Apple Lisa Features

Apple Lisa - power

Lisa has a soft power switch. When 'off' Lisa is actually in a low power mode. Press the power button while the computer is running the Lisa Office System program suite and Lisa saves all documents and shuts down. Press it again and Lisa boots back up and reopens all documents precisely as they were before the computer was turned off.

Apple Lisa - screenshot

The Lisa interface at first glance looks very similar to the Macintosh System, but there are many significant differences. Perhaps most noticeable from this screenshot is the lack of an Apple menu (though Version 3 (a.k.a. "Lisa 7/7") had an Apple menu which was labeled"Desk"), the "File/Print" and "Housekeeping" menus, and the icons aligned by default across the bottom of the desktop (and I thought Microsoft was being radical when they put theirs on the left-hand side!). Clicking on the buttons in the scroll bar that look like documents causes the window to scroll a window-full at a time, whereas, on the Macintosh, this is done by clicking in the large grey of the scroll bar.

Apple Lisa - lisagraph

The Lisa operating system is document-centric, as opposed to application-centric. With Macintosh, one opens an application and then creates a new document from within the program. With Lisa, the application need hardly be seen. Double click on a stationary pad such as "LisaGraph Paper" and a new LisaGraph document appears on the desktop which then can be opened and edited similarly to a Macintosh.

Apple Lisa - empty folder

There is no "New Folder" option in Lisa's File/Print menu. Instead, double clicking on the "Empty Folders" icon will create a new folder in the directory of the "Empty Folders" icon, which can then be placed wherever one wants.

Apple Lisa - dtc screenshot

This screeshot, taken by David T. Craig, shows the Lisa 7/7 desktop. This desktop picture includes the Desk menu and shows several applications open at once. This was part of Lisa Office System 3.0/3.1.

David T. Craig writes: "There were three major versions of the Lisa Office System, versions 1, 2, and 3. Version 1 ran only on the Lisa 1 computer which came with two 860KB 5.25" Twiggy floppy drives. Versions 2 and 3 ran on the Lisa 2/5 and 2/10 machines which came with a single 400K 3.5" microdisk. Version 3 was also called "Lisa 7/7" since it came with 7 applications (LisaWrite, LisaDraw, LisaCalc, LisaGraph, LisaTerminal, LisaProject, LisaList) and all 7 were seen as providing a complete office suite (7/7 = 1). The last version of the Lisa Office System was version 3.1. It was created to support transporting Lisa documents to the Macintosh using Apple's Lisa-to-Macintosh application. Version 3 also supported color printing in the LisaDraw and LisaGraph programs which could be printed to a Canon ink-jet printer (it is interesting to note that the Lisa's graphic library, QuickDraw, has always supported color but the Lisa hardware sucha s the display did not support color)."

There's a plethora of intriguing facts about Lisa which I haven't covered in these two pages. Once again, I strongly encourage those who find this topic interesting to read The Legacy of the Apple Lisa Personal Computer. For more information, the Apple Lisa Computer Desktop Manager Info is also helpful.

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I recently found a good substitute for the HSD3040C back to back diode. It's a Fairchild MBR4035PT, either a NTE 6090 or an ECG 6090 will also work. Note while all versions are TO218/TO247 packages they easily adapt to the existing heat sink which is important. I've tested all versions in different 1.8 amp supplies and they all work.

Does anyone have the schmatic for the 1.8 amp supply and would they be willing to share it?

I purchased a used Lisa online. Of course it does not have any system disks.

Anybody have any in a drawer somehwere?


About 15 years ago, I bought a beat-to-death Lisa at an office sell-off sale in San Jose, CA. I have since then nursed it back to life and found the files online somewhere. I can't for the life of me figure out how I got them onto a Twiggy Disk, but my Lisa works, and I use it for work... 30 years ago, that was new!

cwsmith's picture

... 30 years ago, that was new!

Not quite 30 ...

Lisa was introduced in 1983, a few months before the "1984" Macintosh. So about 24 years ago.

All the Lisa schematics are here. Enjoy.