An activation key is required for each separate installation of the Box Theory™ software. The software database is one file with the extension .btg (Box Theory Gold). All of your work to create an Organization Blueprint and Box Theory™ Systems is contained within this file. The .btg file is automatically backed up and can easily be restored from earlier versions (see “Backup and Restore” below).
When you first enter Box Theory™ software you are asked to provide a company name. The name of your company is also the name of your .btg file and the name of the folder it is stored in on your hard drive. If you modify the name of your company, your .btg file and company folder will automatically be renamed. By default, your company folder is created in the “Documents” or “My Documents” folder on your computer, depending on your operating system.
Inside your company folder are several other folders. The “BTG Backup” folder contains your backup files. Other folders such as “Text,” “Spreadsheet,” and so forth, contain copies of the component documents you have created using Microsoft Office or Open Office (see “Component Document Files” below).
Whether you have Box Theory™ Gold, Multi-Company, or the Silver edition, the database file is the same. If you begin with Box Theory™ Silver, you can upgrade to Box Theory™ Gold and maintain all of your current data. To verify what edition you are using, go to the Main Menu and select “Help.” You will either see “About Box Theory™ Gold or “About Box Theory™ Silver” at the bottom of the menu.
The primary difference between the Gold and Silver editions is that Silver only works with one company file while the Gold edition supports unlimited company files. In addition, the “People,” “Quality” and “Speed” areas of the Taskbar are also disabled. The Silver edition is scaled down in this way for smaller or start-up companies.
COMPONENT DOCUMENT FILES
One of the unique features of Box Theory™ software is its ability to manage all your component documents. Currently, the software officially supports Microsoft Office and Open Office products such as Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint; however, you can also import other document types, such as a .pdf file, and open them from within the software.
In order to organize your business documents—as they have never been organized before—we have created a file structure within the software database (.btg file) that tracks every document you create and the business system it is associated with. Your documents are created, stored, and retrieved from within the “Component Manager” of the Box Theory™ Systems area.
Your documents are also duplicated on your hard drive in the company folder–the same folder that contains your Box Theory™ company database, or .btg file.
Document File Types – In the company folder of your hard drive, you will see folders such as Text, Spreadsheet, Graphic, Database, Pdf, Template, Other, and Temp. These folders contain copies of the documents you created in Box Theory™ software. They are organized by file types instead of systems. For example, Microsoft Word files and Open Office Writer files are stored in the Text folder. Files of any type that are displayed in the Template Manager of the software are stored in the Template folder. These document folders only appear as you create specific file types. For example, if you never use Microsoft Access, the “Database” folder will not be listed.
Important Note: If you discontinue using Box Theory™ software, you have easy access to all the files you created using this program.
Synchronization – Box Theory™ software regularly synchronizes its database with the duplicate files on your hard drive. If you update a file in Word, for example, outside of Box Theory™ software, the synchronization will update the file within the software the next time you open it.
If you lose a file on the hard drive, Box Theory™ software will copy it back during the synchronization. If you add a new file to your company folder, and Box Theory™ software doesn’t know what system it belongs to, it will put the file in the Template Manager, and you can later add it to a specific system.
You don’t really have to worry about managing any of this; it all happens behind the scenes. Synchronization takes place when you open and close the software, and it checks at intervals while you are working. All you need to know is that you have an extra copy on your hard drive of every document you created in your company database.
Note: It is a good habit to access your Microsoft document files from within the software and to close any open Word or Excel documents, for example, before exiting the software. If you happen to exit the software and discover that you still have an open and unsaved document, just save it as usual. The synchronization process will update the file inside the software the next time you load it.
Keep in mind that if you create a document and save it somewhere on your hard drive other than in your company folder, it will not be known to Box Theory™ software and not included in the synchronization process. Box Theory™ only knows what is in your company database (.btg) and your company folder on the hard drive.
Importing Documents – When importing document files from your hard drive into your Component Manager, you should avoid bringing large multi-media files. These file types often exceed computer memory and will abort, or if they do import, will bloat the database and slow performance. Simply put, your Box Theory™ company database can handle standard business document files—even large ones—without a problem, but don’t bog it down with extra-large media files.
