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ArchiveHero Overview

Large Digital Archives are now the norm

There are many professions and hobbies that have large digital archives of files and folders.  For example, a research project at a university will generate hundreds, even thousands, of documents which are created by the research team as a byproduct of their work then stored and continually referenced by the team and others in the field.  A genealogist will have hundreds of documents of the people, events, and places of the family trees being researched. These documents are frequently referenced by the genealogist and shared with other genealogists around the world.  A paperless office will scan any document coming in the front door, throw away the bulky original and use it only in digital form.  The office will continually refer to the documents to run the business.

Most likely, the files of an archive will be created by scanning actual documents (i.e., to PDFs or JPGs) as well as created as original documents using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or taking digital photos, etc.  Also, the archive will inherit documents from outside sources.  The research project might receive documents from other researchers around the world.  Genealogists frequently send each other documents attached to e-mails.  The paperless office will take advantage of digital rather than paper options to receive documents from outside vendors or customers.

Inevitably, the user will want to go to a specific file or folder of interest and open it with its native application.  For example, the user will want to open a Microsoft Excel file with Microsoft Excel or a folder with the Windows File Explorer.   ArchiveHero is the perfect tool to work with these large digital archives of files and folders.  

ArchiveHero is completely passive

One of the biggest advantage of ArchiveHero is that it is completely passive – the user can begin using ArchiveHero immediately – there’s no setup needed.  ArchiveHero does not require the user to setup a proprietary archive “database” or setup a categorization system for sticking documents in certain slots.  To ArchiveHero, the files and folders of the archive are the “database.”  But as the user progresses with building the archive, ArchiveHero has many sophisticated functions which allow the user to synthesize meaning from the thousands of files and folders.

It’s Easy to Get Started

To get started using ArchiveHero. all the user has to do is start the ArchiveHero application then choose the high-level folders of the archive by navigating and selecting them in the Windows file system or dragging and dropping them to the ArchiveHero window (i.e., from the Windows File Explorer) .  The high-level folders can each by located on different hard drives available to the computer (i.e.,USB drives, NAS drives etc., as well as the hard drives of the computer).  ArchiveHero can work with any set of files and folders no matter how they were created or what type of files they are. In effect, this initial step identifies the files and folders of the archive to ArchiveHero which will, in turn, “extract” basic information from them to create an internal table consisting of columns containing the information.  Then the user can leverage this list of files and folders taking advantage of the computer’s speed  to  search, sort , open and update the files and folders of the archive

This initial step is very quick.  An archive of 16,000 files and folders will take about 20 seconds to load. At any time, the user can add additional high-level folders to the archive by just dragging and dropping them from the Windows File Explorer.  This initial step only has to be done once – ArchiveHero will store the list of high-level folders for next time. At any time,  the user can tweak the list of high level folders,  adding or removing folders which will define the archive the next time the ArchiveHero application is started.

Instant Productivity

Once the user has completed this initial step of identifying the high-level folders to ArchiveHero, many powerful features are available without further ado.  For example, the user can instantly sort the list by any of the columns of the table – filename, create date, etc. This means that in less than 20 seconds the user can view as a whole the thousands of files spread over various folders and disk devices attached to the computer.  For example, by sorting on the file modification date column, the user can see at a glance the recent additions to the archive no matter where they are located.

Once the user identifies a  particular file or folder of interest, the user will want to open it in its native application.   The files and folders in the list will have hyperlinks that the user can click to open the file in its native application or open the folder containing the file in Windows File Explorer (i.e., two hyperlinks).  That is, the actual internal contents of any of thousands of files or folders in the archive are instantly available to be opened by their native applications.  For example, clicking the hyperlink of an Excel file will open the file in Microsoft Excel.  Clicking the hyperlink of a folder will open the folder in Windows File Explorer.  In effect, ArchiveHero has created a single index to the files and folders of the archive.

Also the user can search for text values in the table. In effect, the user has an efficient index of their archive that finds files or folders. Coupled with a comprehensive file / folder naming scheme (more later) and taking advantage of the powerful keyword features (more later), searching can be a very powerful tool in ArchiveHero.  In effect with a search, the user is temporarily creating a subset of files or folders with some common attribute from the thousands of files and folders in the archive.


These “out-of-the-box” features would justify the small purchase price of ArchiveHero.  But there’s many, many more sophisticated functions of ArchiveHero which can be setup easily to work with the archive and will be explained in this User’s Guide.

This symbol shows the three principle ways ArchiveHero provides for the user to quickly go to a file or folder of interest and open it.  These three dimensions of the archive are instantly available to access the files and folders of an archive without any setup required: