Working with File Lists

Contents of Article


Creating and manually editing File Lists

General features of File Lists

Creating File Lists with the MAKELIST command

The Recent Files File List

The Recent Paths File List

The Favorite Files File List and Named Favorites

The Found Files File List

The Open Files File List

File Manager ALL command and File Lists

File List Cleanup and Forgotten Files


File Lists provide a number of new capabilities for managing files.  In addition to the standard directory list of files that appears under the File Manager tab, there are new, folder-like entries saved as a file type of .FLIST in the SPFLite data directory.

Note: The file extension of these files is .FLIST.  When speaking informally about one or more of such lists, we use the more conversational phrase "File List" or "File Lists".  There is no plural keyword or extension called "FILELISTS" as such.

These File Lists store the names of files of special interest to the user, so they may be found and opened quickly.

An FLIST file is a simple list of requests for files to be displayed together by File Manager.   Any number of requests are allowed, and the requests can be for single specific filenames, for all files in a folder, or for subsets of files in a folder based on Filename masking criteria.  Requests of all types can be intermixed within a single FLIST.

A individual file request can be in more than one list if desired, each FLIST is independent of any other.

Creating and manually editing File Lists

FLISTs are simple text files containing one file request per line.  FLIST  files are stored under My  Documents\SPFLite\FileLists and contain .FLIST as their file name extension.  Because these are ordinary text files, they can be opened with other editors, and FLIST compatible files could be created from outside sources and copied into the My  Documents\SPFLite\FileLists directory if desired.  A File List file can also be edited directly from SPFLite by putting an E line command on the File Manager line containing the File List entry.  

Editing a File List

Although an .FLIST file can have multiple fields per line, other than the first they are all optional.  If you wish to make a File List consisting of filenames you have collected from some other source, simply create the file with one fully qualified file name per line and save it as an .FLIST file type in the SPFLite FILELIST folder.

If you are Editing an existing File List, and you see these extra fields, you should not normally alter or remove any of them unless you are confident you understand the following detailed description.   If you simply want to add new specific filenames, just add them as new lines with fully qualified names.

A File List file can contain any needed number of request lines, and they do not have to be in any specific order.   Each line can be for a single specific filename, or it can be a path/folder request.   Each path/folder request can also have it's own unique file mask specification.

.FLIST request format

The request line syntax is:

   File Path/name[|File mask[|Flags[|Note]]]

Note: The | in the syntax above is used as a field delimiter, not as an OR indicator.  e.g. an entry with three fields would appear as Filename|*|F


File Path/Name

This should be either a fully qualified filename, or, A path/folder name ending in a \

File Mask

This should be a File Mask to use with the specified File Path/Name to determine which files in the folder are to be selected. The syntax can be found in Extended File Pattern Support.   If omitted, an  *  is assumed.


This field is used internally by SPFLite. If editing an existing .FLIST file, do not modify this field; if creating a new entry, omit the field.


This field is used to store Note data entered for a File List entry. If editing an existing .FLIST file, do not modify this field; if creating a new entry, omit the field.   Details on Note support can be found in File List Note Support.

One reason to edit a File List file is to manually create lists of files containing wildcards.  Suppose you had three files called C:\MYPATH\ABC1.TXT, C:\MYPATH\ABC2.TXT and C:\MYPATH\ABC3.TXT.  Perhaps you expect to have more such files in the future, and you wanted to ‘gather' all of them under one named favorites list called ABC.FLIST, even files that do not yet currently exist, without having to manually add them to the favorites list later.  How could you do this?

Here is the easiest way:

The AUTOFAV facility allows files to be automatically added to the Favorite FilesList or to a Named Favorites File List.  See Using AUTOFAV to add to File Lists for more information.

General features of File Lists

Creating File Lists with the MAKELIST command

To assist in creating File Lists there is a command, MAKELIST to assist.  The MAKELIST command is only available within File Manager (it makes no sense elsewhere) and is used to create a File List containing the contents of the existing File Manager display.

How you 'create' the list of files within File Manager does not matter.  It could be from a File Path/Name and File Pattern request, from a display of another File List, or as the result of a Find in Files operation.   The MAKELIST command simply saves whatever list of files is currently displayed as a new File List.  e.g. Issuing a MAKELIST MYLIST1 command would save the list of filenames as MYLIST1.FLIST; you can redisplay this list at any time now with a RECALL command like RECALL MYLIST1 or RC MYLIST1.

