Go to Version 7.1

Here is the list of features added to each release of FieldWorks Language Explorer. Changes are cumulative. If you need to access a version that is no longer available, please send an email to flex_devteam@sil.org.

FieldWorks 9.0

FieldWorks 9.0 now has a 64-bit Windows version, a new installer, and fixes a lot of older bugs. The main features of this release are as follows:

  • Large project Improvements FieldWorks 9.0 introduces a 64-bit version of FieldWorks on Windows, which will allow FieldWorks to access more memory to help large projects. A 32-bit version is also available.
  • New Installer With this release, we are introducing a completely new installer. You only need to install the base installer once. After that, all it will take is a patch to upgrade to the latest version.
  • Translation Editor (TE) is no longer installed with FieldWorks. We recommend that you use Paratext instead. If you are not already using Paratext, it’s time that you start using that.
  • Fonts Fonts, that were normally installed with FieldWorks will no longer be upgraded if they already exist. This is to prevent losing customized versions of these fonts. However newer versions of the fonts may be available. If you want the latest versions please visit the relevant font web sites:
  • DB4o (or Sharing) is no longer available with FieldWorks. This was intended as a temporary solution until Send/Receive was implemented. Now that Send/Receive works well, please use that instead of the older method of sharing data.
  • Locale Data Markup Language (LDML) Writing system definitions are now accessed from an SIL online repository when creating a writing system and connected to the Internet.

FieldWorks 8.3

FieldWorks 8.3 introduces the ability to upload dictionary data directly to Webonary.org and makes it significantly easier to configure FieldWorks 8.3 introduces the ability to upload dictionary data directly to Webonary.org and makes it significantly easier to configure dictionary data for all kinds of output (print or electronic). The primary new features in FieldWorks 8.3 are:

  • One-button upload to Webonary. Once you have an account at webonary.org, it is now as easy as configuring your credentials, choosing what you want to publish, and clicking a button, to upload your data the first time. To upload a newer version of your data, just click that button again.
  • New version of the Configure Dictionary functionality. The internal mechanisms for configuring dictionary output have been completely redesigned, resulting in a tool that is much more reliable and robust. Some key benefits to the user include:
    • Better reliability of existing configuration options
    • Ability to preview your data while you are configuring the options
    • The previews now display the data using the same mechanisms as Webonary, resulting in a more accurate preview
    • Ability to tie Publications to specific data configurations (root-based or lexeme-based, and specific configurations of the views)
  • Additional configuration possibilities. As a result of the redesign, we have been able to add new features:
    • More options for items to be in paragraphs
    • More control over what parts of an entry are published
    • More options for what can be displayed in a reference to an item
    • Separate configuration of subsenses versus senses
    • Some nodes share their configurations (you only configure them in one place)
    • A new “grouping” option, that allows you to put “before and after” material around more than one field.
  • Ability to export a dictionary configuration for use in a different project. Includes the detailed configuration, publications, custom fields, and styles. Useful when there is a standard for dictionary formats in a specific group or region.
  • Hybrid view: A new default configuration that is a cross between root-based and lexeme-based views. This view is based on the work of Bartholomew & Schoenhals’ Bilingual Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages1 Some of the key features of this layout include:
    • Complex forms are presented as main entries (like lexeme-based views), but it also includes “minor subentries”, to show minimal information about the complex form right in the main entry (like root-based views).
    • Information of greater interest to the language community comes first in the entry; information for academic linguists is last.
    • There is an emphasis on clearly delineating the different kinds of information in the entry.
  • New fields
    • Enhanced Etymology cluster: better differentiation of information, new subfields
    • Dialect Labels (entry and sense): annotate headwords and senses as to which dialect they occur in. Include these annotations in references to these entries or senses.
    • Extended Note: can include example sentences, and the whole note can be displayed in its own paragraph.

1Bartholomew, Doris A. and Louise C. Schoenhals, Bilingual Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages. Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, México, D.F., 1983.

