Getting Started 

Welcome to DarkViking Software’s Getting Started tutorial series, designed to help you quickly start using Iron.

Topics include:

  • How to download and install DarkViking Software’s 3D text editor: Iron.
  • How to start and quit Iron.
  • How to use Iron’s Menu System to explore the editing capabilities and features.
  • How to create a new file, save a file and rename it.        
  • A brief introduction to Virtual Space Editing.
  • The importance of the Escape key.
  • How to open and re-open, unlock and locking existing files.                
  • Using the mini-map.
  • How to edit multiple files, and a brief explanation of File Tabs.
  • An overview of multiple pane editing.

Often I feel that projects overwhelm us when we look at how many hours are involved until completion. But just getting started is usually not that difficult. 

Emily Giffin

New York Times #1 best selling author.

Getting Started

Getting Started is a brief video introduction to Iron and an overview of the topics covered in this tutorial series.
Length: 1m 22s

How to Download Iron

How to Download Iron explains the step-by-step procedure for getting the beta release of Iron: Beta v00.

 Length: 1m 1s


 Direct your browser to the DarkViking Software home page:

  1. Click the big blue Download button.
  2. Click Checkout on the shopping cart page.
  3. Enter your name and email and click Continue.

There is no cost for the beta and we will never share your contact info without your consent.

Beta testers are asked to create an account with your name and email address to aid in communication, and to limit the number of beta copies in circulation.

 Registered Beta testers will be notified when future beta versions are released, and when Iron is ready for prime-time. 

  1. Note your License Key and click Download. Your download will begin.
  2. Open the downloaded file. Iron’s installer will start.
  3. A receipt will be emailed to you that includes information on how to get additional downloads.
How to Install Iron

How to Install Iron explains the details of installing Iron on your computer. The process is easy and straightforward – with a few things you need to know.
Length: 1m 37s

This tutorial follows How to Download Iron and assumes that you have a copy of Iron downloaded to your computer.


  1. Open the downloaded copy of Iron. The installer will start automatically.
  2. Windows will likely ask about installing software from a “Publisher: Unknown”.

Press Yes, Ok, Install Anyway or follow the steps necessary to satisfy Windows about your intent to install new software. Each version of Windows is slightly different.

Note:  In Windows 10, look for and press the link “More Info” which is somewhat hidden at the end of their warning paragraph and that will allow you to run the installer.

  1. Windows will likely ask for Administrative Privileges to install Iron. Click Ok.
  2. Iron’s installer may look familiar. Click Next to move through the installation pages.

The installer does allow you to browse and choose an alternate installation directory. We suggest using the recommended directory. There are no other setting or options.

  1. The installation will progress and then display two checkboxes. Leave them both checked and click Finish.
  2. The installer will install the OpenAL audio drivers that Iron requires. Click Ok.
  3. Click Finish.
  4. Iron should start.
    How to Start and Quit Iron

    How to Start and Quit Iron presents several options for starting up Iron to begin editing, and exiting when you are finished.

    Length: 1m 30s


    Ways to start Iron:

    1. Double click the Iron icon on the desktop.
    2. Use the Start Menu (older versions of Windows.)
    3. Use the Metro Page (Windows 8 and 10.)

    Ways to Quit Iron:

    1. Click the Close Button in the upper right-hand corner of the display.
    2. Use the File|Quit menu item.
    3. Type Alt+X (Works at anytime.)
    4. Type Alt+F4 (Windows default exit for all applications.)

     If there are any unsaved files, Iron will ask about saving them. Click Cancel to change your mind about quitting Iron and keep editing.

     When exiting the Beta version, Iron will show a beta exit-menu in the center of the display. To quit this menu, click the Close button a second time.

    A Brief Exploration of Iron

    A Brief Exploration of Iron looks at the user interface and some of Iron’s growing list of text editing features and benefits.

    Length: 2m 51s



    • The Command Palette
    • Windows and panes
    • The Mini-map
    • File tabs
    • Iron Menu system
    • Hot keys
    How to Create a New File

    How to Create a New File explains the concept of working within panes and demonstrates several ways to start a new file, the easiest being to just start typing in a new pane.

     Length: 2m 0s



    Discussion of text editor naming conventions: Panes, windows, buffers and workspaces.

    Specific ways to create a new file:

    • Just start typing
    • Type Ctrl+N
    • Use the File|New menu item.
    How to Save a File

    How to Save a File explains manual and auto file saving methods, including Iron’s limbo feature that protects your work even if it is unnamed and unsaved.

    Length: 3m 53s



    To manually save a single file:

    • Use the File|Save menu item.
    • Type Ctrl+S (Saves the current file that is open in the current pane.)

    To manually save all open files:

    • Use the File|Save All menu item.
    • Type Ctrl+Shift+S

    The Limbo directory:

    • Unnamed, unsaved files are saved to the Iron “limbo directory”.
    • A file residing in the limbo directory is located in Documents\DarkViking Software folder.
    Multiple Files and File Tabs

    Multiple Files and File Tabs demonstrates how Iron supports working within several different files, all open, all at the same time, with each available to be edited independently.

    Length: 2m 27s



    As multiple files are opened, Iron adds file tabs on the upper-right of the “text view”. To change between files, click on the desired file tab.

    Other ways to switch files within a pane:                                                                                                   

    • Press F1 to cycle to the next file in the pane.
    • Alt+F1 to cycle to the previous file.                                                                                                 
    • Ctrl+Tab
    • Ctrl+Page_Up                                                                                                                           
    • Ctrl+Page_Down        
    • Use the Command Palette (F8) and type the file name (and press Enter).
    • Use the Goto feature (Ctrl+G) and type the file name. “Goto” is really just using the “colon” syntax in the Command Palette.
    • Close the current file.
    • Drag-n-drop file tabs from other panes.



      How to Unlock Read-Only Files

      Unlock Read Only Files explains how Iron handles locking and unlocking files used in a Software Configuration Management (SCM) system.

      Length: 2m 08s



      • Iron won’t allow editing of a file that’s locked or “read-only”. If attempted, Iron will “fling” out a warning to you.
      • Files are often locked for a reason. Know the reason before you unlock and change the file. You might need to re-lock the file after a change.
      • To unlock or lock a file, use the File|Lock/Unlock menu item.
      • Files in software projects are commonly configured, tracked and backed-up by a Software Configuration Management (SCM) system.
      • Files may be locked by the SCM and unlocking and editing them without checking them in and out may confuse the SCM possibly leading to loss of work.
      • In the not too distant future, Iron will support several SCM systems (GitHub, Perforce, SVN, and others).
      The Escape Key

      The Escape Key tutorial explains the role of ESC key in Iron, how it is implemented, and the order in which it cancels various key bindings. In short, ESC is used to cancel most interactions, including popup panes, dialogs, audio prompts, animated notifications and other activities.

      Length: 2m 7s



      • Iron uses the Escape key (ESC) to cancel pretty much everything.
      • ESC cancels popup panes like the Command Palette.
      • ESC cancels dialogs, audio prompts, animated notifications and other activities.
      • ESC is used to cancel selections in the Persistent Selection mode.