OxEdit Help

Help Topics
New in OxEdit
For OxEdit 1.6 users
Column editing
File types and .def files
Status bar
Text margin
Tool bars
View modes
     OxEdittm is an easy to use, yet powerful text editor.  Its support for syntax highlighting, column editing, and running external modules make it especially useful for developing and running Ox programs.  OxEdit is installed with Ox Console, but can be downloaded separately.  Ox Professional includes the OxMetrics front-end, which provides graphics and data manipulation in addition to OxEdit text editing facilities.


OxEdit is part of the OxMetrics family of software products, see www.oxmetrics.net and www.doornik.com.

OxEdit has been developed using wxWidgets.

I wish to thank Marc Doornik, Steve Moyle and Gunnar Baardsen for giving many useful suggestions, which improved the usability of OxEdit enormously.


Jurgen Doornik, the copyright owner of OxEdit, grants a non-exclusive license without charge to any individual or institution who intends to use OxEdit for any legal purpose.  You may not modify, create derived works, or sell the software, or make it available for download.  However, you may share it with friends and colleagues, and make it available for general use within an institution.  Jurgen Doornik reserves the right to terminate the freeware status for future versions of OxEdit.  No warranty is given for the use of OxEdit.  OxEdit does not come with any spyware, adware, or mailware bundled inside it.


Upgrades can be downloaded from www.doornik.com.

Check for recent fixes and outstanding issues.

New in OxEdit

New in OxEdit 5

New in OxEdit 4

OxEdit 4 was a major upgrade of OxEdit. To match OxMetrics, the version number jumped straight from 1.62 to 4.

Some highlights of the changes are:

Recent fixes are listed here.

For OxEdit 1.6 users

To match OxMetrics, the version number jumped straight from 1.62 to 4.

Column Editing

A column selection can be made with the mouse:

or with the keyboard:

A column selection can be dragged and dropped:

Use the Paste as Column command to insert text from the clipboard as a column.  Use the Sort command to sort using a column selection.  It is possible to restrict a find/replace operation to a column selection.

File types and .def files

OxEdit uses definition files to define file types.  The definition file lists the extensions to which the style applies.  This allows for syntax coloring, definition of comment, default use of tabs, etc.  OxEdit automatically reads in all the .def file from the directory where the executable file resides.  In addition, you can specify an additional folder for OxEdit to load definition files from using Preferences/Options.  These definitions will have precedence.

The following example is a reduced version of the cpp.def file (the number of keywords has been cut down):

[extensions] cpp c h hpp [keywords] asm auto bool break case [options] comment_eol=// comment=/* */ paren=1 coding_eol=#

Three types of identifiers are used in the color coding:

The def file contains up to four sections:


OxEdit help is available from the Help menu or the Help bar in the workspace.  This is based on HTML files, and requires that a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer is installed. 

In addition, OxEdit implements a Help system for modules.  This requires a module to be defined for an extension and the path to the help files to be set.  Then, when pressing F1 when the caret is on a keyword, OxEdit will search the html files for a reference to that word.  If there is only one, it will jump there immediately.  Otherwise it will offer a list of choices. 

In more detail, the procedure works as follows, here described for Ox modules. 


A marker allows for fast navigation through a document.  A marker is shown as a small blue rectangle in the margin of the line. 

To set a marker:

To clear a marker:

To go to a marker:

Markers are not remembered between sessions.


The running of external modules (executable programs or batch files) on a document is one of OxEdit's strengths, creating an integrated environment from separate building blocks.  This process is highly configurable, and encompasses three types:

  1. Stand-alone windows program, such as an HTML browser or LaTeX viewer.
  2. Console output program , such as an Ox/Java/LaTeX compiler.  OxEdit can capture the output, and if there are errors, you can double click on them to jump straight to the location.  The output window can be edited while the module is running. 
  3. Interactive Console program.  OxEdit not only captures the output, but provides an input channel as well, including a command history buffer.  The window can be edited while the module is running.  An example would be to run the MS-DOS prompt this way.

