Info Pane: Values

The Values tab appears in the Info pane when data in a component is picked with an Alt-click.  It shows details on the item picked, such as attributes for an object picked in a drawing, or fields for a record picked in a table, or controls for a frame picked in a layout.


The Info pane automatically pops open when we Alt-click an object in a drawing , a tile in an image, a frame in a layout, or a record in a table.


Shift-Alt-Click into a map, to pick an object from any visible layer (and not just the active layer).   That will also pop open the Info pane.


A drawing's table must have a key field with an index in it for Alt-click to work in the drawing.  If the table does not have an index, choosing an object by alt-clicking will not be available.  To add an index to a table that does not have an index, see the Add an Index to a Table topic.



The Info pane will show the Component tab if no object has been picked with an Alt-click,.   The Info pane will automatically open and switch to the Values tab when we  Alt-click into a drawing, image, labels component, layout, or table.  The Illustration above shows a Info pane with attributes for an object that has been picked using an Alt-click in the map.   


Alt-clicking a record in a table picks that record for display in the Info pane:



In the illustrations above we have Alt-clicked the Monte Carlo Star record to pick it.   Alt-clicking anywhere in the row will pick that record for display in the Info pane.



Pressing the Move to Previous and Move to Next buttons will step the picked record through the table, displaying it in the Info pane.  The Move to Previous and Move to Next buttons work exactly the same way with records that are picked by Alt-clicking an object in a drawing layer.



Pressing the Move to Previous button will move the picked record up one record in the table, from the Monte Carlo Star record to the Centre de Rencontre International record, as indicated by the magenta arrows in the illustration at right above.


The Info pane is a great way to show the contents of many attribute fields at once in records, whether those records are picked in a map or drawing window, or in a table window.  For greater visual interest, this topic covers the Info pane using drawings for most examples.   Alt-clicking records in tables, such as a table in a database data source, has exactly the same effect, calling up that record in the Info pane.   

Info Pane uses Styles for Table Fields

When fields in tables have been styled by right clicking on the column head for the field and choosing Style to set the format used to display that field, the Info pane Values tab will use the same styles.



For example, if fields in the table use default styles, when we alt-click on a record to pick it the Info pane Values tab will also use default styles.



If we right click on the Longitude and Latitude column heads and choose Style, to change the formatting applied to the numbers, then the Values tab will use those new styles for those fields.  


In the example above we have chosen a different style for the Longitude and Latitude to show the styles can be different.  In real life, it is less confusing to use the same style for both Latitude and Longitude numbers when they appear in a table.


See the Styling Table Fields topic.

Editing Data in the Info Pane

 Data displayed in the Info pane can be edited by double-clicking into a cell, just like editing a cell in a table.






If we have switched to a different pane, we can switch to the Info pane by clicking the pane's tab, or by choosing it in the View - Panes menu.  A keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+2 switches to the Info pane.



Shift-click the pane's name tab to undock the pane.   Shift-click the title bar to dock it again, or right-click the title bar and choose Dock.  An undocked pane can be resized and moved anywhere on our Windows desktop.   Close a docked pane by choosing its tab and then pressing the X button to close.  Close an undocked pane by right-clicking the title bar and choosing Close.

Alt-click to Pick an Object


If we Alt-click onto an object in a layer that is not the active layer, nothing happens.  That is an important feature that helps us pick out objects of interest in busy maps.  If there are other objects in other layers, such as an area object in a layer beneath the active layer, we do not have to worry about accidentally clicking those instead of the object we want.


If we want to pick an object we see without knowing what layer it is in, we can Shift-Alt-click to pick that object and the layer it is in will become the active layer.  That makes it easy to pick objects we see even in maps that may have many dozens of layers.

Example: Viewing Attributes

The Values tab shows attributes, that is, the values of fields, for a picked object.



Alt-clicking onto an object in a drawing automatically pops open the Info pane to the Values tab and displays field values for that object's record, populated from the drawing's table.



The picked object is marked in the map window with small blue boxes at the location of coordinates that define it.  In addition to displaying field values for the object's record, the Values tab also allows us to edit field values for that object.  Clicking the Previous and Next triangle buttons at the top of the list will step through the previous and next records in the drawing's table.

Example: Viewing Coordinates

The Coordinates tab shows coordinates of objects.




