Newton FAQ


Part V: Software

  1. Where can I find software for my Newton?
    1. Software Archives
    2. Software Developers
  2. What software is available from Apple?
    1. Connection, backup, and package installer software
      1. Newton Connection Kit
      2. Newton Backup Utility
      3. Newton Package Installer
      4. Newton Connection Utilities
      5. How can I connect to the Newton using ethernet?
    2. Book creation and development software
      1. Newton Press
      2. Newton Book Maker
      3. Newton Toolkit
      4. Newton C++ Toolbox
    3. How do I use MacinTalk on my Newton?
      1. Does MacinTalk work on my Newton?
      2. Where can I find MacinTalk?
      3. How do I use MacinTalk to convert text to speech?
      4. Can I change the voice used by MacinTalk?
      5. Can I change the volume of MacinTalk?
    4. What can Newton Works do for me?
      1. Does it work on my Newton?
      2. Where can I find it?
      3. What word processing software can I use on my Newton?
      4. Where can I find spreadsheet, drawing, and calculation stationery?
      5. What spreadsheet software can I use on my Newton?
    5. I bought a Newton but it didn’t come with a CD or floppy disks. Where can I find them?
  3. Software problems
    1. I get an error message on my Newton. What does it mean?
      1. Negative numbers
      2. Positive numbers
    2. My Newton crashes or hangs at startup. What can I do?
    3. Unsupported shareware
    4. How can I help a developer to fix bugs I have found?
      1. Using BugTrap — How can I make a log to send to developers?
      2. Using TrashPak — How can I get the list of the installed software?
  4. Internet
    1. How can I connect to the internet on my Newton?
      1. What do I need?
      2. What’s the difference between NIE 1.1 and NIE 2.0?
      3. How can my Newton share another computer’s internet connection?
    2. What software is needed?
      1. Email
      2. Web
      3. Newsgroups
      4. Other protocols
      5. Can I use my Newton as a web Server?
    3. How can I read AOL mail on my Newton?
    4. Is there a Sherlock equivalent for the Newton?
  5. Fonts
    1. Where do I get Roman fonts for the Newton?
    2. How do I make a Newton Font?
    3. My font doesn’t print (or prints poorly) to my printer. Why?
  6. Audio
    1. What software do I need to play audio?
    2. What software can be used to record audio?
  7. International & Localized Software
    1. Where can I find software for non-Roman languages?
    2. Is there a web browser that supports non-Roman encodings?

A. Where can I find software for my Newton?

1. Software Archives

2. Software Developers

There are several Newton developers who still actively support and maintain their products or at least have kept information and downloads available.

The following defunct developer sites have been saved in the Internet Archive.


B. What software is available from Apple?

1. Connection, backup, and package installer software

a. Newton Connection Kit

Newton Connection Kit (NCK) is an application that allows you to synchronize, backup, and manage data from a Newton device using a Mac OS or Windows computer.

NCK only works with Newton OS 1.x devices. For Newton OS 2.x devices, use NCU.

Software is available from UNNA:

Documentation is available from Apple: [cf. IIA5]

Documentation is also available from UNNA:

b. Newton Backup Utility

Newton Backup Utility (NBU) can install packages, as well as backup and restore data between a Newton device and a Mac OS or Windows computer.

Software is available from UNNA:

Documentation is available from Apple: [cf. IIA5]

Documentation is also available from UNNA:

c. Newton Package Installer

Newton Package Installer (NPI) does what it says. It installs packages on a Newton device from a Mac OS or Windows computer.

Software is available from UNNA:

d. Newton Connection Utilities

Newton Connection Utility (NCU) provides package installation, data backup, import and export of data.

NCU only works with Newton OS 2.x devices. For Newton OS 1.x devices, use NCK.

Software is available from UNNA:

Documentation is available from Apple: [cf. IIA5]

Documentation is also available from UNNA:

e. How can I connect to the Newton using ethernet?

