The APT user interface allows you to navigate through the various tools in APT, with the choice of tools dependent upon the Observatory (HST or JWST) of your observations; for a demonstration, see the training movie. You may work on one or more proposals during a session, although only one proposal may be active at a time. The APT user interface is composed of several different areas, each of which provides distinct capabilities. The different areas can usually be expanded or contracted by clicking on the area resizing triangles that appear in the area borders or by dragging the borders.

Definition of Interface Areas

There are six different areas to the APT interface:
  1. APT Menus - The uppermost portion of the interface consists of a series of menus (File, Edit, Tools, Current Tool, and Help) for file manipulation (e.g, saving the proposal), editing parts of a proposal (e.g., deleting observations), selecting a tool (e.g., the submission tool), selecting tool-specific tasks (e.g. update display), and help (e.g., access to the documentation). The Edit menu handles changes to proposal elements, but not the text within spreadsheets and forms (see Editors section below).
  2. Top Tool Bar - Just below the menus is a row of icons that can be selected to invoke the various tools (such as the Form Editor and the Submit tool) or operations (such as creating a new CoI). The tools can also be selected from the tools menu.

  3. Tree Editor - Along the left side of the user interface is a window with a tree editor. Within this area you can view, create, delete, and copy elements of proposals (e.g., observations). Items listed in the Tree Editor that are incompletely or improperly specified are marked with a . You can expand the tree by clicking on the key symbol just to the left of the element name (which will now point vertically). You specify the proposal element to be edited (in the Form Editor) by clicking on the element name (which then becomes highlighted). Some tools, such as the Spreadsheet Editors, allow more than one proposal element to be selected for editing. This selection is accomplished by holding down the Control key and clicking on desired items. Contiguous items can be selected by clicking on the first item and then by holding down the Shift key and clicking on last item; see the movie on GUI editting tips for more on using the Tree Editor.
  4. Mini-Spreadsheet - Along the bottom of the interface is an editor which displays the details of the proposal element selected for editing in the Tree Editor. This capability is not very useful for JWST proposals, and is closed by default. To open it, drag the bottom border of the tool display area upwards.

    The information in the Mini-Spreadsheet can generally be edited directly by clicking on the desired field, although in some cases a window will pop up to allow entry of information (e.g., if the field can contain a large amount of text, such as the abstract). The Mini-Spreadsheet marks improper items by red highlighting. Note that you can change the order of the columns by placing the cursor on the column title and dragging the entry, and the size of the columns by placing the cursor on the right-hand boundary and dragging. A single click on the column title will enable a sort mode for the column; subsequent clicks will sort in ascending and descending order.

  5. Active GUI window - The central region of the interface is the display area for the currently selected tool. When a tool is selected, it operates on the element chosen in the Tree Editor. The Form Editor (and Spreadsheet tools) play a special role in that they each allow for editing any portion of a proposal, apart from the PDF attachment. If no tool is selected, the Form Editor will appear by default in the Active GUI window when you select an item in the Tree Editor.
  6. Diagnostics Area - The lower right of the interface displays the number of current errors and warnings. By clicking on this region, you will get the Diagnostics Browser, which provides a detailed description of all diagnostics in the proposal.


To operate on a proposal item, you need to select the item from the Tree Editor and select a tool to carry out the operation. For example, if you want to view an element of a proposal in the Form Editor, you should click on that element in the Tree Editor and click on the Form Editor in the Top Tool Bar. The tools can generally be run in any order (e.g., you can edit the observations of a proposal before you fill in the Proposal Information).

The bottom of the Form Editor display contains a navigation feature which suggests possible steps that a user may want to carry out next. The right arrow suggests a further step, the left arrow suggests a prior step, and the triangle in the middle suggests the creation of a new proposal item. All three are active buttons.


The main editor for the contents of a JWST proposal is the Form Editor. (The Tree Editor is mainly used for selecting objects and viewing the overall structure of the proposal.) The Form Editor provides a vertical listing of the information and marks incompletely or erroneously specified information with a . The APT editor check for syntax and correctness when you enter values, and they limit selection lists to values that are consistent with other entries (e.g., if you specific MIRI as your instrument, you can only select MIRI filters).

You can cut, copy, etc. proposal elements that appear in the Tree Editor (i.e., complete proposals, CoIs, and Observations) through the Edit menu. You can also cut, copy, etc. text involving the forms through the Edit menu. Whether the Edit menu operates on proposal elements in the Tree Editor or text in the Form Editor is determined by the region that was last used (i.e., had last focus).

Alternatively, you can use control keys to cut, copy, and paste items in the Tree Editor and text in the Form Editor. Again, the affected area (Active GUI window or Tree Editor) is the one that was last used (i.e., the area that has focus). The control keys for cut, copy, and paste are Control-x, Control-c, and Control-v, respectively for Linux, and Windows; and Command-x, Command-c, or Command-v, respectively for Macintosh.


The PDF Preview tool displays the complete proposal (information inputted to APT merged with the PDF attachment) in two format. The first the version that the TAC will use for evaluating the proposal, and shows a high-level summary of the proposal along with the PDF attachment. The second is an operational view that shows the details needed to implementation your observations on the telescope. The PDF Preview display can be printed through the PDF viewer or saved as a PDF file through the Export menu item in the File menu. provides views of the proposal in PDF and text formats.


There are three types of help available in APT.