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AmigaOS Manual: Workbench Using

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This chapter describes the Amiga Workbench, an icon-based environment that allows you to give instructions by manipulating graphic symbols with a mouse rather than by typing in commands at a keyboard. Included in this chapter are descriptions of the following:

  • The Workbench Screen
  • The Workbench Window
  • The Workbench Menus
  • Workbench Programs


Workbench Screen

The Workbench screen, illustrated in Figure 4-1, is the primary visual component of your system. Icons and other windows appear on it.

The Workbench screen is identified by the Amiga Workbench title bar located along the top border of the display. The Workbench screen's title bar also displays the number of bytes of graphics (Chip) memory and other (Fast) memory currently available when any window, except a Shell window is selected.

The Amiga provides Preferences editors (described in Chapter 5) that allow you to customize the Workbench screen. You can define an extra-large virtual Workbench screen that is larger than the viewable area with more space for windows.

Workbench Window

When you boot you Amiga, the Workbench window fills the Workbench screen. This window contains icons for any floppy disks inserted into floppy drives, the Ram Disk, and any other icons determined by your system's configuration.

Although the Workbench window appears and functions like an application window, it is an essential part of the Workbench screen.

Workbench Screen

Workbench Menus

The workbench has the following four menus:

Workbench Contains options for working with Workbench and windows opened on the Workbench screen.
Windows Contains options for working within the currently selected window.
Icons Contains options for working with the currently selected icon or group of icons.
Tools Is available for applications to use or for user-created menu items.

Workbench Menu

The Workbench menu contains general Workbench options and options for windows opened on the Workbench screen. You can, for example, use the Workbench menu to update the screen display or see which version of the system software is in use.

On the Workbench menu you can select the following options:

Update software


The Backdrop menu item creates more room on the Workbench screen for displaying windows and icons. Backdrop switches between a normal window for your Workbench and a special borderless window that is always behind other windows opened on the Workbench.

Choosing Backdrop removes the Workbench window borders so that the disk icons appear to be on the Workbench screen without being enclosed in a window. To return to the normal Workbench window, choose Backdrop again. Backdrop is reset to off if you power off or reboot your computer. To save your Backdrop selection choose the Snapshot item in the Windows menu while the Workbench window is selected.

Execute Command

This menu item is provided for users familiar with AmigaDOS.

The Execute Command executes (starts) an AmigaDOS command without opening a Shell window. Figure 4-2 illustrates an Execute Command requester.

Execute Command Window

Enter the command and all of its arguments in the requester.

A Workbench Output Window is automatically opened when a command results in output and it remains there until you select its close gadget. The current directory for an Execute Command operation is RAM:.

Open volume

Redraw All

Redraw All redraws all open Workbench windows in the Workbench screen and can be used in the event of a disturbance to the Workbench. If Redraw All does not restore the windows to their proper appearance, reboot the computer.

Update All

Update All reopens each open Workbench window, updating its appearance to show its current state.

If you have several windows open and have been using the Shell or an application to change to the contents of a disk, the changes may not be reflected in its windows until you close the windows and reopen them or choose Update All.

Last Message

Last Message retrieves the last information or error message that appeared on the title bar.


About opens a requester showing the internal version number of the Workbench and Kickstart software, as well as copyright information. Select the OK gadget to close the requester.


Quit closes all Workbench operations, making additional RAM available if needed. The Workbench does not close if there are any programs running, including programs that do not open a window and programs that are in your WBStartup drawer.

The only windows that can remain open while using Quit are the disk, drawer, and Shell windows. Once you OK the Quit requester, a Shell window is your only link to the Amiga. You can use the Shell icon in the System drawer to open a Shell window before quitting the Workbench.

Return to the Workbench by typing LOADWB (load Workbench) at the Shell prompt and pressing Return. If there is no Shell window open, you must reboot to return to the Workbench.

The close gadget on the Workbench window is the same as choosing Quit.

Window Menu

The Window menu is only available when a Workbench window is selected. The Window menu allows you to create new drawers, select the contents of the window, rearrange the contents, change how the contents are displayed, and close the window. The available window options are:

New Drawer

To create a new drawer:

  1. Select the window in which you want to create the drawer.
  2. Choose New Drawer from the Window menu. The drawer is created and named "Unnamed1".
  3. A Rename requester prompts you to change the name of the drawer.
  4. Delete the existing name using the DEL key, enter a new name, and press Return or select OK. Selecting Cancel leaves the default name on the new drawer.

Open Parent

A window's parent is the window that contains its icon. With the exception of the Workbench window, every Workbench disk window has a parent window.

Open Parent opens the selected window's parent or brings it to the front of the display if it is already open.


Close closes and removes the selected window from the screen.

Mouse shortcut: For many windows, you can select the close gadget in the upper left corner of the window.


Update redraws the selected window, including any changes made to the contents through the Shell or the Execute Command menu item. Such changes are not reflected until the window is updated or reopened.

Select Contents

Select Contents selects all of the icons in the current window.

Clean Up

Clean Up automatically arranges all the icons in the selected window so that they do not overlap. This arrangement is not saved until you use the Snapshot menu item described below.


Snapshot saves the arrangement and position of icons in a window. It is commonly used following Clean Up. Snapshot has a submenu containing two items: Window and All.

Snapshot Window saves the position and size of the selected window, as well as the Show and View By settings described below. However, it does not save the position of the icons in the window.

Snapshot All saves the position and other settings of all the icons in the selected window, as well as the position and size of the window.


Show controls the types of icons that are displayed on a window. Show has two submenu items: Only Icons and All Files.

Show Only Icons is the default Show mode, displaying only those files and drawers that have icons (.info files).

Show All Files provides a pseudo-icon for each file or drawer in the selected window that does not have a real icon. Pseudo-icons can be treated like any other icon, including manipulating them with the menu items in the Icon menu.

You may have to scroll in the window to see the new pseudo-icons.

View By

View By changes how the information in the window is displayed. View By has four submenu items: Icons, Name, Date, and Size.

View By Icons is the window's default mode.

Choosing View By Name, View By Date, or View By Size displays a window's contents in text form, including the size of the file, its attributes (whether it can be read, deleted, executed, or written to), and its timestamp.

File and drawer names can be selected, opened, dragged, and manipulated just like icons.

View By Name sorts the file list in alphabetical order.

View By Date sorts the list in chronological order, with the most recently created file listed first.

View By Size sorts the list by size, listing the smallest file first.

Icons Menu

The Icons menu allows you to work with the icons on the screen. An icon must be selected before the menu options illustrated in Figure 4-3 become available.

Icons Menu


Opening an icon makes a program or window available.

When you open a disk or drawer icon, a window displays the icons contained on that disk or in that drawer. When an individual project or tool is opened, the corresponding program starts.

Open an icon by selecting it an choosing Open.

Mouse Shortcut: Point to the icon and double-click the selection button.


Copy allows you to duplicate disks, drawers, programs, or files within a window. To copy material to another window, use the drag-copy method described in Chapter 3. Drag-copying is the easiest method of copying a disk on a two-floppy-system.

Use Copy for making backup copies of your disks.

To copy a drawer, project, or icon:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose Copy from the Icons menu.

Copying disks on single-floppy disk drive systems entails a process known as swapping. Source and destination disks are swapped in the single drive as the system first reads information from the source disk and the writes it to the destination disk. The destination disk must be write-enabled, but need not be formatted since Copy formats the disk as it writes to it. Be sure to copy to disks of the same density as the original disks.

To copy a disk on a single-floppy disk drive system:

  1. Insert the source disk into the Amiga's internal disk drive.
  2. Select the source disk's icon.
  3. Choose Copy from the Icons menu. Insert the Workbench disk, if necessary.
  4. If the disk copy requires at least five swaps, a requester tells you how many swaps are needed. Closing any unnecessary windows or stopping any unwanted programs helps reduce the number of swaps.
  5. Select the Continue gadget in the swap requester. During the disk copy, the icon for the disk being copied is unavailable and is labeled "BUSY".
  6. Insert the source disk into the drive when prompted and select Continue. A horizontal bar gauge shows the percentage of the disk copy completed.
  7. Insert the destination disk into the drive when prompted and select Continue to copy the information read in from the source disk. Swap the disks as often as requested. When the copy is finished, a Disk Copy Finished message appears.
  8. Remove the destination disk from the drive and label it. The destination disk's icon is labeled with a copy_of_prefix (for example, copy_of_DataDisk).


Rename changes the name of an icon. It is used to remove the copy_of_prefix from something you copied, as well as for changing the names of drawers, disks, and files.

To rename an icon:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose Rename from the Icons menu. A requester containing a text gadget displays the current name of the icon.
  3. Delete the old name using Backspace or right Amiga+X and enter the new name. Do not use spaces before or after the new name. Because embedded spaces are not visible, they can cause confusion if you have to type in the icon name again.
  4. Press Return. The new name appears under the icon.


Information displays status information about the selected icon's file. Certain data can also be modified in the Information window. Figure 4-4 illustrates the Information window.

Icon Information Window

Although the contents of the window varies with the icon, the following information is always displayed:

title bar The window title bar indicates the path to the icon.
name The icon name and its type in parentheses (Volume, Drawer, Tool, Project, or Trashcan).
image A picture of the icon.
size The number of blocks and bytes that the disk, project, or tool fills.
stack The amount of memory reserved as temporary storage for a specific tool.
last changed date The date on which the icon was created or the last time it was changed (its timestamp).

For a disk icon, the window also shows whether a disk is write-enabled (Read/Write) or write-protected (Read Only).

For a drawer, trashcan, project, or tool, the following attributes can be set or cleared by clicking on the attribute's check box.

Script If set, the file is a script (a text file of AmigaDOS commands) and can be run without using the EXECUTE command.
Archived This attribute is set by backup programs to indicate that a file or directory has been archived (backed up). It is cleared whenever the file is saved.
Readable If set, information in the file can be read. If this attribute is clear, a tool will not run and a project cannot be loaded by its Default Tool.
Writable If set, information can be written into the file. Unless Writable is set, you cannot make changes to the file.
Executable If set, the file is a tool that can be run from Workbench or the Shell. If this attribute is clear, the tool cannot be run from the Shell.
Deletable If set, the drawer, project, or tool can be erased from the disk. If clear, the object is protected from deletion.

If the icon represents a project, there is a Default Tool gadget. This specifies the path to the tool that created the project. When the project icon is opened, the default toll is also opened to work on the project.

If there is a Comments box, you can add a note of up to 79 characters by selecting the text gadget next to Comments, entering the text, and pressing Return.

The Tool Types box specifies different startup options for some programs or files. Icon Tool Types are described in Chapter 3.

To save any changes made to the Information window, select the Save gadget in the lower left corner.


