Getting Started with ARCHIVOS

Welcome to ARCHIVOS!

Let’s walk you through the basic features and functions of the program so you can start exploring story worlds and building your own story settings.

The Story Catalog

The Story Catalog

The Story Catalog is where visitors to ARCHIVOS can view the story settings shared by Storyteller account subscribers.

The listing of all available public story settings is alphabetical. In order to help narrow down the list of Story Settings, users can filter the list or search for specific titles or authors.

Filter by Genre

Above the catalog listing is a “Filter by Genre or Sub-Genre” drop down. Selecting a genre from the list will filter the catalog to display only the settings the ascribed to that genre. Selecting “All” will restore the full unfiltered catalog listing.

Search Stories

If you’re looking for a particular title or author, enter the first few characters of either into the “search” field. The catalog will display only the story settings that match the search criteria you enter. Deleting the search parameters from the field will restore the full catalog listing.

The Story Summary

The Story Summary

When you select a story setting from the catalog, you will be taken to the setting’s Story Summary. In addition to a brief description of the setting, the Story Summary includes:

  • A listing of Featured Story Elements
  • A summary of all the Story Elements documented in the setting
  • Links to the Story Web, Living Map, and Timeline displays for that setting
  • An index listing of each Story Element separated by Type

Clicking any Story Element will load that element in the Story Web display.

Clicking the Story Web, Living Map, or Timeline links will load that display with the “default” Story Element as the focus.

The Story Displays

Details about each Story Setting are viewed through one of three ARCHIVOS Display Modes: The Story Web, The Living Map, or The Timeline

Details of each display are featured below but all Display Modes have similar features:

Element Profiles

Each Display Mode will showcase Story Elements relevant to that display. Clicking on an element in the display will load its Summary Profile on the right side of the window. The Summary Profile includes an image of the Story Element, a brief description, and relevant links.

You can also view the Story Element’s Full Profile which can include a more detailed description as well as a listing of all Story Elements to which the displayed element is related.

Links at the top of the profile allow users to collapse the view again or close it all together.

Focus Elements

Each display will have a Story Element on which the display will be based. This is considered the Focus Element. You can change the focus element by clicking on it to display its Profile View and then selecting the icon for the ARCHIVOS Display Mode in which you’d like it displayed.

Element Search

If you’re looking for a particular element, you can search for it by entering the first few characters of the Element’s name in the “search” field. I list of Story Elements matching the entered criteria will appear below the search field. Selecting one of the listed Story Elements will render the display based on the chosen Element.

Access Other Display Modes

All display modes are accessible from the bottom of the screen. Click the link to the desired Display Mode to load it. Note that, if the current setting has no elements appropriate to the display, the link will not function. So if a setting has no events, the Timeline link will not work (this will be changing in future releases to instead display a message in the target display mode).

The Story Web

The Story Web

The Story Web illuminates the relationships between Story Elements.

The display is built around the primary or “Focus Element”, which will appear towards the center of the display as the largest avatar. Connected to it will be related Story Elements, appearing as slightly smaller avatars. Connected to those related Story Elements will be their constellation of related elements.

You can click and drag the Avatars to different positions on the screen to help organize the display to suit your needs.

Clicking on any element in the Story Web will display its Summary Profile on the right side of the window. Each Profile includes an image of the Story Element, a brief description, and relevant links. In addition, the Story Element’s Full Profile can be displayed which can include a more detailed description as well as a listing of all related Story Elements.

Changing the Focus Element

There are two ways to change the Focus Element in the Story Web.

Find the element you want to be the Focus Element and…

…click its Avatar to view its Summary Profile. Then, click the Story Web icon below the element’s name in the Profile.


…double-click the Avatar in the Story Web Display (you may need to move your mouse slightly after double-clicking to trigger the redraw. This is a known bug and will be resolved in future releases).

You can also click the Avatar of any element in an element’s Full Profile “Related Elements” Display.

Either way, the Story Web will redraw with the new element as the Focus Element.

Filtering by Story Element Type

Each story element in ARCHIVOS is assigned a Story Element Type: Character, Region, Location, Event, Organization, Item, Race, or Discipline.

You can filter the Story Web Display to show a specific Story Element Type by clicking the “Filter Display By:” drop down list and selecting the desired Story Element Type. Only elements of the selected type will be displayed.

You can restore the display to show all Story Elements by selecting the “All” option in the drop down.

Filtering by Relationship

Every Story Element displayed in the Story Web has a relationship to its adjacent elements. To limit the display for on certain types of relationship, select the “Filter Relationship:” drop down list and select the relationship description by which to filter the display. Only Story Elements with the selected relationship will be displayed in the Story Web.

You can restore the display to show all Story Elements by selecting the “All” option in the drop down.

The Living Map

The Living Map

Using maps and floorplans, The Living Map illuminates the connection between Story elements and the geography and layout of a Story Setting. Any Region or Location with an associated map will be listed in the left-side menu of the display. Beneath each map will be a listing of the Story Elements encompassed by the map.

Clicking a map element in the list will load the map in the display. Each Event, Region, or Location related to the selected map will appear as an Avatar Marker on the map image.

If you move your mouse over the name of an element in the left-side menu, the corresponding marker will be highlighted on the map.

Clicking the Avatar Marker on the map will load the Summary Profile for the selected element on the right side of the display. Each Profile includes an image of the Story Element, a brief description, and relevant links. In addition, the Story Element’s Full Profile can be displayed which can include a more detailed description as well as a listing of all related Story Elements.

The Timeline

The Timeline

Whether they are legendary deeds of a setting’s ancient past or the latest developments in the story world, the Timeline will illuminate the chronology of all documented events. Any Event with a Date Assigned to it will appear in the Timeline display with past events appearing to the left and future events showcased on the right.

The Timeline is scrollable. Simply click and drag in the Timeline Display to slide the view to the desired date range. Using the navigation links to the left of the Timeline, you can zoom in the focus on a narrow window of time or zoom out to view entire eras. The arrow button will take you back to the very beginning of the Timeline sequence.

Each documented event is listed as a tab on the Timeline. Clicking an Event Tab will load the Summary Profile of the event. Each Profile includes an image of the Event Element, a brief description, and a listing of some of the related Story Elements. The Full Profile displays a more detailed description and a full listing of all related story elements.

You can also navigate the previous or next event by clicking the arrow links to the left or right of the Event’s Summary Display.

For Storytellers Only…

Whether you have a free Basic Subscription or have upgraded to a Personal or Professional Subscription, you have unlocked a suite of features and functions
that will allow you to create ARCHIVOS Story Settings and populate those settings with all the Story Elements you desire.

The Storyteller Dashboard

The Storyteller Dashboard (click for larger view)

Only displayed to ARCHIVOS subscribers, the Storyteller Dashboard gives you access to all the story development and display features of ARCHIVOS.

The Storyteller Menu appears as three stacked horizontal lines under the ARCHIVOS logo in the upper left corner of your screen. Clicking it will give you access to:

  • Profile and Account Management – Update your contact information, manage your ARCHIVOS subscription, access support features, and Logout (hey, you’re gonna have to at some point)
  • The Storyteller Dashboard – a listing of all your story settings with access to setting configuration and the story elements for each one.
  • Public Story Catalog – This is a listing of all the Story Settings made publicly viewable by Professional Subscribers. Great for inspiration and diving into other types of stories.
  • Sharing and Collaboration – Professional Subscribers can share their private settings with a select group of users as well as collaborate in their settings with fellow storytellers.
  • Recently Edited Settings  – Quick access to the settings you’ve been working on recently.

The Dashboard displays all your story settings (including settings you’ve been invited to view or collaborate on). Just click a setting and you’re ready to go.

The Dashboard also lists the edits you made to those settings, allowing you to quickly pick up wherever you left off.

Creating a New Story Setting

In ARCHIVOS, a “Story Setting” is the frame in which you’ll build your story world. You decide the scope of the settings you create…

  • It can encompass an entire series of books, films, comics… or focus on a single tale.
  • It can chronicle an entire RPG campaign… or a single adventure.
  • It could detail an entire era of history… or just a single event.

You can create unlimited settings in ARCHIVOS, so let your imagination run wild!

Once your Story Setting is configured, you can start populating it with characters, places, events, and more.

To Create a Story Setting:

When you first create your account, you have no settings, so you can either click the “Create Story” button in the upper left corner of the dashboard or click the prompt in the middle of the screen.

Either way, you’ll get a dialog box where you can enter your story’s title and a brief description. Click “Create”, and you’re ready to build a story!

Configuring a Story Setting

Configure you Story Setting (click for larger view)

Avatar and Cover Images

The Avatar Image of your Story Setting is what gets displayed in the Storyteller Menu Bar and in the title bar when you’re working in that setting. The Cover Image is displayed in the Storyteller Dashboard and in the Story Summary page for stories shared in the public catalog (Professional Subscribers only).

Display Story in Public Catalog

Professional Subscribers can share their story settings in the public Story Catalog. This listing is available to the general public, so make sure your setting is clean and complete and ready to showcase (see more about sharing your setting publicly below).

Type of Story

Select the general type of setting you plan to develop.

At this time, this property has no impact on the development of your setting. We’re still developing the framework for different types of Story Setting. As more in-depth story development and presentation features are developed, this property will determine your Story Setting’s placement in the Story Catalog as well as unlock functions relevant to the setting type (like custom calendars for fictional settings or default content for Public Domain settings).


Defining the genre(s) of your setting will help visitors find your setting more easily.

