Full Screen

Switches to full screen mode. To exit from this mode just hit the menu item's keyboard shortcut, or the escape key (if not generating a pattern), or any unassigned key.

Fit Pattern

Changes the scale and location so the entire pattern fits within the current view.

Fit Selection

Changes the scale and location so the entire selection fits within the current view.


Moves the origin cell (0,0) to the middle of the view.

Restore Origin

Restores the true origin. The origin cell can be changed by hitting "0" while the cursor is over the view — the cell under the cursor will become the new origin and its location will be displayed as 0,0. This can be handy for measuring distances or for saving a location and returning to it quickly by hitting "m".

Zoom In

Zooms in by doubling the current scale. If the scale is 1:32 then you can't zoom in any further.

Zoom Out

Zooms out by halving the current scale. You can zoom out as far as you like.

Set Scale

This submenu lets you set the scale from 1:1 to 1:32. (A quicker is to use keyboard shortcuts. The initial shortcuts are: "1" for 1:1, "2" for 1:2, "4" for 1:4, "8" for 1:8, "6" for 1:16 and "3" for 1:32.)

Show Tool Bar

Shows or hides the tool bar at the left edge of the main window.

Show Layer Bar

Shows or hides the layer bar above the viewport window (and above the edit bar if it's visible).

Show Edit Bar

Shows or hides the edit bar above the viewport window. The edit bar contains buttons for undo and redo, buttons for changing the cursor mode, a button for showing/hiding all states (see below), boxes showing the current drawing state's color and icon, and a scroll bar for changing the drawing state.

Show All States

If ticked then the edit bar is made larger and the colors and icons for all cell states in the current universe are displayed. A box is drawn around the current drawing state; to change it just click on a different state.

Show Status Bar

Shows or hides the status bar at the top of the main window.

Show Exact Numbers

If ticked then the status bar is made larger and exact numbers are displayed instead of using scientific notation.

Show Grid Lines

Shows or hides the grid lines. Use Preferences > View to turn off the bold grid lines or change their spacing. You can also set the minimum scale at which grid lines should be displayed (1:4, 1:8, 1:16 or 1:32).

Show Cell Icons

If ticked then icons will be displayed at scales 1:8, 1:16 or 1:32. Icons are small bitmaps that can have any shape but their color is automatically synchronized with the cell's state color. Each algorithm can have a different set of icons. You can change these icons by loading suitably formatted files via the "Load Icons" button in Preferences > Color.

It's also possible to have rule-specific icons. Whenever Golly switches to a new rule it looks inside the Rules folder for a matching rule.icons file and, if it exists, loads the bitmaps stored in the file. The format of a .icons file is identical to that used above. See Help > File Formats for a description of the format.

Invert Colors

If ticked then the colors of all cell states in all layers are inverted; i.e., each RGB value is changed to 255-R, 255-G, 255-B.

Smarter Scaling

If not ticked then Golly displays patterns at zoomed out scales by drawing all live cells using the state 1 color, regardless of the cell states. If this option is ticked then patterns will be scaled in a way that shows the correct colors, but only at scales from 2:1 to 16:1.

Note that pattern rendering is significantly slower using this scaling option, so it's probably best to only turn it on when you need to see fine details. Define a keyboard shortcut for this menu item so you can easily turn the option on or off.

Show Timeline

Shows or hides the timeline bar below the viewport window. If the current algorithm supports timelines (only QuickLife doesn't) then the timeline bar has a button to start/stop recording a timeline. This button is equivalent to the Control menu's Start/Stop Recording item.

When recording stops, or after a timeline is loaded from a .mc file, you'll see a scroll bar that lets you view any frame within the timeline. There are also buttons to automatically play the timeline forwards or backwards, a slider to adjust the speed of auto-play, and a button at the right edge to delete the timeline. Note that if the Control menu's Auto Fit option is ticked then Golly will force each timeline pattern to fit the viewport.

A number of keyboard shortcuts can be used while a timeline exists. Hit the escape key to stop recording or to stop auto-play. Hit your preferred keys for Faster/Slower to change the speed of auto-play. Hit your preferred key for Start Generating to play the timeline forwards and, if you wish, use Preferences > Keyboard to assign a keyboard shortcut for Play Timeline Backwards.

Pattern Info

Displays any comments in the current pattern file.