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NEWS FROM HP: Dictionary/Thesaurus ROM Card

NEWS FROM HP: Dictionary/Thesaurus ROM Card

More than just a spelling checker, this ROM card works in stand alone mode or with the built-in Memo Editor to check spelling, look up definitions, and find synonyms.

By Richard Hall

This nifty little ROM memory card turns your HP 95LX into a portable dictionary and thesaurus with over 116,000 words from the American Heritage Electronic Dictionary and 500,000 synonyms from the Houghton Mifflin Electronic Thesaurus.

 To show you the features of the ROM card, we'll take you through the Dictionary/Thesaurus menu options.


 Installation of the Dictionary/Thesaurus is simple. Insert the ROM card into the HP 95LX card slot and press <ALT>-<MEMO>. Because Dictionary/Thesaurus is a "System-Manager-compliant" application, it may be accessed when in any of the built-in 95LX applications by pressing <ALT>-<MEMO>.

Stand-Alone Operation

 When you enter Dictionary/Thesaurus, you'll see the following screen.

Opening Screen of Dictionary/Thesaurus:  Graphic

 In this screen you are then prompted: "Enter a word:". After doing so, select one of the seven function key commands listed on the bottom of the screen. They are as follows:

 Help (F1)

Accesses a simple Help Screen.

 Wild (F8)

Is a wildcard function that lets you search for words for which you have a partial spelling. When entering a word to search for, you must use one of the wildcard characters * or ? to perform a wildcard search.

 For example, enter yar* and press F4 to search for all words of any length beginning with "yar." Enter yar?? and press F4 to search for all five-letter words beginning with "yar." When the search is completed you are presented with a list of words. You can use the arrow keys to move the highlight bar through the list. Press Accept (F3) and the word you have highlighted will replace the word you have entered below the "Enter a word:" prompt. You can then use any of the Dictionary/Thesaurus commands on the newly selected word.

 The Wild function only lists words, it doesn't give definitions or list synonyms.

 Spell (F5)

Checks the spelling of the word entered and lists alternatives if the word is not spelled correctly. Press Accept (F3) to replace the entered word with the word you have highlighted in the alternative spellings word list. You can then use any of commands on the newly selected word.


 Checks dictionary for entered word, and lists hyphenation breaks, part of speech, primary and alternate definitions, and related words (adverbs, nouns, etc.). If you looked up "power" you would see the following:

Dictionary Entry for Power:  Graphic

 The Down Arrow in the upper right of the screen indicates that there is more information on the word than can fit on the screen. Press <Down Arrow> to scroll down to that information or press <Up Arrow> to scroll back up.

Anagram (F7)

 Lists any words that can be formed by rearranging the entered letters. For example, if you enter the letters "artp" and press F7 you get back a list with the words "part," "rapt," and "trap" in it. Press Accept (F3) to replace the entered word with the word you have highlighted in the anagram word list.

Of course, we would never suggest using the Anagram feature to cheat at Scrabble!


 Lists a definition of the word entered and a list of words having a similar meaning as the entered word. Press <Right Arrow> or <Left Arrow> to move the highlight bar to the synonym of your choice and press Accept (F3) to replace the entered word. You can then use any of the Dictionary/Thesaurus commands on the newly selected word.

For example, if you entered "power" and pressed F8 you would see the following:

Thesaurus Entry for Power:  Graphic

 In the upper right of the screen you see "Definitions: 4" below which is a Down Arrow key. This indicates that that "power" has four definitions. If you want to look at the synonyms for the other meanings, press <Down Arrow> or <Up Arrow>.

Quit (F10)

 Exits the Dictionary/Thesaurus.

Each of the above functions except Help and Quit have a Print (F9) function for sending the output to a printer through the 95LX serial port.

Dictionary/Thesaurus Card:  Graphic

 Using Dictionary/Thesaurus within MEMO

 Insert the Dictionary/Thesaurus Card first and then call up MEMO and you'll see some changes in the function key menu at the bottom of the screen. Specifically, four function keys have been added to the MENU:

 SpDoc (F3)

 This performs a spell check of the document from the current position of the cursor. Press <Shift>-F3 to check the entire document regardless of where the cursor is.

 When SpDoc comes across a word that is not in the dictionary, you get the following prompt: "Not in dictionary, enter correct word:". You can either press F4 to accept the word anyway, enter the correct word, or press F5 to get spelling alternatives for the word. From F5 use the arrow keys to go to the desired alternative and press F4 to replace the word in question.

 Spell (F5)

 The same as the Spell function in stand-alone operation. Spell checks the spelling of the word the cursor is on. If the cursor is on an empty space, Spell checks the first word prior to the cursor. Spell gives you a list of replacement words to select from.

 Dict (F6), Thes (F8)

 The same as the Dict and Thes functions in stand-alone operation.

Pressing <Shift> with Spell (F5), Dict (F6) or Thes (F8) lets you use these functions as in the stand-alone option (i.e. you are prompted to enter a word for these functions).

 The Dictionary/Thesaurus card only works with the MEMO Editor, or as a stand-alone option. However, you can spell check documents from other programs. Save your files in ASCII (text) format and read them into the MEMO editor. For example, 1-2-3 users can print a worksheet to a file by pressing <MENU> print file, and then read the file into the Memo editor to find spelling errors.

 Playing Hangman

 Hangman is word game that provides the most severe penalty possible for not guessing the secret word in time. To access this System-Manager-compliant game from within any other built-in application, press <CTRL>-<MEMO>. You see the following screen:


 The dashes at the top of the screen indicate the number of letters in the secret word. Guess a letter by pressing the corresponding key. If you are correct, all occurrences of the letter will be indicated at the top of the screen. If you are wrong, the little man takes a step up the gallows, towards his fate.

For a new game, press Game F9. To silence the sometimes annoying beeping, press Quiet F5. Press Quit F10 to exit the game.

 Overall Impressions and Recommendations

 This is a very functional and relatively inexpensive dictionary/thesaurus that provides a reference that is complete, and easy to learn and use. It slips in and out of the 95LX in a jiffy, and other than finding the start-up command (<ALT>-<MEMO>) you hardly need to use the documentation. If you use, or need to use a dictionary and thesaurus when away from your desk, and you don't want to carry around a book, this is the obvious choice.

 Availability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12/91

Medium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Memory Card

 Runs under System Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yes

Pricing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$149.95

 Company: Hewlett-Packard. Available through dealers carrying HP 95LX products.

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