Using WordTsar

I use WordTsar every day, mainly under Linux, but also on Windows. If you want to see what I do with WordTsar, look here

There are two types of ‘commands’ in Wordstar, those using the control keys (the default help menus will get you started with those) and dot commands for other formatting.

WordTsar implements the following special keys:

F1: Configuration
F11: Full screen mode

Moving around the Document

The cursor keys, home, end, page up and page down work as expected. The Wordstar keys for carat/cursor movement are:

Ctrl-SMove cursor one space left
Ctrl-DMove cursor one space right
Ctrl-AMove cursor one word left
Ctrl-FMove cursor one word right
Ctrl-EMove cursor one line up
Ctrl-XMove cursor one line down
Ctrl-QEMove cursor to top left
Ctrl-QXMove cursor to bottom left
Ctrl-QSMove cursor to beginning of line
Ctrl-QDMove cursor to end of line
Ctrl-QRMove cursor to beginning of document
Ctrl-QCMove cursor to end of document
Ctrl-QBMove cursor to start of marked block
Ctrl-QKMove cursor to end of marked block

Scrolling through the Document

Ctrl-WScroll up one line
Ctrl-ZScroll down one line
Ctrl-RScroll up one screen
Ctrl-CScroll down one screen


Marked blocks or selecting of text works different under WordTsar than most applications. A block of text can be marked and then left alone for as long as you like before doing anything with it. You can mark a block, then edit the document for an hour before you do something with the marked block.

Copying and pasting marked blocked blocks use an internal buffer, and a standard copy does not make the block available to the OS for other applications. It is the same with paste. In order to share text with other applications you must use the specific control sequences.

Ctrl-GDelete single character
Ctrl-HBackspace a single character
Ctrl-TDelete a single word
Ctrl-YDelete a single line
Ctrl-KBMark the start of a block of text
Ctrl-KKMark the end of a block of text
Ctrl-KVMove the marked block to current cursor location
Ctrl-KCCopy the marked block to the current cursor location
Ctrl-KYDelete the marked block of text
Ctrl-K[Copy from OS clipboard into the document
Ctrl-K]Copy from the document to the OS clipboard

Full List

This is a copy of the implemented.xlsx file, showing what the commands are, and whether or not WordTsar has implemented them yet.

This is a smidge out of date, but is in the process of being updated.

