Along the top of the Merge Tool are tabs which make visible separate pages for output and input. There will always be an output tab, and at least one source tab. At startup, there is a single source tab, labeled ``Source 1''. Each layout file from which files are to be extracted will have a source tab, and it is also possible to use the same archive file in different source pages if necessary. A new source page can be created with the New Source button in the Options menu, and an existing source page can be deleted with the Remove Source button in the same menu.
Each source page must be filled in with the appropriate entries before the merge run. We will return to a description of the fields in the source pages.
The left-most tab is labeled Output, and when selected will show a page for configuring the overall job output. The Top-Level Cell Name field may contain the name of a cell that will be created in the output file as a container for the cell hierarchies read from the sources. This will be the top-level cell in the output file. The name is arbitrary, but should conform to the standards of the output file format. If it should clash with another cell being written from a source, that file name will be modified to avoid the clash.
It is also possible to run a merge without entering a Top-Level Cell Name. In this case, the hierarchies extracted from the source archives are simply concatenated in the output file. The output file may then have multiple top-level cells. Any transformation information except scaling will be ignored, since transformations apply to the placement of the hierarchy in the container top-level cell.
The Path to New Layout File field is required; it specifies the output file. The format of the output file produced is determined by the format tab selected at the top of the output page.
The Create layout File button initiates to merge operation. It should be pressed when all relevant fields in the Merge Tool have been filled in. Depending upon the number and size of the files and hardware characteristics, the operation can take seconds to hours. When started, a progress monitor pop-up appears. This displays the number of bytes read and written, error and warning messages emitted, and a "working" indication. An abort button is also provided which can be used to terminate the operation.
The Dismiss button will exit the Merge Tool program. Unless the Save button in the File menu has been used, all entered information will be lost. The Save button can be used to save the current state of the Merge Tool to a file, which can be read later (with the Recall button) to configure the Merge Tool to the same state as was saved. The file format is that used as input to the !assemble command, and is described there. Note that files prepared by hand for use with the !assemble command can be loaded into the Merge Tool with the Recall button.