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Hints & Tips

These Hints & Tips are available as a downloadable EPOC Word file here:-  HintsTips.s5  (18KB)

These tips have been collected from various Psion/EPOC web sites, newsgroups, the CompuServe Psion Forum (when it still existed), and my own personal experience.  Please feel free to email me atAnti-SPAM email image: just type it in as you read it.  :¬)with any more that you think are useful.  The Psion Series 5...

General EPOC Navigation Tips:

It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Ever noticed that the only way to cancel an alarm on your Psion once it's gone off is manual intervention (i.e. press the 'Cancel' option)? Wouldn't it be handy if you could set alarms so that they only ever sounded once - and didn't repeat for ever... Well you can:-

The solution is to set the alarm you want to hear as per normal. Then set a second SILENT alarm for 1 minute (or whenever) after the 1st alarm has sounded - it will cancel the sound of the first alarm (at least until you next get around to pressing the cancel key).

Alternatively, download a (free) copy of AlarmPlus - see my Links page - to manage all your alarms.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Normally, in any 3rd party program where a date needs to be entered, pressing Tab at the date entry box will bring up the 1 month EPOC calendar to make finding the date easier. Pressing Tab again brings up the 3 month view; whilst pressing it again gives you the full screen 12 month view.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! To create your own fax template in Email v2.0 (ER5 machines only), first create your own templates in EPOC Word and then save them to c:\system\templates\fax (creating folders as necessary) - or on d:\ drive if you prefer. They'll appear in the list of available templates when you next create a new fax.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Ever wanted to browse inside your machines ROM? Well, you can 'see' the z:\ drive by pressing Ctrl+Tab from the system screen (as opposed to the normal Tab key on its own for normal c:\ and d:\ browsing). The z:\ drive will now be one of the available drives to browse. If you select this drive and then press Enter, it'll take you a system type view of z:\ drive and you can explore to your hearts content! Of course, you can't save anything to this drive as it's ROM...

This doesn't work on the Revo. However, this does:- From the System screen, select Menu|File|Create new|File... and for the name type z:\anything. It won't create a new file but will take you to the z: drive. Reversing the process for c:\ takes you back again.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! If you find that it is taking a long time for your EPOC device to bring up the directory list in file dialogs, or to bring up the file browser, turn off "Show System Folder" in preferences from the system screen. This means that when the Psions scans the directories it doesn't bother to look through the system directory (which usually contains loads of sub-directories). This greatly reduced the time to bring up the directory list on my Psion. Well worth trying.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! In the owner dialog press Shift+Control+F to bring up a font dialog which enables you to change font style and the font face.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Something that doesn't appear to be documented in Message Suite 1.52 (ER3) is that not only will Word open plain text attachments in the Email program, it'll do it with any external plain text file too. Just so long as the file you want to open has a .txt extension (you can always add one if it doesn't), double click on it and it'll be opened up as a read-only file in Word... Very handy! (This is a standard feature in ER5 machines.)
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Press Ctrl+System to bring up a list of running applications. Press Fn+System to cycle through running applications. On programs with a toolbar on the side, pressing the area with the file/app. name (top right of the screen) will bring up a list of applications running.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! On the list of applications running, highlighting a program and pressing Ctrl+Shift-E lets you kill the program. (Useful if a program refuses to close).
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! In Agenda pressing space takes you to the current day. Pressing Tab brings up a useful calendar (pressing Tab again cycles through the various calendar styles).
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! In Calc pressing Shift+Ctrl+I brings up a list of keyboard shortcuts.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! In most text entry situations (e.g. in Word, Agenda, Email, etc.), pressing Ctrl+Shift+Fn+C brings up an 'Insert special character' box - all the standard symbol characters in ASCII.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! You can increment and decrement the snooze period for alarms to one minute intervals using ? and M or 5 minute intervals using Space. Ctrl+I (Ignore?) sends you to the application you had open previously, snoozing the alarm for 5 minutes (even if you've already silenced it).
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! In any program, pressing Ctrl+Shift+Fn+S takes a screenshot. You just need to tell it where to save the file. (To view it either use a program such as MBMView, or in sketch go Merge in, and choose EPOC picture as the file type).
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! To create a standard set-up for Word (on an ER3 machine - e.g. Series 5), create a document with the name NORMAL and save it in the directory :- C:\System\Apps\Word. Word will use this document every time a new Word document is created. This will also affect Word documents inserted into Agenda. On an ER5 machine (e.g. Series 5mx, Revo, etc.) it's easier - there's a 'Save as template' option under File|More...
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! (Contributed by Robert Magnusson, Sweden)... "Ever wanted to have 12 month view in Revo? Well, the function is still there but it is cut off. When pressing Tab you get 1 and then 3 month but that's it. BUT press CTRL + SHIFT + TAB and there it is, 12 month view <g>. Press TAB again will get you to 1 and 3 month but not 12 if you don't go out again and in :). It will not fit the screen (therefore was it removed)."
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! (Contributed by Robert Magnusson, Sweden)... "Ever wonder where the backlight went on the Revo? Well, it's still there in the system but not on the hardware. How do I know that? Well, let the battery run low on your Revo and then press Fn + SPACE as for starting backlight on other Psions with a backlight. Check the Revo's error message. (Main battery too low for starting backlight) :)"
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! (Contributed by Tina Thai, Singapore)... "Here's a navigation tip I use fairly often. In Agenda, pressing 'Esc' toggles between 2 views of your choice (I usually use it to toggle between Current Day and To Do list)"