Control Keys

WordStar Command SequencesVersion
^Acursor left one word0.1.73.17
^Breformat paragraph
^Cscroll down one screen0.1.73.17
^Dcursor right one char0.1.73.17
^Ecursor up one line0.1.73.17
^Endcursor end of file
^Fcursor right one word0.1.73.17
^Gdel. char. at cursor0.1.73.17
^Hdel. prev. char.
^Homecursor to beg. file.
^Iinsert tab0.1.73.17
^Kaccept all answers in dialog box
^Kblock and save menu0.1.73.17
^K\Create fax file
^K]copy to clipboard0.1.73.17
^K[copy from clipboard0.1.73.17
^K”convert block to u/c0.1.73.17
^K’convert block to l/c0.1.73.17
^K.convert first letter each sentence to u/c
^K?Word/byte count of block or file0.1.73.17
^K<Unmark block0.1.73.17
^Kninsert place marker (0-9)
^KAcopy block between windows
^KBbeginning block marker0.1.73.17
^KCcopy block0.1.73.17
^KDsave file & ->opening menu
^KErename a file
^KFrun a DOS command
^KGmove block between windows
^KHdisplay/hide block/markers
^KIcolumn replace mode switch
^KJdelete a file whil/editing
^KKmark end of block0.1.73.17
^KLchange logged drive/dir.
^KMblock math
^KNcolumn mode switch
^KOcopy a file while editing
^KPprint a file while editing
^KQexit & abandon changes0.1.73.17
^KRinsert file into document0.1.73.17
^KSsave file & resume edit0.1.73.17
^KTsave and name file0.1.73.17
^KUmark previous block
^KVmove block0.1.73.17
^KWwrite block to file
^KXsave file & exit WS0.1.73.17
^KYdelete block0.1.73.17
^KZsort block
^Lrepeat prev. find/replace0.1.73.17
^<-cursor left one word
^Minsert hard carriage ret* (will change when macros added)
^Mmacro menu
^M!insert time
^M#insert math expression
^M$insert last math result as dollar amount
^M*insert current filename
^M.insert current directory
^M:insert current drive name
^M=insert last math result
^M@insert today’s date
^M\insert current path and filename
^MDedit/create macro
^MErename macro
^MOcopy macro
^MPplay macro
^MRrecord macro
^MSsingle step
^MYdelete macro
^Ninsert blank line0.1.73.17
^Oonscreen format menu0.1.73.17
^O?display status screen
^O]right-align line
^O#page number
^O<-/Enter closes dialog box
^OAauto align text
^OBchange screen settings
^OCcenter line
^ODcommand tags on/off0.1.73.17
^OEsoft hyphen
^OFparagraph style menu
^OFDcreate/edit para. style
^OFEren. a docursor para. style
^OFOcopy para. style to lib
^OFP->previous. para. style
^OFRren. a lib. para. style
^OFSselect a para. style
^OFVview a para. style
^OFYdelete lib. para. style
^OGtemporary indent
^OHauto-hypenation switch
^OItab settings
^OJjustification switch
^OKopen/switch window
^OLleft margin
^OMsize current window
^ONnotes menu
^ONAcreate annotation
^ONCnonprinting comments
^ONDview/edit notes/index
^ONEcreate endnote
^ONFcreate footnote
^ONGfind note
^ONIindex entry
^ONLcheck spelling in notes
^ONNchange note number
^ONUreformat text in note
^ONVconvert notes
^OOcopy curr. ruler to text
^OPpage preview0.1.491
^ORright margin
^OSnline spacing
^OTruler line display switch*
^OUcolumns (newspaper style)
^OVcenter text vertically
^OWword wrap switch
^OXmargin release
^OYpage setup0.1.1314
^OZparagraph numbering
^Penter control character in dialog boxes ?
^Pprint controls menu0.1.73.17
^P!custom printer code
^P&start Inset within WS
^P*insert graphic tag
^P-change color/shading
^P.insert dot leader to tab
^P=change font0.1.73.17
^P?change printer
^P<-/overprint line
^P0display ext character set
^PAalternate font
^PBbold switch0.1.73.17
^PCpause print
^PDdouble strike switch
^PEcustom printer code #1
^PFphantom space
^PGphantom rubout
^PgDnscroll down a line
^PgUpscroll up a line
^PHoverprint character
^PIinsert tab character
^PJinsert line feed
^PKindex entry switch
^PLform feed
^PNnormal font/pitch
^PObinding space
^PQcustom printer code #2
^PRcustom printer code #3
^PrtScsave and print file*
^PSunderline switch0.1.73.17
^PTsuperscript switch0.1.73.17
^PVsubscript switch0.1.73.17
^PWcustom printer code #4
^PXstrikeout switch0.1.73.17
^PYitalics switch0.1.73.17
^Qquick menu x0.1.73.17
^Q=go to font tag
^Q<-/go to style tag
^Qngo to marker #n (0-9)
^QAfind & replace characters0.1.73.17
^QBcursor to block beginning0.1.73.17
^QCcursor to end of doc0.1.73.17
^QDcursor to end of line0.1.73.17
^QDel delete line left of cursor
^QEcursor to begin. of screen0.1.73.17
^QFfind characters0.1.73.17
^QGncursor to next char n
^QG_/cursor to end of paragraph
^QHncursor to prev. char n
^QI#cursor to page/line #
^QKcursor to block end0.1.73.17
^QLspell check rest of file
^QMonscreen calculator
^QNcheck spelling of a word in text
^QOcheck spelling of a word you enter
^QPcursor to prev. position
^QQnrepeat keystroke n times
^QQ^Cscroll dn screen to eof
^QQ^Rscroll up screen to bof
^QRcursor to beginning of file0.1.73.17
^QScursor to beginning of line0.1.73.17
^QTndelete to char n
^QUreformat rest of file0.1.73.17
^QVcursor recent find/replace or block
^QWscroll up continuously one line at a time
^QXcursor to end of screen0.1.73.17
^QYdel. line to right of cursor
^QZscroll down continuously one line at a time
^Rrepeat last ans. at prompt
^Rscroll up one screen0.1.73.17
^->cursor right one word
^Scursor left one character0.1.73.17
^Tdelete word0.1.73.17
^Uundo last deletion
^Ustop operation
^Vinsert/overtype switch0.1.73.17
^Wscroll up one line0.1.73.17
^Xcursor down one line0.1.73.17
^Ydel. current line0.1.73.17
^Zscroll down one line0.1.73.17

Dot Commands

Dot commands not implemented will have a red background (in default color mode) for non-implemented commands. (borrowed from Robert J. Sawyer’s site:

Sorry for the way this looks. I’ll find something better.

