for the latest list: to begin with we are providing IBM.C14 and IBM.C16 as basic reference standards, plus ANSIBLE.C14 and ANSIBLE.C16 as alternatives of our own.

Since this is rather a specialist editor, we will keep our description brief.

Font editor commands

F1 offers a help screen with reminders of all functions.

F2 is for file access. You are prompted to press these keys for the options:

L to Load a font file.

S to Save the current font to disk.

P to select a different directory Path.

I to 'Import' characters from another font file. (You are asked how many you want to load, and that many character patterns are imported, beginning at the current ASCII box position.)

A resembles Load but will load and convert an Apricot (.CHR) font file to IBM format.

The above key letters can also be entered without first pressing F2.

F3 restores the current ASCII/Font Cell character from the computer's built-in (ROM) character or from the current disk file ... use to recover from messes.

F4 copies the current Font Cell pattern to the Edit Cell for editing.

F5 copies the Edit Cell back to the Font Cell.

F6 exchanges the contents of Font Cell and Edit Cell. This tends to be used frequently in editing: press once to see (in the ASCII box and the various display styles under the Font Cell) how the changed character now looks, press again to swap it back for more editing.

F7 invert the Edit Cell contents ... at the prompt select B for Background ('negative' image), H for Horizontal (mirror image), V for Vertical (upside down).

Ins insert a blank line at the cursor position in the Edit Cell ... at the prompt select C for Column or R for Row.

Del delete and close up a line in the Edit Cell ... select R or C as above.

End erase (overwrite with blanks) an Edit Cell line ... select R or C, or A to erase All the cell.

-/+ 'roll' the entire Edit Cell one unit left or right, respectively.

PgUp 'roll' edit cell contents one unit up.

PgDn 'roll' down, as above.

[Return] (also Space) ... alter the dot at the cursor position in the Edit Cell. It is 'toggled' on if it is off, and vice-versa.


• Suppose you need to display a slightly unusual character like 1/3 (one-third) on your computer screen. If you already have an Apricot font with the character, you need only put an Apricot disk in drive A, press F2 and P for a 'path' change and enter 'A:', and then press F2 and A to load and automatically convert the Apricot font: save it and you can then use this font with APE Plus or Import the special character from it into any existing font.

• Alternatively, you can make up the character 1/3 from scratch. A short cut would be to select character 171 ( 1/2 ) in the ASCII box. The Font Cell now shows the pattern of dots making up the character: copy this to the Edit Cell with F4. It is quite easy, with the Font Cell as a rough guide, to wipe out the small 2 in the Edit Cell (position the cursor over each unwanted dot and press [Return] or Space) and construct a replacement 3. Swap the Edit and Font cells occasionally with F6 to see how it looks. When satisfied, decide where you want the new character and copy it there (cursors and F5): then save the font, which can be used by specifying it in PROGRAMS Menu setup.

Font editor: rearrange character table
(Option 6 on the CONFIGURATION menu)

This is the editor which appears if your computer does not support alternative screen display fonts.

Some of our Continental customers do often need to be able to modify the displayed character set, when SuperWriter and other Apricot programs have been set up for them with specialist fonts – e.g., accented characters with ASCII codes 128 and up relocated into the lower half of the ASCII table to replace things like square or curly brackets in the normal keyboard layout.

This editor is designed to allow this kind of simple modification to the character table. You can't design new characters, but may move the old ones around at will – e.g. make '}' appear on screen as 'é', and so on. (This of course only happens when APE Plus is active.)

The working screen resembles our keyboard editor, and uses the same F1 Help, F2 Save, F3 Load and F10 Quit function keys. In addition, F4 is used to restore the standard character table, with every ASCII character appearing 'as itself' on the screen; F5 stores the character at the current screen ASCII position; and F6 changes the assigned character at the current position to whatever was last stored by F5. (F5 and F6 thus allow font editing 'by eye' without concern for actual character codes, if you prefer.)

Steer around the editor screen with the cursor keys and change any character's screen representation by typing the desired replacement character at the requisite position.

The changed character table is always saved as FONT.APE. To have APE Plus load the altered table, reply Yes to the 'Instal FONT' query in any program's setup procedure.

A reference copy of FONT.APE is supplied on the APE Plus disk; if lost it can be generated afresh from the character table editor (press F4 and then F2).

Chapter 6: Behind the Scenes: Working from DOS

What you actually see while using APE Plus are the menu screens of its 'front end' program APEPLUS.EXE. Broadly speaking, any former Apricot program commanded from this front end will be run by more specialist software which loads specialist data (e.g., keyboard tables), as required in each case. Such mysterious files make up the bulk of the APE Plus disk directory. It isn't at all necessary to know all their names in order to use transferred Apricot programs ... but we keep being asked 'What exactly is on the disk?' and 'What does this file do?' This chapter gives a summary of the important bits, and shows how many of them can be used directly from the DOS prompt if desired.

What are all these files?

It is possible to make use of most APE Plus features without the Menu, by writing batch files or working from the DOS prompt. We assume that if you want to try this you will be an experienced DOS user who needs only the terse information which follows! (You will also need to use equivalent DOS commands for many of the Menu's little conveniences, like changing directories or making use of SUBST.EXE to 'Divert from A/B' as in PROGRAMS.)

Here follow notes on the major subsidiary program files of APE Plus.