Snapshot saves the positions of all the currently selected icons. The next time you open the window, the icons that you selected appear in their saved positions. You can save the positions of several icons at one time by using drag selection or extended selection.

To save the position of an icon:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose Snapshot.


UnSnapshot cancels the snapshot position of an icon. The next time you open the window, the icons are rearranged.

To release the snapshot position of an icon:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose UnSnapshot.

Leave Out

Leave Out moves an often-used icon out of its original window and into the Workbench window for faster access. The file represented by the icon remains in its original drawer on the disk; only the icon is moved. The icon remains in the Workbench window, even if the machine is rebooted. This menu item cannot be used with disks or the Trashcan.

To use Leave Out:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose Leave Out.

The icon moves into the Workbench window.

Put Away

Put Away returns an icon that was left out to its original drawer.

To use Put Away:

  1. Select the icon.
  2. Choose Put Away.


Delete erases files and their icons from your disks.

Use Delete with caution; you cannot retrieve something that was deleted.

To delete a file or drawer:

  1. Select its icon. Use drag selection or extended selection to choose more than one icon to be deleted. Disks and the Trashcan cannot be removed with Delete.
  2. Choose Delete from the Icons menu. A warning requester appears, listing the number of files and drawers currently selected. Verify that you want to erase permanently the items listed. Remember that if you delete a drawer, everything contained in it is also deleted.
  3. Select the OK gadget. The icon and the files associated with it are erased from your disk. If you do not want to delete everything currently selected, select the Cancel gadget.

Format Disk

Formatting a disk prepares it for storing information. Format disks that are new and unformatted, disks that develop errors, or disks on which you wish to use different file system options.

Formatting erases all information on a disk. Be careful not to format disks that hold information that you do not want to lose, particularly your original system and software applications disks.

Select the icon of the disk to be formatted and choose Format Disk from the Icons menu. The Format window, illustrated in Figure 4-5, displays the current information about the disk. If the disk is already formatted, its volume name and the percentage of the disk currently in use are displayed. A text gadget allows you to enter a new Volume name for the disk.

Format Window

Five items can be selected (checked) in the Format window:

Put Trashcan Allows you to put a Trashcan on the disk.
Fast File System Allows the Amiga to fit more information on a disk. It is faster than the standard file system. Fast File System disks are incompatible with Workbench software releases prior to Release 2.
International Mode Fully supports international characters in file names. We recommend that you set this option on.
International Mode is incompatible with Workbench software releases prior to Release 2.
Directory Cache Speeds up the opening of drawers, file requesters, and listings. This option is off by default. Disks using Directory Cache are incompatible with Workbench software releases prior to Release 3.
Long names

Fast File System, International Mode, and Directory Cache can only be specified for AmigaDOS disks. Selecting the Directory Cache option automatically selects International Mode. Disks created with the Directory Cache option can only be read by Amigas running Workbench Release 3.0 and above.

Quick format is for reformatting a disk that was previously formatted. You cannot format a new blank disk with Quick Format. Choosing the Quick Format option is faster than formatting the entire disk; however, it does not detect any read/write errors on the disk that could be eliminated by a full format.

When the disk is formatted, if you did not change he name in the Format window, it is labeled Empty. This name can be changed using the Rename item in the Icons menu.

Formatting Hard Disks

You must format your hard disk under the following conditions if:

  • It is a new unformatted disk.
  • You have a serious unrecoverable disk error.
  • You have repartitioned the disk.
  • You wish to use a different file system option on the disk, such as the Directory Cache option.

Before reformatting your hard disk, be sure to back up all important information from the disk.

The Ram Disk cannot be formatted. If you accidentally select the Ram Disk for formatting, a requester reports that there is a format failure and requires you to select Cancel.

If you have more than one disk icon selected, more than one Format window opens when the Format Disk item is selected from the Icons menu. The format windows open one on top of another so that only one Format window is initially visible. Drag the windows until all are visible. Be sure to check the Current Information field in the Format window for the intended Device and Volume names before allowing the format to continue.

Check the device and volume names carefully. If you accidentally reformat your hard disk instead of a floppy, you will eras all of your files.

Formatting Floppy Disks

The Amiga does not recognize floppy disks that are not formatted; therefore, blank disks must be formatted before anything can be written on them. Disks can be formatted at any time, including while running one or more applications. Disks usually have to be formatted only once.

To determine if a floppy disk is formatted, insert it into a floppy drive and check the disk icon on the Workbench screen. If the Amiga cannot recognize the disk, four question marks (????) follow the drive designation in the icon's label.

To format a blank disk:

  1. Write-enable the disk and insert it into a floppy drive.
  2. Select its disk icon when it appears on the Workbench screen.
  3. Holding down the menu button, point to the Icons menu, move the pointer to the Format Disk item, and release the button.
  4. If you have a hard drive on your Amiga, skip to Step 7. If you do not have a hard drive on your Amiga, at the requester insert the workbench disk into any drive.
  5. When the Format program has been loaded from the Workbench disk remove the disk from the drive.
  6. At the requester, insert the blank disk and select the Continue gadget.
  7. In the Format window, change the volume name of the disk from the default Empty; choose whether to put the Trashcan on the disk an other options. Then select Format to continue.
  8. A requester warning that all data will be lost if you continue the format appears on the screen. Select either Format or Cancel.
  9. During the format a window is displayed that shows the percentage of disk that has been formatted. This window also has a Stop gadget that allows you to cancel the format at any time.

A disk that is partially formatted is not usable.

To format a disk as an MS-DOS disk through CrossDOS, you must have a CrossDos DOSdriver activated. If the PC0 DOSdriver is active, select the disk icon labeled PC0:???? for formatting.

Empty Trash

Empty Trash deletes the contents of the Trashcan. To use the Trashcan, drag an icon over the Trashcan icon and release the selection button. The icon is then stored in the Trashcan drawer until you decide to permanently throw it away with Empty Trash.

To delete an icon with Empty Trash:

  1. Drag the icon over the Trashcan and release the selection button. If you open the Trashcan, the icon appears in the Trashcan window.
  2. Make sure the Trashcan icon is selected (the lid is displayed open) and choose Empty Trash from the Icons menu. The Trashcan contents are deleted.

An icon can be retrieved from the Trashcan as long as Empty Trash is not chosen. Retrieve an icon by opening the Trashcan window and dragging the icon into any window. You may wish to open the Trashcan window in Show All Files mode and verify its contents before choosing Empty Trash.

The following rules apply to the Trashcan:

  • Icons can only be moved to a Trashcan on the same volume.
  • Disks cannot be deleted using the Trashcan.
  • The Trashcan cannot be moved into a drawer.
  • The Trashcan cannot be left out.
  • The Trashcan cannot be deleted with the Delete menu item.

Tools Menu

The Tools Menu initially contains only ResetWB for resetting the Workbench. Other Amiga applications and utilities can add items to the Tools menu. Consult the documentation that came with your applications software for information on adding items to the Tools menu.

Workbench Programs

The Workbench disk window contains a number of drawers that contain system and utility files.

These drawers are:

  • System
  • Utilities
  • Devs
  • Storage
  • WBStartup
  • Expansion

System Drawer

The System drawer contains programs that control system functions. Some offer access to Amiga accessory programs, such as AmigaDOS or ARexx.

AmiUpdate Drawer


AmigaOS 4 firmware updater.


Find allows you to search files by name or by contents.


FixFonts should be used after fonts are added to or deleted from your Fonts drawer.

For more information on fonts and FixFonts, see Chapter 8.


Format a disk by opening the Format icon. Double-clicking on the Format icon opens a requester asking you to select a device to format. Click on the device you wish to format. Click on the Continue button to display the Format window. The rest of the procedure follows the same steps as used with t he Icon menu's Format Disk item, described on page 4-17.


FormatCDRW allows you to format a rewriteable optical disk.


GrimReaper is a system tool for handling software failures. It is launched automatically when software failure occurs.

Tool Types

GrimReaper supports the following Tool Types:

LOGDIR=<directory> Name of the directory to write crash reports to. Default directory is "RAM:".
DISLINES=<number of lines> Number of lines to disassemble when creating a crash report. Default is 5.
DEBUGSHELL=<shell command> Specifies the shell command used when attaching a debugger. Default command is "CON:50/50/800/480/GDB/CLOSE/WAIT".
DEBUGCOMMAND=<debugger> Specifies the name of the debugger to launch. Default is "SDK:C/gdb".

Shell Usage

GRIMREAPER <task address>
TASKADDRESS Crashed task's memory address in hexadecimal form. Prefix "0x" is required.

ARexx Interface

GrimReaper has no ARexx interface.


Help allows you to read Shell command documentation and system component release notes.

All commands or system components for which documentation is available are shown in the left hand list on the Help window.

The cycle gadget above the list controls the list content. You can list Shell commands by selecting "Shell Commands" or you can list system components by selecting "Release Notes."

Selecting an item from the list displays the related documentation or release notes on the right.

Help Menus

Help has three menus: the Project menu, Edit menu, and the Navigation menu.

In the Project menu:

Print Prints the currently viewed command documentation.
About Displays information on Help.
Quit Exits Help program.

In the Edit menu:

Copy Copies the selected text to the clipboard.
Mark All Selects the currently viewed text.

In the Navigation menu:

Find Make a text search on currently viewed documentation.
Find Next Find the next text match.

Shell Usage

HELP [<command>]
COMMAND Name of a AmigaDOS command which documentation you wish to read.

ARexx Interface

Help has no ARexx interface.


Intellifont manages the installation of Intellifont® outline fonts onto your Amiga. Intellifont and fonts are described in Chapter 8.

Media Toolbox

Disk partition tool.


Mounter is an interactive partition mount tool. It operates on devices that support the RDB (Rigid Disk Block) organization data structures which define which and which size partitions are assigned to a storage medium.

Mounter can be started both from Shell and from the Workbench. In both cases the same parameters can be used. The only difference between them is that for the Workbench, you would need to specify the parameters as tool types.