The Add/Remove Modules dialog on the Tools menu is used to add or remove modules.  Some internal functionality is actually run as an external module - Find in Files is an example using OxGrep.

A default extension can be associated with a module.  Files of that type can then be executed using the Run Default Module command (Ctrl+R or the running-person toolbar button for short).  The second module in line with the same extension will be run when using second running man.  All possible modules are listed on the Run menu, and on the context menu when right-clicking on a document tab at the bottom of OxEdit. 

The Default Explorer Open command opens the document as by double clicking on it in the Explorer.  If, for example, you can open an HTML file in the Explorer by clicking on it, you can do so the same using this command for an HTML file which is loaded into OxEdit.

Help for modules is normally also accessible from OxEdit. 


A project is a collection of files grouped together in a project file (for which OxEdit uses the . oxp extension).  Once a project is open, you can open a file from that project using the project bar in the workspace.  OxEdit remembers for each project files: the window size, window position, and whether the file was open.  This allows easy return to a previous project (the File/Open Previous Session command only relates to the previous OxEdit session).  OxEdit will keep a list of most recently used projects on the file menu. 

You can also open a Visual Studio .dsp project file. Such a project cannot be modified.

The following actions are available for a project:

Status bar

The status bar is displayed at the bottom of the OxEdit window and consists of four areas:

  1. The left area of the status bar describes actions of menu items as you use the arrow keys to navigate through menus.  This area similarly shows messages that describe the actions of toolbar buttons as you depress them, before releasing them.  If after viewing the description of the toolbar button command you wish not to execute the command, then release the mouse button while the pointer is off the toolbar button. 
  2. If a tool is running, this is indicated on a yellow background in the second panel.
  3. The third panel shows the location of the caret in the document. For example: L 113 C 14 indicates that the caret is at Line 113, Column 14.  In binary/hexadecimal viewing mode this shows the position of the caret in decimal (the first character of the document is at byte 0).  This field will also indicate if the document is read-only, or when the editor is in overwrite mode.
  4. The right areas of the status bar indicate document encoding properties: These properties can be changed using Edit/Text properties.

Text margin

The left margin indicates where the cursor is:

Double clicking on the margin toggles line numbering.  In binary and hexadecimal mode, the position of the first character is shown in hexadecimal.  Right clicking in the margin sets or clears a marker.

Tool bars

Three tool bars are displayed across the top of OxEdit, below the menu bar.  An optional fourth holds just the document tabs and is situated at the bottom of the screen.  The tool bars can be hidden and shown and customized from a right click on the bar.  Customization allows adding or removing icons, and choosing small medium or large icon size (medium is the default).

The Find/Replace tool bar replicates most commands of the Find/Replace dialog.  The two are actively linked, and the Find/Replace bar is often a convenient way to quickly search for text or execute search/replace actions. The default layout consists of:

Find text Specify the text to search for.  The drop down list box holds previously used search texts.  You can use a context menu (right click) to insert text from the clipboard.
Find down Finds the next occurrence of the search text downwards from the current location of the caret.
Find up Finds the next occurrence of the search text upwards from the current location of the caret.
Case sensitive Toggle case sensitive searching on or off (if the button is down, the search is case sensitive).
Whole word Toggle word matching on or off (if the button is down, the search will only find whole words).
Goto next instance Finds the next instance of the currently selected text downwards from the current location.  The selected text will become the default for subsequent searches.
Goto previous instance Finds the previous instance of the currently selected text upwards from the current location.  The selected text will become the default for subsequent searches.
Replace text Specify the new text.  The drop down list box holds previously used replace texts.
Replace Next Replaces the current instance, or finds the next if it has not been found yet.
Replace All Replaces all instance in the current document.
Replace All in Selection Replaces all instance in the currently selected text block.

View modes

OxEdit has three viewing modes: