Tutorial: Usage of PIM/PE (PIM suite for Palmtops)

Archived 2013-12-08
This page has been archived and some links may not work correctly anymore. No updates of this page will be done anymore.

Back in 2004 I started a mailing list for people who wanted to learn usage of PIM/PE, the great freeware PIM (Personal Information Management) software for HP Palmtops by Andreas Garzotto (D&A Software).
On that list, I published four lessons of a tutorial ("course") which should enable people to effectively use PIM/PE on their Palmtops. These four lessons are shown below. The mailing list does not exist anymore. It was a temporary list for posting and discussing the lessons.

PIM/PE (i.e. the combination of PIM/LX and PE/LX) is a great alternative to the HP Palmtops' built-in appointment book, phone book and, for some users, even for the general database and notes database applications. PIM/PE is text file based. A GUI is there only for graphical presentation of appointments and as a general viewing / editing interface to the text files. This makes PIM/PE incredibly flexible and compatible.

Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 14:34:23 +0200 (MEST)
From: "Daniel Hertrich" 
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: [PIMcourse] PIM COURSE LESSON 1

|                                                             |
|                      PIM / PE  COURSE                       |
|                     by Daniel Hertrich                      |
|                                                             |
|                  Lesson 1:  Installing PE                   |
|                                                             |

0. Preconditions:

   In this and all following lessons I assume that each 
   participant has basic knowledge of MS-DOS. This involves
   file handling (copying, renaming, editing, deleting),
   usage of the DOS command line, basic knowledge of what
   memory is and how it is handled by the palmtop and so on.
   Also for these participants who want to install PIM and
   PE under Application Manager as an icon, they should 
   know how to do that and how to solve SysMgr- / AppMgr-
   related problems. 
   However, it is possible to use PIM / PE entirely 
   independently from System Manager, so it can also be used
   on a 1000CX palmtop.
   I will explain in one of the lessons how to export PIM data
   from the built-in databases to PIM/PE compatible files.

   Everything explained in the PIM/PE course can be done on
   HP palmtops 100LX, 200LX, 1000CX and Omnigo 700LX.
   It is not possible to install and use PIM/PE on a 95LX.
   Additionally, it MAY be possible to use PIM/PE under 
   a palmtop emulator, such as PALRUN, PALMPC or CG.COM, on
   a regular MS-DOS / Windows PC. However, this course will
   not explain how to do this and it will not resolve any 
   problems related to that.

   So let's begin now!

1. Download PE:

   We need the new version of PE (Version 3.0) for the 
   PIM/PE setup used in this course.

   Download PE 3.0 from ftp://ftp.dasoft.com/pub/PE/pe.zip

2. Preparation (skip this if you don't have a prior version 
   of PE installed already)

   If you have a version of PE installed already, delete or
   deactivate it for the lessons.  Don't simply replace it with
   the new version, because we want to install PE 3.0 all into
   the same directory. This makes it easier for the lessons, as
   CFG files will contain path information and so we can simply
   cut'n'paste from the emails without caring about different
   paths.  E.g. if you have installed PE 2.x in c:\PE, either
   delete it and make all software use the new version of PE,
   or remove C:\PE from your PATH variable in autoexec.bat.  If
   you delete the old PE version, keep a copy of PE.CFG so you
   can later adjust the new PE.CFG to the old values you are
   used to use. 

3. Installation

   You need about 80 kB of free C: drive space for PE.

   We want to keep all program data in C:\BIN and later all 
   PIM data files in C:\_DAT\PIM.  

   So now we install PE 3.0 into C:\BIN:

   Create C:\BIN.

   From the PE 3.0 ZIP archive, install the files 

   PE.HLP and 
   in C:\BIN.

   If you're going to run PE / PIM from Systemmanager, you also
   in C:\BIN.

   If you have the space, also copy


   into C:\BIN so you always have it available for reference.

   Now you need to modify the autoexec.bat of your system. 
   If you boot form C: or A:, modify the autoexec.bat there.
   If you currently use the default autoexec.bat and 
   config.sys from D:, you first need to copy BOTH to C:\
   and modify autoexec.bat on C:, as D: is a ROM drive.

   Add C:\BIN to the PATH variable of your system.
   Add C:\BIN\NOFIDDLE.COM as the last command before
   the system manager is called (command "100" or "200",
   if you want to use PE and PIM under System Manager.

