Working with the File Manager

Contents of Article


Introduction

Example of File Manager display

File Manager screen layout

Directory refresh

Specifying the criteria for directory displays

Extended File Pattern Support

File Manager primary commands

File Manager line commands

File Manager ALL command and File Lists

Mouse selection of files

Changing the file display order

Managing File Lists

File List Note Support

Performing a file search

Find in Files (FF) syntax


Introduction


The SPFLite File Manager is designed to provide a powerful, easy-to-use interface for file selection and file management.  This includes a wide range of capabilities to manage file operations, and support for File Lists (collections of files) to provide quick access to frequently used files and directories. server.


Note: The file extension of a File List file is .FLIST.  When speaking informally about one or more of such lists, we use the more conversational phrase "File List" or "File Lists".  


File Manager features:



File Manager options are set in the Options - File Manager settings page:





Example of File Manager display



File Manager screen layout


The top part of the File Manager display contains 4 lines which will always be present, even during scrolling operations of the displayed list.  These lines are:

Quick Launch Bar

This line contains mouse click-able options to provide fast switching between common selections.  For keyboard fanatics, each option also has a single character input field to its left; you can select an option by entering any non-blank character in this field.  The Quick Launch options are:


New

Requests opening a new, empty Edit tab.  Use this for creating a new file from scratch.


FilePath

Requests a display of files based on the File Path/Name and File Patterns values entered on the 2nd and 3rd lines of the header area.


Recent

Request a display of recently accessed files


Found

Requests a display of the latest results from an FF (Find in Files) search command.


Opened

Requests a display of all files currently opened for processing in other tabs.


Favorites

Requests a display of the list of files you have identified as your 'favorite' files.  These are identified using the FAVORITE command or the File Manager ADD line command.


Lists

Requests a display of all your saved File Lists.


Paths

Requests a display of recently used File Paths.


Profiles

Requests a display of all your current Edit Profiles.



File Path/Name

File Patterns

These lines provide the criteria for a Directory folder display. See Criteria for details.



Column Header

This provided headings for the file list display as well as being a click-able selection line to change the sort order of the display.  See Changing the file display order for details.


Following these header lines will be the detailed list display you have requested.   The left side of each line always contains a Line Command input field followed immediately by the filename.  The remaining columns of the display are under your control, you can select what other columns to display, and what order they will be in from left to right.  See Options - File Manager for details.


This portion of the display is scrollable when needed using PgUp/PgDown, Mouse scroll wheel, or keyboard Up/Down keys.


If HiLite Recent / Active Dates has been activated, the dates in the Date column will be hi-lighted appropriately.  Note the dates in the example hi-lighted in Red and Blue.   See HiLite Recent / Active Dates for more information.



Directory refresh


Once File Manager has displayed a directory, it will refresh the display with the results of any file activity the next time the File Manager screen is displayed, either by a swap between File Manager and some other tab, by performing some action on the File Manager screen itself, or just pressing Enter.


Specifying the criteria for directory displays


When you are displaying a directory, the header portion of the File Manager screen contains input fields where you specify the directory you wish to be displayed and what file types should be included.  


In the File Path/Name field, enter the directory name you wish to be displayed.  This may be a simple drive letter like C:\ or a subdirectory like C:\MYDIR\.  Path names with embedded blanks are simply typed as-is, with no quoting required.  A trailing backslash in a path name should be specified, without the \ the name will not be treated as a path request.


The File Patterns field should contain a list of one or more file patterns or “wildcards” of files you wish to display.   The format used is the based on that used by Windows Explorer or the command line.  


A ? question mark matches any single character.


An * asterisk matches zero or more characters up to the next specified mask character (or end of filename).


A double asterisk ** matches zero or more characters up to the last occurrence of the next specified mask character.  For example **. would mimic Windows Explorer handling of *. which skips to the last period in the name.


To display all files in a directory, specify * or *.* as usual.  Multiple file patterns are allowed, each separated by a semicolon.   Example:  *.BAS;*.TXT;*.INC;*.H


The initial sort order is by ascending file Name.  See Changing the file display order below for more information.


The last-used File Path, File Patterns and Sort criteria in effect when SPFLite is terminated are remembered and used for the opening display the next time SPFLite is started.  So, if you change the sort order to descending by size, for instance, it will be that way the next time.


Extended File Pattern Support


SPFLite supports an enhancement to File Patterns to provide extended flexibility in file selection when needed.


