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Editing Preferences in Helix 7.0
This technote is for Helix 7.0. Editing preferences in Helix 6.1–6.2.4 is discussed on a separate page.
Introduction

Some aspects of how Helix applications work can be changed by setting preference values. During the transition to macOS, many customization settings in Helix were converted from difficult-to-edit resources into simple preferences. Some previously-unalterable behaviors have also been converted into preferences to provide additional customization to the Helix environment.

Unfortunately, Helix applications have no ‘Preferences’ window (as all good programs should) and so preferences must be set via an external editor.

Since the introduction of editable preferences in Helix 6.2, we have provided various tools to make the task easier. The most popular of these is a simple AppleScript applet, known as the Helix Preference Editor. Of course, it is our intention to build a preference editor directly into Helix, but Helix Preference Editor has served its purpose well enough that postponing the creation of an internal preference editor is an acceptable compromise, allowing us to focus our development efforts in more critical areas.

Helix Preference Editor 7.0

If you’ve used an earlier version of the Helix Preference Editor, the most significant changes in version 7.0 are that preferences are now arranged according to category, and those that don’t apply to a specific application are not shown when setting preferences for that application.

In Helix Preference Editor 7.0, the initial dialog asks which application to edit, a second lists the general categories shown below, and the third shows the individual preferences in that category. Choosing one displays one last dialog, where the value can be changed.

The list of general categories also contains additional options:

  • Show Non-Default Preferences displays every stored preference value in a list that can be selected (Shift- or Command-click to select multiple lines) and copied to the clipboard.
  • Reset Hidden Warnings displays a list of settings corresponding to dialogs that contain the “Don’t show this dialog again” option. These dialogs can be re-enabled here.

Helix Preference Editor 7.0 contains basic input validation to make sure logical values are entered. If a preference is not acting as expected, clicking the Default button restores Helix’s default behavior.

After a preference is set, the list of preferences is re-displayed. Choose another, or click Cancel to return to the general categories panel. Each Cancel button returns to the prior dialog, back to the application list. Clicking Cancel in this dialog quits.

Click here to download Helix Preference Editor 7.0.

Preference Chart

The following chart documents every preference setting available in Helix 7.0. Obsolete preferences are removed, and those whose behavior has changed since 6.2 are documented as they function in Helix 7.0. (The technote for Helix 6.x is linked above.)

