Box Theory Business Systems Academy.

Software Introduction

Navigating Box Theory™Software


After clicking “Box Theory™Systems” on the main menu, you will see the “Navigation Panel” on the left side of your screen. Box Theory™software navigation follows the Box Theory™ logic. That is, each box is a system and contains lower boxes or subsystems. You can drill down from the top of the organization to the lowest box or subsystem within the organization. The list of systems or boxes that you see in the Navigation Panel is what you added in the Systems Framework section of the Organization Blueprint. You can add more boxes (systems) at any time. The “Task Window” is the large center window where you will do most of your work.


Finding a System/box – You can find the System/box you want to work on in five different ways:

1.    Double-click (or right-click menu) on a System/box name in the System Framework
2.    Drill down and select a System/box in the Navigation Panel.
3.    Search for a System/box by keyword from the Main Menu>Find
4.    Go to a system from a custom Bookmark you set up from the Main Menu>Find
4.    Select a box you were recently in by using the “Recent Places” button.
5.    Use the “Forward-Backward Arrows” to move to places visited in the current session.
6.    Click on the System/box name on your Home page list of Favorite Systems.
(You’ll probably get into a habit of using a couple of these methods.)

Navigation Bar – Just above the Navigation Panel and below the Main Menu is a short menu bar called the “Navigation Bar.” The two arrows allow you to go backward or forward on the Task Window in a similar fashion to a web browser. The “Recent Places” button shows a list of places you have recently been working. By selecting a System/box from the list, for example, you will be taken directly to that System/box. You can also access your Home page from anywhere in the software by clicking on the “Home” button.

Navigation Panel – Beginning with the Company box on level 1, the Navigation Panel shows a direct line down the levels of the organization to the System/box that you want to work on. The current view consists of general business “Activities,” the “System” or box you are currently working on, and the “Steps” within that system.  Each is described further below.

Activities – The Activities section shows the hierarchy of boxes as you drill down from the top of the organization to the System/box you have selected to work on. As you go deeper into the organization, a Roman numeral appears to the left indicating the level of each activity (see “Levels” below). The boxes in the Activities area provide a frame of reference and enable you to move up or down the organization in a direct line.

System – The System section is the box you are currently working on (highlighted in orange). When you create a flowchart or checklist, add components, or other work in the Task Window, this is the specific box that all of your work applies to. You can make any box the current System by double-clicking on it, or by right-clicking and choosing “Select as Current System.”

Steps – The Steps are what you must do to operate the System named above. If the order is important, you can think of these steps as a procedure. If the order is not important, they are tasks on a checklist, either of which you will eventually develop in more detail. If you double-click on a Step, it will become the current System and show its individual steps on the list below.

Levels – By default, the top box in any organization—Level I—is the “Company.” This is the only box that cannot be deleted; it is also a system that should be developed like other systems. Level II is the “Department” level, having names like Sales, Operations, Finance, or Administration. You will discover that most system development takes place on levels 3-5. However, you can go as deep as you want to perfect even the smallest details.

Plus (+) – When you see a plus sign on the left side of a box in the Navigation Panel, that means that there are lower-level Steps/boxes within that box. If there is no plus sign, you have reached the last Step/box in the down-line. There are no deeper levels of the activity described.

Right-Click Menus – By right-clicking your mouse, in the Navigation Panel and other sections of Box Theory™ software, a pop-up list will indicate the actions you can take, such as adding, renaming, deleting, or other appropriate functions.

Select as Current System – Double-click your mouse on any box to make it the current System. You can also right-click and choose to “Select as Current System.”

Add, Rename, Delete a Box –. Right-click on a System or Step to edit its “Name” or “Purpose/Description.” You can also add or delete a Step. Caution: Deleting a box will delete everything associated with it such as flowcharts, component documents, etc.

