Psion Synchronising and Converting

Synchronise and convert Psion files to other computer formats.

Convert Epoc files to other computer file formats, or synchronise your EPOC system with Windows applications.

I now only very rarely convert, and never synchronise files. My Psion replaced all Microsoft PIM programs. This reduced my problems with both Windows and PsiWin conversions almost to zero (since PsiWin was 100% reliable when I was still using my very old Windows computers). In March 2004 I switched from Windows to a Macintosh, and can no longer assist with answers to questions about Windows synchronising. However I had assisted others in conversions before dropping Windows, so here are some tips and some software sites.

Topics on this page

About Converting File Formats
Converting on your Psion
Converting under Windows
Converting using other systems
Synchronising with PsiWin
Synchronising without PsiWin

About Converting File Formats

Converting is taking a file written by some (usually proprietary) program, and making a new file that can be read by a totally different product. Most proprietary file formats are not documented by their designers, so glitches can happen. When converting from a more capable (generally larger) product, to a more limited (generally smaller) product, some content will be lost. Conversions from a PDA format to a PC format therefore work much better than conversions from a PC to a PDA. You should probably consider conversions from a PC as being one way, for reading and taking notes, and not for extensive rewriting and returning to a PC. If this isn't acceptable, do test the file with a two way conversion, before putting it into daily use.

For example, Microsoft Word includes a 3rd party equation editor. If a file with equations is converted to a PDA format, the equations will be lost, as none of the PDA word processors include equations. Macros will also be lost.

If you have a Windows PC, the free PsiWin [for Windows] that comes on CD with your Psion is an excellent starting point with many conversion routines for use on a Windows PC. There are updates to this on the Psion site, usually in the downloads directory. The last version was Psiwin 2.3.3 There are a number of third party additions to PsiWin that do additional conversions and synchronisations.

See also some simple conversion tricks using existing Psion applications.

Converting on your Psion

Some tasks, like handling email attachments, require that you have conversion programs on your Psion.

AntiWord
Adri van Os. View Ms Word files, and convert to text. Tested on Revo. Freeware. http://www.hippo.ru/~tomin/english/EAntiWord.html
C2F
Malcolm Bryant. Convert EPOC ER5 Contacts file into ASCII text on Psion. Will do it in CSV or tabbed format for import into Epoc Data. Freeware. www.freepoc.de
Data Contact
Pascal Nicholas. Converts Data files into Contact files, by importing the address info into Contacts. Freeware formerly http://pnicolas.epocboulevard.com/
NC2PSI5
Malcolm Bryant. Transfer Netscape Calendar files and read on EPOC. www.freepoc.de
nConvert
nConvert conversion application between EPOC's native files, and their external counterparts (in both directions). Includes embedded object conversion and improved graphics support).

Has a file browser for speedy navigation of disk drives, files and folders, a recent files view which either shows recently converted documents on ER5 machines or the System-wide recent file list on ER5 devices. One touch ZIP compresses to Pkzip files.

* EPOC Word to HTML 4.01 Transitional, RTF 1.5, ASCII * EPOC Sheet to HTML, CSV, Microsoft Excel 4.1 * EPOC Jotter to HTML, RTF, EPOC Word * EPOC Program to Text, Text to EPOC Program * EPOC Sketch / MBM to Various image file formats * Microsoft Excel 4.1 to EPOC Sheet * Microsoft Access '97 to CSV (for import into EPOC Data) * RTF (all versions) to EPOC Word * Netscape bookmarks to Web Bookmarks * Various image formats to each other (BMP, PCX, EPOC Sketch, EPOC Bitmap (MBM), JPEG, LBM, TGA, XBM and GIF (optional download)) * Support for ER3 through to ER5 on all EPOC devices from colour 640x480 screens to mono 480x160. * Powerful user interface with multiple views * One touch Emailing and Zipping * Fastest conversion suite, small footprint, fully customisable installation www.neuon.com/

