Documentation contents

First steps with BFM tutorial

If you haven't done so already then download and install BFM. Full instructions are here
You should have read the filing system overview here.

Getting started overview

What we'll do is: Don't worry if it looks like a lot of things to learn, BFM has been designed to make things simple and we'll go through things a bit at a time.
You shouldn't need to write anything down. There are no fancy mouse bits to memorise and everything happens at your own pace, one simple step at a time.

1 Start the program

Normally you start BFM like you'd start any other. There might be a 'B' icon on your desktop, or in the quick-launch part of the toolbar or you might need to click on Start then find BFM from that menu.

Introduction to containers and contents

2 First look at the main screen

The colours in these screenshots may not match those on your system. For example the borders and splitter-bars (for example the join between the listing of containers and the listing of contents that can be moved) are red and the menus are light blue.

See how the left is labelled "Containers" and the right "Contents". We'll be using the left to navigate through the hierarchy of containers and the right to select one or more files to play with.

Most of the BFM screens have a similar left/right split.
When BFM is first installed it sets up a STORE and SHELVES with some examples. These are just to play with during this introductory tour. You'll soon be organising your own files.

3 Adjust for comfort

You can adjust the size of the text to something that is comfortable for you. From the main menu pick Settings.
The options screen is organised as a set of 'tabs', used to adjust different aspects. To set the font click on Appearance if it is not already selected, then the Change button then finally the Save all these settings button.
More about options in general can be found here

4 Contents display

Let's look at the file display. Click once on the Cats container in STORE to see something like this the display above.

5 Container display

To navigate through the STORE and shelves simply click on the containers listings - Many are empty at the moment.
Clicking on the little plus and minus in a box in the containers expands or closes the hierarchy. You will be using this a lot.
If you click on toFile in the Shelves you'll notice that all these documents have a little book against them to indicate some sort of written document. But if you look at the file extension (the bit at the end of the name after the dot) you can see they are in different formats. (Also if you had the thumbnails on, as there aren't any pictures to show the display has been compacted to save space.)

6 Buttons

You will have seen buttons with letters appearing and disappearing at the top. These are there to guide you through managing your files and containers. (In normal Windows you have to juggle with the mouse but in BFM we make things simpler by separating the 'picking' from the 'doing'. As you might have guessed a button with a big letter on it can be 'pressed' by using that letter from the keyboard. We will spend some time exploring these in a while but first a word on how to select documents to do something with.

7 Selecting files to work with

With a set of files displayed on the contents section simply start clicking on them and see what happens. That's all there is to it - One click to select and another to de-select. Once clicked a document file stays selected.
If you want to select a block at a time then hold down the shift key and click on the 'far' corner of the block.
That's about it for selecting files. There is no need to hold, drag or remember any fancy mouse combinations, and nothing is going to happen until you deliberately pick one of those buttons.

We are going to jump ahead a bit and look at one of the tools that we can use to keep our filing system neat and tidy. We'll return to the everyday stuff soon.

Clutter Buster

Do you remember that we established a rule: Either a container contains sub-containers or documents but not both? Our Cats container breaks this rule as it has six document files and two sub-containers. It isn't the end of the world but I'd really like you to try to keep containers and their contents separate as it will pay off handsomely in the long run.

It's all very well having rules but no matter how sensible they are they're not much good if you haven't got the tools to fix the job. This is where the Clutter buster comes in. It does two things:

  1. Finds 'loose' files ...
  2. ... then holds your hand as you put them in a proper place.

8 Clutter Buster in action

Let's see how it works by selecting Utilities then Clutter buster. After a moment it will report what it has found and give us the option to tidy up now.
Since we've come all this way we might as well continue, so click on the Tidy up now button or press T.
Now we get to the serious second part where we have to decide where these files should go. Take a moment to study the options. Points to note are:
  • The clutter buster takes us through one container at a time.
  • All but the bottom option work on all the documents together.
  • The second and third options here are existing sub-containers of \Cats
  • Or we might not be ready to file these properly yet and decide to put them in the SHELVES.
  • If we put them in SHELVES we could look at them as thumbnails if they are pictures.
  • Look carefully at the two options to move to SHELVES
    • A general \clutter container
    • A sub-container of \Clutter specially for these files

In this case all our photos are cats so it makes sense to file them in the \STORE under \Cats (second last option). Click on that and give it a name for the sub-container of mixed. Now the main contents display should go be empty and there will be a new Mixed container under Cats.

You shouldn't have to use the Clutter buster very often but it's there if you need it.

A few words about container and document names

Simple file operations

Deleting and renaming files is easy. Let's start with single files.

9 Deleting one file

9.1Go to the \Cats\Mixed container and show thumbnails of a convenient size.
9.2Click once on the 'wooden table' to select it.
9.3Either click on the delete button above or press D
9.4At the 'are you sure' click on the Yes button or press N

10 Renaming one file

10.1Click once on the cat in the corn field to select it.
10.2Either click on the rename button above or press R
10.3Give it a more appropriate name. How about cat in a cornfield ...
Uh oh! What's this?

BFM has twigged that we've forgotten the .jpg extension and extensions are very important (see box below). It's not forcing an extension on us, simply asking us what we really want.
This means you can forget about extensions when renaming but you will be always be prompted just in case.
Note how the spaces in the name were closed-up and capitals added as described above.

