NewDeal Technical Support Document 265


Tips, tricks, and traps in modifying your GEOS.INI file, for advanced users

What is the GEOS.INI?

GEOS.INI is read automatically by NewDeal software at startup to determine what drivers to use and how to configure the system. INI is an abbreviation for "initialization." The file contains sections which begin with a word or phrase surrounded by square brackets, such as [SYSTEM]. Each section contains one or more keys in the format KEY = VALUE. Most of the keys you will ever need to change in the GEOS.INI file are automatically taken care of for you by the software when you choose various settings in Preferences or when you make changes to the configuration of an application from the application's menus or toolbars.

Please Read First

Keep in mind that NewDeal does not endorse or support editing the GEOS.INI file by hand, unless directed to do so by an authorized technical support representative. If you decide to ignore that warning and alter your GEOS.INI file, you do so at your own risk.

Before modifying the file the first time, make a backup copy of the file. If your NewDeal software subsequently does not perform as expected or does not run properly, before you call us or ask for help, replace the edited GEOS.INI file with your backup copy and see if that solves the problem. If you lose your backup copy, you can get a fresh, unmodified copy of the GEOS.INI file from installation disk number one. Just use DOS's COPY command to replace the file in the directory where you installed NewDeal.

Some of these modifications were not intended to be used with NewDeal software, but were designed to make the software perform appropriately on pen-based systems or other platforms and can have unexpected results when implemented in the desktop version of the software.

How to edit the GEOS.INI

The GEOS.INI is an ASCII text file and can be edited using any Text File Editor, such as Edit in MS-DOS or Editor in DR-DOS. However, the GEOS.INI file cannot be accessed directly using NewDeal's Text File Editor, because the GEOS.INI file is in use while your NewDeal software is running.

[input] section

Entries in the [input] section tell the system how to respond to input from the keyboard and mouse and define how the user interface responds to various actions.

Let's start off with a cool trick. You can implement a "floating keyboard" in your NewDeal software. To do so, add these lines to your GEOS.INI, at the end of the file:

noKeyboard = true
floatingKeyboard = true
Now when you run NewDeal, you'll have a little gadget that you can click on with your mouse to enter text. Don't fret about "noKeyboard," you'll still be able to use your regular keyboard, too. The floating keyboard will only be active when the text insertion point is ready to accept key presses, like when you have NewWrite running or when a dialog box that expects text entry is the active window.

You can toggle the floating keyboard on and off by clicking on the new item in your Express menu.

The floating keyboard can be a helpful tool for quickly entering those special or extended characters without having to look up or remember some of the more obscure key-press combinations. It might really be useful if you know someone who, because of disability or for whatever reason, is unable to use a keyboard, but can manage a mouse or other input device.

It seems like a pretty handy tool. What are the disadvantages? Well, some folks find the floating keyboard to be "in the way" during certain operations. You'll see that the floating keyboard has several different "modes," like alphabetic mode, keyboard-style, symbol mode, and even one you can't use which is designed for handwriting recognition on pen-based systems. The biggest caveat we've found is in NewCalc. When the floating keyboard is enabled, you have to keep clicking on the input bar between each cell entry, because the application no longer retains its focus on accepting key presses.

[paths] section

The [paths] section of the GEOS.INI file allows special subdirectory paths to be defined. You can merge or link additional directories with certain standard paths. This will make NewDeal see the files in the additional directory as if they were in the standard path. A drive letter must be included in the additional path. Add the following lines to your GEOS.INI, at the end of the file:
<standard path> = <additional path>

Among the standard paths available are:


userdata font = F:\EXTRA\FONT
This example will allow your NewDeal software to use fonts stored in two locations, both the ones in C:\NEWDEAL\USERDATA\FONT and the ones in F:\EXTRA\FONT.
This addition to your GEOS.INI will make NewManager display the files in the Geoworks Ensemble DOCUMENT directory along with the ones in the NewDeal DOCUMENT directory.
This will let you keep your launchers in a subdirectory within WORLD called DOSPRGMS, yet the launchers will also appear if you click on the DOS button in NewManager.
This final example lets you have an extra INI file called MOREINI.INI which contains additional commands for configuring your NewDeal software. You can chain several INI files by including this key in each one to point to the next one and NewDeal will use the commands from all of them. This is one way to be able to link more than two subdirectories into one standard path.