You can select as many genres or sub-genres to apply to your setting as you like. Genres are divided into Top-Level Genres (Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller, and Mystery) with sub-genres for each listed underneath. Selecting a sub-genre automatically includes the setting in the Top-Level Genre selection. So designating a setting as “Space Opera” will allow the setting to show up in any “Science Fiction” filters.

There are also genres listed under “Other Types”.

If the Story Setting you’re developing requires a more unique identification than the choices provided, you can select the “Other” option and enter the genre label of your choice. Your entry will be added to the genre filter on the Story Catalog page.

Private Notes

Any reminders or guidelines you want to define for yourself can be entered here. This is only visible to you (and your collaborators, if you decide to invite other writers into the setting)… the public will never see what you enter here.

Delete Story Button

Sometimes, you just gotta scrap an idea and start over. We’ll confirm you REALLY want to delete your hard work, but if you say yes twice, the setting will be completely erased.

Deleting a Story Setting

It’s inevitable that you’ll create a Story Setting that, for whatever reason, just isn’t working. It needs to go… so how do you delete it?

Click the “Gear” icon up in the title bar to load the Story Setting Configuration Screen, then click the red “Delete Story” button at the bottom of the screen.

This action will delete EVERYTHING in the Story Setting, so we’ll ask you to confirm your decision before all that work gets turned into pixelated ash.

(seriously, there’s no “undo” on this, so be sure.)

Adding Story Elements

Once your Story Setting is created, it’s time to flesh it out with some Story Elements!

New Story Settings have no elements, and there are two ways to rectify that situation: Click the “Add Element Button” or click the prompt for adding an element for new Story Settings.

You can also add new Story Elements on the fly when defining Relationships. See the section on Creating Relationships to learn more.

Story Element Type

You can choose from the following list to define the Type of Story Element you’re creating:

  • Person* – from protagonists to the smallest walk-on role
  • Region* – worlds, continents, countries, counties, mountain ranges, forests, etc.
  • Location* – towns, buildings, landmarks, ruins, etc.
  • Organization – governments, guilds, religions, cabals, corporations, etc.
  • Item – relics, artifacts, unique tools, cars, ships, etc.
  • Event* – battles, treaties, plagues, births, deaths, graduations, etc.
  • Culture– ethnicity, as well as speculative cultures (elves, dwarves, giants, aliens, etc.)
  • Discipline – magic, kung-fu, cloak fighting, psionics, etc.

*These Story Elements have additional unique properties:

  • Person allows the Storyteller to assign an optional gender (Male, Female, Other)
  • Regions and Locations allow Storytellers to assign map graphics to the Element and configure it for display in the Living Map (qv)
  • Events allow Storytellers to assign a date, date range, and/or time to the Event Element

Note that, once you save a Story Element, you cannot change the Type designation. This is due to the dependency between the Story Element Type and the Relationships it can have. If you create a Story Element and realize you’ve assigned the wrong Type designation, your only recourse is to delete it and create it again with the correct Type.

Configuring Story Elements

All your element configuration settings (click to view larger image)

Defining the properties of your Story Elements will determine how they appear in the various ARCHIVOS display modes.

Element Name

This will be the label assigned to the element in all the places that showcase Story Elements, including the Story Summary page, the View Story Elements listing, and all the ARCHIVOS display modes and Profiles.

NOTE: While you CAN use special characters in this field, it can make it difficult to find the element in searches. “Éomer” may be the correct spelling, but a search for “Eomer” will come up empty.

Element Avatar Image

This graphic will be used to represent your Story Element in the Story Setting Summary page and in all the ARCHIVOS display modes and Profiles. Images must be in JPG or PNG format and can be no larger than 5MB.

A note about image control…

We’ve upgraded our image upload features, so now you have a lot more control over the images you include in your settings.



You can even re-crop a previously uploaded image (so you don’t have to upload it again):







Element Details Panel

The Element Details Panel lets you define some basic information about the element and then collapse it so it’s out of the way.

Story Web Default Element

This defines the first element that gets loaded when the story web is called up. If you don’t define a Default Element, the first element you created will be displayed.

Hidden Elements

This applies to Story Settings that have been shared or made public (Professional Subscriptions only). Hidden story elements still show up in your Storyteller views of the display modes, but they aren’t displayed in the public Story Web, Living Map, or Timeline. These are story elements you want to keep hidden for the time being… maybe you’re releasing a new story next week and want to add the elements from that story but not share them until the release. Or if you’re running a role-playing game, these might be the adversaries of the player characters. YOU can see them and all their connections, but no one else can.

Summary (popup)

This text appears in the display modes when you mouseover an element Avatar. It’s quick summary information about the story element.

Profile Image

This is the image that will appear in the Summary Profile of the element in the various display modes. It can be a different image from the Avatar or not… your call.

