File View Help

File View is a must-have utility for all Windows power users, programmers and most casual users. It lets you browse file contents as text, either ASCII (as in listings or .INI files), hexadecimal dump for binary files or raw text with no respect for line ends and other control characters to easily identify printable data in binary files. Many aspects of formatting and display are configurable to your liking and needs. Among other features are:

º     Stay on top of others for easy access

º     Drag and drop files for viewing

º     Installation as Windows Explorer context menu

º     Registration in Windows registry for easy file display and print

º     DDE support

To learn how to use Help, choose Using Help from the Help menu or press F1.

For the latest program updates and information visit us on the web at

This program is distributed as shareware - please read license information before you decide to keep and use this program.

Copyright © 1992-2015 Maze Computer Communications, Inc.

File View Menu Commands

This is the list of File View menu bar selections. Click on the menu name below to get detailed information.

File Menu Commands

Open... (Ctrl+O)

Open a new file for display.

This option displays the standard Windows Open File dialog box. The File Type option usually contains two choices. One for "Any File (*.*)" and one for the kind of file that was specified on the command line when File View was started, if it contained any wild characters. So if you started File View using command line:

FView c:\windows\*.ini

the default file type will be "Default (*.INI)" and the directory will be preset to "C:\Windows". If you later change directory while selecting the file to open, it will not be reset back to "C:\Windows".
This behavior makes it easy to create customized icons that display only the most often used type of file. For example in your development group you may want to create an icon for "FV*.LST" to automatically narrow down the selection list to only the listing files. See also Command Line Options.

Only one file is open at a time in File View and opening a file forgets any file that was open previously. All formatting options stay as they were before the file was opened.


Close the current file.

This option is useful if another program needs to update the currently viewed file and is getting sharing violations.

Print... (Ctrl+P)

Displays the print dialog box. The print is formatted according to the current display format selection and Page Setup Options. There is a choice of printing the entire file or selected range of pages. If some text is selected the Selected Text option on the print dialog box will be enabled and preselected.

Note: to print a number of pages starting at the current top of the FView window, choose Pages from: 0 to n, where n is the number of pages you want to print. For example to print three pages starting at the current top of the window choose Pages from: 0 to 3.

Page Setup...

Displays the page setup dialog box. See Page Setup Options for complete discussion of this topic.

Print Setup...

Displays the standard printer selection and setup dialog box. If a printer other than default is selected, it will be used for all prints until changed again or File View is closed. Printer choice is not saved and default printer is used whenever a specific selection is not made.

Print Page (Ctrl+Q)

Prints one page from the current file formatted using the current display format.

This option is very handy for a quick print of the currently viewed data for further reference. To customize the output use Format-Options option to choose display formatting, including font and line length if appropriate, and the select File-PrintPage.

Print Tags...

Acts exactly like the Print... option except that the resulting printout contains only tagged lines. This option temporarily disables tagged lines highlighting to avoid shading the entire output.

Ignore DDE

If this option is checked, File View will not respond to other programs requests to open a new file. Programs that will issue such requests include Windows Explorer context menu. See Interface from other Windows applicationsfor more details on this topic.


Exits File View.

1 <file name>

2 <file name>


The list of the most recently viewed files. This list changes every time you run FView. This list may be disabled. See FVIEW.INI and Command line options for more details.

Edit Menu Commands

Copy (Ctrl+C)

Copies the currently selected text to the Clipboard. There is a limit of about 500K bytes of text that can be copied to the clipboard from FView. Typically this is over 8000 lines. If the selection exceeds this limit, the remaining text is not copied and a warning beep is generated. See selecting text on how to select text.

Copy Tags (Ctrl+D)

Copies all tagged lines to the Clipboard. This command has the same size limitation as above. If the total size of all tagged lines exceeds the limit, the remaining text is not copied and a warning dialog is displayed. There is a limit of over 8000 tags that can be set at any time therefore FView can typically copy all tagged lines to the clipboard.

Select All

Selects the entire file.


Removes selection. Does not change any tags.

Find Text... (Ctrl+F)

Find Hex... (Ctrl+E)

Displays a Find dialog box. You specify the data you want to find, search options and choose Find or Mark All button to execute.

In hex search you can enter only digits 0-9,A-F,a-f and space. Space is only an editing character and is not a part of the search data.

Search starts at the line following the selected text. The line containing the found data is then highlighted and displayed on the screen. Pressing Find Next (F3) restarts the search process. If the data is not found between the selected text and the end of the file, File View beeps and does not change the current line. Pressing Find Next (F3) after the end of the file has been reached restarts the search from the top of the file.

The find operation selects only the found text even though the entire line is highlighted on the screen. Pressing F3 finds the next occurrence of the search text even if it is in the same line. In this case the same line stays highlighted. If there are many occurrences of the search text in the current line and you want to skip to the next line, click the highlighted line. This selects the entire line and search resumes at the following line. See How to's, usage notes for more tips on searching.

Choosing Mark All button directs File View to find all occurrences of the data and tag (menu selection bar colors) all lines containing the found data. You can then skip from tag to tag using Mark Next (F2) command. There is a limit of just above 8000 tags that can be set at any time.

Note: Search is performed in the file data not in the formatted output. If a line is truncated during formatting it may still be marked as found. See How to's, usage notes on how to display long lines. File offsets are not part of the file. Perform hex search to find hex data, text search will not find hex data in dump display.

Find Next (F3)

Repeats the last search text or hex command starting at the selected text. This option is disabled if no search has been defined yet.

Go To... (F5)

Jumps to the selected location in the file. First a dialog is displayed giving the choice of:

Top of the file
Bottom of the file
File byte position you type in the byte position as decimal or hex (0xhhh) number
File page number you type in the number of the page to jump to

then pressing Enter or clicking the OK button repositions the display as requested.


In text display GoTo file byte position will go to the beginnig of the line containing the specified byte. In hex display GoTo will go exactly to the byte specified.