It's a bouncing ball stoopid! (Contributed by Sergio Strati, Italy)... "Bombs Cheat Mode: When you are playing Bombs, press Zoom-, Zoom+, Infrared, Cut, Menu (the symbols on the left of the display) in that order (i.e. bottom to top). This results in "Cheat mode" being displayed. Don't know what it does exactly as I don't play Bombs much - but I guess it does something!.........

.......If you find a bonb Press the pen on time square and you can play with no penalty!"

System & Hardware Tips:

It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Ever get this error message from PsiWin? :- "There was a problem creating the main folder for the Psion drive because the file has been opened on the Psion. Please try again." - just before PsiWin closes the connection with your Psion

If you repeatedly get this, hear are a couple of tips which'll probably fix it:-

1) Delete the c:\System\psiwin.ini file (or just the System\psiwin.ini file on a revo).

2) Soft reset the machine. Personally I'd recommend installing one of the 3rd party programs that'll do this for you.

It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Corrupt SIS Files?: There's been some discussion recently on the various Newsgroups about corrupt CF cards, etc. Someone made mention of Alex Skilton's useful '5mx CompactFlash issues' web site ( ) which I've certainly seen before but hadn't looked at recently. In the process of having another look at it, I realised that a) I think I know what causes the 'file corrupt' error on the 5mx, and more importantly b) exactly how to fix it.

a) It dawned on me that I only recently started getting this error after I installed Palmtop's Street Planner Millennium (an excellent app. BTW) from the PC onto my 5mx. Having installed the app. + some maps, I found that every SIS file that I subsequently tried to install on the Psion itself reported itself 'corrupt'. However, I had noticed that Street *always* installs the InstApp application to your Psion's c:\ drive - and therein lies the problem...

A 5mx already has 'InstApp' built into its ROM (it's the application that adds the 'Add/remove' icon to your Control Panel and allows you to - oddly enough ;-) - add and remove apps that use the (now standard) SIS file installation. In itself, it isn't a problem having InstApp installed on both the ROM and c:\ drive. However, either i) the version of InstApp that Street installs isn't exactly the same as the one built into the ROM, or possibly ii) it uses/creates a slightly different format of InstApp.ini in c:\system\apps\InstApp\. Either option is important because - although the 5mx may default to the ROM version of the application when you try to install an application via a SIS file (I'm not sure) - it *must* use c:\system\apps\InstApp\InstApp.ini when it starts up. If the format is different to what it is expecting (due to - say - an older version of InstApp creating a differently formatted version of InstApp.ini via your PC) then this would cause the ROM-based version of InstApp to report an error...


