Working with a form

The status area

At the bottom of Form Friend's display area there is a status box:

The status area tells you the size and shape of the currently displayed form, whether it has been changed and hence needs saving, and an estimate of the difficulty of the form.

See the section on choosing a form for more on the shapes, and for an interpretation of the difficulty estimate.

Selecting letters and words

When Form Friend starts up, it automatically selects the first word and the first letter in the form. You can see in the 7-square that it displays by default (see the image above) that the first letter is green, and the rest of the line and column are yellow, while the other letters in the form are black. Green is the default colour for selected letters, and yellow for selected words. These colours can be changed, if you like; see the instructions on controlling the display. You can select any letter by clicking on it. If the previously selected word doesn't include that letter, Form Friend automatically selects a word that does include it.

If you click on a letter that is already selected, Form Friend will change the selected word to the next word including that letter. This is how you select a down word in a double form, for example.


You can use various keys to change the selected word and letter. Try the following:

  • Page up, or minus (on the numeric keypad): select previous word
  • Page down, or plus (on the numeric keypad), or the enter key: select the next word
  • Left arrow or up arrow: select previous letter in this word
  • Right arrow or down arrow: select next letter in this word
  • F2: same as clicking on the selected letter (see above); this selects the next word containing the current letter
  • Space or delete key: blank out this letter and move to the next
  • Backspace: blank out this letter and move to the previous one
  • Home: go to the first letter in this word
  • End: go to the last letter in this word

Entering letters and words

To enter letters, just start typing. When you press an alphabetic key, the letter appears in the currently selected letter, and Form Friend immediately selects the next letter.

Locking words and letters

Words and letters can be locked so that they can't be edited accidentally. To lock a letter, hold down the control key and click on it. You'll see a pop up menu that includes “lock letter”. Select that menu option, and the letter will be locked. You'll see the background colour of that letter change. This colour can be changed; see the instructions on controlling the display. To unlock the letter, hold down the control key and click on it again, and the menu will now say “unlock letter”.

To lock or unlock a word, just make sure that the word is currently selected. Then when you click on one of the letters in the word you'll see a “lock word” option. Selecting it will lock the whole word. Unlocking the word works the same way: hold down the control key and click on the letter again and you'll see the “unlock word” option. If the word has some letters locked and some unlocked, then both “lock word” and “unlock word” will appear on the menu.

If you try to type on a letter that is locked, Form Friend will beep, and will not change the letter.

Here's what the screen looks like with a locked word and a locked letter:

Clearing the form

To clear the form, select Edit→Clear form from the menu. All letters will be cleared. If any letters are locked, Form Friend will ask for confirmation before clearing the form.

Changing size

You can increase or decrease the size of the form without going through the form shapes dialog. To increase the form size, press Ctrl-Plus–that is, hold down the control key and press the plus key (on the numeric keypad). This will make the form one size larger. To decrease the form size press Ctrl-Minus (the numeric keypad minus key). If you try to make the form larger or smaller than is legal for that form type Form Friend will warn you that the form can't be displayed.

Changing shape

You can press Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn to cycle through all the different form shapes. Form Friend will display a form of each shape in turn, though it may change the size and other parameters (left/right, etc.) to ensure the combination is valid.

Using the clipboard

You can press Ctrl-C, or choose Edit→Copy form to clipboard, and a text copy of the form will be placed on the clipboard. This makes it easy to paste the form into an email, for example.

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Form Friend version 2.02 copyright © 2000, 2001 by

solving/formfriend/interact.txt · Last modified: 2006/12/12 03:42 (external edit)
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