Jaap's Psion II Page

Thesaurus & Spelling Checker

© Copyright Psion PLC 1990

All rights reserved. This document and the programs referred to herein are copyrighted works of Psion PLC, London, England. Reproduction in whole or in part including utilisation in machines capable of reproduction or retrieval, without the express permission of Psion PLC, is prohibited. Reverse engineering is also prohibited.

The information in this document is subject to change without notice.

Psion and the Psion logo are registered trademarks of Psion PLC.
Psion Organiser II, Datapak and Rampak are trademarks of Psion PLC.

The Thesaurus and Spelling Checker program uses techniques developed by Microlytics, Inc. and UFO Systems, Inc.

WORDFINDER® electronic thesaurus software, rel.2.0 © 1986-9, Microlytics, Inc., Selfware, Inc., Xerox Corp. All rights reserved.

Spell Finder® spelling correction/verification software, rel.5.0 © 1986-9, Microlytics, Inc., UFO Systems, Inc., Xerox Corp. All rights reserved.

V1 Mar90
Part No. 6100-0098


1 INTRODUCTION 2 Getting started 3 Spell-checking 4 The THESAURUS option 5 The ANAGRAM option Appendix A Extending the dictionary B OPL extensions Quick guide

1 Introduction

If you want to improve your use of the English language, or to solve crosswords or play wordgames, the Psion Thesaurus and Spelling Checker can help. It has the following powerful features:

Note that throughout the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker the spellings are British not American: "COLOUR" not "COLOR" and "CENTRE" not "CENTER".

The Thesaurus and Spelling Checker is supplied on a "read only" pack - you cannot save information to it or delete what is there. The pack also uses very little battery power - less even than low-power Datapaks.

There is a quick summary of the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker at the end of this manual.

2 Getting started

Loading the program into memory

To start using the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker, load the program from the pack into the internal memory of your Organiser:

When you press ON/CLEAR the second time, the Organiser loads the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker into memory.

If the program loads successfully, you will see the main menu again with a new item, WORDS, added near the end. When you select this item, you enter the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker.

The program needs just under 4¾K of free memory to load in successfully.

Out of memory?

If there is not enough free memory to load the program into, the item WORDS won't be added to the main menu and an OUT OF MEMORY message will appear.

Removing the program from memory

When you don't want to use the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker for a while, you can free the memory it is using:

The second ON/CLEAR removes the program from memory.

While using the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker, keep the pack plugged into your Organiser. If you take it out, the error message NO PACK will be displayed when you try to search for words. Do not remove the pack while the program is searching for words.

On models XP, LZ and LZ64

Models XP, LZ and LZ64 always have 7K of memory reserved for program packs like the Thesaurus.

If the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker was loaded into that area of memory, removing the program from memory won't free memory that can be used for records. diary entries or OPL programs. The memory freed can only be used to load another program pack.

Starting the Thesaurus and Spelling checker

After loading the program into memory. select WORDS from the end of your main menu. You are asked:


On models LZ and LZ64, the top line of the screen shows an icon for this product, and a running clock.

Switching from one mode to another

There are three different "modes" you can change between: Spell, Thesaurus and Anagram. Initially, you are in Spell mode - the prompt Spell: on the screen waits for you to type a word.

The prompt changes to show the mode you have chosen: Spell: Thes: or Anag:.

You can use MODE to change mode at any time while using the program, whatever you are doing.

Quitting the Thesaurus and Spelling checker

When you select the WORDS option again from the main menu, you are returned to the mode you last used - Spell:, Thes: or Anag: - ready for you to type in a word.

3 Spell-checking

Checking the spelling of a word

You can type in either upper or lower case and use all the normal Organiser editing keys:

If you got the spelling right

If the word you typed was correctly spelt. such as EXAMPLE, you will hear a short. high-pitched beep, and the screen will show:


Now you can enter another word to check. or press ON/CLEAR twice to return to the Organiser's main menu.

If you got the spelling wrong

If the word was not correctly spelt, such as EXAMPEL, there will be a low-pitched beep.

