Configuring P4

This chapter tells you how to configure connection settings.

Configuration overview

Perforce is an enterprise version management system in which you connect to a shared versioning service; users sync files from the shared repository, called the depot, and edit them on your workstation in your client workspace. This chapter assumes that your system administrator has configured your organization's Perforce service. For details about setting up the versioning service, refer to the Perforce Server Administrator's Guide: Fundamentals.

To set up your workspace so you can work with Perforce, perform the following steps:

  1. Configure settings for the protocol, host, and port (so you can connect to the Perforce service). See Configuring Perforce settings.

  2. Define your workspace (at a minimum, assign a name and specify a workspace root where you want local copies of depot files stored). See Defining client workspaces.

  3. Verify the connection. See Verifying connections.

After you configure your workspace, you can populate it by syncing files that are stored in the depot. For details, see Syncing (retrieving) files and the description of the p4 sync command in the P4 Command Reference.

Before you start to configure Perforce, ask your Perforce administrator for the proper host and port setting. Also ask whether a workspace has already been configured for your workstation.

What is a client workspace?

A Perforce client workspace is a set of directories on your workstation where you work on file revisions that are managed by Perforce. Each workspace is given a name that identifies the client workspace to the Perforce service. If no workspace name is specified (by setting the P4CLIENT environment variable) the default workspace name is the name of your workstation. To specify the effective workspace name, set the P4CLIENT environment variable. You can have multiple workspaces on your machine.

All files within a Perforce client workspace share a root directory, called the client workspace root. The workspace root is the highest-level directory of the workspace under which the managed source files reside.

If you configure multiple workspaces on the same machine, keep workspace locations separate to avoid inadvertently overwriting files. Ensure that client roots are located in different folders and that their workspace views do not map depot files to overlapping locations on your workstation.

After you configure your workspace, you can sync files from the depot and submit changes. For details about these tasks, refer to “Managing Files and Changelists”.

How Perforce manages the workspace

Perforce manages the files in a client workspace as follows:

  • Files in the workspace are created, updated, and deleted as determined by your changes.

  • Write permission is enabled when you edit a file, and disabled when you submit your changes.

The state of your workspace is tracked and managed by Perforce. To avoid conflicts with the file management performed by Perforce applications, do not manually change read-only permission settings on files. Perforce has commands that help you determine whether or not the state of your client workspace corresponds to Perforce's record of that state; see Working offline for details.

Files in the workspace that you have not put under Perforce control are ignored by Perforce. For example, compiled objects, libraries, executables, and developers' temporary files that are created while developing software but not added to the depot are not affected by Perforce commands.

After defining your client workspace, you can fine-tune the workspace definition. Probably most important, you can restrict the portion of the depot that is visible to you, to prevent you from inadvertently syncing the entire depot. For details, refer to Refining workspace views.

Configuring Perforce settings

This guide refers to Perforce settings using environment variables (for example, set P4CLIENT), but you can specify Perforce settings such as port, user, and workspace names using the following methods, listed in order of precedence:

  1. On the command line, using options

  2. In a config file, if P4CONFIG is set

  3. User environment variables (on UNIX or Windows)

  4. System environment variables (on Windows, system-wide environment variables are not necessarily the same thing as user environment variables)

  5. On Windows or OS X, in the user registry or settings (set by issuing the p4 set command)

  6. On Windows or OS X, in the system registry or system settings (set by issuing the p4 set -s command)

To configure your workstation to connect to the Perforce service, you specify the name of the host where the service is running, and the port on which it is listening. The default host is perforce and default port is 1666. If the service is running on your own machine, specify localhost as the host name. If the service is running on port 1666, you can omit the port specification.

You can specify these settings as described in the following sections. For details about working offline (without a connection to a Perforce service), see Working offline.

Using the command line

To specify these settings on the command line, use the -p option. For example:

p4 -p tcp:localhost:1776 sync //depot/dev/main/jam/Jambase

Settings specified on the command line override any settings specified in config files, environment variables, the Windows registry, or OS X system settings. For more details about command-line options, refer to the discussion of global options in the P4 Command Reference.

Using config files

Config files are text files containing Perforce settings that are in effect for files in and below the directory where the config file resides. Config files are useful if you have multiple client workspaces on the same machine. By specifying the settings in config files, you avoid the inconvenience of changing system settings every time you want to work with a different workspace.

To use config files, you define the P4CONFIG environment variable, specifying a file name (for example, .p4config). When you issue a command, Perforce searches the current working directory and its parent directories for the specified file and uses the settings it contains (unless the settings are overridden by command-line options).

