Topicscape Box

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(Go to:Topicscape Pro User Guide - contents list)

Moving occurrences to Topicscape

Topicscape Box can play an active role in helping you to collect information that you want to place in Topicscape later. Its primary function is to allow you to save something with added comments like source, author and description without having to open Topicscape itself. At that point you probably know what the file you're saving is about and where you obtained it. Often you will know who wrote it, too. By placing it in the Topicscape Box, you will be able to record this information immediately (though you don't have to), and when you move it into Topicscape later, the details will be transferred automatically to the Details Panel there.

Topicscape Box comes into its own though, when you are searching the web and saving pages: It will automatically extract the URL of the web page and save it with the file. It can queue up web pages to be saved, and work on them in the background as you continue with your search.


Files in Topicscape Box have a Details Panel just as occurrences do in Topicscape (above). To see the Details Panel of a file in the Topicscape Box, just select the file.

Opening the Topicscape Box

The Topicscape Box has three forms: it is a dual-purpose area that drops down from the Out Tray in the toolbar (see Please refer to the Toolbar); it can be opened from Windows -- using an icon that will appear on your desktop during installation; and it can be opened from inside Topicscape. The border of the Topicscape Box window will show whether you opened from Topicscape (it will show your desktop's wallpaper -- looking out) or from Windows (it will show a static Topicscape scene -- looking in).

The Topicscape Box in the toolbar

Hover over the Out Tray in the toolbar and the Topicscape Box area will be visible in the item that drops-down. Click on it and the full Topicscape Box will open in a new window.

Alternatively, drag something (a topic's green dot or an occurrence) over the Out Tray in the toolbar and drop it on the Topicscape Box area that drops-down. Whatever you dragged will be moved to the Topicscape Box. The number in brackets shows how many items are in the Topicscape Box. A folder in the Topicscape Box will be counted as one item for this purpose.

The Topicscape Box on your desktop

When you drag a file to the Topicscape Box icon on your desktop, the Topicscape Box will open up, accept your file, give you the opportunity to add some information about the file if you want and, once you press 'Save', close the TSB.

If instead you double click the Topicscape Box icon it will, of course, open up.

Power drags

Web pages

You can drag a URL icon ("favicon") straight from the browser address bar to the open Topicscape Box and it will grab the whole web page (for a complete description, please see Saving Web pages to "Web Archive, single files (.mht)", just below).

Emails in Outlook Express

You can drag an email straight from Outlook Express's window to the open Topicscape Box and it will save the author, subject and date in the Details Panel for that file. When making the filename, it will use the message subject as usual, but it will also add the date and time as a prefix. This overcomes the problem of emails with the same subject (especially with "Re:" on the front) resulting in files with the same name. Windows only offers the option to overwrite earlier versions. Topicscape Box makes unique names.

OLE objects (parts of documents)

You can drag a highlighted portion of, say, a Word or Excel document to the open Topicscape Box. It will make a file for you and save it in the TSB, as well as allowing you to add some description. In addition, for URL's and emails, TSB will extract important information like web address, of the From and To details and add them to the Topicscape Box details panel for you automatically.

Later, when you drag items in TSB into a specific Topicscape, all information in the Topicscape Box details panel will be transferred automatically to the occurrence details there and can then be used in keyword searches.


If you remove the Topicscape box shortcut icon (left) from the Windows Desktop and put it somewhere else, it will no longer be able to show an 'open' icon (right).

The Topicscape Box will otherwise work as usual.

Saving Web pages to "Web Archive, single files (.mht)"

The Topicscape Box has another very useful function: It helps you save web pages to archive files (mht) in many fewer steps than Internet Explorer (IE). Topicscape Box (and Topicscape itself) can do the job with a single drag and drop. With the right-mouse button, drag the address bar icon ("favicon")


or a link in the body of a web page from IE to the Topicscape Box window (see Other browsers below for more information). Topicscape and the Topicscape Box is more persistent in its efforts to save than IE, which when asked to save many popular web pages, reports that it cannot save "to the selected location" and gives up. Topicscape Box and Topicscape itself use a stronger saving method. When they encounter this problem, the saved output will not carry forward all the style features of the original page, but they do usually capture the main substance.