Clicking any vertex or segment in a picked object will automatically switch the Info pane to the Coordinates tab and activates Move Coordinates mode for editing geometry.  Vertices will appear with slightly larger editing handles, and the active vertex will be indicated with a large box.   We can do the same thing with a picked object by clicking the Coordinates tab.  


We can edit the geometry either in the map window using mouse moves, like dragging vertices to new locations, or in the Coordinates tab list by editing the coordinate numbers.  The larger edit handle in the map indicates the coordinate that is the current row in the coordinates list.   Using up/down arrows in the Coordinates tab to move the current cell up and down will also move the larger box indicating the corresponding coordinate in the map window.

Values Tab Controls

Alt-click on an object in an active drawing layer to pick that object in the Info pane Values tab.   Shift-Alt-click to pick an object from any visible layer.



The Values tab shares many of the same controls as a table.  For example, the keyboard arrow keys move the current cell, indicated by a dotted outline, up and down, or left and right.    


Click to pick the previous record or the next record.  Applies to both the Values tab or the Coordinates tab.  This is useful for data sets where records are in order.  When records are not ordered in a table, as usually is the case in enterprise class databases, these buttons will have limited utility in such cases.

Move only within selected records.  When enabled (only possible if there is a selection), constrains Previous and Next motion to the previous selected record or to the next selected record.

Go to the object.

Ping - Operates and enabled when the focus is on a drawing, image or layout when an object, pixel or layout frame has been picked.  Shows an animated sequence of circles with decreasing radius centered on the record or frame.  Pinging helps locate the record or frame on a big and / or busy screen.   Has no effect in tables or other settings.

<gray background>

Values shown with gray background are read-only and cannot be edited in the Values display.



Enter to open the current cell for editing, or double-click into a cell.  Enter closes the cell for editing, leaving it in blue preview color until a Ctrl-Enter commits the change.  This is the same style of cell editing used in tables.


Abandon an edit.

Arrow Keys

Move current cell up / down / left / right.


Move current cell all the way to the left (layer names).


Move current cell all the way to the right (on/off box).


Move current cell to the top layer.


Move current cell to the bottom layer (Background).

Page Up

Page Down

Move current cell up or down one page's worth.

Field value context menu

Right-clicking onto a field value cell calls up  a context menu:


  • Copy - Copy the contents of the cell into the Clipboard.

  • Paste - Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the cell.

  • Delete - Delete the value in the cell, resulting in <NULL>

  • Edit - Open the contents of the cell in a larger text pane.

Scroll bar

A vertical scroll bar appears when there are more layers than can fit into the display.   Scrolling the display does not move the current cell.

Scroll bar context menu

Right-clicking onto the scroll bar calls up a context menu:


  • Scroll Here - Drag the scroll bar handle to the spot right-clicked and scroll the display accordingly.

  • Top - Scroll the display to the top.

  • Bottom - Scroll the display to the bottom.

  • Page Up - Scroll the display up one page.

  • Page Down - Scroll the display down one page.

  • Scroll Up - Scroll the display up one row.

  • Scroll Down - Scroll the display down one row.

Update Record

Press to apply any changes.



Tech tip:   Editing cells in the Values tab display is the same as editing cells in a table.  Enter or double-click to begin editing a cell. Edit the cell and press Enter again. That shows a preview in blue preview color of the proposed edit.  More than one cell can be edited in that way.   Press Ctrl-Enter to commit the edits to the entire record, or Ctrl-Backspace to abandon.  

Context Menu when Editing Text

While editing a text value in a cell or within the Edit dialog, a right click calls up the following context menu:



Undo changes made so far in the editing session.  The ability to undo goes away as soon as we close the editing session.


Copy highlighted text to the clipboard and delete the highlighted text.


Copy highlighted text to the clipboard.


Paste text contents of the clipboard.


Delete highlighted text.

Select All

Equivalent to Ctrl-A.  Highlight all text.

Right to Left Reading order

Display text right-aligned in order suitable for alphabets reading right to left.  

Show Unicode control characters

Display glyphs at the locations of otherwise invisible Unicode control characters.

Insert Unicode control character

Insert a Unicode control character at the location that was right-clicked, by choosing from the long list of available characters in the list that appears.  Unicode control characters guide the display of Unicode text for Unicode-aware applications.

Open / Close IME

Turn on or off Manifold's built in, Microsoft-compatible, Input Method Editor (IME) facility.   IME works with IME-aware Microsoft languages that have been installed on our computer to enable entry of non-English languages, primarily various Asian languages.


