The user directives file is an ASCII text file, which defines a set of directives to pass to the Compiler altogether at the same time. You use either the DIRECTIVES or USE Compiler directives to pass this file to the Compiler.
For example, to migrate some programs from a different dialect, put the directives you need to get compatibility with this dialect into a directives file, which you could call myDialectDirectives.dir. Specify each directive either on a separate line, or on the same line, delimited by a space, colon or semicolon.
To use this file when compiling, use the USE or DIRECTIVES directive either in the project's properties in the IDE or in a $SET statement in your program. For example
The directives file is searched for in the current and COBOL system directories. If no extension is specified, a file extension of .dir is added before the search is made. If no file is found, the search is repeated with no extension.
DIRECTIVES"$mydirs"When the environment variable mydirs is set to the path of your user directives file, it is resolved at compile time when you compile from the command line.
The Compiler processes the directives in the file as if they replace the USE or DIRECTIVES directive. Consequently, the restrictions applying to a directive at that time also apply to the directives read from the file at that time. Also any directives set later override the directives in your directives file
You can specify another directives file within the original directives file. The Compiler switches to the new directives file for processing and then returns to the original directives file. When the Compiler finishes processing the directives file, it then processes subsequent directives on the command line or in $SET statements.