Normal file patterns are inclusive; that is, they specify what files to include.  You can also specify what files to exclude from the selection process. This is done by preceding an exclusive mask string with a - minus sign.  For example, you can say -*.INC to exclude .INC files from the list.  


Inclusive masks can optionally include a leading + plus sign, but this is implied and not needed.


How does file inclusion and exclusion work?   A file is processed against the File Mask string from left to right, and each pattern in the File Mask is tested against the file name for a match.   An overall match result (true or false) is created based on the individual tests.  


Note: Even if one test in a chain of tests fails, the remaining tests are still evaluated.  This makes it possible to selected files based on rules that amount to, "I want files of one type, except when they are of a second type I don't want, unless those files are of a third type that I really do want."


Inclusive Masks:        If matched, the overall match result is true.  If not matched, the match result flag is left unchanged.


Excluding Masks:        If matched, the overall match result is false.  If not matched, the overall match result is left unchanged.


Examples:


Filename:

TestFile.TXT

Mask:

*.TXT;-Test*.*

Result:

The file would not be selected.  It is accepted by *.TXT but is rejected by -Test*.*.  The final overall match result is false.



Filename:

TestFile.TXT

Mask:

*.TXT;-Test*.*;*File.*

Result:

The file would be selected.  It is accepted by *.TXT but is rejected by -Test*.*; but then is accepted by the *File.* mask.  The final overall match result is true.


Note:  If you begin a File Pattern with an exclusion mask, like -*.tmp, SPFLite will internally prefix this with an *;  since beginning with an exclusion mask is illogical.


Set Symbol support in File Patterns


The File Patterns string may now include SET symbols for cases where you may wish to save complex mask strings as symbols for easier use when needed.  They are used as replacements for masks as follows: (assume set symbol ABC=*.* and set symbol DEF=*.TXT)


For inclusive masks enter as =abc which would be treated as *.*, or if you prefer explicit inclusive indication  +=abc


A mask of =abc;-=def would be treated as *.*;-*.txt



File Manager primary commands


The File Manager supports the following primary commands, any of which can be mapped to a key using the KEYMAP facility.  Some File Manager primary commands have the same name as Editor primary commands, but they do not all perform the same function.  Refer to the list below for a complete description of each command's function.


ALL

Allows a request to perform a specified Line command against all displayed filenames in the current list.  e.g. ALL MEDIT would open all listed files in a single MEdit session


BOTTOM

Scroll to the bottom of the directory or File List display.  BOTTOM can also be spelled as BOT.


BROWSE

Browse a file, or without a file name, open a Browse dialog window.  To browse a named file that has embedded blanks, enclose the name in quotes.  BROWSE can also be spelled as BRO or B.


CASE

To set the default CASE to be used by the FF command.


CLIP

Open an edit session to directly edit the contents of the Windows Clipboard.


CLONE

Clone a copy of an existing file.  You must specify the filename operand when using this command in File Manager


CMD

Used to execute an external program or script.


CRETRIEV

Conditionally move the cursor to the Home position or Retrieve the last saved command from the Retrieve Stack.


DEFAULT

Normally, a left-click on a File Manager line item, will be interpreted as an S or SELECT line command.  You may change this default command assumption using the DEFAULT command. e.g. DEFAULT BROWSE would cause a left-click to Browse the selected file.   The setting is not permanent and is not remembered between SPFLite sessions.


DOWN

Scroll the display down by the amount shown in the Scroll amount field.  Typically mapped to the PageDn key.


EDIT

Edit a file, or without a file name, open an Edit dialog window.  To edit a named file that has embedded blanks, enclose the name in quotes.


END

Close a directory or File List display, returning the display to its parent directory or to the File List that had previously been displayed.  Once a directory list is at a root directory like C:\ the END command will have no further effect.


EXCLUDE

Exclude files from a File List display based on a mask style operand.


FF

The Find in Files command FF searches all currently displayed file names for a string value.  See Performing a file search below.


Do not confuse the File Manager's Find in Files command FF with the Edit/Browse command FF, which is an alias of the familiar FIND editor command.  The two commands are merely spelled the same but are unrelated.


FIND

The FIND command in File Manager searches the displayed file list for a simple string argument, handy to locate a file in a long directory list.    Only simple search strings are supported, not the special string types such as P'xx', R'xx' or X'xx'.  


