QL Psion Software

Psion company logo  

Updated: 27.05.2021

QL Quill, Archive, Abacus and Easel

As I understand the situation, Psion have given permission for these programs to be freely copied for QL users, but have retained copyright on the software. So it is permissible to give away copies as long as you do not profit from it. For example, someone with a damaged master cartridge could freely be given a replacement, or someone who buys a second user QL without its software could be given copies. So in the hope that someone will find them useful, I'll make them available for download here. Most of the zipped files below are about 55K long. The first batch are the British versions of Abacus, Archive, Easel and Quill. I am grateful to Rich Mellor for assistance with finding copies of the latest versions.

Quill V2.35 for floppy disks (55K) [19/04/11]
Quill V2.35 for microdrive (55K) [19/04/11]
Quill V2.30 for floppy disks (54K) [7/4/03]
Quill V2.30 for microdrive (54K) [7/4/03]

Archive V2.38 for floppy disks (57K) [19/04/11]
Archive V2.38 for microdrive (57K) [19/04/11]
Archive V2.30 for floppy disks (56K) [7/4/03]
Archive V2.30 for microdrive (56K) [7/4/03]

Abacus V2.35 for floppy disks (56K) [19/04/11]
Abacus V2.35 for microdrive (56K) [19/04/11]
Abacus V2.30 for floppy disks (55K) [7/4/03]
Abacus V2.30 for microdrive (55K) [7/4/03]

Easel V2.35 for floppy disks (60K) [19/04/11]
Easel V2.35 for microdrive (60K) [19/04/11]
Easel V2.30 for floppy disks (60K) [7/4/03]
Easel V2.30 for microdrive (60K) [7/4/03]

Disk images - Abacus v2.35, Archive v2.38, Easel v2.35 and Quill v2.35 as 720K (DD) floppy disk image files, for systems which need this type of image. Thanks to Cristian on QL Forum for these:
Abacus235.img (720K)
Archive238.img (720K)
Easel235.img (720K)
Quill235.img (720K)

German versions

Separate versions were available for Germany. Click on the links below to download the v2.25 German versions of Quill, Archive, Abacus and Easel. Thanks to John Gregory for copies of these versions.

Quill v2.25 for floppy disks (47K) [7/4/03]
Archive v2.25 for floppy disks (52K) [7/4/03]
Abacus v2.25 for floppy disks (48K) [29/05/21]
Easel v2.25 for floppy disks (59K) [7/4/03]

Quill v2.25 for microdrive (47K) [7/4/03]
Archive v2.25 for microdrive (52K) [7/4/03]
Abacus v2.25 for microdrive (48K) [29/05/21]
Easel v2.25 for microdrive (59K) [7/4/03]

User "Chr$" on QL Forum came across a German v2.45 of Abacus and has kindly sent both a zip file and a MDV image file to include here. These will work with more than 128K RAM, up to 1MB.
aba245_zip.zip (48K) [11/09/2020]
aba245_mdv.zip (55K) [11/09/2020] - zipped copy of the MDV image file.

North American versions

Separate versions were available for North America. Click on the links below to download the v2.1 versions of the Psion programs for North American QL users. Thanks to Howard Clase for copies of these versions.

WP (Quill) v2.1 for floppy disks (54K) [7/4/03]
DB (Archive) v2.1 for floppy disks (55K) [7/4/03]
SS (Abacus) v2.1 for floppy disks (54K) [7/4/03]
BG (Easel) v2.1 for floppy disks (57K) [7/4/03]

WP (Quill) v2.1 for microdrive (54K) [7/4/03]
DB (Archive) v2.1 for microdrive (55K) [7/4/03]
SS (Abacus) v2.1 for microdrive (54K) [7/4/03]
BG (Easel) v2.1 for microdrive (57K) [7/4/03]

Italian version

Thanks to a user in Italy, here's the Italian version 2.23 of the Psion programs for the QL. All four programs in one large zip file.
Psion QL Programs v2.23 Italian (230K) [20/11/12]

Spanish version

This is a Spanish version 2.21 ofAbacus, Archive, Easel and Quill. They have been integrated with a single boot program.
Psion QL Programs v2.21 Spanish (228K) [12/03/14]

French version

French Archive, Easel and Quill. Does anybody have a full set of the French versions, please?