   If you use Software Carousel, make sure C:\BIN is available
   in the path variable of each SC session you want to use PE
   in (check after reboot with command "path").

   If you want to launch PE from Application Manager, create a
   new icon with title PE, program path C:\BIN\PE.EXE | 
   (the | at the end reserves all available memory to PE. 
   This is useful for PIM.EXE later. If it causes problems, 
   you can later trim down the amount of reserved memory). 
   Put an upside-down question mark into the note field of
   the new entry (Fn-3 creates that character). This is to
   prevent the annoying mesage "Press any key..." after PE
   has been closed.
   If you go forther to the icon field, the PE icon should 
   appear automatically. Then press F10 to save the new entry.
   Please do NOT modify PE.CFG yet, except for the modification
   I ask you to do. 

   Reboot your palmtop.

4. First configuration and PE exercise:

   Now PE should be ready. Try to invoke PE from Application
   Manager using the icon and from a DOS prompt using the
   command PE. This should now always work, regardless "where"
   in the system you are, thanks to the PATH entry.

   Check if the correct verswion of PE is running:
   Shift-F1 shows an info window. It should say:
   PE 3.0 / Sun, 25 Jul 2004 09:54:00 MET.

   Configure PE, editing C:\BIN\PE.CFG now (Press F9 in PE
   to load a file, enter c:\bin\pe.cfg in the dialog, press
   First comment out all entries in the [PIM] section of 
   PE.CFG. We will add them later again. Save PE.CFG and 
   restart PE (comments are preceded by a semicolon).
   On restart, you are now asked for a file to open. This is 
   OK. Choose one or create a new one to play with.
   For example, open c:\bin\pe.doc

   Play around with PE to learn the basics. PE.DOC will help
   you and you can view PE.HLP at any time within PE by
   pressing F1.  
   - Edit some files, save them, 
   - open several files in one PE session 
   - jump around between them with F7 and Shift-F7 (new hotkey
     to view a list of open fies).  
   - Search something in the file with the F4 search feature 
   - Create a list of your personal most-often used files which
     you often edit. Put that list into C:\BIN\PE.CFG in the
     section [Menu] like this, replacing the examples in 

     Use some real files you have on your system, the above 
     ones are only examples. On the left side of the equal sign
     give a short description of the file, which will appear in 
     the menu. & sets the hotkey.
     Then use F6 in PE to choose a file from the list and open
     This is the first step in the direction of PIM. In fact,
     this _is_ already a kind of PIM ("Personal Information
     Management"). You have a list of often used files in your
     editor, so you can access these personally often used
     files with only a few keystrokes.

     This [Menu] section will later contain all your PIM files.

   - Read PE.DOC and make yourself familiar with the features
     of PE. Especially the search feature, the feature of
     using external programs ("filters") and using keyboard 
     shortcuts for moving around in a file will be good to know.

5. Reconfigure your software if necessary:

   To make all programs on your palmtop, which used PE for 
   editing data, work flawlessly again, please reconfigure them 
   to use the new c:\bin\pe.exe. Such programs may be:
   * PNS200, check c:\_dat\pns200.ini
   * Post/LX for editing messages, check also the "Externals"!
   * MM/LX, check MM.CFG
   * Norton Commander
   * Volkov Commander
   * Built-in Filer, check c:\_dat\filer.ini
   Check also, if existent:
   * Programming environments
   * Your batch files

So much for today. I hope everything works as expected. If not,
don't hesitate to ask questions to the pimcourse mailing list. 
Others may of course reply to them as well, if I don't do it 
in time.  

Maybe I'll collect important questions and their answers, and
if I publish the PIM course on the internet, put together a
Q&A page for each lesson.

I'll wait for some time to see if there are questions, and if 
there are, clear everything up before proceeding to the next 
lesson. I expect to continue with lesson 2 in about one week.

In lesson 2 we will install and configure PIM/LX and 
reconfigure PE to provide PIM features.

Have fun!