FieldWorks 8.2

  • Upgrade mercurial to fix some Send/Receive problems. The FLEx Send/Receive functionality is now using a new version of the underlying version control system. While most users were not experiencing problems before, there were a few serious issues that could only be addressed by changing to a new version.
  • Build natively on Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04. Until now, there have been many issues with the version of FieldWorks on the current Long Term Support version of Linux, but we now believe many of these have been solved.
  • Many keyboard improvements on Linux. Most of the known problems and crashes on Ubuntu 14.04 related to automatic keyboard switching have been fixed. All of this is greatly improved.
  • Make FLEx work with Keyman 9.0.
  • Upgrade Graphite to Graphite2. Now Graphite is fully integrated into the Linux version of FLEx (including Font Features), and the performance in Windows should be faster.

Version 8.1

This version is largely intended to fix some specific bugs that were reported in the previous stable release (FW 8.0.10). However, it also includes some internal changes that lay the groundwork for further integration between FLEx and ParaTExt. Because of the internal changes, we have bumped the minor version number (from 8.0.x to 8.1.x).

The primary new features are:

  • The “Find” function now searches in Definition and Reversal (when the user has chosen an Analysis language for the search), and those columns show in the dialog box. The Allomorph field has been hidden but is still searched and still available to be shown.
  • On importing SFM, blank \ps fields are no longer treated as if they are not there. – This prevents the sense they are in from inheriting the Part of Speech from the sense above it.
  • The Reversals field has been moved up just below the Gloss field. – This is to make it easier to track which “translation equivalents” are in each field and to ensure consistency between them when it is desired.

Version 8.0

  • Linux – Starting with FieldWorks 8.0.5, Linux and Windows versions with the same functionality are released at the same time.
  • Send/Receive Project – collaborate with colleagues located anywhere using Send/Receive to sync project data. (Send/Receive Lexicon to collaborate with WeSay users also improved.)
  • Type ahead – type in the list reference fields to see a list of items which match what you’ve typed instead of having to use the ellipsis button!
  • Bulk Edit Phoneme Features – add a Phonological Feature to multiple Phonemes at a time. Filter Phonemes by their Phonological Features.
  • Complex Concordance – perform concordance searches for combinations of requirements e.g. a specific word (or gloss) followed by a word which has a specific grammatical category.
  • Semantic Domain Find and Suggest – find relevant semantic domains using a find or have FLEx propose potentially relevant semantic domains based on the gloss, definition and reversal entries of the current sense. See post.
  • Configure Collect Words (was Categorized Entry) – many more fields available to display in Collect Words view and ability to enter data into either lexeme or citation form, gloss or definition according to your preference.
  • Configure and export Classified Dictionary – configure the fields shown in Classified Dictionary (a semantically classified list of entries) and export this view to XHTML.
  • Welcome Dialog – when starting FieldWorks you are offered a number of choices including opening the last project you edited. This dialog will be shown every time unless you opt to have FieldWorks auto-open the last edited project, as it did previously.

FieldWorks 7.2

In FieldWorks 7.2, enhancements were focused in the Texts and Words area:

There is now optionally a connection between a text and a Notebook record.

Import enhancements

  • You can import texts in standard format including the baseline, and free form annotations such as a Free translation. (Does not yet import word glosses or other aspects of analysis.)
  • Progress made towards integration with ELAN in terms of time alignment data.

Export enhancements

Organizing texts

  • You can now choose which Texts to include in concordance searches, lists of words and listed in the Texts list. This choice is presented by Genre then text title.


Zero-width spaces

Concordance enhancements

Interlinear texts

Chart right-to-left texts; the Text Chart tab now support right-to-left.


  • Filter for jumps between Notebook and Lexicon. You can use a new right-click menu option to filter for an anthropology category.
  • Send feedback
  • Send error message
  • Dictionary view now has Bidi support – Where you would normally just put a space, if it might be between two pieces of LTR text that should be ordered with the first one on the right, you need the three-letter sequence RLM, space, RLM, where RLM is the Unicode character U+200F, the Right-to-left marker.
  • “Parse Words in Text” while on the Analyze tab now shows the results immediately.
  • Lots of bugs were fixed!

