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The original ModeFile may well be in !StrongED.Defaults.Modes. in which case there should be no problem. The changes will be in !StrED_cfg.UserPrefs.Modes. so will not affect the original.
You cannot simply swap mode files whilst StrongED is running, for the ModeFile is only parsed when when StrongEd knows it needs parsing - either when StrongED is started or when the ModeFile is saved from StrongED. If you are editing a ModeFile then, when you save it, StrongED will parse it to check it makes sense. Of course even if your changes make sense to StrongED they may mot cause StrongEd to do what you intended. which is why the ability to swop back to an unchanged version can be useful.
I will use the Basemode in this example, but it can be applied to any mode.
You will probably want to implement this swapping before you start experimenting, in which case make the changes below to the ModeFile concerned and copy it as ModeFileA.
Rename <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFile <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFileB
Rename <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFileA <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFile
Rename <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFileB <SwapMF$Dir>.ModeFileA
Message StrongED_ExecCmds SetTmp() LoadOne("<StrongED$Tmp_ModePath>.ModeFile")
To test which ModeFile is active you can define a HotKey by adding a simple KeyList entry to each ModeFile:
After each click on the icon the inserted string should change, from 'ModeFile' to 'ModeFileA' then back to 'ModeFile' etc.
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