Each setting in the file must be specified on its own line, using the following format:


The following settings can be specified in a config file.




Character set used for translation of Unicode files.


Non-UTF-16 or UTF-32 character set used by Command-Line Client when P4CHARSET is set to a UTF-16 or UTF-32 character set.


Name of the current client workspace.


The name and location of the diff program used by p4 resolve and p4 diff.


The editor invoked by those Perforce commands that use forms.


Hostname of the client workstation. Only useful if the Host: field of the current client workspace has been set in the p4 client form.


A list of files to ignore when using the p4 add and p4 reconcile commands.


This environment variable is reserved for system integrators.


The name and location of the third-party merge program to be used by p4 resolve's merge option.


Supplies the current Perforce user's password for any Perforce command.


The protocol, host and port number of the Perforce service (including proxies or brokers) with which to communicate.


The location of a file of known (trusted) Perforce servers. You manage the contents of this file with the p4 trust command. By default, this file is .p4trust in your home directory.


Current Perforce user name.

For details about these settings, refer to the P4 Command Reference.

Example 1. Using config files to handle switching between two workspaces.

Ona switches between two workspaces on the same machine. The first workspace is ona-ash. It has a client root of /tmp/user/ona and connects to the Perforce service using SSL at ssl:ida:1818. The second workspace is called ona-agave. Its client root is /home/ona/p4-ona, and it uses a plaintext connection to a Perforce service at tcp:warhol:1666.

Ona sets the P4CONFIG environment variable to .p4settings. She creates a file called .p4settings in /tmp/user/ona containing the following text:


She creates a second .p4settings file in /home/ona/p4-ona. It contains the following text:


Any work she does on files under /tmp/user/ona is managed by the Perforce service at ssl:ida:1818 and work she does on files under /home/ona/p4-ona is managed by the Perforce service at tcp:warhol:1666.

Using environment variables

To configure connection settings using environment variables, set P4PORT to protocol:host:port, as in the following examples.

If the service runs on

and listens to port

supports encryption protocol

set P4PORT to

your computer


nothing (plaintext)








nothing (plaintext)




If you do not specify a protocol in your P4PORT setting, tcp: (plaintext communication over TCP/IP) is assumed. If the Perforce service has been configured to support SSL, you can encrypt your connection to Perforce by using ssl: as the desired protocol.

Other protocols (for example, tcp4: to require a plaintext IPv4 connection, or ssl64: to require an encrypted connection, but to prefer the use of the IPv6 transport instead of IPv4) are available for use in mixed networking environments.

See Connecting over IPv6 networks, and the Perforce Server Administrator's Guide: Fundamentals, for details.

Using the Windows registry or OS X system settings

On Windows and OS X machines, you can store connection settings in the registry (or system settings) by using the p4 set command. For example:

p4 set

There are two ways you can configure Perforce settings in the registry:

  • p4 set setting=value: for the current local user.

  • p4 set -s setting=value: for all users on the local machine. Can be overridden by any registry settings made for the local user. Requires administrative privileges.

To see which settings are in effect, use the p4 set command without arguments. For details about the p4 set command, see the P4 Command Reference.

Defining client workspaces

To define a client workspace:

  1. Specify the workspace name by setting P4CLIENT; for example, on a UNIX system:

    $ P4CLIENT=bruno_ws ; export P4CLIENT

  2. Issue the p4 client command.

    Perforce displays the client workspace specification form in your text editor. (For details about Perforce forms, refer to Using Perforce forms.)

  3. Specify (at least the minimum) settings and save the specification.

No files are synced when you create a client specification. To find out how to sync files from the depot to your workspace, refer to Syncing (retrieving) files. For details about relocating files on your machine, see Changing the location of your workspace.

The minimum settings you must specify to configure a client workspace are:

  • Workspace name

    The workspace name defaults to your machine's hostname, but a your workstation can contain multiple workspaces. To specify the effective workspace, set P4CLIENT.

  • Workspace root

    The client workspace root is the top directory of your client workspace, where Perforce stores your working copies of depot files. Be sure to set the workspace root, or you might inadvertently sync files to your workstation's root directory. (When specifying a workspace root on Windows, you must also include the drive letter.)

    If the workspace root directory does not exist, you must create it before the Perforce application can make use of it.

    The @, #, *, and % characters have specific meaning to Perforce; if you have file or folder names that use these characters, see Restrictions on filenames and identifiers for details.