Enabled when we right-click on highlighted text that was entered using the IME facility.  Allows choice of a different conversion, for example, using katakana or kanji instead of hiragana text in Japanese.   See the example topic noted below.


For examples of use, including IME and Reconversion, see the Example: Edit Attributes, Larger Text, IME for Asian Languages topic.


We open a map that has several layers.   On the right we see the Info pane, open to the Component tab.



To see the record values for an area object in the buildings layer we first click the buildings tab in the map to make sure it is the active layer.   We can then Alt-click the object to pick it for display in the Info pane.   If we didn't know what layer the desired object was in, we could simply Shift-Alt-click the object.  It would be picked and the layer it was in would automatically become the active layer.


Using ESRI nomenclature, we might say, "to see the attributes of a feature, Alt-click the feature."   



The Info pane immediately adds tabs that are used with picked objects, and it switches to the Values tab to display the field values for the picked object's record.  The picked object is marked by drawing the area boundary with small square blue boxes at the locations of the coordinates that define the area.   We have clicked an area that represents the Monte Carlo Star residential building.    


We now Alt-click a different area.


Panes like the Info pane are always live action, so we do not need to worry about closing dialogs before doing something else.  If we want to see record values for a different object, such as the neighboring area object, we simply Alt-click on that area and the Info pane will instantly show values for that area's record.



The area is marked with an outline and small blue boxes at the coordinate locations that define the area.   The Values tab informs us we have clicked on the Auditorium Rainier III.   By the names of the buildings, we might guess that the map shows Monaco.


Objects chosen for display with an Alt-click will persist as chosen even if we switch from the Info pane to the Layers or Style pane, or even if we close panes and then reopen them again.    We can click on a different window and then click back onto the window showing the Monaco map and the marked object will still persist with record values shown whenever we want to look at them again in the Info pane.   


How do we unpick the object?   Easy: we Alt-click onto a portion of the buildings drawing where there are no objects.   Or, we can press the Esc key to unpick an object.



That immediately clears our choice and returns the Info pane to the Component tab.    Another way to clear the choice is to click on any other layer tab in the window and then click back on the buildings tab.   Or, if we close the map and then open it again the choice will be cleared.

Labels and the Values Tab

Alt-clicking a label in a labels component to pick that label will automatically launch the Info pane Values tab.   The Info pane will check the label text pattern used for the label and in the Values table mark each field that is used in the label text pattern with a distinctive icon in the row handle for that field.  That makes it easy to see which fields are used in the label.  Adding a new label or starting to edit an existing label automatically will put the cursor onto the value of the first such field.



In the example above, taken from the Label Text topic, the Labels layer has been created using two fields, the State field and the Date field.   When we alt-click a label to pick it, such as the label for Nebraska, that pops open the Info pane Values tab for that label.   The State field and the Date field are marked in their row handles as participating in the label and the row cursor is on the Nebraska value, ready to go for any editing we might want to do.


See the Label Text topic for examples of how sophisticated labels can be constructed from multiple fields.

Previous and Next Buttons

When we Alt-click an object to launch it in the Info pane Values tab we can quickly step through other objects in the layer using the Previous and Next buttons, or only through selected objects in the layer by pressing in the Selected button.


For our example we use a map with a drawing layer that shows Gothic cathedrals in France as points, styled using star symbols that are colored by the height of the cathedral nave.



We Alt-click on one of the cathedral points to see attributes in the Info pane Values tab.  Since we have Alt-clicked a point object, it is surrounded with a box to make the picked object more visible.  We see from the Name attribute in the Info pane that we have clicked Reims cathedral.    To read the full set of Comments, we could hover the mouse above the comments text, or we could right-click that cell and choose Edit to open up the entire paragraph.


 To see the next cathedral in the drawing, we press the Next button.



The focus of the Info pane instantly snaps to Rouen cathedral, Monet's choice of a subject to be painted repeatedly in the same view on different days in different lighting.


Note that the view did not pan or zoom when we pressed the Next button.  As much as possible when stepping through to the next or previous record, Manifold will try to minimize changes in view.   If the Rouen cathedral was not in view, then Manifold would pan the window to bring the cathedral into view.  


Note also that pressing Next did not jump to any of the cathedrals nearest to Reims, but skipped over to Rouen.  Records in tables, and thus, objects in drawings, cannot be assumed to have any fixed order.   Choosing Next, therefore, simply will pick out whatever happens to be the next record in the table as it is, and in this case that picks out the cathedral in Rouen.