Preference Datatype Default Legal Values First Version Available For Apps Description
Color
HxAbacusBackgroundLevel -integer 60 0–100 6.2 RADE The percentage of lightening applied to the abacus datatype color. The background is rendered in a lighter tint based on the value stored here. 0 would be the same color as the final arrow; 100 would be diluted to the point of being white.
HxBusyOverlayColorOne -array EEEE EEEE EEEE 6666 4-4 digit hex value strings. Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 6.2 RADE, Client, Engine The busy overlay is a checkerboard pattern that indicates fields that are waiting on data to be displayed. The two colors can be adjusted, including the opacity. (Setting the fourth value to 0000 renders the overlay completely transparent and therefore invisible.)
HxBusyOverlayColorTwo -array 8888 8888 8888 6666 4-4 digit hex value strings. Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 6.2 RADE, Client, Engine The busy overlay is a checkerboard pattern that indicates fields that are waiting on data to be displayed. The two colors can be adjusted, including the opacity. (Setting the fourth value to 0000 renders the overlay completely transparent and therefore invisible.)
HxDefaultBackgroundColor -string 00338855 color name*, 8 digit hex value string 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The color to shade a defaulted field.
HxDimHiliteColor -array 7777, 7777, 7777, CCCC 4-4 digit hex value strings. Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The highlight shade on a list that indicates an entry view is about to be opened. May also use color name* or 8 character hex string.
HxInvalidBackgroundColor -string 004444DD color name*, 8 digit hex value strings 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The color to shade an invalid field.
HxOffPageAreaColor -string 00C8C8C8 color name*, 8 digit hex value strings 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The color of the area in a window outside the printable page.
HxPageBoundaryColor -array 0000, 0000, 0000, FFFF 4-4 digit hex value strings 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The color of the line around the printable page(s).
HxPageNumberCode -string P# Any characters 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The text string for which the actual page number is substituted.
HxPrintBorderColor -string FFFFFFFF color name*, 8 digit hex value strings 6.1.3 RADE, Client, Engine The fill color for the space between the page rectangle and the paper rectangle. Default is opaque white (for Classic compatibility). The string is 4 - 2 digit hex values in the range of 00–FF (0-255) concatenated together in this order: alpha, blue, green, red.
HxStrongHiliteColor -array 0000, 0000, AAAA, 8888 4-4 digit hex value strings 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The highlight shade on a list that indicates a query has been formed. May also use color name* or 8 character hex string.
Connection
HxAutoConnectPassword -string None any text 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine A password to use in conjunction with the HxAutoConnectUsername to for transparent authentication.
HxAutoConnectToURI -string None hostname or IP Address 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine The address of a Helix Server to which Helix Client will attempt a transparent connection when the application is launched.
HxAutoConnectUsername -string None name of a user 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine Default value for the User Authentication dialog, or transparent authentication when a collection is opened (or connected to for Helix Client).
HxAutoOpenURI -string None valid URI 6.1 RADE, Client, Server, Engine The path to a file (collection or structure) to automatically open when the Helix application is launched. Note: Prefix path with file:///
Design Mode
HxAppFRTL2Val -integer 5 5–9 7.0 RADE The record block size for a new collection. The record block size determines the maximum size to which the collection file may grow. The formula is (2^HxAppFRTL2Val)/8 (GB)
HxGraphPaperColor -array 0000 0000 8888 3333 4-4 digit hex value strings. Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 6.2 RADE The color (and opacity) of the graph paper visible in the template editor.
HxGridFontFace -string Lucida Grande fontname 6.2 RADE Font Face to use in Relation/Collection windows. Replaces HFAC/2 resource.
HxGridFontSize -integer 10 1-255 6.2 RADE Font Size to use in Relation/Collection windows. Replaces HFAC/2 resource.
HxIconDuplicateAppend -boolean true true/false 6.2 RADE Control whether duplicated icon text is added to the beginning or end of the original icon name.
HxIconDuplicateOffset -integer 20 0–255 6.2 RADE The number of pixels to offset a duplicated icon.
HxIconDuplicateText -string copy 0–255 characters 6.2 RADE Text added to the name of an icon being duplicated. (Note: an empty string results in no text added to the duplicate icon name.)
HxInspectorConstrained -boolean true true–false 6.2 RADE Keep the Inspector and Palette windows on the main display, not too tall, and not too high. Users with multiple monitors may want to turn this off to avoid these constraints.
HxPasteTreeMaxOnOpen -integer 500 0–65535 6.2 RADE Maximum number of icons to display when the Apply Structure dialog opens. See this technote for more information.
HxPreviewPlaceholderText -string Lorem ipsum… Any characters 7.0 RADE

On a template in preview mode, data rectangles show proxy text starting with ‘Lorem ipsum…’ (updating the old ‘The Quick Brown Fox…’) The proxy text can be changed this via this preference setting. Note that all data types — dates, flags, pictures, etc. — currently show the proxy for text/styled text data. Various datatypes will be addressed in a future update.

HxRectTypeRectSelectColor -array xxxx xxxx xxxx FFFF 4-4 digit hex value strings. Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 6.2 RADE The color of the handles displayed when a rectangle is selected. For the word Type in the preference example, substitute {Entry, Label, Group, Repeat, Command, Subform} as desired. Note: setting the fourth value (opacity) to 0000 renders the handles completely transparent and therefore invisible.
Dialogs
HxAbortDialogDelay -integer 35 (msec) 0-65535 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine How long before the progress dialog appears for general activity.
Note: Setting this preference to any number less than 1 suppresses these dialogs altogether.
HxAbortDialogInterval -integer 5 5–10 6.2.1 RADE, Client, Engine

Number of ticks (60th of a second) between each yield to the main thread.

There are two time-delays of interest here: The main thread is running a timer process that actually refreshes the dialog, and it runs no more often than the preference HxAbortDialogDelay (in milliseconds). The hxAbortDialogInterval preference controls the other time interval: the minimum time before any given thread will yield to the main thread to do the updating. The default is 5 (ticks, or 60ths of a second).

