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FAQ: Trouble-Shooting



Why can't I make new articles or change old ones?

If the New Article command is grayed out, Personal Knowbase is probably running in Read-Only mode.

With your file opened, look at the Status Bar along the bottom of the program, near the right side. If the word "READ" appears in the 4th box from the right, then Personal Knowbase is in Read-Only mode.

There are several reasons why this might happen:

  1. The trial period has expired.

    To check this, open the About Personal Knowbase command from the Help menu. In the lower left corner of this box is the text "This is day X of the 30-day trial." If the number X is greater than 30, then your trial has expired. For ordering information, see our Ordering page.

    If you've already purchased Personal Knowbase and have re-installed on a new computer, you need to re-enter your original registration information.

  2. You are running version 4 and opened a version 3 file in Read-Only mode.

    Did you open a version 3 file in PK 4.x? When you open a version 3 file in PK 4.x, you are given 3 choices: (a) Convert the file, (b) Make a backup, then convert the file, or (c) Open the File in Read-Only Mode. If you chose (c), the file is Read-Only and you won't be able to modify it.

  3. You opened the file as Read-Only.

    It is also possible to open a file as Read-Only from the Open command (File menu) by checking the box "Open as read-only" at the bottom of the Open dialog box.

  4. The file has been set Read-Only at the Windows level.

    A file can be set Read-Only at the Windows OS level. To check that, locate the file in Windows Explorer, right-click on the file name, select the Properties command, and then make sure that the Read-Only attribute (near the bottom of the Properties dialog box) is not checked.

    Copying files from a read-only disk such as a CD-ROM can sometimes set this attribute.

  5. The data file belongs to a different user.

    Another possible reason for a file to be Read-Only is that Windows thinks that the file belongs to a different user than the user that you are logged in as. This can also be checked with the Properties dialog box, from the Security tab, by clicking the Advanced button, then checking the Owner tab. To fix this, you would need to change the owner on your data file or log in as the owner of the file.

  6. You're running Personal Knowbase Reader.

    Make sure that you are running Personal Knowbase and not PK Reader (which only runs in read-only mode).


Exporting articles to RTF is slow.

Exporting a large number of articles into one large RTF file may take a long time.

To concatenate many articles, Personal Knowbase builds an RTF block in memory, appending each article to the block. This process is not linear. If PK hits a single very large article, it slows down even more, since that large article is rewritten every time another article is appended to the block. PK can't write the final file until it builds up the entire block.

  • When possible, export articles to separate RTF files. When a single article is exported to its own file, PK can just write the article straight into the file, which is nearly instantaneous.

  • Try to avoid exporting a large number of articles to one large RTF file.

  • Try to avoid including individual very large articles in multi-article RTF exports, or arrange for large articles to appear late in the sort order.

  • Consider exporting to a plain text file instead of to RTF.

  • Please be patient.


A text substitution program is moving PK's hypertext links.

Many programs are available which advertise that they can substitute text in any other program's text windows. These programs allow you to enter shortcuts which are automatically replaced with longer text, or spell-check text, or do other text manipulations.

Some of these programs play nicely with Personal Knowbase. Others do not.

Some of these programs hijack PK's article content window. These programs inject text directly into the article area without passing this text through PK. As a result, PK no longer knows what text is displayed in its own text area! In these cases, PK can't keep track of the locations of your hypertext links. This causes hypertext links to move around inside the article or to disappear entirely.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for PK to work together with these programs because we can't know what they do to our data.

We recommend not using these programs with PK. If you do use them, avoid using them in articles which contain hypertext links.

Programs which are known to cause problems for Personal Knowbase's hypertext links include:

  • As-U-Type
  • Spell Check Anywhere

Programs which we have not found problems with include:

  • WordWeb
  • ActiveWords
  • Keyboard Express

If you know of other 3rd-party software that does or does not work well with Personal Knowbase, please let us know, so that we can expand this list. Thank you.



Em-dashes and en-dashes are not saved in PK articles.

The problem with importing or inserting em-dashes and en-dashes is a known problem. The dashes revert to regular dashes when the article is saved.

Unfortunately, there is no current work-around. We hope to fix this in a future version and apologize for the inconvenience.



The response time when typing in the Article Window is slow.

Sometimes display and editing response time can become slow in the Article Window with older computers and large articles.

If this happens, we recommend that you set the Active URL Links setting (Preferences > Articles) to "Invisible" or "No". Having visible active links turned on can noticeably slow the Article Window.


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