This only works with devices running Newton OS 2.1 and Mac OS. The Windows version of Apple’s connection software does not connect over AppleTalk. A workaround is to use the Basilisk II Mac OS emulator.

A disk image with Newton Connection Utilities pre-installed for Basilisk II is available on UNNA.

2. Book creation and development software

a. Newton Press

Newton Press can be found on UNNA.

Documentation can be found on Apple’s FTP (among others), see question IIA5.

b. Newton Book Maker

Newton Book Maker with documentation can be found on UNNA.

c. Newton Toolkit

[cf. VIIA1a]

d. Newton C++ Toolbox

[cf. VIIA1b]

3. How do I use MacinTalk on my Newton?

a. Does MacinTalk work on my Newton?

MacinTalk only works with Newton OS 2.1 devices, including the MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300.

Detailed information on using the various text-to-speech capabilities of MacinTalk can be found in the following articles:

If you have a Newton OS 1.x device, you can try John Saccente’s Yak instead.

b. Where can I find MacinTalk?

To use MacinTalk, you’ll need to install the MacinTalk and SpeakText packages, which are usually named macintal.pkg and speaktex.pkg respectively.

These packages are available here:

c. How do I use MacinTalk to convert text to speech?

In most applications, tap the action or routing button and select “Speak Text” from the picker. MacinTalk will begin speaking the text in the current window. A good place to try this is the Notepad application.

You can also use MacinTalk to speak the contents of a Newton Book.

See also: Can I use MacinTalk with a Newton Book?

d. Can I change the voice used by MacinTalk?

MacinTalk includes nine voices to choose from.

To change the voice, open the InOut Box, tap the “i” button and select “Speak Text Prefs”. Choose the voice you wish to use from the “Voice” menu.

The voice parameter can also be set programmatically using the [[svox]] syntax.

See the Embedded Commands section of More Newton Text to Speech for more information.

e. Can I change the volume of MacinTalk?

The volume is set to its maximum level by default. The easiest way to change how loud MacinTalk speaks is to change the volume on your Newton device. Keep in mind that if the volume of your Newton is also set to its maximum level, that is as loud as MacinTalk will get.

The volume parameter can be set programmatically using the [[volm]] syntax. Since the default volume setting is 1.0, it can’t be set any louder than whatever the maximum volume of your Newton device is set to. You can set the volume parameter to an absolute value between 0.0 and 1.0, or you can adjust the volume up and down using a relative value, such as [[volm +0.1]] or [[volm -0.1]].

See the Embedded Commands section of More Newton Text to Speech for more information.

4. What can Newton Works do for me?

a. Does it work on my Newton?

The Newton Works word processing module is mostly in 2.1 ROM. Therefore, it won’t work on any other device. The word processing was written to be used with the keyboard. However, there are several software packages that directly use the handwriting recognition, although they are more primitive than standard handwriting recognition input zones.

There is also software available that enhances the functionality of Newton Works.

Andree Dettmer compiled a list of Newton Works links on his Newton Does It! site.

b. Where can I find it?

Newton Works can normally be found on the CD or floppy disks that came with the MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, or eMate 300. See question VB5.

The US version can also be found online on Laurent Daudelin’s website: http://nemesys.dyndns.org/NewtSoft_EN.html

The German version can be found on PDA LifeStyle website: http://www.pda-lifestyle.de/ftp/pub/newton/cd-2100/INSTALSW/newton-works.zip

c. What word processing software can I use on my Newton?

You can use AvailWorks.

d. Where can I find spreadsheet, drawing, and calculation stationery?

There are actually three additional stationeries for Newton Works: Works calculation, Works Draw and QuickFigure Works.

They are on the original eMate CD (QuickFigure Works was also available on the original MessagePad 2100 CD). See question VB5.

Newton Works can also be found on UNNA.

e. What spreadsheet software can I use on my Newton?

PelicanWare made a spreadsheet application called QuickFigure Pro.

