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Appendix C

Generating and Reading
Assembly Listings

A listing file shows precisely how the assembler translates your source file into machine code. The listing documents the assembler’s assumptions, memory allocations, and optimizations.

MASM creates an assembly listing of your source file whenever you do one of the following:

u Select the appropriate option in PWB.

u Use one of the related source code directives.

u Specify the /Fl option on the MASM command line.


The assembly listing contains both the statements in the source file and the binary code (if any) generated for each statement. The listing also shows the names and values of all labels, variables, and symbols in your file.

The assembler creates tables for macros, structures, unions, records, segments, groups, and other symbols, and places the tables at the end of the assembly listing. Only the types of symbols encountered in the program are included. For example, if your program has no macros, the symbol table does not have a macros section.

Generating Listing Files

To generate a listing file from within PWB, follow these steps:

1. From the Options menu, choose MASM Options.

2. In the MASM Options dialog box, choose Set Debug or Release Options.


The dialog box for Set Debug or Release Options lists the choices summarized in Table C.1. This table also shows the equivalent source code directives and command-line options.

Table C.35 Options for Generating or Modifying Listing Files

To generate this information: In PWB1, select: In source code, enter: From command line, enter:

Default listing - includes all assembled lines Generate Listing File .LIST (default) /Fl

Turn off all source listings (overrides all listing directives) Generate Listing File (turn off) .NOLIST (synonym = .SFCOND) -

List all source lines, including false conditionals and generated code Include All Source Lines .LISTALL /Fl /Sa

Show instruction timings List Instruction Timings - /Fl /Sc

Show assembler-generated code List Generated Instructions - /Fl /Sg

Include false conditionals2 List False Conditionals .LISTIF (synonym = .LFCOND) /Fl /Sx

Suppress listing of any subsequent conditional blocks whose condition is false List False Conditionals (turn off) .NOLISTIF (synonym = .SFCOND) -

Toggle between .LISTIF and .NOLISTIF - .TFCOND -

Suppress symbol table generation Generate Symbol Table (turn off the default) - /Fl /Sn

List all processed macro statements - .LISTMACROALL (synonym = .LALL) -

List only instructions, data, and segment directives in macros - .LISTMACRO (default) (synonym = .XALL) -

Turn off all listing during macro expansion - .NOLISTMACRO (synonym = .SALL) -

Specify title for each page (use only once per file) - TITLE name /St name

Specify subtitle for page - SUBTITLE name /Ss name

Designate page length and line width, increment section number, or generate page breaks - PAGE [[length,width]][[+]] /Sp length /Sl width

Generate first-pass listing - - /Ep

1 Select MASM Options from the Options menu, then choose Set Dialog Options from the MASM Options dialog box.

2 See "Conditional Directives" in Chapter 1

Precedence of Command-Line Options and Listing Directives

Since command-line options and source code directives can specify opposite behavior for the same listing file option, the assembler interprets the commands according to the following precedence levels. Selecting PWB options is equivalent to specifying /Fl /Sx on the command line:

u /Sa overrides any source code directives that suppress listing.

u Source code directives override all command-line options except /Sa.

u .NOLIST overrides other listing directives such as .NOLISTIF and

u The /Sx, /Ss, /Sp, and /Sl options set initial values for their respective features. Directives in the source file can override these command-line options.


Reading the Listing File

The first half of the listing shows macros from the include file DOS.MAC, structure declarations, and data. After the .DATA directive, the columns on the left show offsets and initialized byte values within the data segment.

Instructions begin after the .CODE directive. The three columns on the left show offsets, instruction timings, and binary code generated by the assembler. The columns on the right list the source statements exactly as they appear in the source file or as expanded by a macro. Various symbols and abbreviations in the middle column provide information about the code, as explained in the following section. The subsequent section, "Symbols and Abbreviations," explains the meanings of listing symbols.

