How to Use PKHex: A Complete Beginner’s Tutorial

Over the years, there have been many Pokemon games and ROM hacks. However, a common desire among players is to cheat in these games.

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But did you know that there’s another way to do it, a more advanced way than using cheat codes?

There’s nothing wrong with in-game cheating, as long as it is used for solo playing and not for PvP or any form of competitive play.

That’s where our PKHex tutorial comes into play.

If you don’t know what a PKHex is, then strap yourself in. To give a summary, it is a program that allows you to edit your Pokemon save files.

Sounds easy? It actually is a bit tricky and there are a lot of things that you need to consider before you use it and when you use it.

It isn’t like GBA cheat codes that work simply as that.

Other Beginner’s Guide That Might Interest You:

A pkhex tutorial beginner's guide

What is PKHex?

To start off our PKHex tutorial, you have to know what the PKHex is. In simpler terms, PKHex is a program used to edit Pokemon game save files.

Pkhex tutorial

There are a lot of things that you can edit on the save file, which we’ll get to later. The point is that if you have a save file from a game that is compatible with PKHex, then you can do all the available editing that you need.

The game files range from older Pokemon games to newer ones but unfortunately not all of them.

Once you edit all the things you want to edit, save the new save file, copy it to your game, and just load it naturally.

All the edits you made as long as they are correct will be loaded without any issues.

Save Files Supported by PKHex:

  • .sav (from GBA emulators)
  • .dsv (from DS emulators)
  • .gci, .raw, and .bin (from Gamecube emulators)
  • .pgt, .pcd, .pgf, and .wc (from Mystery Gift saves)
  • .pk

Any other save files will not be supported and edited. Unfortunately, with .GBC or GB (Gameboy/Color save files) will require some complex tinkering to be supported.

Important Reminder:

While these files are supported, you may encounter an error where it says it cannot edit or load the save file.

There are a multitude of issues with that. It could be because the ROM where the save file is based on has been altered slightly.

Upon our testing, a version of a FireRed ROM save file loaded and was edited with no issues, while a different version of FireRed cannot be saved and edited.

Just be mindful of that in case you want to edit existing save files and encounter such errors.

PKHex Tutorial: List of Editable Pokemon Variables

To continue with our PKHex tutorial, you need to know what are the things that PKHex can edit.

Depending on the save file or game, there are a couple of specific things that you can edit.

We’ll get into some of the rules or potential issues about the limitations of things you can edit:

1. Editing Pokemon

The first thing you can edit and would want to edit would be the Pokemon that you have. This goes beyond just spawning a wild Pokemon into battle.

Here are the factors that you can edit when it comes to your Pokemon:

Editable Variables on Pokemon

Pkhex tutorial - edit pokemon
  • Type of Pokemon (i.e. Pikachu, Arceus, etc.)
  • Name (if you want to give it a different name)
  • Shiny or not Shiny
  • Level
  • Specific EXP
  • Nature
  • Held Item
  • Ability
  • Friendship Level (How much Friendship it has)
  • Origin (where you supposedly caught it)
  • Type of Ball (what ball you supposedly used to catch it)
  • Met Level (the level when you supposedly caught it)
  • Stats (includes basic stats, EVs, and IVs)
  • Hidden Power Type Move
  • Moves (the 4 moves or less it has)
  • Cosmetics (includes contest stats)
  • OT (Trainer information on who caught it/yours most of the time)
  • Edit Pokemon on the Day Care

Limitations and Issues

When editing Pokemon, it has to fit the game and other requirements.

For example, if you’re editing a HeartGold save file for DS emulators, you cannot add Pokemon beyond Gen 4.

The file itself will not save when potential errors pop up. This also applies to other variables like adding held Items or moves that are not present in the save file’s game files.

One other issue is that you may have put some wrong information. Going back to HeartGold, you cannot put an Origin location of a Pokemon that does not spawn in that location.

For example, you cannot edit a Pikachu where you put the Origin from Route 15. A Pikachu in HeartGold only spawns in Viridian Forest.

You have to put in Viridian Forest or else the Pikachu will have an error. That goes the same for levels. Pikachus in Viridian Forest only spawns from levels 4 to 7. Don’t put a level on Met level less than 4 or more than 7.

This goes the same for moves that a Pokemon cannot learn. Just make sure you put all the Pokemon details correctly.

Don’t worry since the PKHex will tell you if there are problems with your Pokemon edit.

You’ll see a red exclamation mark (see image below) to see if there are problems with your Pokemon.

Simply click on the red mark and you’ll see the potential issues and how to fix them.

Pkhex tutorial - invalid save

2. Editing the Trainer Profile

Pkhex tutorial - edit trainer profile

Aside from Pokemon, you can also edit the Trainer Profile, which is your character.

It isn’t as complex as Pokemon, since the variables aren’t really that hard to change.