Page number refers to pages as defined in the source file by FF (form feed) characters. FView reads the source file and interprets every line starting with FF to be the beginning of a new page. Page indexing is performed in the background. If you open a large file and immediately press F5 the number of pages displayed in the GoTo dialog may be smaller than the real number of pages in the source file. If you press Esc to cancel the dialog and press F5 again, the displayed number of pages may be higher. This will continue until FView scans the entire input file.

View Menu Commands

Text (Ctrl+T)

Hex (Ctrl+H)

Raw Text (Ctrl+R)

Selects one of the three main formats.

Text Format is mostly appropriate for actual text files. New lines are respected and you have the choice to change other options like expanding tabs, wrapping lines or translating ASCII/ANSI/EBCDIC characters.

Hex Format is a standard hexadecimal dump display. Usually you will want to have Wrap option turned on in this mode to format as much dump as will fill in the program window and still see both the hex and text part of the data. Most nonprintable characters will be displayed as dots appearing in the center of a character cell, but some will display as black blocks or empty squares depending on the current font. Generally only fixed pitch fonts (like Courier New) make sense for this type of display.

Raw Text Format is useful for generally non-displayable (binary) data that contains some text parts that you would like to look at. This is usually the case with program data files, executable modules and word processor documents. Data is displayed in text mode with no regard for new line and tab characters and translation of non-printable characters to dots.

You can also choose formatting mode from the Display Formatting dialog box, see Display Formatting for more information.

Wrap (Ctrl+W)

This is a quick shortcut to the Wrap option that also appears on the Display Option dialog box.

Zoom In (Ctrl+Shift+Z)

Zoom Out (Ctrl+ Z)

Reset Zoom (Ctrl+Alt+Z)

These options change the display zoom factor. The zoom factor affects the size of the display font, it does not change the print font size. Higher zoom factor results in a bigger font, smaller zoom factor makes smaller font. Repetitive selecting the Zoom In or Zoom Out option further increases or decreases the zoom factor.

Zoom In increases the zoom factor: makes the display font bigger.

Zoom Out decreases the zoom factor: makes the display font smaller.

Reset Zoom resets the zoom factor: makes the display font normal size.

Always on Top

This option allows you to display the File View window or icon on top of all other windows or icons on your desktop. This is very useful when you have Windows Explorer window maximized and drag files from Explorer to drop them on File View for display. See also How to's, usage notes.

Format Menu Commands


Displays a dialog box for complete set of formatting options. See Display Formatting for complete discussion of the topic.


Displays the font selection dialog box.


Displays the color selection dialog box. See Color Selection for complete discussion of the topic.

Fit Font Size

Calculates font size to fit the entire width of the text in the window. This is a one time operation not a persistent state. The font size will not be automatically recalculated when the window is resized. See also Page Setup Options for information on automatic font sizing for printed output.

Save Options...

Displays the save options dialog, which allows selecting which options should be saved then saves selected settings in the default option set. This set is automatically loaded when FView is started for the first time. This set is not loaded if the -V (uppercase) is entered in the command line. This set is loaded if the lowercase -v switch is used. See Command line options for more details. See Saving Default Configuration for details on the Save Options dialog..

Save Setup...

Saves all currently selected settings in a named option set. This set can be loaded manually using the Load Setup menu option or automatically by specifying the -v<setname> or -V<setname> option on the FView command line. Note that sets that contain spaces in names cannot be loaded from the command line. See Saving Named Setups for details on the Save Setup As dialog.

Load Setup...

Loads a named set of options previously saved using the Save Setup menu option.

Mark Menu Commands

Toggle (Ctrl+F2)

Toggles the tag for the selected text.


Sets tags on all selected lines. Only lines currently displayed on the screen will be tagged even if more lines are selected.


Resets the tagsmousetag on all selected linesmarkline, even those not currently displayed on the screen.

Unmark All (Ctrl+Shift+F2)

Removes all tagsmousetag and text selectionsmarkline.

Next (F2)

Looks for the next tagged line starting at the line following the selected textmarkline.

Freeze Title

Uses the selected text as the screen (and printed page, see Page Setup Options) title. Only lines currently displayed on the screen will be used as title. There can be no more than 15 title lines. Title is frozen in the current format. Changing display format does not change title. Title persists until explicitly cleared or FView is closed. In particular, opening another file does not clear title. See How to's, usage notes for more tips on titles.

Clear Title

Removes screen title.

Freeze Columns...

Displays the freeze columns dialog to allow you to specify how many columns should be frozen. See Freeze Columns for details on the Freeze Columns dialog.

Clear Columns

Unfreezes columns.

Help Menu Commands

Contents (F1)

Displays the list of topics in this file.


Displays the program version and copyright information.


How to's, usage notes

Browsing files in Windows Explorer

Using keyboard

Install File View as Windows Explorer extension. This adds the FView new menu item to the Explorer context menu. Select a file in the Explorer window, press Alt+F (menu drops down) then F (File View starts). Adjust position and size of File View window, change format, if desired. Press Esc to minimize File View. Select another file in Explorer. Press Alt-F, F, File View pops up with the new file open. Press Esc to minimize it again...

Using mouse

Start File View, adjust window and formatting as required. Check View-Always on Top option. Minimize File View if it obstructs the desktop, bring Windows Explorer to view. Drag a file from Explorer and drop on the File View window. If File View is minimized to an icon, hover the file over the icon until Windows restores FView window, then drop the file on the FView window. Do not drop files on icons in the task bar.

Associating File View with documents

Register in Windows Registry

Run Notepad and open file FVIEW.REG, which comes with this program. Change the LST option near the top of the file to the requested file extension, save. Right-click the REG file, select Merge from the context menu. This kind of registration uses DDE to communicate with File View. The same instance of File View will open all requested files unless File-Ignore DDE option is specifically turned off.