plBeam
Exchange data through infrared port with other palmtops, PCs and a wide range of machines using the IrOBEX standard. Windows 2000 and Windows Me, Windows 95 and Windows 98 (sending files to Windows 9x systems requires installing IrOBEX software supplied with IrDa adapters), PalmOS, WindowsCE and PocketPC (Peacemaker software from Conduits has to be installed on WinCE, and only text files can be received), CPen, WizCom. Takes over all IrDA operations from the standard set. Will open inside application to beam single files. Determines if other device is Psion or Windows and uses appropriate protocol. www.psiloc.com/html/eng/plbeam/index.html
SoundTrans
Converts sound from some Windows Wav files (too many different variations). John Forrest (may not be supported). (Use PsiWin, if available) formerly dialspace.dial.pipex.com/town/street/xrl92/treesoft/SoundTrans
vCal
Malcolm Bryant of FreEpoc has a vCal converter to change Agenda calendar entries to the now standard vCal format (and the reverse). Works with ER3, ER4 and ER5, also with Nokia 9210, and Outlook 2000. It codes around a Netscape Calendar feature of a day event finishing at 0000 hrs the following day, so the end time is now forced to be 23hr 59 min. You could use plBeam to beam these to a Palm or other PDA with a vCal compatible calendar. www.freepoc.org
XConvert
The Czech company Xsoft have announced a new beta of Xconvert. Data to/from DBF, JPG to MBM, Sheet to/from XLS) and with the promise of a conversion filter SDK for other developers. May have changed name to 2Convert. Formerly http://www.x-soft.cz/ or http://www.2kdevelopment.cz

Converting under Windows

Under Windows, you basically use PsiWin, preferably the latest version 2.3.3 (avoid versions 2.0 and 2.2). If PsiWin does not not work for you read the manual. In addition, read the additional PDF files on connectivity problems, on synchronisation problems, and as appropriate, on synchronising with Lotus Organiser, MS Outlook or MS Schedule. These are provided in the Extras/Support directory of the PsiWin CD.

PsiWin
Conversion. PsiWin converts between the Psion and Microsoft Works, Microsoft Word 2, 6, 7, 8 (95 and 97), and RTF, Excel 4, 5, 95, 97, FoxPro, MS Access, Windows WAV sounds, Windows bitmap graphics. Lotus 123, and AmiPro (from Lotus SmartSuite 3, 4, 97). Corel QuattroPro 5 to 8, and Word Perfect 5 to 8. Also convert Data to dBase, CSV. Comes with your Psion. Worked flawlessly for me, but there are complaints in the news groups. As it does both conversions and synchronising, I've put more about it under synchronising. If you do lots of conversions without a Psion connected, consider making a desktop shortcut to the Conversion application in the PsiWin directory. It is usually named cpycnv.exe. Download PsiWin from www.psion.com/
PsiWin hints and tricks from Psion Digest
Date: 10 Feb 2005 From: prar at i.am Subject: Psiwin on XP
I have summarised my current understanding of the Psiwin/XP solutions.
I have the following setup o Windows XP Home edition o Service Pack 2 installed o Clove USB - Serial converter o Psiwin 2.3.3 o Original psion lead o 5mx (or netpad or netbook) o 128Mb 40x CF Card
My experiences are:
1 The SP2 upgrade has NOT adversely influenced Psiwin (or any other software I use) to a measurable degree.
2 The SP2 upgrade fixes the "back up everything twice a year when the clocks change" bug. (My guess is that Psiwin tries to identify files to back up by comparing timestamps and Windows incorrectly reports the timestamp when daylight saving is in force. Perhaps moving closer to the equator is also a fix for this bug!)
3 If you plug the Psion into the PC before booting up the PC picks the Psion up as a MOUSE during boot up. This causes no end of problems trying to operate the PC...
4 It is quite possible to crash Psiwin despite taking good care. Under these circumstances rebooting the PC is the best option for getting going again. Fiddling around with Ctrl-Alt-Del can work but generally does not.
5 If you are backing up the Psion then try to start with strong batteries, the serial port draws quite a high current and this can cause the battery voltage to drop triggering a shut down.
6 When you get a 128Mb CF card (or larger) you should also get a CF reader for the PC.
7 Renaming a CF card (or not naming a CF card when upgrading) will trigger a full back up.
8 CF cards in adaptors work great in the RHS of netbooks, but the netbook fails to recognise when they are unplugged.
9 Smartmedia to CF adaptors generally won't work with a netbook.
10 If you have a high mega pixel digital camera, the psion will quite happilly read your CF cards but will baulk at displaying a 3Mb jpeg (regardless of whether you use Web, Opera or Imaging).
Posts the the Digest (passim ad nauseum) suggest:
1 SP2 is not necessarily suitable for all users.
2 The Belkin USB/Serial adaptor doesn't work properly.
3 Large fast CF cards can be used with Psions, and if you can partition them correctly you can have multiple disks on one card.
4 Digital cameras are often able to resurect cards that Psions fail to recognise.
Rec2Wav
Rec2wav - Win32 exe (and source) to convert Psion Record files (both Alaw and ADPCM) to WAV files www.ee7drs.fsnet.co.uk/
WAB2vCard
Demo to convert Windows Address Book WAB to either a single .vcf or a compact .csv file. Noted from Tucows May 2000.

