The Haus

PalmOS Dot Commands

July 11, 2000 -- by A.T. Hun

A Little Bit About Shortcuts

Graffiti Shortcut SymbolShortcuts are handy little things built in to the PalmOS to make life a little easier. You can define a shortcut by going to the "Prefs" application and choosing ShortCuts from the pull down list. Then when you are writing something in Memo Pad or some other application that allows Graffiti input, use the shortcut symbol (pictured at the right) followed by your shortcut. For example, one of the defaults is "dts". Write the shortcut symbol followed by dts and the OS will replace it with a date and time stamp.

Dot Commands

Shortcuts are well documented, dot commands are not. Dot commands are a type of shortcut that allow you to do some helpful (and occasionally destructive) things to your PalmOS device. So please take this word of warning. Some of these dot commands could cause you to lose data or force you to do a hard reset. If you use any of these commands, you do so at your own risk. Phew! That ought to keep the lawyers at bay.

To use any of these dot commands, open up Memo Pad, write the shortcut symbol (see above) followed by two dots (to make a period) and then one of the numbers or letters below. These commands should work on all versions of PalmOS. This information was mostly taken from David Brooke's excellent Undocumented Palm Info v2.

1Enter debug mode and halt the application currently running. Debug mode is useful when programming your PalmOS device. One warning: debug mode keeps your serial or USB port open so it will rapidly drain your batteries.
2Same as 1, except that the application keeps running.
3Disable auto power-off
4Briefly displays the user name and unique ID of that device. This information is used to identify your handheld when hotsyncing.
5Erases the user configuration and clears the hotsync log but doesn't clear your data. WARNING! If you attempt to hotsync after this, it will download all your information as duplicates. Do a hard reset to avoid that. I have no idea why you'd ever want to use this dot command.
6Displays the ROM revision date. My Visor says 1/25/00, 1:35 pm
7Toggles the battery mode. Depending on your PalmOS revision, it will cycle between Alkaline, NiCad, Rechargeable Alkaline, and NiMH.
iToggles IR beam receiving on and off.
x,t,sBrooke notes that these three exist, but the only thing they seem to do is force him to do a hard reset. In other words, don't use them.

For me, the most useful dot commands are 1 and 7. 1 is helpful for programming and 7 is useful so that the Visor can more accurately warn you when you will need to change your batteries. Dot commands are handy things, but as noted, some of them can cause a loss of data. Be careful what you write!