LXRTF - Easy rich text formatting on the HP Palmtop for MS Word etc.

Archived 2013-12-08
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Easily create fully formatted text documents or even simple Powerpoint presentations directly on the HP Palmtop!

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LXRTF is a software package which allows creation of formatted text on the HP DOS palmtops (100LX, 200LX, 1000CX, 700LX, 95LX).

LXRTF works the following way:

  1. You write your document as a plain text file with simple formatting commands
  2. You call LXRTF, which translates this file into the RTF format
  3. The resulting RTF file can be opened in almost every text processing software on any operating system

RTF-compatible text processors are for example:

  • MS Word for Windows
  • MS Word for DOS
  • MS Word for Macintosh
  • Wordpad (coming with various versions of Windows)
  • OpenOffice
  • LibreOffice
  • KOffice
  • TextMaker
  • Mac OS text editor
  • ..and many more.

Since version 1.2, LXRTF is even able to create RTF files compatible with MS PowerPoint. So it is now possible to prepare or even create simple MS PowerPoint presentations on the palmtop using LXRTF. Many thanks to Pavel Zampach for this great idea!

The high compatibility of the RTF format makes LXRTF the tool for anyone who needs to write formatted documents on the palmtop, which other people need to read on their Windows, UNIX or Mac computers.

LXRTF is designed to be as simple as possible while providing as many simple formatting features as possible. Sophisticated formatting such as mathematical formulas is not supported. If you need that, you should have a look at LXTeX (LaTeX for the HP palmtops).

In contrast to LXTeX, LXRTF is simple, fast, small and produces more compatible output.

Download, install and use LXRTF


Unzip the big archive file. Then unzip the contained LXRTF12.ZIP file into a dedicated directory, for example into c:\lxrtf. The file lxrtf.bat is the central program file. You need about 70 kB of free disk space for LXRTF.

Usage: Usage is simple: Write the document (e.g. infile.rtx) with a simple text editor. Then execute LXRTF: The command

lxrtf infile.rtx outfile.rtf

produces the RTF file "outfile.rtf" from your input file "infile.rtx".

For detailed information about formatting in LXRTF, please read the file 0README.TXT and have a look at the example files coming with LXRTF. An example is shown below.

Version history

New in Release 1.2

  • Support for Powerpoint compatible RTF format (introducing stylesheets). New command *Yn for slide title / items.

New in Release 1.1

  • Bugfix: Command for font color changed from *C to *O (*C was accidentally assigned to two functions: Color and Center-aligning!)

LXRTF Frequently asked questions

Why do I have to use commands? Why isn´t there a simple user interface such as Word with buttons for bold text, italics, font selection...?

This is because LXRTF is simple "translation" software (or call it a compiler). Creating a GUI (graphical user interface) would be possible, but it would mean much more work than just write a compiler program.

Why not use existing software, such as MS-Word for DOS?

I have looked for existing software which does what I need, but didn´t find any program, which lets me create formatted output in a file format, which my colleagues can read on their MS-Windows / MS-Word systems without the need of importing the file and maybe install exotic import filters first. Even the files MS-Word for DOS creates cannot be directly opened by newer Versions of MS-Word for Windows without the need to isntall additional filters etc. Additionally, MS-Word for DOS is slow on the palmtop and not very convenient to use, in my opinion. So I wrote LXRTF, mainly for my own needs.

How can I check on the palmtop if the formatting looks as I want it to look?

You can´t. You could open the resulting RTF file in MS Word for DOS (version 6.0 supports RTF well, I don´t know about lower versions). But on the palmtop, MS-Word only shows a subset of the formatting which is possible with LXRTF, so the exact layout is not visible on the palmtop. I have not tried MS-Word 1.0 for Windows on Windows 3.0, which runs on the palmtop, albeit very slow. This could work, if that version of Word supports RTF and if all used fonts are installed. Still, text colors won´t be visible of course.


The following example shows what LXRTF does. First you see the input file (plain text with formatting commands) and below there is a screenshot of the output LXRTF produces from the input file, opened in Microsoft Word. Each formatting command begins with an asterisk (*).

*F3 *FS20
{*IDaniel Hertrich}
*R{*IHauptstra\se 98*\
12345 Berlin*\
Tel. +49 12 3456789*\
Mobile: +49 765 4321987*\
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.}

Jack Palmtopper*\
Hewlett Street 700*\
Packard, 20095 LX*\
United States of America

{*BSubject: LXRTF test}

*RDecember 14th, 2003
*LDear Mr Palmtopper,

Please find here an example letter created with *ILXRTF*i.
This letter is written in manual formatting mode, the \*\\ command
is used and several times also some consecutive blank lines.
Please read the {*F1 0readme.txt} file for details about this method
of formatting.

Formatting is fun now, and the result can be opened with
all modern versions of MS Word or other text processors.

Once this program works without hassles, I will
publish it on my homepage, e.g, under 
{*F1*C3http://www.daniel-hertrich.de/lxrtf} or so.

If you find any problems with the program, please report them
to me. My email address is mentioned in the header of this
letter. If it should be obsolete, please look at*\

Kind regards,

Daniel Hertrich


Output in MS Word (Click on the screenshot to view a higher-resolution version of the screenshot):


Do you like to support me?

Dear fellow Palmtopper!

If you like, you may reward me for the work I put into this website with a donation.


For a donation in US$:

For a donation in €:

Your donation, even if it's just a single USD, will help me to:

  • finance the server that hosts the site
  • justify time I spend with maintaining the site and do not spend with earning money otherwise (wife is watching! ;D)
  • just continue to be motivated :)

Since my company "hermocom" does not exist for many years anymore, I am now spending my spare time and private money for all of this. Thank you very much! 🙂

Yours truly,
Daniel Hertrich