Copy Workspace )COPY {ws {nms}}

This command brings all or selected global objects nms from a stored workspace (or session file) with the given name.  A stored workspace is one which has previously been saved with the system command )SAVE or the system function ⎕SAVE.

 See Workspaces for the rules for specifying a workspace name.

If the list of names is excluded, all defined objects (including namespaces) are copied. 

If the workspace name identifies a valid, readable workspace, the system reports the workspace name, "saved" and the date and time when the workspace was last saved.


WS/UTILITY saved Mon Nov  1 13:11:19 1992
./TEMP saved Mon Nov  1 14:20:47 1992
not found X

Copied objects are defined at the global level in the active workspace.  Existing global objects in the active workspace with the same name as a copied object are replaced.  If the copied object replaces either a function in the state indicator, or an object that is an operand of an operator in the state indicator, or a function whose left argument is being executed, the original object remains defined until its execution is completed or it is no longer referenced by an operator in the state indicator.  If the workspace name is not valid or does not exist or if access to the workspace is not authorised, the system reports ws not found.

You may copy an object from a namespace by specifying its full pathname.  The object will be copied to the current namespace in the active workspace, losing its original parent and gaining a new one in the process.  You may only copy a GUI object into a namespace that is a suitable parent for that object.  For example, you could only copy a Group object from a saved workspace if the current namespace in the active workspace is itself a Form, SubForm or Group.

If the workspace name identifies a file that is not a workspace, the system reports bad ws.

If the source workspace is too large to be loaded, the system reports ws too large.

When copying data between Classic and Unicode Editions, )COPY will fail with TRANSLATION ERROR if any object in the source workspace fails conversion between Unicode and ⎕AV indices, whether or not that object is specified by nms. See Note for further details.

If "ws" is omitted, the file open dialog box is displayed and all objects copied from the selected workspace.

If the list of names is included, the names of system variables may also be included and copied into the active workspace.  The global referents will be copied.

If an object is not found in the stored workspace, the system reports not found followed by the name of the object.

Dependent Objects

If the list of names includes the name of:

the dependent object(s) will also be copied but will be unnamed and hidden. In such as case, the system will issue a warning message.

For example, if a saved workspace named CFWS contains a Class named #.CompFile and an Instance (of CompFile) named icf,

      )COPY CFWS icf
.\CFWS saved Fri Mar 03 10:21:36 2006
copied object created an unnamed copy of class #.CompFile

The existence of a hidden copy can be confusing, especially if it is a hidden copy of an object which had a name which is in use in the current workspace. In the above example, if there is a class called CompFile in the workspace into which icf is copied, the copied instance may appear to be an instance of the visible CompFile, but it will actually be an instance of the hidden CompFile - which may have very different (or perhaps worse: very slightly different) characteristics to the named version.

If you copy a Class without copying its Base Class, the Class can be used (it will use the invisible copy of the Base Class), but if you edit the Class, you will either be unable to save it because the editor cannot find the Base Class, or - if there is a visible Class of that name in the workspace - it will be used as the Base Class.

In the latter case, the invisible copy which was brought in by )COPY will now disappear, since there are no longer any references to it - and if these two Base Classes were different, the behaviour of the derived Class will change (and any changes made to the invisible Base Class since it was copied will be lost).

Referenced Objects

If you copy a Class or a namespace that is referenced by a Class as its Base Class or via a :Include statement, the referring Class will continue to refer to the original definition of the copied name which will be retained for that purpose. The Class can be made to refer to the copied definition of that name by refixing it.


The current workspace has a class named pete whose Base class is called base.

:Class pete: base

:Class base ∇ r←foo n :Access Public r←'Original'n ∇ :EndClass

A second workspace named copy.dws contains a different version of the base class:

:Class base
    ∇ r←foo n
      :Access Public

      )copy copy.dws base
copy.dws saved Thu Nov 22 16:24:27 2018
      inst←⎕NEW pete 1
Original  1

      ⎕FIX ⎕SRC pete
      inst←⎕NEW pete 1
Copied  1

Copying Objects from Session Files

You may also copy objects from session (.dse) files, although with certain restrictions.


        )copy C:\Users\Pete\Desktop\pete.dse ⎕SE.UCMD
C:\Users\Pete\Desktop\pete.dse saved Wed Oct 14 ...


In the following example, the not copied cases occur because the current namespace is not an appropriate parent for the object in question.

      )CS #
      )copy C:\Users\...\pete.dse ⎕SE.Dyalog.Callbacks
C:\Users\...\pete.dse saved Wed Oct 14 15:31:14 2015
       )copy C:\Users\...\pete.dse ⎕SE.cbbot
C:\Users\...\pete.dse saved Wed Oct 14 15:31:14 2015
not copied cbbot
       )CS ⎕SE
      )copy C:\Users\...\pete.dse ⎕SE.cbbot
C:\Users\...\pete.dse saved Wed Oct 14 15:31:14 2015
      )copy C:\Users\...\pete.dse ⎕SE.cbbot.bandsb1
C:\Users\...\pete.dse saved Wed Oct 14 15:31:14 2015
not copied bandsb1