TextLink DNC Software Notes

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TextLink DNC software combines the popular TextPad Editor with Rybett DNC and Slideshow tools to give machine shops a very powerful DNC package at an affordable price. TextLink DNC runs under Windows 3 and Windows 95/98 and is fully compatible with networks. It will not run under later versions of Windows such as NT or XP. TextLink is available for simultaneous dripfeed applications on COM1/2 or 4, 8 or 16 expansion ports.

Edit files up to 32,500 lines under Windows 3.
Edit files up to available memory in Windows 95/98.
Standard Windows cut, copy and paste commands.
Keystroke macros for automating repetitive tasks.
Search/replace engine can handle multiple files.
File manager for fast copy, rename and delete.
Binary viewer using hexadecimal format display.
File comparison utility and user definable tools.

Send and receive files to NC, CNC and BTR machines.

Simply add graphics to g-code file comment lines.
Display graphics as slideshows or individually.
Capture, edit and save graphics with simple tools.
An affordable step toward a paperless factory.

The TextLink editor functions like a fancy Windows NotePad. It is easy to use and will be immediately familiar to Windows users. Use the FILE menu to OPEN or SAVE a file. Make changes to text using your keyboard like a typewriter. Use the cursor keys to navigate an open document or use the mouse to click the cursor into new positions where text may be typed. You can highlight text by double clicking on a word or by holding the mouse button down and dragging the mouse over many words or lines. Then, you can press <Del> to delete any highlighted text or use the EDIT menu to COPY, CUT and PASTE.

DNC functions are listed under the TOOLS menu. DNC tools may be used to send an OPEN "g-code" file to a machine and display matching setup instructions as a slideshow. Other tools allow for capture, viewing, editing and moving of BMP screen files to the open directory.


The TextPad editor functions are listed as a written menu at the top of the screen. Clicking on any of these menu titles will pull down a submenu of selections. Some of these menu selections are repeated as buttons with descriptive icons. However, these buttons are small and their icons vague, so we suggest that new users concentrate on the written menu until a sense of familiarity sets in. The menu titles and their uses are discussed below.

FILES: To work with an existing file, choose OPEN and a file dialog box will appear with a window of directories and a window of files. Use your mouse to left click a target directory and then click one of the resulting files. Finally, click OK. (To avoid clicking OK, you can double click on the file.) There is also a small drop-down list of FILE TYPES which controls the extension of the displayed file names. If the file you are after is not listed, try changing FILE TYPES to "All Files: *.*" by clicking on the list. In this manner, the FILES menu allows you to:

create a NEW file
OPEN an existing file
CLOSE or CLOSE ALL open file(s)
SAVE a file to the current open name
save a file to a new name using SAVE AS
PRINT, PREVIEW or SETUP for printing
EXIT the TextPad DNC program

MANAGE FILES is a very convenient selection under FILES. By simply selecting a file name and then clicking the TOUCH button, you can COPY, RENAME and DELETE files with a second click on a function button. Near the bottom of the FILE menu are the most recent files chosen for editing. Clicking on one of these names will OPEN that file for additional work.

Note: To set the DEFAULT folder at startup to something more convenient than "C:\Textpad", change the Windows Properties for the program. Under Windows 3.1, click the TextPad icon within Program Manager and select FILE and PROPERTIES. Under Windows 95/98, right click the START button and then left click OPEN. Navigate to TextPad and then click the icon and select FILE and PROPERTIES. For either version of Windows, change the "Default/Start Directory" to the location of your files.

EDIT: Of course, TextPad can function like a typewriter. Using your mouse or the the arrow keys, move the flashing cursor to any location you wish to alter and start typing. You can use the <Backspace> or <Del> keys to erase mistakes. For more advanced work, use the EDIT menu:

UNDO/REDO to correct the most recent change
CUT/COPY/PASTE highlighted words and lines
CUT/COPY OTHER cursor defined words and lines
INSERT blank lines, page breaks, files, dates
DELETE highlighted or bookmarked words and lines

To highlight a word, move the mouse over the word and double click. To highlight a larger area, hold down the left mouse button as you drag the cursor from the beginning to the end of your selected text. Then, if you like, you can click EDIT and COPY to copy highlighted text to the clipboard. And you can move the cursor to a new location, click EDIT and PASTE to paste the contents of the clipboard back to your file.

SEARCH: TextPad has powerful search, mark and replace tools that are remarkably easy to use. When needed, dialog boxes appear to find out just what you are trying to find or change. You can also toggle on/off bookmarks at your current cursor position to help you to quickly get back to important lines.

FIND selects words or phrases for searching
FIND NEXT/PREVIOUS finds the selected data
FIND in FILES lets you search other documents
REPLACE selects words or phrases as replacements
RELACE NEXT replaces the selected data
TOGGLE BOOKMARK at cursor marks/unmarks lines
NEXT/PREVIOUS BOOKMARK searches to a marked line
CLEAR ALL BOOKMARKS removes all bookmarks

The Search/Replace menu pick activates the "Replace Dialog Box" which can be used to locate and alter text that repeats throughout the document. It can also be used to update CNC sequence numbers of the form "Nxxx". The details are shown below and automated by a Macro selection.

