Version: 2.0


Settings window



The settings window is where you can customize PureRef to make it truly yours. You can change nearly everything in PureRef to work the way you want.

Settings are saved to a file called PureRef.ini and by default it can be found in:

Windows%APPDATA%\PureRef ( C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\PureRef )

PureRef can also be provided with a path to the settings file on the command line: PureRef.exe -s /path/to/settings.ini

To automate this, create a shortcut to PureRef containing the command line settings. This way different PureRef windows can have different settings.


PureRef first checks its own directory for an PureRef.ini so to create a completely portable installation you can create a PureRef.ini next to PureRef itself!


In PureRef 1.x The PureRef.ini file was located directly under %APPDATA% or .config (without the PureRef folder)

Import & export settings

In case you want to share your settings with a friend or just back them up for easy transfer to another computer you can use the "Export current settings" button in the lower left corner of the settings dialog. This will export your current customizations, excluding personal information such as saved paths etc to a file.

Then just use the "Import settings file" button to load the saved settings.


Make sure you first export your current settings before importing a settings file as this will reset all settings that you have changed before the import.


Auto downscale large images

Enable to automatically scale down images to the chosen size on addition to the scene. Enabling this is more RAM-efficient but images may lose quality.

Undo history size

Set how many undo states are available. Larger history sizes take up more RAM.

Performance mode

No cache uses minimum memory, but high CPU usage and is slower at displaying images as you move around the canvas.

Cache on disk uses minimum memory, but high disk and CPU usage.

In memory runs faster, prioritizing quality, but high memory usage.

In memory, low zoom quality is the fastest setting, with a medium memory usage at the cost of lower image quality.

Temporary directory location

Change where PureRef saves temporary files. Empty here means it will use the system default temporary directory.

If you're experiencing slow saves or don't have enough disk space on the system disk it might help to move this to a secondary drive where you keep your PureRef scenes.


#colour #theme #appearance

Adjust colors and appearance of PureRef.

Title bar visibility

Set when to show the application top bar; always, only on mouse over, only when the cursor moves or never.


Using the title bar to move the PureRef window enables support for standard window snapping functions provided by the operating system.

Main window border

Turn the 1 pixel border of the PureRef window on or off.


Take care to not lose PureRef if you turn off borders while using a transparent background :)

Rounded window corners

Set window style on all windows except the main window.

Application opacity

Globally adjust opacity of the window.

Adjust the transparency of the whole PureRef application.


The shortcuts CtrlShift+/+ and CtrlShift-/- increase and decrease the opacity by steps of 10%.

Theme Presets

Choose between preset color themes, and create your own.

Dark - Classic dark mode, subtle.
Light - For brightly lit environments.
Glass - Light mode, but with a transparent canvas!


Create your own themes by setting the preferred colors and clicking "Save current to preset".

Application colors

Every color in the interface can be customized. Most support transparency.

PureRef interface which color is which area of the application

1. Canvas - The area surrounding the canvas.
2. Canvas background - The canvas background where images are placed.
3. Border - The main window border color.
4. Selection - Color of the selection rectangle and selected images border.
5. Text - Main text color.
6. Text hover - Color for hovering over clickable text.
7. Disabled - Indicates temporary un-interactability.
8. Menu background - Want a different color in the background of the menu than the canvas? Set it here.
9. Menu border - Want a different color on the menu border than the main window border? Set it here.
10. Primary - Important buttons.
11. Secondary - Normal buttons.
12. Success - Success color on checkmarks etc.
13. Warning - Indicating warnings.
14. Danger - Indicating permanent un-undoable changes, like permanent deletion.
15. Input background - Background of input fields.
16. Item background - Default background of notes and groups, and missing images.

Saving & Loading

Embed local images in save file

Embedding images makes the PureRef file portable, but the file size bigger since a copy of the image will be stored inside the save file.

Linking images makes the PureRef file lightweight but less portable. To move or share the file, the images will need to be moved along with it. If the save file can't find images in their original paths, it will also look for them in its own current folder and subfolders.


Remote images (urls) and temporary images like screenshots will always be downloaded and embedded in the .pur file regardless of this setting. The original url of the images is stored and can be accessed with "Open source" CtrlShiftO/O if PureRef can find one.

Unsaved scene warning

Uncheck to skip warning when leaving an unsaved scene. If "Don't show this again" is checked in the unsaved warning dialog, this setting is changed.

Auto open last scene on start up

Enable to always open the most recently closed scene every time you start PureRef.

Number of recent opened files

Set the number of recently opened files under Open > Open recent... in the right click menu.