To find the correct spelling, press EXE again. The screen says Searching... then, after a few seconds:

You may want to see this list even if you spelt the word correctly - for example, you may want to find a word which sounds like a word you know.

Moving around a list of matching words

Words which scroll off the screen aren't lost - you can use ↑ and ↓ to move back to see them. If you keep pressing ↑ you return to the original search-word. You can edit this again with → and ←.

When there are no more words, ↓ has no effect.

While viewing the list, MODE brings up the menu, ON/CLEAR returns you to the word you typed, and EXE makes the word at the cursor the new search-word, which you can edit. Or you can just start typing a new word at any time.

Spell-checking using the sound of a word

If you find you are not offered corrected spellings for a word you type in, try typing the word 'as it sounds', or change any consonants you are not sure about in the word.

"Missing letter" solving

Crossword solvers in particular may want to find words when they only know some of the letters - e.g. what f-an- might be.

You can list all the words which match this pattern using Spell mode:

For example, type in f+an+ and press EXE. The screen shows:

Spell:f+an+ flank

You are now at the top of a list of matching words, just as in spelling correction. Use ↑ and ↓ to move up and down the list, MODE to get the Spell Thesaurus Anagram menu, ON/CLEAR to go back to editing your word, or EXE to edit the word which the cursor is on.

You can even enter a word consisting solely of '+'s - e.g. +++++ will list all the live-letter words which the program can find. [If you continually press ↓ in this situation, the list will eventually become too long for all of it to be retained in memory - you won't be able to scroll all the way back to the words at the beginning of the list.)

Notes on Spelling

There are three types of words in the spelling dictionaries:

You can correct the spelling only of common nouns and proper nouns. You can do "missing letter" problems only on common nouns and proper nouns.

Apostrophes occasionally occur in the list of matching words, e.g. WOULDN'T.

The " character will be converted to ' when you finish typing the word and press EXE.

Although the spelling dictionary contains around 100.000 words, no one selection of words can satisfy everyone; you are bound to find words which the Spelling Checker does not know, just as it will suggest words which you have not met before.

You can add words to the dictionary by creating a data file - see the Appendix for details.

4 The THESAURUS option

The Thesaurus finds synonyms (words with the same meaning) for the word you type in. For a word which has several meanings, it is even able to find a separate group of synonyms for each meaning. It also tells you whether each group contains nouns, verbs, or adjectives (and so on).

A Searching... message is displayed. and then the following screen is shown:


A list of words for one particular meaning of your word is found. The prompt changes to show you what type of group of words this is - here Adjc, adjectives. The first in the list of suitable words is shown - here DESCRIPTIVE - just as in Spell mode.

The type of words may be:

Noun(including pronouns)

Use ↑ and ↓ to move up and down the list - when you reach the bottom of the list. ↓ will have no effect. Press MODE to get the menu. ON/CLEAR to go back to editing your word, or just type a new word, at any time you like. Press EXE to edit the word which the cursor is on.

Finding synonyms for other meanings of the some word

Many words, such as CLEAR, have more than one meaning or usage.

Remember: the cursor must be 'in the list' of synonyms to use ← or → to show the next group. If you are on the same line as the word you typed. ← and → are used to edit your word.

A Searching... message is displayed and then a new group of synonyms will be shown, if one exists.

For example, find


After the Searching... message you see:


A new group of synonyms has been found, and you can scroll up and down it with ↑ and ↓.

When you reach the final group, pressing → shows NO MORE GROUPS. Press any key to return to the final group of synonyms.

You are also told NO MORE GROUPS when you get to the top of the list.

If the word list has no synonyms at all for the word you type, the NO WORDS message is displayed.

Finding synonyms of a synonym

You may sometimes want to use a synonym suggested by the Thesaurus as the start word to look for more synonyms.

For example, if CLEAR returned the synonym EFFECTIVE, you might decide that synonyms of EFFECTIVE would be more useful to you.

This allows you to edit the word, as if you had typed it in.