b) The solution to the problem is simply to delete the c:\system\apps\InstApp\InstApp.ini file. This won't cause any problems because the ROM-based version of InstApp will just create a new .ini file when it starts up again. (I've done it - it works.) Actually, you might as well delete all of c:\system\apps\InstApp\ and its contents - since you don't need the InstApp program on your c:\ drive - and it uses up 33Kb of valuable space! (NB: This applies to a 5mx only - you almost certainly will need this app. on a Series 5 !)
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! If you're into tinkering with the EPOC Emulator and would like to be able to emulate the Revo then you might be interested in the following (but see my comment in the next tip about downloading the Revo emulator update). Kevin Millican ( posted instructions for an approximation using the standard emulator in Symbian's DevNet (aka EPOCWorld). Basically his instructions below tell you how at least emulate the Revo's screen size using the emulator:-

"You can't accurately emulate the Revo on the ER5 setup because the menu and dialog font sizes are different but you can change the screen size as follows :-

1. Use a Paint package to load \EPOC32\DATA\EPOC.BMP, resize to 590 x 272 pixels, and then save as REVO.BMP

2. Create a text file called REVO.INI in the same directory containing the following information:-

ScreenWidth 480
ScreenHeight 160
ScreenOffsetX 68
ScreenOffsetY 38
LedOffsetX 27
LedSize 10

3. Create a batch file called REVO.BAT in your \EPOC32\TOOLS directory containing the following (drive and directory should be changed to match your setup if not on the defaults) :-

@echo off
REM change to drive and then directory of WSEXE.EXE
cd \epoc32\release\wins\deb
epoc.exe -Mrevo --

It's far from perfect but at least you can do half a job on the main screen.

Kevin Millican"
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Alternatively, you can now download a Revo addition to the emulator if you have professional membership of Symbian's DevNet (formerly EPOCWorld) which you can download from the members area...
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Want an easy way to convert between EPOC MBMs and Windows BMPs on your PC? Have a look at Kevin Millican's excellent step-by-step instructions on his web site:
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Another way of converting MBM's and other image formats on you PC is to use this freeware program: 'XnView' available at .
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! 've seen a lot of questions in the newsgroups about the best way to maximise space on your compact flash (CF) card. People seem to be worried about whether their CF cards show (on a 48Mb card say) 47Mb or 48Mb free space when formatted. In reality, this is the wrong way to consider things. Formatting CF cards is like formatting hard disks on your PC. It's not just the size (or the reported size) of the disk that's important; it's also the cluster size - as this can greatly affect their actual capacity. A cluster is the smallest 'pocket' of data that your hard disk (or CF card) can store in one chunk and normally (i.e. by default) the cluster size increases as the size of the hard disk (or CF card) increases. Generally, cluster size can vary from between 512bytes (˝Kb) on a small CF card to 128Kb on a large card. This is important because if you've got (say) a dozen files each 1Kb in size that you want to store - but your cluster size is 16Kb - then you'll still need a dozen clusters to store them in = 12x16Kb = 192Kb. That's 192Kb - 12Kb = 180Kb wasted space! This may sound like an extreme case but it's not. Consider that the Email program (Message Suite on ER3 machines) stores each individual email received, sent, etc. as individual small files (as well as the attachments) - as does the newsreader program RMRNews. In my case, that's maybe 100 emails received and 50 sent at any given time - each being stored as small files in whatever the cluster size is...

So the trick to maximise the capacity of your CF card is to use the minimum cluster size that your EPOC machine can cope with **. Atelier (see my Commercial Links page for their website) produce a suite of utilities called Essential Disk Utilities (EDU), one of which is called Smart Format. This lets you change the cluster size of your CF card. NB: Before doing anything like this, make sure that you have at least one up to date backup of your CF card! I've used it on both a Series 5 and a 5mx machine and it works quite well.

** NB: See my new Compact Flash page for a much more detailed analysis of cluster size v's speed v's capacity...
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Ever wondered how to really un-install PsiWin from your PC (to get rid of the My Psion icon etc.):-

1. Use the standard Windows un-install procedure (via Control Panel) and re-booted as suggested.
2. You now need to delete the remaining PsiWin program stubs from your hard drive. These are (normally) in c:\program files\psion\psiwin.
3. Re-boot again (I know - it's a pain - it's Windows! Or do I mean pane...?!?)
4. Run Microsoft's 'RegClean' utility for Windows (you can get this from their site).
5. One further re-boot and you should be able to delete the 'My Psion' icon from your desktop and install PsiWin as though it's a completely new installation...