Do not confuse the File Manger's FIND command with the Edit/Browse command FIND.  The two commands are merely spelled the same but are unrelated.


HELP

Display the SPFLite Help facility.  HELP followed by a command name displays the SPFLite Help facility and positions the display at the Help information for that command.


KEYMAP

Brings up the SPFLite KEYMAP facility


LOCATE

LOCATE in File Manager is used to quickly locate the file called name in the file list, and may only be used when the list is in Name+ or Name- order.  If no files are found that exactly match the name operand, LOCATE will try to find the first file name in the list that begins with name.  If there are no files that match name or begin with name, LOCATE will find the first file that is greater than name.  LOCATE can also be spelled as LOC or L.


Note that the File Manager LOCATE command is unrelated to the editor LOCATE command.  See also the FIND command above.


MAKELIST

Create a new File List with a new name, based on the files that currently appear on a directory display or another File List display.  MAKELIST can also either completely replace an existing File List with a new set of filenames, or you can request a merge of the current list of files with those already in an existing File List.  See the REPLACE and APPEND operand descriptions in MAKELIST.  MAKELIST can also be spelled as ML.


OPEN

OPENV

OPENB

Open a file in a new SPFLite instance.  To open a named file that has embedded blanks, enclose the name in quotes.  The OPENV and OPENB variations can be used to open the new session in View or Browse mode, instead of the normal Edit mode if desired.



OPTIONS

Bring up the SPFLite Global Options window.  See OPTIONS - Set Global Editor Options for more information.


PRINT SETUP

The PRINT SETUP command may be launched from File Manager of from an edit session.  PRINT without the SETUP keyword may only be issued from an edit session, not from File Manager.  To print a file from File Manager, use the P line command.


RESET

Resets the hidden status of Excluded and/or Forgotten files in a File List


RETF

Retrieves the ‘next' saved command from the Retrieve Stack, in a forward direction, opposite to that done by the RETRIEVE command.  RETF can be used when you are looking for a particular saved command using RETRIEVE and you inadvertently ‘pass up' the one you wanted; you can then use RETF to ‘go the other way' to get the passed-up command.  If you continue to issue RETF commands (usually from a mapped key like Shift-F12), successively newer entries are retrieved in a forward direction.


RETRIEVE

Retrieve the last saved command from the Retrieve Stack.  If you continue to issue RETRIEVE commands (usually from a mapped key like F12), successively older entries are retrieved in a backward direction.


SET

SET brings up the SET Variable Editor.


SWAP

SWAP PREV and SWAP NEXT are used to select the previous or next tab on the SPFLite display, which may be the File Manager tab or an edit session tab.  Other SWAP options are also available.  See SWAP - Switch to a Selected File Tab for more information.


TOP

Scroll to the top of the directory or File List display.


UP

Scroll the display up by the amount shown in the Scroll amount field.  Typically mapped to the Page Up key.


VIEW

View a file, or without a file name, open a View dialog window.  To view a named file that has embedded blanks, enclose the name in quotes.  VIEW can also be abbreviated as V.


File Manager line commands


Next to each line entry in the File Manager display is an underlined area where you may enter commands to be performed against the line entry.   The command entry area is a scrollable field, so there is no restriction on the full length of any command entered.    In addition, the width of the FIle Manager line command field can be adjusted, by setting a column width for it on the File Manager Global Options dialog.  However, most FM line commands may be entered as simple single character values.


Lines with names ending in \ backslash are directories, where ..\ means the “parent” directory, using the common notation for this.  Directories can be selected by a mouse left-click or with the line command S, which will cause the File Manager list to be refreshed with the contents of the selected folder.  If you select multiple directories at once, only the last (lowest on the screen) will be used.  Only a limited number of commands can be used on directories.


Many File Manager line command fields are much longer than the 1-character codes used in prior versions.  This allows commands like ADD and RENAME to take an operand field, and it also allows for future enhancements to the File Manager.  


If you enter a line command that takes an operand, the line command field will scroll left and right to accommodate as large of an operand (like a file name) as you need.


Multiple Line Selection


As of Version 8.0, you may select multiple lines in File Manager much as you select multiple lines in a normal Edit screen.  All the commands which have a single character abbreviation (A, B, C, D, E, F, J, M, N, P, R, S, T, U, V, X) can select multiple lines either by using the paired block mode technique (MM / MM,  SS / SS, etc) on the first and last lines of a range; or by adding a 'repeat' number to the end of the command (S4,  D3, etc).