Version 7.1

Improvements to Configure Dictionary options, and related Lexicon fields:

  • The “Publish In” field allows you to restrict the publication of an entry to some or no dictionary publications. You can customize the list of Publications in the Lists area. Removing an entry, sense or example from a publication completely hides it in Dictionary view and related exports. Homograph and sense numbers of other non-hidden items are updated accordingly. The publication is selected in the pane title of Dictionary view.
  • You can add a complex form to an entry. (Previously you could only specify this from the other end, by specifying what a complex form’s components were.)
  • A Publication Settings section in the Lexicon Edit Entry pane, where entry-level publication fields are gathered.
  • An additional, separate field to control which complex forms are listed in an entry, “Referenced Complex Forms”.
  • You can reorder subentries, components, and referenced complex forms.
  • You can now deselect a particular type of lexical relation if you want to omit all those references from a publication. By using Duplicate on the Lexical relations node, you can select different sets of lexical relations and display them differently, e.g. synonyms in italic style whereas antonyms are proceeded by a symbol.
  • You can now deselect a particular type of complex form if you want to omit those references or subentries from a publication. By using Duplicate on the relevant node, you can select different sets of complex form types and display them differently, e.g. compounds in italic whereas derivatives are in bold.
  • You can now deselect a particular type of variant or complex form if you want to omit minor entries for those types from a publication. By using Duplicate on the relevant node, you can select different sets of variant/complex form types and display them differently, e.g. variants could be set to show less information than complex forms.
  • In Dictionary View, you can use Ctrl+Click to jump to a reference. E.g. Ctrl+Click on a synonym will jump to the synonym’s entry within Dictionary View.
  • In Dictionary View and preview, there is a right-click menu option to configure the dictionary which will take you to that item in the Configure Dictionary dialog on which you right-clicked. (Outstanding bugs in this area: Occasionally it will not take you to the right place in the tree.)
  • Picture captions can be in any of the project’s writing systems.
  • You can create additional custom dictionary views with custom names.
  • You can see subentries of subentries (to several levels).
  • You can set a paragraph style for senses and subentries.
  • Subentries of senses are displayed below the relevant sense (however you must display senses in separate paragraphs to allow this.)
  • Bulk Editing works better again for specifying complex forms and variants. (There was a restriction on what was possible in FieldWorks 7.0.)

Improvements to the exchange of data with WeSay through the LIFT standard, including but not limited to:

  • Pictures and audio files are imported and exported.
  • Writing systems are handled more appropriately.
  • You can add a special audio writing system which allows you to record sound or link to a sound file directly in the writing system subfield of any field in the Entry pane of Lexicon Edit, just as you can in WeSay.

Version 7.0

(Version number jumped from 3 to 7)

  • Available as a beta version for Linux.
  • Greatly improved performance.
  • FieldWorks BTE can now be updated with maintenance patches between releases; you will not need to download the entire program each time there are new bug fixes available.
  • Numerous bugs have been fixed in the course of the reengineering effort.
  • Backup files can include settings (e.g. dictionary configuration) and linked files (e.g. pictures) as well as data.
  • Backup files now have the extension fwbackup, and a restore can be triggered by double-clicking on the fwbackup file in Windows Explorer.
  • You can customize the location where you store FieldWorks projects.
  • In Language Explorer:
    • You can minimize sections when viewing a lexical entry.
    • You can add a new list to the Lists area.
    • You can add custom fields of more types (number, date, list reference, multi-paragraph.)
  • Almost all dialogs in FieldWorks can now be localized.
  • Data Notebook is no longer installed as a separate application. Its features and data can now be accessed in Language Explorer in the new Notebook area.
  • Topics List Editor is no longer installed as a separate application. All of the list data it managed is now managed by the Lists area in Language Explorer.
  • WorldPad is no longer installed with FieldWorks. WorldPad can be installed on its own if needed. Download.
  • FieldWorks no longer uses SQL Server, so Microsoft SQL Server is no longer required to be installed. The FieldWorks download packages are therefore smaller, and installing FieldWorks is simpler.
  • We have discontinued offering backup reminders and schedule. Please let us know if you need these features added back in.
  • Sharing projects over a local area network takes an extra step. To enable sharing your projects, select File>Project Management> Project Locations and Sharing. Select the check box “Share projects stored on this computer”. See the help file for additional instructions.
  • This version can be installed alongside an installation of FieldWorks 6.0.6 or earlier. This may be useful for consultants and trainers but should be used carefully by others. Make sure you only edit project data in one version, not both!