Archive v2.20 French (58K) [23/03/14]
Easel v2.20 French (62K) [12/03/14]
Quill v2.00 French (51K) [13/03/14]

This is a full set of French MDV versions of Abacus, Archive, Easel and Quill. Apparently, the original French versions were protected to run only on French QLs and this copy has had that protection removed to allow them to run on English machines. We don't have a French QL to test if these still run on a French machine or not, so we'd be grateful if anyone with a French QL could try them out and let us know! Olivier Basely has tried Abacus, for example, and it seems it is version 2.0, only works on a French QL and on 128K RAM QL (or equivalent setting in an emulator). Thank you Olivier.
psionfrench220.zip (216K)

Easel v2.3 French, MDV version (17K) [20/07/14]

Greek Version

Christos Kotampitsis has kindly sent me a copy of a disk from Microtec in Athens containing copies of the Greek Psion programs, version 2.43 if the boot programs are to be believed. Christos told me that this disk was preserved by Mr Aris Papanikolaou. Please note that the boot program offers to load ICE (the Icon Controlled Environment package) but as far as I know this can't be used unless you have the ICE system for Sinclair QL installed.
gr_psion.zip (406K) - zipped version of the files from the disk image below.
gr_psion.img (720K) - DD disk image version.

vDrive Versions

Rich Mellor kindly sent me four ".MDV" files which are suitable for use with the vDrive for QL. These consist of version 2.35 of Abacus, Archive, Easel and Quill.
abacus.mdv - Abacus 2.35 for vDrive (160K)
archive.mdv - Archive 2.35 for vDrive (160K)
easel.mdv - Easel 2.35 for vDrive (160K)
quill.mdv - Quill 2.35 for vDrive (160K)

Version 1 of the Psion QL suite

For collectors, here are copies of the original version 1 of the Psion software supplied with very early QLs. They are not really intended for serious use, more for download by collectors, as they are after all very early versions.

Abacus v1 (55K) [7/4/03]
Archive v1 (57K) [7/4/03]
Easel v1 (55K) [7/4/03]
Quill v1 (55K) [7/4/03]

Quill-e: Quill 2.4 Reworked

Keith Murphy took  a commented version of the sources for Quill v2.4 and reverse engineered the internal language within. This version of Quill, Quill_e, has been made clean so that all direct access to the screen and unnecessary MODE calls removed. It also doesn't grab all the memory in the machine, in fact you can pass the memory size as a parameter. It also multitasks so you can EXEC it, try it on the second screen in Minerva. Two versions - one in QemuLator executable format, so you can just copy it to a native directory of QemuLator and just exec it from there, the other a zipped version of the normal Quill executable, which you should cop to any other QDOS/SMSQ system, unzip it there and then exec it. No further documentation required, works just like standard Quill. Note: still limited to 8.3 filenames.
quill_e.dat (51K) for QemuLator only, exec this directly on QemuLator. Will not work on any other system.
quille.zip (36K) zipped version for all other QDOS/SMSQ systems and emulators.

Use from hard disks

There is no specific version of these programs for use with hard disk without resorting to Xchange (see below) and it is not a straightforward task to convert them to run from directories. Two methods are generally used to enable them to be run from a sub-directory.

Method 1 Follow the guidelines in the Miracle Systems Ltd disk interfaces manuals.

Method 2 Use the DEV device as follows. Those with the SUB extensions can make equivalent use of the SUB device drivers.

  1. Create a subdirectory for the program in question, to hold the program and its associated files
  2. Copy all of the program's files into that directory.
  3. Now use the DEV_USE command to redefine FLP1_ and FLP2_ to refer to the directory in question:
  4. So that you can continue to access the floppy drives now that FLP1_ and 2 have been redefined, use the FLP_USE command to rename the disk drives to some other memorable name such as FDK1_ and FDK2_ like this:

Xchange for the Sinclair QL

When CST brought out the Thor computer, an integrated version of Quill, Archive, Abacus and Easel was produced in collaboration with Danish software house Dansoft, called Xchange. Helmut Stuven of Dansoft was later to permit the free distribution of this version of Xchange and some other Dansoft Thor utility software. Erling Jacobsen and others (including Gunther Strube and Simon N. Goodwin) updated Xchange for QLs over the years. Erling Jacobsen maintains an Xchange web page which you can visit for latest information.

By clicking on the links below, you can download two zip files, the first containing the QL version of Xchange itself, and the second containing the documentation files (as Quill docs). Although Xchange specific, the information in these documents may also prove useful to QLers using the 'standard' versions of these programs.