Daniel Hertrich,


Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2004 15:00:33 +0200 (MEST)
From: "Daniel Hertrich" 
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: [PIMcourse] PIM COURSE LESSON 2

|                                                             |
|                      PIM / PE  COURSE                       |
|                     by Daniel Hertrich                      |
|                                                             |
|                  Lesson 2:  Installing PIM                  |
|                  And first steps  with PIM                  |
|                                                             |

0. Disclaimer:

   Using a PIM application means dealing a lot with date and 
   time values. I am aware that in different countries
   different date and time formats are used. For simplicity
   reasons I ask you for the duration of this course to use 
   the formats I also use. I'll give advice in one of the last
   lessons how to switch to other date / time formats, so once
   you are familiar with PIM / PE you can then switch over to
   your preferred formats (and unfortunately you'll have to 
   rewrite some PIM items, if you want to preserve them for 
   your actual use of PIM / PE). 
   But I hope you understand it would make this course a mess 
   if every member would use her/his own preferred time/date

   The formats used here are as follows:

   Date: DD-MMM-YYYY, i.e. 
   Time: military time, i.e. 
                               08:15 (=8.15am)
                               16:55 (=4.55pm)

   The calendar week begins on Monday and ends on Sunday.

   It is possible to switch to am/pm time format and
   to ISO date format (YYYY-MM-DD) later.
   It is also possible to switch to Sunday as the beginning
   of a week displayed in calendar views.

1. Download PIM: 

   We need the new version of PIM (Version 2.2) for the
   PIM/PE setup used in this course.

   Download PIM 2.2 from ftp://ftp.dasoft.com/pub/PE/pim22.zip

2. Preparation (skip this if you don't have a prior version 
   of PIM installed already)

   If you have a version of PIM installed already, delete or
   deactivate it for the lessons.  Don't simply replace it with
   the new version, because we want to install PIM 2.2 all into
   the same directory. This makes it easier for the lessons, as
   CFG files will contain path information and so we can simply
   cut'n'paste from the emails without caring about different
   paths.  E.g. if you have installed PIM 1.0 in c:\PIM, please
   delete thje entire directory, but keep a copy of PIM.CFG so 
   you can later adjust the new PIM.CFG to the old values you 
   are used to use.

3. Installation 

   You need about 100 kB of free C: drive space for PIM.
   Additional space of at least 300kB is recommended for
   PIM data and index files. Fewer space may be sufficient for 
   the beginning.

   We want to keep all program data in C:\BIN and all
   PIM data files in C:\_DAT\PIM.

   So now we install PIM 2.2 into C:\BIN, where PE already

   From the PIM 2.2 ZIP archive, install the files

   PIM.CFG and
   in C:\BIN.

   The PIM.DOC file contains some information about 
   installation of PIM, which is covered as well by this course
   lesson, so you won't need PIM.DOC.

   The actual PIM documentation is in HELP.PIM, which we will 
   install now:

   Create the directories
   C:\_DAT\PIM\DATA and

   From the PIM 2.2 ZIP archive, install the files

   HELP.PIM and
   in C:\_DAT\PIM\DATA

   Please do NOT modify PIM.CFG yet, except for the modification
   I ask you to do.

4. Configuration of PIM features in PE:

   In order to use PIM and PE's PIM features, you need to 
   enable the PIM features of PE first.

   This is done by editing C:\BIN\PE.CFG:

   You have commented out all entries in the [PIM] section
   in lesson 1. Now we need some of these entries again. 
   Edit the section [PIM] so that it looks a follows:

; parameters for PIM functions (see PIM.DOC)
; Find=c:\bin\find.exe

   In lesson 1, you have created entries in the [Menu] section.
   We need that section now also for PIM. This section allows
   you to quickly access your PIM files (along with other
   often used files).
   So, if you have added files to [Menu] which you need often,
   keep them, but please add the following line as the 
   first (!) line of the [Menu] section:


   (note the exclamation mark on front of the path - it is

   PRIV.PIM will be our first PIM file, holding private
   data. Later we will add more files for other purposes
   (a business file, a holidays file, a contacts file...)

   Save PE.CFG and, if you used PE to edit it, quit PE.

5. Configuration of PIM:

   PIM's central configuration file is C:\BIN\PIM.CFG.
   Please take the file as supplied with PIM.ZIP; apply
   no other modifications than I ask you to apply.

   The only modification we need so far is this:

   There is a [Choice] section containing two line.
   Please comment out the entire section (i.e. prepend
   a semicolon to each line, including [Choice]). 
   Then save PIM.CFG.

