Atariwriter and the 1027

by Phil Rae


Issue 16

Jul/Aug 1985

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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 word-processor cartridge.

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).


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 guideline.

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 [CTRL O]23), - 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.


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.


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 character.

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!


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.


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.


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.


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!