The following line commands are available:


.Profile-name


If a Profile override operand alone is provided as a line command, it will be taken as a request for an Edit of the file using the specified Profile override.   i.e. it is a shortcut for entering EDIT .Profile-name


A        [ file-list-name ]

AA

ADD

Add to favorites.  If an optional file-list-name is provided, the name of the file is added to the specified Named Favorites File List; otherwise it is added to the default (unnamed) Favorite Files File List.  You cannot add directories or other File List names to a File List.


No harm is done if you attempt to add a file to a Favorite File List if it's already there.  It just "confirms" that the file name has been added.


A given file can be recorded in as many different File Lists as you wish.  To avoid creating a confusing situation, it is usually best to limit the number of File Lists a given file is recorded in.


There is also available an AUTOFAV facility where files can be automatically added to Favorite lists.  See "Using AUTOFAV to create FILISTs".


ALL command


The ALL line command can only be applied to a File List.  command is a selected FIle Manager line command.  SPFLite reads the File List to determine a list of files, and it applies command to each file.  See discussion below for more information.


B             [ .Profile-name ]

BB

BRO

BROWSE

Browse the file.  In Browse mode, NO changes can be made to a file whatsoever. Browsing a File List is permitted.  See the E command below for more information.  Note that you can use ALL B to Browse all the files listed in a FIle List.


If the Profile override operand is provided, the Browse will be started using the provided Profile name rather than the one implied by the file's extension.


CANCEL  |  CAN

The CANCEL command is only allowed to be used on files displayed by the Open Files display.  It executes a CANCEL command for the specified file and returns to the File Manager Display


C        [ .Profile-name ]

CC

CLONE

Clone the file.  Cloning a file provides a convenient way to create a copy of a file for editing.  You will be prompted for a new filename for the cloned file.   An optional Profile name may be entered if you wish to open the cloned file with a non-standard Profile name.


A directory cannot be cloned with the C line command, but you can accomplish essentially the same thing by using the MAKELIST command on a directory.  See MAKELIST - Create FILELIST for more information.


D

DD

DEL

DELETE

Delete a file or directory.  File deletion is protected by two features in SPFLite.  The first is the File Manager Options checkbox Confirm File Deletes.  If checked, a popup message will ask for confirmation before the file deletion is dealt with.


The second is the General Options checkbox Delete to Recycle Bin.  This option controls the kind of deletion that occurs.  If checked, a popup message will ask for confirmation before the file is Recycled   If unchecked, a popup message will ask for confirmation before the file is Purged.  The term purge means permanent deletion with no recourse.


Where SPFLite can detect it, the Delete command will also remove deleted file names from File Lists in a manner comparable to the Forget line command.  If a Delete or Forget command causes all names to be removed from a File List, the File List itself will be deleted.  If you delete a file which is named elsewhere in another File List, it will be removed from that File List the next time that File List is opened (unless the file name is "guarded").


Deleting a File List is permitted.  


A directory can be deleted with the D line command, but only if it is empty.


If the DELETE command is issued against a file displayed under the Open Files display, it will execute a CANCEL DELETE command for the specified file and return to the File Manager Display


DIR

The DIR command will switch the File Manager display to the folder containing the filename of this line using a File Pattern of *.*


E             [ .Profile-name ]

EE

EDIT

.Profile-name

Edit the file.  Clicking on a file name is the same as entering the E or S line command, and causes the file to be edited.


When E is used on a File List, SPFLite brings up an Edit session on the File List file.  A File List file is an ordinary text file managed by SPFLite, with one fully-qualified file name per line.  You may add, change or delete lines in this file.  Since these names are supposed to represent valid file names, you should edit this file carefully.  


File names in a File List which are Guarded will be shown preceded by a | character.


One reason to edit a File List is to add wildcard file name entries with ? and * codes; another reason may be to import a large number of file names into a File List from an outside text file.  Because the Recent Files File List is automatically maintained by SPFLite, editing it is not recommended.  A directory cannot be edited.


Note that you can use ALL E to Edit all the files listed in a FIle List.


If the Profile override operand is provided, the Edit will be started using the provided Profile name rather than the one implied by the file's extension.


If you click on a file name to invoke the Edit function, you can enter the .Profile-name by itself on the FM line command area, then click on the file name, without having to use the E or EDIT command.


