A quick guide to ArcPad customization files
ArcPad XML files (*.apx)
Although all of the ArcPad customization files are stored as XML text files, the .apx file extension is only used for the following files:
- Default Configuration Files (ArcPad.apx): This file is loaded by default each time
ArcPad starts. ArcPad.apx can contain custom toolbars, forms, and system object-event
handlers. In addition, it can contain other parameters that override the ArcPad default, such
as which toolbars are initially visible when the application starts.
When ArcPad is started for the first time, an ArcPad.apx file is created in \My Documents\My ArcPad folder. This file will contain default toolbars which can be used as they are, or you can modify them according to your needs.
- Global Bookmark File (ArcPadBookMarks.apx):This file contains spatial bookmarks that can be used in ArcPad regardless of the current map. It is stored in the My Documents\My ArcPad folder on desktop PCs as well as Windows Mobile devices.
- ArcPad Preference Files (ArcPadPrefs.apx): This file contains the ArcPad default parameters that are set in the ArcPad Options dialog box, such as GPS settings, default symbology, and default file paths. It is stored in the My Documents\My ArcPad folder on desktop PCs as well as Windows Mobile devices.
- ExtensionPrefs.apx: If device memory is an issue for you, you may wish to disable the extensions that you don't use. Using the advanced settings in ArcPad, uncheck the box of extensions that you do not wish to load. Next time you start ArcPad, these extension will not load. To return all extensions to load on startup, you can either come back to advanced settings and check all the extensions back on, or delete the ExtensionPrefs.apx file. A new (default) one will be created next time you open ArcPad.
- ArcPad Favorites (ArcPadFavorites.apx): This file is created when a user chooses tools from the Favorites tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box. These tools are displayed in ArcPad as a Favorites toolbar. To remove the Favorites toolbar from ArcPad you can either uncheck all the tools from the Favorites tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box, or delete this file. It is stored in the My Documents\My ArcPad folder on desktop PCs as well as Windows Mobile devices.
- ArcPad Synchronization File (ArcPadSync.apx): This file contains the ArcPad synchronization parameters that are set when data is downloaded from ArcGIS Server. It is stored in the My Documents\My ArcPad folder on desktop PCs as well as Windows Mobile devices.
Other ArcPad XML files include ArcPad Graphics Layer (*.apg), ArcPad Photo Layer (*.aph), and ArcPad Stylesheets (*.aps). For more information about these files, see Supported vector data.
ArcPad applet files (*.apa)
Applets provide a way of delivering a mini-application in a single file without altering the ArcPad configuration. Applets may contain toolbars, forms, and system object-event handlers.
Applets are loaded automatically by ArcPad after the default configuration has been loaded. Applet files are located in the Applets Files Path, which is specified in the Paths tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box.
If you have multiple applets, the order they are loaded into ArcPad is dependant on Windows file system management rules. ArcPad loads files in the reverse file system order. For example, this is important to users who have multiple applets—that each contributes a tool to a common toolbar. The order that the tools appear on the toolbar will be the reverse order in which the applet files are read from Windows.
File ordering is different in different file systems. In an NTFS file system, file ordering is alphanumeric. In a FAT file system, file ordering is dependent on the order files are copied (or created) in a folder.
For example, if you create the files Bravo.apa, Alpha.apa, Charlie.apa (in this order) on a machine with a FAT file system, the default file order will be Bravo.apa, Alpha.apa, Charlie.apa (that is, exactly as you created the files). The NTFS default order for these very same files would be Alpha.apa, Bravo.apa, Charlie.apa (that is, ascending alphabetical order).
ArcPad will always load files in the reverse file order. So, on a FAT file system, ArcPad will load the files described above, in the order of Charlie.apa, Alpha.apa, Bravo.apa (that is, reverse creation order), and on a NTFS file system, ArcPad will load the files Charlie.apa, Bravo.apa, Alpha.apa (that is, reverse alphabetical order).
ArcPad layer definition files (*.apl)
Layer definitions are stored in the ArcPad AXF file, or in a file associated with a shapefile, with the same file name as the shapefile but with the extension .apl. Layer definition files provide a way of developing customizations that are delivered and loaded with data. Most customizations delivered in this way are data entry forms with associated scripts that handle data-entry validation and other features offered from the forms. Layer definition files can also contain custom symbology exported from ArcGIS Desktop.
ArcPad map files (*.apm)
An ArcPad map file stores a list of the map layers of your ArcPad session. A map lists all of your feature layers together with their display settings including the extent of your map, color, and projection environment.
VBScript (*.vbs) and JScript (*.js) files
Much of the customization in ArcPad is accomplished by writing scripts. Currently, ArcPad supports Microsoft’s VBScript and JScript scripting languages. Although scripts may be embedded within the various ArcPad customization files, it is often more efficient to place related scripts in a separate text file with a .vbs or a .js extension.