HxAbortTestInterval -integer 20 (msec) 0-65535 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine Time between checks of user canceled.
HxClientInfoRefresh -integer 5 (seconds) 0-65535 6.1 Client, Server How often to refresh the Client Info window. Setting it to 0 disables refreshing.
HxFastAbortDialogDelay -integer 1 (msec) 0-65535 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine How long before the progress dialog appears for actions that require feedback regardless of how quickly it happens.
Actions included: Post, Import, Export, Delete, Copy Records, Paste Records.
Note: Setting this preference to any number less than 1 suppresses these dialogs altogether.
HxLogRecoveryAlert -boolean true true/false 6.1 RADE, Server, Engine Display Dialogs on Recovery
HxServerInfoRefresh -integer 15 (seconds) 0-65535 6.1 Client, Server How often to refresh the Server Info window. Setting it to 0 disables refreshing.
HxSequenceStepDialog -integer 2 -1 – 255 6.1.6 RADE, Client, Engine Sequence step count threshold before showing the sequence progress dialog. Changing this preference as follows causes the following behavior:
  • n: Show only if the sequence has n or more steps. Most useful for prevent the dialog from showing when a sequence is comprised of a single step. (This is the default state.)
  • 0: Shows as indeterminate instead of steps. The user has no indication as to how long the overall sequence will take.
  • -1: Never show. Suppresses the dialog altogether. However, the generic "processing" dialog may appear after a short interval. (See: HxFastAbortDialogDelay)
 

The ability to suppress the dialog is available by setting this preference to -1, but this is not encouraged: without a dialog to block user interaction, a sequence can be disrupted by user actions such as closing a view, clicking another view to the foreground, or selecting a menu item. Also, the sequence progress dialog provides a "Cancel" button, so disabling the dialog removes the ability to terminate a sequence before its natural end. This preference setting should not be used unless you completely trust your users to not disrupt a running sequence.