Generated Code

The assembler lists the code generated from the statements of a source file. With the /Sc command-line switch, which generates instruction timings, each line has this syntax:

offset [[timing]] [[code]]

The offset is the offset from the beginning of the current code segment. The timing shows the number of cycles the processor needs to execute the instruction. The value of timing reflects the CPU type; for example, specifying the .386 directive produces instruction timings for the 80386 processor. If the statement generates code or data, code shows the numeric value in hexadecimal notation if the value is known at assembly time. If the value is calculated at run time, the assembler indicates what action is necessary to compute the value.

When assembling under the default .8086 directive, timing includes an effective address value if the instruction accesses memory. The 80186/486 processors do not use effective address values. For more information on effective address timing, see the "Processor" section in the Reference book.

Error Messages

If any errors occur during assembly, each error message and error number appears directly below the statement where the error occurred. An example of an error line and message is:

mov ax, [dx][di]
listtst.asm(77): error A2031: must be index or base register


Symbols and Abbreviations

The assembler uses the symbols and abbreviations shown in Table C.2 to indicate addresses that need to be resolved by the linker or values that were generated in a special way. The example in this section illustrates many of these symbols.

The example listing was produced using "List Generated Instructions" and "List Instruction Timings" in PWB. These options correspond to the ML command-line switches /Fl /Sg /Sc.

Table C.36 Symbols and Abbreviations in Listings

Character Meaning

C Line from include file

= EQU or equal-sign (=) directive

nn[xx] DUP expression: nn copies of the value xx

---- Segment/group address (linker must resolve)

R Relocatable address (linker must resolve)

* Assembler-generated code

E External address (linker must resolve)

n Macro-expansion nesting level (+ if more than 9)

| Operator size override

& Address size override

nn: Segment override in statement

nn/ REP or LOCK prefix instruction


Table C.3 explains the five symbols that may follow timing values in your listing. The Reference book will help you determine correct timings for those values marked with a symbol.


Table C.3 Symbols in Timing Column

Symbol Meaning

m Add cycles depending on next executed instruction.

n Add cycles depending on number of iterations or size of data.

p Different timing value in protected mode.

+ Add cycles depending on operands or combination of the preceding.

, Separates two values for "jump taken" and "jump not taken."

Microsoft (R) Macro Assembler Version 6.10 09/20/00 12:00:00
listtst.asm Page 1 - 1

.MODEL small, c
.STACK 256
INCLUDE dos.mac
C StrDef MACRO name1, text
C name1 BYTE &text
C BYTE 13d, 10d, '$'
C l&name1 EQU LENGTHOF name1
C Display MACRO string
C mov ah, 09h
C mov dx, OFFSET string
C int 21h
= 0020 num EQU 20h
COLOR RECORD b:1, r:3=1, i:1=1, f:3=7
= 35 value TEXTEQU %3 + num
= 32 tnum TEXTEQU %num
= 04 strpos TEXTEQU @InStr( , <person>, <son> )


0000 01 month BYTE 1
0001 01 day BYTE 1
0002 0000 year WORD ?

0002 U1 UNION
0000 0028 fsize WORD 40
bsize BYTE 60

0000 .DATA

0000 00000000 ddData DWORD ?
0004 1F text COLOR <>
0005 01 14 07C9 today DATE <01, 20, 1993>
0009 00 flag BYTE 0
000A 001E [ buffer WORD 30 DUP (0)

StrDef ending, "Finished."
0046 46 69 6E 69 73 68 1 ending BYTE "Finished."
65 64 2E
004F 0D 0A 24 1 BYTE 13d, 10d, '$'
= 0009 1 lending EQU LENGTHOF ending
0052 54 68 69 73 20 69 Msg BYTE "This is a string","0"
73 20 61 20
73 74 72 69
6E 67 30

0063 ---- 0052 R FPMSG FPBYTE Msg

0000 .CODE
0000 *@Startup:
0000 2 B8 ---- R * mov ax, DGROUP
0003 2p 8E D8 * mov ds, ax
0005 2 8C D3 * mov bx, ss
0007 2 2B D8 * sub bx, ax
0009 3 C1 E3 04 * shl bx, 004h
000C 2p 8E D0 * mov ss, ax
000E 2 03 E3 * add sp, bx

0010 7m E8 0000 E call work

0013 2 68 0052 R * push OFFSET Msg
0016 7m E8 0029 * call PutStr
0019 2 83 C4 02 * add sp, 00002h