Supported parameters

Example :
DEVICE=2ndscsi.device Default: DEVICE=scsi.device
This specifies the device driver to query for partition information. Not all device drivers are supported. Commonly, you would use this tool only on hard disk drives.
UNIT=0 Default: - (No unit specified)
If the UNIT parameter is omitted, Mounter will open a window and query unit numbers 0-6 for attached devices, prompting you to choose a device to examine for partition data. However, if you specify a unit number, it indicates that you want all the partitions on that device to be mounted.
PARTITIONS=HD0:|HD1:|HD2: (Workbench only) PARTITIONS HD0: HD1: HD2: (Shell only) Default: - (No partitions specified)
This parameter works in conjunction with the UNIT parameter. Instead of mounting all partitions on the specified unit, you choose which partitions exactly should be mounted.
NOUNMOUNT Default: - (Partitions with the same name will be unmounted)
If the Mounter tool detects that there is already a partition by the name of a new partition to be mounted, its default action will be to umount the existing partition. This can be undesirable, which is why the NOUNMOUNT parameter can be used to tell Mounter to add the new partition under a new name. The new partition name is created by adding a number to its name. For example, if the partition HD0: would already exist, the new partition would be mounted under the name of HD0.1:. If HD0.1: already exists, HD0.2: would be used, and so on.
NOREMOUNT Default: - (Always mount a partition, even if there already is a partition mounted by the same name)
This option tells Mounter not to attempt to mount partitions again if they have already been mounted. For example, if you want Mounter to mount the partition DH0:" if, and only if, it has not already been mounted, you would start the program with the options NOUNMOUNT and NOREMOUNT. This will tell Mounter not to unmount an already existing partition (NOUNMOUNT) and not to attempt to mount the partition if its name is already in use (NOREMOUNT).
QUIET Default: - (Mounter will show a progress report of its actions)
When Mounter mounts or unmounts partitions, it will show briefly what it is currently doing. The reports (except for error messages) can be be disabled with the QUIET parameter.
MASK=0x7FFFFFFC Default: - (No special transfer mask)
This parameter corresponds to the MASK option associated with a mount list. By default, Mounter will use whatever transfer mask value is associated with the partition data it finds on the disk. If you provide a mask parameter, that parameter will be used instead of the partition`s transfer mask value when the partition is mounted.
QUERY (NOTE: Shell only parameter) Default: - (Do not print the queried information)
This parameter will print the same information that would be shown in the graphical user interface in the Shell window.
PUBSCREEN=Workbench Default: - (Use the default public screen)
This parameter tells Mounter to opens its graphical user interface on the named public screen. If the named public screen cannot be found, the user interface will fall back to open on the default public screen.
CX_POPKEY=Alt Shift F10
These are the standard Commodities tool control variables which determine Mounter`s hot key and whether the program should open its display upon startup.

The graphical user interface

Mounter will display a list of devices attached to the driver you specified.

If no device responds to the query, you will see the text <No device present>" following the unit number. Otherwise, you will see a list of device parameters:

Vendor Name of the device manufacturer
Product Name of the device
Rev Revision of the device
Size Size of the storage media, if available.
Type Type of the device, such as Disk drive" or CD-ROM drive".
Media Type of storage media, if available.
Status This indicates whether the device can be accessed and used. For devices with removable media, you will see not ready" if there is currently no media inserted.

Below this list there are three buttons: "Mount...", "Update" and "Hide". To close the window, either click on the window close gadget or hit the Hide" button. To reread the list of devices corresponding to the device driver you chose, hit the "Update" button. To examine a device for partition tables, first select it from the list, then hit the "Mount..." button (a double-click on the list entry will have the same effect).

After hitting the "Mount..." button, Mounter will check the partitions on the given device. If a partition table is found, it will be presented to you in a new list, like this:

Partition name Size File system type
WB_2.X 20M DOS\1
HD0 500M DOS\3
HD1 500M DOS\3

In this list, partitions which are not currently mounted will be highlighted. To change the highlighting, hold down any [Shift] key and click on an entry. To mount all highlighted partitions, hit the Mount" button located in the lower left corner of the window.


Some very old programs may not run properly when memory other than graphics (chip) memory is present in the Amiga system. In this case, double-clicking on the NoFastMem icon forces the Amiga to use only the available graphics memory. The other mem display in the Workbench title bar drops to 0 (zero). The icon works like a toggle switch. To restore expansion (Fast) memory to the system, double-click on the NoFastMem icon again. NoFastMem does not open a window.

Python Drawer

This drawer contains the Amiga Python programming language.

Python is a powerful and easy to learn programming language. It has efficient high-level data structures and a simple but effective approach to object-oriented programming. It is an ideal language for scripting and rapid application development.

Python Interpreter

Python programs are stored in source code form and they are executed with Python interpreter Python.

Running Python Programs

The Python command is used to run a Python program. For example, to run a program called "" enter the following command in Shell:


If the "" file has execute and script file protection flags set, you can just type

and Shell will execute the program using the Python interpreter.

Using Python Interactively

You can use Python interactively, too. Just double-click the Python tool icon in the Python drawer and an Amiga Python console window will open.

You can type any Python command in the console and it will be executed once you press Enter. To leave the interactive command mode, type exit() and press Enter.

Lib Drawer

This drawer contains the Python standard library.

The library contains built-in modules that provide access to system functionality such as the file I/O that would otherwise be inaccessible to Python programmers, as well as modules written in Python that provide standardized solutions for many problems that occur in everyday programming.


RexxMast is the interpreter for the optional ARexx programming language. If the RexxMast icon is not present, you do not have ARexx on your system. To use RexxMast, double-click on its icon. To run RexxMast each time you boot, drag the icon into WBStartup.


RinghioServer is a desktop notification system. It allows applications to display notifications without interrupting the user. Ringhio displays a notification on the screen in a box. Depending on the notification priority, the notification box stays on the screen until it is clicked or, if it is a low priority notification, it disappears after a while.

See Chapter 5. Preferences on how to customize the notification system.

ARexx Interface

RinghioServer has an ARexx port which allows applications and scripts to display notifications through Ringhio. Ringhio's ARexx port name is RINGHIO.

Ringhio supports the following ARexx commands:

REGISTERAPP APP/K,AREXXPORT/K,ICON/K,TEXT/F Ringhio displays notifications from registered applications and scripts only. To register an application or script, use the REGISTERAPP command. The command accepts the following parameters:

APP=<application name>

Name of the application/script you are registering. This parameter is required.

AREXXPORT=<port name>

Name of the ARexx port where the return message should be send. This parameter is optional.

ICON=<path to icon file>

Full path to your application's or script's icon file, excluding the ".info" extension. The icon image will be displayed in the Notifications Preferences editor. This parameter is optional.


A short description of your application/script for the Notifications Preferences editor. This parameter is optional.

RINGHIO APP/K,UPDATE/S,CLOSEONDC/S,PRI/K,SCREEN/K,IMG/K,IMGVALIGN/K/N,LOGONLY/S,TITLE/K,BACKRXMSG/K,TEXT/F Command RINGHIO displays a notification. It accepts the following parameters:

APP=<application name>

Name of the application/script requesting notification display. The name must match the name of the registered application/script. This parameter is required.


When supplied, the new notification will replace all currently visible notifications of the named application/script. This parameter is optional.


Enables notification box's closing. The user can close the box by double-clicking it. This parameter is optional.


Notification priority: 0-10. Priority 9 notification flashes the screen and plays the "beep" sound. Priority 10 notifications are sticky. They flash the screen, play the "beep" sound, and stay on the screen until the user closes the notification box. This parameter is required.

SCREEN=<public screen>

Name of the public screen where the notification box should appear. If omitted, the notification will be displayed on the Workbench screen. The screen name FRONT has a special meaning: it makes Ringhio to display the notification on the frontmost screen. This parameter is optional.

IMG=<image file path>

Full path to image, which will be displayed in the notification box. The maximum image size is 32 x 32 px. This parameter is optional.


Vertical alignment of the image to be displayed in the notification box: 0 = align top, 1 = align middle, 2 = align bottom. This parameter is optional.


Prevents Ringhio from displaying the notification. However, the notification will be logged. This parameter is optional.


Notification title. The maximum title length is 64 characters. Titles longer than that will be truncated. This parameter is optional.

BACKRXMSG=<return message>

Defines a message to be send to the ARexx port named with the REGISTERAPP's AREXXPORT parameter when user double-clicks the notification box. The BACKRXMSG parameter can also be used for opening an URL in the default web browser by using a prefix "URL:". For example, argument BACKRXMSG="URL:" opens the web site in the default browser when the user double-clicks the notification box.


Text to be displayed in the notification box. The maximum text length is 160 characters. If the supplied text is longer, it will be truncated.

Once you send the REGISTERAPP command, the RinghioServer will return one of the following messages in the ARexx RESULT variable:

OK, APP REGISTERED Application has been successfully registered.
ERROR: APP ALREADY REGISTERED Failed to register the application because it has already been registered.
ERROR: NO APP NAME Application's name is missing (APP parameter).
ERROR: OUT OF MEMORY There is not enough memory to register the application.
ERROR: UNDEFINED ERROR Failed to register because of an error.

Once you send the RINGHIO command, the RinghioServer will return one of the following messages in the ARexx RESULT variable:

OK, MSG QUEUED Notification received and added in the display queue.
ERROR: TOO MANY MESSAGES QUEUED Notification cannot be displayed because display queue is overflowed.
ERROR: APP NOT ALLOWED The requesting application is blocked in the Notifications Preferences editor.
ERROR: APP NOT REGISTERED The requesting application is not registered.
ERROR: NO APP NAME Application's name is missing (APP parameter).
ERROR: OUT OF MEMORY There is not enough memory to display the notification.
ERROR: UNDEFINED ERROR Failed to display the notification because of an error.

The following ARexx program shows how to display a short notification with Ringhio.

/* Ringhio notification test */
/* Name of this application */
application = 'NOTIFICATIONTEST'
options results
/*--- Register application ---*/
command = 'REGISTERAPP APP=' || application || ' ICON="ENV:Sys/def_arexx" Notification test script.'
address RINGHIO command
/* Failed to register */
if left( RESULT, 2 ) ~= 'OK' then do
	/* Exit script if the error is other than 'already registered' */	
	if right( RESULT, 22 ) ~= 'APP ALREADY REGISTERED' then do
/*--- Display notification ---*/
command = 'RINGHIO APP=' || application || ' SCREEN="FRONT" PRI=1 IMG="SYS:Prefs/Presets/Ringhio/impronta_32.png" TITLE="Ringhio Test" IMGVALIGN=1 This is a test message.'
address RINGHIO command
/* Failed to display notification */
if left( RESULT, 2 ) ~= 'OK' then do


Shell opens an Amiga Shell window, which gives you complete access to the AmigaDOS command line environment.


TypeManager allows you to install and manage fonts on your Amiga. It can handle the following font formats:

Name Comment Filename Extension
OpenType Scalable font, extended from TrueType and PostScript fonts .otf, .ttf, .tcc
TrueType Outline font .ttf, .tte, .dfont
PostScript Type 1 Outline font .pfb, .pfm, .afm, .inf, .pfa, .ofm
PostScript Type 42 A PostScript wrapper around a TrueType font .pfb, .pfm, .afm, .inf, .pfa, .ofm
TrueDoc (PFR) Outline font .pfr
Glyph Bitmap Distribution Format (BDF) Bitmap font .bdf
Portable Compiled Format (PCF) Bitmap font .pcf
Windows FNT Bitmap font .fnt
Windows FON Bitmap font .fon

TypeManager Menus

TypeManager has two menus: the Project menu and the Settings menu.

In the Project menu:

About Displays information on TypeManager.
Quit Exits TypeManager program.