6. Principles of PIM / PE:

   Please read PIM.DOC, supplied with PIM.ZIP, to understand
   the principles of PIM / PE.

   Especially it is important that you understand the principle
   of writing "journals" in PE and use the PIM application
   to manage these journals, i.e. to extract the actual PIM
   data and display it in a calendar or in a list, evaluate
   links to other PIM items in other PIM files and follow 
   them etc.

   A journal is basically a text file containing notes of 
   the day. If you write something down, it may contain PIM
   information. You mark that PIM information with a special
   token, so that PIM.EXE can evaluate it. 

   Think of it as simple writing of a diary with inserting 
   some tags making the written stuff understandable for 
   a non-intelligent machine.

   E.g. assume you write down the experiences from this lesson.
   You may want to set yourself goals and you may want to 
   set an appointment so you know when to work on the next
   lesson (and this one, too).

   Your notes could look like this:

   "I have worked on lesson 2 on 04-SEP-2004 17:00-19:00
   Experiences: Have installed PIM, have configured PE. PE works
   nicely, but I have not yet tried PIM. I'm interested in 
   how it looks like! But Daniel didn't let me have a glance
   at it yet.
   Todo until next lesson: 
   - Understand PIM principles,
   - enter first PIM items myself
   - explore the PIM GUI
   - Skim HELP.PIM to be amazed by the variaty of features
   Next lesson (3) will be on Thursday, 9th September, 17:00."

   This is of course not a format which is understood by PIM.
   But keep that journal in mind. We will use it later and
   "convert" it to PIM format.

7. Preparing the first PIM file for usage:

   Start PE (either via SysMgr icon or via the command "PE"
   on the command line).

   Unlike before, PE should now not come up with a file open
   dialog, but with an empty file. If you look closer, you
   see in the top line that the open file is the priv.pim
   file. Why is this? Because you have given it as "Cur" 
   (which means "current") in PE.CFG / [PIM]. 
   PE now opens that file each time it is started.

   (Pressing F9 will always let you open any other file,
   as you may be used to).

   Press Fn-Date. You would expect that the current date is
   inserted now. But instead a little calendar is displayed
   which lets you choose a date.

   --> Fn-Date in PE's PIM mode lets you enter a date stamp
       of your choice.
       (Fn-Time would add a combined date / time stamp instead)

   In the calendar, let the cursor reside on the current date 
   and press enter.
   A line, beginning with two dots, and the current date is
   inserted at the top of the file. 

   But PE only _displays_ a line and the two dots. In reality, 
   the entry looks like this (you see it when opening the file
   in another editor, e.g. MEMO):

   +. 03-SEP-2004

   The tag "+." means to PE and PIM "a date / time stamp
   follows!". You could also have written "+." instead of
   pressing Fn-Date. It would have the same effect, PE
   would have presented you the calendar to choose a date

   It is necessary that each PIM file has a +. line as its 
   first line. Otherwise it is not recognized as a PIM file.

   NOTE: When giving lines beginning with + in this course,
   they are always INDENTED. This is because if you read
   the course IN PE, PE would think you read a PIM file, if
   it would see these + lines beginning at the left edge. 
   If they are indented, they are not recognized as PIM tags 
   by PIM or PE. Also in HELP.PIM this method is used to show
   + lines without letting PIM/PE think these are actual PIM

   If you look closer, you even see that the current day
   of the week is displayed. This is calculated by PE on the
   fly, it is NOT written to the PIM file.
   The cursor should be at the beginning of the weekday now.
   Press enter. The cursor jumps into the next line, the 
   weekday stays where it was.

   Now save the file with F10. You have created a very basic
   PIM file!

8. The PIM GUI (basics)

   You are in PE, the priv.pim file is open, the cursor is
   placed on an empty line, NOT on the date stamp line.

   Press Ctrl-Enter.

   Ctrl-Enter is the hotkey for starting the PIM GUI.
   If everything is configured correctly, you will see a few
   messages flashing by in text mode, then the GUI is started
   and you are in a view of the current week. The cursor is
   placed on the current date and time.

   Let's explore this weekly view:

   - In the top line you see:
     - The PIM version
     - The month and year wihch we are viewing currently
     - The calendar week number we currently see (wXX)
     - the type of items currently displayed ("Appointments")
     - on the right side: The current date and time in the
       format you have specified in the palmtop's setup
       application under System Manager.

