Hook's Alphasmart Dana Help Links

Palm Pirate

Updated 1/21/2023

Proudly WEB 1.0 (with CSS)

Dana is a trademark of Renaissance Learning, Inc. and its subsidiaries, registered, common law, or pending registration in the United States and other countries.

I also have a Neo Help Links Page, if you are looking for that.

This is a site dedicated to providing links and downloads to support writers using the discontinued Alphasmart Dana, a digital keyboard that runs on Palm OS.

No fancy web technology, just a good old fashioned pre-Flash Web 1.0 web page for providing links to information and downloads relevant to the Alphasmart Dana. This is not intended to be some kind of complete wiki of information on the Dana. I have neither the time nor the web skills for that. This is just helpful resources for Dana folks, especially new Dana folks, using these unique keyboards for writing. These will be the kind of links that I might want to point people to when answering questions on the Alphasmart forum (listed below).

Now I call these my links, but really everything here was passed on from others. I'm just paying forward and making it easier for me to find links I need to help answer questions. The other thing I'm trying to do, with the Dana long discontinued and Palm OS even longer fading away, is making sure critical software and information remains available from a trustworthy source.

My own experience is with US versions, PC and not using Palm Desktop. This site will reflect that US, PC bias. In point of fact, I like to keep things simple and use my Dana 16 MB Wireless as if it were a Neo 2 with a larger but less clear screen. That is, I go directly to Alphaword, draft, and use Send at the end of the drafting session to get my draft to my computer. I mostly ignore PalmOS these days and don't use anu Palm apps other than the free backup program below in case I ever completely lose power on the Dana. I will have to rely on others to guide me for anything Mac, UK/International and using Palm Desktop.

Hope this site proves useful. Feel free to contact me (user name H0Ok) at the Alphasmart Forum listed below.

Please note, I am just someone who appreciates this great writing tool and am trying to provide useful links for other users of the Dana. This site is in no way affilated with, approved by, nor represets Renaissance Learning, Inc.

Dana Information
Dana Downloads

Dana Information

How to Check for ROM Version

You need to make this check to know for sure which of the system updates you need, 1.2 (8MB) or 1.5 (16MB). See System update link in the Downloads Table.

Alphasmart - Writing Tools Forum

A great forum for learning about any Alphasmart keyboard. Almost everything I know about the Dana came from these people. A great and very helpful group of folks. If you have questions about the Dana, this is the place to go. As you will see, the forum has expanded to discussing any writing tool, especially any distraction reducing smart keyboards, but the Alphasmarts are still at the center of what we discuss.

Dana Power Hack

A very popular Dana hardware Mod to improve battery life, courtesy of Vance Fry from the Alphasmart Forum. This page is no longer live, but thank goodness for the Way Back Machine!

More on Dana Power Hack

Another article on the Dana Power Hack with more detailed photos.

Dave's WordSmith License

WordSmith is a the Palm OS Wordprocessor that Dana's native Alphaword was based on. It has more features than Alphaword, but the trade off is not being able to use the Send fuction. You can find discussion of the pros and cons at the forum. However, it is no longer possible to buy a license at this point. This is a solution if you are willing to change the name of your Dana to "Dave". WordSmith is available for download below. NOTE: I don't personally use WordSmith and am not all that familiar with it, but I know it is popular with some.

Teal Point Software

This is one of the last sites currently selling Palm Software and it has some that are compatible with the Dana's wide screen as listed at the bottom of THIS page. There's no real good reason to buy more software to use your Dana to write, but I like the Teal Desktop (a launcher) and Teal Mover (a file manager). Although the pages seem not to have been updated in over 10 years, their highly automated web-site still works and you do get unlock codes within 24 hours (I tested it in August 2021, bought their backup program and had my codes in a couple of hours on a Sunday).


This is a fabulous site of Palm OS freeware and abandonware, including providing some keys for some abandonware requiring registration. This seems to be one of the last complete repositories. Make sure you know what versions of things the Dana can use. Don't try to install Palm OS 5 programs on a Dana.

MOD: Removing the Dana's Touchscreen

I'll be honest—I've never been motivated to do this. And in the past I've considered it too risky. The benefit is that it sharpens the contrast of the screen. However, Palm is a touchscreen OS and this means you will have great difficulty recovering from a hard reset. However, it turns out that there is a Palm Utility that solves this problem. See HERE. So, if you do want to do it, this thread from the Alphasmart Flickr Group has the clearest explanation for how to do it that I have seen. Presumably, with the utility, you don't even need to do all that. I won't be trying it out though. ;-)


Dana Downloads

Dana User Manuals (3749Kb)

Unfortunately, Renaissance Learning has taken down all Dana-only support pages including the Dana manuals. This zip file contains the primary user manuals for the Dana.