Rich Mellor has sent me a version of Xchange 3.90L where some files have been updated to address some issues he has discovered, including with use on QemuLator. I've added the original below just in case the new version causes other issues on certain QL systems.

Download Xchange V3.90L Rich Mellor updated version (334KB) [5/10/13]
Download Xchange documentation (264KB) [7/4/03]

Download original Xchange V3.90L (310K)

Turbo Xchange - a version of the standard QL Xchange hacked by Martin Berndt at Ultrasoft to make it faster than the standard version. Not fully compatible with all modern systems, unfortunately, but still worth exploring.
Download Turbo_Xchange (124K)

Xchange 3.90L GD2 Patch

People who use Xchange on high colour systems may have noticed the tendency to draw the white borders around the commands area in the wrong place. It seems to cause no harm, but is an untidy and mildly irritating problem. Marcel Kilgus has written a small patch program for the above version 3.90L. Simply EXEC the Xchange_Patch_Obj program and apply it to the main Xchange program (filename is Xchange) to apply the patch, which should ensure version 3.90L runs correctly in all colour modes. This program patches the original 3.90L version, it is not needed if you are downloading the 3.90M update below.

Download Xchange 3.90L patch program (3KB) [16/01/06]

Xchange 3.90M Update

An update to the Xchange suite, based on an update by Marcel Kilgus and sent to me by Ralf Reköndt which provides the following amendments, including the 3.90L patch above. This only includes the main Xchange file and a short doc file describing the changes, so you need to download the main Xchange 3.90L above if you do not already have this version of Xchange, then download 3.90M update and once unzipped overwrite the file called Xchange in the 3.90L version with the file of the same name in the 3.90M version. You do not need the 3.90L patch above if doing this. If this update proves viable over time, we may see a full 3.90M release at some point, for now there is only this update. (Note: the updates doc file in the zip file can only be read into Xchange Quill, the filename will have to be shortened to 8.3 length to be readable by standard Quill)

  1. White borders drawn in the correct place in all colour modes (including Aurora/QPC2 256 colour modes and 16 bit colour modes on QPC2 and Q40/Q60).
  2. XChange now ignores the number of lines from its printer_dat (or archv_dat or whatever you have called it) and does not issue an additional formfeed if the number of lines per page is set to 0.

Download xch390m.zip update (125KB) [21/01/06]

Xchange 3.90N

Marcel Kilgus has produced a significant update to Xchange for systems having high resolution screens (minimum vertical resolution of 512 pixels). It includes all changes in V3.90M, but both versions will remain available as v3.90M can be used on QL or VGA resolution displays. The main changes in V3.90N are listed ina README_DOC file in the zip file. The zipfile contains the manin Xchange executable only, so use this to replace the file of the same name in Xchange v3.90L above. The main change is the extended screen workspace provided by the high resolution patch, filenames can now use a DOS style '.' extension separator in place of the QL '_' extension separator if required (it can load either README_DOC or README.DOC), the Archive formfeed bug is fixed and the white line drawing routines are fixed to draw in correct colour and location (apart from the Easel pie chart routines which still don't work as they should in high colour mode).

Download xchange390n.zip (125KB) [23/02/06]

Xchange HTML Generation

I needed to convert some Xchange Quill and Abacus files to HTML and it occurred to me that one way to achieve this was to create a printer driver which rather than printing to a printer would print to a file, adding the bare bones HTML tags to create a page of PRE-formatted text. Using this driver you can create simple HTML pages directly from within Xchange without having to use export files or other intermediate files. Using this driver, for example, Abacus spreadsheets can be printed to an HTML file keeping their column text layout.

htmldat.zip (4KB) [23/02/06]

Silvia and Solano

Roger Godley has created a GD2 version of Xchange, featuring Archive, Abacus and Easel, but not Quill. This needs to be run at a screen resolution of 1024x768 in a high colour GD2 screen mode. This is downloaded direct from the Just Words! website download page - follow this link, then select the Downloads page and scroll down to the Other Programs section:

Config.zip - Xchange Config. An updated version of the config program for Xchange 3.90x. The BASIC program states for v3.09K, unknown if suitable for later versions. (15K)

Xchange Training Course

Xchange_Training_Course.pdf (3.126MB) - A training course for Xchange. Originally produed for the OPD computers but relevant to Xchange in general on most systems. 73 page pdf file.