   - In the main screen you see:
     - On the left side (y axis): The time
     - On top (x axis): The day of the week
     - the grid: Here appointments will be shown graphically
     - footer line: data of the item where the cursor is
       (i.e. currently only week number, date and time)

   So what can you do now in the GUI?
   A lot! In this lesson, we will only explore how to navigate
   and how to switch to other views. Please do the following
   and see what happens:

   a) Use Alt-M to switch to monthly view
   b) Use Alt-D to switch to daily view
   c) Use Alt-W to switch to weekly view again
   d) Play with the cursor keys, with Home, End, PgUp, PgDn
      in all of these views.
   e) Press F5. A dialog appears which les you enter a date
      to jump to (independently from the kind of view).
      Press F5 again to jump back to today

      --> So, if you want to turn back to today in the current
          view, simply fress F5 twice.

      The Goto dialog is very flexible. It lets you enter
      dates in many various formats. E.g.:

      1.2         jumps to the 1st Feb of the following year
      1.2.2004    jumps to the 1st Feb of 2004
      1.2.4       also jumps to 1st Feb 2004
      1.feb       jumps to 1st Feb of following year
      w33         jumps to calendar week 33 of current year
      w33/5       jumps to week 33 of 2005
      +5          jumps forward 5 days
      -7          jumps backwards 7 days
      6           jumps to the next 6th

      Due to that great flexibility, it may happen during
      your first steps that PIM interprets the date you 
      entered in another way than you intended.
      Simply try again with another syntax and you will succeed.
      With time you will get used to what is valid and what
      isn't. PIM tells you if the date you've entered isn't

   f) finally, use Alt-L to switch to list view. This kind
      of view will mainly be useful for todo lists, but
      depending on your usage pattern later, it may also be
      useful for appointments or other type of data.
      Currently, list view shows no items.

   g) Use ESC to leave the GUI and return to PIM.

9. The first PIM entries

   Remember that journal we wrote in step 6 above?
   We now want to convert that to a format understandable by
   PIM and put it into the priv.pim file. Then use the PIM GUI
   to see how it is processed and what can be done with it.

   Note that we will not yet use all the aids to enter PIM data,
   but rather enter the raw PIM data in PE, so you get a feeling
   on how the PIM data look like to understand what special
   tokens PIM relies on to process data.

   You should know the following: Each line which has a plus
   ("+") as the very first character, is a special line for
   PIM and also for PE if it is in PIM mode. Such a plus
   is displayed as a dot by PE, if PE is in PIM mode.
   You can see that PE is in PIM mode because in the
   black top line there is a "+" displayed behind the version
   info of PE.
   Please follow the guide and don't be afraid of the 
   complicated data entry. It will become easier later!

   a) You just left the PIM GUI with ESC and you are in PE.
      The cursor is positioned in the line below the date
      spamp in priv.pim.

   b) press Enter to create an empty line. This makes things
      more convenient to read.

   c) We want to set an appointment for
      "I have worked on lesson 2 on 04-SEP-2004 17:00-19:00"
      An apointment is a PIM file entry with the following

      +( Start date and time
      +a name of the appointment
      +) End (date and) time

      So, please enter the following manually:


      A calendar window appears. Choose 4-Sep, press enter.
      PE converts the line view and appends the day of the week
      as you know it already from the date stamp (+.).
      The cursor is positioned behind the date where you now
      please enter the start time: 17:00.
      After that, press enter.
      On the next line, write

      +a PIM course 2nd lesson

      and on the following line, write

      +) 19:00

      Press enter twice.

      PE now displays the appointment nicely as an item
      included in a kind of "frame".

      The raw data (which you entered) look like this:

      +( 04-SEP-2004 17:00
      +a PIM course 2nd lesson
      +) 19:00

      Save the PIM file by pressing F10.

      Hit Ctrl-Enter to start the GUI. 
      You should see the new appointment in the graphical
      overview. Move around, change views etc. to see what

      Leave the GUI with ESC, which takes you back into 
      PE with priv.pim.

   d) We now want to "translate" the remaining journal to
      PIM syntax. 
      What does it contain? Some free-form text (notes),
      some todos and another appointment.
      So let's begin with the notes.