APE.COM basic emulator

This is the hidden core of APE Plus. It can be run directly from DOS, either installing itself as a resident program or, more usually, to run another program like SuperWriter (which as usual we'll take as an example). Instal with:

C:\APE>APE [Return]

... and remove again from memory with ...

C:\APE>APE X [Return]

APE's operations can be controlled in many ways by command line parameters. Several can be issued at once. The following correspond to PROGRAMS menu options:

* [full program name] [optional command line text] ... run a program. This one must come last on the APE command line. If run with *, APE does not stay resident in memory.

! load calculator.

C use small (IBM default) Cursor.

F load revised font table from FONT.APE. (.C14 and .C16 tables cannot be loaded with APE.COM. See the note on DOS use of FONTEDIT, below.)

L [keyboard filename] / ... Load keyboard table. L alone, with no filename, restores the built-in default keyboard.

P APE will Pause with the 'Press a key' message immediately after running a program.

These additional options can be commanded either on the DOS command line or via 'Enter optional APE commands' in PROGRAMS setup:

> B swap Bright and 'normal' text appearance. Some programs show most text bright and others don't. This helps impose consistency.

D Debug, for troubleshooting. See TECHDATA.DOC or TECHDATA.TXT.

I will make your IBM computer Identify itself as an Apricot PC/Xi when a program tests what machine it's running on. Use only when necessary (e.g. Finax Gold, Timax).

M controls the 'MicroScreen' simulator device. See MSDEV.SYS 'MicroScreen' simulator.

S Save the current internal keyboard as APRICOT.KB. Used (a) to generate a reference copy of APRICOT.KB; (b) to find if programs modify the keyboard – see TECHDATA.DOC or TECHDATA.TXT.

Z followed by a number (e.g. Z1) ... used to set special APE options which cater to particular program quirks. You will find Z options in several 'Auto instal' program setups. See TECHDATA.DOC or TECHDATA.TXT.

Also ...

- (minus sign) make APE Plus 'dormant' – resident in memory but not actually performing emulation. Running APE with any command makes it active again.

An example:


... would run APE, instal the calculator, load the SW.KB keyboard table (/ marks the end of the keyboard filename) and run SuperWriter's SW.COM with the optional command to load LETTER.DOC for editing. On exit from SuperWriter, normal IBM operation would instantly resume. Spaces are ignored except after the * command character.

MK.COM or 'Minikey'

This is a cut-down APE.COM which offers the keyboard modifications only. Here the default is an unmodified (almost) keyboard rather than an Apricot imitation.

C:\APE>MK [Return]

... will instal Minikey. A keyboard filename may be nominated as with APE.COM. Indeed the same main commands are available: * ! L S and X, which work in the same way, as do the P and - parameters.

Commanding the program alone with C:\APE>MK [Return], without loading any keyboard, will increase the IBM's keyboard 'type-ahead' buffer to 128 characters and allow the loading of the calculator without APE itself. This can be used with many IBM programs too. If no keyboard file is loaded, the combination Alt . (full stop) issues the calculator command.

APECAL calculator

APECAL.EXE provides an emulation of the Apricot's built-in calculator. Its display appears in an inverse-video block on the screen (which 'flips' to top or bottom to avoid hiding the main screen cursor position), and resembles the MicroScreen display on the Apricot PC/Xi: Off, Send, Mem+, Mem-, Store and Recall. Like the Apricot calculator, APECAL includes the ability to send calculation results to your current document.

Use of the calculator should be self-explanatory. Although two lines of the screen are overwritten by the calculator display, these will be restored when you leave the calculator: Esc to exit, or X to send a result to the screen and exit. Use the + - / * and = keys (besides 0 to 9 and the decimal point) as usual. Pressing [Return] is equivalent to = and pressing an IBM function key is equivalent to Esc.

C:\APE>APECAL [Return]

... will instal the calculator if APE or Minikey is already resident in memory, in which case APECAL X removes it again. It is usually installed with the ! command from one of the above programs and removed automatically when they remove themselves.

All the ready-made keyboard tables on this disk (including the 'Apricot-default' keyboard loaded by APE itself) include a 'CALC' key – usually F4, corresponding to the labelled key on the Apricot. Exceptions are DE.KB, SIRIUS.KB and SPLAN.KB: in these keyboards and any later additions where F4 proves to have other uses, invoke 'CALC' by holding down Alt and pressing F4. If all F4 positions are pre-empted by the keyboard as in WP.KB, we set up Alt . (full stop) as 'CALC'.

The 'CALC' key may be changed through the keyboard editor: see previous chapter.

File copying: APEDRIVE and AICOPY

There is no single program corresponding exactly to Option 2 of the main CONFIGURATION menu, but these two files come close.

APEDRIVE.COM allows IBM floppy drives to read from and write to Apricot disks. The identical facility is built into the APEPLUS.EXE menu, so APEDRIVE itself is necessary only when you're not using the menu. It is a memory-resident program installed by typing:


This will cause all 3 1/2 " floppy drives attached to your system to accept Apricot disks, without harming their ability to use IBM ones. DOS commands like COPY and XCOPY may be used freely.

To remove APEDRIVE again, enter:


In addition to being able to read material from disks in the nominated drive, APEDRIVE makes it possible to write to Apricot disks. In other words, if you have retained your Apricot, and are running the same programs on both computers, then data may be freely carried back and forth.

AICOPY.EXE (option 7 on the FILE COPYING menu) actually bypasses the entire operating system and copies directly from or to the sectors of an Apricot-format disk. Use it with roughly the same 'syntax' as the COPY command in DOS. For instance, to copy everything on an Apricot-format disk in Drive A to the ANSIBLE directory on the hard disk, enter:

C:\APE>AICOPY A:*.* [Return]

To copy all '.DOC' files to another directory (called, for example, LETTERS), enter:


You may run AICOPY.EXE with or without APEDRIVE installed; it makes no difference.

Transferring giant data files: AIBAK and AIREST

What about moving files which are individually too big to fit on a single floppy? You should be able to split giant files over several floppy disks with the DOS utility BACKUP and reconstitute them on the IBM with RESTORE ... but variations between Apricot and IBM versions of BACKUP, RESTORE and DOS itself often lead to problems. Use our simplified AIBAK.EXE and AIREST.EXE instead. They will run with any Apricot or IBM DOS version from 2.00 upwards. On the Apricot, for example:


... would read BIGFILE from directory \WORK on hard disk A, and split it over as many floppies (in drive B) as necessary: you are prompted to insert disks when they are needed. Wild cards are allowed, as in \WORK\BIGFILE.* ... or simply specify \WORK to copy the whole directory.

Then, on the IBM, with APEDRIVE installed and assuming a 3 1/2 " drive A:


... prompts you to place the AIBAK floppies in drive A, in the same order that they were written to by AIBAK, and will restore them in directory \IBMWORK.

Like BACKUP, AIBAK will (after a warning) delete all files on floppy disks before copying to them. If you mix up the floppies, you can check their numbering via the directory, whose first file will always be called AIBAK with the disk number as the extension: AIBAK.1, AIBAK.2, AIBAK.3 and so on.

An AIBAK command copies at most only one complete directory: it will not work through subdirectories as can BACKUP itself. Once you've moved your oversized files to the IBM hard disk, use the BACKUP supplied with your IBM DOS to maintain backup copies.

It is not necessary to instal APEDRIVE on the IBM if you run AIBAK or AIREST from the APE Plus menu. They can be set up there just like any other program. See the 'Ansible' sub-menu in 'Auto installation'.


All these can be run from DOS like any other .EXE file. CONFIG.EXE gives the screen colours and serial port editor menu. KEYEDIT.EXE gives the keyboard editor, and KB.EXE is the Apricot keyboard conversion utility. FONTEDIT.EXE is the full-featured font editor. FONTTABL.EXE is the alternative utility which merely rearranges the character table. Their use from DOS is the same as from the main menu, with the exception that some of them will accept command line text:

C:\APE>FONTEDIT [filename] [Return] ... perhaps unexpectedly, this does not load the named font file for editing but (if your video system is suitable and the font file exists) will instal it. This allows you to select EGA/VGA fonts from batch files if required. FONTEDIT /X [Return] will reset the video system and restore the IBM default font. The .C14 or .C16 extension need not be given: the program supplies the one appropriate to your video system.

C:\APE>KB [filename] [Return] will not show a menu: the named file is immediately converted, if it's a valid 'old' Apricot keyboard table. The .KB extension need not be given.

C:\APE>KEYEDIT [filename] [Return] ... if you name an APE Plus keyboard table for editing, as here, it is loaded at once into the editor. The .KB extension need not be given.

APEPLUS.EXE: command line 'short cuts'

To simplify its use from MicroSoft Windows as described in Chapter 8, we allow you to specify keystrokes in advance on the command line. This might be handy for batch file use. For example, APEPLUS 1 [Return] would have the same effect as running the menu and then typing 1 to select PROGRAMS 1. But suppose you have set up the menu to start in PROGRAMS 1? The extra command character / will force the program into the CONFIGURATION menu no matter how it's been set up, so APEPLUS /1 will always take you to PROGRAMS 1 and APEPLUS /11 will always run the first item on the PROGRAMS 1 menu.

To let you reach PROGRAMS 2 and 3, there is another special command to give the effect of PgDn: use N for 'next menu'. So APEPLUS /1N3 would move through CONFIGURATION via PROGRAMS 1 to PROGRAMS 2 and then run the third item on that menu.

'Urgent' message text in URGENT.DOC is never displayed when menu keystrokes have been issued in advance with this feature.

Tips and warnings – read this!

APE Plus takes care of a great number of things automatically when it's run from the APEPLUS.EXE menu program. Here is some extra advice to help avoid difficulties should you want to use other parts of the package directly from the DOS prompt, as described above.

Chapter 7: Additional Utilities

SCOPY.EXE single-drive copier

This is an open-release program written by Apricot PLC, to ease the problem of copying files when you have only a single disk drive. IBMs and clones sidestep the difficulty by allowing floppy Drive A to be considered – if there's no second floppy drive – as a notional Drive B, with prompts like 'Insert disk for drive B:'.

However, if you have a 5 1/4 " Drive A and a 3 1/2 " Drive B (or vice versa), and want to copy directly from Apricot 3 1/2 " to IBM 3 1/2 " disk, SCOPY can be useful in conjunction with APEDRIVE. The syntax is simple: SCOPY followed by one or more COPY file specifications. E.g., running SCOPY from a floppy in Drive A:

A>SCOPY *.* [Return]

... would load SCOPY from the current disk, prompt you to insert the source disk (which needn't be the same as the one containing SCOPY), read as many files as the memory can hold, prompt for the target disk (presumably a newly formatted one you have made ready for this purpose), write to it, and repeat until everything has been copied.