Keeping File View window in sight

To keep File View from disappearing when other applications become active check View-Always on Top option in File View. This will make sure that when you switch to another program File View window will not disappear. You may need to adjust the size of File View window if it obstructs other windows that you are using. File View icon will now also stay on top of other windows, so you may decide to minimize File View (Esc key).

Tagging lines with mouse

To mark a line for later reference position the mouse pointer over that line and double click the left mouse button. The line reverses colors after the first click then changes colors again after the second click. The second color is always identical to the color of a highlighted menu item in your Windows.

To find a marked line press F2. If File View displays the last line and beeps, press Home to go to the top of the file and press F2 again. Each F2 will locate the next marked line.

Changing selected text

The first line on the screen is the default current line for search and locate operations. If any text is selected, the current line is the first line following the selected text. To start search after a specific line, click that line once with the left mouse button. To clear any text selections, click the right mouse button.

Tagging all occurrences of a string

It is often useful to tag all occurrences of a string in the entire file. For example all error messages in a compiler listing file. To do this identify the string to find, select Find-Text option and type in the text. Choose other find options as desired. Press Mark All button. File View finds all occurrences of the text and tags all of them.

Note that the tag is actually assigned to the found text, not to the line. If you change formatting options, the tag will move with the first character of the tagged text.

Changing font for display and print

Choose Format-Font option. Select the desired font. It is generally better to choose fixed pitch font for data display. If you are using Hex format, non-fixed font will make your display unreadable. The best choice is usually Courier 10pt or Courier New 10pt or 9pt. Courier New 9pt is usually a good choice for Page Print. Fonts below 6 points are usually unreadable.

Changing line display format

To display a file that contains very long lines choose View-Wrap option. This will cause lines to wrap to the width of your window. Every time you change window size the text will wrap to the new width. If you want to wrap lines to a specific line length, choose Format-Options and check the Fixed Line Length box. Also adjust the Line Length to the desired value. This is very useful when you are browsing a file with fixed-length records and no carriage returns.

Normally File View does not format very long lines to preserve display buffer space. When you scroll right long lines are truncated at certain point and appropriate message displays. Use the above procedures (use very big number for Line Length) to force File View to format entire lines. Lines take only as much space as required, even with very big Line Length.

Displaying window background

By default the entire area of File View window is in the default window colors. In Control Panel terminology these are Window Text and Window Background colors. This means that a space character at the end of the line cannot be seen. To actually be able to tell if a line ends with blanks choose Format-Options option and check Display Background box. This will paint the entire background of File View window in the Application Workspace color. If the window color did not change, run Control Panel, choose Colors and change Application Workspace color to one different from Window Background color.

Ignoring DDE requests

DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) is a way for Windows applications to communicate. File View is listening for DDE requests to open and display a file if the File-Ignore DDE option is not checked. This option is initially checked or unchecked depending on the way File View was started.

FViewDLL, the File View shell (context menu) extension, uses DDE to tell File View to open another file. This means that the same instance of File View will open new files. If you need to keep a file open and want another instance of File View to open a new file, check the Ignore DDE option.

Saving format information

Select Format-Options menu option. Choose format from Text/Hex/Raw Text. Select formatting options for the chosen format. Note that there is a separate set of formatting options for each format, you may wish to adjust options for all formats before saving. Press Save, your selections are saved in FVIEW.INI. The next time you start File View options will be retrieved from FVIEW.INI. Note that command line switches override FVIEW.INI options.

Integrating File View into other applications

Start File View using WinExec, ShellExecute or other means. Usually it is a good idea to initially minimize it. Initiate DDE conversation on SYSTEM topic. Send commands required to perform your task using DDE Execute facility available in your application. Send [Exit] command to tell File View to stop running. See DDE Commands for information on supported DDE commands.

Start File View without opening a file

Add -D switch on the command line but enter no file name, select "Run Minimized" in shortcut properties, if required. This is useful if there is the need to start File View and freeze it for later use.

Selecting text with mouse

To select a line of text click it once with the left mouse button. To select a range of lines click the left mouse button then move mouse pointer up or down to extend the selection. Release mouse button when all desired lines are selected. To extend selection scroll to the other end of the desired range of lines, press and hold Shift key and click left mouse button. This technique work particularly well if you need to select a large area that does not fit on one screen. Just select the first or last line, scroll, press Shift and click the other end of selection.

Printing selected text

Select desired range of lines. From File menu choose Print, option Selection is enabled and preselected. Press Print.

Copy to Clipboard

Select desired range of lines. Press Ctrl+C.

Predefining titles for display and print

To be able to use a set of title lines over and over again, save them in a file. Then open the title file, set all or some lines as title and open your data file. Title is not cleared when you open a new file. To save titles permanently select Save Setup... from the Format menu. Next edit the FVIEW.INI file using Notepad, find section starting with [Setup: your-name], where your-name is the name you saved the setup as and just under the above line add a line that reads: TitlesOnly=1, then save the file. You can reload your titles at any time by selecting Load Setup... from the Format menu and choosing your-name. The TitlesOnly=1 option makes sure that only the title is loaded and other formatting options remain unchanged.


Printing report files

Check the Eject on form feed check box in the Page Setup dialog box, print. If report pages spill over to the next printed page (do not fit entirely on one page) verify the current paper size, font size and page margins. Select smaller font or smaller page margins to make sure that the longest of the report pages fits on a single printed page. Save settings to avoid going through the same procedure again later.

Displaying and printing formatting messages

When a line seems too long, FView truncates it. If you then scroll to the right to see the end of the line, you are in fact looking at the end of the truncated  line. The actual line in the file may be longer. To indicate this, FView displays a formatting message, color coded text: "[Truncated]". Also when the file ends without a line end, FView displays "[Incomplete Line]". If you know that this is the case with your file and you do not wish to see these messages, go to the Display Formatting dialog and uncheck the Show messages option.

