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Advanced Tools

Built into Prop are a number of small features designed for advanced or administrator usage.

Environment Variables

Here you can view all the currently assigned environment variables, you can also add your own or edit those already stored.

WARNING! Adding or editing environment variables may affect how Prop and programs function. The default settings can be restored by closing and restarting Prop.

On restarting, Prop will use the system environment variables plus any set in the file (see below). Modified environment settings are NOT saved in the project. Permanent changes should be added to the file in the program directory.


The instrument name, if set, is used to create a prefix for the following variables. The group name depends on the type of instrument, at present DIF, INL, TAS or SAS. The match between instrument name and group is in matching length lists at the start of the main routine of prop.tcl. Three environment variables are created automatically by Prop.

Examples from SANS Suite, e.g. D22, matched prefix SAS. The corresponding environment variables created are:

          SAS_DIR              set to current program directory
          SAS_INSTRUMENT   D22 instrument name
          SAS_DATA_PATH        set to raw data directory
When programs are run they start in the current work directory. These variables greatly simplify access to WINDOWS directories with long names and embedded spaces, but for data access it should be remembered that many ex-unix programs are not built expecting names greater than 50-80 characters in total length.

Optional Inclusion of environment variables (

Certain programs require additional environment variables to function correctly. These can be added manually using the environment variables dialog (above) but in order to conserve them every time prop is run you should define them in a file named which you must create in your defined program directory. Prop treats data in this file as a list of pairs of variable names and values separated by a space, for example to add two environment variables envar1 and envar2 with the values enval1 enval2 you would use:

envar1 enval1 envar2 enval2

Example from SANS suite

        SAS_DECOMPRESS zcat
        SAS_CHECK limited

These indicate that the decompress command for data is zcat, and that the information concerning mismatches between data and treatment programs should not be written out after the first few occurrences.

Exclusion file (

By creating a file named in your program directory you can name programs you wish Prop to ignore. The file should consist of a string of program names for exclusion separated by a space. For example to exclude the programs oldversion.exe and notused.bat you would use:

oldversion.exe notused.bat

Example from SANS Suite

These programs typically take command line arguments, and are utilities called by other members of the suite.

Shell Window:

The shell window allows you to execute commands using the environment currently set by Prop, it can be used simply as a command window to launch programs and carry out simple tasks. For example, typing cmd brings up a DOS command window, retaining all the environment variables set by Prop, and starting in the current work directory

Technical Notes

Prop uses three utilities, psta, pstb and pstn to spawn subprocesses inheriting the Prop environment. These use the WINDOWS CreateProcess directive.

Notepad is the default editor called by Prop. An alternative may be substituted, but either it must be in the default PATH, or a fully specified filename must be written into prop.tcl.