You may give the usual wildcard file specifications, such as *.COM (all .COM files), *.EXE, MYBOOK.* ... and so on. Several can be given in the same command: SCOPY *.COM *.EXE *.DOC (etc.).

Preset SCOPY commands for single-drive copying on Drive A and Drive B appear in the 'Ansible' sub-menu of the 'Auto installation' feature.

ANEW.EXE selective copier

ANEW is yet another program for copying files from one disk or directory to another, but this will only copy files:

i. When the SOURCE disk or directory contains files not present in the TARGET disk or directory; or

ii. When files with the same names exist in both SOURCE and TARGET, but the time and/or date in the SOURCE is more recent than in the TARGET.

This is an extremely handy utility to have when wishing to make back-up copies on a regular basis. All identical files are ignored (saving much time that would otherwise be spent copying material that has already been copied), but any files that have been changed, or newly created, will be copied. Entering:

C:\APE>ANEW [Return]

... will display a brief reminder of the correct usage.

You can also specify all the usual DOS 'paths', such as different drive letters and directories. Wildcards are supported in the usual way. For instance, entering:


... will copy all new or updated files from the directory \LETTERS on Drive C to \OFFICE on Drive B.

There are also several switches that can be entered at the same time as the program is commanded:

/H – (Help) displays Help information;

/P – (Pause) allows a disk change;

/S – (Suppress) all messages from the program except for the final summary;

/T – (Two-way) update in both directions;

/U – (Update) only: does not create new files, but updates any that it finds in need of updating;

/V – (Veto) queries each separate file before copying; and

/Z – same as /S, but also omits final summary line.

(These switches should be typed at the end of the command line.)

ANEW is a general-purpose program which does not of itself tackle Apricot disks. This means that APEDRIVE should be loaded when ANEW is to be used with disks from your Apricot (unless you set up and run ANEW from our front end menu), but also means that it is useful in many other ways, working with IBM floppies or between directories of an IBM hard disk.

TODAI.EXE for date-stamping

This is our improved (and non-public domain) version of a popular utility called TOUCH. TODAI enables you to change the date and time of any file or group of files to the current date and time ... and can be used to override ANEW. (Accuracy depends on the DOS clock being set correctly, of course.) Entering:

C:\APE>TODAI [Return]

... will display a brief reminder of the correct usage.


... will change the date and time of LETTERS.DOC in the same directory. You can also specify all the usual DOS 'paths', such as different drive letters and directories. Wildcards are supported in the usual way. For instance, entering:


... will redate all .DOC files in the directory \OFFICE on the disk in Drive B.

There are also a few switches that can be entered at the same time as the program is commanded:

/C – (Clear) remove all date and time information from the file;

/H – (Help) displays Help information;

/L – (List) displays each filename as it is changed.

/O – (Old) redate file(s) as 'Old', with the earliest time allowed by DOS: midnight, on 1 January 1980;

/V – (Veto) pauses at each file, and asks for (y/n) confirmation that the redating should be carried out;

(The /V and /L switches should be typed at the end of the command line, and may be combined as /V/L or /VL. Since the program always acts on /H first and stops after issuing the help information, it is harmless but useless to combine other switches with /H.)

MSDEV.SYS 'MicroScreen' simulator

Some Apricot software 'labels' the Apricot MicroScreen LCD display with prompt messages, these messages changing according to what area of the program is currently being used. If your software does this, and you urgently need the prompts on your IBM, MSDEV.SYS (a DOS 'device driver') will divert these messages to the bottom line of the IBM screen. The first 40 characters will correspond to the top row of the MicroScreen LCD display, and the next 40 characters will correspond to the bottom row.

Like other device drivers, MSDEV.SYS must be installed when the computer is booted up. This is done by adding the following line to the text file CONFIG.SYS (on the root directory of a hard disk, or on a boot-up floppy disk):


(Here MSDEV.SYS must of course be present in the root directory, or on the floppy. The command DEVICE=\APE\MSDEV.SYS would allow you to leave it in the suggested APE Plus subdirectory.)

If your system does not already have a CONFIG.SYS, you can create one specially for this purpose, either by using a text editor or word processor (if the latter, be sure to save the file in 'text' or ASCII format), or by typing the following commands at the C:\> prompt:

^Z [Return]

(^Z means hold down the Ctrl key and press Z.)

When APE Plus is emulating an Apricot, the MicroScreen clock will be simulated if MSDEV.SYS is loaded: a continually changing weekday, date and time display at the right of screen line 25. This is subject to software control: SuperWriter, for example, turns off the clock display. (But it was possible to wipe the MicroScreen labelling and restore the clock by pressing CONTROL PRINT twice. We allow this: press the APE hot key twice to achieve the same effect. It is Ctrl - [number pad] in most APE Plus keyboards.)

To give you some control over this new facility without rebooting, we have provided facilities for turning it off (as with APE's 'dormant' state) and on again. Remember that MSDEV.SYS must have been installed first! The 'optional APE command' M- turns off the device so that all later Microscreen output is thrown away. If APE Plus has been installed as a resident program using the APE.COM basic emulator in DOS, then

C:\APE>APE M [Return]

... can be used to turn it on again.

