Now that several shops are offering
package-deals on Atari equipment, it is reasonable to assume that
there are some of you out there who find yourselves in possession
of an Atari computer, disk-drive, 1027 printer and the ATARIWRITER
One of the first things that you
will have noticed whilst unpacking the equipment, is that the manual
supplied with the 1027 is ludicrously inadequate. It is basically
of little help in any capacity. Whilst ATARIWRITER comes with quite
a good manual, possibly due to the Datasoft connection, it was in
fact published before the introduction of the 1027, and so makes
no reference to this printer.
So whilst these manuals mutually
ignore one another, you are left wondering how best to use the equipment.
Having used this combination now
for some months, I feel able to offer a few tips. If these are read
in conjunction with the article entitled 'Secrets of ATARIWRITER'
from Antic vol.3 #11, then some of the mysteries may be solved.
When ATARIWRITER prompts you to
select a printer, use selection 3 (the ATARI 820).
1) PRINT FORMATTING BLOCK
It is advisable to change the bottom
margin value to [CTRL B]8, the top margin to [CTRL T]0, and the
page-length to [CTRL Y]126. This will prevent the 1027 from starting
to print too far down the page. More importantly, as it has no way
of knowing whether or not the paper has run out, it will prevent
the printer from printing off the bottom of the paper and onto the
platen. When the paper is inserted, it should be lined-up using
the plastic edge of the top cover, and then wound back to the metal
It would be a good idea at this
point to add a second line of commands to the print formatting block.
Here would be a suggestion:
[CTRLO]27 [CTRLO]23 [CTRL C] [CTRL
F] @ [CTRL W] followed by [RETURN].
The cumulative effect of this is
that the international character set is turned on - ([CTRL O]27
- and each page of the document is automatically numbered and printed
at the bottom - ([CTRL C] [CTRL F] @). Additionally, [CTRL W] will
set up the 'page-wait' command which will make the 1027 stop printing
at the end of a page, and wait for the RETURN key to be depressed
before continuing. The insertion of the 'page-eject' code [CTRL
E] at any point in the text will of course, still cause the 1027
to cease printing at that point, and continue when a fresh sheet
of paper has been put in place and the [RETURN] key has been pressed.
Before saving this amended print
formatting block to disk, it may also be worth your while to add
your address immediately underneath, as text, possibly justifying
each line of the address to the right margin, with the [CTRL C]
[CTRL C] command. If this is saved with the file name LETTER, much
time is saved by not having to type it out on every occasion.
2) THE INTERNATIONAL CHARACTER
Initially, this may not seem to
be of too much importance, unless you are prone to bursts of French
or Spanish for unaccountable reasons. However, the pound-sign also
comes into this category, and that might be of more interest. It
is always a good idea to put the control codes for the I.C.S. at
the beginning of every document. It does no harm, and can be useful.
Having done this (see above), the pound-sign can be called up by
typing [CTRL 0] 008. All of the other international characters can
similarly be printed by typing [CTRL 0] followed by the appropriate
decimal-code, as given in the 1027 manual.
3) THE SEARCH & REPLACE
This function is easy to use and
is explained thoroughly in the ATARIWRITER manual. It is generally
used for correcting spelling errors in a document, by replacing
every occurrence of the misspelt word with the correct version.
However, it has more uses than
that alone. For example, if you are producing a document which necessitates
great use of a printer control-code, much of the labour can be reduced
by universally replacing the code throughout the document by a single
Using the pound-sign as an example,
you could type [CTRL 0]* wherever you wanted the pound-sign to appear,
and then, at the end of the document, you would be able to replace,
at a stroke, every asterisk with 008. The time saving can be considerable
over the course of a large document. Do not however try to replace
the [CTRL 0] itself, as this will not work unfortunately!
4) THE UNDERLINING FACILITY
Doubtless you will have tried to
underline text, using ATARIWRITER and the 1027, by switching to
inverse video as suggested in the ATARIWRITER manual. This will
not have worked. The best way to start underlining is to insert
control codes [CTRL 0]27 [CTRL 0]25. To stop underlining, insert
control codes [CTRLO]27 [CTRLO]26 - or simply hit the [RETURN] key.
Note that ALL text (including spaces between words) will be underlined,
using this method.
5) DOUBLE-COLUMN PRINTING
At first sight this would appear
not to be possible with the 1027, as the second column requires
the printer to reverse directions, and print from the bottom of
the page to the top.
There is a way round this on the
1027, but it can be a little tricky. Firstly, change the left margin
in the formatting block to [CTRL L]0, and the right margin to [CTRL
R]38. Once you have inserted your text, enter the 'page-eject' command
- [CTRL E] - at the point where you would like the first column
to end. After this, insert control codes [CTRL L]42 and [CTRL R]80.
Whilst printing, the 1027 will now stop at the end of the first
column, allowing you to put THE SAME PAGE back into the printer,
in order to get the second column. This technique can be continued
throughout the document, alternating between the two sets of codes
for the left and right margins as necessary.
If you use this method, please
remember that ATARIWRITER will consider each of the two columns
to be a separate page, therefore page numbering will not be possible,
and print-previews will require you to scroll across the screen
to find your text. Additionally, if you will be using the international
character set, it may be necessary to repeat the codes [CTRL 0]27
and [CTRL 0]23 after each column.
6) THE INK-ROLLER
Replacement ink-rollers for the
1027 may be difficult to find. However, if the roller is not damaged,
or badly worn, it is quite possible to re-ink it, using ordinary
stamp pad ink, evenly spread. Be careful not to apply too much ink,
and remove any excess with an absorbent tissue. The quality of print
will now be as good, if not better, than with a new ink-roller.
7) THE PRINTER TIME-OUT
If you are using the 1027 in conjunction
with ATARIWRITER, you may well have experienced the strange phenomena
of the printer suddenly stopping all activities for a period of
about three minutes, and then continuing as though nothing had happened.
I have heard a wide range of possible
reasons for this. It has been suggested that a certain combination
of characters cause the printer to 'lock-up'. This is an unlikely
explanation, as it seems to happen entirely at random. It has also
been suggested that a bug in the operating system of the ATARI computers
is to blame. This is more likely, but again, not entirely convincing,
as it seems to happen irrespective of which version of the 0.S.
is used. It could be entirely to do with the printer itself, allowing
it time to 'cool down'. Whatever the reason, it is irritating -
but I know of no guaranteed way of preventing this from happening.
ATARI themselves cannot suggest a cure. Just spend the time quietly
contemplating what you can do with the money you saved by not having
to buy an interface unit and a printer-driver!