[ui] section

The [ui] section of the GEOS.INI file determines the user interface and also allows passing of parameters to the user interface. If the keys do not exist, NewDeal uses the default (and only) user interface, UI.GEO, and passes no parameters. Most of the keys are set from Preferences, but here are three which are not:

In the [ui] section of GEOS.INI, add:

doNotDisplayResetBox = <true|false>
This key is set to true if we don't want to put up the Reset dialog box after a crash or improper exit. If this is set to true, then deleteStateFilesAfterCrash should also be set to true, or some crashes may allow bad state files to keep NewDeal software from restarting properly.
deleteStateFilesAfterCrash = <true|false>
True if we always want to delete state files after a crash. If this key is set to true, then doNotDisplayResetBox should also be set to true.
confirmShutdown = <true|false>
True to show the confirmation dialog box before shutting down. False to skip the confirmation dialog box. Defaults to true.

[ui features] section

The [ui features] section of the GEOS.INI file contains settings which apply to all applications. Here are some of the interesting features:
launchModel = <number>
Controls how many instances of an application can be started and exited. Advanced users choose 3, while the default is 1.
backupDir = <dirspec>
The directory for Backup in the applications' File menu (the default is USERDATA\BACKUP)
docControlOptions = <number>
<number> = sum of the values for the following options (In other words, just add up the values for the options you want from the list below.) The default is 6144 (4096+2048), so the file selector defaults to advanced mode and navigation above the document directory is allowed. An interesting value to use 39478.
windowOptions = <number>
This key controls various window options. NOTE: When you implement a change in this key, it is recommended that you RESET your NewDeal software before running it the next time. Otherwise, the saved state files might override your changes here with unpredictable results.

<number> = sum of the values for the following options

The default is to have no windowOptions key. Try 10529.
expressOptions = <number>

This key controls Express menu options.

<number> = sum of the values for the following options

You must choose one of these three options: The default for expressOptions is 4089 (1+8+16+32+64+128+256+512+1024+2048), which means that all the options are turned on and the Express menu is available in the normal position. An interesting value to use 1529, if you don't use Desk Accessories or the "Return to NewManager" item.
helpOptions = <number>

[expressMenuControl] section

The [expressMenuControl] section of the GEOS.INI file contains settings which control specific options of the Express Menu.

otherAppSubMenu = <true|false>
If true, the other applications section becomes a submenu instead of a subgroup within the Express Menu. The default is false.
runSubMenu = <true|false>
True places the top level applications in the WORLD directory and the top level subdirectories in WORLD directory in a submenu. False places them directly in Express Menu. The default is true.
runningAppsSubMenu = <true|false>

True makes the list of currently running NewDeal applications a submenu. False places it directly in Express Menu. The default is false.

[motifOptions] section

The [motif options] section defines specific options for the Motif user interface.
fontid = berkeley
This key specifies the font to be used in menus, dialog boxes, etc.
fontsize = <number>
This key specifies the point size of the font. Available point sizes depend on the font specified. Berkeley includes 9, 10, 12, 14 and 18 point, but 18 point is too large for proper operation.
gadgetRepeatDelay = <number>
Sets the delay between repeats for the user interface gadgets, such as the scroll bar and the range gadget. The delay is in 1/60th second increments. The normal setting is 18.
scroll arrow size = <number>
Sets the width and height of the scroll arrow. Default size is 12. Current options are 8, 10, and 12.
lr resize border thickness = <number>
tb resize border thickness = <number>
These two keys allow custom settings of the thickness of the resize border around windows. The default is 3. 100 is so large that performance of the applications suffers.

[file manager] section

The [file manager] section controls the way NewManager works with various other files applications.
dosAssociations = {
<filespec> = <path & complete file name of DOS executable>
Allows associating DOS data files with DOS executables so that a particular DOS executable will be launched when a particular DOS data file is run.


dosAssociations = {

[system] section

The [system] section of the GEOS.INI file defines the system configuration and setup. Most of the keys in this section are set by the Preferences manager.
fontid = <name of font>
This key specifies the default font to be used. The default font is used by NewDeal software in the event that a requested font is not available. Changing this font affects the menus and similar items throughout the software.
fontsize = <number>
<number> specifies the point size of the default font. In the event that an application requests a font which is not available, the default font and point size are used. Available point sizes depend on the font specified. For instance, the font Berkeley includes 9, 10, 12, 14 and 18 point, but 18 point is too large for some applications to work comfortably.

One last warning

Have fun with these keys. There are probably consequences to some combinations of these options, so remember, if you mess with this stuff, you're on your own.

More GEOS.INI information

If you are a programmer and want more in-depth information about modifying your GEOS.INI file, contact NewDeal about purchasing the Software Developer's Kit (SDK) or take a look at the Hot Tips area of the NewDeal web site.
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Last Modified 17 Feb 1999