Using PDA's for slash

Want to read slash away from your computer, without using paper? We'll discuss different ways to load slash from email lists or the web onto your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). We'll focus on PalmPilots and Visors, but most methods will work on Pocket PCs as well. (Programs discussed include TealDoc, MakeDoc, iSilo, and AvantGo.)

Online slash is cool. Online slash that you can take with you is cooler. Online slash that you can take with you without using a printer or paper is the coolest.

To get stories onto your PDA/PalmPilot, you need to convert them. There are different ways to do this, depending on if your original story is plain text (txt or email) or html (a formatted webpage).

Simplest, in my opinion, is to save the txt or html file to your hard drive and convert it using MakeDocW, which automatically adds it to your PalmPilot install folder to be loaded the next time you hotsync.

If you're picky about formatting, consider iSilo/iSiloX programs or the TealDoc/MkTlDoc programs. Each pair of programs is a reader and a converter.


AvantGo is a program that downloads webpages onto your PalmPilot, using its own program. The webpages are complete, so the links work.

No Frames
No pages larger than 30k (a short fic)
Tables frequently look bad

Once you have an account, you can create custom channels with the url of a site. Options include:
Maximum Channel Size
Link Depth
Include Images
Follow Off-Site Links


System requirements:

AvantGo currently supports Palm Computing devices and Microsoft Windows CE or Pocket PC devices.
Download, install, configure, hotsync


iSilo is a highly versatile document reader for Palm OS handhelds. You can find thousands of ready-made documents downloadable immediately for reading with iSilo or you can create your own documents from HTML content using iSiloX. Some of the major features that will win you over to iSilo include:

High text compression in iSilo format documents result in a 50% to 60% decrease in size, which is about 20% better than the Palm Doc format, allowing you to store more and larger documents on your handheld.
Hyperlinks make it much easier to navigate through a document.
Images add visual richness to documents, especially photo-quality color pictures.
Tables allow the display of tabular data.
Formatted text gives style to text for controlled emphasis.

iSilo has direct support for reading the essential document types.
iSilo 3.x:
iSilo 2.x:
Palm Doc: Essentially a plain text format with basic compression applied, the Palm Doc format remains popular as the lowest common denominator due to its early roots and widespread acceptance.



iSiloX is the desktop application that converts content to the iSilo 3.x document format, enabling you to carry that content on your Palm OS handheld for viewing using iSilo.

iSiloX pulls together source content, which can be in differing formats and come from different sources, to form the final iSilo document.

Text file formats:
HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language is the most common open format for documents.
CSS: The Cascading Style Sheet language is the most common method used to add style to HTML documents.
text: When plain text is all you need.
Palm Doc: Convert Palm Doc content to iSilo format for about a 20% reduction in file size.

File sources:
Web content: Create documents from content on the Web. Great for offline reading and browsing.
local content: Create documents from content on local or network volumes.
multiple root sources: Easily create documents with pages in the order you want using multiple root sources.

Free Trial Copy
TealDoc Registration Key: $16.95

TealDoc is a full-featured reader for standard Palm OS document files and enhanced TealDoc files. Features include screen rotation, smooth scrolling, full screen mode, beaming, a bonus tiny font, and direct support for docs and plain text files stored on external VFS-compatible media cards such as SD/MMC, compact flash, and Memory Stick. TealDoc supports enhanced documents with HTML-like tags for inserting TealPaint pictures, oversized scrolling bitmaps, hyperlinks, hidden bookmarks, and stylized headers. TealDoc even offers full support for the high resolution and extra features of the HandEra 330 and Sony CLIE handhelds.

Reads standard Doc files
Reads enhanced TealDoc files
Reads plain text files (in VFS)
Configurable display
Advanced search options
Forward and reverse search
Selectable fonts
Bonus tiny monospaced font
Multispeed auto-scroll
Screen rotation
Smooth scrolling
Full screen mode
Document beaming
Private documents
Encrypted documents


Making Your Own Documents with MkTlDoc
DOS: creates unformatted TealDoc and Standard Doc documents from plain text files from a command line interface. Runs under Windows DOS box.
Linux: creates unformatted TealDoc and Standard Doc documents from plain text files from a command line interface. Runs on PC computers under Linux.
MacOS: Mac Pack contains MkTlDoc in both 68k and PowerPC flavors for creating unformatted TealDoc and Standard Doc files.


Third Party Doc-Creation Tools (linked on the TealDoc site):
Windows MakeDocW is a gui-based windows program from created Standard Doc files from plain text files. (Devon uses MakeDocW)
Windows TWord is a third-party Windows app which lets you create complex TealDoc documents complete with tags and images.
Word Doc Converter is a $5 shareware Word macro that converts doc files to and from Microsoft Word and other formats.
PalmDocs is a third-party add-on to Microsoft Word that lets you directly save out Palm-format documents readable by TealDoc.
MakeTeal is a third party program which can create Palm documents from HTML files.
PDF2Doc is a third party program which lets you extract the text portion of a PDF file into an unformatted TealDoc file.

(not for conversion of files, only for reading them)

CSpotRun is a free reader for documents in the popular Pilot DOC format.

There are a couple of nice commercial readers on the market. CSpotRun is targeted at those of us who do not use a reader enough to justify spending the money on one. It was designed to be smaller and simpler than the commercial readers. At least that was the idea. It's grown a bit.

CSpotRun Features:
Selectable Fonts
Selectable Line Spacing
Per-Document Preferences
Landscape Mode
Unlimited number of documents
Jump to (Positions to jump to are in 10% increments.)
Full Screen View
Configurable User Interface
Auto Scroll


MakeDoc is freeware for making Docs. You can convert and .txt file to the Doc format for reading on your Palm OS or other handheld. You will need a Doc reader to read created documents. All you have to do is drag the file to the MakeDocW icon and drop it, and the file will be formatted and installed on your Palm.

The main features of MakeDocW 0.7 include:
Windows 95/NT4 user interface, based on common tab control
Flexible treatment of line-break characters
Optional splitting of a single large document into multiple sections, which allows you to download parts of a document selectively (when they are too big to all fit on your Pilot at once)
Optional 2:1 compression of text, using Pat Beirne's DOS MakeDoc compression algorithm
Optional removal of HTML tags, and substition of HTML character entities
Support for Pilot document categories
Optional automatic installation of converted documents (on next HotSync), with the removal of intermediate .PRC files if desired.
Selection of multiple files for conversion when using the "Browse" dialog
Automatic operation via the "Send To" pop-up menu, with multiple-file support

Syncplicity (by the MakeDocW guy)
Free trial 21 days, then $10

Syncplicity is a software utility for the Palm Desktop organizer. It allows the easy importing of data from any source - a web page, an email, or any text document. Information is simply highlighted and dragged to the Syncplicity window, and the click of just one button puts it right in your Palm.

Syncplicity allows you to take information from any source, either a web page, an email, or your word processor, and sync it to your Palm. Syncplicity has five main functions; address, appointment, to do, memo and Doc.

More urls

"Software for the rest of us: document readers and converters" By Kevin Quin in PALMPOWER MAGAZINE - MARCH 2000

"Converting documents to Palm Doc format" and
"Converting a web page to Palm Doc format" by RC Bowen
(March 2001)

Devon's links, includes misc PalmPilot links

ThoughtManager - Devon's favorite note-taking and outlining program

Email Devon if you have questions or suggestions for this page.


Last updated on April 4, 2002