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   ► KBDesktop Data...Paradox & Ob...Interactive ...   Print This     
  From the August 2015 Issue of Prestwood eMag
Interactive Paradox: Getting Going:
Recommended Paradox Preferences
Posted 13 years ago on 6/8/2008 and updated 4/29/2010
Take Away:

Step by step instructions for setting some of Paradox's more useful preferences.


I am frequently asked about recommendations for the various preferences in Paradox. Rather than go into a long article about each setting, I thought I would share the preferences and other settings I change whenever I re-install Paradox. The following are my suggestions for working within Paradox. They are my personal settings and the settings I suggest for my Paradox developers at Prestwood I.T. Solutions. Although each developer does have their own variation they prefer. I've broken down my suggestions into global settings, settings that are saved with each type of file (table, report, form, library, script, etc.), and advanced developer settings.

Thoughout this article, I'll talk about four different types of users and have slight variations for each. For the purpose of this article, here are my definitions for the types of users discussed:

  • End-user - Someone who may create forms, reports, and tables but never uses ObjectPAL
  • Power-User - Someone who creates forms, reports, and tables, and occassionally uses ObjectPAL.
  • Developer - Someone who builds an application for others to use.
  • Advanced Developer - Someone who frequently works on more than one project at a time, develops in more than one version of Paradox (i.e. Paradox 9 and 11), or codes in ObjectPAL more than 10 hours per week.


Select Tools | Settings | Preferences... to open the Preferences dialog.

Step 1: Set Paradox Title in General Tab

On the General tab:

  1. I like to change the Title of Paradox to include the major version and the specific release number. You can find out the Paradox release number by selecting Help | About Paradox. Set the Paradox title on the General Preferences tab.
  2. Notice I also like to uncheck Restore on startup. I do this because I switch between versions of Paradox and projects frequently and prefer to start clean each time. I suggest End-Users and Power-Users leave this checked and Developers should uncheck it.

General Preferences

Step 2: Forms/Reports Tab Settings

On the Forms / Reports tab:

  1. I like to set the On-screen size to 500x400 pixels and only when a form demands to be larger or should be smaller, do I make it larger or smaller.
  2. In the Open default panel, I check both Open forms in design mode and Open reports in design mode. End-users and Power-Users may wish to leave these unchecked. I do more development of forms and reports than using them except when using a Paradox application when I don't have control anyway.
    Style Sheet Note I also leave the default style sheets in place for Paradox 10 and 11+ and copy it over for use with Paradox 9. The default style sheets work just fine in most situations. The exception is when you are building an application. You can save considerable time by designing both form and printer style sheets before you start, then specify it below.


Step 3: Designer Tab Preferences

Select the Designer tab (yes, I skipped over the Tables tab).  I prefer to uncheck all the rulers in the Ruler panel. If I want to work with a ruler, I set it at the form or report level. Many developers I work with don't like this choice so you may not like this choice either, so feel free to skip this one if you wish.

Designer Preferences

Step 4: Experts Tab Preferences

On the Experts tab, I prefer to uncheck both Run experts when creating objects on documents and Run Welcome Expert each time Paradox loads. If you are a Power-User, you may want to consider checking both these options as they provide some good guidance and education.

Paradox Preferences - Experts

Step 5: Advanced Tab Preferences

On the Advanced tab:

  1. I prefer to check Don't show warning prompts when changing directories. If you have any unsaved objects, they are saved no matter how you set this setting. The purpose of this setting is to warn you that all you objects will be closed.
  2. I prefer to uncheck Use scroll bars in form windows by default. Most of the forms I create are smaller than the screen resolution I develop for so this saves me a step when creating forms. To set scrollbars on a specific form, righ click on it's title bar and select Window Style...

Paradox Preferences Advanced Tab

For existing forms, you turn off scrollbars (and rulers). Uncheck Ruler (View | Ruler). If I want the ruler, I turn it on, use it, then turn it off. To turn off scrollbars, right click on the form's title bar:
scrollbars 1
Set the form's title and uncheck Vertical scroll bar and Horizontal scroll bar. I'm not going to go into it here, but developers should really be sure to press the Help button and understand all the various options this dialog box offers.

Step 6: Database Tab Preferences

On the Database tab:

  1. Because I use multiple instances of Paradox (run two versions of say Paradox 11) and multiple versions (switch between Paradox 9, 10, and 11), I like to give each "version" of Paradox I install it's own private directory. If you don't use multiple versions nor multiple instances of Paradox, then you don't need this.
  2. Because I'm developing multi-user applications using two side-by-side computers, I change the refresh rate from 60 seconds down to 5 seconds. When I change a value on one computer, I want it showing up on the other right away.

Paradox Preferences Database Tab

Developer Preferences

Select Tools | Settings | Developer Preferences... to open the Developer Preferences dialog. Although End-Users don't need to set any of these settings, Power-Users and developers will probably want to change the defaults. I like to change a couple things in the General and Display tabs.