In the Settings menu:

Show help? Controls the gadget help. When Show help? is chosen, leaving the mouse pointer on top of a gadget opens the gadget's help.
Preferred hinter This submenu allows you to select which font display enhancement method TypeManager should use.
Save settings on exit In this submenu you can select if settings should be saved on exit or not, or should TypeManager confirm saving.
Save Saves TypeManager settings.

How to Install or Remove Fonts?

TypeManager's window is split into two: on the left are listed the fonts you can install on the system, and on the right is the list of currently installed fonts.

To install new fonts, click the Source directory gadget and select the directory which contains the fonts you would like to install. When you have selected the directory, TypeManager will list the fonts on the left.

Select the fonts you would like to install from the list using your mouse. Shift-click list items to pick fonts to be installed. If you would like to install all the listed fonts, click the Select All button.

Next select the location where the fonts will be installed. To install in the default system location, select "#1" location from the cycle gadget on the right (the gadget below the Destination directory gadget). Then click the Install button.

You can remove any installed font just by selecting the font to be removed from the list on the right and then clicking the Remove button.

How to Modify Fonts?

You can change the installed font properties by selecting a font from the list on the right and clicking the Modify button.

At the bottom of the font modify window there are buttons for closing the window without saving (Cancel button) and two buttons for saving: Save saves the current font settings and Save as bitmap font saves a bitmap font settings. The latter is available only when you are modifying bitmap fonts.

Above the saving buttons are the font preview buttons. Repertoire displays all available font glyphs in a separate window, while Sample text displays a sample text using the selected font.

The editable font properties are on five pages at the upper part of the window. The pages are: Sizes, Attributes, Files, Metrics, and Encoding.

Page: Sizes

On this page you can edit which font sizes are available in the system font requester. To add a new font size, enter the size in the Size field and click the Add size button. The new size will appear in the font size list. To remove a font size, select a size from the list and click the Delete size button.

You can also create bitmap versions of the selected outline font sizes. The advantage of having the bitmapped versions is that they load faster and older programs can utilize the font as well.

To create bitmap versions, select the font sizes from the list of which you would like to create a bitmap font conterpart. Then select character set for the bitmap fonts using the Charset cycle gadget. The character set will determine which glyphs will be included in the bitmap fonts. And finally click the Add bitmap button.

The second column, Charset, of the font size list tells if a bitmap font of that size exists. If the Charset column contains character set name, a bitmap font for that size exist.

To remove bitmap fonts from a specified font size, select the size from the font size list and click the Delete bitmap button. Deleting bitmap fonts from a font size does not delete the size nor the outline font.

Page: Attributes

On this page you can change font's appearance. You can select between fixed and variable width fonts (Width), change slanting (Slant), select the serif type (Serifs) and font weight (Weight), and specify text width (HorizStyle).

You can also select a hinter method for glyph rendering (Hinter).

Page: Files
Page: Metrics
Page: Encoding

How to Create and Manage your own Font Library?

TypeManager makes it easy to create and manage your own font library. The operating system and applications can use the fonts which are installed along the FONTS assignment. The current assingments can be seen in the cycle gadget above the right side font list.

You can create a new font library which can be made available for the operating system and applications when needed.

To create a new font library, click the Destination directory directory selection gadget. A directory selection requester appears. Use the requester and browse to the directory where you would like to create a new font library. If you need to create a subdirectory, select Create new drawer... from the requester's Control menu. Then click OK.

You can now install fonts in your font library by selecting the installable fonts from the list on the left and clicking the Install button.

When you want that the operating system and applications can use the fonts in your library, the library path must be attached to the FONTS assignment. The attachment can be made with the Assign command.

If your font library is in the Work:MyFonts/ directory, the assignment command is as follows:

Assign FONTS: "Work:MyFonts/" ADD

You can enter the command in Shell or use Workbench's Execute Command... function, which can be found from Workbench's Workbench menu.

To detach your library from the FONTS assignment, reboot Amiga or give the following command:

Assign FONTS: "Work:MyFonts/" REMOVE

Tool Types

TypeManager supports the following Tool Types:

PUBSCREEN=<public screen> Names the public screen on which TypeManager should open its window.

Shell Usage

TypeManager [PUBSCREEN <public screen name>]

ARexx Interface

TypeManager has no ARexx interface.

Utilities Drawer

The Utilities drawer contains programs that are helpful, but not necessary for working with your Amiga.


AmiGS is a viewing and printing utility for postscript, EPS, and PDF documents.

Tool Types

AmiGS supports the following Tool Types:

WINDOWBOX=<left>/<top>/<width>/<height> This tool type allows you to define AmiGS window position and dimensions.
PUBSCREEN=<public screen> Name of the public screen. AmiGS will open its window on the public screen which name has been supplied with this tool type.

Shell Usage

AMIGS [FILE <file name>] [PAGE <page number>] [PAGENAME <page name>] [ZOOM <zoom factor>] [PUBSCREEN <public screen name>] [FULLSCREEN]

ARexx Interface

AmiGS has an ARexx interface which allows other programs to control AmiGS while it is running. AmiGS's ARexx port name is AMIGS.<slot #>, where <slot #> is the ARexx port slot. When you have one AmiGS running, its ARexx port is AMIGS.1. The other instance of AmiGS has a port named AMIGS.2, the third instance AMIGS.3 and so on.

AmiGS upports the following ARexx commands:

GETDEFAULTID Returns the default document ID in the ARexx variable RESULT.

AmiGS creates a unique ID number for each opened document. The first opened document will get this ID number. AmiGS generates a new document ID by adding 1 to the last used ID number. Thus the second document's ID number will be 2, third's 3, and so on. When you close a document, its ID number won't be reused.

QUIT Quits the application.
OPEN [<file name>] Opens the named file in a new window or if the file name is not supplied, displays a file requester for selecting a file.
CLOSE <document id> Closes an open document using the AmiGS's internal document ID number.
FIRSTPAGE <document id> Displays the first page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
LASTPAGE <document id> Displays the last page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
PREVPAGE <document id> Displays the previous page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
NEXTPAGE <document id> Displays the next page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
GOTOPAGE <document id> <page number> Displays the requested page of the document which ID number is <document id>.


AmiPDF is a PDF document viewer. It can also be used for converting PDF documents to text files and PostScript files.

Tool Types

AmiPDF supports the following Tool Types:

WINDOWBOX=<left>/<top>/<width>/<height> This tool type allows you to define AmiPDF window position and dimensions.
PUBSCREEN=<public screen> Name of the public screen. AmiPDF will open its window on the public screen which name has been supplied with this tool type.

Shell Usage

AMIPDF [FILE <filename>] [PAGE <page number>] [PAGENAME <page name>] [OWNERPASS <password>] [USERPASS <password>] [ZOOM <zoom factor>] [PUBSCREEN <public screen name>] [FULLSCREEN] [PAPERSIZE <paper size>] [PAPERWIDTH <paper width>] [PAPERHEIGHT <paper height>] [PSLEVEL1] [TEXTENCODING <encoding> ] [QUIET]
FILE Name of the PDF file to open.
PAGE Page number. Open the PDF document from the specified page.
PAGENAME Like PAGE except you can use page names instead of page numbers.
OWNERPASS Document's owner password. Providing this will bypass all security restrictions.
USERPASS Document's user password. As a minimum this will unlock the read protection.
ZOOM Initial zoom factor. Percentage value.
PUBSCREEN Name of the public screen. AmiPDF will open its window on the public screen which name has been supplied with this argument.
FULLSCREEN Display the PDF document using the full-screen mode.
PAPERSIZE Paper size: LETTER, LEGAL, A4, or A3.
PAPERWIDTH Set the paper width in points.
PAPERHEIGHT Set the paper height in points.
PSLEVEL1 Generates Level 1 PostScript. The resulting PostScript file will be significantly larger (if it contains images), but will print on Level 1 printers. This also converts all images to black and white.

By default AmiPDF generates Level 2 PostScript.

TEXTENCODING Sets the encoding to use for text output.
QUIET Don't print any messages or errors.

ARexx Interface

AmiPDF has an ARexx interface which allows other programs to control AmiPDF while it is running. AmiPDF's ARexx port name is AMIPDF.<slot #>, where <slot #> is the ARexx port slot. When you have one AmiPDF running, its ARexx port is AMIPDF.1. The other instance of AmiPDF has a port named AMIPDF.2, the third instance AMIPDF.3 and so on.

AmiPDF supports the following ARexx commands:

GETDEFAULTID Returns the default document ID in the ARexx variable RESULT.

AmiPDF creates a unique ID number for each opened document. The first opened PDF document will get this ID number. AmiPDF generates a new document ID by adding 1 to the last used ID number. Thus the second document's ID number will be 2, third's 3, and so on. When you close a document, its ID number won't be reused.

QUIT Quits the application.
OPEN [<pdf file>] Opens the named PDF file in a new window or if the file name is not supplied, displays a file requester for selecting a file.
CLOSE <document id> Closes an open PDF document using the AmiPDF's internal document ID number.
FIRSTPAGE <document id> Displays the first page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
LASTPAGE <document id> Displays the last page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
PREVPAGE <document id> Displays the previous page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
NEXTPAGE <document id> Displays the next page of the document which ID number is <document id>.
GOTOPAGE <document id> <page number> Displays the requested page of the document which ID number is <document id>.


The Calculator is a standard four-function calculator for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Opening the Calculator icon activates it.

The calculator works like any standard calculator. The buttons on the calculator are gadgets. The numbered gadgets represent the digits 0 through 9. The non-numerical gadgets represent:

CA Clear all previous entries. Resets the calculator to 0.
CE Clear the current entry.
X Multiply.
/ Divide.
+ Add.
- Subtract.
. Decimal point.
«  Delete the last digit entered.
± Change the sign of the current entry. Positive numbers become negative; negative numbers become positive.
= Display the result of the operation.

To press a button, select the gadget with the mouse or press the corresponding key on the keyboard. You can use either the keyboard or numeric keypad keys. Return and the keypad Enter key are equivalent to the equals (=) button. The left arrow key is equivalent to the («) button.

The calculator displays a message for Overflow and Divide By Zero errors.

Select the close gadget to exit the Calculator.

Calculator menus

The calculator has three menus: the Project menu, the Edit menu, and the Windows menu.

On the Project menu:

Clear Entry Clears the current entry only.
Clear All Clears all entries and resets the display to zero.
Quit Closes off the calculator.

On the Edit menu:

Cut Copies and clears the current entry to the Clipboard.
Copy Copies the current entry to the Clipboard without clearing the area.
Paste Place the current Clipboard contents into the calculator.

Show Tape is the only Window menu option. It displays a window showing the calculator entries and results. Show Tape can also be copied, but since it does not have a menu, use drag-select and Amiga+C to copy its contents to the Clipboard.


