DataRefEditor is a free plugin that lets you view and change the 2000+ DataRef values inside X-Plane.  DataRefEditor can be an SDK developer’s best friend.  With the inclusion of generic instruments in V9, DataRefEditor takes on new significance.

Downloading and Installing DataRefEditor

DataRefEditor can be downloaded from here:


DRE is a fat plugin and it is therefore installed by dragging the DataRefEditor folder into the X-Plane / Resources / Plugins folder.  It is accessed from X-Plane’s pull down Plugins menu: Plugins > Data Ref Editor > Show Data Refs.  This will bring up a window showing each of the DataRefs and their values.

The download comes with a README file with complete instructions.

Viewing DataRefs

The DRE window can be resized by dragging any of its margins.  The window can also be dragged to any position on the screen.

To selectively filter or search for a small group or a singular DataRef enter a fragment of the DataRef string name into the bottom left corner of the DRE window.  Note: DRE is case sensitive.  For example entering “tire” will bring up 25 or more datarefs containing “tire” in the DataRef name.  Notice that many of the values fluctuate.

You can also view multiple windows in DRE.  For example: resize your “tire” window and use X-Plane’s > Plugins menu to open a second DRE window.  Entering “defl” will display the deflection of each of the tires on the aircraft.

Art Controls and Sim Stats

Besides the regular “show datarefs” display (which shows all of the datarefs in DataRefs.txt plus any datarefs intentionally published by other plugins), there are two other sets of datarefs that DataRef editor can show:

  • Art Controls
  • Stats

Both are shown using the menu picks “Show Art Controls” and “Show Stats”.

The art controls are mapped into the domain sim/private/controls/…. by X-Plane.  The stats are mapped into the domain sim/private/stats/….

Like all sim-private datarefs (sim/private) these datarefs are undocumented and unsupported and may not be there in future builds.

Your plugin, panel, or object should not depend on any sim/private datarefs!  They should only be used for diagnostics/debugging.

The art control datarefs are datarefs that will change the operation of the sim when changed.  For example, you can change the global size of billboarded lights using an art control.

The sim stats provide a huge amount of diagnostic information about the sim’s performance.  For an example, see [[Calculating Rendering Load]], which in detail explains how to measure X-Plane’s geometric throughput via the stats.

There is no one comprehensive list of stats and art controls; they are generated as part of our internal development process and left in the sim to aid in debugging during beta.

Changing DataRefs

You can change the value of most DataRefs by right or left clicking on the DataRef value and entering a new value.  This will allow you to observe the effect of changing a DataRef while in flight or on the ramp.  For example, if you change the value of sim/operation/failures/rel_tire1 from 0 to 1 you will observe that a small aircraft will tilt to the side as the tire deflates and the  “tire blown!” warning will appear.

Bring keyboard focus back to X-Plane by pressing return.

Many DataRefs items are stored as arrays.  Use the slider on the bottom right of the DRE window to advance the array index by 1 up to a value of 99.  For example, you can observe the tire deflection in the x, y, and z directions of each of the 10 tires on a “heavy” by incrementing the array index.  The slider on the left advances the array index by 100.

Adding Your Own DataRefs

There are two ways to add datarefs to DataRefEditor:

  • You can edit DataRefs.txt in Resources/plugins.  This is the easiest way to add datarefs, but when you update X-Plane, the installer will want to overwrite your changes.  Also, for this to work, your plugin must be loaded before DataRefEditor.
  • You can programmatically publish your datarefs, as described here.