Default window mode

Set to enable a window mode directly when you start PureRef. Choose between Overlay, Mouse transparency, both, or last used. Select Normal to open PureRef without a mode enabled.

Scroll wheel functionality

Set scroll wheel interaction behavior: Pan canvas, zoom canvas or nothing.

Invert scroll wheel - Invert the scroll wheel direction.

Trackpad gestures

Enables support for two finger pan and pinch to zoom.

While disabled, trackpad gestures will behave the same as a mouse scroll wheel.

While enabled, hold Ctrl during two finger pan to simulate a mouse scroll wheel.

Scale scene on window resize

Enable to allow the canvas zoom to keep up accordingly when resizing the PureRef window, instead of staying static and cropping the view area.

Show window state change popup

Enable or disable the notification popping up when maximizing, setting window mode etc.

Take window focus after image drop

Set whether PureRef should be the active window after dropping an image into it.


Disable to drag & drop images from the browser without PureRef popping in front of it.

Lock window while maximized

Enable to force the PureRef window to stay maximized when attempting to move it. Move will function like Pan (While Maximized).

Show maximized on top of taskbar

Set whether the maximized window should cover the taskbar or not.

Controls whether maximize behaves as a normal maximize or if PureRef should go fullscreen.

On MacOS this setting is called "Show maximized in its own space" and controls whether maximize will show over other applications or go fullscreen in its own space.

Disable mouse transparency on activate

Automatically disable mouse transparency when the PureRef window is activated.

Resize border width

Adjust size of the interactable edge/corner area for resizing the PureRef window, in pixels.

Move window threshold

Adjust distance threshold between moving the PureRef window and opening the right click menu, in pixels.


Both Move window threshold and Resize border width are good to increase for better error margin on touch devices.

Open files in ...

Set whether double clicking a file opens it in a new or existing PureRef window. Also known as single application mode.

Current window - Opens files in the current window, replacing what is already in the scene.

New window - Opens files in a new PureRef instance.

Scene status icon

Set the position and visibility of the scene status icon. This icon shows the scene locked state and if any background loading is ongoing.


Enable transform gizmo

Enable to show a transform gizmo around the selected images that can be interacted with to rotate and scale images.

Visibility - Set visibility of the transform gizmo handles. Choose to show all, only borders, only handles or invisible. The handles stay interactable even when invisible.

Handle size - Set diameter of transform gizmo handle.

Fade out when application is inactive - Set if the transform gizmo should fade out when PureRef is not the active window.

Image borders

Set visibility of image borders to only when selected, all always, or off.

Alignment padding

Set the spacing between aligned items when organizing images, in pixels.

Applies to aligned images.

Bring selected images to front

Set whether selecting an image should re-arrange the layer order of the images.

Select and pack new images

Enable to auto-arrange images as soon as they are added.

Pack new by - Set the order of arrangement for newly added images. Set to pack by optimal arrangement, name or addition.

Select all text on note edit

Set whether double clicking on a note selects all text or only enters edit mode.

Double click image to focus

Set whether double clicking on an image will focus it.

Slideshow time interval

Adjust how long every image is shown in a slideshow, in seconds.

Randomize slideshow order

Randomize the order of which images are shown after another in a slideshow.

Slideshow UI fade mode

Set whether the whole slideshow UI fades out or leaves the timer visible.

Default image sampling

Set the default image sampling for newly added images.

Bilinear blends pixels for a smoother look but will look blurry when zoomed in.

Nearest neighbor renders pixels as they are which can be useful for pixel art.

This can be changed per image with the 'Toggle bilinear sampling' action.



Click to check for updates immediately. If green, you're up to date. Red means an update is available.

Check on startup - Enable to check for PureRef updates at start up. An internet connection is required.

Include beta versions - When checking for a new version, also check for new beta versions.

Allow sending anonymous analytics

Enable to help make PureRef better! No personal data or images will be sent, only statistics of usage. This data will be used to improve PureRef. For a complete overview of what data is collected, please see the privacy policy.

File association (.pur) (Windows only)

Install or uninstall file associations for .pur files for the current user. Provides icons and double click to open functionality for .pur files in the file explorer.


If previously installed associations are not working, or you want to change the default installation to this version of PureRef, you can try to uninstall and install again.

Explorer thumbnails (.pur) (Windows only)

Install or uninstall thumbnail support for .pur files from PureRef 2.0 or newer in the file explorer for the current user.


If previously installed thumbnails are not working, or you want to change the default installation to this version of PureRef, you can try to uninstall and install again.

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