Clock displays the time and date on your Workbench screen. It can also be used as an alarm clock to signal you at a specified time.

When you open the Clock icon, a window with a round (analog) clock face appears. If the time Shown is incorrect, use the Time editor in the Prefs drawer, described in Chapter 5, to set the correct time.

Clock has two menus for changing the display and settings: Project and Settings.

The Project menu contains the following items:

Analog Displays the round Clock face. Analog is the default; its window size can be changed.
Digital Displays a digital (numeric) clock the height of the title bar using your screen font.
Quit Closes the Clock.

The Settings menu contains the following items:

Date Displays the date beneath the analog clock. The date and time are alternately displayed on the digital clock. Date off is the default.
Seconds Displays the time with a sweep second hand on the analog clock. The default setting shows no seconds. The Display Seconds item is overridden by the Digital Format setting when using the digital clock.
Digital Format Displays the time in a 12 or 24 hour format, with or without seconds, for the digital clock only.
Alarm Allows you to turn the alarm on or off. A checkmark indicates that the alarm is on.
Set Alarm Allows you to set the time for the alarm to signal you. Because the signal is a short audible tone, you must have audio output on your Amiga to use this feature.
Save Settings Saves your Clock settings. Each time you run the Clock program it opens with these settings until you change them.

To set the alarm:

  1. Choose the Set Alarm menu item.
  2. Change the time setting by dragging the hour and minute sliders to the right to increase the value or the left to decrease the value until the correct time is displayed.
  3. When the requester displays the desired alarm time, select the Use gadget. This automatically turns the alarm on, as indicated by the checkmark next to the Alarm menu item. Select the Cancel gadget to restore the previous alarm setting and exit.

The alarm remains on and beeps at the same time each day until you deselect Alarm or close the Clock. The Clock must be running for the alarm to work. The next time you open the Clock, the alarm must be reset.

Tool Types

Tool Types in the Clock icon's Information window allow you to save the menu, size, and position settings on the Clock. The Clock's Tool Types are the same as its keywords in AmigaDOS.


More displays ASCII text filers on the Workbench screen. More does not have an icon, although it resides in the Utilities drawer. More has been superseded by the MultiView program (described on page 4-23), but is retained for compatibility with files that use More as their Default Tool.

The following key sequences can be used to move through the More display and to get help for using More:

Space bar or down arrow Displays the next page.
Backspace or up arrow Displays the previous page.
H Help (displays a list similar to this one).

When the last page of the display is reached, an End of File message is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Press the space bar at this point or click the close gadget at any time to exit More.


GraphicDump prints (or dumps) entire screens, including menus and icons, just as they appear on your monitor. Your printer must be capable of printing graphic images. (Most printers can print GraphicDump output.)

Before using GraphicDump, make sure the settings in the Printer, PrinterPS, and PrinterGfx Preferences editors are appropriate for your printer. You can specify the dimensions of the printout with the Limits setting in the PrinterGfx editor. Otherwise, the printout is the full width allowed by the printer.

To use GraphicDump, double-click on its icon. After a ten second delay the front-most screen image is sent to the printer. The mouse pointer is not printed.

Tool Types

GraphicDump supports a SIZE Tool Type. The acceptable arguments for SIZE and the resulting size of the printout are:

SIZE=tiny 1/4 the total width allowed by the printer.
SIZE=small 1/2 the total width allowed by the printer.
SIZE=medium 3/4 the total width allowed by the printer.
SIZE=large Full width allowed by the printer (default).

The height of the printout maintains the perspective of the screen. The Limits Type gadget in the PrinterGfx editor must be set to Ignore for GraphicDump, or else the size of the printout is determined by the Limits setting.

To set specific dimensions in a Tool Type, use:


Substitute the width, in number of printer dots, for the <xdots> argument and the height for the <ydots> argument.


IconEdit personalizes your Workbench by changing the appearance of existing icons and creating new ones.

The window shown in Figure 10-2 appears when you open the IconEdit icon.

IconEdit Window

Draw and edit icons in the magnified view box of the IconEdit window. The Normal and Selected view boxes show the icon images at actual size. Several gadgets in the window draw squares, circles, and straight lines, giving you more control over your drawing.

There are three subwindows in IconEdit: the Normal and Selected view boxes and the Magnified View Box, which fills most of the window. Each of these is an AppWindow into which you can drag an icon to load it, rather than using menus. (AppWindows are described in Chapter 3.) Clicking in the Normal view box displays the selected image of the icon as long as you hold down the selection button.

Color Selection Gadget

The Color Selection gadget lets you select a color for drawing. In addition to the standard method for selecting a color by pointing to it and clicking the selection button, this gadget allows you to choose two-color patterns. The patterns are used with the Fill, filled Circle, and filled Box gadgets.

In order to use fill patterns you need to select the first color by left-clicking on it. After that keep the Shift key depressed and select the second color. The gadget bar with the different fill patterns will change its appearance accordingly, giving a simple preview on the two-color patterns.

Below the color selection gadget there is the Transparent gadget. Selecting a color from the palette and clicking on Transparent" afterward will make this color invisible" when the icon is saved to disk. Clicking on the Transparent gadget a second time using the same color will deactivate transparency.

Magnified View Box

Use the mouse to draw your icon in this box. Click the selection button to display a pixel of the selected color. Hold down the selection button to draw while moving the mouse.

The pointer turns into cross hairs when it is in the magnified view box. The new pixels appear a the center of the cross hairs. Pixel coordinates (relative to the upper left corner) appear in the middle of the IconEdit window below the title bar to show the position of the crosshair.

To load an existing icon into IconEdit, drag the icon into the magnified view box.

Fill pattern Gadgets

These gadgets allow you to select the fill pattern to be used with filled rectangles, filled circles and the flood fill tool.

Freehand Gadget

The Freehand gadget lets you quickly draw unstructured shapes. If you select this gadget and then draw in the magnified view box, the pixels fill in as the mouse passes over them. However, you may not get a continuous line and some pixels may not be filled in. Use this gadget to sketch an icon that you intend to fill in the details on later.

Continuous Freehand Gadget

The Continuous Freehand gadget is similar to the freehand gadget, except that it produces a continuous line. When drawing continuous lines, there is a delay before the display catches up with your movement.

Circle Gadget

To draw a circle or oval:

  1. Select the circle gadget.
  2. Point inside the magnified box at the point where you want the center of the circle, hold down the selection button, and move the mouse.
  3. Release the selection button when you reach the correct size and shape.

If you keep the Shift key depressed while drawing the circle, a true circle, rather than an ellipse, will be drawn.

Filled Circle Gadget

Follow the steps for drawing normal circles to draw a filled circle or ellipse, using the current fill pattern.

Box Gadget

To draw a box:

  1. Select the box gadget.
  2. Point inside the magnified boy at the point where you want a corner of the box, hold down the selection button, and move the mouse.
  3. Release the selection button when the box is the correct size and shape.

If you keep the Shift key depressed while drawing the box, a true square will be drawn instead.

To draw a three-dimensional box, similar in appearance to the Workbench gadgets, hold down an Alt key while drawing a box outline. The left and top border of the box will then be drawn using the current color while the right and bottom borders will be drawn using the color currently selected as the second color for fill patterns.

Filled Box Gadget

Follow the steps for drawing a normal box in order to draw a filled box or square using the current fill pattern.

Line Gadget

To draw a straight line:

  1. Select the line gadget.
  2. Position the mouse where you want the line to start.
  3. Hold down the selection button.
  4. Move the mouse to the line ending position.
  5. Release the selection button.

Fill Gadget

Use the fill gadget to fill an area of the magnified view box with the selected color. Select the fill gadget, then click within the area you want to change to the same color as the dot under the crosshair.

The fill gadget does not fill a patterned area. However, solid areas can be filled with one of the fill patterns, if selected.


Select Undo to cancel the last mouse action performed in the magnified view box. Undo acts as a toggle switch; selecting it again undoes the Undo.


Select Redo to cancel the last undo action, effectively restoring the state the magnified view box was in before calling undo.


Select the Clear gadget to erase the contents of the magnified view box. The magnified view box fills with the currently selected color.

Normal/Selected Radio Buttons

The Normal and Selected radio buttons switch between unselected and selected images for an icon. The normal image is how an unselected icon looks. The selected image is how a dual-image icon looks after you have clicked on it.

When the Normal radio button is selected, any image drawn in the magnified view box appears in the normal view box at the top of the window.

When the Selected radio button is used, you can create the image that appears when the icon is selected. You can only use this radio button when the Image menu item is chosen from the Highlight menu. Any image created appears in the selected view box.


The arrows let you shift your image. Clicking on an arrow moves the image in the magnified view in the direction of the arrow. Use these arrows to control the placement of your image within the box surrounding the finished icon.

Any part of the image that is moved off the edge of the magnified view box is lost.

Keyboard shortcut: Press the corresponding arrow key to move the image.

Project Menu

The items in the Project menu let you open and save icon files.

New Loads the default icon for the currently chosen type of icon. (The type of icon is determined by the Type menu.) Any changes in the window that have not been saved produce a requester asking if you want to save them.
Open Opens an existing icon file. A requester appears for entering the name of the file. Only the names of drawers and .info files appear in the IconEdit Open file requester.
Revert Restores the icon to the state it was in when it was last saved to disk, removing all changes that had been made since then. If the icon has not been previously saved, this menu item will be ghosted.
Save Saves an existing icon file, overwriting any file with the same name. In this case the previous icon is lost.
Save As Allows you to specify a file name for saving the current image. A requester lets you enter the destination for the edited icon. Use Save As to prevent overwriting an existing icon file.
Save As Default Icon Saves the current image as the default icon for the currently selected icon type. This image is used for any new icon or pseudo-icon of that type created, including those made with the New menu item in the IconEdit Project menu.
For example, if you create a drawer icon and then choose Save As Default Icon, that icon is used to represent drawers when you choose the Show All Files menu item.
Quit Exits the IconEdit program. If you have not saved the current image, a requester asks if you want to save the image before exiting IconEdit.

Edit Menu

The items in the Edit menu allow you to use the Amiga`s Clipboard to import IFF ILBM clips that were created with other programs.

Cut Deletes the image in the magnified view box and copies it to the Clipboard.
Copy Copies the image in the magnified view box to the Clipboard.
Paste Copies any image in the Clipboard to the magnified view box, replacing the current contents.
Erase Erases any image in the magnified view box. You can erase everything or save before erasing.
Undo Has the same function as the corresponding gadget.
Redo Has the same function as the corresponding gadget.
Open Clip Copies an existing IFF file into the Clipboard. A requester asks for the name of the file to open. You can then Paste the file into IconEdit.
Save Clip As Saves the current contents in the Clipboard to a specified file.
Show Clip Displays the current contents in the Clipboard using the MultiView program. If the MultiView program is unavailable, Show Clip cannot work.