Naming a Box – The name of a System/box is a brief description of its role as the step of a process. You can put up to six lines of text in a flowchart box. The name should be descriptive enough to understand the system; however, it is best to use as few words as possible. You can add any amount of detail in the Purpose/Description of the System.

Purpose/Description – The Purpose/Description of a box is a statement that further describes the role or purpose of the box as a step in a process or task on a checklist. The detail included in the statement is appropriate to the level you are working on—more specific in lower-level boxes. Note: You may also want to describe in the Purpose/Description the steps or tasks in the next lower level to avoid having to work on the lower-level boxes individually.

Moving a Box – To move a Step up or down the list, select the Step with the left mouse button and drag it to the desired position. This will enable you to order the steps in your procedure. You cannot drag a Step outside of the current System. However, from within the System Framework on the Main Menu, you can right-click and move the box to another location in Box Theory™ software using the Microsoft-style directory tree.

Resulting Actions – When you add a System/box in the Navigation Panel, the System Framework is also updated. In addition, the new box is placed on your Flowchart grid and added to the Checklist. In fact, when a System/box is added, modified, or deleted anywhere in the software, all other areas are automatically updated.


System Taskbar – At the bottom of the Task Window, there are specific things you can do—Action Plans—to create, improve, and earn the High-Performance Attributes for the System/box you have selected. First, choose what aspect of the system you want to work on—Process, Components, People, Quality, Speed, or Measurement. Then use the Toolbar described below to help you perform the system work.

Toolbar – The Toolbar is located at the bottom of the Task Window under the System Taskbar. The buttons provide options that will help you in the process of creating your Organization Blueprint or creating and improving a System/box. The tools are described as follows:

  • Principles – This covers the foundation principles that you should understand and apply to the current System. It is the related chapter contained in the Box Theory™ eCourse.
  • Examples – This shows a real-world example of a completed Action Plan page, including System Dashboard, Process, Components, People, Quality, Speed, or Measurement.
  • Worksheet – This is an exercise available in some sections to stimulate your thinking and help you prepare for completing the Action Plan. In some cases, the Worksheet is a tool for developing supplemental information such as a budget. Worksheets are helpful but optional.
  • System Notes – You will often get ideas while you are working on a system. “System Notes” is a text editor that allows you to jot down your thoughts or ideas for future reference.
  • Video Help – For some sections, a screen-capture video will give you visual instructions or walk you through a process. The videos may be slightly different than what you encounter as occasional changes and improvements are made to the software.
  • Software Help – This is the primary written instruction and help pertaining to the functionality of a specific section of the software. See the “Principles” button to learn about the topic and strategy.


Systems in your business are interrelated and often interdependent. For example, the success of your Human Resource system depends, in part, on having a good hiring system. Hiring the best people relies upon an effective job interview—a step or subsystem of hiring. Subsystems are more detailed activities as you “drill down” in your organization.

Once you know what details are important in your business, Box Theory™ software can help you quickly isolate and focus on the systems and details that matter the most. You can zoom in and out to view or work on the most meaningful part of the system.

The unique “Level-Viewer” tool in Box Theory™ Software allows you to view a single system or see an expanded view that includes the details of lower-level subsystems. The Level Viewer is located in the upper right corner in the systems area of the software.

Below the drop-down menu of levels are numbered boxes. Box “1” is the current level, and there are additional numbered boxes for each lower-level system you have created. The oversized box represents the level you are currently viewing. Click on any numbered box to view system information through that level. There is also a gray line under the level you prefer to show (the default). The preferred or default view can be set by right-clicking on any of the numbered boxes.

The differences in the available views of the Level Viewer are described below.

Current Level (edit system box) – By default, the Level Viewer displays the “Current Level.” The current System or box is always the one highlighted box on your Navigation Panel. For a simple business system or one that is not so important, you can perform the basic tasks within Process, Components, People, Quality, Speed, and Measurement for this one System/box. You may not need to work any deeper to have an adequately performing system.

