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COLUMN: Getting Started

User Defined Function Keys - An Advanced Lesson For Beginners

Press two keys and carry out ten keystrokes: It's possible with this 95LX function that lets you do less and accomplish more! However, use caution.

By Hal Goldstein

Programming is usually reserved for advanced users. However, you can easily use the built-in User Defined Function Key capability to program your HP 95LX to save repetitive keystrokes. As you'll see, you must do so carefully, with your eyes open.

If you read the first two of these columns, you understand the value and necessity of saving your files often. For example, if you added some names to your phone book in PHONE, those names don't become permanent until you save them to your C Drive RAM Disk. A savvy user saves his files frequently. (He also backs up his files to a desktop computer or RAM Card).

Saving your phone book is simple. Press <MENU> File Save Return Yes to replace the older version of your phone book with your revised phone book. It turns out this exact same <MENU> File Save Return Yes command is used to save APPT and MEMO files. Those five keystrokes may be just awkward enough to prevent you from saving as often as you should. We can reduce the number of keystrokes for this command to a single keystroke combination by creating a User Defined Function Key (also known as a "macro").

To automate saving a file by using a "User Defined Function Key" do the following:

  1. 1. Press <PHONE> to enter the built-in PHONE application.
  2. 2. Hold down <Shift> and <CHAR> and then press F10. You'll hear a musical, two-toned beep indicating the 95LX is ready to "memorize" the series of commands you want to automate. If you get a single-toned beep, a User Defined Function Key is already assigned to that key and you'll have to go into Set Up to delete it before you can enter a new one. (See below for information on how to delete User Defined Function Keys.)
  3. 3. Press <MENU> File Save <ENTER> Yes (the series of commands you want to automate). With each key press, you'll hear a low-pitched beep.
  4. 4. Repeat step 2 to save the User Defined Function Key.
Now hold down <CHAR> and press F10. You'll see the HP 95LX automatically saving your file. (You can use the "sticky" CHAR feature. Press <CHAR>, let go, and press F10. Your file gets saved. The Shift key is also "sticky". Hold down <Shift>, let go, and type any letter. This generates a capital letter.)

Let's create a written reminder that pressing the F10 User Defined Function Key saves a file.

  1. 1. Press <Shift>--<FILER> to see the SET UP menu.
  2. 2. Press Char to see the User Defined Function Key menu. (At the bottom next to F10, and next to it, {MENU}FS{ENTER}y, the commands you entered your User Defined Function Key above.)
  3. 3. Move the cursor to the F10 line and press <ENTER>.
  4. 4. Under "Comment" type Save file. (Replace existing file.). You can type any message you wish to remind you of what the User Defined Function Key does.
  5. 5. Press F10 again. You will see that the comment you entered is now opposite F10, completely replacing {MENU}FS{ENTER}y that had been there before.
  6. 6. Type <ESC> and Quit
(Deleting a User Defined Function Key: After you are in the User Defined Function Key menu {step 2 above} you can delete any of the key definitions you've created by moving the cursor down to the F-key of the definition you desire to delete, and pressing F3. You have to delete the user definition associated with a specific Function key before you can create a new one for that Function key.)

If you create a number of User Defined Function Keys, you can always press <Shift>--<FILER> Char to go to the menu screen and see what the definitions are. I've created a User Defined Function Key (F1) to take me to the User Defined Function Key menu screen.


Some uses of User Defined Function Keys

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