That effect, together with the limitations of human memory and perception, mean that stepping through previous and next records is a technique best used with relatively small numbers of objects on-screen, or, even better, with subsets of those objects that are selected.  


Suppose, for example, that we select three of the cathedrals, with the system displaying them in red selection color.



We can Alt-click one of them, such as Reims again, and attributes for the picked object will be displayed in the Values tab.


 If we press in the Selected button, we can constrain the action of the Previous and Next buttons to stepping through only selected objects.


 We press the Next button to jump to the next selected object.



In this case, that is a jump to Bourges cathedral.

Alt-click and Overlaps for Next / Previous Ordering

As with any high-end database, records in tables in Manifold cannot be assumed to have any order, especially when we link in a drawing and table from an enterprise-class database, like MySQL, Oracle, or PostgreSQL.    Therefore, when we pick an object with an Alt-click we cannot assume that the Next and Previous buttons in the Info pane will jump to nearby objects and not far across a drawing full of thousands or millions of objects.


A useful exception to that "no order" rule is that when we Alt-click in a location at which more than one object overlaps, the Alt-click will pick one of those overlapping objects, but it will also build a virtual order for up to nine more of the overlapping objects for the purpose of Next and Previous ordering.    That allows us to quickly use Next and Previous to step through the objects that overlap at the Alt-clicked spot.   If we keep pressing Next past the collection of overlapping objects, then the usual jump will happen to whatever object is next beyond that initial collection of overlapping objects.  If we keep pressing Next we will step through all objects in the drawing.  


If we want to step through only those objects which overlap at the location that is Alt-clicked, that is easy to do:


  1. Ctrl-click at the desired location. That selects all objects which overlap at that location.

  2. Alt-click at that same location. That picks one of the objects that overlaps, and positions all the others which overlap at the top of ordering for the Next button.

  3. In the Info pane toolbar, push in the Selected button, so the Next and Previous buttons work only with selected records.


The result of the above is that the Next and Previous buttons will move only between objects that overlap at the clicked spot.


The above applies to overlapping objects in the same layer.   Another technique for dealing with overlapping objects within different layers is to Shift-Alt-click whatever object is visible.   That will automatically pick the uppermost object from all visible layers and will make that object's layer the active layer.   We can then turn that layer off and then Shift-Alt-click again to pick whatever object now is visible, and then in turn peel away layers to see all objects that may overlap and thus be hidden by objects higher up in the display stack.


See the illustrations and step-by-step example in the Example: Edit Covered Objects topic.

Zooms and Pans with Next and Previous

Manifold tries to show the destination object in a Next or Previous command without changing the zoom level of the display or panning the display.


When the destination object will fit into the window at the current zoom (scale), whatever level of zoom we have used for the view will be preserved when jumping to Next or Previous.   If the destination object is too big, for example, a larger area, to fit into the window at current scale the view will be zoomed to allow the destination object to fit.   Since points are dimensionless, when jumping to the Next or Previous point the zoom level will not change.


Manifold will also try to avoid panning the view, to reduce the need to jump the display.  This helps maintain visual context and avoid confusion when jumping between objects.



For example, suppose we have zoomed so not all cathedrals can be seen in the view.   For example, in the above illustration, where we have Alt-clicked on Rouen cathedral, the Next cathedral is Strasbourg cathedral, which is out of sight to the East.



When we click Next, Manifold will pan the display just enough to bring Strasbourg cathedral into view, and will not re-center the display on Strasbourg.  Not centering the display helps keep more objects on display from the previous view.


If we now clicked Previous the display would not move at all since Rouen cathedral is in view.  Minimizing panning helps reduce the number of times the display shifts.  Besides making it easier on the eyes by avoiding shifting displays, this also avoids pulling down fresh tiles from image servers or from other remote data sources, such as overlays from ESRI geodatabases, or from spatial databases, and so on.


We turn off the Yandex hybrid streets layer, to remove labels when zoomed close into the view.



The use of minimal panning motion to bring the Next or Previous object into view can result in some less than optimal visual effects.  Suppose  we zoom into Strasbourg cathedral as seen above, and then we press the Back button in the Info pane toolbar, to go back to Rouen cathedral.



