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The Purpose of This Document

The purpose of this document is to describe in detail all the control buttons and switches available in the VR-Editor and VR-Viewer, PHOENICS 2012. It also describes the facilities of the VR-Environment, available on Windows systems. The reader should already be familiar with TR/324 - Starting with PHOENICS-VR.

Modes of Operation of the PHOENICS Pre-processor

The PHOENICS pre-processor has several modes of operation. 

The 'Satellite' modes are suitable for experienced users who do not wish to use the file-handling facilities provided by the VR-Environment, and are happy to run the individual modules from the system command line. The input Q1 file is read, and the EARDAT file for Earth is written after an (optional) interactive PIL command session.

The 'VR-Environment' mode provides a graphical working environment in which users can run the PHOENICS modules they wish, including Satellite, VR-Editor and VR-Viewer. The VR-Editor is the default mode.

It also provides mechanisms for:

This document concentrates on the VR-Environment, and consequently the Windows system.


The command 'runsat' followed by an optional argument will start the Satellite. The argument can be:

When started in VR-Editor mode, non-VR cases will automatically have all PATCH and CONPOR statements translated into VR objects.

Image: The VR-Environment

The VR-Editor and VR-Viewer can be started with the command-line commands 'vre' and 'vrv'.

A desktop icon labelled PHOENICS-VR is also provided which starts the VR-Editor directly.

When started with a script from a command window, PHOENICS will start in the folder the command was issued from.

When started from the desktop icon, PHOENICS will start in the folder which was being used as the working directory at the end of the last run. By default the working directory is set to \phoenics\d_priv1.


The command 'runsat' followed by an optional argument will start the Satellite. The argument can be as for Windows.

The commands 'vre' 'and 'vrv' will start Satellite in VR-Editor mode and VR-Viewer mode respectively. No icons are provided.

The PHOENICS Commander

The PHOENICS Commander is common to Windows and Unix. It provides access to:

PHOENICS Commander
Image: The PHOENICS Commander

The Commander is started with the command-line command 'pc' on Windows and Unix, or from the Windows desktop icon labeled PHOENICS Commander.


Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5 and 14 refer specifically to PHOENICS on Windows. On Unix systems:

The buttons themselves have the same icons, and perform the same functions as those described in Chapters 3 and 14.

Chapters 1, and 6-13 refer equally to PHOENICS-VR on all systems.

The VR-Environment Screen Layout under Windows

The images below show the layout of the PHOENICS VR-Environment. At the top of the main window is the Top Menu bar, starting 'File', 'Settings' etc. Immediately below that is the Tool Bar, containing standard icons for file manipulation. Under the main graphics window is the Status bar, showing the current working directory.

Image: The Main Graphics Window

To the right of the graphics window is the hand-set, which is used to control the display, and to bring up further menus.

Beneath the hand-set is the Satellite Command Prompt, also known as the Text Box. This is used to display any messages produced during the processing of the current input file. If the input file contains an interactive question-and-answer session, an input box appears at the bottom of the Command prompt screen, and responses should be typed in to it.

Text appearing in the Command prompt is also echoed to a file named satlog.txt, in the current working directory. Error messages are also written to satlog.txt.

The images shown come from the first example in CHAM TR/324, ' Starting with PHOENICS-VR'.

Getting Help

The most comprehensive source of on-line information in PHOENICS is the PHOENICS On-Line Information System, called POLIS. It is accessed by clicking on 'Help' then 'POLIS' on the VR Top menu bar.

Many worked examples are provided in CHAM TR/324, ' Starting with PHOENICS-VR', Appendix A. These are also available on-line in POLIS under ' PHOENICS related lectures and tutorials - General tutorials'.

Users are advised to work through at least several of these to become familiar with the operation of PHOENICS-VR.

The following on-line help facilities are available:

VR Editor:

VR Viewer:

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