HxSequenceShowNames -boolean true true/false 6.1.6 RADE, Client, Engine Show name of sequence in sequence progress dialog.
HxSequenceShowSteps -boolean false true/false 6.1.6 RADE, Client, Engine Show currently executing sequence step in sequence progress dialog.
Interface
HxAlwaysShowCentury -boolean true true/false 7.0.2 RADE, Client, Engine Helix has always used the itl0 resource’s ‘Show Century’ property to enable the century for all dates. With the itl0 resources having been deprecated by macOS, this preference bridges the gap until Helix adopts a new model for setting international preferences. When this preference is true (the default) all dates are displayed with the full 4-digit year. Those who do not want the new behavior can set this preference to false.
HxAutoHideFontPanel -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Client, Engine Automatically hide the Font panel when it is not applicable and show it when it is. Warning: Showing and hiding the Font Panel causes a memory leak in some versions of macOS, so enable this with caution.
HxBeepOnCompletion -boolean false true/false 7.0 Utility Sound a beep when a verify, repair, or compression operation is complete.
HxEnableImageAntialiasing -boolean true true/false 6.2.1 RADE, Client, Engine Helix uses Apple’s Core Graphics image drawing algorithms, which apply anti-aliasing to images by default. This preference setting disables anti-aliasing in rectangles on a machine by machine basis.
HxDisableNewConnections -boolean false true/false 7.0 Client Allows admins to disable the ability of Helix Client to create new connections, forcing users to use a previously saved connection document.
Because this is a preference, it disables only the machine containing the preferences, but it is retained when a new version is released.
The Classic method (existence of any HVIS resource) is also supported, enabling distribution of a Connect-disabled Client.
HxListClickAddToSelection -boolean true true/false 7.0.2 RADE, Client, Engine Historically, Helix has followed the Finder model for selecting multiple records in a list: Shift-click to select a range of records, Command-click to select discontiguous records. While that is still supported, Helix now supports selecting multiple discontiguous records without the need to hold the Command key. This makes it much easier to choose random records from a list. Those who do not want the new behavior can set this preference to false. (This is a planned template-level property in a future release.)
HxListPageCacheSize -integer 1 0-1024 6.2 RADE, Client, Engine Number of pages to cache on a list view. Warning: as the cache size goes up, performance goes down.
HxShortYearRollover -integer 1920 1000–9900 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine First year in the range a two-digit entry should be interpreted as. Note that changing this setting on a Server applies to all connected Clients. See this technote.
HxShowConnectionWindow -boolean true true/false 7.0 Client Open the Connection Window when Helix Client is launched or activated with no open connection. See the New Client Connection Window technote for details.
HxShowToolbarForColdForm -boolean true true/false 6.2.1 RADE, Client, Engine The toolbar always opens when a cold form is opened, in order to display the Refresh button. Users who dislike this behavior can set this preference to false to prevent it from opening automatically.
HxSplashScreenDuration -integer 120 0–3600 6.2 RADE, Client, Engine The number of milliseconds the splash screen is displayed on screen.
HxTimeStampAdvance -boolean false true/false 6.1 RADE, Client, Engine Tab to the next field after a Time Stamp command.
HxUseFontReduction -boolean true true/false 6.1.10 RADE, Client, Engine Disables the font reduction algorithm, allowing data rectangles to crop the lower portion of the text if the rectangle is not tall enough for macOS to display the entire character height.
Runtime
HxAppleEventMaxAdd -integer 10 1–65535 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine The number of records that can be added in a single Apple event.
HxAppleEventMaxGet -integer 10 1–65535 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine The number of records that can be retrieved in a single Apple event.
HxAppleEventMaxDel -integer 10 1–65535 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine The number of records that can be deleted in a single Apple event.
HxAutosaveOverrideInterval -integer 0 0–65535 6.2.1 RADE, Server, Engine Number of seconds between each Autosave, regardless of the collection’s settings.
Typically, the autosave interval is controlled by a setting within each collection, but there are cases — e.g. a Helix Server — where it is desirable to enforce an autosave interval regardless of the collection setting. Setting this preference to a value greater than 0 forces an autosave to occur on that interval (in seconds) regardless of the collection’s settings. The default value is 0, which means that no override is done. (The autosave interval is taken from the collection.)
HxQuitDelaySeconds -integer 300 0–65535 6.2.1 RADE, Server, Engine Number of seconds to delay before abandoning Clients and closing open AE processes after Close Collection or Quit.
Server Settings
HxNetworkTimeoutSeconds -integer 120 10–65535 6.2.1 Server The number of seconds to wait on a non-responsive network connection before abandoning the Client.
HxSecureCertificateName -string -none- valid hostname 7.0 Server The hostname of the certificate to be used for secure communications. See this technote for details.
HxServerTimeoutSeconds -integer 180 10–65535 6.2.1 Server The number of seconds to wait on a non-responsive Client before disconnecting it.
HxTCPUsePort -integer 10860 1024-65535 6.2 Server Specify Client/Server port assignment. Takes precedence over the old PORT resource, which can still be used to handle multiple Servers on one Mac.
Structure Check
HxCheckStructureOnOpen -boolean true true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Run Integrated Structure Checker when collection is opened. Turning this off for collections that crash when opening may allow some recovery options not otherwise available.
HxCheckStructureOnSave -boolean true true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Run Integrated Structure Checker before each save. Note: structure is checked, but minor errors are not corrected when there are active Clients or AE Processes.