Your client workspace view determines which files in the depot are mapped to your workspace and enables Perforce to construct a one-to-one mapping between individual depot and workspace files. You can map files to have different names and locations in your workspace than they have in the depot, but you cannot map files to multiple locations in the workspace or the depot. By default, the entire depot is mapped to your workspace. You can define a client workspace view to map only files and directories of interest, so that you do not inadvertently sync the entire depot into your workspace. For details, see Refining workspace views.

Example 2. Setting the workspace view.

Bruno issues the p4 client command and sees a form containing this default client workspace view definition:

Client:      bruno_ws
Update:      2014/05/12 09:46:53
Access:      2014/05/12 10:28:40
Owner:       bruno
Description: Created by jbruges.
Root:        c:\bruno_ws
Options:     :noallwrite noclobber nocompress unlocked nomodtime normdir
SubmitOptions: submitunchanged
LineEnd: local
         //depot/...     //bruno_ws/...

He modifies the view to map only the development portion of the depot.

         //depot/dev/...     //bruno_ws/dev/...

He further modifies the view to map files from multiple depots into his workspace.

         //depot/dev/...     //bruno_ws/depot/dev/...
         //testing/...       //bruno_ws/testing/...
         //archive/...       //bruno_ws/archive/...

Verifying connections

To verify a connection, issue the p4 info command. If P4PORT is set correctly, information like the following is displayed:

User name: bruno
Client name: bruno_ws
Client host: workstation_12
Client root: c:\bruno_ws
Current directory: c:\bruno_ws
Peer address;
Client address:
Server address:
Server root: /usr/depot/p4d
Server date: 2012/03/28 15:03:05 -0700 PDT
Server uptime: 752:41:33
Server version: P4D/FREEBSD/2012.1/406375 (2012/01/25)
ServerID: Master
Server license: P4Admin <p4adm> 20 users (expires 2015/01/01)
Server license-ip:
Case handling: sensitive

The Server address: field shows the host to which p4 connected and also displays the host and port number on which the Perforce service is listening. If P4PORT is set incorrectly, you receive a message like the following:

Perforce client error:
   Connect to server failed; check $P4PORT.
   TCP connect to perforce:1666 failed.
   perforce: host unknown.

If the value you see in the third line of the error message is perforce:1666 (as above), P4PORT has not been set. Set P4PORT and try to connect again.

If your installation requires SSL, make sure your P4PORT is of the form ssl:hostname:port.

You will be asked to verify the server's fingerprint the first time you attempt to connect to the service. If the fingerprint is accurate, use the p4 trust command to install the fingerprint into a file (pointed to by the P4TRUST environment variable) that holds a list of known/trusted Perforce servers and their respective fingerprints. If P4TRUST is unset, this file is .p4trust in the user's home directory. For more information, see SSL-encrypted connections.

If your installation requires plaintext (in order to support older Perforce applications), set P4PORT to tcp:hostname:port.

Connecting over IPv6 networks

As of Release 2013.1, Perforce supports connectivity over IPv6 networks as well as over IPv4 networks.

Depending on the configuration of your LAN or WAN, your system administrator may recommend different port settings. Your administrator may also recommend that you set the net.rfc3484 configurable to 1, either from the command line or in a P4CONFIG file:

p4 configure set net.rfc3484=1

Doing so ensures RFC3484-compliant behavior if the protocol value is not explicitly specified; that is, if the client-side configurable net.rfc3484 is set to 1, and P4PORT is set to, or, or, the user's operating system automatically determines, for any given connection, whether to use IPv4 or IPv6 when communicating with the versioning service.

Further information is available in the Perforce Server Administrator's Guide: Fundamentals.

Refining workspace views

By default, when you create a client workspace, the entire depot is mapped to your workspace. You can refine this mapping to view only a portion of the depot and to change the correspondence between depot and workspace locations.

To display or modify a workspace view, issue the p4 client command. Perforce displays the client workspace specification form, which lists mappings in the View: field:

Client:  bruno_ws
Owner:   bruno
         Created by bruno.
Root:    C:\bruno_ws
Options: noallwrite noclobber nocompress unlocked nomodtime normdir
SubmitOptions:   submitunchanged
         //depot/...   //bruno_ws/...

The following sections provide details about specifying the client workspace view. For more information, see the p4 client command description and the description of views in the P4 Command Reference.

Specifying mappings

Views consist of multiple mappings. Each mapping has two parts.