The file implemented.xlsx (in the Sourceforge repository) will show whether it’s been implemented or not.

Additional formatting information is recorded in WordStar files through means of "dot commands."  Dot commands are instructions that are preceded (in the first position in the line) by a period <2Eh> and stand alone as the only entry on that line.  (See the WordStar documentation for exact descriptions of each dot command.) 

In the table below, the codes in the "Usage" column indicate the following: 

     M Affects only merge printing. 
     I Affects only indexing. 
     T Affects only table of contents. 
     P Affects printing or merge printing. 
     E Affects editing, printing, or merge printing. 

Versions prior to 4.0 require whole numbers as arguments to dot commands that require numbers (subscript roll, page offset).  With version 4.0, math was allowed in the arguments for easier entry of complex page layouts.  In version 5.0, the ability to specify measurements in inches was added.  In version 5.5 revision C, measurements in points and centimeters were allowed. Inches in 5.0 were specified using the double quote only.  In 5.5C, inch measurements were allowed with 'I' or 'IN'.  Centimeters are specified as 'C' or 'CM', and points with 'P' or 'PM'.  Upper and lower case are allowed with these.  Most dot commands that take their arguments as number of lines or columns will allow measurements as well.  Refer to the WordStar documentation to find out which dot commands accept measurements as arguments.

WordTsar follows the 7.0 standard.

The present interpretation of dot commands is:

Command  Usage   Meaning

.AV	M	Ask for variable.  Requests the user to  enter data from the
                keyboard at print time for a specific variable.

.AW	E M	Aligning and word wrap ON/OFF.  Enables or disables aligning
                and word wrap at a specific point in the document.  Used
                primarily to prevent changes to tables.

.BN     P       Bin select.  Selects one of the sheet feeder bins at print
                time. The number of sheet feeders is defined in the PDF.

.BP	P	Bidirectional print ON/OFF.  Enables and disables
                bidirectional printing.  If the printer does not have
                bidirectional printing capability, this command is ignored.

.CC	E P	Conditional column break.  Like the .CP command, but works
                with columnar breaks instead.  If the number of lines
                following the conditional column break command fit on the
                current page, then there is no effect, otherwise, a columnar
                break will occur.

.CO	E P	Columns.  Allows the user to specify the number of columns and
                optionally, the gutter width in columns or inches.

.CP	E P	Conditional page break.  If there are less than the number of
                lines specified remaining on the page, then a page break is
                generated.  If the number of lines following the conditional
                page break fit on the current page, then there is no effect.
                Takes the line height changes into account.

.CS	P	Clear screen and display message.  This command is used to
                clear the screen during printing.  If a message follows the
                .CS, it is displayed on the first screen line below the Print

.CV	E P	Convert note type.  For further areas in the document, all
                notes of the first type specified will be treated as notes of
                the second type.  Works with comments, footnotes, and

.CW	P	Character width.  This command allows the user to specify
                the width of the characters in 1/120 inch increments.  This
                width takes effect on the next line of text.  Either the
                normal (^N) or  alternate (^A) character width is changed
                depending which is in effect.  The default is 12 (12/120ths
                is 10 characters per inch).

.DF	M	Data file.  This merge print command is used to specify the file name which holds data that will be merged into text.  The data file may be in comma delimited format, a dBASE file, or a Lotus 123, Symphony, Quattro, or VP- Planner worksheet.  The user may also optionally change the data separator character for that file.

.DM	P	Display a message. Displays a message on the screen at print time.  If printing in the background, .DM's can "scroll off" the screen while it is hidden from the user.

.E#	E P	Set endnote value.  Specifies the new value for endnote numbering.

.EI	M	End if.  Indicates the final spot in a merge print document affected by a .IF command.  There must be one .EI for every .IF command.

