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Programmers File Editor (PFE)

The recommended editor for creating or editing text files such as MX input files or log files is the Programmer's File Editor.

programmers file editor dialog box

PFE Settings

There are many options within the PFE editor that you may not be aware of. There are settings that can be customized for all files or only selected groups of files. One particular option involves adjusting the settings for the tab key so that it inserts 3 spaces in the file instead of the tab character. A line that begins with 3 spaces is ignored by MX when processing a file. This can be used to add comments to your files to explain what the code is doing or to "comment" out a section of code that you don't want processed at that time.

Make this adjustment by selecting Default modes from the Options menu. The panel shown below will appear. Select the button labeled "Files whose name is not in any group". This will set the default values for any files that are not specifically defined another way. You can also set up Edit Mode Groups that only apply to certain types of files.

default modes dialog box

Select the Edit Modes button at the lower left of the panel to display the panel shown below. Select the Text Formatting option, then Tab with space characters, and set the tab stop to 3 characters.

edit default modes dialog box

In addition to this, there is a feature called Smart Tabbing that will allow you to select multiple lines of text and apply the tab to all of them simultaneously. This can be very useful for commenting large sections of MX input files. From the Options menu, select Preferences. In the Preferences panel select the Editing Files category and then check the Use smart tabbing box. Once this setting is applied, using the tab key will cause all selected lines to be indented by 3 spaces. Using the Shift and tab keys together will remove spaces from the beginning of the line.

preferences dialog box

Using the "Save As..." command in PFE defaults to one particular directory. This is an option that can be changed by selecting "Preferences…" from the Options menu. Select General Options from the panel that appears. Next, check the box that says "Change directory in File Open/View dialogs" This tells PFE to set the current working directory to the last one selected by a File Open or Save As command. Note that the directory path is not set when a file is opened by dragging it over the PFE icon or into a PFE window, only by issuing the File Open command. In the File menu you can =>Change to file directory prior to doing a Save As or Open so that directory is current.

In most configurations, PFE will make a backup copy of the file being edited which has the same file name with a .$$$ file extension. This option can be turned on or off by selecting the Backup option in the Preferences panel mentioned above. If you don't turn this feature off please clean up/delete the back up files after you are satisfied the edited file works.

Many types of files can be associated to the PFE Editor so they open in PFE when you double-click them. Options > Preferences > Associations > New allows you to add file extensions to the list. Due to it's versatility almost every text file type other than excel and word files should be associated to PFE including inp, out, log, txt, rf8, csu, drw, jou, mss. Complete list of MX File Extension...

Note: The PFE Editor cannot be used for editing Word documents.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914