      NOTES: Simply write them into the PIM file. They are 
      not treated by PIM, so they do not have to have a 
      + tag. The important thing about notes its that they are
      ordered chronologically by the +. timestamps.
      We'll see later how to find a note entered on a certain

      So, simply write below the appointment:

      Experiences: Have installed PIM, have configured PE. PE works
      nicely, but I have not yet tried PIM. I'm interested in 
      how it looks like! But Daniel didn't let me have a glance
      at it yet.

      (Actually, this isn't true anymore, but let's assume it
      is, just for simplicity. )

      Now, we enter the todos. Todos are similar to appoinments
      in syntax, but they have a +t tag instead of +a.
      Additionally, they usually have only a start date, maybe
      a due date and no time. They can also have priorities,
      bue that will be explained later.

      So, now please enter the todos as follows:

      +( 04-SEP-2004
      +t Understand PIM principles,
      +) 06-SEP-2004

      +( 04-SEP-2004
      +t Enter first PIM items myself
      +) 06-SEP-2004

      +( 04-SEP-2004
      +t Explore the PIM GUI
      +) 06-SEP-2004

      +( 04-SEP-2004
      +t Skim HELP.PIM to be amazed by the variaty of features
      +) 09-SEP-2004

      You see I have se the due date for the first three todos 
      to two days after the start date. The last todo as 
      the date of the next PIM lesson as the due date.

      Some aids for entry:

      To enter the due dates, you can either use manual entry,
      or, after entering +), press Fn-Date and choose the date.

      Now, we enter the last appointment of our journal:

      +( 09-SEP-2004 17:00
      +a PIM course 3rd lesson
      +) 19:00

      Press F10 to save the file.

   e) Explore the new entries in the GUI:
      Press Ctrl-Enter ON AN EMPTY LINE in the priv.pim file.
      In monthly view, you should now see both appointments.
      In list view (Alt-L) you see the two appointments listed.
      Now, press Menu / T(ype) / T(asks'n'Appts).
      PIM shows you a list of all the items you have just
      entered. Menu / T / A returns to Appointments-only view.
      Menu / T / U shows only the todos.

   Press ESC to leave the GUI,
   Press ESC-ESC to leave PE.

10. PIM help

   Whenever you need help with PIM, you can consult HELP.PIM.
   Either open it manually in PE, or hit F1 when the PIM GUI
   is running (then hit Ctrl-Fn-Home to get to the beginning
   of the file. Seems to be a bug that it jumps to the end.
   I will fix that soon.)

   You can use the search frature of PE to find topics, and
   you may also use the table of contents of the HELP.PIM file:
   This is another feature of PIM you'll encounter during the
   lessons: Links.

   The table of contents lists the headings of the sections.
   Each line is prepended with a +>. 
   Each heading in the text is prepended with a +. (just as
   a time stamp).

   If you place the cursor on a +> line and press Ctrl-Enter,
   PE will not call PIM in the GUI mode, but instead it lets
   PIM search for the corresponding +. line. 
   That means, if you place the cursor in HELP.PIM on the
   line "+>    Completed Tasks" (this is line 16) and press 
   Ctrl-Enter, PIM takes you to the section "Completed Tasks".
   This is called "following a link".

   Consider what you can use that for: 
   If in PIM course lesson 24  you take a note such as
   "I forgot how to write a time stamp, but I have learned
   that in lesson 2 already", just add a 
   +. Lesson 2
   in front of the notes of today, and rewrite the notes of 
   lesson 24 this way:
   I forgot how to write a time stamp, but I have learned
   that in 
   +> Lesson 2

   A Ctrl-Enter on the "+> Lesson 2" line then takes you 
   directly to the notes of lesson 2.

You have done a full installation of PIM.
You know the paradigm of this kind of PIM application.
You have learned the basics of PIM entries.
You know how to enter appointments, todos and notes and
how to set date / time stamps.
You have learned the basics of the PIM GUI (navigation, 
view types, item types).

I admit that the ways to enter and view data described so far
are a bit complicated and take more time and keystrokes than
in the built-in PIM apps. 
This is due to the fact that we work with a text editor and use
text files exclusively. But there are ways built into PE and
PIM to make data entry and data viewing MUCH easier. 
Even easier and more convenient as inthe built-in applications.

The reason I did not introduce these ways yet is that you see 
the basics: The file and tag format of PIM files, the menu
structure of PIM etc.