Dana System Updates (US & UK)(9232Kb)

This zip file containes two Dana updates in both their US and UK versions. Version 1.2, US and UK, are only for 8MB Danas still running ROM version 1.0.0, which I assume is rare these days. Use the method in the information table for finding out your ROM version. The second update is to version 1.5 for the 16MB wireless models only, but again, many Danas ship from Ebay with the ROM updated, so check your ROM version. You'll find the changelog for the two system updates HERE

ROM 1.5 App updates for 8MB Dana (11Kb)

This zip files contains three prcs that have been extracted from the 1.5 ROM update. They can be installed on an 8MB Dana to give you a more stable version of Alphaword, the launcher that uses the full width of the Dana's screen and an update to the keyboard app. I believe these would be location neutral, but have only used these on US Danas. You do not need this is you are on a 16MB Dana Wireless.

Palm Desktop 6.2 (71,517 KB)

This is a download of Palm Desktop 6.2. You need this version to sync on the 64 Bit versions Windows 7/8/10. You will also need the Aceeca 64 bit drivers and PalmHotsyncSetup below. I don't use Palm Desktop, so I can't tell you exactly how this works, but come by the Alphasmart Forum and you can ask questions there.

64 Bit Drivers for TX and WIN7/8/10 plus Suport Information

Palm never made 64 bit USB drivers, so you have to install them. This is a support page from Palm Dr. (Chris Short) that has the driver downloads and generalized (not Dana oriented) instructions.


The other utility you need to sync with PD 6.2, it allows legacy databases on the Dana to use the newer data bases on the desktop.

Changename Utility (11Kb)

This is required if you aren't using Palm Desktop. It allows you to give your newly acquired Dana a name, which you need if you have any licensed Palm software.

MyInstall version 1.20 download (14Kb)

An alternative for installing programs and syncing files from your SD card when you are away from the computer or you don't use Palm Desktop

Backup Buddy VFS Free (100Kb)

A free version of Backup Buddy. Only does complete backup and restores, and only makes 1 backup-- each backup over-writes the earlier one. But very simple to use and releable and, well, free.

Filez (184Kb)

A free file manager for Palm OS

Admin (511 Kb)

This is an Alphasmart system app that largely added classroom security features to the Dana. The only feature of any value to writers using the Dana (in my opinion) is being able to hide, one by one, apps that are on the Dana but which you never use. Up to you. Documentation included in the zip file.

SiEd Dana

A free wide-screen text editor for the Alphasmart Dana. Download the release beta from Github.

CardTXT Widescreen Text Editor (40 Kb)

Another free wide-screen text editor for the Alphasmart Dana. I've used both and ended up preferring SiEd, but not by much. Both are good.

Free File converter. (87Kb)

If you don't use Palm Desktop, but would still like to convert files, this command (Dos terminal) utility will take Alphaword PDB files and convert them to RTF files and will also convert rtf files to PDB. The latter is most useful as you can just use send to get files to your computer. To get the PDB files to the Dana, just use MyInstall. A text file with detailed instructions for conversion is included in the zip.

WordSmith 2.2.16 (568Kb)

This is the free download of WordSmith. Unlicensed, it can be used as a memo pad. Licensed, it is a powerful word processor. Unfortunately, this is truly abandonware with the developers having disappeared years ago with no communication. There is one licensing solution listed in the Information Table. Personally, I prefer sticking with Alphaword and don't feel I need richer editing features because I mostly use the Dana for drafting, but others on the Alphasmart forum swear by WordSmith. Recommend going to the forum and asking questions there.

Batmon Palm Battery Monitor (7 Kb)

A simple control panel you can install and use to monitor the Dana's battery.

X-Master Palm Hack Manager (33 Kb)

This is not necessarily something you need. You do need it to run the Clock Pop hack I list below. Hacks were utilities created to make Palm OS do things it wasn't designed to do. In particular, they often pop up information without having to leave your workspace. However, to use these hacks, you need a hack manager to activate them and provide settings

Clock Pop Hack (40 Kb)

I like this better than Batmon. Used with X-Master, it allows you to assign a key you hold down and a pop up window shows up over your work screen and shows you time and battery status. So you can be writing, pop up this window and then just go back to writing.

Screen Calibration By-Pass Utility (1 Kb)

This is the utility mentioned above to bypass screen calibration if you remove the Dana's touch screen. Courtesy of Dimitry at Palm Powerups (see the link to the forum above for more details).