.EL	M	Else.  Used for the "else" case after using a .IF command.  .EL commands are optional.

.F#	E P	Set footnote numbering type and value.  Specifies the new value for footnote numbering.  Optionally specifies whether footnote numbering should restart every page or be consecutive throughout the document.

.FI	P	File insert.  Prints the specified file at that point in the document.  .FI commands may be nested up to 7 levels deep.  .FI files can be in ASCII, WordStar, or Lotus 123, Symphony, Quattro, or VP-Planner worksheets.

.FM	P	Footer margin.  The number of blank lines from the end of the text on a page to the first footer line.  Default is 2.  The sum of the footer margin plus the number of footer lines must be less than or equal to the bottom margin. 

.FO or F1	P	Footer.  The text following the command .F1 will be printed as the first footer line on this and all subsequent pages.  A .FO (or .F1) followed by one or zero blanks  cancels the footer line.  The footer uses the character width and line height in effect at the time the .FO (or .F1) command is encountered in the text.  .FO can optionally specify even or odd numbered page footers.

.F2	P	Second footer.

.F3	P	Third footer.

.F4	P	Fourth footer.

.F5	P	Fifth footer.

.GO	P	Go to top or bottom of document.

.HE or H1	P	Header.  The text following the command .H1 is printed as the first header line on all subsequent pages.  If the header command is one of the first dot commands on a page it takes effect for that page, otherwise it affects the following pages.  A .HE or .H1 followed by one or zero blanks cancels the header line.  The header uses the character width and line height in effect at the time the .HE or .H1 command is encountered in the text.  .HE can optionally specify even or odd numbered page headers.

.H2	P	Second header.

.H3	P	Third header.

.H4	P	Fourth header.

.H5	P	Fifth header.

.HM	P	Header margin.  The number of blanks lines between the top of the text on a page and the last header line.  Default is 2.  The sum of the header margin plus the number of header lines must be less than or equal to the top margin.

.HY	E P	Turn Auto-Hyphenation ON/OFF.  Enables or disables the hyphenator.  Starting with WordStar 6.0 Rev. D.

.IF	M	If.  Used for conditional merge printing in conjunction with the .EL and .EI commands.  Only simple conditions can be tested using the following operators:

			=   Strings alphabetically equal.
			<>  Strings unequal.
			>   Greater than.
			<   Less than.
			#=  Numbers equal.
			#<> Numbers unequal.
			#>  Greater than.
			#<  Less than.

		.IF commands may be nested up to 255 levels deep.

.IG or..	E	Ignore.  The text on the remainder of .. the line is treated as an unprinted comment.

.IX	I	Index.  The text on the remainder of the line is put in the index.  A comma is used to separate a main index entry from a subentry.  If a dash is the first character following the .IX, the index entry is treated as a cross reference entry.  If a plus sign is the first character following the .IX, the page number for that index entry is printed in boldface.

.KR	P	Kerning.  Adjusts space between certain pairs of printed characters for fonts that contain kerning information.

.L#	P	Line numbering.  Specifies whether to turn line numbering off, or the spacing and position of the line numbering.  Also optional is whether to start numbering at the beginning of each page or the beginning of the document.

.LH	E P	Line height.  Changes current line height in 1/48 inch increments.  The default is 8/48 or 6 lines per inch.  All lines following this command are set based on the current line height value.  Optionally, an argument of 'A' or 'a' will turn on "auto-leading", and all subsequent lines will use the line height of the largest font in the line.

.LM	E P	Left margin.  Determines the left edge of subsequent text.

.LQ	P	Letter quality ON/OFF.  Enables or disables letter quality printing on dot matrix printers (ignored if not supported on the printer).

.LS	E P	Line spacing.  Selects a line spacing of between 1 and 9 for subsequent typing or paragraph alignment.  A value of 1 is for single spacing, 2 for double spacing, etc.

.MA	M	Math.  Stores the results of a complex equation in a variable.

.MB	E P	Bottom margin.  The footer or page number is printed within this margin.  The default value is 8 lines.

.MT	E P	Top margin.  The number of lines from the beginning of the page to the beginning of printed text.  The header is printed within this margin.  Default value is 3 lines.

.OC	E P	Centering ON/OFF.  When ON, further lines in the document will be centered within the left and right margins until  a .OC OFF command is encountered.