To turn on or off the same feature for printed output, use the Print messages option on the Page Setup Options dialog.

Year 2000

File View is year 2000 compliant.

FView directly manipulates dates only during printed page header formatting. Dates are obtained from the runtime function time, which returns correct dates until 2036. Dates are formatted using the system format specified in the Regional or International settings in Control Panel. If there is no Control Panel setting, the default format is mm/dd/yyyy.

Display Formatting

There are three display formats:

Text Format                     for generally readable ASCII/ANSI text files

Hex Dump Format           for binary files

Raw Text Format             for binary files that contain some text information

You choose format from the Format list box. Each format has a set of format options associated with it:

Wrap Text                  controls wrapping text to the width of File View window. Check this option to see the entire contents of long lines and to force Hex Dump lines to fit into the window.

Show Background     controls display of the window background in different color to allow easy identification of trailing spaces and line lengths.

Expand Tabs             really effective only in Text Format - expand tabs to spaces.

Fixed Line Length     forces formatted line length to a fixed value independently of the dimensions of the FView Window. The length of the formatted line is defined by Line Length option. Normally File View uses line length of about three widths of the screen. This preserves display buffer space with files that do not have proper line ends (like *.EXE files). Note that this is the maximum length that will be formatted. A line takes only as much buffer space as is actually needed for it. Also when viewing data files with fixed record size setting Line Length to the record length and checking Fixed Line Length box gives you true record-by-record display. Use this option to adjust the line width if Print Page option does not print lines long enough.

Line Length                     is used in conjunction with Fixed Line Length format option, see above.

Tab Length                      is the length of tab skip and is used in conjunction with Expand Tabs format option.

Scroll Bars                      Vertical and Horizontal, display the scroll bar if checked, do not display when unchecked and dynamically decide when to display when grayed.

Note:    Avoid graying both scroll bar check boxes. It is possible that FView will enter infinite loop of displaying alternately vertical and horizontal scroll bars. This will happen if the text displayed will accommodate any one scroll bar but not both. Use Ctrl-Alt-Del to kill FView in such event. This behaviour will be changed in a future release.

Code selects the code translation. Windows uses ANSI code by default. Some Windows fonts implement different character sets. Select:

ANSI          to display file data as is, without translation

ASCII         to translate from ASCII (also known as PC or OEM character set) to ANSI

EBCDIC      to translate from EBCDIC (IBM mainframes) to ANSI

Windows (ANSI) and ASCII character sets differ in assignments to characters with codes 128 (hex 80) and higher. Translation may not make any difference when the file does not contain any of these characters. ASCII to ANSI translation converts line and box drawing characters to characters printable in the ANSI character set.

CC Char selects the carriage control character table. This option is only useful when viewing certain reports generated on mainframes. Those reports use the character in column one as a printer directive. The two most popular sets of codes: ASA and IBM are built into FView. It is also possible to define custom control characters, see Advanced topics. FView implements only page eject and multiple line space directives.

Save Window Pos when checked indicates that the current FView window position should be saved along with other options when the Save button is pressed.

Exit on ESCape when checked indicates that the ESC key should be treated in the same way as File/Exit option. This is useful when you call FView from another program and need to close the FView window before coming back to your host application. Also selectable with a command line switch /Y.

CUA Keyboard defines the behavior of the following key combinations:

Key combination CUA Keyboard Non-CUA keyboard
Home left margin top of file
Ctrl+Home top of file left margin
End right margin bottom of file
Ctrl+End bottom of file right margin

Show messages controls display of formatting messages [Truncated], [Incomplete Line] and other. See also Get rid of black blocks and [Line Truncated] messagesblackblocks for more details.


Page Setup Options

File is printed using the current Display Formatting. This dialog allows selection of some options specific to printing.

Heading controls information displayed in the page heading. The page heading occupies one line and is separated from the body of the page by another blank line. If none of the heading check boxes are checked, the heading is not printed and the body of the page begins on the first line of the page.

Include file name         prints the file name in the heading.

Include full path           precedes the file name with the full path for the file.

Include date & time      prints the current date and time.

Include page number   prints the word Page followed by the current page number.

Options includes general print processing choices.

Eject on form feeds      causes FView to recognize form feed characters (hex 0C or ASCII 12) and eject new page right where the form feed is found. This options is very useful for printing report files. See How To's for some tips.

Print page titles            causes FView to print text selected as page title at the top of every page, just under the blank line following the page heading or at the top of the page if heading is not selected.

Auto font size               automatically calculates font size to fit the entire width of the printed text on one page. The calculations are based on the longest line within the first buffer (about 32k) of data. The font size can be both decreased and increased. This option works very well when printing reports or other consistently laid out files, use with caution in other cases.

Print messages            controls printing of formatting messages [Truncated], [Incomplete Line] and other. Occasionally messages may show up as black blocks at the end of some or all lines. See also Get rid of black blocks and [Line Truncated] messagesblackblocks for more details.

Margins controls the offset from the edge of the printable area at which printing begins. Note that this does not account for the device specific non-printable area around the physical page. Margins are measured in inches or centimeters depending on the international settings in Windows.

Shading controls what lines are shaded in the printed output. Note that in special cases shading is suppressed: when printing only tagged lines, tags are not shaded; when printing only the current selection, selected lines are not shaded.

Tags / Titles                 indicates that title lines and tagged lines should be shaded as defined in the Shades dialog (see below).

Selection                      indicates that selected lines should be shaded.

The Shades button displays the Print Shade Selection dialog, where you can specify what shades of gray should be used on the printed output.

Color Selection

FView uses eleven colors for text display. The following list uses color names as displayed by the Color Selection dialog followed by short description followed by the default setting. The default color settings use Windows color names as displayed by Control Panel.

