PowerGREP Assistant

The PowerGREP Assistant displays helpful hints as well as error messages while you work with PowerGREP. Select the Assistant item in the View menu to show or hide the PowerGREP Assistant. In the default layout, the assistant is permanently visible along the bottom of PowerGREP’s window. Immediately above the assistant’s caption bar, there is a splitter that you can drag with the mouse to make the assistant taller or shorter.

Helpful Hints

When you use the mouse, the assistant explains the purpose of the menu item, button or other control that you point at with the mouse. When you use the Tab key on the keyboard to move the keyboard focus between different controls, the assistant describes the control that just received keyboard focus. If you move the mouse pointer over the assistant, the assistant also explains the control that has keyboard focus, whether you pressed Tab or clicked on it.

Some of the assistant’s hints mention other items that have an effect on or are affected by the control the assistant is describing. These are underlined in blue, like hyperlinks on a web site. When you click on such a link, the assistant moves keyboard focus to the item the link mentions. Since you can only click on a link when moving the mouse pointer over the assistant, you are only able to click on a link when the assistant is describing the control that has keyboard focus. After you’ve clicked, the assistant automatically describes the newly activated control.

Follow Mouse

If you find it distracting that the assistant’s hint changes constantly as you move the mouse around, right-click on the assistant and select the Follow Mouse context menu item. By default, there’s a checkbox next to that item to indicate that the assistant’s hint follows the mouse pointer as described in the previous section. Selecting the Follow Mouse item removes the checkbox. The Assistant then only displays the hint for the control that has keyboard focus.

Error Messages

Most applications display error messages on top of the application, blocking your view of the application and whatever the error may be complaining about. Clicking OK brings the application back to life again, but then you have to remember what the problem was before you can fix it.

PowerGREP uses a different approach. When there is a problem, PowerGREP uses the Assistant panel to deliver the message. If you closed the assistant, it automatically pops up in the place it was last visible.

You can recognize error messages by their bold red headings. Hints have black headings. The assistant continues to show the error message until you resolve the problem, or dismiss the error by clicking the Dismiss link below the error message. Meanwhile, the assistant does not display hints or descriptions. If the assistant was invisible before the error occurred, dismissing an error automatically hides the assistant. Otherwise, the assistant resumes showing hints.

Error messages disappear automatically when you fix the problem. E.g. if you click the Preview button without entering a search text, the error message automatically disappears if you enter a search text and click the Preview button again. So you don’t need to dismiss errors, unless you want to see the hints again.