  • The left-hand side specifies one or more files in the depot and has the form: //depotname/file_specification

  • The right-hand side specifies one or more files in the client workspace and has the form://clientname/file_specification

The left-hand side of a client workspace view mapping is called the depot side, and the right-hand side is the client side.

To determine the location of any workspace file on your workstation, substitute the client workspace root for the workspace name on the client side of the mapping. For example, if the workspace root is C:\bruno_ws, the file //depot/dev/main/jam/Jamfile resides in C:\bruno_ws\dev\main\jam\Jamfile.

Later mappings override earlier ones. In the following example, the second line overrides the first line, mapping the files in //depot/dev/main/docs/manuals/ up two levels. When files in //depot/dev/main/docs/manuals/ are synced, they reside in c:\bruno_ws\docs\.

    //depot/dev/...            //bruno_ws/dev/...
    //depot/dev/main/docs/...  //bruno_ws/docs/...

Using wildcards in workspace views

To map groups of files in workspace views, you use Perforce wildcards. Any wildcard used on the depot side of a mapping must be matched with an identical wildcard in the mapping's client side. You can use the following wildcards to specify mappings in your client workspace.




Matches anything except slashes. Matches only within a single directory. Case sensitivity depends on your platform.


Matches anything including slashes. Matches recursively (everything in and below the specified directory).

%%1 - %%9

Positional specifiers for substring rearrangement in filenames.

In this simple client workspace view:

//depot/dev/... //bruno_ws/dev/...

all files in the depot's dev branch are mapped to the corresponding locations in the client workspace. For example, the file //depot/dev/main/jam/Makefile is mapped to the workspace file C:\bruno_ws\dev\main\jam\Makefile.


To avoid mapping unwanted files, always precede the "..." wildcard with a forward slash.

The mappings in workspace views always refer to the locations of files and directories in the depot; you cannot refer to specific revisions of a file in a workspace view.

Mapping part of the depot

If you are interested only in a subset of the depot files, map that portion. Reducing the scope of the workspace view also ensures that your commands do not inadvertently affect the entire depot. To restrict the workspace view, change the left-hand side of the View: field to specify the relevant portion of the depot.

Example 3. Mapping part of the depot to the client workspace.

Dai is working on the Jam project and maintaining the web site, so she sets the View: field as follows:

    //depot/dev/main/jam/...  //dai-beos-locust/jam/...
    //depot/www/live/...      //dai-beos-locust/www/live/...

Mapping files to different locations in the workspace

Views can consist of multiple mappings, which are used to map portions of the depot file tree to different parts of the workspace file tree. If there is a conflict in the mappings, later mappings have precedence over the earlier ones.

Example 4. Multiple mappings in a single workspace view.

The following view ensures that Microsoft Word files in the manuals folder reside in the workspace in a top-level folder called wordfiles.

    //depot/...                          //bruno_ws/...
    //depot/dev/main/docs/manuals/*.doc  //bruno_ws/wordfiles/*.doc

Mapping files to different filenames

Mappings can be used to make the filenames in the workspace differ from those in the depot.

Example 5. Files with different names in the depot and the workspace

The following view maps the depot file RELNOTES to the workspace file rnotes.txt:

    //depot/...                   //bruno_ws/...
    //depot/dev/main/jam/RELNOTES //bruno_ws/dev/main/jam/rnotes.txt

Rearranging parts of filenames

Positional specifiers %%0 through %%9 can be used to rearrange portions of filenames and directories.

Example 6. Using positional specifiers to rearrange filenames and directories.

The following view maps the depot file //depot/allfiles/readme.txt to the workspace file filesbytype/txt/readme:

    //depot/allfiles/%%1.%%2  //bruno_ws/filesbytype/%%2/%%1

Excluding files and directories

Exclusionary mappings enable you to explicitly exclude files and directories from a workspace. To exclude a file or directory, precede the mapping with a minus sign (-). White space is not allowed between the minus sign and the mapping.

Example 7. Using views to exclude files from a client workspace.

Earl, who is working on the Jam project, does not want any HTML files synced to his workspace. His workspace view looks like this:

    //depot/dev/main/jam/...        //earl-dev-beech/jam/...
    -//depot/dev/main/jam/....html  //earl-dev-beech/jam/....html

Restricting access by changelist

You can restrict access to depot paths to a particular point in time by providing the depot path names and changelist numbers in the ChangeView field of the client workspace specification. Files specified for the ChangeView field are read-only: they can be opened but not submitted. For example:

      //depot/path/[email protected]

In this example, revisions of the files in //depot/path/... are not visible if they were submitted after changelist 1000. Files submitted up to and including changelist 1000 are visible but read-only. You can specify multiple paths.

