Historian or Forever Storage – Which Should I Use?

Historian or Forever Storage?

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This is a question that I am asked more and more frequently.  Should I use Forever Historian?  Or should I use Forever Storage to organize and backup my photos?

Ideally, my answer is that if you CAN do both, that's the safest way.  I personally use both.  However, even if you use both, one has to be the priority method for organizing, tagging and sorting.  Ultimately, you have to pick the option that you are more comfortable working with and that you will regularly USE.

The Why

For me, after several years of deliberating this question, my answer was really made for me by the way my family takes photos.

Depending on how long you've known me, that may surprise you.  I've been teaching how to use Historian since 2007 when it was Memory Manager.  And I've been a huge advocate of the things this software can do to organize and safeguard your photos.  I still use it for some of the same reasons I started using it 13 years ago.

But, if I'm realistic, I realize that most of the photos my family takes are shot on a phone.  And not just one phone.  My photos now are taken by me, my husband, my daughters, and my mom, for the most part.  And it's much easier to have my husband's phone automatically upload his photos to my Forever account and then work with them from there.  I also have my photos set to automatically upload.  My daughter uploads hers to her account, but we share easily between our accounts.  And when I share with my mom, I put the photos quickly in a shared album in my Forever account so she can add them to her account or download them.

Plus, since I work with multiple computers and devices throughout the day, it makes sense to organize on the platform I have the easiest access to.  That is my Forever Storage account.  I can only have Historian and my main memory vault loaded on one computer.  And if you've read any of my posts over the years, you've seen how many times operating systems or hard drives have failed on me and I suddenly have to reload everything on a new computer.  As I get older, I am less and less patient with that process.  Don't get me wrong: As long as I'm running my shadow copy in Historian regularly, it is not that difficult to restore and I don't lose photos or organization.  That's one of the best features of Historian.  But, I love the peace of mind that my laptop can die tomorrow and I can get to my organized photos easily on my phone or tablet while I'm waiting to get a new computer set up.

The How-To

The cool thing now is that no matter which place I start, the tags I create can carry over to the other method so I don't have to do everything twice.  I start in my Forever Storage account and work through deleting unwanted photos, tagging them and possibly arranging them into albums in my account.  Then when I download my tagged photos after I've done the work in my storage account, the metadata from the tags I've already added is saved in the photo file and those tags are then imported with the photo into Historian.  I personally now use Historian more as my local backup of my photos so that I can retrieve them when I'm offline.  But, if you're more comfortable starting the process in Historian, it would also work.  After tagging and selecting photos in Historian, when you share to Forever Storage the photos will have that metadata embedded in them and the tags will stick with the photos in your Forever account.


Whichever way you choose to do it, make sure you DO do it.  That's the most important part. 

Let me know if I can help.

How to Move Artisan Content to an External Drive

I was asked an interesting question this week.

“Can I run all of my digital artwork from an external drive only?”

The simple answer to the question is yes, and I'll show you how you can do that.  However, please also read a few of my comments on that below after the how-to.

To move digital artwork to an external drive or any location other than the default location Artisan uses is fairly simple.

1. Start by creating the folder for the new content first.  If your plan is to move everything, drag the WHOLE folder to the new location on the external drive.  (The default location that Artisan stores your content in is in the Public Documents folder under the Public User.)

2. Now it's time to train Artisan to find the folder on your external drive.  To do this, open the Content Manager in Artisan and right-click on the Library dropdown.

Select “Add folder to library.”  A box will open allowing you to browse to the location of the folder that contains your Artisan content.

That's really all there is to it.  Artisan is now “pointed” to the new location for your content.  You shouldn't have to resintall anything or re-enter any activation codes.

A Personal Word of Caution:

There are a lot of factors that impact how Artisan will work for you.  The hardware configuration of your computer (the amount of Ram, the operating system, the amount of available storage space, the graphics card, etc.) as well as the details of your external drive (whether it has a USB 3.0 connection – which is faster – or an older 2.0 connection) will impact how Artisan is able to perform the tasks you give it.  I have frequently had external drives velcro'ed to my laptop lid for a consistent backup.  In fact, I have a 5 Gb external connected now.  One thing I have learned over the past decade is that you have to be gentle with that connection between the computer and the drive.  Eventually, it will get jiggled in place too much or otherwise unseated and it will disrupt the flow of information between the drive and your computer.  And just like inside your laptop, that external drive will eventually start to fail.  I'll have to take a picture of the dead hard drives I have stowed in my office.  I'm not sure I have enough fingers on both hands to count them.

In addition, I don't want to discourage you from working this way, with all of your content on the external, but in my experience, Artisan works a little better when it's pulling the big content files directly from the C: drive and not “long distance” through the cord connecting the external drive.  I've found the same when I've run my memory vaults in Historian from the external.

If you're running out of space, it's definitely a good option to try.  You don't really lose anything by trying this to see how it will work for you.  But please, make sure if you move all of your content to your backup drive that you have another backup method in place to save your content in the event that your external drive won't wake up one day.

