Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal

Workspace Improvements in MapInfo Pro!

64bit In case you haven't seen the news yet, the recently released 64 bit version of MapInfo Pro has a new user interface. We gave a preview of the highlights in an article in the gohere September issue. Now it is time to get into some detail.

The information in this article pertains to the 64 bit MapInfo Pro v12.5.

How Workspaces Work! (Hint, things are different now!)

In previous versions of MapInfo Pro, workspaces acted as a set of instructions. When you opened a workspace the instructions would rebuild your session in MapInfo Pro. That workspace file did not act as a document in memory (such as a document in a word processor or spreadsheet application). 

What is new, is that workspaces are treated in a fashion similar to how documents work in other applications. MapInfo Pro now operates on the basis of having a "Current Workspace". This has a number of implications for how you now use Workspaces in MapInfo Pro.

  • If you have opened one or more tables (or have opened a workspace) and then you open another workspace, your current session will close and the new workspace will open. You will be asked to save changes to your workspace, where applicable.

  • If you never opened a workspace, but started with opening some tables then your current workspace has the name UNTITLED.WOR.

  • The name of the workspace you have opened appears in MapInfo Pro's title bar.

title bar

  • MapInfo Pro now indicates when a workspace has unsaved changes in it. The name of the workspace will have an asterisk (*) in front of it (as in the screen shot above).

  • If you have opened one or more tables and wish to then open a workspace and add the workspace to what is already opened, that can be accomplished with the new Add Workspace command. BothOpen Workspace and Add Workspace are in the Open Gallery.

open commands
The Open Workspace and Add Workspace commands are found in the Open Gallery.

  • MapInfo Pro now has a Save Workspace command and a Save Workspace As command. The former saves changes to your existing workspace. The latter creates a new workspace. The new workspace replaces the existing workspace. This behaviour is consistent with how documents work in other applications.

save workspace
The Save Workspace and Save Workspace As commands are in the Home Tab.

Automatic Workspace Saving and Backups

Another implication of changing the way that workspaces function is we are now able to provide automatic workspace saving and backup facilities.

There are two useful options. These are enabled in the new Workspace Preferences dialog box.

All of the preferences are now found in the Options panel in the Pro tab. (Two side notes, first all the preferences formerly found in Options > Preferences are found here and second, for future reference, thePro tab is sometimes referred to as the "Backstage Area".) 

workspace preferences


The Auto Save option enables saving a workspace at the specified time interval. The workspace is saved alongside the existing workspace, it does not overwrite your current workspace. The workspace is saved with the name < workspace name >_autosave.wor.

For example:
For a workspace named WORLD_ELEVATION.WOR the name would beWORLD_ELEVATION_AUTOSAVE.WOR.

Backup on save

The Backup On Save option creates a backup copy of the workspace when it is saved. This means you have a copy of the workspace in the state that it was the last time it was saved. An illustration might help to explain this.

Here is a workspace. Note that it is in its original state when opened. (There is no asterisk indicating that there are any pending changes. 

Backup on Save Figure 1

After zooming in on the map, the workspace now has pending changes. 

Backup on Save Figure 2. The data being used in these screen shots is the MapInfo WorldInfo dataset.

Saving a workspace at this point creates the two workspace files as described.

WORLD_ELEVATION.WOR will open as seen above in Backup on Save Figure 2, above..
WORLD_ELEVATION_BACKUP will open as the original workspace as in Backup on Save Figure 1.

Workspace Options

There are two additional new workspace options. 

workspace options 

Include Window Location, State or Size Changes -the workspace will be marked as needing to be saved if a document window (Map, Browser, Layout Designer or Legend Designer) is moved, resized, floated, tabbed or docked. 

Include Tool Windows with Workspace - if this option is checked then all Open Tool windows (for example, Info tool, Ruler tool, Statistics window, etc) will be saved and restored with workspaces.

Behind the scenes - .WOR and .WOX files

A "behind the scenes" change to how workspaces function in the 64 bit version of MapInfo Pro is workspaces are now saved with both a .WOR and a .WOX files. 

The Workspace file functions in a similar to the way it always has. It includes the commands to open the tables and build the various Map, Browser, Layout Designer and Legend Designer windows. 

The .WOX is an XML file contains the state (configuration) of various settings reflecting new capabilities in the 64 bit version such as the whether a window is floating, docked or tabbed. 

When sharing a workspace, you may wish to share both files. A workspace will open without its corresponding .WOX file.

Finally, MapInfo Pro v12.5 comes with an updated Workspace Packager utility. This tool includes the corresponding WOX files when packaging workspaces. 

Do you have questions?
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Feel free to post questions and I'm always happy to get suggestions for topics to appear in this journal.


Article by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Professional" journal 

When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional", Tom enjoys talking to MapInfo Professional users at conferences and events. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.