In the next lesson we will use PE's ways to help you with
data entry, use advanced ways to let PIM present data and
some more interesting things.

In the meantime, you can play around with the features known
so far, add more entries to priv.pim and play with them.
To be on the same level again for the next lesson, I'll 
save the current version of our priv.pim and send it to
all of you before the next lesson.

If there are questions regarding this lesson, now is the time
to ask.

Have fun!

Daniel Hertrich, 2004-09-03


Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 23:43:40 +0200
From: Daniel Hertrich 
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: [PIMcourse] PIM COURSE LESSON 3

|                                                             |
|                      PIM / PE  COURSE                       |
|                     by Daniel Hertrich                      |
|                                                             |
|                  Lesson 3:  Outlines in PE                  |
|                                                             |

John brought up the idea to make a little lesson about outlines
in PE.

Here it goes:

Think of an outline as a hierarchy (or a tree).

Level one is the first level of the hiearchy, level two is the
second level of the hiearchy and so on.

BTW, a very good way to learn about hierarchies is to use 
Mindmap/LX. MindMap/LX and PE use the same file format for
their hiearchies / outlines.

If you ask PE to create an outline of the file which is loaded,
it declares certain lines as top-level (1st level) items. Which
lines that are, depends on the criteria you gave (e.g. a
delimiter, a special string "Contact" or whatever).
Everything below a top-level item is lower in the hierarchy.

PE can display items "only up to a certain level" and hide the
remaining parts of the file.

If you want to create a file in PE which is meant to be
structured in a hiearchical way, you can give the hiearchiy
level of a line by preceding the line with n*3 spaces (n being
the level).


   1st level item a
      2nd level item a
      2nd level item b
   1st level item b
      2nd level item c
         3rd level item a
      2nd level item d
and so on.
You can then use PE's outline feature to only display lines "up
to level X" and hide all other lines.
Lines with text beginning at column 0 is notes text belonging
to the item above it. I.e.

   1st level item a
      2nd level item a
      2nd level item b
   1st level item b
      2nd level item c
This is a note belonging to 2nd level item c.
This is the second line of the note.
         3rd level item a
      2nd level item d

So if you load the above lines into PE, then hit ESC and O to
switch to outline mode, you see some inverted "-" behind some
If you put the cursor into such a line and press ESC - (which
means, hit ESC and release it, then press minus and release
it), PE hides the "contents" of that "record", or, in other
words, it hides the "subtree" of the marked item. Or, in other
words, it hides all items which "belong" to that item in the

E.g. go to the second level item c and press Esc -. The notes
of that item, along with its 3rd level item are hidden and the
minus turns into a plus, meaning with ESC + you can let the
contents appear again.

BTW: To make it easier to create such files, it is recommended
to set the parameter TabSize = 3 in the [Display] section of
PE.CFG. This makes PE substitute 3 spaces for each entered TAB,
so you only need to press the TAB key to create a hiearchy


Using n*3 spaces in one way to declare item levels.

Another way is to let PE decide which level an items has by
using search criteria. E.g. a line containing a special record
delimiter or string can be made a level 1 item.

The typical way to use this is explained below:

Load this into PE:

+p Miller, Jack
   Tel +1 234 56789
   Address: 44, ABC street
+p Smith, Freddy
   Tel +1 987 65423
   Address: 55, XYZ street
+p Wolf, John
   Tel +1 951 753695
   Address: 99, bush road

Hit Ctrl-C, enter "+p" and hit enter.

You have declared the +p lines 1st level items, all other
things are hidden.
You can view a record by hitting ESC + on a name line now and
hide the record using ESC - on a name line again.

Hit Esc O or Ctrl-C to switch off outline mode. 
The entire file will be shown again.

Now press Ctrl-C once more. This time, enter "Tel" at the
prompt, then Alt-R (using records) and enter "+p". Then hit 

PE now shows you only the Tel line of each record, and the
record title, e.g. the name line, and again
you can expand / collapse records with ESC + and ESC -.

You can later also use this technique to view excerpts
of your PIM files.

E.g. if you hit Crtl-C, enter "Freddy", Alt-R, then enter "+."
and hit enter, PE will present you all date / time stamps and
show you all lines containing "Freddy". So you see at one
glance on which date you entered notes, appointments or
anything else containing "Freddy"

I hope this clears up all problems with outlines. If not,
please ask.

