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How to utilize settings in the MapInfo Pro Directory preferences dialog to increase efficiency

MapInfo Pro has a Directory Preferences Dialog that allows users to make changes that can significantly increase the efficiency for MapInfo Pro users.

From the MapInfo Pro 16.0 HELP file:
Directory Preferences Dialog Box
To display this dialog box, on the PRO tab, select Options and then click Directories.
Use the Directory Preferences dialog box to control the default paths for opening from, saving to, and searching in directories.
 
Initial Directories for File Dialogs
Specify the paths MapInfo Pro should use as default for opening and saving Tables, Remote Tables, Workspaces, MapBasic Programs, Import Files, SQL Queries, Theme Templates, Saved Queries, NewGrids, Shapefile Tables, WFS, WMS and WMTS Tables. To set a path, click the file type, click Modify and select the appropriate path.
 
Workgroup Directory - Use when searching for application data files
Use this check box and field to indicate the location of shared application data files (such as custom symbols and templates) and some configuration files (such as the MAPINFOW.PRJ file). This field is for workgroup installation only, so if you need this field, it is probably already pre-filled with the correct location. If you need to change this location, simply type over the existing entry or use the Ellipsis button to navigate to the new location.
 
Search Directories for Tables
Specifies the directories MapInfo Pro is to search to find tables without fully qualified paths referenced in workspaces or MapBasic programs. Subdirectories of any search path listed are also searched. You can have up to four entries in the list. A more general path requires a longer search time. Click Modify, Add or Remove to edit the list of paths.
 
Add, Remove, or Modify
Click to edit the list of paths.
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Often the data user need to access the most frequently is buried in sub-folders, on mapped network drives or both.
This can make opening tables, etc. quite tedious.
 User-added image
By using the Directory Preferences dialog, users can define specific target directories and then access them with a single click.
For example, user’s may wish to access their frequently used tables, or sample data, etc. by setting one of the directory PATH to the desired target folder.
Or users may wish also open customer data from a specific folder.
Other entries define default folders for MapBasic tools, SHP files, Workspaces, etc.
 
To edit the directory preferences,  launch Mapinfo Pro and then click on the “Pro” button at top left get to the area known as the “back stage”.
Then go to Options  > Directories.
 
Select the desired entries and then edit the PATH accordingly for the desired target folder:
To set the Tables button in the open dialog with Pro to point to a desired folder, highlight the
“Tables” entry in the Directory Preferences dialog, click “Modify”, browse to the target foler and click OK.
In example above, user has set PATH for “Tables” from the default to
C:\Program Files (x86)\MapInfo\Data\Introductory Data\North America\USA\Usa_Maps.
 
Now when a user wishes to open Sample Data from that folder, click the “Tables” button in the Open dialog:

User-added image

Be creative and use these Directory short-cut to increase your efficiency when running MapInfo Pro

Search Directories can be a tremendous time saver as well.
Assume a user with many workspaces needs to migrate Pro and the tables/workspaces to a new PC. The user searches for and copies all the tables from the old PC to a folder on the new PC.
Then when the user tries to open the workspaces, the Open Table dialogs appear, allowing the user to browse to the current location of the table in question and open the workspace.
This is due to the word “interactive” being written to PATH statement for each table when the workspace is saved.
Browsing for each table can be a time-consuming process.
A better way would be to create Search Directories in the Directories Preferences dialog.
In screenshot above, there is a search directory entry that was added – it points to C:\mapinfo_tables.
 
User could copy or move all MapInfo files and tables, etc. to a common folder like C:\MapInfo_tables
and  then create a search entry to point to that folder.
Then when Pro opens the workspace, before presenting the user wit the “open table” dialog, Pro searches the folders and sub-folders listed in the Directory preferences before launching the “open table” dialog.

Note: there is a limit to the number of Search PATH entries of 4.
Also, avoid creating a search directory for an entire hard drive like c:\ as this will slow Pro down significantly  as it searches every file in folder on that drive – try to be specific as possible.



 
UPDATED:  July 26, 2017