Type Menu

The items in the Type menu let you specify the type of icon changed or created.

Disk Represents the disk icons appearing in the Workbench window.
Drawer Represents the drawer icons appearing in a disk window, such as the Utilities or Tools drawer.
Tool Represents a tool, such as the Calculator, Clock, or IconEdit program.
Project Represents a project, a file that has been created by a tool, such as any of the icons in the drawers of the Storage directory.
Garbage Represents the Trashcan drawer.

Highlight Menu

The items in the Highlight menu let you determine how an icon appears when it is selected.

Complement Highlights the entire icon, including the background of the box surrounding the icon. For example, if you are using the default Workbench colors and the icon is surrounding by a field of grey, the grey becomes blue when the icon is selected. This option is only available in old icons" mode.
Backfill Highlights the icon, but not the background of the box. For example, if you are using the default Workbench colors and the icon is surrounded by a field of grey, the grey remains the same when the icon is selected. This option is also only available in old icon" mode.
Image Allows an entirely different image for the selected icon (a dual image icon). For example, the drawer icons on the Workbench are dual image. When you select a drawer, a new image of an open drawer appears.

Images Menu

The items in the Images menu let you manipulate the images in the normal and selected view boxes and import IFF images created with other graphics programs.

Exchange Swaps the images that appear in the normal view and the selected view.
Copy Copy is dependent on the selected radio button. If Normal is used, the image in the normal view is copied to the selected view. If Selected is used, the image in the selected view is copied to the normal view.
Use Template Loads a template icon into the magnified view box on which you can use as the foundation for creating a new icon.
Darken The icon's colors will be darkened.
Load Loads previously saved images, without changing the name of the icon being edited. When you point to the Load menu item, a submenu (described below) appears.
Save Image Saves an image as a standard IFF ILBM brush, rather than an icon.
Restore Returns the IconEdit window to its state prior to opening the window or selecting New or Open.

The available Load submenu items are:

Image Allows you to load an image data type file created by another program as either the normal or selected view, depending on which radio button is selected.
When you choose an item from the submenu, a requester asks you to specify the file to be loaded. You must specify the correct drawer and file name.
Normal Image Loads the unselected image of the specified icon into the normal or selected view box, depending on which radio button is selected. (This is equivalent to dragging an icon into one of the boxes.)
Selected Image Loads the selected image of the specified icon into the normal or selected view box, depending on which radio button is selected.
Both Images Loads both the normal and selected images of the specified icon into the appropriate view boxes.

Extras Menu

The items in the Extras menu control additional convenience features of IconEdit.

Larger Sketchboard Increases the drawing area IconEdit provides. Any existing elemens will retain their distance to the top and left edges of the sketchboard.
Smaller Sketchboard Decreases the drawing area IconEdit provides, removing space from the bottom and the left of the sketchboard. If this would result in the image being truncated, IconEdit will ask for confirmation before cropping the image.
Minimal Sketchboard Decreases the drawing area IconEdit provides, to the effect that all blank space to the right and bottom of the current image will be removed.
Auto TopLeft Moves the image to the upper left corner of the magnified view box.
Add Glow Automatically adds a glow effect to the icons, just like the standard OS3.5 icons have.
Borderless If this menu item is active, the icon will be saved and displayed without a border, regardless of the global border settings from the Workbench preferences.

Settings Menu

The items in the Settings menu allow you to save various IconEdit options.

Use Grid? Use Grid? Displays each pixel in the magnified view box distinctly, with the background color surrounding it. When Use Grid? Is not chosen, the pixels blend together smoothly. The default is for the grid to be on.
Save Optimized? Choosing this option will cause the transparency color to be assigned the color number zero (if possible) and remove all colors from the icon`s palette that are not actually used.
Create Icons? Create Icons? Saves an icon for the IFF brush file created by the Save Image menu option. If Create Icons? Is not chosen, no icon is saved. The default is for icons to be saved.
Slider Color Model This submenu controls whether the RGB or HSB color model will be used for the color sliders.
Save Settings Save Settings saves all of the current IconEdit settings, including the size and position of the IconEdit window, the file requesters, and all of the menu item settings.

Tool Types

IconEdit supports the following Tool Types:

PUBSCREEN Names the public screen on which IconEdit is supposed to open its window.
TEMPLATE Path to the icons to be loaded when calling the Use Template" menu item.
HSB Use the HSB color model for the color sliders.
OPTIMIZE Optimize the icon palette when saving icons.
CLIPUNIT=<n> Specifies the Clipboard unit to use. The default is 0.
XMAG=<n> Enlarges the width of the magnified view box. XMAG accepts a number from 4 to 16. The default is 4.
YMAG=<n> Enlarges the height of the magnified view box. YMAG accepts a number from 4 to 16. The default is 4.
LEFTEDGE=<n> Specifies where to place the left edge of the editor window.
TOPEDGE=<n> Specifies where to place the top edge of the editor window.
SHOWCLIP=<path> Specifies the complete path to the utility used to display the Clipboard. The default is SYS:Utilities/MultiView.
NOICONS Disable the ability to create icons when saving support files, such as when saving a file as an IFF brush.
NOGRID Disables the use of the grid in the magnified view box.
ICONDRAWER=<path> Specifies the default drawer used by the file requesters that appear when the Open and Save As menu items in the Project menu are chosen.
ILBMDRAWER=<path> Specifies the default drawer used by the file requesters that appear when the Load and Save menu items in the Images menu are chosen.
CLIPDRAWER=<path> Specifies the default drawer used by the file requesters that appear when the Open Clip and Save As Clip menu items in the Edit menu are chosen.
ALTDRAWER=<path> Specifies the default drawer used by the file requesters that appear when the Load menu item in the Images menu is chosen.


IntiPrinter sends the printer options specified in the Printer and PrinterGfx Preferences editors to the printer. It initializes your printer and loads it with the new or changed specifications when you turn on the printer and double-click on the InitPrinter icon.

Your printer resets automatically when it receives and processes initialization information on first access during a session. If you turn the printer off, you might need to use InitPrinter to reinitialize it.

Installation Utility


The KeyShow program shows the current keyboard type layout on your Amiga. Opening the KeyShow icon displays the keyboard layout as selected in the Input Preferences editor. The default American keyboard layout is illustrated in Figure 10-3.

Default KeyShow Window

The initial display shows the characters that appear when a single key is pressed. For example, the Q key shows a lower case q. However, when you press a qualifier key with a character key, you can get different output. For KeyShow the acceptable qualifier keys are Ctrl, Shift and both Alt keys.

To see the characters that are output when a qualifier key is pressed simultaneously with a character key:

  1. Select any of the qualifier keys that appear in the KeyShow window. That qualifier key is highlighted.
  2. The KeyShow display changes to indicate the output that you get if you press the selected qualifier key along with a character key. You can select any combination of qualifiers and the display changes accordingly.
  3. Select the qualifier key again to return it to its unpressed state.

Keyboard shortcut: Instead of pointing to the qualifier key in the display, you can press the corresponding key on the keyboard. The following list is a guide to interpreting the KeyShow display:

  • Qualifier keys not currently pressed are shown in the Workbench background color (normally grey). For example, when you first open the KeyShow window, Ctrl, Shift, and Alt appear in grey. This is because KeyShow is not using those keys in the initial display.
  • Dead keys are shown in the Workbench highlight color (normally blue). A dead key is one that, in combination with an Alt key, modifies the output of the key pressed immediately afterward. For example, on the USA keyboard, the Alt+G combination is a dead key representing the grave accent. If you press Alt+G, then press E, you superimpose the accent symbol over the e (è).
  • Bold-italics indicate that a key can be used in conjunction with a dead key. In the previous example, E can be modified by a dead key. However, not all bold-italic keys are affected by all dead keys. For example, n responds only to the Alt+J dead key. The final character must exist in the Amiga character set to be available through a dead key.
  • $$ indicates that it takes more than one character to define the key.
  • If a character is preceded by a tilde (~) or a caret (^), it is a control character.
  • Blank keys are undefined for the currently selected qualifiers.


MEmacs (MicroEmacs) is a screen-oriented text editor. A text editor works the same as a word processor, but it does not support style formatting options. MEmacs is described in detail in the AmigaDOS User's Guide .


MultiView lets you view files, including picture files, text files, AmigaGuide help files, sound files, and animated graphics files. It can display any type of file for which there is a data type file in DEVS:DataTypes. For more information on the data types used by MultiView, see page 4-28.

MultiView uses a standard file requester for loading files. You can load files into MultiView using the file requester provided or, because the MultiView window is an AppWindow, you can drag icons onto MultiView to load them.

When you loaded a standard Amiga sampled sound file into MultiView, clicking on the file's icon plays the sampled sound if your Amiga or monitor has speakers.

When you load an animated file into MultiView, the window or screen on which the animation is displayed has a control panel for manipulating the display. The control panel gadgets allow you to start and stop the animation and move forward or backward through it. This screen is illustrated in Figure 4-6.

MultiView with Animation Control Panel

MultiView has four menus: Project, Edit, Windows, and Settings.

Project Menu

Open Brings up a file requester to allow you to choose another file to display.
Save As Saves object as ILBM or text files.
Print Prints selected blocks or files.
About Shows the MultiView release information and the type of document being viewed.
Quit Quits MultiView.

Edit Menu

Mark Turns on the block selection cursor and lets you select a block. (This is only available for picture files.)
Copy Copies selected block to the Clipboard and deselects the block. If no block is selected, copies the whole file.
Select All Selects the whole file.
Clear Selected Clears the selected block or file without copying or printing.

Windows Menu

Use Separate Screen Toggles between displaying the file on its own screen and in a window on the Workbench screen.
Minimize Make the window as small as it can be.
Normal Sizes the window to the contents size.
Maximize Makes the window the same size as the screen.

Settings Menu

Save As Defaults Saves the size, position, and location of the window for future use.

Tool Types

MultiView supports the following Tool Types:

CLIPBOARD View The Clipboard instead of the file.
CLIPUNIT=<number> Specify the Clipboard unit to use when using the CLIPBOARD keyword. The range is 0 to 255; the default is 0.
SCREEN Indicate that you want the object to appear on its own screen, using the environment specified by the object. For example, if an ILBM was Low Res, then the screen would match.
PUBSCREEN=<name> Indicate that you want the window to open on the named public screen.
FONTNAME=<name> Font to use when viewing text objects. Note that the .font extension must be left off.
FONTSIZE=<number> Font size to use when viewing text objects.
BOOKMARK Go to the object and position specified by the bookmark.
BACKDROP Indicate that the window should be a backdrop window.
WINDOW Open the MultiView window on the Workbench screen without an object so that items can be dragged into it.
PORTNAME=<ARexx port name> Allows you to specify an ARexx port name when you run MultiView. This name allows you to refer to a particular MultiView display from within an ARexx script. If no name is specified, each MultiView invocation is given a default name.