END

The END command is only allowed to be used on files displayed by the Open Files display.  It executes an END command for the specified file and returns to the File Manager Display


F

FF

FORGET

Forget the file.  Applies only to entries created by a File List.   The Forget operation 'hides'  the line in the File List containing the file in question.  When files have been 'forgotten' from a list, the total line at the bottom of the list will display the count of 'forgotten' files.  Forgetting a file only hides an entry from a File List; it does not delete the file.  


The Forget action is remembered and the next time the File List is displayed, the forgotten files will still be hidden from the display.


Unlike SPFLite versions prior to Version 8.0 you may now Forget files even if they appear in a File List display as a result of a wildcard specification within the File List file.


J

JJ

JOB

SUB

SUBMIT

Job Submit.  The file is “submitted” using existing user-defined SUBMIT configuration settings as specified on the Options – Submit screen.  The SUBARG value, if any, defined for the file type of this file, will be properly defined as set up in the file type's PROFILE information.  The action of the J command is the same as if the file were opened in an Edit session, and then the SUBMIT command were issued with no arguments.


There is no direct way to debug a job submitted in File Manager with the J command; there is no equivalent of the DEBUG operand used by the SUBMIT command.  If you need to debug a job submission using the J command, the easiest way to do this is to specify a batch file name as the Submit Prototype command.  In your batch file, you could issue a PAUSE command to see any output produced, or take other debugging actions.


M

MM

MEDIT

Multi-Edit.  This is the ability to perform a multi-edit session.  A multi-edit session exists when you edit multiple files, at the same time, in the same edit tab.  You begin a multi-edit session by selecting one or (usually) more files from a directory or File List display using the M line command.  You can scroll up and down in the list to find all the files you want to place M codes on, but don't press Enter until you have chosen all of them.  Once you have decided upon the files to be multi-edited, press Enter.  An edit session will appear with “(M-Edit)” as the label for the tab.  Each file will be preceded by a ‘marker line' with =FILE> in the sequence area and the file's name next to it.  When you SAVE or END a multi-edit session, every file in the session will be saved at the same time.  See Working with Multi-Edit Sessions for more information.


Note:  you can use ALL M to start a Multi-Edit session using all the files listed in a FIle List.


N

NN

NORM

Forget support for File Lists no longer actually deletes the forgotten files entries in the File List dataset.  Similarly, displaying a File List which has entries in it for specific files, and those files no longer exist, does not trigger their removal from the file list, they are simply ignored.  The NORM (normalize) line command, used against a File List, will perform this periodic cleanup function.


OPEN / O

OPENV / OV

OPENB / OB

Open a file in a new SPFLite instance.  The OPENV / OV and OPENB / OB variations can be used to open the new session in View or Browse mode, instead of the normal Edit mode if desired.



P

PP

PRINT

Print the file.  The file is immediately sent to the printer using the currently configured printer settings, as defined by the PRINT SETUP command.  Note that the listing is produced unnumbered (the default), because since you cannot enter the NUM operand that is available with a PRINT primary command.


R                [ newfilename ]

RR

REN

RENAME

Rename a file or directory.  You may specify the new filename directly as an operand to Rename; if omitted, you will be prompted for the new name.


When you rename a file, if it is recorded within any current File Lists, the entries within those File Lists will also be renamed.


Renaming a File List is permitted.   If you wish to save a Recent Files File List or Found Files File List once a set of files has been stored, you can rename it to some other name that ends in .FLIST.  Then, the list will appear in the list of Named Favorites.


Note:  Do not confuse the File Manager line command REN with the editor primary command REN.  In File Manager, REN means RENAME.


In SPFLite prior to release 8.5, the editor primary command REN was an abbreviation for the command RENAME.  As of SPFLite version 8.5, the editor primary command REN is now an abbreviation for the sequence numbering command RENUM.  This change was made for ISPF compatibility.


SAVE

The SAVE command is only allowed to be used on files displayed by the Open Files display.  It executes a SAVE command for the specified file and returns to the File Manager display


S             [ .Profile-name ]

SS

SEL

SELECT

Select the file.  For data files, Select is the same as Edit.  Clicking on a file name is the same as entering the E or S line command, and causes the file to be edited.


For directories and File Lists, Select will open the directory or File List and its contents will replace the currently displayed list.  Thus, for a File List, Select and Edit are not the same thing, whereas for regular files, they are.


