P4V User Guide (2019.2)

Creating and managing workspaces

Your Helix server administrator can set up your workspace for you, but it is advisable to learn a few important aspects of configuring your workspace, specifically configuring the workspace root directory and configuring the workspace specification, also called the view.

The workspace root, also referred to as client rootThe topmost (root) directory of a client workspace. If two or more client workspaces are located on one machine, they should not share a client root directory., specifies the location on your workstation under which Helix server stores copies of depot files. You should give it a meaningful name and make sure it is not set to your computer's root directory.

A workspace specification defines the portion of the depot that can be accessed from that workspace and specifies where local copies of files in the depot are stored. This location is called the workspaceDirectories on your machine where you work on file revisions that are managed by Helix server. By default, this name is set to the name of the machine on which your client workspace is located, but it can be overridden. Client workspaces, labels, and branch specifications cannot share the same name. (or client, in the Helix Core server command line interface). A computer can contain multiple workspaces. A workspace is required if you intend to work with files when connecting to Helix server. You can connect using only host name and port, but you cannot exchange files unless you specify a workspace.

The mapping of depot files to local files is called the workspace viewA set of mappings that specifies the correspondence between file locations in the depot and the client workspace.. If you are working with streams, the workspace view is generated by Helix server, based on the structure of the stream. If the structure of the stream changes, the workspace view is updated automatically. You cannot manually edit a stream's workspace view. If you use classic depots, you must define and maintain the workspace view manually.


Helix server streams are "branches with brains," a containerized approach to managing bodies of related files such as codelines. Streams provide more guidance through complex steps of version control. If you work with streams, this affects the way you create depots, define client workspaces, and integrate changes between files. For more information about streams, see Working with streams.

Create a workspace

As of version 2019.1, when you create a new workspace, P4V immediately creates the workspace directory. In earlier versions, P4V would only create the directory when you synced files for the first time.

To create a new workspace:

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Go to Connection > New Workspace​.

    • In the Streams tab (in the right pane), right-click a stream and select New Workspace​.
    • In the Workspaces tab (in the right pane), right-click and select New Workspace.
  2. If the Workspace Name dialog opens, enter a name and click OK.


    This dialog only appears if P4V is configured to prompt for a new workspace name. This is not the default behavior.

  3. In the Workspace dialog, on the Basic tab, accept or change the default workspace name and root.

    Workspace: New dialog
  4. Map the workspace to the depot:

    Classic depots:

    Configure the workspace view (mappings) in the Workspace Mappings field by doing one of the following:

    • Select the View workspace mapping as text icon TextEdit and enter your view specification using Helix server client view syntax.
    • Select the View workspace mapping as tree icon TreeEdit and browse to the files and folders you want.

      Build your workspace mapping by selecting a depot, folder, or file and using the Include Include button, Exclude Exclude button, and Clear Clear button buttons above the field; or right-click and select the Include, Exclude, and Clear options in the context menu.

    For more information about mapping workspaces, including an example, see Define a workspace view.

    Stream depots:

    • Stream: Enter or browse for the stream that will be associated with this workspace.

      If you enter a stream, the workspace view is populated automatically under Workspace Mappings; you cannot edit it.


      To dissociate a workspace from a stream, delete the entry in the Stream field.

    • Stream at change: If you want to work using a stream definition as of a specific changelist, enter the changelist number here.

      When a change is made to a stream definition, the stream is versioned using the current value of the change counter. Use Stream at change when you want your stream workspace to use a view generated from the stream definition as of a prior changelist.

      Using a stream-at-change view is useful if you need to work with a set of directories and files that are not identical to the set in the current stream. For example, your stream may no longer include certain libraries that were included in an early version of the stream, but now you need those libraries to test a build. Enter the number of the last changelist to include those libraries. When you work in this workspace, P4V syncs to that changelist, allowing you to perform the test builds. Stream-at-change workspaces are read-only; you cannot check files into a previous changelist.

    For more information about streams, see the "Streams" chapter in the Helix Core Server User Guide.

  5. Specify the following settings on the Advanced tab as needed.


    The user who created the specification.


    If selected, only the owner of the workspace can use, change, or delete the workspace specification. Other users can see the workspace, but they cannot edit or delete its spec or use it to sync, open files, or do anything else.


    Your own explanation of the purpose of the workspace, or any related information you need to specify.

    The Description field accepts HTML tags for marking up and hyperlinking text. For details, see Formatting text in Description fields.


