Tools - Options

Specify user preferences.   Changes to cache size or changes to system colors require restarting Manifold.  Changes to other options take effect immediately.  Changes are persistent and will apply to subsequent Manifold sessions on the same machine using the same Windows login.


General Tab Options

Options in the General tab are for basic system operation.   See the Colors Tab Options section below for a discussion of system colors options.



Choose the rendering engine that is used to create displays and to render layouts for printing.


  • Normal -  The default.  Supports antialiasing and alpha (layer opacity) for layers and frames in layouts.  GPU / hardware acceleration is used whenever it makes sense.  Can render screens visibly faster than software engines.

  • Reduced - Use software rendering only.   Does not support antialiasing, does not support alpha (layer opacity) for layers and frames in layouts.  May not support other advanced rendering features.


Cache size

Specify the size of internal memory cache used by 64-bit Manifold, using either automatic cache sizing or providing an explicit value in gigabytes (GB).


  • (auto) - Recommended.  Allow the system to choose cache size dynamically, typically 4 GB.  Use (auto) when running many Manifold sessions with larger jobs.

  • 1, 2, 3, ... 8, 12, 16...  - Choose an explicit cache size, from a minimum of 1 GB in steps of 1 GB up to 8 GB, and then in steps of 4 GB up to the total amount of installed physical memory.  Setting larger cache size can help when running one or two larger Manifold sessions, but will hurt performance when running multiple, simultaneous Manifold sessions with medium or larger jobs.


When running a single instance of Manifold on very demanding jobs, set the Cache size to half the physical memory present.   For example, if we have 64 GB of RAM in the machine,  set the Cache size to 32 GB.  

Default coordinate system for new components

Click the coordinate system picker button to specify the coordinate system that will be used when a new, blank component is created.

Initial number of records to show (non-MAP)

The number of records to fetch and to display in a table window that shows a table stored outside of the .map project.  Options are (auto), (all), 5000, 15000, 50000, and 150000.  The setting chosen will be remembered for all future Manifold sessions and will be used for all tables that are stored outside of the .map project.


By default, the option is set to auto, which ends up fetching and displaying about 5000 records, the most popular choice in most database systems that are used for external storage.  To fetch and display more records,  choose a larger number, all the way up to choosing all, which will fetch and display all records for table stored outside of the .map project.   


Important: when choosing a setting other than all, that is not a limit to the size of the table, and it is not a limit on the ability of Manifold tools like SQL,  the Select pane, the Transform pane, or filters to work with the entire table.  It is just setting the maximum number of records fetched and displayed in a single table window.   


Tables in some external data sources, for example, a Google image server, can contain trillions of records.  Such tables can take years to fetch all records over most Internet connections,  so it is a safety measure to require users to explicitly to choose all if that is what they want.   See the discussion in the Big Tables section of the Tables topic.


Note: Table windows opened for tables that are stored in the .map file always fetch and display all records in the table.


Specifies which localization (language) to use for the user interface.  Localization files begin with ui. and end in .txt and use standard Windows two letter codes in their names for different languages, for example, for French and for German.  A localization file provides translations for text strings used in the user interface for that language.


  • (auto) - Based on the Windows OS setting for user interface language for the user, automatically utilize the localization file for that language.  If no localization file for that language is present, use the built-in English user interface.
  • (none) - Ignore Windows OS settings and ignore localization files, always using the built-in English user interface.
  • localization file  - Choose a localization file to always use.  The pull down menu will be loaded with all localization files, those with names beginning with ui. and ending in .txt, found in the same folder as the manifold.exe executable.  If the named file is deleted, Manifold will revert back to the built-in English user interface.


Changing the Localization setting takes effect after Manifold is restarted, or in a new Manifold instance launched after the Options dialog has been closed.   If we change to using a localization file for a language do not understand, we can exit the program and delete the file that was named to get back to an English interface.  We can then change this setting back to (auto) or to a language we do understand.

Access keys

Access key shortcuts are Windows single key shortcuts on menu items begun by pressing the Alt key, to show access keys with an underline.   Choices include:


  • auto - Show underlines for access keys as necessary depending on context.
  • hide - Never show underlines.  Access keys and keyboard menu access still work after pressing Alt.
  • show - Always show underlines for access keys.


Menus always use access keys for menu commands, even if access keys are hidden. This setting only controls whether underlines are shown.

Show welcome text

Show or hide welcome logo and text:  On the gray background of a Manifold session show or hide a Manifold triangle logo in medium gray with initial instructions on loading data into the Project pane, opening components, and other tips.


Confirmation dialogs confirm deletions and exiting the application, and can be waived by checking the Never show this again box in the confirmation dialog, or by unchecking the following options:


  • Confirm deleting components - Show a confirmation dialog when deleting components in the Project pane.
  • Confirm deleting records - Show a confirmation dialog when deleting frames in layouts, objects in drawings, labels, or records in tables.   All of those items are records in tables somewhere, hence the "records" terminology.
  • Confirm deleting dependent constraints, fields and indexes - Show a confirmation dialog when in the Schema dialog deleting an item on which other items depend.
  • Confirm dropping files into child data source - When dragging and dropping files into a data source within the project, like a database data source or a linked Manifold project file, show a confirmation dialog for the drop.  Note: trying to drop files into a child data source that has not yet been opened (cylinder icon not yet yellow) or is read-only will show an error.
  • Confirm exiting application - Show a confirmation dialog when exiting the application.