If the Profile override operand is provided, the Edit will be started using the provided Profile name rather than the one implied by the file's extension.


If you click on a file name to invoke the Select function, you can enter the .Profile-name by itself on the File manager line command area, then click on the file name, without having to use the S or SEL command.


T

TT

TOUCH

Touch the file.  The file's timestamp is replaced by the current date and time.  A Touch operation is commonly needed by users of MAKE and BUILD software.  This operation is not allowed on directories and File Lists.


U

UU

PUR

PURGE

Purge (delete) the file.  File deletion is protected by two features in SPFLite.  The first is the File Manager Options checkbox Confirm File Deletes.  If checked, a popup message will ask for confirmation before the file deletion is dealt with.  


The second is the General Options checkbox Delete to Recycle Bin.  This option controls the kind of deletion that occurs.  For the Purge line command, the Delete to Recycle Bin option is ignored.  In all cases, a popup message will ask for confirmation before the file is Purged.  The term purge means permanent deletion with no recourse.


Where SPFLite can detect it, it will remove purged files from File Lists in a manner comparable to the Forget line command.  Purging a File List is permitted.


If the PURGE command is issued against a file displayed under the Open Files display, it will execute a CANCEL PURGE command for the specified file and return to the File Manager display



V                [ .Profile-name ]

VV

VIEW

View the file.  In View mode, changes can be made to a file but you cannot save them. Viewing a File List is permitted.  See the E command above for more information.  Note that you can use ALL V to View all the files listed in a FIle List.


If the Profile override operand is provided, the Browse will be started using the provided Profile name rather than the one implied by the file's extension.

WDIR

Open a Windows Explorer window for the folder containing this file.  The selected file will be highlighted in the Explorer display.


X

XX

Exclude (X) is available for hiding files from the File Manager display.  Visually this looks the same as Forget, but Excluded lines are not 'remembered' between sessions, the effect lasts only as long as the current list display is shown.



File Manager ALL command and File Lists


You can apply selected File Manager line commands to a File List, and the commands will be applied, not to the File List itself, but to the files named within the File List.  For example, to edit all of the files named in a File List, you would issue the File Manager line command ALL E for that File List.


The ALL command is followed by one of the following commands (all valid abbreviations of these commands are allowed):

BROWSE

CLONE

DELETE

EDIT

MEDIT

NORM

PRINT

PURGE

SELECT (same as EDIT)

TOUCH

VIEW


WARNING!


The ALL command, if used against a File List which contains generic path requests, could effectively be directed at what might be hundreds of files.  Even if you do not normally receive prompts for file deletes, you will still receive one single prompt for the ALL D command.  But a single wrong reply and you could have a huge problem.   Take care!


Mouse selection of files


You may select a file for editing, or a directory or File List to be displayed, by clicking on its name with the left mouse button.   If you click on any of the underscore characters next to the name, the cursor will be moved to the left hand column of the line command area.  This is a quick way to get the cursor moved so you can enter a File Manager line command.  


If you click on a name it will be treated as if the Select line command S were used.   This default of S can be altered using the DEFAULT command.


For files, the mouse-select action is the same as the Edit line command E / EDIT, and the file will be opened in a new edit tab.  


For directories and File Lists, the mouse-select action opens up the directory or File List, and its contents replaces the current display.  To return from a lower-level directory to its parent, or to return to the prior display from a File List display, use the primary END command (traditionally mapped to F3), or right-click on the File Manager tab.    


Changing the file display order


When specifying the sort criteria below, the settings are saved as defaults for the current FM display type.  e.g. Recent, Favorites, Paths, etc.  Separate sort criteria are saved for each of the display types chosen via the Quick Launch bar.   This allows you to maintain unique preferences for the differing list types.


The default sort criteria is to sort ascending on filename.  The sort order may be changed at any time, by clicking on the column heading for the column you wish to sort on.  These column headings are:


Dir

Specifies where Directory lines are to be placed (Top, Bottom, or In-line)

Name

sorts on file name

Note

sorts on the Note data

Ext

sorts on file name extension

Size

sorts on file size in bytes

Date

sorts on the file's date and time


The Dir heading does not actually alter the Sort criteria or direction, but is located here for convenience.  When clicked, it will 'rotate' through three settings:

Dir+ which requests directory entries are to appear first in the list.

