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OST Sharing Your Styles and Style Sets With Others

Views: 1097 Last Updated: 04/05/2022 01:17 pm 0 Rating/ Voters
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You spent a lot of time setting up your Styles and Style Sets and now you want to share them with your coworkers.

Once you have created/saved all your Styles (and optionally, Style Sets), you can share them one of two ways (depending on if you have created Style Sets).

Send a Database

If you want to share all your Styles and Style Sets (groups of saved Conditions), you must send a database to the recipient.

Step 1 - Create a database you can share

  • Create a new Access-type database (click File > New > Database, selected "Microsoft Access...", and name your new database "Styles and Sets") (see the OST User Guide for detailed instructions on creating new databases).
  • Now, were' going to Synchronize your existing database with this new database, click Tools > Synchronize databases... 
  • In the Synchronize Database dialog box select your working/current database as the Source Database
  • Select "Styles and Style Sets" as the Destination database
  • Uncheck "All Tables" and select "Styles" and "Style Sets" (other tables may be selected automatically to build the Styles and Sets correctly).

  • Next, click Start.
  • Close OST.

Now, you have a nice, shiny new database named "Styles and Style Sets" that contains no bids and no unnecessary data. Next, we're going to zip it up and send it to the receipient(s).

Step 2 - Zip up that database and store it in a "shared" location

  • Open Windows Explorer (File Explorer).
  • Navigate to C:\OCS Documents\OST (or wherever folder in which you created your new database). 
  • Right-click on the new database and select Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.

Windows creates a Zip file (Styles and Style Sets.zip) in the same directory, that is the file you're going to share with your coworkers.

The reason we zip up the database is to make it smaller and to reduce the chance that it will be flagged/marked as a "dangerous" or blocked file. Sometimes, however, even zipping up the database isn't enough and you will have to change the file extension to "z11" to get your e-mail system to leave it alone, just be sure the recipient change the file extension back to "zip" after downloading it.

Send this Zip file to whoever you want to share your Styles and Style Sets:

  • You can store it on a network/shared drive
  • You can store it in OneDrive (or DropBox, or Google Drive) and send the user a link to download it
  • Because it is a ZIP file with a database inside it, you cannot e-mail it to other people - most e-mail systems will "peek" inside the ZIP file and see the database and block it. However, you can fool many e-mail systems by changing the file extension to "z1" and then the recipient changes it back to "zip" once they save it to their computer.

Step 3 - Recipient saves the zip, extracts it, and then syncs databases

When you receive a Zipped database from a coworker, you must unzip it and then synchronize the database inside that zip file with your existing database - this will add the Styles and Sets to your database.

Synchronizing the new (origin) database with your existing (destination) database overwrites any Styles or Style Sets with the exact same name but will not affect existing Conditions created by any Styles that already existed in the destination database.

  • Download the Zip file from your e-mail and save it C:\OCS Documents\OST.
  • Right-click on the Zip file and select "Extract", make sure the extract folder is the C:\OCS Documents\OST (this just makes it easier to find in On-Screen Takeoff). 
  • Open OST and open the database "Styles and Style Sets" (if C:\OCS Documents\OST is not your default "database" folder, navigate to it).
  • Click Tools > Synchronize databases...
  • In the Synchronize Databases dialog box, set Source Database to the Styles and Style Sets database you just unzipped and opened.
  • Set Destination Database to your working database
  • Click Start

The new Styles and Style Sets are added to this database. Condition Types, Layers, and Employees may be added to your database also, if they don't exist already.

Send a Bid Package

If you have not created Style Sets and just want to share all the Styles you've created, you can do that without sending an entire database.

In the database that contains your saved Styles, 

  • Create a new Bid
  • On the Image Tab, add all the Styles you created (create a Condition from each Style in your Masters)
  • Create and a Bid Package to whomever you want share your Styles
  • Send that Bid Package to the recipient (using Project Express is the recommended method, but you can send via e-mail or any other method that works for you)
  • When the user receives the Bid Package, they import it into their working database
  • The recipient then opens the Bid (opens the Image Tab for the Bid)
  • Then they select all the Conditions in the Conditions list
  • Right-click and select "Save to Style Library" (if they already have any Styles saved with the exact same name, they will be asked to overwrite)
The Styles are added to their database and they can start using them going forward. Anytime you make updates to the saved Styles, you just end an updated Bid Package to the other users and they can update their Masters.

Product documentation (user guides) describes functionality in the latest version of each major release and may not match the functionality in the version you are using. Please check the Product Information and Downloads pages by clicking one of the product buttons above.

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