Specifying File Paths

When you tell MediaLab to present a file (e.g., an image, a sound, a movie, a questionnaire, etc.), you need to specify where that file is located. There are two ways to do this—using absolute or relative paths.

Absolute Paths

If the file you are presenting exists anywhere outside of the experiment folder then you will have to specify an absolute file path. An absolute file path is the exact location of the file (e.g., c:\mypictures\myimage.bmp).  You can find the absolute pathway of a file by right-clicking it and selecting Properties.  Next to the word "Location:" in the General tab of the window that opens, you will find the absolute pathway with everything except the file name at the end.  Simply copy the entire pathway next to the word "Location:" paste it where you need it, and be sure to add "\your file name here" (without the quotation marks) to the end of the pathway you copied.

Remember, if the file is not in the same directory as the experiment or it's not in a subfolder in the experiment file folder, then you must specify the complete path of the file. Make sure that any absolute file paths you use will still be valid if you copy your experiment to another computer.

Relative Paths

If the file is located in the same folder as your experiment file, then you can simply enter just  the name of the file (e.g., myimage.bmp). If the file is located in a subfolder that is located in the same folder as your experiment files, then you can enter the name of the subfolder followed by the name of the file (e.g., images\myimage.bmp). You can use a relative path for ANY file located anywhere within your main experiment folder.

The advantage of placing the file in the experiment directory (or a subfolder) is that the experiment folder can then be moved to a different place and you won't have to worry about checking path names (e.g., c:\..., d:\..., etc.). You could copy your experiment folder to any location on any drive and all of the relative paths would still be valid.


You can specify relative or absolute file paths to be the default when selecting files in the Experiment Editor. You can set your preferred default in the Options menu. It is recommended to set this option to Use Relative Paths. This is because the only time an absolute path is necessary is when the desired file is not located somewhere within the experiment folder. However, even if you are using relative paths, the editor will enter an absolute path if this is the case.