Color Name Color Usage Default Setting
Text line normal text Window Text
Text background normal background Window Background
Title line heading text Menu Text
Title background heading background Menu Bar
Tagged line tagged line text Highlighted Text
Tagged background tagged line background Highlight
Information text information messages (black)
Information background information background (bright green)
Error message fatal error message text (black)
Error background fatal error background (red)
Window background window background Application Workspace

‘Window background’ is the area below the bottom of the file and, if Display Background option is selected, to the right of the text line.

Normally FView uses system color setting to select its own colors. The Color Selection dialog is used to override default colors. Note that only colors not equal to default choices will be actually saved in FVIEW.INI. This way all colors not explicitly overriden will be reselected every time FView is started. Colors are determined once, when FView is started. FView does not dynamically change colors when system colors are changed using Control Panel. Close and restart FView or use the Select Colors dialog to change colors.

The Color Selection dialog displays a sample of FView colors on the left and the name of the currently selected color above the sample. As you click on the sample, the name of the color for the clicked type of text is displayed in the list at the top. Clicking at the same line type toggles the name in the list between the foreground and background color for the clicked line.

To change a color click on the sample to select the color to be changed or select the color name from the list then click on the Change button. The standard Windows Color dialog is displayed. Click OK or Cancel to accept or reject the color change. The sample windows is updated as soon as you leave the Color dialog.

To reset a color to the FView default, select the color and click the Reset button.

To reset all colors click the Reset All button.

Note: Windows requires that the text and the text background colors be ‘solid colors’. This means that after you select a color in the Color dialog and click OK, what you see in the sample may not be what you selected. Windows uses an internal algorithm to match the closes solid color to the color selected. The colors displayed in the Color Selection dialog are the actual colors that will be used by FView. The Background color may be any color: solid or dithered.

Saving Named Setups

A selection of FView  settings can be saved under a name and later retrieved when these settings are desired. Named setup can also be loaded when FView is started by specifying appropriate switches on the command line, see Command line options for more details. The Save Setup As dialog has the following items:

Setup Name                 the name to be used for the setup. Type in a new name or select an existing name from the list below.

Save What                    a series of checkboxes which allow you to choose which aspects of the current FView configuration should be saved in this setup.

                                    Format: all formatting options, the same as on the Format/Options dialog including font but not including colors.

                                    Titles: current display titles.

                                    Colors: the current screen colors and printer shades. Note that colors which are mapped to their default values are not saved but instead are recreated when the setup is loaded later. This means that colors which are tied to system colors will be different if the corresponding system color is changed before FView is started again. See Color Selection for complete discussion of the topic.

                                    Page Setup: the contents of the File/Page Setup dialog.

                                    Print Setup: the complete configuration of the current printer as displayed in the File/Print Setup dialog. This includes the printer name, paper orientation, number of copies, paper source etc..

When the setup is later reloaded, only options that have been saved are loaded back. Other options remain unchanged. So if you save a setup “HexScale” that includes only titles, loading it later will only change the title.

Saving Default Configuration

Every time FView starts the default configuration is loaded unless the -V (uppercase) option is used (see Command line options for more details.) The default configuration can contain one or more groups of options. If a group of options does not exist in the default configuration, the program default settings are used for that group. If there is no default configuration at all - all settings are set to program defaults.

The Save Options dialog contains a number of checkboxes to allow you to specify which groups of options should be saved. Note that these are 3-state checkboxes. If a checkbox is checked, the corresponding options are saved. If the box is unchecked, the corresponding options are reset to default (removed from the setup). The third state is the gray setting - neither checked, nor unchecked. As is customary in Windows, the third setting means do not change this.

For example to change the screen colors without affecting any other settings you should gray all checkboxes except the Colors box, which should be checked.

Another example: If attempts to print end in a dialog message that the printer settings are invalid, you may need to remove the printer settings from the setup. Printer settings are somewhat volatile and change as you install new printer drivers, update old ones etc. To remove the printer settings make sure that all checkboxes are grayed and then clear (uncheck) the Print Setup box. When you press Save (or Enter) the print setup will be removed from your default configuration.

The following checkboxes are available:

                                    Format: all formatting options, the same as on the Format/Options dialog including font but not including colors.

                                    Titles: current display titles.

                                    Colors: the current screen colors and printer shades. Note that colors which are mapped to their default values are not saved but instead are recreated when the setup is loaded later. This means that colors which are tied to system colors will be different if the corresponding system color is changed before FView is started again. See Color Selection for complete discussion of the topic.

                                    Page Setup: the contents of the File/Page Setup dialog.

                                    Print Setup: the complete configuration of the current printer as displayed in the File/Print Setup dialog. This includes the printer name, paper orientation, number of copies, paper source etc..


Freeze Columns

You can freeze any number of leftmost columns of your display to prevent them from being scrolled off the left edge of the window during a horizontal scroll. The frozen columns scroll vertically with the rest of your window. Selecting Mark/Freeze Columns... menu option displays the Freeze Columns dialog.

The first line currently displayed in the FView window is displayed in the dialog along with a decimal scale underneath. You can click the mouse in either text to select the number of columns to freeze. You can also type in the number of columns to freeze in the How many columns would you like to freeze field. Press OK and the screen will show a vertical line separating the frozen columns from the scrollable part.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The following key combinations are recognized by File View:


Up and Down up and down one line at a time
PgUp and PgDn up and down one screen at a time
Home top of the file
End bottom of the file
Left and Right left and right one character at a time
Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right left and right one-third of a screen at a time
Ctrl+Home left margin
Ctrl+End right margin

Note: If you set CuaKeyboard=1 in FVIEW.INI the following keys will conform to the CUA standard:

Home left margin
End right margin
Ctrl+Home top of the file
Ctrl+End bottom of the file


Ctrl+T text format
Ctrl+H hex dump format
Ctrl+R raw text format
Ctrl+W toggle wrap lines
Ctrl+O Options dialog box


Ctrl+F text find
Ctrl+E hex find
F3 repeat last search

Marks (tags)