Version 3.0

  • Merger of Bulk Edit Entries and Bulk Edit Senses (now one view)
    • Bulk Edit now available for most Example and Allomorph fields
    • Settings in Bulk Edit views are remembered.
  • Enhanced support of variants, including adding them within ‘regular’ entries and while interlinearizing. You can now:
    • Select more than one Variant Type for a variant.
    • Specify that an entry is a variant and a complex form.
    • Specify that an entry is a variant of another variant.
  • Enhanced support of complex forms. You can now:
    • Select a complex form type while creating a new entry.
    • Select which component to show a subentry under.
    • Reduce the number of complex forms displayed with a highly productive component such as a derivational affix.
    • Optionally display complex forms with minor subentries in a stem-based view.
  • Phonological Rules (and parsing)
    • It is now possible to specify an affix process rules in the lexicon, instead of having to add allomorphs to many entries, to express a phonological change.
    • It is now possible to specify phonological features and rules in the Grammar area, including metathesis rules.
    • There is a new parser available which makes use of these rules (“Hermit Crab”).
  • Importing standard format texts (relies on a separate utility and setting-up control files)
  • Syntactic tagging (very basic feature implemented)
  • Add custom fields to allomorphs and examples
  • Improved support of adding pictures and other media; you can now control where the files are stored
  • You can now approve an analysis of a word throughout the current text.
  • Word glosses can be optionally copied to the free translation line with one keystroke.
  • You can now copy a sentence from an interlinear view, and paste it in tab-delimited format.
  • You can now specify which characters form part of words and which are strictly punctuation, for each writing system.
  • Reversal Indexes can now be configured, like Dictionary View, and by default more fields from the lexical entry are shown.
  • If you add free translations to texts included from Translation Editor, these translations are shown as back translations in Translation Editor (FieldWorks BTE only.)
  • Export of a 2-column dictionary to Open Office, using the SIL Publishing Solutions add-in.

Version 2.4:

  • Editing the baseline of a text in Concordance view.
  • Combining of the Texts and Words areas.
  • An additional interlinear view (tab) set up for word-level interlinearzing.
  • An optional mode for adding words directly to the lexicon when adding word glosses.
  • Display of reference numbers in the interlinear.
  • Improvements and bug fixes in the Text Chart (discourse analysis), including allowing text to be marked as pre/post-posed from a different clause (row).
  • Spelling checking (see below)
  • Improved Change Spelling tool.
  • Bulk Edit Words includes editing Spelling Status.
  • Choices for merging data when importing a LIFT file.
  • Improvements to options on the Parser menu, and parser performance.
  • Changed Writing System Properties dialog, aimed at making it easier for you to add additional writing systems for a single language.
  • Improvements to your control of the cursor – conventional tabbing and arrowing in browse panes.
  • Export interlinear text to Word 2007.
  • Export the Text Chart (discourse analysis) to MS Word.
  • 2 column Dictionary view export to XHTML (use Firefox).
  • More commands to “show in concordance”, including from the Lexicon.

The spelling checking feature will make use of any Open Office dictionaries you have installed, or you can download a variety of spelling dictionaries from Open Office or other online spelling dictionary providers. This allows checking and correcting the spellings of e.g. definitions in English, French etc. Language Explorer will also support checking spelling in your vernacular texts. For this, you build the spelling dictionary by specifying the Spelling Status of words, which you will be able to do efficiently through Bulk Edit Words. You can also add words to the spelling dictionary through the context menu on words highlighted as misspelled (a red squiggle).

Version 2.2:

  • Speed improvements in Dictionary view, Interlinear text, Show in Lexicon jump.
  • Import/Export lexical data in LIFT format
  • Discourse charting
  • More access to ‘Find in dictionary’ in Data Notebook
  • Concord on specific morphemes, lexemes, analyses, etc. available in Lexicon Edit and other views.
  • Choose the writing system(s) for each field in Lexicon Edit.
  • Bulk Edit Wordforms

Version 2.0

  • Concord on morphemes, glosses, etc.
  • Concordance results filters and sorts. ” Genre and other text metadata.
  • Filter texts.
  • Root-based or stem-based dictionary view layout options.
  • Interlinearize text from Translation Editor (see caution below under known issues).
  • Corpus look-up tool in the lexicon, for finding candidate example sentences.
  • Special filtering options for dates, numbers, and list reference fields.
  • Additional export options.
  • Most of the Language Explorer user interface can now be localized into other languages. (French is available if the French Language Pack was selected during the installation of FieldWorks.)
  • Configurable columns in the Find dialog box.
  • Better support for languages relying on a Graphite font, and which are right-to-left.
  • Try a Word now has a parse-only option in addition to the trace option.
  • Enhanced Custom Fields dialog box.
  • Enhanced Encoding Converters dialog box, now with access to Python and Perl scripts.
  • Enhanced Configure Dictionary dialog box and range of options.