Another useful MicroScreen command which can be entered in 'optional APE commands' is MC ... C for Clock. This disables MicroScreen text output as though with M- but leaves the clock in operation: programs like SuperWriter which turn off the clock and write text to the MicroScreen will be foiled.

Chapter 8: Notes on Particular Programs

Small files with the extension .COM on the APE Plus disk will, if not otherwise documented, be specialist program loaders. To check the full recommended setup for any program (including loaders and keyboards), you should always use 'Auto installation' in the PROGRAMS menu and study the result, even if you mean later to write batch files and do it all from DOS. Where convenient, required keyboard tables have been transferred from the Apricot using the key equivalents listed under Keyboards, with HELP becoming F1 and so on. Exceptions are noted below.

Sirius software and SIRIUS.KB

Within many of the same limitations as Apricot programs, most Sirius software may be emulated on an IBM compatible, using APE. This keyboard is the Sirius equivalent of the 'Apricot-default' keyboard used in APE. You will probably need to modify it for specific programs. What differences are there between this and a 'real' Sirius keyboard?

• The IBM Ctrl key should be used instead of the Sirius Alt key throughout.

• Sirius keys INT, RVS, LTRL, UND and RPT have no IBM equivalents. (Programs like Wordstar changed them to produce their own effects. Use the keyboard editor to assign spare IBM function keys to these jobs.)

• We have made the following decisions about allocations to IBM keys (change them with the keyboard editor if you don't like them):

• Keyboards moved over from the Sirius, like those from Apricots, are unsuitable for immediate use with the keyboard editor APE Plus. Nor in this case are we able to provide a conversion program.

Smart Integrated Software

See the table of loaders below. Our loader supports the 1985 version of Smart (excluding graphics and comms facilities), which must have been installed for a monochrome Apricot Xi. The Smart function key assignments had been badly converted from an IBM layout (e.g. there is a MicroScreen reminder that when you want to Quit with F10 as on the screen menu, you should press the Apricot F8 or FINISH). Our keyboard brings the function and Alt keys into line with screen menus ... to enter Alt H, for example, hold down Alt and press H rather than pressing STOP and then H as advised in the manual.


'Where is the CLEAR key?' we are asked by desperate users who find themselves trapped in the Disk Directory menu and unable to escape except with a CLEAR which doesn't exist on the IBM keyboard. As noted under Keyboards, the 'Apricot-default' keyboard has configured End to replace this.

SuperPlanner and SPLAN.KB

The SuperPlanner program supplied with many Apricots is unusually perverse in its keyboard use: it accepts input only from the PC/Xi/Xen MicroScreen keys, and reprograms (and constantly relabels) these to generate unusual characters. We have created SPLAN.KB to make the best of this situation. The key assignments are as follows:

Alt 1-6 (on top row of the keyboard) imitate MicroScreen keys 1-6 as rearranged by SuperPlanner.

Alt F4 (top row) <CALC> ... also Ctrl F4

Alt 7 (top row) provides the Shifted MicroScreen key function for 'Find'.



F3 to F8 alternatives for MicroScreen keys 1 to 6.

F3 to F8 ... with Shift: 'Find'

F9 HELP (again)

F10 FINISH (again)

Home start of file

End end of file

PgUp/Dn previous and next pages

arrows ... with Shift: as Home, End, PgUp and PgDn

SuperWriter and SW.KB

Although SuperWriter works with the 'Apricot-default' keyboard, it's much easier to use with this modified keyboard table. See our detailed description in the file SWKB.DOC on the APE Plus disk. SWKB.DOC is a standard SuperWriter document; if you like the ideas which appear there, use SuperWriter to print out a reference copy. For fuller use of the function keys, change the SW.COM in the PROGRAMS menu pathname to SWX.COM ... the latter is an optional loader which 'tunes up' the keyboard by allowing single keys to generate commands like Esc F for Find (which SuperWriter normally refuses). See also the note on keyboard templates, below.

Windows 3.0 and 3.1

We provide two files to help you use APE Plus with the popular MicroSoft Windows. APEPLUS.PIF is a Program Information File to run the APEPLUS.EXE menu, and APEPLUS.GRP is a preset 'group window' with icons for 'Ape Plus' (the menu ... icon file APEPLUS.ICO) and 'SW' (the sample setup for SuperWriter).

To set this up, first copy APEPLUS.GRP to your Windows directory (usually C:\WINDOWS). Then load Windows and, in the opening 'Program Manager' desktop screen, select File; then New; then Program Group (not Item) and OK. The prompt window now asks for a group description and filename. Press Tab to skip the description, type APEPLUS as the group file, and select OK. The 'Ape Plus' window should now appear. If you don't want a window for APE Plus alone, drag either or both icons into a window of your choice, shrink 'Ape Plus', and delete it.

If you examine the 'Properties' of the SuperWriter icon, you'll see the command \APE\APEPLUS.PIF /11 ... calling our own .PIF file for the APEPLUS.EXE menu, with an extra /11 on the command line. (The use of command line text with the menu is discussed under APEPLUS.EXE command line 'short cuts'.) This causes APEPLUS.EXE to behave exactly as though you'd loaded into CONFIGURATION and then typed 1 twice. The first 1 selects PROGRAMS and the second runs the first program on the menu – which, as supplied, is SuperWriter. It is easy to ring the changes on this for other programs.