001C 2 B8 ---- R mov ax, @data
001F 2p 8E C0 mov es, ax
0021 2 B0 63 mov al, 'c'
0023 4 26: 8B 0E mov cx, es:num
0028 2 BF 0052 mov di, 82
002B 7n F2/ AE repne scasb
002D 4 66| A1 0000 R mov eax, ddData
0031 6 67& FE 03 inc BYTE PTR [ebx]

0034 7m E8 0000 E call morework

Display ending
0037 2 B4 09 1 mov ah, 09h
0039 2 BA 0046 R 1 mov dx, OFFSET ending
003C 37 CD 21 1 int 21h

003E 2 B4 4C * mov ah, 04Ch
0040 37 CD 21 * int 021h

0042 PutStr PROC pMsg:PTR BYTE

0042 2 55 * push bp
0043 4 8B EC * mov bp, sp
0045 2 B4 02 mov ah, 02H
0047 4 8B 7E 04 mov di, pMsg
004A 4 8A 15 mov dl, [di]
mov ax, [dx][di]
listtst.asm(77): error A2031: must be index or base register

.WHILE (dl)
004C 7m EB 10 * jmp @C0001
0059 *@C0002:
0059 37 CD 21 int 21h
005B 2 47 inc di
005C 4 8A 15 mov dl, [di]
005E *@C0001:
005E 2 0A D2 * or dl, dl
0060 7m,3 75 F7 * jne @C0002
0062 4 5D * pop bp
0063 10m C3 * ret 00000h
0064 PutStr ENDP


Reading Tables in a Listing File

The tables at the end of a listing file list the macros, structures, unions, records, segments, groups, and symbols that appear in a source file. These tables are not printed in the previous sample listing, but are summarized as follows.

Macro Table

Lists all macros in the main file or the include files. Differentiates between macro functions and macro procedures.

Structures and Unions Table

Provides the size in bytes of the structure or union and the offset of each field. The type of each field is also given.

Record Table

"Width" gives the number of bits of the entire record. "Shift" provides the offset in bits from the low-order bit of the record to the low-order bit of the field. "Width" for fields gives the number of bits in the field. "Mask" gives the maximum value of the field, expressed in hexadecimal notation. "Initial" gives the initial value supplied for the field.

Type Table

The "Size" column in this table gives the size of the TYPEDEF type in bytes, and the "Attr" column gives the base type for the TYPEDEF definition.

Segment and Group Table

"Size" specifies whether the segment is 16 bit or 32 bit. "Length" gives the size of the segment in bytes. "Align" gives the segment alignment (WORD, PARA, and so on). "Combine" gives the combine type (PUBLIC, STACK, and so on). "Class" gives the segment’s class (CODE, DATA, STACK, or CONST).

Procedures, Parameters, and Locals

Gives the types and offsets from BP of all parameters and locals defined in each procedure, as well as the size and memory location of each procedure.

Symbol Table

All symbols (except names for macros, structures, unions, records, and segments) are listed in a symbol table at the end of the listing. The "Name" column lists the names in alphabetical order. The "Type" column lists each symbol’s type.

The length of a multiple-element variable, such as an array or string, is the length of a single element, not the length of the entire variable.

If the symbol represents an absolute value defined with an EQU or equal sign (=) directive, the "Value" column shows the symbol’s value. The value may be another symbol, a string, or a constant numeric value (in hexadecimal), depending on the type. If the symbol represents a variable or label, the "Value" column shows the symbol’s hexadecimal offset from the beginning of the segment in which it is defined.

The "Attr" column shows the attributes of the symbol. The attributes include the name of the segment (if any) in which the symbol is defined, the scope of the symbol, and the code length. A symbol’s scope is given only if the symbol is defined using the EXTERN and PUBLIC directives. The scope can be external, global, or communal. The "Attr" column is blank if the symbol has no attribute.


See also:

file: /Techref/language/masm/masmAPC.htm, 26KB, , updated: 2005/10/13 11:51, local time: 2018/2/20 02:05,

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