HxSCAlwaysDoMaintenance -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Perform “minor maintenance” clean ups even when uncorrectable errors are found during a structure check. It may be possible that clearing minor maintenance will allow a subsequent repair that might otherwise not be possible, but it is also possible that doing minor maintenance when there are other problems will make matters worse. Set to true with caution.
HxSCAppendLog -boolean true true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Append the result of the structure check to the log. Set preference to false to prevent accumulation of structure check history.
HxSCMaintenanceDetails -boolean false true/false 6.2.1 RADE, Server, Engine Write details about the errors (minor maintenance and structural errors) that are encountered during a structure check. Enabling this preference adds a risk of crashing, should an unexpected object be encountered.
HxSCMaintenanceDialog -boolean true* true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Display the dialog when a save results in minor maintenance.
*Default is true for RADE, false for Engine and Server.
HxSCShowResourceCounts -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Debugging: The resource counts are internal data that may be helpful in debugging certain situations. Warning: Unless you are working with QSA ToolWorks on a debugging issue, there’s no reason to turn this on other than to create large structure check logs which may impact performance.
Logging
HxAutologging -boolean true true/false 6.1 RADE, Server, Engine For those who like to live dangerously, set this to false to turn Session Logging off.
HxAutologPath -string Same as Collection valid filepath RADE, Server, Engine Not Implemented. Location for the Session Data Log.
HxAutologPrefix -string Log_ short text string 6.1 RADE, Server, Engine Prefix of Logfile name.
HxUserAccessLogging -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine Log all external accesses to a collection to a file at ~/Library/Logs/Helix/Server/accesslog.txt (Substitute ‘RADE’ or ‘Engine’ for ‘Server’ as needed.) Note: This file is write-locked while the collection is open, to discourage tampering.
The following set of switches control additional logging options for the User Access Log. HxUserAccessLogging must be enabled for these detailed logging options to take effect.
The data logged varies for each preference, but all entries start with a time stamp (millisecond accuracy) and a text label showing which type of access occurred. See the descriptions for a translation of the data logged.
Turning these options on can generate a large amount of data on a busy network, activating them may result in performance degradation.
HxAccessLogAdd -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Server, Engine Add Record: Relation, RecordID, Seat# (-1 for Apple events)
HxAccessLogDelete -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Server, Engine Delete Record: Relation, RecordID, Seat# (-1 for Apple events)
HxAccessLogLock -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Server, Engine Lock record: Event [ AEDelete | OpenRec | FVTLock2 | Post New ], Relation, RecordID, Seat# (-1 for Apple events), Key, Result
Unlock records: Key
HxAccessLogPost -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Server, Engine Post: Event [ Add | Delete | Replace | Export | Print ] [ Start | End | Fail ]: Relation, Seat# (-1 for Apple events)
HxAccessLogReplace -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Server, Engine Replace Record: Relation, RecordID, Seat# (-1 for Apple events)
HxAccessLogSequence -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Engine Run Sequence: Event [ Begin | End ]: Sequence (Not available on Server)
HxAccessLogSequenceStep -boolean false true/false 6.2.2 RADE, Engine Sequence Step: Event [ Icon | Command ]: Sequence, [ Icon | Command Code ] (Not available on Server)
Miscellaneous
HxAlwaysValidatePosting -boolean true true/false 6.2.1 RADE, Server, Engine Helix 6.2 could take a very long time (30 minutes or more) to open a large collection, as every view the validity of every attached post was re-tested. Views in Helix 6.2.1 and later contain a “posting is valid” flag, avoiding the need to recheck them each time, as long as the flag is set to true. This preference can be used to disable the startup check altogether, which may be useful when troubleshooting slow startup times. A script that activates this preference and forces every posting validation to be rechecked is available from our technical support department.
HxCustomHelpPath -string CustomHelp/index.html 6.1 RADE, Client, Server, Engine Location for the Custom Help file, ending with the name (and extension) of help file. Help files must be in a format Help Viewer supports.
HxDocumentPath -string path to collection Filepath 6.1.4 RADE, Client, Engine The path to a folder in which to place exported documents when On Original Path is specified, but the original path can not be resolved. If this path starts with a foreslash (/) it is treated as an absolute path. If it starts with tilde (~) it is relative to the user’s home directory. This path is also used as the working directory for the Open Original & Open Copy commands, as internally stored documents need to be downloaded to a local volume before opening.
HxShadowFilePaths -string none Filepath(s) 6.1 RADE, Server, Client, Engine Where to put the recovery file. Can be an array of strings, which are checked in sequential order until a valid path is found.
Memory
HxDATSize -integer 100 10, 30, 60, 100 6.1 RADE, Client, Server, Engine Size for the DAT (Dynamic Address Table) manager. Controls some ‘deep code’ that handles memory distribution within Helix. The value stored here is not directly applied: it is cross-referenced to a four level table to choose the correct DAT allocation, so other values are pointless.
HxCollectionBufferMax -integer Auto-sizing -1–1536 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine, Client By default the collection buffer is automatically sized according to the collection being opened. Setting this preference to a value other than -1 forces that value (in MB) as the maximum buffer size. The upper limit is controlled by HxTotalBufferSize. Note: although Helix allows buffers as high as 1536 MB (1.5GB) settings above 1023 (1GB) are not officially supported. Larger buffers may result in stability issues.