Let me know if I can help!


How To Transfer Your Artisan Content To A New Computer

I honestly can't believe I haven't written this post before because I feel like I've explained it dozens of times.  I think I've left bits and pieces of this information in other posts, but I never fully wrote down the process to move Artisan, and more importantly, Artisan content, to a new computer.

I'm making a big assumption with this post that you still have access to the computer you are moving from.  If you don't, we need to have a different discussion.  I am also assuming that you have access to an external drive or something that you can use to backup/copy your content from one

The easiest way to complete this process is to first follow these steps on the computer you are moving FROM (the “old” computer).

On The Old Computer

1.  On the “old” computer, go to the Users folder on your C: drive and open Public.

2.  Under Public User, open Public Documents.

3.  Copy the whole folder called Commercial Art Kits to a backup drive.  You'll need something more than a flash drive unless you don't have much content.

4.  Open Artisan and go to the Content Manager (“Manage Content“, the top left icon on the Welcome screen).

5.  Click on Activation Codes in the ribbon on top.

6.  In the box that opens, click on Make a backup copy of my codes.  This will create a text file that you can save to your backup and then use to reactivate your content on the new computer.

On The New Computer

OK!  We made it!  Now comes the best part.

7.  Plug in that external drive with the Commercial Art Kits folder you backed up from the old computer.  Now, guess where it goes!  Yup, go back to Users on your C: drive, open the Public User and then Public Documents.  There won't be a Commercial Art Kits folder there yet (unless you already installed Artisan), so just drag the whole folder in there.  If you did already install Artisan, that's fine.  Just copy all of the contents of your backed up folder into the new Commercial Art Kits folder.

8.  Now, if you haven't done it already, install Artisan.  If you have previously activated two or more times, you may get a notification that Artisan is active on too many computers.  In this case, you will need to contact Forever (1-888-367-3837 or support@forever.com) to get them to release your activation code so you can activate again.  I promise, this process is painless.  I've had to do it more times than I could count on 2 hands because I've changed computers, had hard drive crashes and just reinstalled Windows so many times.  Just let them know what your situation is and they will get you running in no time.  *  Be sure to have your activation code handy when you call to speed things up.  You can find it in your Forever.com account under your Order History.

9.  Once you have Artisan installed and running, you may notice that it will pop up a progress bar showing that it's cataloguing the content you dropping into the Public Documents.  This is nothing to worry about, you WANT this to happen.  Now all you have to do (after it's done) is open the Content Manager and go back to that Activation Codes screen.  This time, you open that text document you saved with the backup of your codes and copy all of the text in that document, then click on Add a new activation code and paste it all in that box.  Hit OK, and you're set.  

I hope this little walk through helps.

One thing I like to suggest: if you have a regular backup set for your computer (which I HOPE you do), add that Commercial Art Kits folder in your Public Documents to your backup plan.  That way, if/when something happens, you don't lose your content.  Please also make sure that you backup those activation codes once in a while and save that in a place that will be part of your backup plan, too.

That's it!  Hope the process goes super smooth.  Please let me know if you have any hiccups or there's any way I can help.

My Apologies for Any Stray PDF Download Emails

My sincere apologies to any of you who may have found a PDF download in your inbox that you never requested.  It appears that the plugin software I use on my site to generate those is spamming somehow.  I have now deactivated and removed that plugin, and I hope that will stop the issue.

Please accept my apologies for any emails you received that you did not request.  Your email address is never added to my list unless you confirm that you want it, so you will not receive further emails.


How to Import Pages From Another Project in Artisan 5

Today I just want to share a quick tip about importing a page or pages you've already created in Artisan 5 into another project.  This might happen if you want to add a page you made for one book into another one.

To do this, you first need to create your new project and have it open.  From inside the project you want to import the page into, on the Home ribbon, go to the Add Page dropdown.

From the dropdown, choose Using a Page file from My Computer.  This will open a box to allow you to browse to the project that contains the page or pages that you want to import into this project.

NOTE:  This will not delete the pages from the original project, it will copy them into the new project.  

If you browse for the project you want to import from and the files look like this …

it's going to be hard to figure out which page you need.  So you need to change the view of your list.  If you click on the dropdown at the top right that says Change your view, you will see options to show small icons, medium icons, large and extra large icons.  

You can choose which icon size works for you.  Just change it to one of the icon options and you will be able to see a thumbnail of your pages so you can visually choose which page or pages you want to import.

The last step is to pick your pages.  Do this by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking one time on each page you want to import.  If you want to import them all, you can click the first one to select it, hold down the Shift key and click the last one.  Do not import the extra folders.

When you choose the ones you want to add, click Open and have some patience.  Depending on how many pages you choose, it's going to take Artisan possibly up to several minutes to add everything into your current project.  And once they are in the project, the pages you imported may not be arranged in the order you want them.  The cool thing is, you can just drag them around in the right hand panel in Artisan until they are in the order you want them.

I hope this helps and made some sense!  Please let me know if I can help with anything.

~ Deb

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?