The display will retain the same zoom, and will pan just enough to bring the next object, the point for Rouen cathedral, into view.   We can see from the illustration above that in this case the minimal panning motion puts the point for Rouen cathedral in the upper left corner of the display and not in the center.



We can take a moment to drag the display so the point is centered.   That is easy enough to do, but for our convenience it is expected that future Manifold builds will provide means to automatically center objects in such Next and Previous situations.


Shift-Alt-click and coincident objects - We can pick an object from any visible layer by Shift-Alt-clicking the object, which will pick the object and make the layer it is in the active layer.  If there is more than one object at the same location, for example, in the case of objects that overlap each other, then the object from the uppermost layer will be picked.


Pixels are Visible or Invisible - Pixels in Manifold images can be visible or invisible, a flag used in addition to whatever an alpha channel specifies for the opacity of the pixel.  The on/off box in the Info pane for images toggles visible/invisible status.


Background thread for Next and Previous - Manifold uses a background thread for Next and Previous commands, showing a progress bar and allowing cancelling the command if we decide it is taking too long.   This is useful when visualizing data from very slow data sources, or when choosing Next and Previous to jump within drawings that are created from complex, and possibly slow, queries.   This is clearly not an everyday situation for most users, but it is possible in Manifold to create a drawing from a query that pulls data from multiple, remote data sources, some of which may be very large and possibly very slow.  If to get to the Next object the query must roll through billions of records in some remote database, it might take a while to compute.  If we just do Next and Previous commands with data within a .map project or pulled from a fast DBMS, we will never see the progress bar.


Selected button - We can press in the Selected button at any time.  If we press it in when we have Alt-clicked a record that is not selected, it will still be picked and will show in the Info pane, but any subsequent Next or Previous command will jump to the next or previous selected object. If there are no selected records in the specified direction, the current record stays unchanged.


Tech tip:  Requiring the two-step process of first Alt-clicking an object to pick it and then clicking a coordinate or segment, or choosing the Coordinates tab, to enable editing the object is a safety measure.   It allows us to view and to edit attributes without fear of accidentally editing geometry.


Alt-clicking an object to view attributes in the Values tab does not enable the object for mouse editing.  We cannot accidentally drag a coordinate handle to some other location.  Requiring the second step of deliberately clicking a vertex or segment (or choosing the Coordinates tab) to enable editing makes it harder to accidentally edit an object's geometry.


Ah... Monaco...  Some illustrations in this topic show layers in Monaco.  The layers were imported into the project from shapefiles extracted from the OpenStreetMap database.   



To see the "real life" setting we can turn on the Google Satellite layer and reduce the opacity of the buildings layer to 50% to allow some of the photographic view of the buildings underneath in the satellite layer to show through.


See Also

Info Pane


Info Pane: Component


Info Pane: Coordinates


Info Pane: Style


Info Pane: Related


Info Pane: Pixels


Info Pane: Position


Info Pane and Images


Getting Started


User Interface Basics


Project Pane


Layers Pane


Layer Opacity


Style Pane


Transform Pane






Styling Table Fields














Assign Initial Coordinate System


Repair Initial Coordinate System


Reproject Component


Example: Edit Coordinates While Creating an Object - When creating an object in a map using a tool such as Create Area, right in the middle of the process we can edit coordinates in the Info pane Coordinates tab.   This example shows the step by step process.


Example: Edit Attributes and Move a Point - We look at the attributes for a point in a drawing layer and edit one of the attributes using a more expanded Edit dialog.  We then move the point to a new location. Easy!


Example: Edit Attributes, Larger Text, IME for Asian Languages - A tour showing how to edit attributes in a drawing using the Info pane Values tab and the expanded Edit dialog, including advanced Unicode facilities and use of the built in Input Method Editor (IME) to input text in Japanese language.


Example: Assign Initial Coordinate System - Use the Info pane to manually assign an initial coordinate system when importing from a format that does not specify the coordinate system.


Example: Change Projection of an Image - Use the Reproject Component command to change the projection of an image, raster data showing terrain elevations in a region of Florida, from Latitude / Longitude to Orthographic centered on Florida.


Example: Create Parcels from Traverse Files - Traverse files using ESRI traverse file format are widely used by surveyors and government organizations in the US to define parcels and lines by describing a sequence of directions, distances and curves from a starting point.  Manifold automatically handles both tangent and non-tangent curves in ESRI traverse file format as well as the full variety of options used to specify angles, distances and curves.  This video shows how it's easy to create a parcel from a traverse file.