Thor Xchange

Original Thor version of Xchange
Thor Xchange (315K)
Thor Xchange, with German version (558K)

Special Printer_Dat Files

This is a collection of 5 special printer_dat files for Quill, and some information on the printer_dat printer driver file format. The printer drivers include:

  1. HP Deskjet printer driver
  2. Plain text output driver (LF only end of line)
  3. QL-to-PC text transfer (CR+LF end of lines etc)
  4. Simple HTML output (Note: works on Xchange Quill ONLY - code sequences too long for standard QL Quill)
  5. PC-to-QL transferred text printer (assumes some characters need translating when printing)

Download prtdats.zip (40K) (D. Jones)

HOB Utils

A package which lets you edit the _hob help files in Xchange. Using the supplied superbasic programs you can convert the _hob files into a format where you can edit them in a plain text editor then reassemble them for use with Xchange. Another program in the package lets the _hob files be converted into source files for the GST Macro Assembler. Some sample _hob files are included.

Download hobutils.zip (46K) (Erling Jacobsen)

Compiled Install_Bas

install.zip - This is a compiled version of the INSTALL_BAS printer driver installer for QL Quill, Abacus and Archive. Includes two versions, one with and one without the QLiberator compiler runtime extensions. Being compiled, you can EXEC or EXEC_W the program instead of LRUNning it as you would with the uncompiled version. On traditional QL systems, the compiled version will usually start much quicker than the uncompiled original. (25K)

Psion_Config.zip - Psion Config. An improved and compiled version of the Psion Config program for Quill, Archive,Abacus and Easel. Needs Turbo Toolkit (Rich Mellor) (17K)

Cursor Patch for Abacus, Archive, Easel and Quill

psion_patch.zip - This short BASIC program patches the version 2.0 and 2.3 of these programs to have a flashing cursor, allowing you to CTRL C in and out of them (task switch) on QDOS systems without pointer environment. Modifies the code of the four programs, without changing their lengths. Two versions, one for QLs with Toolkit 2, one for QLs without Toolkit 2. NOTE: only use on backup copies of these programs, not the originals! Patched versions may not work correctly on SMSQ/E or QDOS with pointer environment. (Peter Postl) (4K) [20/05/14]

Psion Enhancements

Psion_Mod.zip - Psion Enhancements v1.03 Modifies the Psion suite, Versions 2.30 and 2.35/6 to give you the following improvements - You can now use the second screen (with Minerva), You can now multitask correctly without any task switching program, You can pass a parameter to define how much space will be used (Toolkit command like EX required), and The task is given a Job name. Needs Toolkit II. (Martin Head) (23K)

Quill Mod.

Quill_Mod.zip - Quill Mod. SuperBASIC program which alters Quill version 2.35. Changes mdv to flp, and references to "Microdrives", to "Disk". (1K)

Vdat v0.01

VDat_v0_01.zip - Vdat v0.01 This is a simple program to list information on your PSION printer drivers, with the ability to send the output to a device or another programme. Needs Toolkit II. Includes SuperBASIC source code. (Ian.R.Bruntlett) (20K)

Runtime QL Archive

Psion released a package called Archrtm, which consisted of a development version of Archive plus a cut-down runtime version for distribution of Archive-based packages. This is interestign from a historical point of view, plus the documentation contains a lot of useful information about facilities added to later versions of Archive, such as information about control codes, graphics (line and box) characters, use of user-written machine code routines and so on.
archrtm.zip (88K) - Runtime QL Archive, including manual as Quill file and as plain text.

USR Function For Use With Runtime QL Archive

A sample machine code routine from Tony Firshman, including source assembler, showing how to write a sound routine and serial input function for the Runtime QL Archive package.
usr.zip (4K)

Archive File Recovery

An Archive database recovery utility is available from the Files page.

Unprotect Archive _Pro Files

A small SuperBASIC program allowing you to reset the protect flag in Archive _pro (program) files, allowing them to be loaded into Archive for editing and saving. This is very useful when an older Archive application needs to be updated, but the original source file is no longer available.
unprotect.zip (1K)

This program toggles the protection byte in an Archive program, so you can use this to flip a program between protected/unprotected. Written in SuperBASIC by A. Schmidt.
protect.zip (1K)

QL Switch

Allows users with extra memory to run Quill, Archive, Abacus and Easel at the same time, or two Archive programs and Quill, for example. Originally published by Transform, this is now freeware.
QLSwitch.zip (4K)
QL-Switch-Manual.pdf - manual for QL Switch,a s a PDF file (475K)

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