[Context: Basic Concepts and Terminology]
All HL data files are stored as XML files, as are saved portfolios and most other files intended for user access. Consequently, you'll need to be familiar with the structure of these files in order to manipulate them appropriately. This section outlines the details you'll need to know for this purpose.
If you are not already familiar with XML, it is quite easy to learn, since XML uses simple text files that can be easily created or modified. For additional information on XML, there have been countless books published on the topic and there are extensive resources available on the internet. The official site can be found at the following link. http://www.w3.org/XML/
HL utilizes only the basic mechanisms of the XML standard, so HL files are quite simple to work with. Since XML and HTML both derive from the same set of standards, anyone even tacitly familiar with HTML will be able to pick up XML very readily – at least to the complexity level employed by Hero Lab (or the lack of complexity, actually).
There are numerous commercial, shareware, and freeware tools available for easily editing XML files. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so you will need to make the determination of which tool is "better" for yourself. It's also perfectly reasonable to edit XML files with a simple text editor, although you'll want an editor that at least offers line numbers, since errors are reported with line numbers to allow easy correction of problems.
The following topics are explained in the sections linked below.