Converting using other systems

Now that Windows doesn't include a real version of MS-DOS, I've listed MS-DOS conversion utilities in here with other systems.

Bmconv - Bitmap Graphics
[MS-DOS program] Why would you convert a bmp bitmap? I convert a map obtained on the internet into an Epoc format for use with RealMaps. You can also make or find icons or program splash screens or display backgrounds using PC tools, and convert them. In the other direction, you may wish to turn a Psion Sketch or a screen capture into a PC format, perhaps to incorporate into a web page.

Psion provide the bmconv.exe MS-DOS command line program to convert multiple Windows bit maps (.bmp) to an Epoc ROM image multi bitmap file (use the special /r option) or to a file store multi bitmap file (.mbm), and the reverse (using the /u option). The manual is provided on the PsiWin disk under the name tlbitmap.htl, however the version that comes with PsiWin is often outdated. Download the latest version (at least version 50) from the Psion site. Typing the program name with no parameters will also provide a list of options available, many of which are not in the manual.

bmconv psifile /c8bmpfile1 [... bmpfileN]
will convert [optionally multiple] .bmp files into a single 256 colour compressed .mbm file. Using the extension .mbm in the psifile name is recommended, although not required (Epoc does not use file name extensions to identify file contents). Notice the /c8 (1, 2, 4, 8, c2, c4, c12, c16 and c24 are also allowed). The default conversion if not specified is two bit (black, white, two grays).

LaTeX
Jim Ottaway has Psion Word to LaTeX converter for Linux written in C. website.lineone.net/~j.ottaway/psi2latex.html
Macintosh
Hints on linking to a Mac www.simonwilliams.com/html/psion5maclinking.html
OS/2 to Psion connection
Web site devoted to connecting Psion to OS/2 and eComStation. Looks very handy for OS/2 and Psion users. Formerly http:// .mensys.nl/psion On 26 Jan 2009 previous site owner Hans Hockx told me Joop Nijenhuis now has OS/2 to Psion Connection complete and running on his own site.
PsiConv
Information to assist in writing your own utilities to
* Extract the text from Word files. (Used for a text reader...)
* Extract the text + some formatting from Word files to convert them to HTML.
* Convert Sketch files to mbm files.
* Create multi bitmap mbm files from several single bitmap mbm files.
* Create mbm files using Visual Basic.
* Create Record files using OPL.
http://www.frodol.dds.nl/psiconv/
PsiOnTrack for Beos
[Beos] Pete Goodeve has provided this program to allow you to connect your Beos Tracker to your Psion Epoc system, and view the Psion in windows on your Beos. Drag and drop in either direction. Also use shell commands from a terminal window. Zip and unzip to backup and restore. Based on Michael Pieper's PalmBeach for the Psion 3 SIBO system. For BeOS 5 on x86 systems. jwgibbs.cchem.berkeley.edu/~pete/beos/psiontrack/
Risc OS Conversion assistance
[RiscOS] There are a number of RISC - EPOC transfer applications. See RISC OS Psion links page at www.riscos.org/ including conversion applications like Paul Vigay's ArcLink5. www.vigay.com/
You should also check Alexander Thoukydides program PsiFS for RiscOS 3.1 and later, for SIBO and EPOC. Thouky also provides some excellent resources describing in detail the Psion SIS format.
Sound Converters
Utility that can convert between Series5 record.files and Windows wav files. For a PC tool try the program from Psion at www.psion.com/downloads/pc/misc/wvewavbmpconvutils.zip
2K Systems
Said to be testing a conversion and connection application, 2ConnectU. XConvert and TCP/IP using a mini Apache server on the Psion. I couldn't contact their site at www.2ksystems.at/

Synchronising using PsiWin

Synchronising is an attempt to maintain substantially identical material in two (or more) different locations. If the programs used to work with the material are different, then it also includes conversion. PsiWin (now often called Epoc Connect) is supplied with Epoc computers. A number of companies also sell additional synchronising and conversion add-ons for PsiWin. It synchronises between Psion Agenda plus Psion Contacts and Microsoft Outlook 97 and 98, or Schedule 7 if still using Windows 95. Also Lotus SmartSuite 3, 4, and 97, Lotus Organiser, and ccMail.