[From David Huff]

The link is http://www.pelicanware.com/ and they are now selling products for the Newton 1.x OS for purchase online (e.g. QuickFigure Pro 2.5) for $29.95. Their later versions for Newton OS 2.x are avail for purchase w/demos for download.

Macapa’s Napkin Calc is a application that lets you create sheets where you enter numbers and text, then perform calculations on that data. Napkin Calc supports more than one sheet on screen at a time.

5. I bought a Newton but it didn’t come with a CD or floppy disks. Where can I find them?

All Newton models originally shipped with either a CD or floppy disks containing software. This software is available on UNNA.

Additionally, the Windows CD is available online:


C. Software problems

1. I have an error message on my Newton. What does it mean?

There are two kind of error codes that appears in a dialog slip (small dialog with animated frame): positive numbers and negative numbers.

a. Negative numbers

These are standard Newton OS errors. The error number usually provides information about the type of error and can be found in the Programmer’s Reference for Newton OS 2.0 or in a book for Newton written by Chris Frost http://www.frostnet.net/chris/newton/html/books.html

Victor Rehorst built a database of errors that may contain more errors (especially from C++ headers). You’ll find it at: http://tools.unna.org/errors/

See also: What is the -10061 error?

b. Positive numbers

A positive error number generally indicates a bus error caused by a bad reference to a NewtonScript object or an error in some piece of C++ code.

These types of errors may also be triggered by hardware problems, where the processor tried to access data at a certain address and the request could not be completed successfully.

2. My Newton crashes or hangs at startup. What can I do?

There is probably an incompatible or corrupted package on your Newton that is causing it to crash. You can try to solve this by deactivating all packages by performing a soft reset with extensions off. Refer to question IIIB2c for details on how to do this. Restarting with extensions off will allow you to start up your Newton and delete the offending package.

3. Unsupported shareware

I like a particular shareware program, but it requests that I enter a code to activate it. I tried to contact the author, but with no success. What should I do?

As a Newton developer, I would suggest you work to find the author. Ask the Newton community by a post in the newsgroups and mailing lists.

4. How can I help a developer to fix bugs I have found?

a. Using BugTrap — How can I make a log to send to developers?

Install BugTrap by Tactile Systems. It will make a new note every time an error occurs (basically when you get the message “Sorry an error occurred”), which you can send to the developer.

b. Using TrashPak — How can I get the list of the installed software?

TrashPak from Atomic Software http://pobox.com/~atomic.software does several things including a very useful feature for developers: it generates the list of all the packages that are installed on your Newton.


D. Internet

1. How can I connect to the internet on my Newton?

a. What do I need?

First of all, internet connectivity requires Newton OS 2.x.

The download speed when accessing email or newsgroups is limited more by the modem than by the Newton device. Accessing these services on a MessagePad 120 or MessagePad 130 can be done, but it does require a significant amount of memory for the Newton Internet Enabler and associated applications. Web browsing can be painfully slow of these Newton devices.

Sean Luke said (in response to “Newt’s Cape is slow on my MessagePad 130”):

The MessagePad 130 contains an ARM 610 running at 20MHz with no pipelining, no superscalar architecture, no L2 cache, and a bytecode-interpreted programming language. When was the last time you surfed the web on a Mac Plus? A PC/AT? You should be amazed that Newt’s Cape runs at all on an MessagePad 130!

You also need access to an internet provider, a compatible modem, and the Newton Internet Enabler (NIE) package. This software was provided on the CD or floppy disks that came with your Newton.

b. What’s the difference between NIE 1.1 and NIE 2.0?
Newton Internet Enabler 2.0 is a major upgrade from 1.1 and includes several new features, including:

Most importantly, NIE 2.0 only works on devices running Newton OS 2.1.

See the Newton Internet Enabler 2.0 Read Me support document for additional information.

c. How can my Newton share a another computer’s internet connection?

According to Tom Sheppard, while you can provide MacIP connections to a Mac, it doesn’t work with Newton devices. So the only way to share an internet connection is to do that via ethernet.

To do so, you need a router software on your desktop or laptop computer. On Mac OS, IPNetRouter and Vicom’s SoftRouter are two options.

