How To Clean Up Content Tags in Artisan

How To Clean Up Content Tags in Artisan

I have been meaning to clean up my Content Manager in Artisan for a while.  But it's one of those things that gets put on the back burner and I still haven't done it.

So I'm very glad that Mendy asked me this question today because I can explain how to fix a messy bunch of tags in the Content Manager.

Back when Storybook Creator 2.0 first came out and we could start tagging our content, it was awesome.  We all jumped on board and tagged all of our content in so many ways, and it was awesome.  (I know, I already said that.)

And then, Creative Memories started tagging content before they sold it to us, and sometimes, the tags were similar, so we had two that were nearly the same.  Like “black and white” or “Black and White.”  Or, one was singular and another was plural, like “Title” and “Titles.”

So now we have a long, scrolling list of tags and it's not really an organization method anymore.  It's just another messy, complicated way of finding content.  And that's not really useful.

It's SO easy to fix this!

Deleting Extra Tags

Open your Content Manager and click on Tags to expand the list.

For this example, I have one tag called “button” and another called “Buttons.”  To determine which one I want to get rid of, I need to see which one has the smaller set.

When I click on the “button” tag, this is what I have:


and when I click on “Buttons” this is what I have:


So, I'm going to make sure the content in “button” is also in “Buttons”. To do this, select the “button” tag to display all of the content tagged with “button.”

From this screen, click on the first piece of content and hit ctrl+A to select all of the buttons on the screen.  You'll notice when you do that that a list shows up on the right hand side with all of the Tags with checkboxes in front of them.  The “button” tag is selected.

button to Buttons

To change the Tag from “button” to “Buttons,” all you have to do is uncheck the checkbox in front of “button” and then make sure to check the box in front of “Buttons” to add it to that list.

So now, if you click on the “button” tag, there's nothing that will show in the Content tab.  But the “button” tag still shows in the list.

The second step to this process is to delete the now un-used “button” tag.  To do this, all you have to do is right click on the un-used tag “button” in the tag list on the left and select “Delete.”

Delete empty tag

Voila!  That's all there really is to it.  Now you have one less Tag in the list.

I'm ready to go clean up my list because I prefer to use Tags to find my content.  How about you?

My Experience With My First Phone-Only Vacation

I am the first to admit that although I really like new technology and software, I am really old school when it comes to how I take my photos.  Up until this point, I almost always use a camera, and if it can be my DSLR camera, that's my preference.  I grew up with a big camera around my neck (in high school as a yearbook photographer) and it's just what I'm comfortable with.  My phone photos have been just snapshots, and often not very clear.

But this year I knew that my family was going to be heading to Florida for a huge family reunion, and I wasn't going to lug my big camera with me on the plane.  I was going to be “stuck” with just my phone camera.

At first, I planned to upgrade my four-year-old Galaxy Note 5 so I would at least have a phone camera upgrade.  But that didn't work out for me.  So I was stuck with the Note 5 (my “computer in my pocket”).

So a couple of months before the trip, I started learning how to better use my phone camera.  Novel idea, huh?  I also found some ways to make my trip a little more “safe” for my aging phone.

The best thing I did by far was pick up a Calicase Waterproof Floating phone case.  I had seen a friend post pictures from inside waterfalls and in the rain, and I figured that could work in the ocean to keep the water and the sand off of my phone.

CaliCase Phone Photos

We took a total of 101 photos at the beach that day, mostly in the surf.  The Calicase actually does float well, and it came with a lanyard to wear it around my neck when I was out in the water.  (My daughter took some of these photos – I swear my arms aren't that long.)

Enough about that.

I survived a 9 day trip with just my phone (and my husband's phone) for a camera.  Between the two of us, we took 774 pictures.  I have to say, ever since we got our first digital camera, my husband has been a “why take only 1 photo when 12 will capture it” kind of person.  So, once I pared down the photos to share with family, I am now sharing just 309 photos.  I did share more photos in the album than I would use in my book, but I wanted to give them options.  Plus, since the trip was for a large family reunion on my father-in-law's side of the family, I shot nearly 100 photos just of the 15 different family groups (we were all color-coordinated … it was mind-boggling!).

The coolest thing, though, was that we had wifi at the house we rented, so each evening, my phone uploaded all of our pics to my Forever account and I didn't have to worry about losing them.  I know I beat this drum a lot, but it is so worth saying.  Just the sense of peace knowing that I won't lose the photos is really nice.

