Config Studio for P3D - User Manual

Updated: 16 Dec, 2019

TweakFS

Config Studio is a "Swiss Army Knife" for your Prepar3D config files (CFG & XML).

Developers and enthusiasts alike often need to tweak a configuration file to get the sim running just right, or perhaps troubleshoot an FS add-on that might not be loading.

This utility allows you to easily locate, edit, save, backup and restore these important files in a code editor, similar to an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) with syntax highlighting to improve readability of the files.

You can work with the files in Expert Mode by directly typing into the Code Editor, or in Guided Mode by clicking the the Navigation Tree and the XML Tool Panel buttons.

XML File Validation can also be performed to ensure the format is correct. The Code Editor will endeavour to highlight any lines that have potential problems.

All editions of Prepar3D (v1 to v4) are supported, these are the files handled by this utility:

  1. Prepar3D.Cfg
  2. Scenery.Cfg
  3. Terrain.Cfg
  4. Cameras.Cfg
  5. Dll.xml
  6. Exe.xml
  7. SimConnect.xml

Some of these files are generated by P3D, others not, but either way Config Studio has you covered if you need to work with any of them.

Config Studio takes very special care not to change your original files and handles them as outlined in the Your Config Files Are Sacred! part of this User Manual.

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Features

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Requirements

Config Studio has very modest requirements:

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Installation

Config Studio is a self-containted or standalone app (.exe), so there is no need for a setup program.

Simply extract the ConfigStudioP3D.exe file from the ZIP you downloaded from TweakFS to any folder of your choice, even to the Desktop if you wish.

Alternatively, you can place it in a folder and create a desktop shortcut, or pin it to your Taskbar.

Conversely, to uninstall Config Studio simply delete the ConfigStudioP3D.exe file.

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Updates

The latest build of this utility will always be available on the main TweakFS Downloads page.

However there is a quicker, more convenient way to keep the app updated. On startup, Config Studio performs a check for any newer version of the utility.

If there is a new version available a message will appear along the lower status bar, beside the version number. You can click that message to download the latest build to your desktop. You can also perform this check any time by clicking the version number.

Simply extract the ConfigStudioP3D.exe file from the ZIP archive and replace your existing copy.

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Launching

Launching Config Studio is easy, you just need to execute the application file:

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Registration

Config Studio comes as a free 30-day demo. If you have purchased a registration key (thanks!) you can unlock it this way:

  1. Click the Options toolbar button
  2. Select the Registration tab
  3. Enter you full name, email and registration key
  4. After closing the Options panel your copy will be unlocked

To purchase a key, please visit TweakFS or one of the 3rd-party vendors who distribute on our behalf.

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Expert Mode

If you're an expert and are very comfortable directly editing config files, knowing exactly what you want to achieve, then just type away into the code editor!

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Guided Mode

If you are not entirely sure how to edit the config files, or would like some guidance you can do so without touching the code editor at all.

For the CFG Files, double-clicking on the Navigation Tree will display a panel and allows you to edit the value you have selected.

For the XML Files, use the XML Tool Panel buttons to add/remove entries.

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Interface Tour

Main Toolbar

Button Name Description
TweakFS Sim Version Allows you to quickly switch between the supported versions of Prepar3D (v1 to v4).
TweakFS SDK Links Gives you easy access to several key pages from the Prepar3D SDK web site. This menu is customisable, see the Custom SDK Links Menu section below.
TweakFS User Manual Opens your web browser to display this User Manual.
TweakFS TweakFS Opens your web browser to the TweakFS Website.
TweakFS Options Displays the Options panel. This is also where you can add your registration information.

Options Panel

  1. Options - Font Name: Set the font style for the Code Editor (fixed-width fonts only)
  2. Options - Font Size: Set the size of the font in the Code Editor
  3. Options - Tab Width: Set how the tab character width is displayed in the Code Editor #
  4. Options - Dark Mode: Use a dark style for the Code Editor
  5. Options - Shorcut: Add a Config Studio shorcut to the Desktop *
  6. Registration - Name: Your full name, as registered
  7. Registration - Email: Your email, as registered
  8. Registration - Key: Your registration key

If you see no change in the XML file when you change this option it just means the file is using spaces instead of tabs for indentation.