    (Optional) The computer where the workspace resides. To enable the workspace to be used from any machine, leave this field blank.


    For workspace specifications used from hosts on different platforms, a list of workspace roots in host-platform-specific syntax.

    File Options

    • Allwrite: All files in the workspace are writable (can be modified).
    • Clobber: Syncing files overwrites writable files on the workspace.
    • Compress: Compresses data sent between the workspace and Helix server.
    • Modtime: Modification time for files edited in the client workspace is set to the time when the file is submitted to the depot. With this option, P4V also minimizes costly digest computations on the client by checking file modification times before checking digests to determine if files have been modified outside of P4V.
    • Rmdir: Deletes a workspace folder if all the files contained in the folder are removed.

    Line ending characters for text files

    The line-end convention used for storing text files on the workspace computer:

    • Local: Uses the workspace platform default
    • Unix: LF
    • Mac: CR
    • Win: CRLF
    • Share: Line endings are LF. Any CR prior to a line ending is removed for storage or syncing (for disks shared between UNIX and Windows)

    On submit

    Configures what happens when users submit files. The following options are available:

    • Submit all selected files: Default. All open files are submitted.
    • Don't submit unchanged files: Files that have content, type, or resolved changes are submitted, Unchanged files are moved to the default changelist.
    • Revert unchanged files: Files that have content, type, or resolved changes are submitted. Unchanged files are reverted.

    Check out submitted files after submit

    If selected, P4V reopens submitted files in the default changelist.

    Client type

    Specifies the type of client: writeable (the default), readonly, or partitioned.

    Use readonly for short lived clients used in build automation scripts. Such clients cannot edit or submit files, but this should not be an issue in build scripts.

    Use partitioned to achieve the same thing as the readonly setting but with the additional ability to edit and submit files using that client.


    Using writeable clients in build automation scripts can lead to db.have table fragmentation, which is used to track what files a client has synced. If you are experiencing such issues, use a read-only or partitioned client instead. A client of type readonly or partitioned is assigned its own personal db.have database table. The location of this table must first be specified with the client.readonly.dir configurable by an administrator.


    Not currently in use. Applies only to clients bound to cluster workspace servers. Server clustering is no longer supported in Helix server. For additional information, see the Perforce Server Clustering Update.

  6. Click Save to save your entries and create the workspace specification.

Define a workspace view

The workspace view determines which portions of the depot are visible in your Workspace tab (in the left pane) and where local copies of depot files are stored in your workspace. If you use streams, the workspace view is generated and updated automatically. If you use classic depots, you must maintain the view manually, as described here.


P4V does not support workspaces of type graph. In addition, P4V cannot access so-called 'hybrid' workspaces, that is workspaces that map to files in both classic and graph depots. For more information on graph depots, see Depots and repos in the Helix4Git Administrator Guide.

To define or change your workspace view:

  1. If the Workspace form is not already open, do the following:

    1. Go to View > Workspaces to open the Workspaces tab.
    2. In the Workspaces tab, right-click the workspace and select Edit Workspace.
  2. In the Workspace dialog, edit the Workspace Mappings field.

    You can define the view syntactically and graphically, as described in Syntactic view specification and Graphical view specification.

  3. When you have finished editing, save your changes.

Syntactic view specification

In the Workspace dialog, on the Basic tab, above the Workspace Mappings field, click the View workspace mapping as text TextEdit icon and type your view specification using Helix server client view syntax. Views consist of mappings, one per line. The left-hand side of the mapping specifies the depot files and the right-hand side specifies the location in the workspace where the depot files reside when they are retrieved from the depot. The following example illustrates this.


The workspace path provided includes the workspace name (bruno), not the workspace root (C:\Users\Perforce\bruno).

//depot/...         //bruno/depot/...
//user_depot/... //bruno/user_depot/...
//projects/... //bruno/myprojects/...

For details about client view syntax, see the Configure clients chapter in the Helix Core Server User Guide.

Graphical view specification

Click the View workspace mapping as tree icon TreeEdit. The depot is displayed as a tree of folders and files. Right-click the file or folder you want to map and choose the mapping, as follows:

  • Include tree/Exclude tree: Include or exclude all files below the selected folder.
  • Include file/Exclude file: Include or exclude a specific file.
  • Include Special/Exclude Special: Use depot syntax to specify the workspace view.
  • Clear: Remove mapped folders or files from the mapping.

