The content you create on your computer has value. That value often increases as its shared and new versions are created by you and other people.
Perforce is a system to safely store that work in multiple locations, save new versions without losing your previous work, access it from different computers, and share it with others.
Your content can include documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, animations, audios, videos, or any other digital file.
Perforce maintains all versions of any file that you create, along with history about each change. The explanation you enter when you check in a file, along with the file history automatically created by Perforce, makes it easy for you and your coworkers to find content and collaborate without losing any previous work. You can always retrieve a previous version in the future, even after others have made changes to your file.
To move your files in and out of Perforce, you can use P4V, our graphical user interface, or Perforce plugins which enable you to access Perforce directly from applications such as Microsoft Word, Photoshop, or even the Windows Explorer. P4V and the plug-ins are all available for free download from our website.
Let’s start with P4V, the graphical user interface. This application is easy to use for basic file operations and includes many powerful features for managing your file versions. To start, we will add some files to Perforce. Drag them into the workspace folder, which is the folder on your machine where you check files in and out of Perforce. Anything you want to version in Perforce must reside here. If this folder is not convenient to access, you can make a shortcut or alias for your desktop. Next, launch P4V and look at the workspace tab in the left pane. Select the files that you want to add and choose Mark for Add. Now choose Submit, enter a description of the files, and click the Submit button. Perforce now creates copies of the files on the server computer without affecting the files on your own computer.
Suppose you now want to edit the new files on your home computer, which is a Windows machine. Launch P4V – notice that the program looks the same as the Macintosh version. Before you can edit the new files, you need to copy them from the server to your home computer. Select the workspace and choose Get Latest Revision. The files previously submitted appear and Perforce indicates that your local copies are now up to date by decorating each file with a green dot. To check a file out for editing, select it, right-click and choose Check Out. Perforce indicates that the file is checked out by displaying a red check mark.
Double-click on the file to open it in the default application. Make your edits and save the file. To check-in the edited file into Perforce, right-click it and choose Submit. Enter a short description as before and hit the Submit button. Note that there are now two versions of the file. Each time anyone submits work into Perforce a new version is created, but you will always have access to all previous versions.
On a Windows computer, you can use the Perforce Microsoft Office plug-in, P4OFC, to check files in and out without leaving Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. For example, open a Word document – this one is managed by Perforce, so you are prompted to check it out. Click OK, edit the document and save it. From the Perforce menu, choose Check-in, and enter a change description. Now click Submit, close the confirmation dialog and your changes are saved to the server. The P4GT plug-in enables you to perform the exact same operation with Photoshop and other leading graphics applications.
The P4EXP plug-in enables you to use Perforce through Windows Explorer. In your workspace, right-click a file and you’ll see the Perforce menu item. To edit the file, choose, Check Out. Notice how the file has icon has changed to indicate that you checked it out. We will double-click to open it, make a small modification, save it, and close it. Now select Submit from the context menu, complete the description and hit the Submit button. You can do this for any file from the Windows Explorer that resides in the Perforce workspace.
Going back to P4V, you can see all your changes. Here are all the versions of the Word document, from the original check-in from the Mac up to the most recent change. Every version is automatically time and date stamped and can be retrieved at any time. To make a previous version the most recent, select it and choose Rollback to Revision.
This concludes our overview of basic versioning and sharing in Perforce. You can download P4V and any plug-in free from our website. You will find details for quickly installing and configuring these components in the video tutorials and user documentation on the Perforce website.
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