There exist many reference materials for the Lisa. Unfortunately, most of these references are rather difficult to obtain. Fortunately, the author of this paper appears to have most everything ever written about the Lisa both by the general press and by Apple Computer. All my Lisa materials are available to others if they pay for the copying and shipping.

Note that this discussion of Lisa references mainly covers those reference works which pertain to the original Lisa, not the Macintosh version which Apple called Macintosh XL. The original Lisa ran its own operating system (called the Lisa OS) while the Macintosh XL ran the Macintosh OS.

For general Lisa information I recommend the following books and articles:

  • The Complete Book of Lisa (Kurt Schmucker, 1984)
  • The Lisa Computer System (BYTE magazine, Feb. 1983)
  • The Lisa 2: Apple's Ablest Computer (BYTE magazine, 1984)
  • A First Look at Lisa (Personal Computing magazine, Mar. 1983)
  • Apple's Lisa (The Seybold Report on Professional Computing, Jan. 1983)
  • Lisa Makes the Scene (Apple Orchard magazine, Mar. 1983)
  • Background Information: How Lisa Works (Apple Computer, 1983)
  • Introducing Lisa: Apple's Personal Computer for the Office (Apple Computer, 1983)
  • Apple Introduces Lisa: A Revolutionary Personal Computer for the Office (Apple, 1983)
  • The Apple Lisa (Officemation Product Reports, Apr. 1983)
  • Lisa/Mac XL Handbook (Michael Posner, Lisa Lives User Group, 1992)
  • How Apple presents Lisa (Softalk magazine, Sep. 1983)
  • Personal Computer Series: Apple Lisa 2 (Electronic Design, Jul. 1984)
  • Lisa Owner's Manual (Apple Computer, 1984)

    Many other general Lisa references exist, ranging from general magazine articles to press clippings.

    Three books were written for the Lisa, but only Schmucker's book may be considered worth reading.

    Michael Posner's 123 page handbook is worth reading if you want a decent overview of the Lisa's history and operational information. This handbook is also noteworthy because of its current publication date, 1992 (this may show to some the longevity of the Lisa). To join Michael Posner's Lisa Lives user group write to him at 5170 Woodruff Lane, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33418.


    Several Lisa-specific magazines were also around for a while.

  • Semaphore Signal
  • ICON
  • The LisaTalk Report

    Semaphore Signal was a very detailed Lisa newsletter which produced around 30 issues. ICON was also good. The LisaTalk Report was the newsletter for the Lisa NetWorkers, a group which tried to breath some life into the Lisa after Apple discontinued this machine.


    For information about the Lisa's first operating system (aka the Lisa Office System or Lisa 7/7) see the following.


  • Reviewing Lisa's Office System (St. Mac magazine, Mar. 1984)
  • Venerable Lisa Software Improved (Personal Computing magazine, Mar. 1985)
  • The Lisa Office System (Apple Computer, 1984)
  • Lisa Product Data Sheets (Apple Computer, 1983-1984)
  • LisaGuide screen prints (David Craig, 1984)

    The Product Data Sheets are worth reading if you desire some knowledge about the programs Apple created for the Lisa. These describe the Lisa itself, LisaWrite, LisaDraw, LisaCalc, LisaGraph, LisaProject, LisaList, and LisaTerminal. The LisaGuide screen prints are a collection of all the screens shown by Apple's interactive tutor for new Lisa users, LisaGuide. There exist 126 screen prints in this collection.


    For historical information about the Lisa see the following.

  • The Legacy of the Lisa (MacWorld magazine, Sep. 1985)
  • The Apple 32 Line: Past, Present, and Future (A+ magazine, Jul. 1984)
  • Lisa Chronology (Orphan Support column, MACazine, 198?)
  • Fire in the Valley (book, 198?)
  • The Little Kingdom (book, 198?)

    The Lisa Legacy article is well worth reading since it was written by one of the Lisa's main designers who provides a concise narrative of how the Lisa changed personal computing.

    For those readers with a technical bent there exist a smorgasbord of technical Lisa materials that should satisfy the most hungry technologists.


  • The Architecture of the Lisa Personal Computer (Proceedings of the IEEE, Mar. 1984)
  • Lisa User Interface Guidelines (Apple Computer, Nov. 1983)
  • Lisa's Alternative Operating System (Computer Design, Aug. 1983)
  • Lisa: Up Close and Personal (Softalk magazine, Sep. 1983)
  • Network Introduction Package (Apple Computer, 1983)
  • The Lisa Applications Toolkit (Apple Computer, 1983)
  • Lisa Workshop User's Guide (Apple Computer, 1984)
  • Lisa Development System Internals Documentation (Feb. 1984)
  • Lisa Desktop Libraries Interface Listings (David Craig)
  • Lisa Hardware Manual (Apple Computer, May 1983)
  • Guide to the OS (Apple Computer, Oct. 1982)

    The Lisa Architecture paper is a tremendous resource of Lisa technical design and implementation facts.

    The author of this extremely difficult to find paper was one of the Lisa's main designers. The Lisa User Interface Guidelines is a wonderful 100 page document that describes the design behind the Lisa's user interface. The Desktop Library interface listings describe the routines and data structures which Apple developed to implement Lisa Technology.

