Perforce 2008.2 P4 User's Guide
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About This Manual

This guide tells you how to use the Perforce Command-Line Client (p4). If you're new to SCM (software configuration management), you don't know basic Perforce concepts, or you've never used Perforce before, read Introducing Perforce before reading this guide. This guide assumes a good basic understanding of SCM.

Command line versus GUIs

Perforce provides many client applications that enable you to manage your files, including the Perforce Command-Line Client, GUIs such as P4V, and plug-ins. The Perforce Command-Line Client enables you to script and to perform administrative tasks that are not supported by Perforce GUIs.

Getting started with Perforce

If this is your first time working with Perforce, here's how to get started:

  1. Read Introducing Perforce to learn the basics.

    At a minimum, learn the following concepts: changelist, depot, client workspace, sync, and submit. For short definitions, refer to the glossary at the back of this guide.

  2. Ask your Perforce administrator for the host and port of your Perforce server.

    If you intend to experiment with Perforce and don't want to risk damaging your production depot, ask the Perforce administrator to start another server for test purposes. For details about installing the Perforce server, refer to the Perforce System Administrator's Guide.

  3. Use this guide to help you install the Perforce Command-Line Client and configure your client workspace, unless your system administrator has already configured your machine. See Chapter 2, Configuring P4, for details.

  4. Learn to perform the following tasks:

  5. Learn to refine your client view. See "Refining client views" on page 24 for details.

These basic skills enable you to do much of your daily work. Other tasks involving code base maintenance (branching and labeling) and workflow (jobs) tend to be less frequently done. This guide includes details about performing these tasks using p4 commands.

Perforce documentation

This guide, the Perforce Command Reference, and the p4 help command are the primary documentation for the Perforce Command-Line Client. This guide describes the current release. For documentation for older releases, refer to the Perforce web site.

For documentation on other Perforce client programs, see our documentation web page, available from our web site at

For specific information about...
See this documentation

The basics of Perforce

Introducing Perforce

Installing and administering the Perforce server, the proxy server, and security settings

Perforce System Administrator's Guide

p4 command line flags and options (reference)

Perforce Command Reference,
p4 help

P4V, the cross-platform Perforce Visual Client

Getting Started with P4V,
P4V online help

P4Web, the browser-based Perforce client application

How to use P4Web,
P4Web online help

P4Win, the Perforce Windows GUI

Getting Started with P4Win,
P4Win online help

Perforce plug-ins

IDEs: Using IDE Plug-ins

Others: online help from the Perforce menu

Developing Perforce client applications using the Perforce C/C++ API

C/C++ API User's Guide

Please give us feedback

We are interested in receiving opinions on this guide from our users. In particular, we'd like to hear from users who have never used Perforce before. Does this guide teach the topic well? Please let us know what you think; we can be reached at [email protected]

Perforce 2008.2 P4 User's Guide
<< Previous Chapter
List of Examples
Table of Contents
Perforce on the Web
Next Chapter >>
Installing P4
Please send comments and questions about this manual to [email protected].
Copyright 2005-2008 Perforce Software. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 12/05/08