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Shell, Editor, and Other WordPerfect Office for DOS Programs


Shell, Editor, and other WP Office for DOS programs | Export database files from NoteBook and WP Works | WP Office for DOS programs under Windows | Repeat Performance | Home page


For information on DataPerfect, DrawPerfect, PlanPerfect, Presentations, and WP Works, see a separate page on this site.


The WordPerfect Shell, Editor, and other WP Office for DOS programs

The WordPerfect Library Shell version 4.0c and the older Shell version 3.1 are available as free downloads from the DataPerfect User Discussion Group site. These Shell programs were originally part of a package called WordPerfect Office for DOS, versions 3.1 and 4.0. (An earlier version was called WordPerfect Library for DOS.)

Note: The final versions of all the separate WordPerfect Library utilities (ED.EXE, NB.EXE, CALC.EXE, etc.) were numbered 3.1; the Shell.exe program was the only program in the WordPerfect Library that was later updated to version 4.0c.

The WP Editor program (Ed.exe) may be downloaded from the "Download" link on this page at Texeditors.org (or via this direct link.)

The WP.MRS file required by the Editor program when editing WPDOS 5.1 macros is not included in on-line copies of the Editor. To obtain it, download this self-extracting WPMRS.EXE archive; run the file to extract WP.MRS, and copy WP.MRS to the directory in which you keep the Editor program. To edit WPDOS 5.1 macros, open the Editor program and use either F5 or Shift-F10 to select and open a .WPM macro file for editing; the .WPM macro file can be edited in much the same way it can be edited within WPDOS itself, but with the additional abilities provided by the Editor program.

Some other components from WP Office for DOS 3.1 have at various times been freely available from Novell's servers, and may be downloaded in this Shell31Installs.zip archive. This includes the File Manager and Calculator programs and the miniature database NoteBook program. I have never found an online copy of the Calendar program.

Some of these programs require or can use special printer drivers that are not readily available from download sites. The full set of original printer definition files for WP Office programs may be found in the same Shell31Installs.zip linked in the paragraph above; the of31pt.exe archive file includes other utilities, including the printer definition program and a DOS terminate-and-stay resident program (Psprt.com) required for use with PostScript printers when printing from Editor and other WP Office programs. Euro-enabled drivers for recent HP printers may be found on this site's euro-printing page (under "DataPerfect and the Euro").

Troubleshooting note: On some Windows 2000 and XP systems, the Calendar program included with the Shell reportedly does not load files correctly from drives formatted with the NTFS disk format normally used by these Windows versions. (I have never experienced this problem; I am only reporting what I have been told by others.) If you are absolutely certain that your Calendar files do not load, and your disk is entirely formatted in NTFS format, then follow the instructions elsewhere on this site that will help you to create a FAT16 partition on a Windows XP system, and copy the Shell, all its related programs, and your Calendar files, to the new partition.

Note: Some users report that Shell 3.1 is more stable under Windows 95 and 98 than Shell 4.0c. Others seem to have no trouble with version 4.0c. I find that recorded shell macros work more reliably in Shell 3.1, and have used such macros to automate much of the work of creating printer drivers for this site.

The WordPerfect Corporation Repeat Performance command-prompt editor was also available from mirrors of Novell servers and may be downloaded in  this Shell31Installs.zip archive; more detail on Repeat Performance may be found elsewhere on this page.


How to export database files from NoteBook and WP Works

The NoteBook program that comes with many versions of the WP Shell and the Database program included with WP Works stores information in files with an .NB or .DB extension. NoteBook data files are WP 4.2 secondary merge files by default (although options in NoteBook allow you to create files in WP 5.0 or 5.1 format instead). WP Works Database files are secondary merge files in WP 5.1 format. These files can be converted into comma-delimited files (CSV files) that can in turn be imported into any modern database or spreadsheet program.

Here are three easy ways to convert these files into CSV format.

(1) Recommended method: If you have the ConvertPerfect (CV.EXE) utility that shipped with WPDOS 6.x, use it to convert the files; select Auto-Detection for the input format and "DOS Delimited Text" for the output format. You can convert multiple files in a single operation.

(2) If you have WordPerfect for DOS 6.x, open a file in WP, delete any information at the top of the file that is not data that you want to preserve, and use F7/Save As... to save the file in the format "DOS Delimited Text."

(3) This method will not work if your NoteBook data files are in WPDOS 4.2 format; to use this method, your data files must be in WP 5.x format. Download and install the free CorelConvert utility as described elsewhere on this site. In the "From" box, choose "Unknown format" for the file type; in the "To" box, choose "ASCII (DOS) Delimited Text."


Shell and other WordPerfect Office for DOS programs under 32-bit Windows

Note: In order to use Shell (.SHM) macros with Shell 4.0, the MC.EXE utility must be running. Start Shell 4.0 with a command like this: mc shell /tsr 

Shell 3.x and Shell 4.x and other WordPerfect Office for DOS programs run well under Windows. Under all versions of Windows, you should use Windows Explorer to open the directory in which you keep Shell.exe, right-click on Shell.exe (or Shell, depending on how you have set up Windows), and, still holding down the right mouse button, drag it to the desktop. Choose "Create shortcut here" from the menu that appears. Right-click on the new Shell.exe shortcut and make the following changes:

In the Program tab, make sure the full path is specified in the "Cmd" (or "Cmd line") field. (Help! What does a "full path" mean?) You can specify a default directory for the Shell by entering the directory you want in the "Working" field. Choose Maximized from the Run drop-down list to make Shell fill its window (without using scroll bars). Choose "Close on exit" so that a DOS window will not be left open when you exit Shell.

