A sketching app for file formats
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Sketchpad 0.2b

The Lemon Man (C) 2010

An useful tool when you just need to focus on reversing a file format instead of writing a parser. You can quickly and easily write a sketch file that describes the file structure and you'll get infos from the file using the structure you just sketched.


You can write comments in newlines by putting @ as first char.

Structure field descriptions are made in this way :

<data type> : <endianness> : <name>

Where it's one of the supported types for reading, listed below.

byte   - 8bit
hword  - 16bit
word   - 32bit
dword  - 64bit

The field specifies the field endianness and can assume one of the following values:

be     - Big Endian
le     - Little Endian

There's a special notation for the 'string' data type, it's the same as above but instead of the endianness holds the string length. The string length can be either a constant, a field name or one of the following special flags:

z      - Reads until a zero char is reached
uz     - Same as above but for Unicode

Eg. string : :

Same goes for the 'bytearr' data type, where the second field holds the array size.

Eg. bytearr : :

Remember that you may also use a structure field name instead of a constant length.

A seeking function is implemented too and can be called as follows:

seekto : <offset> : <whence>

You can specify a fixed offset or a structure field name (that has been already parsed). The whence field works as it does for any programming language, 0 means the offset is absolute, 1 means that the offset is relative to the current position and 2 means that the offset is relative to the end of file.

As of 0.2 support to loops has been introduced. Declaring a loop is easy as doing:

loop : <times>

and every field included between the two loop markers will be executed . The field that get parsed in the loop have the prefix '_loop_N' appended (where N is the iteration number) for better recognizing 'em in the resulting report. When inside a loop the parser replaces the tag


in the field names with the current iteration number, this is meant for accessing indexed fields read in a loop. See foster.sketch for an useful example. Nested loops aren't supported.

As of 0.2b the ability of extracting chunks of the file has been added. The syntax is:

extract : <file name> : <amount of bytes to extract>

The loop prefix is added to file name if the function is called inside a loop.

See the included pbp.sketch for an example of a simple sketch file, foster.sketch is a bit more complicated but shows the full potential of the sketchpad.


  • Proper Unicode char handling (?)
  • EOF checks (?)
  • Clean up some parts (?)