There was one more HUGE plus to my Forever account while we were there.  I found out two days before the reunion that our family (meaning my husband's father's family) had to have a poster board with family pictures to represent their family.  Since I have had all of the old photos from my husband's family stored in an album in my Forever account since I first bought the storage, I was able to pull up all of the old photos and have my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law pick the photos they wanted for the poster.  Then I just quickly uploaded them to a local Walgreens and we had our poster.  No one else in the family has these photos outside of my storage account, but I've been able to give all of them access to the album in my account, so they can access them any time.

I am so forever grateful to have this storage, to be able to access my pictures anywhere and not have to worry that something will happen to them.  If you've ever contemplated storage and you have any questions, please let me know.

Hope you are having a memorable, fantastic summer so far!



How To Import Creative Memories Content Into Artisan 5

How To Import Creative Memories Content Into Artisan 5

Today, I did something I haven't done in two years.

I shot a YouTube video for you.  Woohoo!

It's all about how to import/use Creative Memories' digital content (or digital content from any site other than Forever) into Artisan 5 for use in your photo projects.  You can view the video below, or scroll down to read about it.


I had a similar video to this one that I recorded almost three years ago in one of my DebsDigitalTips YouTube channels, but I wanted to update that.  Plus, I made the mistake a couple of years ago of forgetting how to login to my YouTube account and I actually have two of them now.  They are both me, but I had to make a decision about which one I would move forward with.

Step 1 – Download and extract your content.

Creative Memories puts out some great digital content, and I realized this past weekend at my retreat that quite a few folks don't know how to take advantage of that.  It's not that complicated, and something that can be utilized with different digital content creators, so it's a helpful tip to learn.

You'll want to start out with the .zip file that you download from Creative Memories.  They provide a nice page in your account called My Downloadable Products where you can access all of the digital content purchases you have made (with this current CM company.  This will not give you access to downloads from the former Creative Memories that went out of business in 2013.)

My Downloadable Content

Once you download the .zip files, you need to Extract them from the compressed file before you can use them.  To do this, find the downloaded .zip folder, select it, and then click on the Extract option in the top menu ribbon.

Extract files

Once you do that, the Extract All button will appear in the menu ribbon.  Click on that and it will extract all of the files from the compressed folder.

Extract All

Once the files are done extracting, you may have a new window pop up with your extracted files.  (Whether this happens depends on your computer's settings.)  In my opinion, this extra open folder window is just unnecessary, and I close it.  That newly extracted file will be sitting pretty right there in the original folder you were just extracting from, no worries.

The .zip folder that was just extracted is no longer really necessary, so I delete it.  Otherwise, it's like having double the content on your computer and you can run out of space quickly.  There's no real purpose to that .zip file once it's extracted, so it's safe to delete it.

Step 2 – Create a new art kit in the Artisan Content Manager

There's one thing to remember about getting non-Forever content into Artisan's content manager: DO NOT use the Import content button.  That will not work for non-Forever content because it's packaged differently.  (And that's why we have this tutorial. ;0)

Instead of clicking on Import Content, click on Manage Content to open up the Content Manager screen.

Select Manage Content

Once you have the Content Manager open, you want to click on Create art kit.

Create art kit

This will open a box that allows you to name your new art kit and designate where it will reside in your content library.  I recommend naming the kit in a way that will let you know who the content was purchased from.  For example, I have named all of my Creative Memories kits starting with “CM – nameofkit” so that they are all grouped together and I can easily find them.  And I recommend designating any commercially purchased artwork, whether it's from CM or another vendor, under the Commercial Art Kits section.  These are still rightfully commercial kits, and it will be a lot easier to remember that you have them.  If you put them in the Personal Art Kits section, you may not see them and therefore use them as often.

Step 3 – Add the content to your new Art Kit

We're in the home stretch now.  Once you've created that art kit, you will be presented with the blank screen waiting for your new content to be added.

Here's how easy it is to do that.

Adding elements to art kit

Start by clicking on the Paper icon on the top left side of the menu at the top.  A window will open allowing you to browse to those newly unzipped file folders that hold your content.  Since we picked Paper to start with, make sure that the folder you select is the one that contains only the digital papers.  It's important to keep the type of elements separated so that you get the right type of element to show when you need to use it in your project.