Avoiding mapping conflicts

When you use multiple mappings in a single view, a single file can inadvertently be mapped to two different places in the depot or workspace. When two mappings conflict in this way, the later mapping overrides the earlier mapping.

Example 8. Erroneous mappings that conflict.

Joe has constructed a view as follows:

    //depot/proj1/...    //joe/project/...
    //depot/proj2/...    //joe/project/...

The second mapping //depot/proj2/... maps to //joe/project and conflicts with the first mapping. Because these mappings conflict, the first mapping is ignored; no files in //depot/proj1 are mapped into the workspace: //depot/proj1/file.c is not mapped, even if //depot/proj2/file.c does not exist.

Mapping different depot locations to the same workspace location

Overlay mappings enable you to map files from more than one depot directory to the same place in a workspace. To overlay the contents of a second directory in your workspace, use a plus sign (+) in front of the mapping.

Example 9. Overlaying multiple directories in the same workspace.

Joe wants to combine the files from his projects when they are synced to his workspace, so he has constructed a view as follows:

    //depot/proj1/...    //joe/project/...
    +//depot/proj2/...   //joe/project/...

The overlay mapping +//depot/proj2/... maps to //joe/project, and overlays the first mapping. Overlay mappings do not conflict. Files (even deleted files) in //depot/proj2 take precedence over files in //depot/proj1. If //depot/proj2/file.c is missing (as opposed to being present, but deleted), then //depot/proj1/file.c is mapped into the workspace instead.

Overlay mappings are useful for applying sparse patches in build environments.

Dealing with spaces in filenames and directories

Use quotation marks to enclose files or directories that contain spaces.

Example 10. Dealing with spaces in filenames and directories.

Joe wants to map files in the depot into his workspace, but some of the paths contain spaces:

    "//depot/Release 2.0/..."   //joe/current/...
    "//depot/Release 1.1/..."   "//joe/Patch Release/..."
    //depot/webstats/2011/...   "//joe/2011 Web Stats/..."

By placing quotation marks around the path components on the server side, client side, or both sides of the mappings, Joe can specify file names and/or directory components that contain spaces.

For more information, see Spaces in filenames, pathnames, and identifiers.

Mapping Windows workspaces across multiple drives

To specify a workspace that spans multiple Windows drives, use a Root: of null and specify the drive letters (in lowercase) in the workspace view. For example:

Client:     bruno_ws
Update:     2011/11/29 09:46:53
Access:     2011/03/02 10:28:40
Owner:      bruno
Root:       null
Options:    noallwrite noclobber nocompress unlocked nomodtime normdir
SubmitOptions: submitunchanged
LineEnd:    local
    //depot/dev/...      "//bruno_ws/c:/Current Release/..."
    //depot/release/...  "//bruno_ws/d:/Prior Releases/..."
    //depot/www/...      //bruno_ws/d:/website/...

Using the same workspace from different machines

By default, you can only use a workspace on the machine that is specified by the Host: field. If you want to use the same workspace on multiple machines with different platforms, delete the Host: entry and set the AltRoots: field in the client workspace specification. You can specify a maximum of two alternate workspace roots. The locations must be visible from all machines that will be using them, for example through NFS or Samba mounts.

Perforce compares the current working directory against the main Root: first, and then against the two AltRoots: if specified. The first root to match the current working directory is used. If no roots match, the main root is used.


If you are using a Windows directory in any of your workspace roots, specify the Windows directory as your main client Root: and specify your other workspace root directories in the AltRoots: field.

In the following example, if user bruno's current working directory is located under /usr/bruno, Perforce uses the UNIX path as his workspace root, rather than c:\bruno_ws. This approach allows bruno to use the same client workspace specification for both UNIX and Windows development.

Client: bruno_ws
Owner:  bruno
        Created by bruno.
Root:   c:\bruno_ws

To find out which client workspace root is in effect, issue the p4 info command and check the Client root: field.

If you edit text files in the same workspace from different platforms, ensure that the editors and settings you use preserve the line endings. For details about line-endings in cross-platform settings, see Configuring line-ending settings.

Automatically pruning empty directories from a workspace

By default, Perforce does not remove empty directories from your workspace. To change this behavior, issue the p4 client command and in the Options: field, change the option normdir to rmdir.

