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"It is perfectly okay to write garbage — as long as you edit brilliantly."

PageFour Help - Snapshot Copies

PageFour contains a sophisticated and easy to use 'Snapshot' or Milestone feature, that enables you to take a copy of the page you are working on at the touch of a button. The easy to use interface allows you to store, view, or roll back to any previous snapshot with ease.

In this Section

Why Snapshots?

Does this scenario sound familiar? You've just spent three days working on a key chapter in your soon to be best selling novel. Suddenly you're struck with a blinding flash of creative genius - you know just what you need to do to make the chapter perfect, but it involves major changes and rewrites. So you decide to save a copy of your chapter under a different name in case you need to roll back later, then make the changes in the original document.

You confidently open the File menu, select Save as... and save the document as "Old Chapter". Four hours later, you've made the changes and it's all perfect. You close everything, make your dinner and take a well earned rest, proud of your great accomplishment and dreaming of Pulitzers to come. The next day, you open "My Great Chapter" and prepare to bask in the glow of your creative energy, only to find the old chapter with the rubbish ending.

You spend the next twenty minutes alternating between cursing computers and searching your hard drive to locate the "Old Chapter," all the time keeping your fingers crossed that the changes really are in the old chapter and not lost forever.

This will not happen with PageFour.

When you use PageFour, you do not need to know about files, file locations, saving under different names etc. The Notebook has built in functionality to do all this for you.

The above scenario would have played out as follows in PageFour:

  • Have flash of creative genius
  • Press F12 to take snapshot
  • Write really cool ending

And that really is all there is to it.

Where are they?

Snapshots List

All Snapshots are stored in the Snapshots list. This can be opened by pressing F10 or going to the Snapshots menu and selecting Snapshots List. The Snapshots list and the notebooks alternate and occupy the same space to the left of the word processor. Switching between the two is simply a case of alternating between the F9 and F10 shortcut keys.

The structure of the list is very similar to the History list in Internet Explorer, and contains a series of folders showing either the day of the week or the date. Inside each folder is a list of all snapshots you have taken for that particular day.

The list appears in reverse order, with today always appearing at the bottom, and the most recent snapshot for each day at the bottom of each day's list. Each snapshot is named with the name of the page it was a snapshot of, and the time the snapshot was taken. Example: "My Chapter - 1.17pm."

If you have two pages with the same name in different folders, you can tell which one the snapshot corresponds to by selecting it and looking at the expanded folder information on the status bar.

Snapshot Page

Snapshots can be stored for up to twenty days before they are flushed, though the default is only seven days. You can easily extend the number of days they are stored by opening the Options dialog on the Tools menu and selecting Snapshots.

Snapshot of Current Page

If a snapshot exists of the current page you are working on, a snapshot picture will appear at the bottom left of the status bar, showing the time the snapshot was made. This gives a very quick indication of whether it might be a good idea to take another snapshot.

All snapshots are read only, so you cannot change the snapshot itself once it is made. You can however, open it for reading or copying. This is simply a case of double clicking on the snapshot in the same way you would a normal page. The snapshot will open into a read only word processor which will be shaded a different colour. It is then very easy to switch backwards and forwards between the current page and a snapshot to compare the differences.

If you are doing important work, or making a lot of changes, it is a good idea to take snapshots regularly in case you inadvertently delete something important without realizing. There is no limit to the number of snapshots you can take, and as they are automatically flushed after the specified number of days, you never need to concern yourself over the high number of snapshots you may be storing.

When viewing the snapshots tree, the icon next to any snapshot of the current page will show a green tick mark, making it easy to zero in on the relevant snapshots.

Rolling Back

So, in the crisp dawn of a new day you reread your chapter, complete with all the changes and the super cool new ending from yesterday, only to realize that the rubbish ending was not so rubbish after all, and thoughts of an imminent Pulitzer were really just a little premature.

You take the bold but decisive decision that the new ending has got to go, and because you took a number of snapshots yesterday, both before and during your work, rolling back is a seamless process.

The roll back process is simply a case of selecting which of the snapshots you wish to roll back to, going to the Snapshots menu, and selecting Roll Back. The current page is then replaced with the snapshot taken earlier. A further snapshot will automatically be taken of the current page just prior to replacing it, so at all times you have a full history of your work, complete with poor decisions and bad endings.