For more information on using MultiView with ARexx, see the AmigaDOS User's Guide.


Project Menu

Edit Menu

Navigation Menu

Settings Menu


Project Menu

Tools Menu


PlayCD acts as a user interface for the audio CD playback functionality offered by a CD-ROM drive. The CD-ROM drive in question must comply to the SCSI-2 standard and thus support at least a subset of the audio control commands defined for CD-ROM drives.

Starting the program

When the program is launched, it will attempt to configure itself. This involves figuring out which device driver and which device unit to use for audio playback. This information is usually stored in the program's icon, but it can also provided on the command line. The names of the command line options and the tool types are the same. The following options are supported:

If there already is a filing system mounted on the CD-ROM drive to use for audio playback, the easiest way to tell PlayCD which device it should use is to provide that filing system's name. PlayCD will try to figure out which device and unit that filing system is bound to and use the resulting information.
PlayCD CD0:
PlayCD dosdev CD2:
That this type of configuration may not work with all CD-ROM filing systems.
Use this option to provide the name of the device driver the CD-ROM drive to use for playback responds to.
PlayCD device=scsi.device
Default for this option is "scsi.device" .
This option works in conjunction with the "DEVICE" parameter. Both the device name and the unit number specified define the interface the PlayCD program should use to address the CD-ROM drive.
PlayCD unit=5
Default for this option is "2".
The PlayCD user interface sports a slider which controls and displays the current play index. Attached to this slider are two buttons which perform fast forward" and rewind" functionality. Pressign any of these two buttons will cause playback to skip a few seconds. The SKIP" option is for configuring the number of seconds to skip.
PlayCD skip=2
Default for this option is 1", i.e. clicking on the buttons will skip one second each.
PlayCD queries the CD-ROM drive in regular intervals to find out whether the CD was changed or how far playback has progressed. The length of these intervals is configured with the PEEKTIME" option. The peek time is specified in microseconds, i.e. one millionth part of a second.
PlayCD peektime=500000
Default for this option is 200000", i.e. one fifth of a second.
PlayCD can be made to open its display on a named public screen. If the named screen does not exist, it will fall back to opening its display on the default public screen, such as the Workbench screen.
PlayCD pubscreen=my.public.screen
There is no default for this option. Default behaviour for PlayCD is to open its display on the default public screen which in most cases will be the Workbench screen.
PlayCD depends upon the controller hardware the CD-ROM drive is attached to to deliver its commands properly. This may sometimes require that the command data structures are passed in a particular type of memory which the controller hardware has easy access to. In most cases you will not need to change this option, but if the CD-ROM drive is correctly configured, does support the SCSI-2 command set and still does not react to PlayCD`s commands, then it might be necessary to specify a different buffer memory type.
PlayCD bufmemtype=2
PlayCD bufmemtype=512
Default for this option is 0", which specifies no particular type of memory to use for interacting with the controller hardware.

The user interface

If properly configured, PlayCD will open a window which contains the following controls (left to right):

Track display Here you will find information about the current audio track and the playback status. The first line displays the track information, the second line indicates how much time has passed with regard to length of the current track and the entire CD.
Track position (below the track display) This slider displays the current track position. It can also be used to change the current track position. [Shift]+[Cursor left] and [Shift]+[Cursor right] keys
Track selection This is a set of 32 buttons, each one corresponding to one of the tracks of the audio CD. Click a button to make the corresponding audio track the current track. If playback is currently in progress, playback will proceed with the selected track. Any number entered, e.g. entering the two digits 1 and 2 in quick succession will pick track 12.
Volume This is a vertical slider whose current setting corresponds to the sound playback volume. At the top position, playback volume is loudest. + and - keys
Eject (below the Track position slider) Press this button to eject/load the CD in the drive. For technical reasons, you may need to press this button more than once to load a CD. [F1] and [Backspace] keys
Stop Press this button to stop playback. [F2] and [Cursor up] keys.
Pause Press this button to suspend/resume playback. [F3] and [Space] keys
Previous track Press this button to skip back to the beginning of the previous track. [F4] and [Cursor left] keys
Play Press this button to begin playback. [F5] and [Cursor down] keys
Next track Press this button to skip forward to the beginning of the next track. [F6] and [Cursor right] keys
Shuffle Press this button to set up a play list which contains all CD titles in random order. Playback will step through this list, playing each title once. To return to the regular play list which plays each title in the order the tracks were recorded in, press the Stop" button. [F7] key
Playback mode This button selects a playback mode; it can be one of the following:
Continue This is the default playback mode. If you pick a track to play, it will be played along with all tracks to follow it until the last track on the CD is played. Clicking one of the track buttons in the track selection table will make the respective track the current track".
Program In this mode every track number entered or clicked on will cause a new entry to be added to the play list. To play back the list, click the Play" button.
Track In this mode playback will be restricted to the currently selected track. This means, for example, that if a track has been played to the end, playback will stop instead of proceeding to the next track. [F8] key
Repeat This switch controls whether playback will stop when the end of the play list has been reached or whether playback will restart with the first list entry. [F9] key
Message list (below the Eject button) This is where helpful progress reports and error messages are displayed. For example, if you picked a track by entering its number, you will see a notice confirming your input.

Stopping the program

Once the PlayCD program is running, you can stop it by clicking on the window close gadget or by one of the keyboard equivalents [Esc] or [Ctrl]+\.


PrefsObjectsEditor Menu


PrintFiles sends text files to your printer. It can accept multiple files selected with drag selection or extended selection. If PrintFiles cannot find or open one of the files, it skips it and goes to the next one. The files are printed using the settings specified in the Printer or PrinterPS Preferences editor.

To use PrintFiles:

  1. Select the icon of the first file to be printed, hold down Shift and select the icons of any additional files to print. You can also use drag selection to select the icons.
  2. Hold down Shift and double-click on the PrintFiles icon.

When printing multiple files, adding a form feed between each file puts it on a new page. Without a form feed, the next file starts printing on the same page on which the previous file ends. Add a form feed with the FORMFEED=true Tool Type in the PrintFiles Information window.


Allows you to read and write raw disk blocks.


ShowConfig, illustrated in Figure 10-5, displays system configuration information, including processor information, custom chips, software versions, RAM information, and any plug-in boards. Double-click on the ShowConfig icon to display the information for your system. use this information when requesting hardware/software technical support.

ShowConfig Window


Project Menu


Project Menu

Commodities Drawer

The Commodities drawer, illustrated in Figure 10-6, is in the Tools drawer and contains the Commodities Exchange programs. These programs monitor your keyboard and mouse input to the Amiga.

Commodities Window
AmiDock A toolbar-like application launcher.
AsyncWB Replaces Workbench's file execution window.
AutoBorderSize Allows you to size windows at any border.
AutoInfo Displays information about the icon under the pointer.
AutoPoint Automatically activates the window under the pointer.
ClickToFront Lets you bring a window to the front of the screen by double-clicking in it.
ContextMenus Adds context menus to Workbench.
CrossDOS Controls text options for CrossDOS drives. See Chapter 11 for more information.
DefIcons Adds default icon functionality to Workbench.
Exchange Monitors and controls all the other Commodities programs.
FKey Assigns special functions to keys.
MouseBlanker Causes the mouse pointer to go blank when you are typing.
NoCapsLock Temporarily disables the Caps Lock key.
RAWBInfo Replaces Workbench's icon information window.
ScreenBlankerEngine Controls screen blanker.

Using Commodities Tool Types

All of the Commodities programs share a common Tool Type:

Assigns priorities to the Commodities Exchange programs.

All the programs are set to a default priority of 0. If you enter a Tool Type that changes the priority to a higher value, that program has priority over any other Commodities Exchange program of lower priority.

For example, you can have two commodities that allow you to assign operations to functions keys. If both programs have an operation assigned to F1, the program with the higher priority intercepts the key, making it unavailable to any other Commodities programs.

There are two Tool Types that apply only to programs that open a window:

When set to NO, prevents the program window from opening when the icon is opened. The program activates when you double-click on its icon, but its window remains closed. The default is CX_POPUP=YES.
Determines the hot key for a commodity. When the hot key or key combination is pressed, the program's window is automatically brought to the front of the screen. If the window is hidden, it is opened. Hot keys do not start commodities that are not already running. The syntax for specifying hot keys is CX_POPUP=<key>.

When specifying key combinations, leave a space between the two keys. For example:

CX_POPKEY=LShift LAlt LAmiga X

Acceptable Key Combinations

When specifying key combinations for a Commodities Exchange program, you can use any of the function keys (F1 through F10) and any of the keys in the typewriter area of the keyboard (numbers, letter, symbols, and so forth). Keys from the typewriter area must be preceded by a qualifier. The allowable qualifiers are:

Qualifier Key
Alt Either Alt key
Ralt Right Alt only
LAlt Left Alt only
Shift Either Shift key
Rshift Right Shift only
LShift Left Shift only
LAmiga Left Amiga
RAmiga Right Amiga
Numericpad Specifies a key on the numeric keypad
Rightbutton Hold down the menu button
Leftbutton Hold down the selection button
Middlebutton Hold down the middle button of a three-button mouse

Qualifiers can also be used before function keys, but are not mandatory. You can use any combination of qualifiers; however, they must be followed by a standard key or function key. A qualifier is only recognized once in a combination:

LAlt RAmiga LAlt F10

is the same as

LAlt RAmiga F10

The following are acceptable combinations:

Alt F6
LAmiga 8
Ctrl LShift Y
Leftbutton Ctrl CapsLock*
Numericpad 8**

* Hold down the selection button, then press Ctrl+Caps Lock

** Use the 8 in the numeric keypad. The 8 in the normal area does not satisfy the combination.


AutoPoint lets you select windows without clocking the selection button. To start AutoPoint, double-click on ist icon. AutoPoint does not open a window.

AutoPoint automatically activates the window that is underneath the pointer, eliminating the need to click the selection button.

To disable AutoPoint, double-click on its icon a second time or open the Exchange window, select AutoPoint from the scroll gadget, and the select the Remove gadget.


When the Blanker program is running, the screen automatically goes blank if no input has been received during a specified period of time.

The Blanker window allows you to specify the amount of time (in seconds) before the screen goes blank. The default time is 60 seconds. If you do not press a key or move the mouse during a 60 second period, the screen goes blank. To change this value, enter an alternative in the text gadget after Seconds.

Blanker can also cycle through a series of colors if you check the Cycle Colors gadget box. Checking the Animation gadget displays a random spline display.

To disable Blanker, open the Exchange window, then select Blanker, select Remove, or pick the Quit item from the Blanker window's Project menu. The hot key for Blanker is Ctrl+Alt+B.