If PsiWin does not not work for you read the manual. In addition, read the additional PDF files on connectivity problems, on synchronisation problems, and as appropriate, on synchronising with Lotus Organiser, MS Outlook or MS Schedule. These are provided in the Extras/Support directory of the PsiWin CD.

Given the well known theoretical problems with record level synchronising even with identical programs, I strongly advise against trying to synchronise more than two computers. I also recommend against relying upon synchronising in any situation where both a PC and a PDA might be updated between synchronising events.

In general, synchronising works much more reliably if one set of records is considered to be the Master, and synchronising is always done in one direction.

If this is totally unacceptable to your work practices, then you should seriously consider totally replacing your desktop computer and organiser with a notebook computer of equivalent power, running the same software as your desktop, and take that notebook computer with you. This is the only reasonably reliable general solution.

Outlook would not be my first choice of a product with which to attempt synchronising. If you do use it, Outlook 98 will be easier than the buggy Outlook 97. If synchronising with Outlook using older versions of PsiWin, especially on Windows 2000, I suggest first to update your version to PsiWin 2.3.3. Failing that, on the Psion manually close all Psion Agenda files, and also close any additional programs that open Agenda files (yes, I know it happens automatically, just try it). On the Windows system, I suggest closing as many applications as possible, including Internet Explorer.

A 1999 ZDNet (PC Magazine) utility for Windows called Enditall will close extraneous Windows programs and assist greatly in syncing problems. Version 2 is available also at ftp.pcmag.com/archives/2001/1016/

Open Outlook before attempting to sync. If you have problems, set up your sync software so that it syncs only one of Calendar, Contacts and Tasks (not the default of trying all three at once), and see which area is producing problems. If any Outlook Calendar or Task items have a crossed swords symbol next to them, you will have to resolve that problem before trying to sync. Good luck.

Meanwhile, lots of people offer aids and extensions to synchronising using PsiWin, so here is a list.

Act! Plugin for PsiWin
Exchange contact and calendar and to-do with Act!
Advansys
Formerly had Psion synchronisation software to Novell, Lotus, ACT, etc. Linkwise for Epoc Contacts and Novell Directory Services (NDS). eSync for email between Outlook, Novell GroupWise, Eudora Pro and ER3 Psion 5 (Classic). eSync Warehouse for Outlook or Novell GroupWise multiple folders and Epoc Data or Message Suite. Also versions for ACT! and Ericsson R380 phones. Lots of variations to handle products beyond PsiWin. Excellent FAQ pages describing problems with syncing and many solutions. No longer producing Psion sync products. www.advansyscorp.com
CompanionLink
Synchronise Data, Agenda and Todo with ACT!, Goldmine, Lotus Organiser and Microsoft Outlook. US$39.95
In Sync PRO
Synchronises with Lotus Notes 4.6 (and probably 5), access Notes mail and Domino server (commercial add on for PsiWin). I can't tell you what is on the site, as it uses Javascript so heavily that I can't view it. www.timeis.com
Intellisync for Symbian Devices
Intuwave's "Intellisync for Symbian Devices" is said to cure Outlook 2000 sync woes. Site uses Javascript, and has not been checked. www.intuwave.com/
Lexacom Sync!
Calendar Synchronization plug-in for PsiWin 2.2, Synchronizes Calendar, To-do's, and Address Book for Netscape Calendar, CorporateTime (CSandT) OpenTime (Hewlett-Packard), Lexacom Calendar. Supports bi-directional synchronization of calendaring data from Psion Series 3, and Series 5 devices. Synchronizes Meetings, Day Events, Daily Notes, Tasks/To-Do's, and Holidays. Attachments on Psion are synchronized with the Details field on the calendar server. Entries not owned by users are prefixed with an asterisk (*) when synchronized on the calendar server to indicate that they cannot be modified. Entries not owned by users can only be modified on their Psion. Detailed logs are available to track warnings and errors during synchronization. www.lexacom.com
My Pocket
My Pocket can synchronize documents between your Windows based PC and your EPOC device. It enables you to modify your documents on both devices; every time you reconnect your handheld to your PC, My Pocket will make sure that the latest copies of your documents are copied to or from your PC or your handheld. TomTom Shareware. US$24 approx. Formerly http://www.palmtop.nl/mypocket.html
PsiWin
Comes with your Psion. Worked flawlessly for me, but there are many complaints in the news groups. www.psion.com/

If using PsiWin 2.3.2 with Windows 2000 to connect to an older SIBO Psion 3, you need to make the following change to the Windows registry. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Psion\TASKSCHEDULER "EC_Extra"=dword:000036DD This is fixed in 2.3.3.