Check the "Regular Expression" button
Search for: \([A-Z]\)[1-9][0-9][0-9]+
Replace with: \1\i(100)

TOOLS: Tools forms the heart of the TextLink DNC system. Functions such as "Transmit" and "Receive" are the basis of machine tool communications and are described elsewhere in this manual. Other functions include:

COMPARE the open file with another file
SPELLING check the open document file
SORT selected lines in the open document
CONVERT Unix and Macintosh files to DOS
RUN any Windows or DOS application

MACROS: Macros allow the user to record, name and playback a series of keystrokes to automate TextLink tasks. The basic macro functions are described below:

RECORD your keystrokes as a macro
PAUSE during record or playback
PLAYBACK a recorded set of keystrokes
SAVE and name your macro for future use

CONFIGURE: Allows the user to setup preferences on a very wide range of TextLink functions including tabs, filters, file backup, printing, screen fonts and the like. Configure also allows for the maintenance of TextLink DNC Tools which may be edited for custom applications.

The initial TextPad configuration including all TextLink DNC tools is established during installation. If this configuration is changed and you wish to restore the inital settings, you may do so quite easily. For Windows 3, copy the file "Textpad.ini" from the Textlink directory to the Windows directory. For Windows 95/98, run the program REGEDIT and then click REGISTRY/IMPORT for "C:\Textlink\Textlink.reg" as the source file.


Acdsee is a Windows viewer/browser for bitmap files supporting BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, Photo-CD, PNG, TGA and TIFF formats. Acdsee does not directly support other file types (such as text or vector) but allows Windows associations to call such display programs from its browser. The viewer supports scroll, zoom and slideshow operation while the browser presents directory lists with handy screen preview.

TextLink DNC calls upon Acdsee to display selected slides and open slideshows in a full screen format. Pressing <Alt>S starts and stops a slideshow, while pressing <Esc> aborts the display and returns to TextLink. When TextLink calls for the display of an empty file, the screen will blank. As before, pressing <Esc> aborts and returns to TextLink. If you double click the mouse during a display, Acdsee takes full control and you may use viewer and browser tools. These tools are also available by clicking the "Windows Viewer" icon.

Viewer Listing button Switch to browser
Printer button Print the image
Tool button Set viewer options

Browser Navigation Click on folders and files
View Image Double click file to view
Tool button Set browser options


Mr. Snappy is a Windows screen capture program which saves files in BMP bitmap format. When lauched, it runs as a background task with a minimized camera icon. To capture, just press <Alt><Shift>S (listen for a simulated camera click) and the current Windows display will be saved to "Snap001.bmp". The next capture will become "Snap002.bmp" and so on. Mr. Snappy only works on true Windows applications, not programs running in a DOS window. If you wish to capture both DOS and Windows screens, we recommend another program, JasCapture.


TextLink software allows manufacturing applications to be cleanly integrated into your overall DNC system. TextLink provides four methods of interaction with third party software:

1. Windows Associations
2. Windows Direct Data Exchange
3. TextLink Tool Macros
4. TextLink Software Hooks

Windows Associations: Windows File Manager allows editors to be assigned to files based on their extensions. For instance, if you associate the extension ".TST" to TextLink, double clicking the name "C:\Tapes\Rybett.tst" within File Manager will automatically open "Rybett.tst" using TextLink. To define associations from TextLink, just click "Configure", "Preferences" and "Associations".

Windows Direct Data Exchange: Other applications with the capability to RUN Windows programs can launch TextLink. For instance, an Access database may select a DNC file and then launch TextLink to display setup instructions and transmit the file to a machine. If the selected file is "Rybett.tst", the required Windows 95/98 command is:

DDEOPN32.EXE TextPad C:\Tapes\Rybett.tst

For Windows 3 (16 bit systems) use DDEOPN16.EXE. These TextLink DDE programs are located in the C:\TextPad directory.

TextLink Tool Macros: TextLink can call other applications using Tool macros similar to the DNC functions. Selected or open filenames may be viewed, edited or utilized by any program which will accept command line arguments. Examples might include a CAD file viewer, a spreadsheet SPC table or a redline drawing editor. To add or modify TextLink Tool macros, choose "Configure", "Preferences" and "Tools".

Menu Text: Title of new menu item
Command: C:\Directory\Program.exe
Parameters: $sel, $file and others
Initial Folder: Normal path to data files

Parameters will determine which file the specified program opens. Special words may be used within parameters to help choose a file. For instance, "$sel" represents the TextLink text highlighted with your mouse and "$file" represents the open TextLink file.

TextLink Software Hooks: DNC transfers may be directly called from other programs using the CHOOK.BAT file for Standard TextLink and PHOOK.BAT for Phantom TextLink. These programs are located in the C:\Camt and C:\Camp directories and contain remarks on usage.