WordPerfect 4.1/4.2 and WP.KB

WP.KB is the most complex keyboard here, as examining it with the editor will show. As with the official IBM WordPerfect, each function key does four different things. To make life simpler, we have followed the IBM template and key arrangement as closely as possible: e.g. F1 is Cancel, Alt F1 is Thesaurus, Shift F1 is Super/Subscript, and Ctrl F1 is Shell. Knowing that WordPerfect 5 uses F11 and F12, to produce Reveal Codes and Block in AT keyboards, we imitated this in WP.KB. Please see the file WPKB.DOC on the disk, which is in WordPerfect format and describes the keyboard more fully.

F3 gives Help, so while you are demonstrating this to yourself you could move around the keyboard and see what all the other keys do. (Try pressing F3 twice. Thanks to an oversight in some Apricot versions, the result could well be a picture of the IBM PC function key arrangement – which though useless on the Apricot suddenly becomes handy.)

The Apricot WP.EXE does not need its own WP.COM keyboard loader. It does require the Apricot 'system setup' file {WP}SYS.FIL. Without this, screen scrolling in WordPerfect documents is chaotic, as the IBM default screen display has 25 active lines to the Apricot's 24. If caught by this, load WordPerfect with the Setup command (using WP /S from DOS with APE installed, or setting 'Ask for command' in PROGRAMS setup and typing /S when prompted), then select option 3 and change SCREEN ROWS from 25 to 24.

WordStar and WS.KB

This is a simple keyboard table for standard Wordstar. It could be developed further, depending on your particular needs: use our keyboard editor and change the function-key codes to your own taste. The file WSKB.DOC on the disk is in WordStar format and describes the layout fairly exhaustively. Please note that WordStar 2000 has different keyboard needs and comes with its own keyboard table translated from Apricot format ... but many 'WordStar-like' editor programs might like WS.KB better than the standard APRICOT.KB as a basis for development. It is suitable for the Apricot version of Turbo Pascal 3, for example.

Special loaders and keyboards

The 'Auto installation' menu will always be (along with READ.ME) the most up-to-date source of information on loader programs, keyboards and 'optional APE commands'. Here is the list current when this manual went to press. The rule is: copy the loader to the directory from which you mean to run the Apricot program – this is automatic in 'Auto installation' – and run the loader, not the program. E.g. to run an Apricot version of dBase II, always command DB [Return], not DBASE [Return] ... though DBASE.COM remains necessary!

The following programs need our .COM loaders and/or .KB keyboard files from the APE Plus disk:

Cardbox Plus 2.1    CPLUS21.COM
Cardbox Plus 2.2    CPLUS22.COM
Cardbox Plus 3.0    CPLUS30.COM
Cardbox Plus 3.5    CPLUS35.COM
                    (early versions only. Not required for later ones)
DataEase 2.5        DE.COM, DE.KB
dBase II 2.43       DB.COM
                    (trouble with older versions? Try DB0.COM instead)
Delta 4.3c          DELTA43.COM
Finax Gold          FINAX.COM
                    (and set the command options Z1 and I)
Friday •            FRI.COM
MultiPlan 1.0       MP.KB
MS Word 2           MW.COM, MW.KB
                    (no italic etc. fonts ... colours are used instead)
Notebook (Pro/Tem)  NOTEBOOK.KB
                    (ex-Sirius; use NBVIC256.EXE program file)
Palantir 3.0        PAL.COM, PAL.KB
Palantir Filer      FILER.COM, PAL.KB
                    (can be run directly from Palantir)
Smart Software •    SMART.COM, SMART.KB
                    (graphics and comms not availalable)
SNIP Accounting •   SNIP.COM
                    (1982 Sirius version)
SuperWriter         SWX.COM, SW.KB
                    (optional improvements ... see above)
Timax •             TIMAX.COM
                    (and set the command options Z and I)
WordStar 2000       WS2000.COM, WS2000.KB
                    (modifies program file for IBM: keep a copy!)

In our own setups, programs marked • normally use either or both of the 'Divert from A' and 'Divert from B' options in PROGRAMS setup ... to prevent their insisting on a program disk being placed in Drive A or a data disk in B when the hard disk C is being used for both. The details can vary with the programs' own installation details.

When asked to set special command options, do so by typing the indicated character(s) at 'Enter optional APE commands' in PROGRAMS setup. For example, Z1I or IZ1 for Finax and Timax. Remember that 'Auto installation' takes care of all this for you.

Keyboard templates

[Not supplied with software-only version.] The most convenient way to remind yourself of what the IBM function keys have been set up to do in any particular program is perhaps to lay a 'template' along or around this block of keys. Enclosed with the APE Plus manual there should be some sample templates: in particular, a blank one with IBM and Apricot function key legends (Ms-1 is MicroScreen key 1, and so on) which you are free to cut out, photocopy and annotate with your own programs' key assignments. As a guide we also include preprinted templates for SuperWriter and WordPerfect with the enhanced keyboards described earlier in this chapter.