Tool Types

Blanker has the following Tool Types:

SECONDS=60 The number of seconds of keyboard/mouse activity before the screen is blanked. Default is 60.
ANIMATION=YES Whether Blanker screen displays animation. Default is yes.
CYCLECOLORS=YES Whether colors on the blanker screen are cycled. Default is yes.


ClickToFront lets you bring a window to the front of the screen without selecting the window's depth gadget. To bring a window to the front with ClickToFront, hold down left Alt and double-click anywhere in the window. (The use of left Alt can be changed with Tool Types.)

To start ClickToFront, double-click on its icon. ClickToFront does not open a window.

To disable ClickToFront, open the Exchange window, select ClickToFront from the scroll gadget, then select Remove or double-click on its icon again.

Tool Types

ClickToFront supports a QUALIFIER Tool Type, allowing you to specify a qualifier key that must be pressed while double-clicking in the window you want to bring to the front of the screen. The four acceptable key arguments are:

Lalt Left Alt (Default)
Left_Alt Left Alt
Ralt Right Alt
Right_Alt Right Alt
None No qualifier necessary

For example, if you have specified QUALIFIER=CTRL and ClickToFront is activated, hold down Crtl and double-click in the window you want frontmost.


The CrossDOS commodity controls text options for active CrossDOS drives. The CrossDOS commodity window shows the available drives and allows you to set Text Filtering or Text Translation separately for each Hot key: Ctrl+Alt+C. For more information on the CrossDOS commodity, see Chapter 11.


Exchange manages the background utilities contained in the Commodities drawer. The hot key for Exchange is Ctrl+Alt+Help.

Exchange Window

The Exchange window, illustrated in Figure 10-7, lists the commodities that are running and displays information about each one as it is selected.

Remove Turns off commodities.
Show Interface Displays the commodity window, allowing you to interact with it as if you pressed the commodity's hot key.
Hide Interface Closes the commodity window without turning the commodity off.


FKey allows you to assign functions to keys, eliminating the need for repetitive typing.

When you double-click on the FKey icon, the window illustrated in Figure 10-8 appears:

FKey Window

FKey lets you assign any of eight commands to any key sequence that you can enter.

The Defined Keys scrolling list shows all the currently defined key sequences.

The New Key and Delete Key gadgets let you add and remove key sequences.

The Command cycle gadget lets you pick a command for the current key sequence. The possible commands are:

Cycle Windows Brings the rearmost application window on the Workbench screen to the front of the display and selects it.
Cycle Screens Brings the rearmost screen to the front of the display.
Enlarge Window Enlarges the selected window to its maximum size, taking into account the edges of the screen.
Shrink Window Shrinks the selected window to its minimum size.
Toggle Window Size Zooms the selected window as if you had selected its zoom gadget. It also works on windows that only have a zoom gadget and no sizing gadgets.
Insert Text When the key sequence is entered, the specified string is inserted in a console window or text gadget. It has no effect if something that accepts keyboard input is not selected. The string to insert is specified in the Command Parameters gadget.
Run Program Lets you run a program by entering any key sequence. The program name and its arguments are specified in the Command Parameters gadget.
Run ARexx Script Lets you run an ARexx script by entering any key sequence. The script name and its arguments are specified in the Command Parameters gadget. Putting quotes around the script name turns it into an ARexx string file.

The Command Parameters text gadget lets you specify arguments for three of the commands.

For example, to designate Alt F1 as the key sequence to start MultiView, follow these steps:

  1. Select the New Key gadget.
  2. Enter the key sequence in the string gadget as Alt F1 (be sure to enter a space between Alt and F1).
  3. Select the Run Program option in the Command cycle gadget.
  4. Enter the path for MultiView (SYS:Utilities/MultiView) in the Command Parameters text gadget.


MouseBlanker blanks the mouse pointer from the display when you are typing at the keyboard. The mouse pointer returns to the screen when you move the mouse again.

To enable MouseBlanker, double-click on its icon. To disable MouseBlanker, double-click on its icon again or open the Exchange window, select MouseBlanker from the scroll gadget, and select the Remove gadget.


NoCapsLock disables the Caps Lock key. The Shift keys still function normally, but Chaps Lock has no effect if pressed accidentally.

To start NoCapsLock, double-click on its icon. It does not open a window. To disable NoCapsLock, open the Exchange window, select NoCapsLock from the scroll gadget, and select the Remove gadget or double-click on its icon again.

Internet Drawer

Emulation Drawer

WBStartup Drawer

The WBStartup drawer is provided to hold icons for programs that you want opened at the time the Workbench is started. For example, you may want the Clock program running when you reboot or power on your Amiga. Drag the icon for each desired program into the WBStartup window. The WBStartup drawer is empty by default.

Tool Types

Programs in the WBStartup drawer can include the following Tool Types:

DONOTWAIT Normally the Workbench waits for one program to finish before it opens the next. DONOTWAIT overrides this, which can cause unwanted requesters after booting. DONOTWAIT does not take an argument.
WAIT=<seconds> Specifies how many seconds the Workbench should wait before opening the next icon in the WBStartup drawer.
STARTPRI=<priority> Assigns a priority to an icon so that it opens before or after other icons. By default, all icons have a priority of 0. The acceptable range is from -128 to +127; the higher the value, the higher the program's priority.

Expansion Drawer

The Expansion drawer is used to store software drivers for additional hardware devices that you install on your Amiga. If a hardware device uses the Expansion drawer, it is explained in the documentation packaged with that product. To activate the new device, drag the icon for the device's software driver into the Expansion drawer and then reboot your system to make the device available.

Devs Drawer/Storage Drawer

The Devs and Storage drawers both contain the following subdrawers:

  • DataTypes
  • DOSDrivers
  • Keymaps
  • NetInterfaces
  • Monitors
  • Printers

The Devs drawer contains the device files for the devices that are currently active on the system. The Storage drawer is for device driver files that are not currently in use. Storing unused files in the Storage drawer reduces clutter in Preferences editor windows.

To activate a monitor or DOS driver:

  1. Double-click on the icon. The file is then active during the current session only.
  2. To have the icon active in all sessions, drag it from the Storage drawer into the corresponding Devs drawer and reboot your system.

To activate a keymap:

  1. Drag keymap files from the Storage drawer into the Devs drawer.
  2. Select the appropriate Keyboard Type in the Input Preferences editor.

To activate a network interface:

  1. Drag network interface files from the Storage drawer into the Devs drawer.
  2. Select the appropriate interface in the Internet Preferences editor.

To activate a printer driver:

  1. Drag printer files from the Storage drawer into the Devs drawer.
  2. Select the appropriate Printer Type in the Printer Preferences editor.

Data Types

Data types are software files used by tools, utilities, editors, and applications. They are used to describe file formats to the system, such as picture files, sound files, and text files. The following default data types are included with the system software:

8SVX IFF sound files
AIFF AIFF audio files
ANIM ANIM-format animation files
AmigaGuide Amiga Help files
BMP BMP picture files
CDXL CDXL-format animation files
FTXT IFF text files
GIF GIF picture files
ILBM Bitmap picture files
JPEG JPEG picture files
PNG PNG picture files
TIFF TIFF picture files
WAVE WAVE audio files

Adding data types from other applications into the Devs/DataTypes drawer makes them available for use by the Workbench, as well as the application. Add new data types by dragging them into the Devs/DataTypes drawer and double-clicking on them.


DOS drivers are software drivers that extend the capabilities of AmigaDOS. The following DOSDrivers are included with the system software:

AUDIO Audio driver for recording and playing
AUX/AUX1 Auxiliary serial Shell driver (see the AmigaDOS User's Guide for details)
CDRW CD-RW driver
DVD-RW DVD-RW driver
FD0 Floppy driver
PAR/PAR1 Parallel port driver
PC0/PC1 CrossDOS drivers for floppies, respectively (see Chapter 11 for details)
PIPE Pipe driver (see the AmigaDOS User's Guide for details)
PRT Printer port driver
RAD Recoverable RAM disk driver (see Appendix B for details)
RANDOM Pseudo-random data generator
SER/SER1 Serial port driver
TEXTCLIP Clipboard handler
URL URL handler
ZIC CrossDOS driver for Zip drive
ZIP Zip drive driver

Using CD-ROM

CD-ROM drives allow you to read information from CD-ROM disks. When the CD0 device driver is activated, you can use the device name CD0: to refer to a connected CD-ROM. Refer to the documentation that came with your CD-ROM device for specific information about connecting and using the device with the Amiga.

To be sure that the CD-ROM drive works with your Amiga, you must determine the name of the device driver that provides the interface for the CF-ROM drive, typically scsi.device. You must also determine the unit number of the CD-ROM drive, which is included in the drive's documentation. The default device name is scsi.device and the default unit number is 2.

If your CD-ROM drive and interface device do not match the default, change the device name and the unit number to those appropriate for your CD-ROM drive as follows:

  1. Select the Execute Command item from the Workbench menu.
  2. Enter the following command and click on the OK button:
    ED SYS:Storage/DOSDrivers/CD0
  3. Replace the device name on the DEVICE = line with the appropriate device name for your drive.
  4. Replace the unit number on the UNIT= line with the appropriate unit number for your drive.
  5. Save your changes by selecting the Save item in the Project menu.
  6. Quit ED by selecting the Quit item in the Project menu.


Keymaps control how text characters are mapped into the Amiga keyboard. For any Keyboard Type other than the default American to be available in the Input Preferences editor, the keyboard's keymap must be in DEVS:Keymaps. A list of keyboards and their corresponding keymaps appears in the Input editor section of Chapter 5.


The Devs/Monitor drawer and the Storage/Monitors drawer contain icons for the available monitor types that you can use on your system. For any monitor type other than the default (NTSC or PAL, depending on your country) to be available in the ScreenMode Preferences editor, the corresponding monitor driver must be in DEVS:Monitors. See Chapter 7 for more details on using monitors.



The Devs/Printers drawer holds your printer drivers. Printer drivers that have not been loaded onto your system are located in the Storage/Printers drawer within the software floppy disk set. On a floppy disk system Devs/Printers initially holds only the Generic printer driver. On hard drive systems, the printer drivers specified during installation are installed there.

Activating a printer driver that is not already in DEVS:Printers is the same for floppy and hard disk systems. To load a printer driver and use a printer with your Amiga:

  1. Open the Devs drawer on your Workbench disk.
  2. Insert your Storage disk or disk containing the Storage drawer and open the Printers drawer.
  3. Drag your printer's icon onto the Devs/Printers drawer icon. (For singly floppy systems, follow the messages to change disks.)
  4. Open the Printer Preferences editor.
  5. Select the appropriate printer type from the Printer Type field in the Printer editor window.

On hard drive systems, you can store unused printer drivers in the Storage/Printers drawer.

See Chapter 9 for more details on using printers and activating printer drivers.