HxDocumentBufferSize -integer 12000 1000–2147483648 7.0.1 RADE, Server, Engine, Client Size of buffers used for document buffering, in bytes. Replaces HDOC resource. Note that TCP/IP transfers data in ~1500 byte chunks, so the default size is sufficient. Note also that where the HDOC resource allowed different values for the ‘Document Buffer Size’ and ‘Document Transfer Chunk Size’ (with the proviso that the buffer size must be larger than the transfer chunk size) this preference uses one value for both.
HxTotalBufferSize -integer 1023 0-1536 6.1 RADE, Server, Engine, Client, Utility Maximum total buffers allowed in MB. Note: although Helix allows buffers as high as 1536 MB (1.5GB) settings above 1023 (1GB) are not officially supported. Larger buffers may result in stability issues.
Debugging
HxSequenceFullQuiescence -boolean true true/false 7.0.3 RADE, Client, Engine When a sequence is running, it must wait for a view to completely draw (come to quiescence) before it can act upon that view. In some versions of Helix sequences wait for every view to complete before going to the next step. Helix 7.0.3 adds a preference that allows sequences to wait only for the frontmost window, as that is the one the next sequence step will act upon. Setting this preference to false enables this faster behavior. Be sure to test critical sequences thoroughly after enabling this feature. (For Client/Server, this setting should me made on the Client.)
HxWriteDebugData -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine, Client This preference can be turned on to send specific debugging data to system.log, where it can be seen in Console.app. Unless you are working with QSA ToolWorks to resolve a specific issue, there is no reason to turn this on.
HxWriteDebugFile -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine, Client, Utility This preference can be turned on to capture specific debugging data to a text file (placed on the Desktop) when running in the field. Unless you are working with QSA ToolWorks to resolve a specific issue, there is no reason to turn this on.
Thread Debugging
This set of switches control Helix Server’s multithreading options. By default, all threading options are turned on, which provides the greatest potential performance gain. In certain situations, disabling a specific thread may improve performance or stability.
HxServerThreadAdd -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for adding records
HxServerThreadReplace -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for replacing records
HxServerThreadDelete -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for deleting records
HxServerThreadExportAllLock -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Locking records for Export All
HxServerThreadExportOneLock -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Locking records for Export Form
HxServerThreadPostOnDemand -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Post on Demand actions
HxServerThreadPostOnExport -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Post on Export actions
HxServerThreadPostOnPrint -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Post on Print actions
HxServerThreadPrintAllLock -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Locking records for Print All
HxServerThreadPrintOneLock -boolean true true/false 6.2.2 Server Use a distinct thread for Locking records for Print Form
Hidden Warnings
These preferences are stored when the ‘Don’t show this dialog again’ checkbox is chosen in a dialog, suppressing further display of that dialog. Use ‘Reset Hidden Warnings’ to reset these individually or as a group.
skipDialog_CommitWarning -boolean false true–false 6.2 RADE Warn if there are uncommitted changes when a save is requested.
skipDialog_CommitPasteWarning -boolean false true–false 6.2 RADE Warn if there are uncommitted changes before structure is applied.
skipDialog_FullKeyboardAccessControls -boolean false true–false 6.1.3 RADE, Engine, Client Warn when the Full Keyboard Access state is set to ‘All Controls’. See this technote for more information.
skipDialog_FullKeyboardAccessDialogs -boolean false true–false 6.1.3 RADE, Engine, Client Warn when the Full Keyboard Access state is set to ‘mode 1’ which can interrupt the ability to focus on some fiels, such as those in the authentication dialog. See this technote for more information.
skipDialog_ReturnEqualsEnterWarning -boolean false true–false 7.0 RADE, Engine, Client Warn that the return key and the enter key now provide identical function.
Automatic (Helix Preference Editor Not Needed)
These preferences that are handled automatically by the GUI. They are documented here only for completeness.
HxElementPanelFrame -rect {screen.left, screen.top, 180px, screen.height/2} n/a 6.2 RADE Specify the size and postion of the Element Panel when it is opened.
HxElementPanelShowing -boolean true true–false 6.2 RADE Specify whether the Element Panel should be open or closed on launch.
HxInspectorFrame -rect {screen.right-320px, screen.top, 320px, screen.height/2} n/a 6.2 RADE Specify the size and postion of the Inspector when it is opened.
HxInspectorShowing -boolean true true–false 6.2 RADE Specify whether the Inspector should be open or closed on launch.
HxPasteTreeOpenHeight -integer 260 1–2048 6.2 RADE Specify the default height of the icon lists in the Apply Structure dialog. This value corresponds to the size (in pixels) of the icon lists, not of the overall dialog.
HxPasteTreeOpenWidth -integer 280 1–2048 6.2 RADE Specify the default width of the icon lists in the Apply Structure dialog. See HxPasteTreeOpenHeight for details.
NSRecentDocumentsLimit -integer 10 1–255 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine, Client, Utility Number of collections to show in the Open Recent menu. (Note: this is a macOS function, so the prefix for this setting is NS (NextStep).
Not Handled by Helix Preference Editor
These preferences are not handled by Helix Preference Editor. They are documented here in case you want to try the hard way.
HxAbacusTypeColors 9 arrays of 4 arrays {{19005,32112,43253,52428}, {50462,57015,45219,52428}, {55049,49806,34734,52428}, {43908,41942,45874,52428}, {51117,37355,34734,52428}, {51773,43253,42598,52428}, {45219,50462,51117,52428}, {35389,47841,51117,52428}, {13107,26214,39321,52428}} 0–65535 6.2

