Carolyn's Corner - October, 1990

It has been suggested that I might be able to answer some of your 8-bit Atari computing questions in regard to word-processing in general and AtariWriter Plus in particular. I don't claim to know all the answers, but I'll do my best. Send your questions in to the Mid-Florida Atari Computer Club Newsletter editor. We'll try to get the answers out by the next issue.

Just to get things started, here are some typical questions I have been asked from time to time:

Q--> How can I type a neat table of columns? Nothing ever lines up right.

A--> Decide how many characters wide your printed lines will be (e.g., 60 cpl, 65 cpl). From the edit screen, push [OPTION-C] and set the columns to that number plus 1 (e.g., 61 or 66). Now delete the existing tab settings by pushing [CTL-TAB]. Decide where each column should begin and set a tab for each one by cursoring to that spot and pushing [SELECT-TAB]. If you goof, erase a single tab by pushing [START-TAB]. When you type your document, just hit the key to go from one column to the next. You'll note that the screen scrolls so that you can type to the extreme end of each line. This is somewhat like typing on the Print Preview screen - not quite WYSIWYG, but approaching it. Your tab settings will be saved with your document, but the number of columns on the edit screen defaults back to 38 each time you reboot so you'll have to set that manually. On the other hand, if after using these extra-wide editing lines, you load in another document that doesn't require them, you'll probably want to use the [OPTION-C] to change back to 38 or 40 columns again.

Q--> I followed the above suggestions, but when I tried to insert some material in the middle of my document, the key didn't work correctly. The cursor just kept jumping down to the next line.

A--> Well, that's one of the limitations of AtariWriter Plus; the key works only when adding new material or moving over old. If you need to insert material in a document, you'll have to get from one column to the next with the space bar. At least, with the wider edit lines, you will still be able to line up all your columns perfectly.

Q--> I typed a neat columnar report, but when I tried to fix a mistake, everything got messed up.

A--> Before correcting the columnar material, switch to TYPE-OVER mode by pushing [CTL-INS]. Don't delete between columns with [CTL-DEL]. Instead, erase the part you want to delete, by spacing over it with the space bar. Pushing [CTL-INS] again will put you back in INSERT mode when you are ready.

Q--> I think my Atari is having a nervous breakdown! I was attempting to print a document from AtariWriter Plus. The printer started okay but suddenly stopped on the second page, and the television screen went crazy. The computer locked up after that. When I rebooted, everything seemed to be all right until I tried printing the same document. Then I got the same crazy results. What's happening?

A--> Most likely there's nothing wrong with your computer. Check over the offending document carefully. Somewhere in the text you may have inadvertently typed a [CTL-S] where you meant to type a [SHIFT-S]. If this character isn't followed by a number, the program thinks you want to print the rest of your document with zero spacing. I guess the idea of this is enough to give your Atari a "nervous breakdown."

Incidentally, typing the key when you were aiming for the key with characters other than "S" may also give you problems, so proofread carefully. At the very least, you will find that the capital letter you wanted is omitted from your printed material.

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