2 Levels (edit system steps) – If you created a flowchart or checklist and want to develop or improve the individual steps within the system—more detail—you can display “2 Levels (edit system steps).” You will see the Current System/box and the steps within that system. You have full software functionality to edit and work on either of these levels simultaneously.

3 Levels and more (view by steps) – Box Theory™ Software knows how many levels of detail you have created and will give you the option on the drop-down menu to display three levels, four levels, and so on. These levels will display the components, policies, reports, etc. within each step of the current box down to the bottom level. For example, you can see all the hiring policies on one list. You will do most editing on the first and second levels. For three levels and more, the primary purpose is to view information; however, text editing is still possible. Note: When the mouse cursor hovers over items on a list, it will display the System/box the item is associated with.

All Levels (combined view) – This special view is helpful if you want to see all components, policies, reports, etc., that are contained in the Current System/box and all of its subsystems. This is one list and not separated by the individual steps.

All Levels (system owner only) – If you select “All Levels,” you will see everything down through the organization. However, if a subsystem has a different owner, and you want to exclude their system from your view or printed report, you can select this option.

Keep in mind that 3 Levels and beyond have restricted functionality. If you want full functionality, go to the System/box, right-click, and choose “Go to System.” (You can also get there from the Navigation Panel.)

Finally, the Level Viewer lists options appropriate to the section of the software you are in. For example, there is no Level Viewer for Flowcharts—you can only see the current flowchart.

Final Note: The Level Viewer is a lot easier to use than to explain, so don’t worry if you don’t fully understand it from reading this section. You will probably use the first two levels a lot and “All Levels” once in a while—the in-between levels, not so much. Once you get the hang of it, you will find the Level-Viewer to be a very handy feature.


When you first load the software, the “Home” page is displayed in the Task Window. The Home page displays information that you can customize for personal use. The following “gadgets” are displayed.

Favorite Systems – When you create a new System/box, you have a check-box option to display the system name on the Home page for easy access. Systems listed on the Home page may be your organization’s core systems, the systems you are the owner of, or systems that you frequently work on. You decide. By clicking on the system name, its Dashboard page is displayed in the Task Window. By right-clicking on the system name, you can go directly to a work area of the system such as “Components,” or “System Checklist.”

Favorite Systems are automatically listed under tabs with department names you created. If the department name is long, you can right-click to edit it. For example, You could change “Administration” to “Admin,” or “Marketing and Sales” to just “Marketing,” just “Sales,” or “M & S.” Shorter tabs allow more space for the list below. Note: These name abbreviations do not alter actual department names found elsewhere in the software.

Web Links – Create links to your favorite websites that can help you with system development work such as vendors, customers, and other business resources. You can also launch your email program from here.

Recent Documents – Go directly to the most recent documents you have accessed in your Component Manager. (This list is refreshed each time you open the Home page.) Click on the “T” button to go to the Template Manager, a repository for storing document variations, obsolete documents you don’t want to discard, or frequently used document formats and templates.

Calendar – Check dates going infinitely forward or backward.

Systems Thinking Tips –  Each time you go to the Home page you will see a new thought, tip, or quote that may prompt you in your system development work. By clicking the “All” button, you can scroll up or down the list to see thoughts of the past or those coming in the future. Click again to return to the current tip.

Performance Indicators– When you create a new measurement report, you have a check-box option to identify it as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Measurement reports that track KPIs are listed here along with current data. You can open the report by clicking on the report name.

Notes/Videos/eCourse –  In the left Navigation Panel,  you can create any number of categories or subcategories of notes, to-do lists, and so forth. Right-click to add, rename, and delete. You can also drag the notes to change their order on the list. Keep in mind that there is a separate place for “System Notes” pertaining to an individual System/box. The “Video Tutorials” button provides single-point access to all help videos presented throughout the software. The eCourse button displays the entire book, Box Theory™: Double Your Profit with High-Performance Systems and Processes.

Copyright © 2008 by Ronald G. Carroll

All rights reserved.