This preference is an array containing 9 arrays of 4 integers each. Each array contains 4 values that represent the Red, Green, Blue, and Alpha values used to represent each of the datatypes as seen in the sockets and arrows of abacus editor windows. The 9 arrays are in this order {Text, Number, Date, Flag, Picture, Document, FixedPoint, StyledText, Other}. (The ‘other’ color is for relation and template icons, which do not have a type.

Each color can be specified three different ways:

  1. As a hex number where each byte represents a single component, in order: alpha, blue, green, red. (See HxDefaultBackgroundColor for an example.)
  2. As a list of 4 decimal numbers in the range of 0–65535, in order: red, green, blue, alpha.
  3. As a name. The name must match a color name in the wxWidgets color name data base. (See below.) the alpha value is ‘opaque’ when names are used.
HxAppleEventMaxEvents -integer user license 0–65535 6.2 RADE, Server, Engine The maximum number Apple events that may be open at one time.
Experimental
HxARAccess -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE Proprietary: Enables capabilities for customers who have passed collection repair training.
HxUseCoreGraphics -boolean false true/false 6.2 RADE, Engine, Client Incomplete: Turn on macOS CoreGraphics rendering routines. Note: the implementation of CoreGraphics support is incomplete at this time. Do not report crashes or display bugs seen with this preference turned on.
Technical Details

Helix application preferences are stored in an XML formatted plist found in the user’s ~/Library/Preferences/ folder. Helix preference files are named com.qsatoolworks.name, where name is either helixrade, helixserver, helixclient, helixengine, or utility. (For all but Helix Utility, additional preference files, without helix in the name, are used by macOS and can be ignored.)

To change a setting using Terminal, you enter (type or paste) a line (aka: ‘command’) in this format:
defaults write com.qsatoolworks.applicationname keyword -datatype value

Press the Enter (or Return) key and the preference is changed, or an error is returned.

In this sample, the underlined words are placeholders that must be replaced with appropriate values taken from the chart below. The breakdown is as follows:

  1. applicationname: the name of the Helix application the preference is for, in the format macOS knows it as. Valid application names are helixrade, helixserver, helixclient, helixengine, and utility.
  2. keyword: a single ‘word’ that Helix understands to mean that a particular behavior is altered. Commonly referred to as ‘the preference.’
  3. -datatype, the type of data required. Valid datatypes are string, integer, boolean, array, float, and rect. (There may be others, but Helix does not use them.)
  4. value: the value to set the preference to.

Note that everything in a command is case sensitive! If you enter a value with the wrong case, it will not cause a problem, but it will have no effect on Helix’s behavior.

Notes

* In place of a hex string, the following standard color names may be used. When entering a multi-word color name, enclose it in single quotes. (e.g. 'cadet blue'):

aquamarine, black, blue, blue violet, brown, cadet blue, coral, cornflower blue, cyan, dark gray, dark green, dark olive green, dark orchid, dark slate blue, dark slate gray dark turquoise, dim gray, firebrick, forest green, gold, goldenrod, gray, green, green yellow, indian red, khaki, light blue, light gray, light steel blue, lime green, magenta, maroon, medium aquamarine, medium blue, medium forest green, medium goldenrod, medium orchid, medium sea green, medium slate blue, medium spring green, medium turquoise, medium violet red, midnight blue, navy, orange, orange red, orchid, pale green, pink, plum, purple, red, salmon, sea green, sienna, sky blue, slate blue, spring green, steel blue, tan, thistle, turquoise, violet, violet red, wheat, white, yellow, and yellow green.