P4EXP User Guide

This User Guide provides an overview of P4EXP, the Helix Plugin for File Explorer, including its menu options and troubleshooting. P4EXP enables you to perform Helix Server tasks on files in the context of your file browser (for example, File Explorer). For information about Helix Server, see the Documentation page of the Perforce Website.

Connecting to Helix Server

To perform Helix Server version control actions on files in File Explorer, you must be connected to a Helix Core Server, also referred to as Helix Server, with a valid user and workspaceClosed See client workspace..

Set Connection dialog configuration

The graphic user interface provides a convenient Set Connection dialog.

Enter the values for your Server, user name, and workspace, then click OK.

When you are connected, you can Log off by using the More... menu.

Command-line configuration

If you do not want to use Set Connection dialog, consider the command-line alternatives.

You can set these connection variables in the Windows environment, per directory with a P4CONFIG file, or a combination of both. (Note that P4CONFIG files will override Windows environment settings for the current working directory.)

To set Helix Server variables in the Windows environment:

  1. Open a command window.
  2. Set the individual Helix Server variables with the following commands:

    • Server: p4 set P4PORT=<server:port>
    • User: p4 set P4USER=<user_name>
    • Workspace: p4 set P4CLIENT=<workspace_name>
  3. Open File Explorer and navigate to a location under the workspace root defined by the workspace named in P4CLIENT.

To set Helix Server variables with P4CONFIG files:

  1. Open a command window.
  2. Set the Helix Server variable for P4CONFIG with the following command:

    • P4CONFIG: p4 set P4CONFIG=<config_file_name>
  3. For each workspace root location on the local disk, create a file named <config_file_name>; inside the file add:

    # Perforce configuration file
  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to a location under a workspace root containing a P4CONFIG file.

Environment variables should be an adequate way to set connection settings if you are working with a single server, user, and workspace. If you have more than one workspace that you use on a regular basis, you may benefit from the flexibility of using P4CONFIG files.

For additional information, see:

Menu options

When you right-click a file in your file browser and select Perforce, P4EXP displays some or all of the following menu options, depending on the state of the file.

Log In...

Enables you to enter your password and log in if you are not logged in to Helix Server and you have a password.


If the server you are connecting to is configured with multi-factor authentication (MFA), you are prompted for another layer of verification. Depending on the setup, you may need to select a method of verification before you can enter your credentials.

For more information, see p4 login2 in the Helix Core Command-Line (P4) Reference.


If the server you are connecting to is configured for authentication with Helix Authentication Service, the Identity Provider (IdP) web page opens, prompting you for the credentials registered with your Identity Provider (IdP). For details, see Helix Authentication Service Administrator Guide or contact your Helix Core Server administrator.

Get Latest Revision

Retrieves the most recent version of a file in the depotClosed A file repository hosted on the Helix Core Server. A depot is the top-level unit of storage for versioned files, which are also known as depot files, archive files, or source files. It contains all versions of all files ever submitted to the depot, including deleted files (but not obliterated files). There can be multiple depots on a single installation..


Checks in the default changelistClosed The changelist used by a file add, edit, or delete, unless a numbered changelist is specified. A default pending changelist is created automatically when a file is opened for edit.. A changelistClosed A list of files, their version numbers, the changes made to the files, and a description of the changes made. A changelist is the basic unit of versioned work in Helix Server. The changes specified in the changelist are not stored in the depot until the changelist is submitted to the depot. See also atomic change transaction and changelist number. contains details about the change you made to files in the depot.

Check Out

Opens the files for edit in your default changelist. A changelist logs the changes you make to files in the depot. After you have made your changes, you submitClosed To send a pending changelist into the Helix Server depot for processing. the changelist.

Delete in Helix Server

Removes selected files locally and marks them for delete in Helix Server. Depending on your preferences, P4EXP prompts you for confirmation before it proceeds.


Selecting the Don't confirm deletes in the future check box turns off the related preference.

When you confirm, P4EXP marks the files for delete in Helix Server and displays a confirmation message with the number of files marked for delete. Files marked for delete still exist in Helix Server. They are now included in a pending changelistClosed A changelist that has not been submitted.. To complete the deletion process, you need to submit the changelist. To access the changelist, right-click and select Show in P4V or View Pending Changelists. Then, right-click the respective changelist and click Submit.

Add to Source Control

Adds the selected files to the default changelist. When you submit the changelist, the files are added to the depot. Only files that reside in directories in your workspace view can be added to a depot.


Discards all changes you have made to the file. Helix Server restores the head revisionClosed The most recent revision of a file within the depot. Because file revisions are numbered sequentially, this revision is the highest-numbered revision of that file. of the file from the depot to your workspace, overwriting any changes you have made. The file is no longer checked out.

Revert Unchanged Files

Closes unchanged files in a changelist. The files are no longer checked out.

View Pending Changelists

Opens the Pending Changelists dialog, which lists all changelists that have not been submitted. This is helpful when you need to submit files that you marked for delete with the Delete in Helix Server option because such files no longer show in File Explorer.

Diff Against Have Revision

Launches your diffClosed (noun) A set of lines that do not match when two files, or stream versions, are compared. A conflict is a pair of unequal diffs between each of two files and a base, or between two versions of a stream. (verb) To compare the contents of files or file revisions, or of stream versions. See also conflict. utility to compare (diff) files in your workspace with files at the head revision in the depot to display any changes you have made.

File History

Displays the History dialog, which enables you to view any of the selected file's revisions, get a desired revision into your workspace, or compare two revisions of the same file.


Displays Helix Server information about a file.

Show in P4V

Opens P4V with the selected file highlighted.

Remove from Workspace

Removes files from your workspace. The files remain in the depot. To restore a file to your workspace, select the file in P4V and choose Get Latest Revision.

Refresh File State

Refreshes the state of the files under Helix Server control.


Set Connection: Displays the dialog for configuring a connection to your Helix Server.

Connection Information: Displays information about your Helix Server connection.

Preferences: Enables you to configure P4EXP as follows:

  • Show file state icons: Select to display Helix Server icon overlays on individual files to indicate file state in the file browser, as follows:

    • Green circle: The file is synced to head.
    • Yellow triangle: The file is out of date.
    • Red check: The file is in your changelist, opened for either add, edit, or delete.
  • Prompt for confirmation of delete in Helix Server: Clear if you do not want P4EXP to prompt you for confirmation when you try to delete a file in Helix Server. By default, this option is selected.
  • Show only error messages: Select to display only error messages from the server. By default, all server messages are displayed when you perform an action on a file.
  • Enable logging to file: Select to log P4EXP activity to the specified file.

    • Name: Specify the name and location of the log file.
    • Size: Specify the maximum size of the log file.
  • Enable diagnostic logging: Select to turn on verbose debug logging for actions performed from Perforce menu items.

Log Off: Logs you out if you have a password set in Helix Server.

Help: Displays this help page.


If you experience issues viewing P4EXP icons, this might be related to file overlay icon limitations on Windows. For more information and a workaround, see the article Inconsistent Icon Overlays with P4EXP in the Perforce Knowledgebase.