    The Lisa Hardware Manual is a rather lengthy tome describing Lisa's hardware in extreme detail. If you are a nut about computer electronics, this manual is for you. The author also has a 1981 version of the hardware manual which is rather short (80 pages versus 200 pages for the 1983 version). The "Guide to the OS" was an internal Apple development manual describing the Lisa Monitor development environment, the precursor to the public Lisa Workshop development environment. This document should be of interest to those people who have a yearning to learn about the Lisa's early development years and the tools which Apple's programmers used for the programming effort.

    Shortly after Apple introduced the Lisa in 1983 an enterprising computer engineer from Seattle started a Lisa programming group called the ToolKit User's Group (TUG). This group centered around the software package called the Lisa ToolKit, which was based on the Pascal language derivative Clascal, as developed by Apple for long-term Lisa development. For those with an interest in the Toolkit the following resources may be beneficial.


  • Software Frameworks: The Lisa ToolKit (BYTE magazine, Dec. 1984)
  • Professor Overrider's Almanac (David Redhed, TUG's newsletter, 4 issues)
  • Save the ToolKit: A Call to Arms (Call A.P.P.L.E., Jun. 1984)
  • An Introduction to Clascal (Apple Computer, Jul. 1984)
  • The Lisa Applications ToolKit Reference Manual (Apple Computer, 1984)
  • Object-Oriented Programming for the Macintosh (Kurt Schmucker, 1986)
  • ToolKit source code (David Craig)

    The Schmucker Macintosh book is recommended reading for those wanting a concise introduction to the Lisa ToolKit and the Clascal language. Tho devoted to the Macintosh and MacApp, Apple's Lisa ToolKit son, this book does provide an excellent chapter on the Lisa ToolKit and Clascal. The ToolKit source code is a wonderful collection of well-written modules which any programmer could benefit from reading.


    The history and details behind the Lisa's development are documented in the following references.

  • The Past, Present, and Future of the Macintosh Desktop (Semaphore Signal, Mar. 1986)
  • An Interview with Wayne Rosing, Bruce Daniels, and Larry Tesler (BYTE, Feb. 1983)
  • The Birth of the Lisa (Personal Computing magazine, Feb. 1983)
  • Lisa's Design (Popular Computing, Mar. 1983)
  • Lisa: A Vision from the Couch at Apple (Softalk magazine, Jul. 1983)
  • Racing to a Draw: How Apple Gets its Software out the Door (St. Mac, Jun. 1984)
  • Apple's Second Try at UNIX (UnixWorld magazine, Mar. 1988)
  • A Death in the Family (ICON magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3)

    The BYTE interview article is excellent since it contains an interview with the main Lisa designers. The "Racing to a Draw" article is worth reading since it provides a fairly detailed description of how Apple developed the LisaDraw and MacDraw programs. The "Couch" article is a good read since it discusses Mr. John Couch, the General Manager for Lisa, who may be considered Lisa's "father".


    For those with inquiring minds about MacWorks, the software which allows a Lisa to run (most) Macintosh software, see the following.


  • MacWorks XL User's Manual (Apple Computer, 1984)
  • MacWorks Plus: Making a Lisa Speak Macintosh (MacTech Quarterly, Spring 1989)

    There exist several articles and manuals that describe how to transfer Lisa data to a Macintosh. This transference is based upon the Apple program called the Macintosh XL Migration Kit.

  • Using the Macintosh XL Migration Kit (Apple Computer, 1985)

    Several U.S. patents from Apple cover key Lisa technologies.

  • Lisa Twiggy disk drive front panel (Patent # Des. 266,426, Oct.1982)
  • ProFile hard disk case (Patent # Des. 273,295, Apr.1984)
  • Lisa case (Patent # Des. 277,673, Feb. 1985)
  • Lisa mouse (Patent # 4,464,652, Aug. 1984)
  • Twiggy disk drive(Patent # 4,466,033, Aug. 1984)
  • Lisa QuickDraw "regions"(Patent # 4,622,545, Nov. 1986)
  • Lisa Memory Management Unit(Patent # 4,926,316, May 1990)

    There exist several good Lisa hardware repair books which current Lisa (or Macintosh XL) owners should seriously consider purchasing.

  • Macintosh Repair & Upgrade Secrets (Larry Pina, 1990)
  • Lisa/Macintosh XL Do-it-yourself Guide (Sun Remarketing, 1990)
  • Apple Service Technical Procedures: Lisa/Macintosh XL (Apple Computer, 1988)

    The Apple Service Technical Procedures manual is a very detailed document describing how to fix errant Lisas (or Macintosh XLs). The original Lisa systems came with a wonderful disk called LisaTest that allowed a novice Lisa owner to diagnose the Lisa's maladies.

    For an overview of the computing technology that Apple "borrowed" heavily upon for the Lisa's design see the various papers from Xerox and others (the entries marked "*" are contained in the Xerox publication "Xerox Office Systems Technology: A Look into the World of the Xerox 8000 Series Products"

    [OSD-R8203A, Jan. 1984]).

  • The Star User Interface: An Overview (*)
  • Designing the (Xerox) Star User Interface (* [also in BYTE, Apr. 1982])
  • Alto: A Personal Computer (Computer Structures, Principles, and Examples, 1982)
  • The Smalltalk Graphics Kernel (BYTE, Aug. 1981)

    This paper's author has written several somewhat interesting Lisa papers which may attract the attention of a few people.

  • Apple Lisa Graphical Object-Oriented User Interface (Oct. 1987)
  • A Review of Apple's Lisa Pascal (Oct. 1988)
  • A Review of Apple's Lisa Workshop (Oct. 1988)
  • Apple Lisa 7/7 Tool Deserialization (1988)

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