The IDP Companion, 4th Edition
The IDP Companion runs on Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and NT. It allows
you to search the IDP dictionaries on your home computer, when you're not
connected to the Internet. It uses the dictionary files available from the
"Files" area of the IDP. That means whenever those files are updated, it's
a snap to update your home computer's dictionaries as well. To see if there
are updated dictionaries available, visit the IDP
The 4th edition of the IDP Companion has been entirely rewritten in C++
(previous versions were written in Visual Basic). This means it's smaller
and faster, but will only work in Windows 95, 98, or NT. Version 3.0 is
still available for Windows 3.1 users, but it will not be updated.
Click on a link above and save the file on your computer. Unzip it into a
temporary directory and run the "Setup.exe" program. (A very easy to use
"unzipping" tool is WinZip, which you can try at www.winzip.com.)
This should copy the
necessary files into their proper directories. This distribution already
has the German, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Romanian
dictionaries with it, so you don't have do download anything else. Once the
IDP Companion is installed, you can select the IDPC icon from the Start Menu
to run it. See below for new features to the 4th Edition of the IDPC.
- Windows 95, 98, Millennium Edition (ME), NT:
- IDPC 4th Edition
(32-bit, PKZipped) (1.2MB)
- Windows 3.1:
- IDPC v. 0.30
(16-bit, PKZipped) (1.8M)
Windows 3.1 users need to restart their computer after installing the IDPC.
computer has restarted, just double-click on the IDPC icon.
MacOS X users can try WordLookup by
Lindesay Software which can use the IDP
How to use it
The main screen allows you to select the source and target
languages, then type in a word (or part of a word) and click on the
"Translate!" button to search the appropriate dictionary. You can only
translate to/from English - if you select another language in either the
source or target language lists, the other list switches to English for you.
The option below the lists lets you choose whether to search for the exact
word you entered or to search for words which contain that word (or partial
word). The "Results" box at the bottom of the IDPC screen displays
the matching words found in the dictionary, up to a maximum of 100.
The Properties/Config menu option brings up a box which lets you set your
default source and target languages, and whether you want the Results box to
be updated as you type into the word box on the main screen. These
options will be the default every time you run the IDPC (unless you change
them again). The "update as you type" option will slow down the IDPC, but
it might be useful to you. With this option on, when you enter a "d" into
the translate word box, the Results box will display all words matching "d".
If you then press "o", the IDPC will search for "do" in the dictionary.
Play with it if you want a better understanding of what it does. You'll
probably want the "Words containing this word" option selected to make the
most use of the "update as you type" option.
There are not currently any
help screens in the IDPC - that may come later.
What's new in the 4th Edition
What's new in version 0.31
- First, everything is new. The IDPC 4th Edition has been completely
rewritten in C++. It's smaller
and it's faster, but the dictionary files have grown so you might not notice
any difference. Because of the rewrite, the 4th Edition will not work with
- The "Translate this word" box turns red and the "Translate!" button
becomes disabled when there is nothing in the "Translate this word" box.
- You can now resize the IDP Compaion window as you would any other
application window. Resizing the IDPC causes the Results window to change
size, so you can see more or longer results.
- The IDPC remembers its position and size every time you run it. The
next time you start the IDPC, it will be in the same position and be the
same size it was when you quit using it the last time. (If you want to
return it to the default size, click the Properties menu and select "Default
- You can open the Config window by pressing CONTROL+O.
- You can quickly insert accented characters into the "Translate this
word" box by right-clicking in the box. This brings up the Insert pop-up
menu. Select the letter of the alphabet you want, then select the proper
accented character from the sub-menu. For example, to insert an é,
right-click on the "Translate this word" box, then select "E", then select
"é" - the é will be inserted at the cursor in the box.
- You can quickly re-insert the same accented character by right-clicking on
the "Translate this word" box and selecting the first item in the Insert
menu (which should say "Insert:" followed by the accented character you most
- As always, the 4th Edition includes the newest IDP dictionary files,
including the new Romanian/English dictionary. These dictionaries are from
the IDP on August 19, 1998.
What's new in version 0.30
- Version 0.31 is a minor change from 0.30 that adds the minimize
button to the Windows95/NT (32-bit) IDPC screen. I had always assumed it
was there, but was notified that the minimize button doesn't appear. I
chose not to fix the 16-bit (Windows 3.1) version at this time, so IDPC16 is
still at version 0.30.
What's new in version 0.20
- The results window (the place where English words and translations
are displayed) now can scroll horizontally as well as vertically. (User
- Click and drag in the results window to select a word or words, then
press CONTROL-C to copy the selection to the clipboard.
- "Update as you type" option now has a 3-second delay when you type into
the "Translate this word" text box. So, instead of immediately trying to
search for the first letter you enter, it will now give you enough time to
enter a short word fragment before searching (this should speed up using
this option). (User suggestion.)
- The accented characters in the IDP dictionaries are now automatically
converted for you. So, "a/" is now displayed as "á" in the results
window. If you find this option makes the program too slow, you can turn it
off by unchecking the "Automatic accented character conversion" option in
the Configure window.
- IMPORTANT: Both the 16-bit and 32-bit versions of the IDPC only
use dictionary files which conform to the MS-DOS 8.3 file name format. So,
the file formerly named "Portuguese.txt" is now called "Portugue.txt". If
you ever download a new version of the IDP Portuguese dictionary, it will
have to be renamed to "Portugue.txt" in order for the IDPC to use it. When
new dictionaries are made available in a Zipped file, the Portuguese file
will already be renamed.
- Of course, this new version includes the latest IDP language
dictionaries, as of 1/7/98.
- When the program is searching for translations, a "Working..."
message lets you know that the program is busy. When the translations have
been found, "Working..." changes to "Results:".
- New copy & paste feature - click on the translation you're interested
in in the Results window and press CONTROL-C or select "Copy" from the
"Edit" menu to copy the line (word plus translation) to the Clipboard. Then
you can paste it into any other application.
- Version 0.20 includes the latest dictionary files (April 1997), so you
don't have to download them from the Files page.
If you have further questions
If you have a question about the IDP Compaion that isn't
addressed here, or you've tried it out and want to let me know what you
thought, please send me mail. I
look forward to hearing from you.