Digital Paper Pack

It's a lot quicker to select all of the paper elements at once before clicking Open.  That way it will bring in all of the paper elements in one pass and you won't have to keep going back to add more.  You can select all of them by clicking on the first one, holding down the Shift key and then selecting the last element.  OR, you can select the first element, then hold down the Ctrl key and click A.  Then click the Open button and all of those items will start appearing under the Paper tab in your content screen.

Wait!  You're not done yet!  Now you have to do the same thing, but with the Embellishments.

Import Embellishments

Click on the Embellishment icon in the menu ribbon and repeat the same process you did for the papers.  Again, just make sure you import embellishments on this step (things like mat packs, alphabets and “stickers”).

Step 4 – Tag it!

This is a totally optional step, but the final thing I like to do once I bring all of my content in is to quickly tag the elements while I still have the content window open for that kit.  This is something you can go back and do later, but why not just get it done?

Tag content

You can select just one element or multiples and click on the checkboxes next to the appropriate tags on the right side.  You can also type in your commonly used tags in the box at the top and the + sign to add.  I tend to just click the checkboxes, but it works the same for both.  Then you can use the Tags feature to quickly drill down to the kind of content you want to use when working in your projects.

That's really all there is to it!  Happy creating!


How To Move Your Memory Vault To A New Computer

How To Move Your Memory Vault To A New Computer

I am embarrassed that I have not posted this information before now.  Besides creating a Shadow Copy, which is a post I plan to update later today, this is one of the most needed How-to's I can think of.  I honestly thought I had posted this previously, but a search through the site tells me I hadn't.

Here's what you'll need to get this process accomplished:

  • The old computer that has your original Memory Vault on it (either in Memory Manager or Historian). This computer still needs to be able to run to make this work.
  • OR, if you already have an up-to-date Shadow Copy on an external drive, you don't need to worry about the old computer.
  • An external hard drive for the transfer with enough free space to hold your Vault.
  • The new computer running an activated version of Historian with enough room to hold your Memory Vault when it's transferred.

Step One: Create/Update Shadow Copy on the Old Computer

To make certain that you are transferring the most recent version of your Memory Vault to the new computer, you need an up-to-date Shadow Copy.  If you have never set one up before, start now by plugging the external drive into the old computer and starting Historian. (If you are using Memory Manager 4 on the old computer, it will look very similar to the following screenshots.  If you are using Memory Manager 3.0, use the instructions in this post:

Once Historian is open, click on the Vault tab on the top menu ribbon and select Shadow Copy.

Shadow Copy

If you already have a Shadow Copy set up to work with your external drive, you should see something like this:

Shadow Copy

If  you don't have a Shadow Copy set up yet, instead of an Update Now button, you will see a Start Protection button.  Click on that, and then follow the steps in my previous post on Setting Up A Shadow Copy.

As you can see, I had 128 photos that needed to be updated on my Shadow Copy. All that means is that I made changes to some photos and/or added some photos and my external drive wasn't plugged in at the time that I did that, so I need to update. My favorite thing about the Shadow Copy feature is that if I do have the external drive plugged in when I close Historian, it will automatically check to see if the Shadow Copy needs to update and perform that update before it fully closes. That's a super easy way to make sure things are backed up.

So, while the Shadow Copy is working, I see a progress bar like this:

Shadow Copy

and when it's finished, I'll see this box.  Note down below the location that it verifies that No items require updating.  That means we're good to move on.

Shadow Copy

So go ahead and click Close, and then close Historian/Memory Manager on the old computer. To disconnect the external drive, please, pretty please don't just unplug it from your computer. This abruptly shuts down the spinning disc in there, and that could cause damage to your files.

Instead, please Safely Remove your external drive.  That's actually a thing.  Go down to little carat/arrow in the System Tray (bottom right) of your computer screen and click on that arrow.  You'll get all sorts of fun icons that pop up, probably at least something like this:

Safely Remove

Find that little white USB drive-like icon that the arrow points to in my picture above and right click on it.  That will open a box that lists any removable drives you have connected to your computer.  In my case here, I only have one.  If you have more than one, make sure you pick the right one, or you'll have to reconnect whatever you select.

Safely Remove

Go ahead and click on that drive and then wait for a notification that it's safe to remove the drive.