Ctrl+F2 toggle current linemarkline tag
F2 find next tagmousetag
Ctrl+Shift+F2 clear all tags


Ctrl+O open file
Ctrl+P print dialog
Ctrl+Q quick print page


F1 help contents


Esc minimize File View window
Alt+F4 close File View window and exit
Ctrl+C copy selected text to Clipboard
Ctrl+z zoom out (make display text smaller)
Ctrl+Shift+Z zoom in (make display text bigger)
Ctrl+Alt+z reset zoom (make display text normal)

Mouse Operations

The following mouse operations are recognized by File View in addition to standard Windows operations on menus, scroll bars and dialogs:


Single Click (left) selects the line pointed to by the mouse pointer
Click and Drag (left)selects multiple lines
Shift + Click (left) extends the current selection
Double Click (left) tags the line pointed to by the mouse pointer
Single Click (right) clears the selection (but not tags)

When selecting multiple lines the display will be automatically scrolled if the mouse pointer reaches the top or the bottom of the window. There are two scroll speeds. Slow scroll is activated when the mouse pointer stays inside the window within about one line of text from the edge. Fast scroll is activated when the mouse pointer reaches the edge of the window or moves beyond the top or the bottom of the window. The speed of the fast and the slow automatic scroll can be modified. See FVIEW.INI for more details.

Advanced Topics

This section describes more complicated aspects of using FView. It is intended for power users, network administrators and all others who want or need to go one step further in understanding FView behaviour and abilities.

Command Line Options

File View command line has the following form:

   FVIEW [file spec] [switches]

The order does not matter, switches can be before and after the file name. Each element (switch or file spec) must be separated from the rest by at least one blank.

The file spec can be a unique file name optionally with path - the file gets opened immediately, or a wildcard file specification. In the latter case the Open dialog box is displayed with files matching the file spec preselected. Also the wildcard file specification is added to the File Type list box in the open dialog and made the default specification every time you select File-Open option. This is useful when you work with certain type of files and need to change open file. For example to create a shortcut that will always default file open dialog to *ini files in C:\Windows directory:

   FView /T /X C:\Windows\*.ini

There are two kinds of switches: selection switches and on-off switches. Selection switches are not case sensitive and their presence turns the option on. On-off switches are case sensitive: uppercase letter turns the option on and lowercase letter turns the option off. These are mostly used to override format options.

Selection switches:

/X            maximize File View window; default: normal size window

/N            minimize  File View window; default: normal size window; note that for the FView window to stay minimized you must also use /D switch and use no file name on the command line

/M           make FView window topmost (always displayed above other, normal, windows)

/D            DDE server mode; default: ignore DDE requests

/T            start in Text Format

/H            start in Hex Dump format

/R            start in Raw Text format

/A            source is ANSI

/C            source is EBCDIC

/Y            exit FView when ESC key is pressed; default: minimize FView window

Two-state selection switches:

/Vname    load setup saved as name, see "Saving Named Setups" for information on saving named setups. This switch (upper case) prevents loading of the default setup prior to loading the named setup. Any options not set in the named setup will be set to program defaults.

/vname    This switch (lower case) requests that the default setup be loaded prior to loading the named setup. This way the named setup overlays the normal setup and program defaults are not used for options included in the default setup. Options that are not saved in either setup are set to program defaults.


On-off switches, default is the current contents of FVIEW.INI:

/w            wrap lines

/b            show background

/e            expand tabs

/l             fixed line length

/s            save MRU files and MRU search strings; this switch also disables the most recently used files list at the bottom of the File menu

Note that format switches override format options for the format in which File View starts, other formats are not affected. Also if you do not save options, FVIEW.INI settings are not modified. See also Display Formatting.

Controlling from Other Windows Applications

File View uses DDE to accept requests from other Windows applications. Most often the originator of DDE requests will be:

FViewDLL Windows Shell Extension: if File View is installed as shell extension (Windows Explorer context menu), selecting FView menu sends DDE requests to File View.

Windows Explorer: if you associate File View with selected file types, Windows Explorer changes file icon from "general file" icon to "document" icon. Double clicking such file starts FView to open the file. Selecting Print from the context menu prints the file using FView.

You can also request from File View that a file be opened or printed. Here is the protocol (this is the default protocol used by Windows for registered applications):

1.   Try to open DDE session with server "File Viewer" on topic "System".

2.   If the session was open skip this item, otherwise start File View using the following command line:

FVIEW.EXE /D [other options]

Note that there is no file name in the command line. You could include file name in the command line and that would be the end of the conversation. The /D switch tells File View to listen to DDE requests.

3.   Try to open DDE session with server "File Viewer" on topic "System". If it did not work - you have a problem.

4.   Send the following DDE request to the open DDE channel:

[Open "file name"][Print][Exit]

[Open "file name"]            open file "file name"

[Print]                print the currently open file

[Exit]                 exit this instance of File View

4.   Close the DDE channel.

See DDE Commands for more information on supported DDE commands.

Supported DDE Commands

The following commands are recognized by File View when sent using DDE Execute interface. Any number of commands may be specified in a single Execute request. File View is not case sensitive – commands may be in any case.

[Open "file name"]         Opens file file name and formats display in the current format.

[Close]                         Closes the current file without exiting the program.

[Print option]                Prints the current file. Options:
no option          prints the entire file.
Tags                 as in File-Print Tags... menu, print only tagged lines
Page                as in File-Print Page menu, print only one page

[Exit]                            Closes File View window and ends processing.

[DDE]                           Toggles "Ignore DDE" switch. The effect is always to turn it off - it must have been on to receive this message. Using this switch detaches this copy of File View from the controlling application. Useful when there is the need to open several instances of File View.

