Monday, June 18, 2007

WordStar geekery: getting preview with any graphics card

As many of you know, I'm a diehard user of WordStar for DOS, for all the reasons I outline here.

Back in January 2007, I worked out a system for getting WordStar 7.0 (and only 7.0 -- this won't work with earlier versions) to do graphic previews of pages on any computer, and at high resolution. (WordStar's built-in Advanced Page Preview only works with a limited number of graphics cards; many modern cards don't support it at all -- and those that do often only preview WordStar files in VGA resolution or lower.)

My system works flawlessly for me, and I've found it so indispensable that I now have a second monitor swiveled permanently into portrait mode to facilitate the best-possible preview experience.

Since figuring this out for myself, I've been trying to find the time to convert the system from working specifically on my particular computer setup (using JP Software's 4NT instead of the Windows version of DOS), but I haven't found that time, and I'm going away for the next three months.

So, instead, I'm simply posting what works for me, and leaving it as an exercise for knowledgeable users to get it working for themselves. I'm afraid I can't provide tech support for this, but I do encourage others to come up with a more user-friendly anyone-can-do-it set of instructions.

The instructions are here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At June 20, 2007 9:06 AM , Blogger ChrisH said...

Have you looked at generating PDF output to perform the preview?
I use a free utility (CutePDF) that installs a fake printer. You can print from any application, and the output is saved as a PDF.


PS Keep up the excellent writing!

At June 20, 2007 9:12 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Producing PDFs from WordStar files is tricky, but can be done (WordStar is a DOS application, and when yo say "any application," you mean "any Windows application" <smile>). But producing PDFs from DOS applications is not fast or flexible enough for on the fly previewing of WordStar files.

At March 30, 2008 5:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to your blog I've discovered Wordstar. I'd just heard of it, but never seen it before. I have managed to get my hands on version 7.0c in Spanish (I'm from Spain) and I'm enjoying very much my first steps in it. I find that it couples very well with Wordperfect X3: Wordstar to work the text and edition, and Wordperfect for layout and printing. I'm using Tame DOS 5 and Take Command, but I do experience an slight delay when I press Enter to jump to the next line. Is this normal? Version 6 of Tame is more responsive, but SWITCH.COM doesn't work well in it. With previous versions it does ok.


At March 30, 2008 12:14 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

There should be no delay after pressing Enter (or any other key) if TameDOS 5.0 or 6.0 is properly configured. I can't imagine why would have a problem, but I use this Windows program to do the keyboard remapping: KeyTweak


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