Safely Remove

If you get a different message that says that the drive is still in use, try the process of safely removing the drive one more time.  If it still persists, either try shutting down your old computer (if you don't need it anymore at the moment) and then unplug your external drive.  Or, it won't be the end of the world if you go ahead and unplug after a few tries.  At least, so I've been told by IT guys before.

Step Two: Restoring Your Memory Vault on the New Computer

We're almost done, I promise!  This is the good part.

On your new computer, open Historian.  If it's the first time you've opened Historian, it is probably asking you where you want to set up your new Memory Vault.  Just cancel out of that because we're going to designate a location for your Vault when we start this process.

Plug in the external drive that holds your Shadow Copy, and then from the Welcome screen in Historian, go to the icon that says Recover a vault.

Recover a Vault

This next box is important.  You first want to click on the three little dots “…” on the right side of the box that says “New location for the recovered media vault”.

Recover a vault

Clicking the … will open a box to let you choose where on your new computer you want to keep your Memory Vault.  I highly recommend creating a folder in your Pictures library to house your vault.  If for some reason down the road your hard drive fails and you don't have a Shadow Copy (please, please have a Shadow Copy) and you take your computer to the tech guys at the store, they will try to recover files from Pictures and Documents by default, so you're more likely to get your photos back.

Now, once you choose your new vault location, you'll notice that the OK button is still grayed out. That's because we have to choose one of those buttons in the bottom section of the box to tell it what source to use to bring in the old vault.  Here, you want to chose Use a Shadow Copy.  That will open another box that asks you to find your Shadow Copy.

Recover a Vault

Navigate to the external drive (in the list on the left-hand side of the screen) to open the files on that drive, and then navigate to the folder that holds the Shadow Copy you just created.  Mine was in a folder called Main Vault Shadow Copy, and inside it you see a file with my vault name and (Shadow copy) in parenthesis.  This part is important: make sureto just click that file folder one time to select it and then click the Select Folder button below. If you double-click the Shadow copy folder above, it takes you into the structure of the Shadow Copy, and that won't work.

Now you'll notice that the OK button is highlighted and you can click it.  Go ahead and do that now.

Depending on how big your vault is, this could be quick, or it could take quite a while.  Just relax, go read a book or do something else and let it do it's thing.  You really don't want to interrupt this part of the process.  That Shadow Copy is carefully reconstructing your whole Memory Vault just the way you left it, but on your new computer.  Which is why this Shadow Copy thing is so awesome.  I just love it!

I really hope this has helped!  Don't forget to restart that Shadow Copy once you get your vault fully recovered.  Let me know if you need help.



How to Combine Historian and Forever Storage for a Secure Photo Backup Strategy

How to Combine Historian and Forever Storage for a Secure Photo Backup Strategy

This is a post I've been trying to figure out for a long time.  I'm the person who wants the best of both worlds: secure, local photo back up and a secure offsite backup.  And I don't want them to be widely different.

If you've been with me for a few years, you probably remember that I tried keeping my memory vaults for Historian synced with OneDrive so that my vaults were easy to restore if I had a hard drive failure.  (Of course, I had a working shadow copy on an external drive as well.)

Let me tell you something: Keeping your vaults synced with OneDrive is NOT a great strategy.  Besides some of the questionable permissions that Microsoft may or may not have to data mine my photos if I have them stored in their cloud, the bigger issue was that it took forever (no pun intended, seriously) to open my vault in Historian when it was in OneDrive.  Now, I don't know how much you use OneDrive, but it's somewhat similar to DropBox or Box or even Google Drive, in that you can choose to have the folders and files actually existing on your hard drive and also syncing any changes to the cloud.  So, if you have OneDrive syncing to two or more computers, it will continually try to check both systems and the cloud to make sure everything is in sync.  I don't know how that works in detail in the background, but I can say that when my memory vaults were in OneDrive, sometimes it took up to 20 minutes to open a vault.  And I only had it syncing to one computer.

That said, I did have multiple hard drive failures that year, so the good news was, I didn't lose any photos that I'm aware of.  But OneDrive would have to download the 100+ Gb of photos each time I had to reinstall Windows and that took time and bandwidth.  That's where the Shadow Copy for Historian definitely works better for me.  I have never been let down when restoring from a Shadow Copy in the over ten years that I have used Historian (or its predecessor).

