How to create a custom content database

We have always been able to produce special copies of the database containing a selected sub-set of the plant data, suited to specific purposes such as plant collections, specialist growers or a localised plant palette for garden designers. From version 1.5.5 onwards it is possible for the end-user to do this quite easily.


The Plant Base Extract module (Archiver in the older PB1 versions) copies out records to a separate disc file. It has 2 run-mode options. By default it copies all records that have been added or modified by the user, while the second selectable mode copies all records (original or modified) that are specified by a normal Personal Plant List.

Both run-modes also allow options to include pictures and Plant Lists in the output file.

The files output by Extract/Archiver are actually valid Plant Base databases, configured within a single file. Their main purpose is as input files to the Import function of the main program. They can be opened by the program, but are not designed for regular use. For full flexibilty and performance it is recommended that separate disc files are used to hold the picture libraries (more about picture libraries here).

A Plant List can be created, specifying plants required in a new custom database. Export can use this list to copy-out the selected plant records, optionally including any pictures. A new, empty database may be opened in the Plant Base program and then the Import function used to load in all the records from prepared file.

If required, the Plant List + Export procedure can be repeated multiple times to Import additional plants.

Any number of separate Plant Base databases can exist. It is easy to switch between them, though only one can be open at any time.

Step-by-step Instructions

(Step 1) create a Plant List:- done in the normal way (see the Help entry), by adding individual plant names to a list or using Plant Selector to search for plants by any criteria and then adding all the search results to the list.

There is no specific limit to the number of Plant Lists, a new one may be created just for this purpose, or an existing one used.

(Step 2) run Extract:- open the Extract screen from the File menu. (Extract = Archiver in versions 1.x.x)

Choose the 2nd radio button to allow the Plant List to be selected from the drop-down box.

Tick or un-tick the other option checkboxes as desired

Give the name and folder location of the new output file, using the Browse button (don't forget this name and folder!).

Click the button to run the Extract process.

(Step 3) copy an empty Plant Base database to your disc:- there are normally 4 files (main database and 3 picture libraries) athough you may not need all of them. You will find these files in the "data" folder of the CD.

If you do not have the CD, a ZIP file with the empty database files is available from the download page. Alternatively you can re-install Plant Base from the original download, specifying the Empty option and selecting a different data folder.

The database files can be renamed as you wish.

(Step 4) open the empty Plant Base database:- using the "Open Plant Base database" dialog from the File menu.

Check that the Picture Library files are correctly linked to the main database, by opening the About dispay, under the Help menu. If they are not, select "Open Picture Library files" from the File menu and follow the wizard steps to open each file - this is normally only required once, unless the files are renamed or moved.

(Step 5) import the data:- open "Import plant data" from the File menu and then specify the file created in step 2..