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MODE + Setting Device Modes

Sets the mode of operation for a printer or color graphics

display. In PC-DOS version 3.3, also controls code page switching

and additional communications devices.


PC-DOS 2.0+ (revised from 1.0; revised again in 3.3)

MS-DOS equivalent: MODE (2.0+)



SYNTAX ll Versions)

[d:][path] MODE LPT#[:][n][,[m][,P]]


[d:][path] MODE n


[d:][path] MODE [display],shift[,T]


[d:][path] MODE COM#[:]baud



[d:][path] MODE LPT#[:] = COM#

SYNTAX (Version 3.3 Only)

[d:][path] MODE device CODEPAGE

PREPARE = ((cplist) [cd:][cpath]cfilename)


[d:][path] MODE device CODEPAGE SELECT = cp


[d:][path] MODE device CODEPAGE[/STATUS]


[d:][path] MODE device CODEPAGE REFRESH


[d:][path] Specifies the drive letter and

path that contain the MODE

command file.

LPT# In LPT#, # is the printer

number (1, 2, or 3).

COM# In COM#, # is the asynchronous

communications adapter: 1 or 2

for all versions; 1, 2, 3, or

4 for PC-DOS version 3.3.

n 80 or 132 (characters per line

for printer).

display BW40, BW80, CO40, CO80, or

MONO (for color graphics


m 6 or 8 (lines per inch of

vertical spacing for printer).

shift R or L (to shift display right

and left for color graphics


P Performs continuous retry when

error detected.

T Displays test pattern.

baud 110, 150, 300, 600, 1200,

2400, 4800, or 9600 (all

versions); or 19,200 for PC-

DOS 3.3.

parity N (none), O (odd), or E (even-


databits 7 (default) or 8.

stopbits 1 or 2 (if baud rate is 110, 2

is default; if baud rate other

than 110, default is 1).

device CON, PRN, LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3.

cp Specifies one code page

number: 437, 850, 860, 863, or


cplist Specifies one or more code

page numbers, which are

separated by commas, and the

list is enclosed in

parentheses. Must be selected

from the following values:

437, 850, 860, 863, or 865.

[cd:][cpath]cfilename Specifies the file that

contains the code pages.

Choose from the following


4201.CPI IBM Proprinter

5202.CPI IBM Quietwriter III Printer

EGA.CPI EGA-type devices

LCD.CPI IBM Convertible LCD

MODE is used to change the way DOS communicates with

hardware using different protocols, such as printers, display

units, and modems. It is also used to specify different character

sets (code pages) for use with various keyboards and printers in

PC-DOS version 3.3.


MODE LPT1: 132,8,P

sets the IBM-compatible printer connected to LPT1 to 132

characters per line and 8 lines per inch (condensed). The P

specifies that DOS should continuously attempt to send data to

the port.


switches from the monochrome to the color adapter and sets it to

80 characters across.


switches the color adapter to 40-column mode (you cannot use 40-

column mode on the monochrome adapter).


switches to the monochrome adapter.


moves the color display left, and tests to see whether it is

centered by displaying a test pattern.

MODE COM1: 9600,N,8,1

sets the communications port COM1 to 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data

bits, and 1 stop bit.


sends the output normally sent to LPT1 (the parallel port) to

COM1 (the serial port).


Codepage not prepared

MODE failed during a SELECT operation either because the

indicated code page was never defined for the device or because

the code pages that have been prepared do not have the proper

font for the current video mode. Use MODE PREPARE to prepare the

device with the code page. If an error message still appears,

increase the number of fonts in the DEVICE = DISPLAY command in

CONFIG.SYS; then restart DOS.

Codepage operation not supported on this device

The device may be one that does not support code pages, or its

name may have been improperly entered or not defined. Verify the

spelling of the device on the command line and make sure that it

is not a file name. Check the CONFIG.SYS file to make sure it

contains the device name. If it does not, add the device name to

the DEVICE= command and restart DOS. Then reissue the MODE


Codepages cannot be prepared

Either code pages are duplicated on the device or there are more

code pages specified than are allowable. Check the number of

allowable code pages by using the MODE/STATUS command; then

respecify the MODE command.