APEFORM: creating Apricot-format disks

On rare occasions you may wish to create Apricot-format disks in an IBM 3 1/2 " drive (e.g. if you communicate with Apricot owners but have no old-style Apricot to hand). APEFORM.EXE provides the facility. To use it, first format the required number of IBM 3 1/2 " 720k disks using the normal IBM FORMAT program. This will probably default to 1.44MB or higher: in DOS 4 and 5 you should specify FORMAT A: /F:720 ... to create a 720k disk. With such a disk in drive A, you can then convert it to Apricot format with the command:

C>APEFORM A: [Return]

APEFORM will ask whether you really mean it, and prompt you to insert further disks if you want to convert more than one. This produces Apricot-style 720k disks. APEFORM B: may also be specified.

C>APEFORM A: /S [Return]

... will produce the Apricot Single-sided disk format (315k) for use on Apricots which can't read the higher-capacity double-sided disks. APEFORM.EXE is harmless: it will convert only empty IBM disks which have been formatted to 720k, so it cannot hurt data or hard disks.

Chapter 9: Worked Example of PROGRAMS Setup

For years you have been running a little-known but useful piece of Apricot software. Now you have an IBM and APE Plus, and you would like to go on using it. Unfortunately, those usually omniscient folk at Ansible Information have never heard of the program; it is not mentioned in their literature. Where do you begin?

Let's assume that the software is an order-processing program called 'RushMaster'. This was run from a program disk in Drive A, and accessed documents in Drive B. The documents have filenames based on the goods you sell, but all are identified as RushMaster documents by the file extension .RMD: BOOKS.RMD, FRUIT.RMD, CHAIRS.RMD, etc. So these are simple enough. The program disk might present more complications. Use the directory command (enter DIR at the A> prompt with the disk in Drive A) to find out what's on the disk. The main program files of this imaginary software might be called:

RM.COM and/or RM.EXE RushMaster itself. (Remember, this is an imaginary program!)

RM1.OVR, RM2.OVL typical names of 'overlay' files required by a main program.

BASRUN.EXE also needed by several commercial programs.

RM.KB a possible special keyboard set-up for the Apricot.

RUSH.BAT a possible batch file written for you by the company who supplied RushMaster, so that to start work all you had to do was type 'RUSH'.

Pause at this point. Is the Apricot program disk a 'boot-up' disk, suggested by the presence of files with the names COMMAND.COM, CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT? If so, be careful. None of these Apricot files is needed by either APE Plus or the IBM computer, and indeed could be positively harmful on the IBM. There's a keyboard file there, too; that will be in Apricot format and should not be used on an IBM (but APE Plus can convert it). Then there's that batch file called RUSH.BAT. Perhaps the keyboard had to be loaded before RushMaster was used, and unloaded afterwards. It's time to do a little simple diagnostic work.

Have a look at RUSH.BAT, for instance, using your Apricot word processor to edit the file as if it were an ordinary text document. Another way to examine a batch file is to put the disk in Drive A, make sure the computer is showing the A> prompt, then enter this:


This batch file might be using the Apricot utility KEYS.EXE to load and unload the keyboard. In this case you'll see a line saying 'KEYS RM'. (Don't worry about any later line which restores the former keyboard: APE Plus handles that automatically.) If it was possible to get straight into RushMaster by switching on the computer and putting the disk in Drive A, it's likely that such commands will be found in AUTOEXEC.BAT.

Because you now have the speed and capacity of an IBM hard disk, it makes sense to copy RushMaster and its documents to this disk. You can use APE Plus for this, as well as for running the program later. Here is a step-by-step account of how to do all this, and how to overcome any minor problems that might arise.

1. Instal APE Plus

Follow the instructions under Installation in Chapter 1, and then remove the APE Plus disk.

2. Copy the needed files to the hard disk

If you are not already in the CONFIGURATION menu (illustration in Chapter 2), type at the prompt:

C:\>APEPLUS [Return]

Skip past any 'urgent' message to the APE Plus CONFIGURATION menu. Select option 2 ... that is, move the cursor down to option 2, and press [Return], which will take you to the FILE COPYING menu. (By way of short cut you could press 2 or F2 instead.)

On your IBM compatible, the 3 1/2 " floppy drive is assumed to be Drive A ... which is APE Plus's default for COPY FROM in this menu. (If different, see Chapter 2 for how to change it.) The COPY TO details will be C:\APE. Put the Apricot RushMaster program disk into the IBM 3 1/2 " drive, ready for copying.

Where on the hard disk do you want Rushmaster? There's no harm in using the \APE directory itself. You may copy it there now by selecting option 2 on this menu, 'Copy all specified files'. However, it's usually wiser to pick option 1, 'Select files from directory'. This lists all the files on your floppy disk, and allows you to copy selectively by moving the cursor to the wanted files and selecting with the space bar.

The ones to select are the Apricot program and data files as discussed above, together with the keyboard (.KB file) if one is used. If in doubt, play safe by marking everything except any files called COMMAND.COM, CONFIG.SYS, FONT.EXE or KEYS.EXE. Press [Return] to copy the selected files.

Or would you prefer Rushmaster to have a directory of its own, separate from APE Plus and other Apricot programs? This is straightforward ... but keyboard files still need to be in the \APE directory for conversion and use, so pick 'Select files from directory' as above and copy any file ending in .KB.

To use a special directory for RushMaster, you simply change the COPY TO details (option 5). Select option 5, and read the prompt line at the bottom of the screen. You need to change C:\APE to a new directory for RushMaster, which for the sake of illustration you might call RUSHMAST. Use the cursor keys and Backspace to edit the prompt line, so that it appears like this: C:\RUSHMAST

Press [Return], and this new directory name will appear against the COPY TO line of the menu.