Step 7: General Tab

On the General tab:

  1. In the ObjectPAL level panel, select Advanced. Paradox allows developers to set what commands they can see with the object browser. You can set this to either Beginner or Advanced. Whether your ObjectPAL level is set to Beginner or Advanced, you can use all the ObjectPAL methods, procedures, properties, constants, keywords, and so on. The level panel is a help filter used just for learning purposes. However, because you could in effect "hide" code from yourself, I recommend setting this to Advanced (never use beginner).
  2. In the Debugger settings panel, check Enable Ctrl+Break. This setting halts execution of a form and returns you to the design window when you press CTRL + BREAK. If you also enable Program | Compile With Debug in the editor, you can suspend execution and run the Debugger by pressing CTRL + BREAK, just as if a breakpoint had been encountered.
  3. In the Debugger settings panel, check Enable debug() statement. This setting lets you use the debug( ) statement to define your own breakpoints in methods and procedures. In addition to enabling this option, you must enable the Program | Compile With Debug command in the Editor for the debug( ) statement to work. This allows you to add debug() statements throughout your application and then select Compile With Debug to activate them. However, I prefer to never leave debug() statements in my code because I prefer to leave Compile with Debug turn on  with all forms, libraries, and scripts I create because it offers other advantages. For exmaple, Compile with Debug provides more detailed error information.
  4. Check Show developer menus. Because Paradox is used by end-users and power-users to manipulate data, the developer features of Paradox are slightly hidden when working with forms. That is, they are available only in the Editor and Debugger menus. When you check this option, they show up in the Form Design window too. Specifically, the Program menu is available and extra commands on the View and Tools menus.

Paradox Developer Preferences General tab

Step 8: Display Tab

On the Display tab:

In the Font panel, I like to use the Consolas font rather than the default font of Courier (examples below). If you don't have Consolas, you can download it. Refer to our Consolas Font posting in our Paradox File Library.

Paradox Developer Preferences Display tab

Here is a screen shot of Courier in the ObjectPAL editor:

Courier font in ObjectPAL editor.

Now take a look at Consolas in the ObjectPAL editor. Consolas is much easier on the eyes and if you code for 40+ hours per week, it's a must!

ObjectPAL editor with Consolas

Advanced Setup

The rest of these suggestions are steps I take in order to be more productive. They are really intended for advanced developers as most developers can get by without these.

Step 9: Install Various Versions

Currently I like to install the full and runtime editions of Paradox 9, 10, and 11 with the latest service packs applied. Although some of my ObjectPAL developers still support systems running on versions below 9, I don't.

Step 10: Multiple-Icons

In addition to the standard icons, I like to setup two additonal icons for each version of Paradox I install. I like to clear the desktop and specify a specific private directory for this instance of Paradox. I sometimes use various command-line parameters. You can

For example:

"D:\Program Files\Paradox\Programs\pdxwin32.exe" -c -p d:\Pdx11bPrivDir


Setup a Vista Shortcut

Setting up a shortcut in Vista changed. In previous versions of Windows you could simply right click a shortcut and select Properties or Copy and then Paste. Those options no longer get you full access to the shortcut settings. The following is how I create shortcuts in Vista:

  1. Right click on the desktop and select New | Shortcut.
    Create Vista shortcut - New Shortcut
  2. The Create Shortcut wizard starts. Select the executable you wish to create a shortcut for and select Next.
    Vista Shortcut Wizard - select file
  3. Type in a name for the version of Paradox you wish and select Next. I chose "Paradox 11 PrivB" and the following shortcut was created on my desktop. You can now drag that shortcut onto the Start menu, but before you do, right click on the shortcut and select Properties.
    Vista Shortcut Properties
  4. You can now set all the properties of a shortcut just like you could in previous versions of Windows including adding startup commands to pdxwin32.exe and Run as administrator. However, if you choose Run as administrator and you have user control turned on, you'll get the dreaded "An unidentifed program wants access to your computer" implemented with Vista's user control settings. Therefore, I recommend you don't use Run as administrator but you can use other shortcut settings.

Step 11: Install Workbench for Paradox

Workbench adds 50+ utilities that I just can't live without. The Launcher launches additional instances of Paradox with their own working and private directories. Very handy when you're working on multiple projects. When I worked at Borland, I was frequently working on several completely different projects and The Launcher features of Workbench came in very handy. The Launcher is just one of the more than 50+ features added to Paradox.

Step 12: Install FreeWheel

A cuddly tray icon which makes Paradox's ObjectPAL Editor work with your IntelliMouse scrolling wheel. Two modes of operation are supported. Also, FreeWheel allows you to switch between documents by holding down the control and shift keys while moving the mouse wheel. FreeWheel is free, so dont delay - try it today. You might like it! Requires Microsoft IntelliMouse or equivalent.

More Info

KB Post:  BDE Best Practices: Safely Use Paradox Tables
Download:  Consolas Font
Download:  FreeWheel by Jim Barry
Article:  Paradox Command-Line Options
Download:  WinStyles.ft Style Sheet


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Article Contributed By Mike Prestwood:

Mike Prestwood is a drummer, an author, and creator of the PrestwoodBoards online community. He is the President & CEO of Prestwood IT Solutions. Prestwood IT provides Coding, Website, and Computer Tech services. Mike has authored 6 computer books and over 1,200 articles. As a drummer, he maintains play-drums.com and has authored 3 drum books. If you have a project you wish to discuss with Mike, you can send him a private message through his PrestwoodBoards home page or call him 9AM to 4PM PST at 916-726-5675 x205.

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