Daniel Hertrich, 


Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 20:58:50 +0200
From: Daniel Hertrich 
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: [PIMcourse] PIM COURSE LESSON 4

|                                                             |
|                      PIM / PE  COURSE                       |
|                     by Daniel Hertrich                      |
|                                                             |
|             Lesson 4:  PIM/PE data entry aids               |
|                                                             |

1. Introduction:

   So far we have seen that data entry in PE for PIM is rather
   complicated and requires many keystrokes to get a valid
   and working PIM entry.

   There are meny ways to make this easier, faster, simpler.
   At least for the basic kinds of entries. For more complex
   ones (e.g. appointments with repetition data) it is still
   required to use manual entry methods.

2. A PE macro for new appointments and todos:

   We will now enable the F3 key in PE to add the frame for
   a new appointment or todo. 

   In fact, the macro is already there and active (defined in
   C:\BIN\PE.MAC, have a look at the last line of PE.MAC!
   A macro line in PE.MAC assigned a sequence of key strokes
   to a single key. A key is specified as its hexadecimal 
   scan code preceded by a hash. So the line in PE.MAC which



   "translates" to the following:

   F3   =  + ( [ESC] [ENTER] + ) [ArrowUp] [DATE]

   i.e. it first generates an empty +( +) frame (omitting
   the automatically opened calendar with ESC), then goes
   up into the +( line and lets you choose a beginning date.

   Close PE.MAC, we don't need to edit it.

   Open C:\BIN\PE.CFG and go to the [Labels] section.
   You see an entry which is commented out reading "3=AddPIM".
   Remove the comment character in front of it to activate 
   that entry. 
   It means that the label "AddPIM" is added to the F3 key 
   label in PE. That is for you to remember which key to 
   press to generate a PIM entry when in PE.

   Save PE.CFG and restart PE. You will now see the AddPIM 
   label on top of the F3 key.
   You should be at the end of priv.pim now so you can test
   F3 right now.

   Press F3! A calendar will be displayed. Choose today's 
   date by pressing enter. You'll see a PIM entry frame
   with today's date with the cursor right behind the date
   ready to enter the start time.

   Create an appointment by adding the time "20:00",
   pressing enter and adding 
   +a PIM/PE Lesson 4
   Then press the down arrow to get into the +) line and
   enter the stop time 22:00.

   Press enter twice to get into a new line with an empty
   line in between, then save (F10) and press Ctrl-Enter.
   PIM is started and the new appointment should be visible.

   Do not exit the GUI!

3. Adding a PIM entry using the GUI

   You may have noticed that in the PIM GUI the F3 label
   also shows "Add". You can also add an entry directly from
   within the PIM GUI. However, this will bring you back
   to PE, so it is not possible to add an entry without
   leaving the GUI. 

   Let's now create an appointment for Lesson 5.
   Let's assume it will take place next week (I am 
   optimistic! ;-) at the same time as Lesson 4.

   So, press F5 F5 to go to today if you are not there already.
   Then press F5, enter "+7" and confirm with Enter. You are
   taken to exactly one week later (+7 days).
   Now, move the cursor to 20:00 (observe the bottom status
   line) and press Shift-F3. This defines the Start time
   of the new entry. ***START TIME SET*** will be displayed
   in the lower right corner of PIM.
   Now, move to 22:00 and finally press F3.
   This takes you back to PE and you see a new +a entry
   for one week in the future 20:00-23:00 for which
   you can now enter the title. Enter 
   "PIM/PE Lesson 5".

   Save (F10), go to an empty line and press Ctrl-Enter.
   When in PIM, press Alt-M. You will now see both
   new entries in the monthly view.

   It is also possible to add an entry without defining
   the start time first:
   Press Alt-W for weekly view, F5 F5 (go to today),
   ArrowRight to go to tomorrow, move cursor to 18:00,
   then press F3.
   Back in PE, you now see a new entry beginning at 18:00
   and ending at 19:00 (Duration 1 hour, as defined
   in PIM.CFG section [PIM] entry DefDur=60).
   Don't change that for now. You can change that later if

   Delete the new PIM entry frame, we don't need it. It was
   only to show this alternative of entry creation.

Daniel Hertrich,

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