When you drag a favicon to the Topicscape Box (or to Topicscape itself), using a right-click drag with IE, Topicscape assumes you want an mht file made from this web page. If instead of an MHT file you just want to save a shortcut, please use a standard left-click drag instead and you will be given a choice. As an alternative to dragging a favicon, you can drag a link in the body of a web page. That works just as well.

In Topicscape itself, you will get feedback of the save: An hourglass appears just where you drop the favicon, and then it quickly slides to the top left of the window to keep you informed of progress. The indicator will remain there until all pages have been saved as occurrences, and then if the target topic is still visible, you will see the usual fading blue glow around that topic to confirm the completion of the save.

When you drag and drop the favicon onto the Topicscape Box window, you will see an indicator that the page is being saved. At the foot of a Topicscape Box window, the indicator will be a message "Saving n pages".

While the saving is going on, you can go on surfing the web for more pages, using Topicscape to find where you want to place the page, making a topic to hold the page, or any other activity. In other words, once launched, the saving process is independent, and you can build a stack or queue of web pages, all in the process of being saved. This makes both Topicscape and Topicscape Box valuable web research tools as you can search, save and categorize your findings on the fly, without having to wait for saved items to complete.

Before closing Topicscape or Topicscape Box, all save operations must be complete or you will lose incomplete pages.

Topicscape Pro's MHT maker (also used in the Topicscape Box for Pro) can handle authenticated pages and RSS feeds:

  1. If you are logged in to a web page that requires authentication, the MHT maker can save that page. You will be required to provide your account name and password again, because the distant site counts the MHT maker as a different session from the web browser displaying the page.
  2. Pages that are RSS feeds can be saved as an MHT file, preserving the content of the feed at the time of the save. Here's an example:

Other browsers

Firefox, Netscape and Mozilla all support the left-click drag in the above functions but do not work with the right-click drag for 'instant' MHT-making. Opera does not appear to provide the necessary drag data for Topicscape to take over any of the drop operations.

For permanent export from Topicscape

Topicscape Box is a two-way gateway to and from Topicscape. Although you can use the right-click context menu to export a single topic or a group of topics with their occurrences, that does not remove anything from the Topicscape.

To export and remove, the quickest way is to drag a topic's green dot (see Glossary) to the Topicscape Box area in the Out Tray's drop down and select the single or the group column to choose whether just that topic alone or its descendants as well are to be exported. This will build the equivalent structure, as best it can in Windows, in a new folder in Topicscape Box. You can drag it out of there and into the appropriate folder later.

If you choose the group column, the exported files will be complete -- the entire structure will be built. All the corresponding topics and occurrences will generally be deleted inside Topicscape, too. But there is an exception: Topics (with their occurrences) that have parents outside the group will be copied, in other words neither moved nor deleted inside Topicscape. Topicscape does this to ensure that you do not accidentally remove wanted material.

You can drag occurrences to the Topicscape Box in the same way. If you include a fileless occurrence in the drag, drag it to the Topicscape Box area in the Out Tray's drop down and a special file will be made that Topicscape recognizes on re-import to another Topicscape.

You can also drag topics and occurrences to a Topicscape Box window if the Box is already open, but fileless occurrences will not be included in the drag.

Personal Firewalls and Topicscape / Topicscape Box

If you operate a personal firewall, you will generally need to give Topicscape.exe permission to access the Internet to make MHT files for you. The same applies to Topicscape Box but the component requiring access is called "TSmhtSRV.dll" (not TopicscapeBox.winxp.exe).

When Topicscape checks for updates (automatically if you set it to do so, or manually through your selection in the Help menu) it naturally requires Internet access as well.

Next: Importing into Topicscape

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