Variables You Can Edit on the Trainer Profile

  • Trainer Info Name
  • TID and SID (Trainer Number and Secret ID Number)
  • Hours Played (based on save file or add manually)
  • Game Started (Time and Date)
  • Hall of Fame Date with Time (first time finishing the game)
  • Badges Unlocked
  • Money
  • Pokedex Info (Seen and Caught)
  • Items (edit items in your bag)
  • Box Layout (the name and design of your Pokemon PC Boxes)
  • Mystery Gift (not all games have this)
  • Misc Edits (some games will have added variables and some won’t have it)
  • Event Flags (read more below)

These are the variables when it comes to the things you can edit on your Trainer Profile.

In the case of Event Flags, when checking the boxes, it gives the game the idea that the event has already been triggered.

A good example is for the 3 Legendary Pokemon Suicune, Raikou, and Entei. When you encounter them, it triggers the Event Flag that the event has happened.

This allows them to start roaming and having encounters. By checking the Event Flag, even if you haven’t triggered it in-game, the event will start happening. 

Just be warned that the game may bug out as a result.

Navigating the PKHex Interface

This is just a brief instruction on how to use the PKHex. It gives you an idea of how to use it with relative ease.

The FILE section is pretty much where you load, export, and save files. The TOOLS and OPTIONS aren’t really that necessary unless you want to do some complex things.

For the next bit of information, use the image below as a reference for the instructions.

On the left side, you will see the details of one of the Pokemon in the Pokemon PC boxes from a save file of HeartGold that we loaded.

You will see on the left side the variables that we mentioned that you can edit from above. These include Pokemon info (under Main), stats, moves, and more.

Heading now to the numbers on the right. NUMBER 1 gives you access to the Pokemon on your PC. This is where you can save the Pokemon that you edit or put them on NUMBER 2 which is the Pokemon in your Party.

Also, the red circles allow you to click on the arrows to navigate through the different Pokemon PC Boxes.

The one marked by a blue rectangle shows the name of the entire group of box slots (You can rename it whatever you want).

Pkhex tutorial - navigate p1
PKHex’s Interface

Number 3 is Pokemon in your Day Care. Finally, Number 4 contains the variables you can edit on your Trainer Profile and the things mentioned above. 

For this next part, refer to the image below. Once you’re done editing, you’ll be saving.

Saving is a bit tricky but if you look at the box where it says EXPORT SAV, use that when you’re done.

The file will be saved based on how it originally was. In fact, just overwrite the original save file but keep a copy of the unaltered one just in case.

The option to SAVE PKM means that you can save it temporarily.

Think of it as a draft where it doesn’t save as the actual save file. That way, you can edit it again if you need to because you can just load the PKM save file before you save it as the one that you need.

Pkhex tutorial - navigate p1

Download and Installation

Downloading is easy, simply click on this LINK which will send you to the creator’s website to download the program.

Look at the image below, simply click on that button which is circled red. The download should be fast and easy.

Installation isn’t that complicated as well since you’ll just unzip the file and launch the PKHex program.

Pkhex tutorial - download

NOTE:

If PKHex requires you to download a plugin like the .NET, then just download it. The program itself will download it for you if it’s needed.

Benefits of Using PKHex

One of the biggest benefits is that you can edit a save file that will pass as a legitimate save. This means that the save file will not have any trace of being an edit.

For example, if you use cheat codes on a Pokemon game to get a Pokemon, it will be detected as fake or edited. That’s because the codes do the bare minimum.

  • Codes are perfect for single-player playthroughs, but if you’re playing against other people online, then you can get detected for cheating.
  • By using the PKHex, you can have a flawless edit. It will be hard to detect the edit you made, especially when you’re playing competitively.
  • If you’re just playing it for single-player purposes, then there shouldn’t be any issues.
  • You don’t have to worry about your Pokemon having specific levels when you caught them or where you caught them.

Think of using PKHex if you want to get an edge when it comes to battles against other people.

Legality Issues and Ethical Considerations

This does make you wonder if using this open-source save file editor is legal or illegal.

The answer is, it isn’t entirely illegal, because you’re not selling anything. It may weigh in more on the ethical side since you’re getting an unfair advantage over other players who are playing the game legitimately.

It just boils down to your morals but most people that use PKHex don’t really compete in a high level. Think of it as just playing online for fun.

The worst thing that can happen is that you may get banned if they detect that you’ve cheated.

Plus, you’re not the only one using PKHex anyway, so you might be playing against someone who also used it.


Conclusion

That was indeed a long PKHex tutorial that you read through. We’ve covered all the basic information that you need if you plan on using PKHex.

This program is free, so never pay for it and it isn’t technically illegal to use it. Just be careful when using it and how you use it, since you may still get some repercussions but nothing too severe.

We’ll add more topics about this since it does need a lot of added information. Also, the creator will probably add future updates depending on what goes.

If newer Pokemon games are released, then expect updates and newer versions of PKHex in the future.



About Taichee

Taichee is the ultimate writer for Pokémon gaming enthusiasts. With extensive experience, he expertly delves into popular Pokemon game series and ROM hacks for GBC, GBA, and NDS, meticulously testing cheats and sharing general gaming strategies on Pokemoncoders.

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