This shorcut points to the location where you have the ConfigStudioP3D.exe file. If you move it to another location, simply delete the old Desktop icon and create a new shorcut.

Custom SDK Links Menu

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, the URL of a page can change or you may wish to point these menus to other web addresses, or perhaps even your own.

To customise the links in the SDK toolbar button menu, open your Config Studio settings file (ConfigStudioP3D.ini) with a text editor. You can find it here (shut down Config Studio first):

C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\TweakFS\Config Studio P3D\ConfigStudioP3D.ini

Then add these options as required (listed here in the same order as in the menu):

[URLS]
SDKMainIndexUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKPrepar3CfgUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKSceneryCfgUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKTerrainCfgUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKCamerasCfgUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKDllExeXmlUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE
SDKSimConnectXmlUrl=ADD_YOUR_WEB_URL_HERE

Tip: To quickly open the TweakFS AppData folder, copy and paste this to your Windows search box:

%APPDATA%\TweakFS\Config Studio P3D

Status Messages

In between the Toolbar and the Tabs is an area that displays status messages:

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It displays notifications on XML File Validation results and file operaations (save, backup & restore).

Tab View

The files are loaded into dedicated Tabs for quick, easy switching:

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Tip: If the main window width is resized down to a point where not all tabs are visible, arrow buttons will appear at the far right to navigate to other tabs (see image above).

Along the top under the Tabs are a series of controls, from left to right:

  1. File status icon (green for found, red for missong)
  2. Full folder path of the file
  3. Restore button (active when backups are available)
  4. Backup button (active when a file is detected)
  5. Save button (active after changes are made)

See XML File Validation for details.

Navigation Tree

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The Navigation Tree on the left panel of the Code Editor displays a visual representation of the structure of the file. It allows you to quickly jump to the relevant section of the file:

On double-clicking, the Edit Value dialog appears, and makes changing a setting easy:

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Code Editor

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The Code Editor displays the file contents with Syntax Highlighting to make it easier to see the structure of the file. You can also enable a Dark Mode option if you prefer it (see the Options panel).

If the file is not detected, a message in the Code Editor will confirm it. To create one you can:

  1. Type it manually
  2. Copy and paste one in
  3. Drag the file in (must have same filename)

Backup Panel

Clicking the Backup button will display a panel with the full folder & file path to the backup file.

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The format for the backup filename is based on a timestamp:

filename.extension.YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.backup

An exmaple of this format follows:

exe.xml.20191103_111441.backup

You can also add an optional comment to more easily identify the restore point (recommended):

Restore Panel

Clicking the Restore button displays any available backups, including the Original Backup:

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On selecting a backup you can also see the associated comments.

You can also remove any unwated backups by selecting them and pressing DEL on your keyboard.

Deleting the Original Backup is also possible, but please see FAQ - How Do I Generate a New Original Backup File? if you intend using this feature.

XML Tools

When viewing XML files (DLL or EXE variety), the lower panel will display set of handy tools:

Button Name Description
TweakFS Validate XML Runs the XML File Validation on the code in the editor.
TweakFS Insert Section* Inserts a new section.
TweakFS Remove Section* Remove a section by selecting it from a list.

A validation check is also performed on clicking these buttons. Any highlighted issue must be fixed before you can insert/remove an a section.

Any of modifications via these tools are performed on the XML that is in the Code Editor, they are not written to the actual XML file until you click the Save button.

XML Tool Panels

Clicking the Insert button will bring up a Wizard to easily add or update an add-on (DLL or EXE) or a server (SimConnect).

For DLL add-ons it will look like this:

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For EXE add-ons it will look like this:

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For SimConnect Servers it will look like this:

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Clicking the Remove button displays a panel where you can select the add-on or server:

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XML File Validation

The XML file tabs include a Validation button. Clicking it will perform a syntax check of the XML code that is currently shown in the editor.

As you may know, a single character out of place can render the XML file unusable and prevent the add-on(s) from loading. This feature can help you fix up the XML if an error is found.

A staus message will appear in the top message panel to indicate if the validation passed. If a problem was found it will report the issue. The validation will also attempt to highlight the offending line in red.