If using Psiwin 2.3, get also the Email synch 1.15. A version of this is on later PsiWin CDs in the Extras directory.

Synchronising without PsiWin

EpocSync
Malcolm Bryant and FreEPOC. EpocSync synchronises files via infrared between two EPOC computers. Specify a number of file or directory specifications - all matching files will be synchronised on the two machines. Specifications can be saved in three profiles. Synchronise ER5 files via a serial connection with the Windows EPOC Emulator, without using Psiwin. Optionally include sub-directories in the synchronisation process. Archive files which are due to be overwritten. Sync Epoc computer and a remote FTP server. EpocSync is written 100% in OPL32 and uses no OPX routines, so the same version runs unchanged on EPOC computers and the Windows EPOC Emulator (see also SyncTalk). The URL is www.freepoc.de
Java Psion Link
Works with Java based computer with serial port. Uses standard sion Link protocol. Includes Java Psion File Viewer, to convert MBM, Sketch and Word, plus Image Converter for GIF and JPEG to colour Epoc Sketch. website.lineone.net/~john.montgomery/
MacConnect
Transfer files back and forth to Macintosh System 7.5, and some later Mac OS. No conversion. Mac software on floppy disk, plus Mac to 9 pin serial connector. Commercial from Psion. Also check Martin van Boxtel's extensive Mac to Psion hints and tips www-np.unimaas.nl/maas/s5/ Copy reputed to be here http://www.btinternet.com/~aarfc/psimac.zip
plBeam
Exchange data through infrared port with other palmtops, PCs and a wide range of machines using the IrOBEX standard. Windows 2000 and Windows Me, Windows 95 and Windows 98 (sending files to Windows 9x systems requires installing IrOBEX software supplied with IrDa adapters), PalmOS, WindowsCE and PocketPC (Peacemaker software from Conduits has to be installed on WinCE, and only text files can be received), CPen, WizCom. Takes over all IrDA operations from the standard set. Will open inside application to beam single files. Determines if other device is Psion or Windows and uses appropriate protocol. www.psiloc.com/html/eng/plbeam/index.html or plBeam here and psiLoc key generator for plBeam
Project Sayanara
Linux and Psion Freeware. Mark Adams. Conversion of EPOC ER5 Agenda and Contacts documents to native GNOME documents. EPOC services respond to requests over the remote link, and convert the Agenda and Contacts data to an XML-ish format. Linux clients using the PLP link software can connect and output the data in a format which can be read by the GNOME calendar and address book applications (gnomecal and gnomecard). Formerly http://www.goldenlion.freeserve.co.uk/sayanara/
SyncML
New initiative for standardising mobile access to information. Syncronisation Markup Language (SyncML) has been developed using the open Extensible Markup Language (XML) and will enable users to access contacts, e-mails, appointents and other items of information residing on a network using a wide range of mobile devices. The initiative has been founded by Nokia, Motorola, Psion, Palm, Lotus, IBM and Starfish. fusionOne, the internet syncronisation pioneer, and Extended Systems, a developer of mobile information management tools, have both announced that they will support SyncML in the future. SyncML will use open XML technology to create a standard for sharing information. This will include the ability to access important data stored on an enterprise server using a wide range of mobile and fixed devices such as smartphones, communicators and other internet appliances. fusionOne, which already provides a method of sharing information within a personal network of data sources and devices, will build SyncML compatibility into its flagship Internet Sync service. Extended Systems will ensure its XTNDConnect product line is fully compatible with SyncML and various other data syncronisation technologies.
SyncTalk data exchange
SoDeog have an infrared SyncTalk Hand 2 Hand software to let PalmOS, Windows CE and Epoc machines exchange information. Free trial version will receive, and do a small number of transmits. Transfers a single Agenda entry, Contact or Data entry, or a Word file. US$20. Formerly http://www.sodeog.com/productinfo.htm www.synctalk.com/products/products.asp
Trafic S5
Macintosh connection shareware (web page is in French). There is now also an English translation, and versions for OS9 and OSX. perso.wanadoo.fr/philippe.galmel/

This site will look much better in a browser that supports W3C web standards but it is accessible to any browser or internet device, including Psion Web and similar PDA or limited browsers. Netscape 4.x users - turn Style Sheets off. Your style sheet support is too broken to use (sorry).


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