For more about changing workspace options, see Configuring workspace options.

Changing the location of your workspace

To change the location of files in your workspace, issue the p4 client command and change either or both of the Root: and View: fields. Before changing these settings, ensure that you have no files checked out (by submitting or reverting open files).

If you intend to modify both fields, perform the following steps to ensure that your workspace files are located correctly:

  1. To remove the files from their old location in the workspace, issue the p4 sync ...#none command.

  2. Change the Root: field. (The new client workspace root directory must exist on your workstation before you can retrieve files into it.)

  3. To copy the files to their new locations in the workspace, perform a p4 sync. (If you forget to perform the p4 sync ...#none before you change the workspace view, you can always remove the files from their client workspace locations manually).

  4. Change the View: field.

  5. Again, perform a p4 sync. The files in the client workspace are synced to their new locations.

Configuring workspace options

The following table describes workspace Options: in detail.





Specifies whether unopened files are always writable. By default, Perforce makes unopened files read-only. To avoid inadvertently overwriting changes or causing syncs to fail, specify noallwrite.

A setting of allwrite leaves unopened files writable by the current user; it does not set filesystem permissions to ensure writability by any user of a multiuser system.

If allwrite and noclobber are both set, Perforce performs a safe sync, comparing the content in your client workspace against what was last synced. If the file was modified outside of Perforce control, an error message is displayed and the file is not overwritten.



Specifies whether p4 sync overwrites writable but unopened workspace files. (By default, Perforce does not overwrite unopened files if they are writable.)

If allwrite and noclobber are both set, Perforce performs a safe sync, comparing the content in your client workspace against what was last synced. If the file was modified outside of Perforce control, an error message is displayed and the file is not overwritten.



Specifies whether data is compressed when it is sent between your workstation and the Perforce service.



Specifies whether other users can use, edit, or delete the client workspace specification. A Perforce administrator can override the lock with the -f (force) option.

If you lock your client workspace specification, be sure to set a password for the workspace's owner using the p4 passwd command.



For files without the +m (modtime) file type modifier, if modtime is set, the modification date (on the local filesystem) of a newly synced file is the datestamp on the file when the file was submitted to the depot. If nomodtime is set, the modification date is the date and time of sync.

For files with the +m (modtime) file type, the modification date (on the local filesystem) of a newly synced file is the datestamp on the file when the file was submitted to the depot, regardless of the setting of modtime or nomodtime on the client.

nomodtime (date and time of sync).

Ignored for files with the +m file type modifier.


Specifies whether p4 sync deletes empty directories in a workspace if all files in the directory have been removed.


Configuring submit options

To control what happens to files in a changelist when you submit the changelist to the depot, set the SubmitOptions: field. Valid settings are as follows.




All open files (with or without changes) are submitted to the depot.

This is the default behavior of Perforce.


All open files (with or without changes) are submitted to the depot, and all files are automatically reopened in the default changelist.


Only those files with content, type, or resolved changes are submitted to the depot. Unchanged files are reverted.


Only those files with content, type, or resolved changes are submitted to the depot and reopened in the default changelist. Unchanged files are reverted and not reopened in the default changelist.


Only those files with content, type, or resolved changes are submitted to the depot. Any unchanged files are moved to the default changelist.


Only those files with content, type, or resolved changes are submitted to the depot. Unchanged files are moved to the default changelist, and changed files are reopened in the default changelist.

This option is similar to submitunchanged+reopen, except that no unchanged files are submitted to the depot.

Configuring line-ending settings

To specify how line endings are handled when you sync text files, set the LineEnd: field. Valid settings are as follows:




Use mode native to the client (default)


UNIX-style (and Mac OS X) line endings: LF


Mac pre-OS X: CR only


Windows- style: CR, LF


The share option normalizes mixed line-endings into UNIX line-end format. The share option does not affect files that are synced into a client workspace; however, when files are submitted back to the Perforce service, the share option converts all Windows-style CR/LF line-endings and all Mac-style CR line-endings to the UNIX-style LF, leaving lone LFs untouched.

When you sync your client workspace, line endings are set to LF. If you edit the file on a Windows machine, and your editor inserts CR's before each LF, the extra CR's do not appear in the archive file.

The most common use of the share option is for users of Windows workstations who mount their UNIX home directories as network drives; if you sync files from UNIX, but edit the files on a Windows machine.

