Back in the days when personal computers were primarily the domain of hackers & enthusiasts, the cost of including free stuff such as CDs & floppies full of software on the front of computer magazines was prohibitive. This was also before communications around the world became commonplace.

In the early stages of personal computer use, the Internet was virtually unheard of & even Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) were the domain of the priveliged computer users & were places where people could download software (if you were lucky enough to have a modem) or find out about new software. About the only way regular computer users were able to get software other than commercial titles was to type it in from listings in magazines like Nibble or user group's newsletters, which could be a major pain & exceptionally time consuming.

When I was actively looking for an easier way to get these programs into my own machine or for editing my own programs, I decided to investigate the use of word processors to edit the programs & form some way of getting them from their text state back into Applesoft. The solution? Too easy.

Every word processor or text editor I have ever seen has had an option for saving as a plain text or ASCII file. DOS 3.3 & ProDOS also used plain text files, though these were usually to store data from another program & to extract data from in both business applications, games & even some educational software.

So, taking the simple text file, I simply either typed programs straight from a magazine or entered my own programs in Applesoft BASIC form straight into a word processor (after the advent of ProDOS & the subsequent release of Appleworks), saving them straight to disk as a plain text or ASCII file.

To get your program back from the text file & convert them into usable form as an Applesoft listing, it's as simple as getting back into BASIC & using the built in EXEC command on your text file.

Follow these easy steps to get your programs back into BASIC:-

1. Type the program listing as it appears in a magazine or printed listing straight into a word processor. You must be sure of no errors or the program won't work. Proofread carefully & check the listing against the printed copy.

2. Save the file to a disk as an ASCII or TEXT file (if using Appleworks for Apple II, select Open-Apple-P as if you are about to print to a printer & select the print to disk as an ASCII file option) Be sure this is a ProDOS formatted disk as a Macintosh or PC disk will be unreadable in your Apple II drive.

3. If you are using DOS 3.3, you will somehow need to transfer your file to a DOS 3.3 formatted disk unl;ess you have typed the listing into a DOS 3.3 word processing package.

4. Reboot your Apple II with either DOS 3.3 or ProDOS into Applesoft BASIC so as to have disk access, negotiating your way to BASIC until you have a ] prompt at the cursor.

5. Insert the disk with your text file into the drive you wish to use & type NEW then press the RETURN key.

6. At the cursor, type EXEC YOURTEXTFILE (where YOURTEXTFILE is replaced by the actual name of your text file) then press the RETURN key.

7. Your disk drive will start up & if all is working properly, you should see a series of ] prompts (probably as many ] prompts as there are lines in your program) scroll up the screen.

8. Once the flashing cursor returns & your disk drive stops, type LIST & press the RETURN key. You should see the contents of your program listing scroll up the screen just as it appeared in your word processor. Now type SAVE MYPROGRAM (where MYPROGRAM is replaced by whatever you wish you call the program, typically the name of the program listing you have entered) then press the RETURN key.

9. All you need to do now is to type RUN MYPROGRAM (where MYPROGRAM is replaced the name you used to save the program to disk). The disk drive should run for a moment.

10. All being well, that's it, your program should now run.


To test this method out, copy the following lines into a word processor & follow the above points from step 1






40 END


Of course now you know how to do this, if you have a flatbed scanner & some OCR software, plus any old Apple II magazines with program listings in them, you can OCR the listings into your computer & transfer them to the Apple II to run them for some free software you didn't know you had. I hope this is of use to anyone plaing around with Apple II's these days.

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