iCan Blog Archive

IBM i Access Client Solutions has been available since 2013. IBM is continuing to update and enhance this product on an ongoing basis. The latest version is, released in December of 2019. Help → Check for updates will tell you if there is a more recent update available.

This blog post was originally written in 2015 and covered the latest updates at that time. This post covers enhancements that were made for the 5250 emulator. Why enhance the emulator? Because we know when doing IBM i system administration, you need to use a 5250 interface for many features. Navigator for i is preferred when using the graphical interface, but there are still many tasks that require a 5250 session.

What are the latest enhancements to the 5250 emulator? I’ll review three of my favorites.

  • Mouse wheel support

    You can use your mouse wheel to page up and down and you can also configure to use it for other actions when used in conjunction with the shift or control keys. You configure the mouse wheel with Edit → Preferences → Mouse Wheel… 

    The following screen captures show the navigation and the properties page.
  • Tabbed 5250 sessions

    This is one of my favorites. When using a 5250 session, I often end up needing multiple sessions. I do not like window clutter; I’m a huge fan of tabs – in my browser, in my email client, in my chat application – and now in my emulator.

    Tabs are toggled off by default, so you need to edit your preferences to enable tabbed sessions. 

    You configure tab support with Edit → Preferences → Tab Setup…

    The following screen captures show the navigation and the properties page.


You can configure the tab placement with the expected locations. I prefer my tabs to be on the left side. I often end up with many tabs stacked along the side of a window. It makes it easier for me to see all of them.

You can drag the tabs to reorder them and you can also detach a tab to move a session to its own window.

If you are a Mac OS user like me, you can also take advantage of the keyboard shortcuts to move from tab-to-tab (control-tab or control-shift-tab to go in the opposite direction).

It used to be difficult to determine which tab is active; the post How to Identify Your Active 5250 Session reviews how to customize the tabs to more easily identify the active session.

  • Watermarks

    You can now configure watermarks for your sessions. This is a really nice feature that quickly and clearly indicates what system you are connected to.

    Watermarks are set up in the configuration properties for your system. You get to this from Communication → Configure…

This is the same configuration interface used when starting a new session from the 5250 session manager. 

The watermark properties are found on the Screen page:

Select the “Yes” radio button to activate the “Configure” button. This allows you to customize your watermark. 

There are replacement variables that you can use in the text field: 

  • &COMPN – Computer name
  • &HOST – Host name defined within the emulator session
  • &ID – Current session ID
  • &NAME – Current session name
  • &USERN – User name that started the JVM (NOT your IBM i user profile)

There are quite a few configuration options for your watermark and a preview area to allow you to see what the watermark looks like as you change the configuration parameters. 

If you weren’t aware of these latest features, give them at try. If you have not yet started to use Access Client Solutions, I hope the new emulator features will give you the excuse you needed to check it out.

This blog post was edited for currency on April 13, 2020.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.