For detailed information about how Perforce uses the line-ending settings, see "CR/LF Issues and Text Line-endings" in the Perforce knowledge base:

Deleting client workspace specifications

To delete a workspace, issue the p4 client -d clientname command. Deleting a client workspace removes Perforce's record of the workspace but does not remove files from the workspace or the depot.

When you delete a workspace specification:

  1. Revert (or submit) any pending or shelved changelists associated with the workspace.

  2. Delete existing files from a client workspace (p4 sync ...#none). (optional)

  3. Delete the workspace specification.

If you delete the workspace specification before you delete files in the workspace, you can delete workspace files using your operating system's file deletion command.


For security purposes, your Perforce administrator can configure the Perforce service to require SSL-encrypted connections, user passwords, and to limit the length of time for which your login ticket is valid. The following sections provide details.

SSL-encrypted connections

If your installation requires SSL, make sure your P4PORT is of the form ssl:hostname:port. If you attempt to communicate in plaintext with an SSL-enabled Perforce server, the following error message is displayed:

Failed client connect, server using SSL.
Client must add SSL protocol prefix to P4PORT.

Set P4PORT to ssl:hostname:port, and attempt to reconnect to the server.

The first time you establish an encrypted connection with an SSL-enabled server, you are prompted to verify the server's fingerprint:

The authenticity of '' can't be established,
this may be your first attempt to connect to this P4PORT.
The fingerprint for the key sent to your client is

Your administrator can confirm whether the displayed fingerprint is correct or not. If (and only if) the fingerprint is correct, use the p4 trust command to add it to your P4TRUST file. If P4TRUST is unset, this file is assumed to be .p4trust in your home directory:

$ p4 trust
The fingerprint of the server of your P4PORT setting
'' ( is not known.
That fingerprint is
Are you sure you want to establish trust (yes/no)?
Added trust for P4PORT '' (

If the fingerprint is accurate, enter yes to trust this server. You can also install a fingerprint directly into your trust file from the command line. Run:

p4 trust -p ssl:hostname:port -i fingerprint

where ssl:hostname:port corresponds to your P4PORT setting, and fingerprint corresponds to a fingerprint that your administrator has verified.

From this point forward, any SSL connection to is trusted, so long as the server at continues to report a fingerprint that matches the one recorded in your P4TRUST file.

If the Perforce server ever reports a different fingerprint than the one that you have trusted, the following error message is displayed:

It is possible that someone is intercepting your connection
to the Perforce P4PORT ''
If this is not a scheduled key change, then you should contact
your Perforce administrator.
The fingerprint for the mismatched key sent to your client is
To allow connection use the 'p4 trust' command.

This error message indicates that the server's fingerprint has changed from one that you stored in your P4TRUST file and indicates that the server's SSL credentials have changed.

Although the change to the fingerprint may be legitimate (for example, your administrator controls the length of time for which your server's SSL credentials remain valid, and your server's credentials may have expired), it can also indicate the presence of a security risk.


If you see this error message, and your Perforce administrator has not notified you of a change to your server's key and certificate pair, it is imperative that you independently verify the accuracy of the reported fingerprint.

Unless you can independently confirm the veracity of the new fingerprint (by some out-of-band means ranging from the company's intranet site, or by personally contacting your administrator), do not trust the changed fingerprint.

Connecting to services that require plaintext connections

If your Perforce installation requires plaintext (in order to support older Perforce applications), set P4PORT to tcp:hostname:port. If you attempt to use SSL to connect to a service that expects plaintext connections, the following error message is displayed:

Perforce client error:
    SSL connect to ssl:host:port failed (Connection reset by peer).
    Remove SSL protocol prefix from P4PORT.

Set P4PORT to tcp:hostname:port (or, if you are using applications at release 2011.1 or earlier, set P4PORT to hostname:port), and attempt to reconnect to the service.


Depending on the security level at which your Perforce installation is running, you might need to log in to Perforce before you can run Perforce commands. Without passwords, any user can assume the identity of any other Perforce user by setting P4USER to a different user name or specifying the -u option when you issue a p4 command. To improve security, use passwords.

Setting passwords

To create a password for your Perforce user, issue the p4 passwd command.

Passwords may be up to 1024 characters in length. Your system administrator can configure Perforce to require "strong" passwords, the minimum length of a password, and if you have been assigned a default password, your administrator can further require that you change your password before you first use Perforce.

By default, the Perforce service defines a password as strong if it is at least eight characters long and contains at least two of the following:

  • Uppercase letters

  • Lowercase letters

  • Non-alphabetic characters

In an environment with a minimum password length of eight characters, for example, a1b2c3d4, A1B2C3D4, aBcDeFgH would be considered strong passwords.