[Display format]            Selects current format type. Format can be:
Text                  as in View-Text menu
Hex                  as in View-Hex menu
Raw                  as in View-Raw Text menu
Wrap                as in View-Wrap
ZoomIn            as in View-Zoom In
ZoomOut          as in View-Zoom Out
ZoomReset       as in View-Reset Zoom

[Window option]            Changes program window setting:
Minimize          minimizes File View window to icon
Maximize         maximizes File View window
Restore            restores File View window to normal size
OnTop              toggles "Display On Top" switch

[Find “string” options]     Find string in the current file:
Top                  start search from top (dft: start at the current pos)
All                    find and mark all occurrences (dft: find next)
Text/Hex           select text or hex search (dft: text)
Case                 case dependent (dft: case independent)

[Setup "setup name"]    Load the named setup setup name.

Windows File Type Registration

Filew View setup creates the pre-defined file types in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT:

FView.ListFile Standard text display and print.
FView.BinaryFile Hexadecimal dump display and print.
FView.RawTextFile Text display and print with all non-printable and control characters (including newlines) displayed as dots. Useful for binary files that also contain embedded text.

You can associate any file extension with one of these types. The Windows Explorer context menu will then contain Open and Print commands which, when selected, start FView to display or print the file.

You can define your own file types by cloning these entries and changing the corresponding command line options and DDE command sequence to suit your needs.


User settings are saved in the registry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Maze\FView. Additionally FView tries to find and use a "master profile" - a set of common settings for multiple users. The "master profile" is saved as "FView.ini" file in standard Windows "ini" file format. FView will use the first found FView.ini which has "[FView Setup] \ Master Profile=1" setting, see below.

FVIEW.INI file search order:

1.   Directory from which FVIEW.EXE was started. If the file is found, get the value MasterProfile from paragraph [FView Setup]. If the value is 1, use this FVIEW.INI. Otherwise keep searching using the standard Windows search order.

2.   The current directory.

3.   The Windows directory.

4.   The Windows system directory.

5.   The directory containing the currently running FVIEW.EXE.

6.   The directories listed in the PATH environment variable.

7.   The list of directories mapped in the network.

Notes for network administrators:

The above search sequence is the standard way Windows looks for files except for the first step. The first check is done to allow a network administrator to define a rigorous network setup in which users are always presented with the same interface each time they are put into FView.

If the rigorous setup is not desirable, do not include MasterProfile=1 in the profile stored on the network. This way any profile found in a directory earlier in the search order will override the main network profile. You do not need to have a network profile. In fact the user does not need any FVIEW.INI file to run FView.

The Windows Explorer extension follows the same search path. There is a catch, though. It starts from the FVIEWDLL.DLL directory. Therefore, if FVIEW.EXE is not in the same directory as FVIEWDLL.DLL different INI files might be used by FVIEW.EXE and FVIEWDLL.DLL. Also the current directory for FVIEWDLL.DLL will be different than that of FVIEW.EXE and again different FVIEW.INI files may be used.

The contents of the FVIEW.INI file:

The [FView Setup] section is intended for the master profile. All other options below are discussed as INI file entries, but the discussion applies to registry settings as well (except for the master profile).


This section must be added manually, if required.

[FView Setup]

MasterProfile=0              See above

DiagMode=1                   Displays additional information on dialogs

ShowMessages=0               Suppress messages displayed in text ([Truncated...] etc.)

PrintMessages=0              Suppress messages in print ([Truncated...] etc.)

CuaKeyboard=1                Force CUA keyboard behaviour:

                             Home = <max left>, Ctrl+Home = <top of file>

                             End = <max right>, Ctrl+End = <bottom of file>

MruFiles=0                   Disable display and save of most recently used files

MruSearch=0                  Disable save of the most recently used search strings

FastMouseDelay=2             Delay (ms) between automatic mouse scrolls

FastMouseLines=10            Number of lines scrolled on each auto mouse scroll

SlowMouseDelay=10            Delay (ms) between slow auto mouse scrolls

SlowMouseLines=1             Number of lines scrolled on each slow mouse scroll

The following two options can be tuned to speed up page indexing on fast computers or make the PC more responsive on slower computers

PageIndexingDelay=200               Delay in milliseconds before retrieving the next buffer for page indexing.

PageIndexingBuffer=8192           Size of the page indexing buffer.


The following three options can be used together (along with Format/Show Background option) to imitate “Page View” display.

PadLineLength=0                           Pad all lines to at least this many characters.

PadPageLength=0                           Pad page length to at least this many lines.

ShowPageGap=0                               Display an empty line between pages

The following entries are used to remove menus or menu items from FView.

DeleteMenu1=OPTRGADX    or *

DeleteMenu2=CSUFHNG     or *

DeleteMenu3=OIRYTHW     or *

DeleteMenu4=OFLAVD      or *

DeleteMenu5=TSRUNFCEA   or *

DeleteMenu6=CKHA        or *

The number following the "DeleteMenu" is the sequential number of the menu. The "File" menu is 1, "Edit" is 2 and so on. The letters in the value of the entry correspond to the underlined letters in the menu items you want to delete. Entering an asterisk (*) deletes the entire menu. This way to delete the "Page Setup" "Print Setup" and "Ignore DDE" items from the file menu and the entire "Format" and "Mark" menus add the following to your FVIEW.INI:

[FView Setup]




These values are saved by the program, do not change them manually, too many bit flags. Also they may change in a future release.

[File Viewer]








Font=Courier New,10












[Page Setup]



These values make the printer setup. Do not edit manually, too easy to make the configuration invalid.

[Print Setup]


















Default titles. Saved by the program, but can be changed manually, if needed.


Titles=<number of title lines saved>

Title<n>=<the title line>

Custom carriage control definitions. Must be set manually, if needed.


<name> = <code>=<skip> [...]

<name> = <code>=<skip> [...]