A word about file extensions

A file extension is the bit at the end of a filename following the period. Here are some common ones you might come across
.htm or .htmlWeb page opened by a web browser
.doc or .docxMicrosoft Word document
.pdfPDF opened by Acrobat reader
.txtPlain text. Notepad would work on this.
.exe Program
.jpg or .jpegPhotograph
It doesn't matter if these are in upper or lowercase but they need to match the internal format of the file because for example it wouldn't make sense say to try to edit a program in a word processor.
999 times out of a thousand when renaming files leave the extension well alone. BFM will help you if you forget.

Deleting multiple files

Just highlight a bunch of files and follow the same prompt. That's so easy we won't practice it.

11 Renaming multiple files

You often want to rename photographs that have been uploaded from a camera. Or there are a bunch you'd like to add a bit more information to in bulk. We'll now see just the basics of how that is done.
11.1Click on the \Cats\Mine container and set the thumbnails to a convenient size. Here we have pictures of two lovely animals called Robo (the small clever one, sometimes called "TB", short for two breakfasts) and BlackJack (the large softy) which ought to be properly labelled. Let's start by renaming the photos where both animals appear together.
Select the three photos where they appear together by clicking on them. Now press R or click on the Rename button.
Here is a screen that leads you through the many possible ways of renaming a bunch of documents. The controls are on the left and what the results will look like are shown on the right. Note that the display on the right is only a preview. Nothing actually happens until the Rename button is clicked.
Renaming will be dealt with in full later as an advanced topic here.
For now just follow the steps and have a browse through the options.
11.4 For this exercise I want to completely rename the three photos so they are consistent. Obviously they can't all be given exactly the same name so this is going to be a fixed part followed by a counter.

After clicking the New Serialised set option and typing in the static part, BjAndRobo the variable part is added in to the new names appearing in the third column.

The green squares are traffic lights that would warn us if for example we were going to end up with duplicate or illegal names.

11.5That looks good so hit the R-button to do the dirty deed.
11.6 There are two pictures of Robo ProwlingSept07.jpg and TBJul05.jpg that don't actually have her name on them. We could use the same renaming style as we used above in 11.4 but that would give us Robo001.jpg and Robo002.jpg which loses the dates. Here's how to add a new bit without losing the old.
  1. Select the two pictures of Robo ProwlingSept07.jpg and TBJul05.jpg then press R or click on Rename.
  2. Select the Add new bit to all style...
  3. ...and put it at the front.
  4. After checking the preview, click on Rename and the job is done.
Later on we'll see some good uses for renaming in bulk.

Moving and copying files

Many people find the standard Windows methods for moving and copying confusing and prone to error. Worry no more! Just as renaming and the Clutter buster held your hand, so moving and copying is a steady process where you can see what's going on all the time.

Now we've got a \Mixed container for cats let's put all the snow-cats in there as well. Here's how:
12.1Go to the \Cats\snow container and select all three cats.
There is a special shortcut that is common to many Windows programs to 'select all'. Hold the Ctrl key and press A. Doing it again deselects all.
12.2 Press M or click on the Move/copy button
Again the controls are on the left. The right hand half shows the containers in \STORE. You should recognise these and have no problem clicking on the + of \Cats to show the sub-containers.
12.4Click on Mixed which is where we want the files to go.
12.5Click on the Move button and confirm.
That's it for simple moves inside the \STORE and SHELVES. You can put things in SHELVES by selecting the second Destination type. There are more advanced options
described here that we'll be using later but for now that's it!

Other file buttons

O is for open

That's it! Select a file then hit the O-button and if there is a program on your computer that knows how to work with that particular sort of file then that program will be run with the selected file.

T is for tags

This is an advanced topic explained here but just to give you a flavour, tags are key words that are added to filenames that stand out, can be searched on, and can be highlighted in the listing to make them stand out more. This sort of thing is handy if some file 'belongs' under one category but might need to be retrieved by another. A typical use might be to label photographs with names of people in them in a standard way which would 'cross container boundaries' when appearing in say \family and \holidays.

How do I?

Create a new file?By running the program that uses that sort of file. There is no way in BFM to create a blank file.
Create and delete containers?Click on a container to see the choice of buttons at the top.
  • When creating a sub-container you'll be given options to ensure the structure is kept clutter-free.
  • When deleting a container you'll be given options if it isn't empty.
We will be doing this in the second part of the tutorial
Create a top-level container?Click on STORE or Shelves. We will be doing this in the second part of the tutorial
Move all my files from My documents etc. into \STORE? Good question and that's what we'll look at next with a whole walk-through of its own. Rest assured BFM will help you ferret out files from wherever they have ended up.

Summing up the first tutorial

I hope you can see how BFM helps you organise your files in a logical fashion at a steady pace using one-step-at-a-time methods. In particular
You have the skill tomove/copy/rename/delete/open files in \STORE and SHELVES.
You understandhow \STORE and SHELVES work together to give a balance between permanent and temporary filing system
You are looking forward tobringing your own files into \STORE and SHELVES and sorting them out.
The next tutorial (here) looks at the whole computer and how to gather bunches of files from wherever they have wandered off to.
Documentation contents Second part of tutorial