.OJ	E P	Output justification ON/OFF.  Command which turns right justification ON or OFF for subsequent typing or paragraph realignment.  When OFF, text is ragged at the right margin.  When ON, text is flush right.

.OJ	C	Center.
.OJ	R	Right flush.

.OP	P	Omit page number.  At print time no page numbers are printed unless the "#" has been used in footers or headers.

.P#	E P	Paragraph number.  Specifies the initial value and/or the format to use for paragraph numbering.  Also optionally specifies whether compound or outline numbering is to be used.

.PA	E P	Page break.  Begin a new page here.

.PC	P	Page column. Indicates the column at which the page number will be printed.  This is active only when the footers are not in use and page numbering is turned on.  If the column specified is 0, then the page number is centered between the margins in effect where the .PC command is given.

.PE	P	Print endnotes.  When encountered during printing, endnotes will be printed at this point in the document.

.PF	P	Paragraph realignment while printing.  May be ON, OFF, or DIS (for discretionary).  When ON, subsequent paragraphs are realigned as they are printed.  When OFF, paragraphs are not realigned.  When DIS, paragraphs are realigned only when merge print data is substituted in the document.  Paragraphs are aligned using the left, right, and paragraph margins currently in effect.

.PG	P	Number pages.  At print time the page number is printed at the bottom of the page unless a footer overrides it.  Usually used to restore page numbering after being turned off with .OP.

.PL	E P	Page length.  The total number of lines in a page assuming 6 lines per inch.  An eleven inch page contains 66 lines.

.PM	E P	Paragraph margin.  The left margin to use for the first line of every  subsequent paragraph.  Used for both regular and hanging indents.

.PN	E P	Page number.  The current page number.

.PO	P	Page offset.  The number of print columns from the left edge of the paper to the left margin of text.  The current setting of character width (.CW) deter mines the actual amount of indentation.  .PO can optionally specify even or odd number page offsets.

.PR	P	Printer information.  Currently used to select the print orientation for laser printers (use .PR OR=L for landscape, and .PR OR=P for portrait).

.PS	P	Proportional spacing ON/OFF.  Subsequent text is to be printed using a proportional font.

.RM	E P	Right margin.  Determines the right edge of subsequent paragraphs.

.RP	M	Repeat.  Command to repetitively print copies of a document.  The .DF command may interfere with the .RP command.

.RR	E P	Ruler.  Embeds a ruler line to be used for subsequent typing and alignment.  The text following the .RR is the exact image of the ruler line above the text on the screen.  A .RR with a # (0-9) specifies a preformatted ruler line (stored in the user area).

.RV	M	Read variable.  Merge print command used to read one or more of the next data from a file into variables.

.SB	E P	Suppress blank lines on/off.  Starting with WordStar 6.0 Rev. D,  Soft lines at the beginning of pages will be automatically suppressed.  This dot command controls the display and printing of blank hard returns at the beginning of pages.

.SR	P	Sub/superscript roll.  The increments (in 1/48ths of an inch) which the carriage is to roll up or down for subscript and superscript printing.  Default is 3 (3/48ths of an inch).

.SV	M	Set variable.  Merge print command used to store data in a variable.

.TB	E P	Tab stops.  Sets multiple tab stops for further editing/printing in the document.

.TC	T	Table of contents.  The text following  the .TC is a table of contents entry.  A "#" indicates where the page number is to go in the entry.  .TC1 through .TC9 are used to simultaneously build nine other tables.

.UJ	P	Micro justify.  Specifies whether subsequent lines are to be micro- justified at print time.  When ON, the white space necessary to right justify a line is spread in very fine increments evenly over the line.  When OFF, whole blanks are used to spread the white space.  When DIS, the printer driver decides; microjustification is not performed if it slows down printing dramatically.

.UL	P	Continuous underlining ON/OFF.  Enables or disables underlining of blanks between words.

.XE .XQ	P	Custom  print  control.  The  hex  pairs
.XR .XW		following the dot command define the custom print control for ^E, ^Q, ^R, and ^W encountered in the text respectively.  The definition may include up to five bytes.

.XL	P	Form feed.  The hex pairs following .XL define the print control string to be sent to eject the paper to the following page when printing.

.XX	P	Strikeout character.  Redefines the character used for strikeouts.

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