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The Protocol Reverse Engineering Workbench

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Welcome to PRE Workbench Docs

PRE Workbench is a software that supports reverse engineers in analyzing proprietary binary protocols, using a custom-built HEX viewer for binary data and a specialized description language for binary protocol structures. Our software supports verifying the documented structure with fast round-trip times as well as generating Wireshark dissectors as output.


Data Source Window

Data import

  • Load PCAP files
  • Load binary files, single or a complete folder as package list
  • Load CSV files, using one column as payload (hex/base64 encoded) and the rest as metadata

Interactive Hexdump


  • Recognize length fields
  • highlight matching length fields for selection
  • Evaluate selection as length field
  • Highlight same content


  • color and text highlighting of byte sequences
  • Application of the annotations to further packages


Interactive documentation of procotol structure as grammar

  • Description language for binary protocols
  • "Click-Grammar": Edit in parallel using code and GUI (see screencast below)
  • Applying a grammar to multiple packages
  • Display of fields from grammar in table
PRE Workbench (Click-Grammar)

Data inspector

Parse the selection as different data types (Signed/Unsigned Int, Big/Little Endian, ...).

Search function and execution of external tools

Search one or multiple buffers for a regular expression, e.g. find all ASCII strings 5 byte or longer.

Project folder

Preferences, widget layout, open files and grammars are stored per project.

Plugin and macro support

Macros can be added at user-level (~/.config) and at project level (.pre_workbench), and some example macros are bundled with the application -- to use macros, click "View" > "Tool Windows" > "Macros". To enable plugin support, configure a plugin directory in the settings dialog. More information in the Plugins and Macros documentation and in the release notes. You can find some example plugins on Github.