2. What software is needed?

Steve Weyer maintains a list of internet related applications (e.g., categories mentioned, plus weather, HTML editors, etc.): https://communicrossings.com/html/newton/newtscape.htm#Other

a. Email
b. Web
c. Newsgroups
d. Other protocols
e. Can I use my Newton as a web server?

Believe it or not, yes.

Newton Personal Data Sharing (NPDS) is a software suite consisting of a web server and associated support modules for Newton OS 2.x devices. It provides web-based access to notes, names, calendar items, and more.

3. How can I read AOL mail on my Newton?

Basically, you can’t.

At one point Catamount Software’s Aloha allowed you to access multiple accounts, but as AOL dropped support for older versions of their client protocol, Aloha stopped functioning.

The current iteration of AOL Mail requires secure web access or an email client that supports SSL. Unfortunately, the Newton OS does not support SSL at this time.

4. Is there a Sherlock equivalent for the Newton?

Hemlock is a freeware program created by Sean Luke. It allows you to do searches similar to the original Sherlock, using the most recent versions of Steve Weyer’s Newt’s Cape browser. It also has extra capabilities, such as importing and exporting of plug-ins.


E. Fonts

1. Where do I get Roman fonts for the Newton?

Freeware fonts:

Minico: (freeware, tiny Monaco, great for terminal emulators)

Commercial fonts:

2. How do I make a Newton Font?

There are two ways to make a Newton font from an Apple TrueType font or from bitmaps.

Sean Luke’s Fonts for the Newton page provides source code for both his set of laser printer compatible PostScript fonts and his customized Chinese language font.

Apple also provided some simple font source code.

3. My font doesn’t print (or prints poorly) to my printer. Why?

The printing facilities in the Newton aren’t very sophisticated. When printing to a PostScript printer, the Newton expects the printer to already have all the necessary fonts built-in. If they’re not, blank space is printed, or the font is rendered in Courier or Helvetica (whatever the default font is for your printer).

When printing to a non-PostScript printer, the Newton renders its internal fonts as best it can. However, due to space restrictions the internal fonts are stored mostly for screen resolutions, not printer resolutions; so they’ll come out blocky when printed.


F. Audio

1. What software can be used to play audio?

On MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100 devices, you can record and play messages and sounds using the recording stationary located in the Notepad application and the built-in microphone.

Roger Milne’s ModPlayer plays .MOD music files on Newton OS 2.0 devices. A MOD file contains a set instrument samples, plus a list of patterns on how those samples are played back similar to MIDI. ModPlayer is also available from UNNA along with a large selection of MOD files.

Eckhart Köppen’s MAD Max audio player supports MP3 audio files.

Sound Icon Maker by Deep Focus Designs lets you create your own Newton sounds from audio files.

Sound Off! by Deep Focus Designs lets you link sounds to specific actions and events.

There are also plenty of playable sounds available as individual packages.

2. What software can be used to record audio?

Audio recording requires a microphone or audio input using a serial or Interconnect port adapter.

See also: Are there any accessories that use the Interconnect port?

On MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100 devices, you can record messages and sounds using the built-in microphone and the recording stationary located in the Notepad application.

VoiceNotes by Modasys dramatically improves the recording quality and uses memory more efficiently than the built-in recording stationary. (Also available from UNNA)

VoiceAlarm by Serg Koren allows you to record sounds which can be used as alerts. (Also available from UNNA)


G. International & Localized Software

1. Where can I find software for non-Roman languages?

At one time, C.W. Otto Sohn’s NEWTtools site maintained an exhaustive list of Fonts, Input Methods, and Font Tools. Be aware of dead links when perusing this resource.

Paul Guyot’s DictMgr allows you to disable system dictionaries and manage multiple user dictionaries, particularly for different languages.

2. Is there a web browser that supports non-Roman encodings?

Newt’s Cape supports Chinese, Japanese, and Cyrillic (in addition to English, French, and German).