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Editor for Binary/Octetstring Attributes

This editor is used to show, edit or create LDAP binary, hex or octet string attributes. In fact it's an full grown hex editor (not only viewer), which can be used to append, delete, insert and overwrite binary data - either in the hexadecimal line display or in the corresponding text panel. If you want, you can load/save data from/to files.

Editor for binary/octetstring attributes

In the top area of this dialog, you see the distinguished name and type icon for the object whose attribute your are editing. In the line beneath, the attribute name is shown.

On the left side, you have a decimal display of the byte offset for each first byte in the line:

Binary editor: Byte offset

In the middle area, the data is editable in hexadecimal form. If you want to edit data, only the appropriate keys are allowed: '0-9', 'A-F', 'a-f'.

Binary editor: Byte offset

On the right area, the corresponding ASCII text data is displayed for each byte in the binary data block in the middle. If characters are not printable, they are displayed as a '.' point.

Editor for binary/octetstring attributes

The blinking blue cursor indicates in which area (HEX or ASCII) you currently are. You can toggle the cursor position between the HEX and ASCII areas with the CTRL-LEFT and CTRL-RIGHT key.

Buttons in the editor status bar at the bottom

In the status bar at the bottom of the editor window, there are some information about the data size in the editor, about the current cursor position or current selection. Among these information, there some clickable fields and buttons.

You can decide if you want to enter text in insert or override mode, just klick on the Overwrite label in the status bar or press the Insert key to toggle this setting.

The Set the hex editor width button Set the hex editor width button can be used to specify how many bytes each line in the HEX area. The coices are 8, 10, 16, 20, 32 or 64 byte per line. LEX can also configure the byte width of the editor automatically according to the width of the editor window:

Configuring the editor width

With the Load Load button button, you can load any data from file into the editor. Please note that in this case the data currently contained in the editor is overwritten by the file content.

The Save button Save button saves the complete binary editor content to a file.

Editing the binary data as text

When clicking on the TEXT field in the left bottom corner, you can switch the entire dialog to the text editor mode - this can be helpful if the data which is stored in the binary attribute is in fact an ASCII text. This is the case in many Novell binary attribute, for example in ZEN application objects.

When you switch the editor to see and edit the binary data in ASCII text form, there is a basic problem: Maybe not all the hexadecimal values can be converted to printable ASCII characters. That is the case for all values below 0x20. So normally LEX shows a warning message according to this:

Switch HEX editor to ASCII warning message

If your data consists of printable characters only, this is no issue. But LEX converts non-printable values to '.' characters if you switch to the ASCII text edit mode. So there is some loss of information. If you want to switch back later on to return from the ASCII text edit mode back to the hex edit mode, the values of the non-printable characters will be lost - in this case the '.' will just converted to the according ASCII value 0x2e.

You can supress the warning if you activate the Dont show this dialog any more option or if you configure this in the application option Tools - Options - Dialog Settings.

After you switched the editor to ASCII mode, you can switch again to HEX mode by pressing the ASCII labele again:

Editing binary data as text

Copy and Paste with binary data

You can use the clipboard for transferring binary editor data. The copy and paste mechanism in the binary editor works as follows:

1. If you press CTRL-C in the right (ASCII) area, then the selected text is copied as text to the clipboard.

2. If you press CTRL-C in the middle (HEX) area, then the selected text is copied as hexadecimal text to the clipboard. The bytes are separated by blanks here:

Copy binary data into the clipboard

3. You can paste any text in the clipbord directly into the right (ASCII) area of the binary editor. Depending on the editor settings, the data is inserted or the current content is overwritten.

4. If you want to paste data into the binary editor, it has to be a hexadecimal string, either with or without separating blanks between the bytes. Depending on the editor settings, the data is inserted or the current content is overwritten:

Paste binary data from the clipboard

When will the binary/octetstring editor will be used?

The binary editor is used whenever LEX has valid schema information and detects one of the following official attribute syntaxes:

Audio Binary Certificate Certificate List Certificate Pair Octet String Supported Algorithm
2.16.840.1.113719. Net Address {Nov}
2.16.840.1.113719. Replica Pointer {Nov} String(Octet) {MS}

Sometimes an attribute can be displayed as on of these types, but it is handled by LEX with another editor, because LEX interprets the content of the binary attribute as another data type (for example a bitmap or a password). The attribute names of such attributes are hold in special content lists which can be configured with the menu option Tools - Option - LDAP Syntaxes.

On the other hand, if LEX assumes an attribute type as 'unknown' or if LEX could not evaluate the schema at all, it uses the hex editor if the server returns the attribute value as binary data and not as a string. This would be the case for the following attribute syntaxes:

ACI Item

Access Point

Data Quality Syntax

Delivery Method

DL Submit Permission

DSA Quality Syntax

DSE Type

Enhanced Guide


Master And Shadow Access Points

Mail Preference

Modify Rights

Protocol Information

Supplier Information

Supplier Or Consumer

Supplier And Consumer

Supported Algorithm


Octet List {Novell}