After a few hard drive failures, I decided tho nix the vault in OneDrive and I moved it back into my Pictures folder on my C: drive.  And of course, I continued the Shadow Copies.

Fast forward another year, and I've worked pretty hard over the past year to get my photos into my Forever Storage account.  When there were good sales, I bought a little more space, just bit by bit.  I did this because I had seen how unreliable my hard drives can be (not that I didn't know that part before).  Not just my C: drive, but also the external hard drive I relied on for Shadow Copies.  What happens if my Shadow Copy isn't readable?  Yes, the photos are still there, but I lose the hard work put into organizing them, and individual files could be compromised.

So, I started using my Forever Storage account more and more to organize and access my photos.  As I used it more, I realized two things:

  • It's a lot faster and easier to access the photos that I'm looking for in my Storage account.  Whatever device I'm on, be it my phone, my iPad or one of my computers, I can login and search for my pictures.
  • It's a secure feeling for me knowing that Forever has my photos secured at a technical level that is beyond my ability.  They have guaranteed to me that they will safeguard my photos for my lifetime plus 100 years.  I have family members designated as beneficiaries of my photo account and another account manager who can access if needed.  This hit home for me when family members went through Hurricane Harvey earlier this year who had no back up for photos other than their phones.  One had already lost physical photos years before in a fire.  I didn't not want that gut-sinking feeling of losing photos that I couldn't recover.

Do I Still Need To Use Historian?

Since I came to the realization that I enjoyed working in my Forever Storage that much, I started asking myself: Do I really need Historian anymore?

Let me explain something about this question.  This is like a confession … it almost hurts.  I've been teaching Memory Manager and Historian for over ten years, and I have never found something that I thought worked better for photo organization.  It's one weakness is that it is so cumbersome when the vault is big, and it requires a good computer with enough hard drive space to handle it.

I have a really busy life, as you probably do, too.  So I really labored with this question because if it's just easier to keep everything up-to-date in the Forever Storage account, do I even want to keep working with Historian anymore?

The realization I came to is that I don't want to rely on only one system.  If I only have the Forever Storage, I'll feel pretty safe, but if I have a disruption in my internet connection, I'm cut off from my photos.  They may be safe on someone else's server, but I have no access that way.  My thought is, it's best to have the local copy (my memory vault) on my hard drive and then have all of the organized, tagged photos in my Storage account so that I know they are secure and I can access them from my phone or anywhere else.

The box with a bunch of old photos

My System Now

So this is how I manage things now.

  1. I import all photos from my camera into Historian.  I star rate them and add facial tags from Historian.  The tags are written into the metadata on the photos and that imports into the Forever Storage account when they are uploaded.
  2. Then, I can upload the photos that are worth saving to my Storage account.  That way, I don't worry about filling the Storage that I paid for with photos that are just clutter.  If I go through them in Historian first and do the legwork there, then it easy to just upload the good ones when I'm done.
  3. When I upload, I tag the ones I uploaded with a special tag “Uploaded to Forever” so that I'll know which photos I've already uploaded.
  4. If I want more organization (beyond the tags) when they are in my Forever Storage, I can create albums in my Storage account to further group the photos.  But there's no Shadow Copy to set up there … it's already set.

This is really all there is to it.  If I operate this way, I have an organized copy of my photos on my hard drive (and in my Shadow Copy), and I also have an organized set in my cloud storage with Forever.  Double back up.  Secure at home, and secure in the cloud.  I can work with my local drive photos through Historian when I'm creating projects, and it's all good.

Can This Be Done With a Different Program?

Probably.  There are certainly other photo organization programs out there, and I'm not an expert in those ones.  Historian is the software that I know, and I can really only help you with this one at the moment.

But I can tell you that if I didn't have Historian to rely on, I would use whatever I had to at least have a backup copy of my photos on an external drive, and then I would make sure to organize and work from my Forever Storage account.  That's at least the one place that I know I wouldn't have to do the organizational work all over again.  If I used a subscription service, I would worry that eventually, either it would go away or if I couldn't pay, I'd lose access.  But I've purchased the Forever Storage space and I don't have to worry about not making the payments in the future.  And the endowment fund they set up means they are in a better position to keep my photos safe than other cloud-based photo services that operate on a month-to-month basis.