Work with External File Links Dialog

Multimedia Objects can be pictures, videos, sounds, documents, OLE Objects ... or anything that can be stored in a file. Multimedia objects can be embedded in a Family Historian file, but in general this is not recommended. A better solution is usually for Multimedia Objects to be stored in external files, and for Family Historian to store links to the external files. This dialog box allows you to inspect and manage all the external files links in your file.

Why store external file links rather than embed?

If you embed many multimedia files in a Family Historian file it can significantly affect the time it takes to open or save the file. But there are other good reasons for preferring to store external file links, rather than embedded multimedia files.

One reason for using external file links is that it means that you can use the Windows file system to organise your pictures, sounds, videos, etc in a convenient way. For example, you could have one folder called 'Multimedia'. That in turn could contain 3 folders labelled 'Pictures', 'Sounds', and 'Video'. These in turn could contain yet more folders - one for each significant family group perhaps. These last folders might contain the actual files. How you do it is up to you. You might even prefer to keep Multimedia files on CD or on some other removable medium.

Another reason for preferring external file links is that there are many software products available for categorising, organising, editing, printing and managing your pictures, and other multimedia files. By storing multimedia files separately, you make them available for use with other products, without being forced to keep duplicate copies. Note: duplicate copies of files are in general undesirable. Do not however confuse duplicate copies with backup copies. The latter are very desirable indeed.

Why do you need to manage external file links?

However you do organise your multimedia files, it is quite possible that you will find at some point that you wish to re-organise them. You might, for example, have stored your files on CD, and then find, when you buy a new computer, that your new CD drive has a different drive letter. Or, you might decide that the folder structure you have used was not ideal for your purposes and you want to change it. Or files might be moved accidentally, and the file links might be 'broken' and you want to fix them. Whatever the reason, this dialog box will make it quick and easy for you to see what external links you have, and to fix broken ones, or change file links in whatever way suits you.

Elements of the Dialog Box

The fields and buttons in the dialog box are described below.

File Links Displays all external file links in a tree structure, similar to that used by Windows Explorer. The tree structure makes it easy to see which file links belong to the same folders. It also makes it easy to restructure. By selecting a folder in the diagram, and clicking on 'Move' or 'Rename' you can update all file links that contain the relevant folder as part of its file name. For example, if a file's full name was "C:\multimedia\pictures\Campbells\Tony.jpg", you would see the 'C:' drive in the File Links box, and under it a folder called 'multimedia'. Within that there would be folder called 'pictures'. Within that a folder called 'Campbells'. And within that a file called 'Tony.jpg'. Some or all of these folders might contain other files or folders too, of course. If you renamed 'pictures' as 'pics', the new file link for this picture would be "C:\multimedia\pics\Campbells\Tony.jpg". Any other file links that included the pictures folder would be similarly affected.

Of course you can move or rename files themselves, as well as folders.

Like Windows Explorer, folder or file names have a little icon next to them to show what kind of thing they are (folders or files). If these icons have a cross through them, it means that Family Historian was unable to find the relevant folder or file. If the folder or file is located on a CD or some other kind of removable medium, this does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. It may just be that the CD that stores the folders or files is not in the CD drive. However, where folders or files are stored on your hard disk, an icon with a cross through it does indicate that (and where) one or more file links have 'broken'.

Where Used When you select a single file in the 'File Links' tree, this window will show the multimedia object that uses that file link. Usually multimedia objects are stored as records in their own right, but a multimedia object may also be stored as a field in another kind of record (though this is not usually recommended). However the multimedia object is represented in Family Historian, you can go to the record that contains it by clicking on the Go To button.
Move Do not be confused - this button does not move any external files. What you are 'moving' is parts of file names. For example, if you 'move' the folder 'Pictures' from within folder 'C:\Multimedia' to within folder 'C:\Family Historian\Multimedia', then all file links which, previously, had stored file names that began 'C:\Multimedia\Pictures\…' will now (or rather will when you press OK to save changes) store file names that begin 'C:\Family Historian\Multimedia\Pictures\…'.

Move works with multiple selection. See Tips below for more on multiple selection.

Rename Again - you are not renaming external files. You are renaming file names stored as external file links.

Rename requires single selection only.

Refresh If you wish to move or rename external files you should use Windows Explorer to do this. Having done that, if you then press 'Refresh', Family Historian will update its icons so you can see which files and folders it has found (i.e. which files and folders do not have a cross through their icon).
Go To If you select a single file, Go To will close this dialog, and will take you to the record which contains the relevant file link. If you have made any changes, you will be asked if you want to save them.

Tip: The File Links box supports multiple selection, for use with Move. However, all the items selected must be 'sibling items' - that is, they must all belong to the same folder or all be top-level items. To select them, use the usual techniques: e.g. click in an unused space, next to a folder or file name, and, holding the button down, drag diagonally downwards to create a stretchy box, and 'lasso' the items you are interested in. Alternatively, you can click on one item to select it, and then press the Shift key while clicking on another item, to select all items in between.

Tip: This dialog box is resizable. Click on an edge and drag to make it bigger. You cannot make it any smaller than its initial size. Click on the Maximize button to make it fill the screen.

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