Version 1.2

  • Support for interlinearizing phrases.
  • New “example sentence finder” function in the lexicon, using the text corpus.
  • Improved performance of the ‘Find lexical entry’ dialog.
  • Stem Names, to control stem allomorphy that is dependant on the presence of certain inflection features.
  • New filter options in the Lexicon for list reference fields.
  • Correct sorting of Number fields and Date fields. Appropriate filter options.
  • Find and Replace in the Baseline of Texts Edit.
  • Etymology and Picture fields now available in browse views.
  • Complex Forms and Variant fields in Lexicon Edit, which list linked complex form and variant entries.
  • Improved support for languages relying on a Graphite font, and which are right-to-left.
  • Windows Vista compatibility
  • A new draft document on recommended lexicography practices using Language Explorer (by Ron Moe)
  • Various bug fixes and minor improvements.

Version 1.0.1

  • New export format for root based dictionaries. This MDF standard export format will list subentries under the main entry rather than as separate entries with links to the main entry.
  • Bug fixes:
  • Program error when undoing very large Bulk Edit operations
  • Problem with exporting interlinearized text: capitalized words are no longer dropped from the baseline text in the exported file.
  • Problem with printing the dictionary view: the time to print a draft of a dictionary was reduced from hours to minutes.
  • Problem with systems set to GMT time zone: file operations now work properly for systems set to any time zone including GMT.
  • Diacritics and tone marks can now be configured as wordforming characters.
  • Problem with sort and filter information being applied to the wrong lists has been fixed.
  • The fundamental morph type for an entry can now be changed from any morph type to any other morph type in bulk edit.

Version 1.0

  • Export interlinear text (to XML, XLingPap, HTML, Microsoft Word, and Open Office).
  • Configure dictionary view.
  • Export configured dictionary (to Standard Format or XML).
  • Bulk Edit enhancements (more bulk editable columns, and an indication of which columns can undergo bulk edit operations).
  • Import LinguaLinks data.
  • Jump links (right-click in Edit views).
  • Reversal Index changes to support multiple writing systems per analysis language index).
  • Bulk Edit Reversals.
  • Drag and drop to reorganize lists (for example, imported grammatical categories).
  • Tone and CV Pattern fields in the pronunciation group of fields.
  • Audio file link in the pronunciation group of fields.
  • Classified Dictionary view, which displays any senses that have been classified by semantic domains. (Essentially this only supports printouts in this version.)
  • Import of Standard Format data has been made more flexible as regards field order. Various improvements to import.
  • Support for longer texts.
  • Multiple column sorting (Shift+click to add secondary and tertiary sorts)
  • Context-sensitive Help for dialog boxes and fields in edit view.
  • Redesigned Words Analyses view allows creation of new analyses, editing of analyses, and analysis usage control.
  • Regular expression drop-down menu on the Filter dialog box.
  • New icons.
  • Parser now runs in the background without impacting performance.

Beta 0.8

  • Bulk Edit Entries and Bulk Edit Senses views (Lexicon area).
  • Reversal Indexes view (Lexicon area).
  • Inflection features and exception features (Lexicon and Grammar areas).
  • Pronunciation fields (Lexicon area).
  • Etymology fields (Lexicon area).
  • Pictures (Lexicon area).
  • Additional fields available in browse views. Enhanced configuration options (Lexicon area).
  • Additional lexical fields supported in Standard Format import.
  • Customizable interlinear view (Texts area).
  • Regular expressions supported in filters.
  • Insert Special Character.
  • Turn off all filters button on the toolbar.
  • Better handling of incorporation category in compound rules (use of overriding category – Grammar area).
  • Improved performance.