Alternately, double-click files or folders and use the resulting Special Edit dialog to define the view. This dialog enables you to specify options by clicking radio buttons or using the Expressions field to enter the left and right-hand components of a client view mapping.


To quickly add a depot path to the client view, go to Search > Filter Depot > Entire Depot Tree, right-click the desired folder in the Depot Tree, and choose Map to Workspace View​.

Switch workspaces

How to change from one workspace to another depends on whether you work with classic depots or streams.

Classic depots

When working with classic depots, you can switch your workspace using the Select Workspace dialog. To open the Select Workspace dialog, do any of the following:

  • In the drop-down list at the top of the tree pane, click the drop-down arrow and select Switch to Workspace.
  • Go to Connections > Switch to Workspace.
  • Open the Open Connection dialog and click Browse next to the Workspace field.

Select Workspace dialog

You can also switch your workspace by right-clicking a workspace in the Workspaces tab (on the right) and selecting Switch to Workspace <workspace name>.

Stream depots

When working with streams, you can switch workspaces using the same methods you use when working with classic depots. In addition, you can switch stream workspaces by merging or copying to a stream (in this case, P4V prompts you to switch to the target stream's workspace), or by doing the following:

  • In the Streams tab or the Stream Graph, right-click a stream and select Work in this Stream.

  • In the Stream Graph, drag the Workspace workspaces icon from your current stream to the one you want to work in.

If your stream preferences are set to use a different workspace and to show an information dialog when switching workspaces, P4V prompts you to switch workspaces or create a new workspace. In this case, click the Create New Workspace button (if you have only one workspace), Switch Workspaces button (if you have two workspace), or the Select Workspaces button (if you have more than two workspace) to switch your workspace. If more than one workspace is associated with the stream, the Select Workspace dialog opens, where you can search for and select the workspace you want.

If your preferences are set to use the same workspace when you switch between streams, the workspace view changes to include the stream you are switching to. In other words, the Stream field value in the workspace definition changes to the new stream. When you do this and your Helix server version is 2019.1 or later, then if you have files checked out to:

  • The default changelist: P4V shelves them automatically in a numbered changelist with the description "Switched branch shelf" and unshelves them again to the default changelist when you switch back to that stream. However, note that the numbered changelist created for the interim shelf does not get deleted and stays behind in the system.
  • A numbered changelist:P4V prompts you to shelve those files before switching. When you switch back to that stream, those files remain shelved in the numbered changelist. You have to unshelve them manually.

If you reuse a workspace between streams and you have checked out the stream, you cannot switch streams. You first need to check in the stream. See also Edit a stream privately.

View workspaces

To view workspaces for the server to which you are connected, do one of the following:

  • Go to View > Workspaces. Then double-click a workspace row in the Workspaces tab to display the details of the client workspace specification.

  • Open the Select Workspace dialog (for details, see Switch workspaces). Then double-click a workspace row to display the details of the client workspace specification.

Search for workspaces

You can use filters to search for workspaces in the Workspaces tab and the Select Workspace dialog. You can filter workspaces by any combination of the following:

  • Owner: Select current user or enter a user ID.
  • Workspace Name
  • Stream name

You can also choose to Show only workspaces available for use on this computer.

For more information on filters, see Searching and filtering.

Delete and unload workspaces

Deleting a workspace removes the Helix server record of the workspace but does not remove files from the workspace or depot. You cannot delete a workspace that has files checked out (open for edit) in P4V.

Unloading transfers infrequently used metadata from the versioning engine’s database files to a set of flat files in an unload depot. If you unload a workspace, you can reload it if you change your mind and want to use it again.

To delete a workspace:

  1. Submit or revert any pending or shelved changelists associated with the workspace.
  2. Go to View > Workspaces to open the Workspaces tab.
  3. Right-click the workspace and select Delete Workspace 'workspace_name'.

To unload a workspace:

  1. Submit or revert any pending or shelved changelists associated with the workspace.
  2. Go to View > Workspaces to open the Workspaces tab.
  3. Right-click the workspace and select Unload Workspace 'workspace_name''.

To reload an unloaded workspace:

  1. Go to View > Workspaces to open the Workspaces tab.
  2. Select the Unloaded​ icon unloaded in the filter pane to open the Unloaded Workspaces dialog, where you can filter for and select unloaded workspaces to reload.
  3. Right-click the workspace and select Reload Workspace 'workspace_name'.

For more information about unloading, see the p4 unload command in the Helix Core P4 Command Reference.