Notes on the Thesaurus

5 The ANAGRAM option

The Anagram option tries to find correctly spelled words by swapping around the letters of the jumbled word you type in. For example, type in the letters DERENGA and press EXE. A Searching... message is briefly displayed, and then the following screen is shown:


The list of words behaves in a similar way to the list generated by Spell mode. Use ↑ and ↓ to move up and down the list - when you reach the bottom of the list, ↓ will have no effect. Press MODE to get the menu, ON/CLEAR to go back to editing your word, or just type a new word, at any time you like. Press EXE to edit the word which the cursor is on.

Notes on Anagrams



The majority of users will have no need to add on a user dictionary. However, if you use specialised vocabulary in your job, or occasionally need certain obscure words. then this feature will be useful to you.

The extra words are used only for returning the Good or Bad message. The extra words are not used in phonetic correction, "missing letter" solving, Thesaurus or Anagram mode.

A user dictionary is a data file you create with the name USERDICT. The file must be called this, but it can exist on A:, B: or C:.

Creating the USERDICT file

To match the format of the built-in dictionaries, enter:

You can only type 29 characters at the Spell prompt, so don't enter words longer than this in your user dictionary.

On models LZ and LZ64

On models CM and XP


This program assumes that the data file is on device A:, and saves only one word per record. You could adapt this program to save up to 16 words in a record - this would be more efficient if you were saving several words at a time.

Loading the USERDICT file

It is only when the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker is loaded into memory that it looks around for the presence of a USERDICT file, first on any other pack which may be plugged in, and then on device A: (the internal memory).

This re-loads the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker, at which point it will look around and "find" your user dictionary file.

NB: After removing a pack containing a USERDICT file, go to the main menu and press ON/CLEAR again, to re-load the Thesaurus and Spelling Checker. Otherwise the next time you try to spell-check a word you will get a FILE NOT FOUND error.

B: OPL extensions

The Thesaurus and Spelling Checker pack adds the functions SPELL$, SPELS% and SPELP% to OPL.

They offer complete access to all of the functions in this product - you could in theory recreate the entire user interface in on if you so wished.

The main extension is SPELL$. You pass it a function number, and sometimes other parameters as well.

The following calls are available:




Notes on SPELL$

Before calling a "next" function (such as function 9, "next synonym") you must previously have called the relevant "first" function - in this case function 8, "first synonym". You can then keep calling the "next" function until a null string is returned.

Do not mix calls of different types together - e.g. calling "first synonym group" between "first alternative" and "next alternative" will cause the "next alternative" call to have an unpredictable result.

If a key is pressed during a call to SPELL$ the command returns a null string. So use a KEY statement to check whether a null string signifies the end of the list of words or a keypress. If a key was pressed, you must restart with a "first" function, not continue with a "next" function.

If you use SPELL$:(10) only call it for as many previous groups as you know exist - don't call beyond the first group.


After calling one of the three thesaurus functions (8, 9, 10) you can call one of these functions:

SPELP% - returns the number of synonyms in the group.

SPELS% - returns an integer representing the part of speech:

Value ret'd Part of speech
0 Adverb
1 Conjunction
2 Adjective
3 Noun
4 Preposition
5 Verb

After successfully calling the SPELL$ function (no. 1) you can call SPELS% to find out which of the spelling dictionaries the match occurred in:

Value ret'd Source
0 main dictionary
1 acronyms dictionary
2 user dictionary

Example OPL program

This program saves to a file all the groups of synonyms for a word that you enter in Thesaurus mode.


The string returned by SPELL$ contains TAB characters (ASCII 9) between the words. This program assigns the string to the first field of a record, and the tabs automatically place the words into separate fields.

You can only have 16 fields in a record, so you could improve this program by cutting the string returned by SPELL$ after the 16th tab and assigning the remaining words to another record.

The synonyms are saved in a data file called "TMP" on device A:, replacing any existing file of that name.

Quick guide

Starting the program

Changing mode

To check the spelling of a word

To solve "missing letter" problems

To find synonyms for a word

To solve an anagram