To reset or remove a password (without knowing the password), Perforce superuser privilege is required. If you need to have your password reset, contact your Perforce administrator. See the Perforce Server Administrator's Guide: Fundamentals for details.

Using your password

If your Perforce user has a password set, you must use it when you issue p4 commands. To use the password, you can:

  • Log into Perforce by issuing the p4 login command, before issuing other commands.

  • Set P4PASSWD to your password, either in the environment or in a config file.

  • Specify the -P password option when you issue p4 commands (for instance, p4 -P mypassword submit).

  • Windows or OS X: store your password by using the p4 set -s command. Not advised for sites where security is high. Perforce administrators can disable this feature.

Connection time limits

Your Perforce administrator can configure the Perforce service to enforce time limits for users. Perforce uses ticket-based authentication to enforce time limits. Because ticket-based authentication does not rely on environment variables or command-line options, it is more secure than password-based authentication.

Tickets are stored in a file in your home directory. After you have logged in, your ticket is valid for a limited period of time (by default, 12 hours).

Logging in and logging out

If time limits are in effect at your site, you must issue the p4 login command to obtain a ticket. Enter your password when prompted. If you log in successfully, a ticket is created for you in the ticket file in your home directory, and you are not prompted to log in again until either your ticket expires or you log out by issuing the p4 logout command.

To see how much time remains before your login expires, issue the following command:

p4 login -s

If your ticket is valid, the length of time remaining is displayed. To extend a ticket's lifespan, use p4 login while already logged in. Your ticket's lifespan is extended by 1/3 of its initial timeout setting, subject to a maximum of your ticket's initial timeout setting.

To log out of Perforce, issue the following command:

p4 logout

Working on multiple machines

By default, your ticket is valid only for the IP address of the machine from which you logged in. If you use Perforce from multiple machines that share a home directory (typical in many UNIX environments), log in with:

p4 login -a

Using p4 login -a creates a ticket in your home directory that is valid from all IP addresses, enabling you to remain logged into Perforce from more than one machine.

To log out from all machines simultaneously, issue the following command:

p4 logout -a

For more information about the p4 login and p4 logout commands, see the P4 Command Reference.

Working with Unicode

The Perforce service can be run in Unicode mode to activate support for file names or directory names that contain Unicode characters, and Perforce identifiers (for example, user names) and specifications (for example, changelist descriptions or jobs) that contain Unicode characters.

In Unicode mode, the Perforce service also translates unicode files and metadata to the character set configured on the user's workstation, and verifies that the unicode files and metadata contain valid UTF-8 characters.


If you only need to manage textual files that contain Unicode characters, but do not need the features listed above, you do not need to run Perforce in Unicode mode. Your system administrator will tell you if your site is using Unicode mode or not.

For these installations, assign the Perforce utf16 file type to textual files that contain Unicode characters. You do not have to set the P4CHARSET or P4COMMANDCHARSET environment variables. See Assigning File Types for Unicode Files for details.

To correctly interoperate in Unicode mode, and to ensure that such files are translated correctly by the Perforce service when the files are synced or submitted, you must set P4CHARSET to the character set that corresponds to the format used on your workstation by the applications that access them, such as text editors or IDEs. These formats are typically listed when you save the file using the Save As... menu option.

Values of P4CHARSET that begin with utf16 or utf32 further require that you also set P4COMMANDCHARSET to a non utf16 or utf32 character set in which you want server output displayed. "Server output" includes informational and error messages, diff output, and information returned by reporting commands.

For a complete list of valid P4CHARSET values, issue the command p4 help charset.

For further information, see the Perforce Server Administrator's Guide: Fundamentals.

Setting P4CHARSET on Windows

To set P4CHARSET for all users on a workstation, you need Windows administrator privileges. Issue the following command:

p4 set -s P4CHARSET=character_set

To set P4CHARSET for the user currently logged in:

p4 set P4CHARSET=character_set

Your workstation must have a compatible TrueType or OpenType font installed.


You can set P4CHARSET from a command shell or in a startup script such as .kshrc, .cshrc, or .profile. To determine the proper value for P4CHARSET, examine the setting of the LANG or LOCALE environment variable. Common settings are as follows

If LANG is...








In general, for a Japanese installation, set P4CHARSET to eucjp, and for a European installation, set P4CHARSET to iso8859-1.