Now select option 1 for the floppy disk directory listing as described a few paragraphs ago, and mark the wanted files. Press [Return] to carry out the copying. If directory \RUSHMAST does not already exist, APE Plus will first ask you if you wish to create it. Answer Y for Yes and the copying goes ahead.

If you have additional disks of document files etc., carry on and copy them too: the \RUSHMAST directory is now selected, so you need only change disks and select the wanted files (or, assuming that these disks contain nothing but data files, just select 2 each time to copy the lot).

Select option 9 to return to the APE Plus CONFIGURATION menu.

3. Convert the keyboard file, if any

If there was a keyboard file like RM.KB and you have copied this to the \APE directory as suggested, converting it will take only a moment. (No keyboard file? Then skip this section.)

You need to be in the CONFIGURATION menu. Select option 5 for the keyboard converter. When the new screen appears, select option 4 to see the available keyboard files in a menu box: move the cursor to RM.KB (or whatever keyboard file came with your actual program) and press [Return]. That's all.

If you don't immediately see the keyboard file name but are sure that you copied it, use the PgDn key to look through any additional page or pages of the menu box, as there might be more keyboard files present than can be shown at once. After the conversion you will be automatically returned to the CONFIGURATION menu.

4. Instal the program in APE Plus

Select CONFIGURATION option 1, 'Set up and run Apricot programs'. You should now see the PROGRAMS menu. Move the cursor down to a vacant slot and press Ins. The 'Auto installation' menu box will appear, but Rushmaster is unknown to Ansible and is not listed. Press Space.

You now work through the installation prompts listed in Chapter 3, beginning with 'Enter menu description': type 'Rushmaster' or whatever seems reasonable, and then [Return].

'Enter program pathname': if you copied the main program RM.COM to the \APE directory, just type RM.COM; if you set up a new directory \RUSHMAST, type \RUSHMAST\RM.COM (and [Return]).

'Accept keyboard: Default (y/n)?' Press Y or [Return] if there was no keyboard file; otherwise press N and select the already copied and converted keyboard file from the menu box.

Further (y/n) queries follow. The settings can be left as they are by pressing [Return] at each prompt: you can always go back later to ask for the calculator to be loaded or to select the smaller IBM cursor.

When you've finished installing Rushmaster, the menu cursor will point to it: press [Return] to run it.

5. Possible problems: drive letter mix-ups and video snags

Some Apricot programs insist on reading 'overlay' files from Drive A and no other: Rushmaster might complain about not finding them (because they're on Drive C). Answering Yes to Divert from A: (y/n) in installation corrects this. 'Divert from B' similarly tackles programs which insist that their data files be on a floppy in Drive B.

(If you do this and find that when you run the program APE Plus issues a brief warning about 'SUBST.EXE' not being found, see the 'DOS utility directory' item under Overall Setup in Chapter 4.)

Another possible problem is video hardware incompatibility, indicated by a blank screen with the cursor blinking in its usual position for your program's opening menu. Check this by entering 'blind' the exact keystrokes which should exit from your program to DOS. If you return safely to the APE Plus menu, video hardware use is likely to be the sole problem, and we might well be able to cure it by writing a loader program. If not, you probably need to reboot or switch off ... but let us test a copy of your program anyway.

Extended Copyright Information

'IBM' is a registered trademark of the International Business Machines Corporation.

'Apricot' is a registered trademark of Apricot UK PLC.

'MS-DOS' is a registered trademark of the MicroSoft Corporation.

'WordPerfect' is a registered trademark of the WordPerfect Corporation.

'SuperWriter', 'SuperCalc' and 'SuperPlanner' are registered trademarks of Sorcim/IUS.

Other trademarks mentioned in passing are hereby acknowledged.

The text of this book is Copyright © 1987-2002 Ansible Information. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized copying of this book, in whole or in part, will be an offence under the Copyright Act, 1956.

Except where noted in the text of this book, all software files on the APE Plus disk are Copyright © 1987-2002 Ansible Information. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying of the software files on this disk will be an offence under the Copyright (Computer Software) Amendment Act, 1985.

PLEASE NOTE: Copyright in computer software is identical to Copyright in books. Please use software just as you would a book. A book cannot be read by more than one person at a time, and we ask you to treat APE Plus in the same way. Similarly, software may be shown to or lent to a third party, or disposed of secondhand ... always provided that the copy in question is not in use in more than one location at a time. The sole exception to this is that as a Registered User you are authorized to make ONE archival or backup copy of the software, as a protection against damage or loss, and to copy individual files to your own working disks as and when needed. If you have any questions about the use of our Copyright software please contact us at once. Thank you.

Conscientious effort has been made to test the software in working conditions, but no guarantees can be made or claims for damages entertained. A genuinely faulty APE Plus disk will, however, be replaced free of charge on return of the original supplied disk.

If the software has been upgraded since this book went to press, more information will be contained in the file called READ.ME (alias Latest general information on APE). We monitor our software after release, and we welcome your comments. If you encounter any serious problems, contact us at once. Please use the current e-mail address at our website, the technical support fax number (0705 080 1534 until further notice), or write to us at the following address:

Ansible Information
94 London Road

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