Other Details

Person and Event Story Elements can have additional data (gender for people, dates and times for events). That data can be defined here.

Note that you can access the Story Web, Living Map, and Timeline by clicking the buttons across the bottom of the page.

These are the Storyteller Views of the display modes and are your primary tolls for analysis and exploration of your Story Settings as you build them. They will display Hidden (with transparent avatars) and Unsaved (red) elements. These are your primary work areas, so check them out often.

Configuration Views

You’ll ALWAYS be able to access the edit pages for all your elements by clicking the desired element in the left hand column.

The default view for your new Story Element is the Full Profile. This is the text that gets displayed when you view the Full Profile for an element in any of the display modes. Its a full rich-text editor so format your text for maximum appeal.

You can access the other element configurations (Relationships, Related Links, Private Notes, etc.) by clicking the tabs at the top of the Element Editing Display. Private Notes is pretty straight forward and we’ll dig in to Relationships and adding maps to Locations and Regions below, and that leaves…

Related Links

This is your opportunity to link your story element to other content on the Internet. I might be a wiki page or an artist’s website (giving credit for artwork you use in reference to your story is always a good idea) or some other essay or related content. The links are displayed in the Summary Profile for the element in the various display modes.

Regardless, you can enter the text and URL for as many links as you like for a Story Element here. You can even add a tooltip (the text that appears when someone mousesover the link in the profile). Click the “Save” icon (the little computer disk) beside the newly created link and it’s saved to the Element.

You can edit existing links by clicking the “Edit” icon (the pencil) beside the link you want to update. Enter the changes, then click the “x” icon.

You can delete an existing link by clicking the “Edit” icon and then clicking “delete” (trash can) icon.

Element Relationships

One of the features that distinguishes ARCHIVOS from other story development programs is the ability to define Relationships between Story Elements. Every Display Mode in the program is built upon these Relationships.

The Relationships possible for a Story Element are determined by its Type. Once that property has been defined, you’ll be able to add new Relationships and edit existing ones.

To view the Relationships for the current Story Element, click “Relationships” tab at the top of the Edit. Element screen. This will load the Relationship display for the current element. Any existing relationships with this element will displayed in the central view and in the Relationship listing to right of the display.

Creating a New Relationship

Click the “Add Relationship” button in the Relationship list to the right of the display. This will slide open a list of all elements that can be connected to the Story Element you’re editing.

If you haven’t created the element you want connected, no problem… Just click the “Add Element” button, give the new element a name and an Element Type, and ARCHIVOS will create that element and load the Relationship window.

You can assign multiple relationships between the same elements (someone can be your character’s mother and their employer, right?)… just check the box that best describes the connection you’re trying to establish.

The available relationship options are very “high level” and conceptual, but you can be as specific as you need to be by adding a Relationship Tag to any relationship. Just enter some text that describes the relationship (“BFFs”, “Nemesis”, etc.) and press the ENTER key. The tag will be stored with the relationship.

Edit a Relationship

To modify or un-link an existing relationship, click the desired Story Element in the Relationship List to the right of the display. The element will expand to allow you to change or add to the existing Relationship configuration, or un-link the element, severing the connection.

Adding and Configuring Maps

The Living Map allows you to see your story from a geographical perspective, identifying the context for Regions, Locations, and Events in relation to each other. Each of these Story Element Types supports the addition of a map.

Adding a Map to a Region, Location, or Event

Select a Story Element from the list that supports maps, then select the “Regions/Map” tab at the top of the edit screen. Then, click the “Select Map Image” button to either upload a new map or choose a previously upload map.

Pin Elements to the Map

Any Region, Location, or Event element can be pinned to a map. Click the “Add Element to Map” button to view a list of qualifying elements (or create a new one on the fly). Select the element you want to pin, and it appears in the middle of the map image.

Drag and drop the pinned element to its appropriate location. Remember you can zoom in on the map to ensure accurate positioning.

Managing Elements

One thing we’ve discovered over the years… stories can get BIG!

Hundreds of characters, events, and locations are a lot to manage. So we created a way to target the elements you want quickly and make changes to those elements just as quickly.

Searching and Filtering the Element List

The search box at the top of the Element List will search the entire roster of Story Elements by title or description. So if you put a keyword in the Full Profile or Summary for a group of Story Elements, you can search for it here and only those elements will be displayed.

Similarly, you can filter the list by Element Type by clicking the “Filter” icon at the top of the list. Select the Element Type(s) you want to filter by and the list becomes much more manageable

Make Mass Updates

So you’ve been creating new elements like a mad fiend for the last half-hour… and now you need to save them all?!? No worries… just click the “Manage Elements” button to open up a fast efficient way to do that and more…

Your element roster is displayed with additional details, all of it sortable and searchable. But the best part is the ability to select multiple elements and apply an update to all of them. Quickly save or hide or show dozens of elements with the click of a mouse.