Linking to External Documents – If you do have a large file that you want to associate with a system, you can right-click from within the Component Manager and create a link to the file on your hard drive, Google docs, or Dropbox. The document will load and run from within the Component Manager just like your other documents; however, it will not be saved inside your company database (.btg) or duplicated in the company folder. In the Component Manager, a linked file will display the name followed by “(link).”
Unique Document Names – Document files in Box Theory™ software must have unique names, even if the same document is used in a different system. If you are attempting to name a file that is already in your company database, you will be prompted to give it a new name.
BACKUP AND RESTORE
In the “File” area of the Main Menu, you can select “Administration” to configure and manage your backup and restore functions. These processes work as follows:
Backup – Box Theory™ Software continually saves your company database while you are working. It also allows for a backup database to be created each day that you are in the program. You can click the “Backup Now” button on the Main Menu at any time to perform a manual save of your company’s backup database. It’s a good idea to do this occasionally throughout the day. You are also prompted to back up the database when you exit the software.
Box Theory™ Software puts backup files of your company database in the “BTG Backup” folder located in your company folder—YourCompanyName (BTG). The file extension for all company database files is “.btg.”
Box Theory™ Software creates one backup file with your company name and today’s date every day you are in the program. If you uncheck the box, “Delete Old Backup Files,” an unlimited number of daily backup files is maintained. If the box is checked (by default), files are saved for the three most recent days and a week apart for approximately a month. You will have up to eight backup files on your computer at one time. In File>Administration>Backup, select “Open Folder” to view your backup files. You can delete files manually at any time.
Restore – Under the Restore tab, you will see a list of available backup files and dates. Select, open, and check the file you want to restore. Then simply click the button on the Main Menu that says “Restore Open Backup.” This will make the open backup file your current company database. It will also rename the old company folder with today’s date. When satisfied, you can delete the old folder and its contents.
Restoring a Component Document Only – If you have a lost or corrupted document file (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) that you need to restore from a backup database, you can quickly do it from within the current active database. Right-click in the Component Manager. Go to “Import Document>Restore Document from Company Backup Database.” Select the system and then the document to restore. Click “OK” to import the document into the current system. You may need to rename it.
Restoring a System/box Only – When you have a company backup file open, you can select a System/box in the System Framework and export its entire contents. Then import it into your current company database. This is a fast way to restore a single system. You can delete the old System/box that you are replacing.
COLlABORATION AND NETWORKING
The Box Theory™ database file can only be opened by one user at a time. It is recommended that one or two designated people become experts with the software.
While it is encouraged for team members to “rough-in” a system flowchart using a whiteboard, a person who is familiar with Box Theory™ software will be the most efficient at developing and refining the final system documents.
If you have more than one person working in Box Theory™ software, I recommend that the software be installed on a file server or in a peer-to-peer networking arrangement where both people have access to the same database file. For a second installation within your company, you can request another activation key at no additional charge. With the proper setup, you could also access Box Theory™ software on your business file server from your home computer.
Note: To prevent problems of overwriting data, the database is locked to others when one user has the software open. Simple scheduling will allow more than one person to work on the same database.
It is also possible to have two separate installations on different computers—each having its own company database. Some people have successfully installed to a thumb drive and moved the database between computers. Be sure the thumb drive is present before the software is launched and not removed until the software is closed.
If someone other than the business owner does most of the work in Box Theory™ software, they can periodically email the owner an updated version of the .btg file. When going back and forth, be sure that the most updated .btg file is emailed and copied over the older one.
Upon completion of a single system, a person could also export and email a System/box (.box file) with all of its components (e.g. flowchart, checklist, documents, measurement reports) to another person for importing into their database. All or selected parts of the Organization Blueprint can also be exported and imported between databases (.blu file).
These are various ways you can work with a single company .btg file, or keep two separate files synchronized.
Copyright © 2008 by Ronald G. Carroll
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