The optional operand SYM may be added to the MAKELIST command if desired.  When specified, MAKELIST will create an FLIST file which contains generic path requests for each different file path present in the displayed list of files. For example if the current list of files was:





and a MAKELIST NEWLIST SYM command was issued, the new File List NEWLIST.FLIST would contain:



The Recent Files File List

The Recent Files File List contains a list of the most recently edited or browsed files, up to some maximum number.  Under the File Manager tab in SPFLite Global Options, a field is provided to specify No. of files in recent lists.  A maximum of up to 99 files can be stored in the Recent Files File List.

When another file is edited that is not in the list, and the Recent Files File List already has the maximum number of files in it, the file that was added to the list the furthest back in the past is dropped off the list.  .

When a file already in the Recent Files File List is edited again, its file name is moved to the top of the Recent Files File List, since it has now been edited more recently than it had been before.

The Recent Files File List, like all File List files, contains only file names and does not have any date or time information in it.  The Recent Files File List maintains the most-recent file order by physically storing new file names at the beginning of the list.

Because SPFLite automatically maintains the Recent Files File List (unlike other File Lists which are modified based on user commands), it is not recommended to manually edit the Recent Files File List, nor to place wildcard entries into it.  Such wildcard entries will function for a while but will eventually get dropped, and in some cases this may result in the Recent Files File List showing duplicate file names.

The Recent Paths File List

The Recent Paths File List contains a list of the most recently referenced path names that have appeared in the File Path field of the File Manager.  

Note: This entry is considered a "File List" for consistency with the terminology used by other lists, but in fact there are no files in this list - only paths (fully-qualified directory names).  When you click on an entry in the Recent Paths File List, it opens up a directory display on that path.

Favorite Files and Named Favorites

The Favorite Files File List is the list that contains file names specifically designated by the user as being “favorite”.  Once a file gets on this list, it stays there until being removed by a Forget line command F.  Unlike the Recent Files File List, a favorite file list has no maximum size.

A file name gets on the Favorite Files File List from a FAV primary command in an edit session or by the “Add to favorites” File Manager line command A or ADD.

It is possible to edit a favorites file list to add or remove file names manually, or to create wildcard entries.

When the FAV primary command specifies a list-name, the edit file name is stored in a named favorites file list with a name of list-name.FLIST.  These user created FLISTs  can be displayed in File Manager by selecting the Lists entry from the Quick Launch bar.  You may then select any of these to see the contents thereof.  

You can create a Named Favorites File List from a directory display or from another File List display, by using the MAKELIST command.

The Found Files File List

When the Find in Files command FF is issued, the results of the file search are a list of files.  This list is always stored in a list called the Found Files File List.  If you select Found from the Quick Launch bar, the Found Files list will be displayed.  This display can itself be used as the basis of a further Find in Files search, the new search results are also stored in that same Found Files File List, replacing what was there before.

If it is desired to save the results of one search before doing another one, the Found Files File List can be renamed using the R line command.  When you do this, the newly-named File List will appear under Named Favorites.

The Open Files File List

The Open Files File List contains the name of every file currently opened in a file tab.  Why would this be important?  File tabs are quite useful when the number of files opened is relatively small, such as 9 files or fewer.  If you had, say, 50 or 100 files open, it is possible for the file tabs can be scrolled left and right, but it's not that easy to do.  The Open Files File List provides an alternative so that you can scroll up and down in an FM-like list using the Page Up and Page Down keys to find a file you are interested.  If you Select, or mouse-click on a file name, it will not open the same file again (since it's already opened) but will simply "jump" to the edit screen where that file is opened.

You may issue a small set of commands against these Open files to perform functions like CANCEL, CLONE, DELETE, DIR and END.    See Working with File Manager for more details.

See also the command SWAP - Switch to a Selected File Tab, which provides additional ways to jump to a desired file tab.

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.  See Working with the File Manager for more information.

File List Cleanup and Forgotten Files

You can use the Forget command on all types of File List requests, whether generic path requests or specific filename requests. These 'forget' requests are remembered by adding exception entries to the .FLIST file.  This has both a good and bad result.

The good result is that you may now do a RESET F command while viewing a File List with forgotten entries, and restore them to the view.

Similarly, you may use a RESET X command to 'undo' previous Exclude request to hide file names.

The bad result is that .FLIST files can slowly fill with 'clutter' entries.   They still work fine, they just have more entries in them than might otherwise be needed.

If you select Lists from the Quick Launch bar to display your .FLIST files you can request a Normalize function for a File List by entering a NORM or N next to it's name.   This action will:

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