Hardware acceleration in the above using GPU is not parallel computation as described in the GPGPU topic.   Instead, it is simply using a GPU for faster graphics rendering.    GPGPU computational parallelism requires a reasonably recent NVIDIA GPU; however, using a GPU for faster graphics works with almost all GPUs (AMD, Intel, NVIDIA) that are supported by Microsoft Windows for graphics rendering.


Manifold must be restarted for any change in cache size to take effect.


Increasing cache size can help performance of some operations, but can also hurt performance depending on what is being done.  A rule of thumb is to set a cache size no larger than one-half the total size of installed physical memory, or slightly less than half of installed physical memory when regularly running multiple instances of Manifold.  Choosing (auto) is conservative and always safe.


Setting the cache parameter allows users to allocate use of memory based on how they intend to use Manifold.   For example, if we know we will routinely have five different projects running in five different Manifold sessions, we would not want the first such Manifold session launched to grab all available memory, leaving too-small amounts of memory available for the other four sessions.   Choosing (auto) results in conservative (relatively less) memory allocated to each Manifold session.  


In contrast, if we know we will be running just one Manifold session on a machine with 64 GB of memory installed we can set cache size to 48 GB so that one Manifold session will grab and use lots of memory regardless of what else is going on in the system.


Default coordinate system for new components

 Click the coordinate system picker button to specify the coordinate system that will be used when a new, blank component is created.  WGS 84 / Pseudo-Mercator (EPSG:3857) is the default, the same coordinate system used by most web servers (Google, Bing, OSM, etc.).   


The coordinate picker button is  the same as used in the Reproject Component command.  Choose from the Favorites list that appears in the dropdown menu, or choose More... to launch the full Coordinate System dialog to specify any coordinate system desired.



Checking the Never show this again box in a confirmation dialog will remove use of that dialog for all components where it is used, and not just in the particular component where it was raised.  If we delete records in a table and check the Never show this again box in the resulting confirmation dialog, that will remove use of a confirmation dialog when deleting objects in drawings, frames in layouts, labels in labels components, etc.



Colors Tab Options

The Colors tab allows us to change system colors used in various settings. Click a color well to change that color.   One of the options when clicking a color well is Default, which restores the color to factory default color.   Color wells set to colors other than default colors will show a small white box in the color well to indicate it is a non-default color.



Selection colors used.  The lighter color appears for selected rows in tables and dialogs using row and column interfaces, and as a fill color in selected areas, lines, and points.  The darker color is used for the stroke color in selected areas, lines and points.

Selection + preview

When items are both selected and either being previewed or shown in provisional color, the fill (lighter) and stroke (darker) colors used are specified by these boxes.  Recommended style is to use a blend of the colors used as selection and preview colors.  Used in both table editing as well as when editing drawings, and also when drawing paths for measurements.

Preview and paint progress

Colors used when previewing items or showing them in provisional color.  The darker color is shown as a stripe on layer tabs in windows when a layer is rendering (being painted).

Cache progress

The color shown as a stripe on layer tabs when a layer is being rendered from cache.

Invalid value

The color used for text when a value is invalid or has not yet been assigned, for example, when a coordinate system that has not yet been assigned is shown in the Info pane.

Unknown value

The color used for text when values are unknown, for example, when NULLs are shown in tables.



Changes to colors in the Colors tab require restarting Manifold to take effect:  exit the session, and then relaunch Manifold.



Default coordinate system - Newer software like ESRI's ArcGIS Pro and Manifold tend to use Pseudo-Mercator as a default coordinate system because that is the coordinate system almost universally used by web servers.    In modern times web servers have become a dominant source of data for base maps and backgrounds for custom maps.  Using Pseudo-Mercator also ensures that measurements tend to make sense because the units of measure are genuine linear units such as meters.


Older software packages like Manifold Release 8 and QGIS tend to use Latitude / Longitude as the default coordinate system for new components.   That made sense in a day when shapefiles could not be relied upon to convey projection information, and it can also be handy today for dealing with geocoded data maintained in text form as lists of latitude and longitude degree coordinates.


But using Latitude / Longitude requires a mental hack when displaying drawings because degrees are angular units, not linear units as a rectangular drawing implies.   When using Latitude / Longitude we are buying into a conceptual slipperiness by using angular units in such a setting. That can  trip us up, for example, by how the unit of measure, degrees, expands and contracts as we move north and south.


If we are going to be doing a lot of work with data from older software in older formats where we know it is almost all going to be in Latitude / Longitude with no projection information provided, then it may be useful to switch the default coordinate system for new components to Latitude / Longitude.   It is also not a bad idea to use Latitude / Longitude when working with point data kept primarily in text lists of latitude and longitude degree coordinates.  We can always show such data in a Pseduo-Mercator map window and let Manifold re-project the data on the fly for display.


Status Bar Options - Options for the status bar, such as what format to use to display mouse cursor location, are set in the Status Bar - Position and Status Bar - Location panes.


See Also







Reproject Component


Coordinate System


Status Bar - Position


Status Bar - Location