Things to keep in mind regarding how XML Validation works:

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Config File Information

The following is a brief description of each file and its function(s). More detailed information can be found by clicking the SDK Info inks (v4 referenced).

File Default* Description SDK Info
Prepar3D.Cfg Yes Main configuration file for Prepar3D which stores simulation and graphics options. It is automatically generated when you first run the sim, or after the file is deleted. Any changes made to the settings from within the sim are saved to this file. You can also add some custom tweaks to this file. View
Scenery.Cfg Yes The scenery library is stored in this file. The scenery layers are numbered and stacked in order of display from lowermost (lower numbers) to topmost (higher numbers). It can also be used to exclude certain types of scenery. View
Terrain.Cfg Yes Maps texture information for vector data, contains flattening information and controls the placement of some features. View
Cameras.Cfg Yes Contains camera definitions. View
Dll.xml No Loads DLL (Dynamic Link Library) type add-ons. Usually installed by or added to by a 3rd-party add-on installer. View
Exe.xml No Loads EXE (Executable) type add-ons. Usually installed by or added to by a 3rd-party add-on installer. View
SimConnect.xml No SimConnect server communication information. Usually installed by or added to by a 3rd-party add-on installer. View

Indicates if the file is automatically generated by P3D.

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Your Config Files Are Sacred!

OK, maybe not quite, but this utility still treats them as such.

Editing your simulator's config files can be a daunting task and making a mistake can cause issues.

With Config Studio, your files are handled with the utmost respect as follows:

  1. An initial set of original backup files are made the first time you run Config Studio. *

  2. Your original config files are sacrosanct, Config Studio does not edit them directly. #

  3. Config Studio will only save changes if you explicitly tell it to (i.e. clicking the Save button).

  4. Any change can be rolled back to the original file, or a user-created backup (click Restore).

  5. You can make multiple backups and have any number of restore points.

  6. Config Studio will display the full folder paths of files being worked on, including the backups.

The original backups can be restored from within Config Studio, or you can do it manually if you prefer. The full folder path to the original file is displayed on the Restore panel.

You can also choose to manually delete the original backup and generate a new one the next time Config Studio launches. See FAQ - How Do I Generate a New Original Backup File?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Config Studio Alter My Original Files?

Absolutely not! As described in the section above entitled Your Config Files Are Sacred!, this utility preserves the original files so you can roll back any changes with a few clicks. Config Studio uses a "working" file that is essentially a copy of the originals.

How Do I Generate a New Original Backup File?

So you've been tweaking a lot, and now have a config file set "just so". You now want it to be the new Original Backup, but it differs from the first original file created by Config Studio.

How do you elevate this new file to the hallowed Original status? Simply click the Restore button, select the original backup file and press the DEL key on your keyboard. The next time you start Config Studio, your current file will become the new original backup restore point.*

Warning: Do not perform this step unless you are absolutely sure you want to move on to a new original backup. Because this cannot be undone, you will be asked to confirm this by two screens.

Do You Have an Edition of Config Studio for FSX?

No, but if there is sufficient interest we may consider it. We actually already have a number of free utilities which cover some of the files handled by Config Studio. You can find them in the Free Tools section of our website.

Why is the XML Validator Highlighting a Different Line?

Sometimes the validation flags a line that is not the one that, for example, is missing an opening tag (e.g. <Launch.Addon>) or part of it is missing. That is how XML validation works, it could be simply pointing to a closing tag (e.g. </Launch.Addon>) that does not have a corresponding opening tag further up.

Can I request a feature or report a bug?

Absolutely. If there is a feature you would like to see implemented in a future update, or you want to report a bug please don't hesitate to Contact Us, we'd love to hear your feedback.

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About TweakFS

TweakFS has been providing many free and commercial utilities to Flight Sim developers and the general community for over 15 years. Our expertise and technologies can be found in some of the top FS products, including FS2Crew, MegaSceneryEarth and FSWidgets.

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Support & Feedback

Need help, want to report a bug or is there a feature you would like to see implemented in a future update? Don't hesitate to Contact Us, we're here to help.

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Version History

Version 1.0.0.0 (16 Dec, 2019) - Initial Release

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