To get PsiWin to 'forget' who you are (if you're want to do a completely fresh install), don't forget to delete - or perhaps more safely; rename - c:\psion\name_for_my_psion (or whatever location you've specified) which is where all your backups and archives are stored. Also, delete c:\system\psiwin.ini on your Psion (so that it forgets who its owner is).
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Ever wanted to do a very soft reset?!? Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Fn+K in the system screen performs a soft reset - but without closing any of your open programs (or losing any of their data). Actually, that's not quite true. Ctrl+Shift+Fn+K doesn't do a soft reset - it just kills the system - but EPOC32 is designed to restart the system if it ever stops or runs out of memory. Actually, you need to be a little careful doing this as killing the system with the keyboard can drag down the Agenda file (since the System handles the time and Agenda always needs to know the time). So killing the system should not really be done in this way when Agenda is open as this could occasionally result in a corrupt Agenda file.

Also, pressing Ctrl+Shift+Fn+K in any open program will normally kill that program but leave everything else running. A useful alternative to using Ctrl+Shift+E in the 'Open files / programs' dialog (see section above).

It's a bouncing ball stoopid! There are two ways to arrange the icons on your Extras bars to suit yourself.:-

a) Tap the Extras button on the System bar. Now tap the dark bar on the extreme left. A dialogue box pops up which will let you move the icons around. However, this method doesn't let you 'fix' the icons - so you will find that the order is lost if you have to do a soft reset. The alternative method is:-

b) Access the Extras bar control on the Control Panel to change the positions. This method does 'fix' the positions (even after a soft reset) but is much slower. So there is a 3rd way...!

Use method a) to quickly position your icons as you want them. Then use b) to 'fix' them by double tapping the 'Extras bar' icon in the Control panel and then just clicking 'OK' to close it again once - thus 'saving' everything.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! (Contributed by Alexander Schellings)... "You know: backing up things is boring and you never now how well you did it. I found out the hard way. I tried zipfiles and tapes for the PC, and use PsiWin for the psion. When I was thinking about buying a digital camera, I pre-emptied the storage media problem by buying a 48MB flash card, and WOW: I thought I had a good idea for my backup problems: I copy the "my documents" directory on my PC (I use a laptop exclusively) - via an adapter in the PC Card slot-directly on the flash card, I also make a copy of the psion C drive onto this flash card when it is the psion."
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Sometimes programs can waste memory when they are closed and leave you with less space that you should have. An occasional soft reset can be a good idea. Alternatively, download a program such as MMU or FreeMEM which frees up the wasted space without having to reset.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Assuming you're using PsiWin 2.1 (or greater) on your PC, you can give your EPOC device more fonts. Double Click on the connection monitor in your system tray, choose the Print Options tab and follow the instructions to install more fonts. Note that when you're in a program and you select one of your new fonts, it will look like one of the default fonts. However as long as you print-via-PC, on a PC with that font, it will print with the selected font.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Bombs Cheat Mode: When you are playing Bombs, press Zoom-, Zoom+, Infrared, Cut, Menu (the symbols on the left of the display) in that order (i.e. bottom to top). This results in "Cheat mode" being displayed. Don't know what it does exactly as I don't play Bombs much - but I guess it does something!
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! It is possible to connect your EPOC device to a PC via infrared! Most laptops and some PCs now come with infrared ports, so why not make use of them? See my description of how by looking on my Articles Page.
It's a bouncing ball stoopid! Stylus Jammed? If the stylus is jammed in the holder, it can be fixed by opening the RS-232 connector at the back of your Series 5/mx and pushing something flat like a fingernail into the crack below the writing saying RS-232. It will then pop out and will work again. Alternatively pulling the two sides of the case gently apart at this point should have the same effect. NB: Do this at your own risk. I've done it and it works - but I won't be held responsible if someone else's attempts go wrong!

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Saturday, 1 April 2006