Current keyboard does not support this codepage

Alter the KEYB specification for the required code page and

reissue the MODE PREPARE command for that code page.

Device error during Status

Device error during Prepare

Device error during Select

Device error during write of font file to device

The device may not support code page switching, or it may have

been defined improperly. Check the CONFIG.SYS file to make sure

the device is named; then restart DOS, and reissue the MODE

command again.

Device or codepage missing from font file

During a PREPARE operation, DOS could not find a definition of

the indicated code page for the device. Reissue the MODE command,

using a code page that the device supports (check the printer

documentation). If this error occurs, you will need to prepare

all code pages again by using MODE PREPARE.

Device ddd not prepared

A device must be prepared by using the MODE PREPARE command

before a MODE SELECT operation can be performed. Use the MODE

PREPARE command to pass code page definitions to the specified


Error during read of font file

There is an unrecoverable I/O error in that file. Restore the

file from a master copy, or direct MODE to an alternate device

and reissue the command to see if that device can access the


Failure to access Codepage Font File

Verify the spelling of the file name and make sure it is

available; then reissue the MODE command.

Font file contents invalid

The font file is not in the proper format. Make sure that you

have entered the file name correctly. If so, copy the file again

from a master copy. If this error occurs, you will need to

prepare all code pages again by using MODE PREPARE.

Illegal device name

The specified printer must be LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3; the

asynchronous adapter must be COM1, COM2, COM3, or COM4.

Infinite retry not supported on network printer

Printer errors cannot be detected through a network interface; do

not use the P option with a network printer.

Invalid baud rate specified

The baud rate must be either 110, 150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400,

4800, 9600, or 19200. You need to enter only the first two digits

of the number.

Missing from the file is either the device ID

or the codepage

Enter the correct code page or prepare the code pages again.

No codepage has been SELECTED

Use MODE to select a code page from the list of code pages that

have been prepared.

Previously prepared codepage replaced

Use MODE/STATUS to check the list of code pages that have been

defined to make sure that it is correct. The replacement may have

been intentional. If not, use MODE PREPARE to correct the list.

Printer error

MODE could not set the printer mode either because an I/O error

occurred or because the printer is out of paper, is not ready, or

is off-line. Check the printer and try again.


The different character sets available for version 3.3 of

PC-DOS are code pages 437 (U.S., the default), 850

(multilingual), 860 (Portuguese), 863 (Canadian French), and 865

(Norwegian and Danish). In order to use a code page, it must be

prepared for a specific device. Buffers should have been

previously created for prepared code pages with




if applicable. Several code pages can be prepared at once by

using a code page list (cplist). For example,

MODE LPT1: CP PREPARE = ((850,860,863) 5202.CPI)

specifies the multilingual, Portuguese, and Canadian French

character sets (code pages 850, 860, and 863) for the printer

attached to LPT1 and specifes the character shapes for the IBM

Quietwriter III printer. After a code page and device have been

prepared, the code page may be activated by using the MODE SELECT

command. The command


activates code page 860 (Portuguese) from the list of prepared

code pages.

To determine the currently active code page, use the command


This command also returns a list of devices and code pages that

have been prepared.

In addition, a code page may sometimes need to be

reestablished (refreshed) if the printer has been turned off and

then turned back on again. For further information about code

pages and their uses, see the technical notes in the DOS

documentation. Code pages are also discussed in the CHCP, KEYB,

and NLSFUNC commands, and in Appendix B: The CONFIG.SYS file.

You can also use the following abbreviations:







[For related topics, press R]




KEYB Command

KEYBxx Command

See also:

file: /Techref/dos/command/mode.htm, 11KB, , updated: 1999/2/20 11:24, local time: 2017/10/16 16:11,

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