Updating to a new Plant Base version

Quick Overview

Plant Base is an evolving product and new releases are issued from time to time. Updating an existing installation to a new version is quite easy.

It is useful to understand that there are two major components to the application:

  1. software - the program that you run
  2. database - the files where all the plant information is kept

New releases will not always upgrade both parts, they can be "program only" or more unusually "data only".

When you make any changes to the plant information or make a plant list, that data is saved inside the database. So when updating the database part you need to take some steps to preserve you changes.

If you only use Plant Base for look-up purposes, have never made changes to plant data, nor created any plant lists, then things are really simple - just install the new release over the top of the existing version. You don't need anything else on this page!

Updating just the program

Can be done by using the small "program only update" download file.

The much larger full product install file can also be used, but selecting "Program Only" at the Choose Components step of the Windows install dialogue or for Mac and Linux extract only the program part, ignoring the database files.

  • Download the install file from the website and save it to you hard-drive
  • For Windows - execute the file and say Yes to the security prompt to allow it to run (note Publisher = Unknown is normal here).
  • Follow the install dialogue steps.
  • For Mac and Linux - simply open and extract from the archive in the normal way.

That's all - you're done!

Updating the whole product, including the database

A "data only" update is unusal, so this method would also be used for that. Even if your program version is already up to date, it's OK to re-install the same version but with the new data realease.

Your existing database files will be replaced by the those supplied in the set-up, so some extra steps are needed in order to preserve your personal data - Plant Lists, References, new or amended plant details and pictures. Don't panic - it's all pretty simple, just go step-by-step!

  1. Download the install file from the website and save it to your hard-drive. It will always be a large file.
  2. Make backup copies of your current database files. You can find where they are from the "About" display in the program. There are 4 files and you can just use Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to create copies. This step isn't strictly neccessary, but it's a very good idea to have "belt-and-braces".
  3. Run your existing version of Plant Base and select File | Extract plant data from the menu. Create a new extract file of all your record changes including any Personal Plant Lists and pictures. Remember where you saved this file!
  4. Execute the install file that you download above and if required say Yes to the Windows security prompt to allow it to run (note Publisher = Unknown is normal here).

  5. Follow the install dialogue steps. The install process should also make backup copies of your old database files - they will have a filename extension of .bak - you can delete them later if not needed.
  6. Run Plant Base, select File | Import plant data from the menu. Use the Browse button to select the Extract file that you made previously and click Start Importing. This adds back any plant data, pictures and references - if you never made any changes to these then you can skip this step.
  7. Select File | Import list data and use the screen to import all your lists from the Extract file (same file as above). If you didn't have any lists then skip this step.


All done - you should now have a new program version, the latest supplied plant data and pictures, plus all your personally added data and lists.

Note: This describes Plant Base 2, the old version 1.x.x is the same but Extract = Archive. Updating from Plant Base 1 to 2 needs special action to convert the database format - see the link above.

Special note for users who have customised the language files: The program update replaces the standard supplied language files. If you used the same file name then please backup your amended copy before the update. Files with unique names will not be touched. If the internal language definitions have changed with a new version, there is a method to merge with your custom file (this is an advanced topic - contact us if needed).