This section consists of one or more custom carriage control table definitions. Each entry contains the table name on the left of the equal sign (the <name> above) and one or more control code definitions separated by spaces on the right. Each code definition is a pair: x=y. 'x' and 'y' are numbers either decimal, octal (starting with a zero) or hex (starting with '0x'). 'x' is the character number and 'y' is the number of lines to skip. If 'y' is -1, this is a page break. All characters are initially assumed to skip one line - only characters that skip a different number of lines need to be specified. There must be no spaces around the '=' sign. The program will actually accept spaces on the right, but this is an implementation artifact. The number of lines to skip must be between 0 and 254. For example ASA carriage controls might be defined as:


Sample ASA = 0x30=2 49=-1

0x30 is the code for digit '0', it will skip two lines and 49 is the code for digit '1', it will eject a page. Note that the ASA and IBM tables are built into FView and do not need to be defined.

These values are saved by the program.They may be changed manually although this is not generally necessary.

[FView Colors]

Color values used here are names of the corresponding colors as displayed in the FView Color Selection dialog. In an actual FVIEW.INI file they will be numbers.

WindowText=<Text line>

WindowBgnd=<Text background>

HeadingText=<Title line>

HeadingBgnd=<Title background>

TagText=<Tagged line>

TagBgnd=<Tagged background>

CommentText=<Information text>

CommentBgnd=<Information background>

MessageText=<Error message>

MessageBgnd=<Error background>

Background=<Window background>

These values are Windows 24-bit color designations for the shades of gray selected on the Print Shade Selection dialog. There is no provision for entering colors other than gray. If you have a color printer, you may experiment with colors by manually entering color numbers here. We do not support color printing, you are on your own. A good source of color numbers is the part above: just use screen colors dialog to pick colors then copy the numbers down here.

PrintText=<Normal text>

PrintTextB=<Normal background>

PrintTag=<Tagged line text>

PrintTagB=<Tagged line background>

PrintHead=<Heading text>

PrintHeadB=<Heading background>

PrintCmnt=<Comment text>

PrintCmntB=<Comment background>

[MRU Files]

Files=<number of file names saved>

File1=<file name, optionally with full path>



[MRU Search]

Texts=<number of text strings>

Text1=<saved text search string>


Hexs=<number of hex search strings>

Hex1=<saved hex search string>



These values are saved by the Format: Save Setup... option and retrieved by Format: Load Steup... and the /Vname command line option. Generally it is not necessary to modify these sections manually.

Just a list of setup names - must be consecutively numbered starting from 1.

[Setup List]




All setup names listed above correspond to whole setup sections as listed below. The section name is constructed as a concatenation of the string Setup: and the name listed above. The following are examples of a setup paragraphs for options Setup1 and Setup3 above.

[Setup: MyFavourite]

any options normally found in the default setup sections

SaveOptions=<bit flags for options saved in this setup>


[Setup: Titles:HexScale]



Title1="   0   0   0   1   1   1   1   2   2   2   2   3"



Any named setup section can contain any options normally found in the default setup sections:

[File Viewer]

[FView Colors]

[Page Setup]

[Print Setup]


The additional entry, SaveOptions contains a series of bit flags indicating which groups of setup options have been saved here. FView uses these bit flags to decide if a group of options should be left alone or retrieved from the named setup.

License and Registration Information

This section contains important license and registration information. Please read it carefully before using the program.

Disclaimer - Agreement

Users of File View must accept this disclaimer of warranty:

"File View is supplied as is. The author disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of merchantability and of fitness for any purpose. The author assumes no liability for damages, direct or consequential, which may result from the use of File View."

File View is a "shareware program" and is provided at no charge to the user for evaluation. Feel free to share it with your friends, but please do not give it away altered or as part of another system. The essence of "user-supported" software is to provide personal computer users with quality software without high prices, and yet to provide incentive for programmers to continue to develop new products. If you find this program useful and find that you are using File View and continue to use File View after a reasonable trial period, you must make a registration payment to Maze Computer Communications. The registration fee will license one copy for use on any one computer at any one time. You must treat this software just like a book. An example is that this software may be used by any number of people and may be freely moved from one computer location to another, so long as there is no possibility of it being used at one location while it's being used at another. Just as a book cannot be read by two different persons at the same time.

Commercial users of File View must register and pay for their copies of File View within 30 days of first use or their license is withdrawn. Site-License arrangements may be made by contacting Maze Computer Communications.

Anyone distributing File View for any kind of remuneration must first contact Maze Computer Communications at the address below for authorization. This authorization will be automatically granted to distributors recognized by the (ASP) as adhering to its guidelines for shareware distributors, and such distributors may begin offering File View immediately (However Maze Computer Communications must still be advised so that the distributor can be kept up-to-date with the latest version of File View.).

You are encouraged to pass a copy of File View along to your friends for evaluation. Please encourage them to register their copy if they find that they can use it.

This program does not have any printed documentation – all information on use and capabilities is included in the online help.

All registered users receive free technical support for 101 days from the date of registration. Also all registered users receive a free upgrade to the next version of this program when that version becomes available.

To register your copy, report bugs, receive help and bug fixes please visit us at

Definition Of Shareware

Shareware distribution gives users a chance to try software before buying it. If you try a Shareware program and continue using it, you are expected to register. Individual programs differ on details -- some request registration while others require it, some specify a maximum trial period. With registration, you get anything from the simple right to continue using the software to an updated program with printed manual.

Copyright laws apply to both Shareware and commercial software, and the copyright holder retains all rights, with a few specific exceptions as stated below. Shareware authors are accomplished programmers, just like commercial authors, and the programs are of comparable quality. (In both cases, there are good programs and bad ones!) The main difference is in the method of distribution. The author specifically grants the right to copy and distribute the software, either to all and sundry or to a specific group. For example, some authors require written permission before a commercial disk vendor may copy their Shareware.

Shareware is a distribution method, not a type of software. You should find software that suits your needs and pocketbook, whether it's commercial or Shareware. The Shareware system makes fitting your needs easier, because you can try before you buy. And because the overhead is low, prices are low also. Shareware has the ultimate money-back guarantee – if you don't use the product, you don't pay for it.