Still in the Program tab, if you want to run TSRs or other programs (like CURSOR.COM or MODE MONO) before running Shell, create a batch file that lists these programs and enter its name in the "Batch file" field. You can run any program from this field, not only a batch file, so if you only want to run a single program (like CURSOR.COM) before running WPDOS, simply enter the program's name in the "Batch file" field. (Important note: the "Batch file" field does not seem to have any effect under Windows NT, 2000, or XP; if you want to run a program before launching WPDOS under these operating systems, write a batch file and create a customized shortcut for the batch file.)

Windows 95, 98, and Me only: Again in the Program tab, under the Advanced button (in Windows 95 and 98; on the Program tab itself in Windows Me), you may want to turn on the option "Prevent MS-DOS-based programs from detecting Windows." (However, this option prevents this site's Windows-clipboard-exchange macros from functioning.)

Still in the Program tab, you may want to click on the Change Icon button, enter the pathname C:\WINDOWS\MORICONS.DLL, and choose one of WP icons. Alternatively, use the WP icons available from this site.

In the Font tab, choose the font you find most legible. (This selection will apply only when WPDOS is run in a Windows; in full-screen mode it uses the font built into the hardware of your video card.)

In the Memory tab, the defaults are usually adequate, but in Windows Me, with Shell 4.x, you must change the Initial environment setting from "Auto" to any number . Always leave "Auto" as the conventional memory setting; do not specify any number for conventional memory. For extended and (if it is available on your system) expanded memory, if you specify "Auto" instead of a number, Windows will generally, but not always, allocate the maximum available amount; I recommend choosing the highest available number instead of using the "Auto" setting. Shell needs expanded memory (EMS) to run efficiently; if the shortcut does not let you set expanded memory (EMS), see the instructions on this site's Windows page for enabling expanded memory under Windows 95 or 98, or under Windows Me, or under Windows NT, 2000, or XP.

Any settings on the Memory tab that are not discussed here should be left exactly as you find them. These other settings do not affect Shell.

In the Screen tab, choose Full-screen or Window mode, and set the number of lines of text you prefer.

In the Misc tab, choose QuickEdit if you want to be able to select text with the mouse (in window mode) and copy it to the Windows clipboard, or (in Win9x only) choose Exclusive Mode if you want the mouse to move the Shell mouse pointer when the Shell window is active. (Although Win9x allows you to check both options, only Exclusive Mode will be active, and you will not be able to copy text from a Shell window to the Windows clipboard by dragging it with the mouse.) Note that in Windows NT, 2000, and XP, the Shell mouse pointer is active only in full-screen mode, not in a command window. The Exclusive Mode checkbox seems to have no effect on Shell in Windows NT, 2000, or XP.

Still in the Misc tab, the setting for Idle Sensitivity depends on many factors. If you use Tame, then the Idle Sensitivity slider should be at the far left, and should not be changed. If you do not use Tame, then you may need to experiment. Under Windows 95, 98, and Me, you should move the Idle Sensitivity slider all the way to the left; if you leave it at the center, complex macros may "stall." Under Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, or Windows 7, you should experiment for best results, because Shell may consume excessive CPU resources if you leave the slider at the center or left, causing Windows applications to slow down; but by moving the slider to the right, you may slow down Shell itself. Tame will resolve such problems for you, and should always be used under Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Still in the Misc tab, the Windows shortcut keys checkboxes let you prevent Windows from detecting certain keystrokes so that your application can detect them instead. If you clear the Alt-Enter keystroke, for example, you will not be able to use that keystroke to toggle your application between full-screen and windowed modes (you may want to do this if a graphics screen is corrupted when you switch from full-screen to windowed mode).

Note that you can copy your shortcut and paste it elsewhere on the desktop, in case you want to create multiple shortcuts with different working directories, command-line switches, or other options.


Repeat Performance

The WordPerfect Corporation Repeat Performance command-prompt editor (downloadable in this archive of Shell 3.1 programs) is only moderately compatible with Windows 95, 98, or Me, and does not work at all under Windows NT, 2000, or XP. It provides cursor speedup and other features that were more useful on older computers than on newer machines, but some people still seem to like it.  (On current computers, cursor speed can now be set in the BIOS.)

The Repeat Performance installation program (included in the download) does not complete the installation process on newer computers, but you can complete the process by hand. Run the installer to extract RP.SYS and RP.EXE into a directory that you specify (perhaps C:\START or some similar name). Then, if you use Windows 95 or 98, add a line like the following to your C:\Config.sys file: (Help! How do I edit my Config.sys file?)

device=c:\start\rp.sys on repeat=60 delay=27 turbo=(ctrl) turbo=62 buffer=on size=15 shiftcaps=lower tone=880,50

(All this is one line.) Replace c:\start\ with whatever directory you chose when installing Repeat Performance. The remaining items are as follows:

Many of these options can be set on-the-fly by the RP.EXE program, but RP.SYS must first be loaded from C:\Config.sys. I have not tested any of these options.


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