Dir-  which requests directory entries are to appear last in the list.

Dir*  which requests directory entries be placed alphabetically in the list.

If you click on the other column headings, you will see a + code to indicate that column is in ascending order, and a sign to indicate that column is in descending order.  For the Name column, this will appear as Name+ or Name–.  When no code is present on a heading, the list is being sorted by some other column.

Because the most common reason to display files in Date order is to find the most recent ones, clicking on the Date column when not already active will first show Date– and the list will be in descending date/time order starting with the most recent.  Clicking on the heading again will show Date+.


Similarly, because the most common reason to display files in Size order is to find the largest ones, clicking on the Size column when not already active will first show Size– and the list will be in descending size order starting with the largest.  Clicking on the heading again will show Size+.


When a given column is being used as the sort criteria, the data in that column appears in the high-intensity text color, rather than the standard low-intensity text color.  


Managing File Lists


The next major topic Working With File Lists provide an extensive description of File Lists and their creation and management.



File List Note Support


Support is provided for maintaining a Note field for the files displayed by a File List.  Notes are intended to provide a small reminder or tracking field associated with each file in a File List. Entirely optional, you can use the Note field for any purpose which may be useful to you.   To activate Note support, you must add the Note column to the optional fields displayed by File Manager.   See Options - File Manager for how to specify this.


Performing a file search

The Find in Files command FF searches all currently displayed file names for a string value.  You can search a directory list, the Recent Files File List or any other File List.  


The FF command searches every file that is displayed in the current list.  To search a ‘selective' list of files, you can start with a directory list and use the File Patterns field with one or more wildcards to reduce the number of displayed files.  You can also add files to a favorites list with the A line command or the FAV edit primary command, and then issue the FF command while the Favorite Files File List is displayed.  If you search a File List, you can remove files from the list with the Forget line command F before doing the FF command.


If the FF command finds at least one matching file, it creates (or updates) the Found Files File List and then displays it.  When displaying a Found Files list, the FF search command used to create the list will be shown next to the Found Files title on the File Manager display.   This will remind you how the Found list was created if you should open it at a later time than its initial creation.


You can issue the FF command using the Found Files File List itself.  If you do this with different search strings, you will successively refine the list. That is, if you say FF ABC, then FF DEF, then FF XYZ, you will end up with a Found Files File List that only shows files that contain all three strings ABC, DEF and XYZ.  Each time you use a different search against the Found Files File List, the list will get recreated and will (usually) be shorter than it was before.


Of course, if you use an FF command against the Found Files File List with the same search string you used to create it, you would just be searching the files you already found, and it would re-find the same files all over again.  That would be called 'going no where fast' (or as a friend used to describe it, "the department of redundancy department").


You really want to use different search strings each time, unless some outside process is changing the files and you truly need to reconfirm your prior results.  That might be a legitimate need, but only in very rare cases.


The Find in Files command FF uses a syntax similar to (but simpler than) the editor FIND command.


Note: the Edit primary command FIND has an alias of FF.  The Edit command FF has no relation to the File Manager FF command.


Interrupting an FF search


When the FF command commences a search, it displays a small pop-up dialog:



which shows the ongoing progress of the search.   You may interrupt the search at any point by left-clicking on the 'Break' button on this dialog.  The FF command will complete processing with whatever located files it has already found and display the Found Files list.


Find in Files (FF) syntax


FF string  [ CHARS | WORD | PREFIX | SUFFIX ]  [ NF ]


Operands:


string

Any string value accepted in an edit session is permitted here.  The string may be unquoted, or quoted without a string type, or may be quoted with a string type of C, T, X, P or R.  Unquoted strings, or strings quoted without a string type, are assumed to be of type C or T, depending on the C/T case indicator on the status line.  If the status line indicator shows C or C W, a case-sensitive search is done, and if T or T W appears, a case-insensitive search is done.  You can use the CASE C or CASE T command in File Manager to change the C/T indicator.


CHARS | WORD | PREFIX | SUFFIX

Specifies the ‘search context' for the string, the same as is done for the FIND command in the editor.  If not specified, either a CHARS search or a WORD search is done.  If the status line indicator shows C W or T W, a WORD search is done, and if just C or T appears, a CHARS search is done.  You can change the default search context with the FIND WORDS or FIND CHARS command.


NF

If the Not Found option NF is used, a search is made for files that do not have the string present on any line.


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