SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Newbie Notes: How to archive things in a box

You’ll often see me, in my inventory management posts, exhorting you to “shove ’em in a prim”, to “archive them” or to “box them up”, but it’s only in the past couple of days that I realised the newbies among us probably haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about!

With that in mind, this post is all about putting things in boxes, and what options you have with those boxes. Behind the cut you’ll find out all about:

– Where to make your boxes
– How to make your boxes
– How to make lots of boxes quickly (for those big archiving jobs!)
– How to make the boxes easier to open at a later date
– How to fill the boxes (and what the optimum amount of contents is)
– What will and won’t go into those boxes
– Permissions

Because Linden Lab are in the middle of trialling a new viewer (Viewer2, or for the purposes of this post, V2) I’m trying to guide you using screenshots of both viewers, as the experience is vastly different between older and newer viewers. Please be aware that V2 is still being worked on so these screenshots may not be accurate in the future. The basic premise remains the same, though.

Hop behind the cut!

Where to make your boxes
First of all, you need a place where you can rez boxes. The best place for this is a sandbox, of which you’ll find many in Second Life. I often send people to Skybeam Sandbox (the link is in the sidebar of the blog) because it’s a nice place, patrolled by people who ward off griefers and the like.

Once you’re there, find yourself a quiet spot. You can rez your boxes on the ground, or you can follow my Make a Skybox tutorial to create a place you can whiz up into the air for a bit of privacy. It’s entirely up to you.

How to make your boxes
Older viewers: Right-click on the ground, and select Create from the pie menu, then left-click on the ground.

V2: Right-click on the ground and select Build from the menu, then left-click on the ground.

In both cases, don’t forget to give your box a name! On the General tab of the Edit window for your box you can fill in any name you like. This will be the name the box has when you take it into your inventory. You might want to start it off with something like Archive, so you know it’s your archived stuff. For instance: Archive – Dresses, or Archive – Gestures.

How to make lots of boxes quickly (for those big archiving jobs!)
Older viewers: Right-click your box and select Edit from the pie menu (if you’re not still in Edit Mode [which is where you can see all the arrows and suchlike for moving your box]). Hold down the Shift key and left-click the box. While holding down the left mouse button and the Shift key together, drag your mouse sideways. You will drag a copy of the box out beside it. To make more boxes, hold the Shift key while clicking both of them to select them, then Shift-drag two more copies out, etc.

V2: Exactly the same as above, but if you need to select your box, right-click it and choose  Edit from the dropdown menu.

If you want to texture your boxes before making lots of them, just texture the first one. Thereafter every box you shift-drag from that first box will have the same texture on it.

How to make the boxes easier to open at a later date
Both viewers: On General tab on the Edit window, you’ll see a dropdown menu with a number of options. It’s at the bottom of the tab on the older viewers, and in the middle of the tab on V2. Choose Open from that option, and then close the Edit window.

When you hover your cursor over the box it will turn into an icon that looks like a little box. That means just a single left-click will open your box in future.

How to fill the boxes (and what the optimum amount of contents is)
Both viewers: Edit your box and switch to the Contents tab. Drag your inventory window across (or drag the box Edit window across) until they’re side-by-side. Now select the things in your inventory that you want to put in the box. To drag across just one item, left-click and hold, then drag it into the Contents window of your Edit window.

After a few moments you should see the item in there.

To drag across multiple items from your inventory, click the first, then hold down Shift and click the last. All items between the first and last should now be highlighted and you can left-click-hold-drag the whole lot across.

A little tip: Sometimes the Contents won’t show up everything you put in it, so select all but the last item to put in first of all, then drag across that final item. That way the Contents will refresh after a minute and you should see everything in there.

A box will hold as many items as you like, but the more you put in it the longer it will take to open in the future. I suggest you put no more than 100 items (or thereabouts) into a single box.

What will and won’t go into those boxes

You can put anything into a box, but you can’t put actual folders in there. Try to drag across a folder and all that will go into the box is the folder’s contents. If you want to archive several foldered outfits, then I suggest putting each outfit into its own labelled box first of all, then archiving those boxes.

The boxes that you make will start out as Transfer only (you can see this by looking at the checkboxes at the bottom of the General tab of the Edit menu. If you’re only archiving your own things for your own benefit, you can leave those settings as they are.

But if you put anything into the box that is either No Modify or No Copy or No Transfer, then those properties will transfer to that box. Let’s say you put a No Copy item into the box and then took the box into inventory. If you rez the box again it will disappear from your inventory, because it can’t be copied. Likewise if you put a No Modify item in the box and take it into inventory, you can’t modify the box while it’s in your inventory (for example, you can’t change its name) – you’ll have to rez it out in-world again, where you can modify it. SL’s permissions system is a bit weird like that!

See what happens when I put this No Modify, No Transfer item into my archive:

I take the archive into my inventory, and when I look at it in there the whole archive is now No Modify and No Transfer:

Last of all, of course you need to take the box into your inventory! Simply right-click it and select Take from the menu (same in both viewers). It will go into the Objects folder of your inventory.

If you have any more questions about boxes (I plan to do a “how to box things up for sale” post separately to this one. This one’s just about archiving) then please drop a comment and I’ll do my best to answer :)


May 23, 2010 - Posted by | hints and tips, newbie notes, newbies, second life


  1. This was a great help, since I know how to figure out what folders and sub-folders I want, but have way too many items to figure out how to put them all away. The help is very clear, except for one point. If I rezz the box after putting it back in my inventory, if I wear the item and remove it, do I need to put it back in a box so I don’t lose it? Or can I put it in a folder? Ok, I”m confused.

    Comment by Shasta Juliesse | June 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Shasta :)

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here, but I’ll try my best to cover all possibilities!

      Once an item has been copied into your inventory it will remain there until such time as you delete it. The exception to this is No Copy items. They can only be in one place at any one time. If they’re archived in a prim, they won’t be in your inventory; likewise if you copy them from the prim into your inventory, they will vanish from the prim.

      Once you’ve archived an item and decided you want to retrieve it you need to rez its archive box, right-click it and select Open from the menu (if you want to copy all of the contents) or right-click it and select Edit (if you only want to copy some of the contents).

      For Open (copy all) just click ‘Copy to Inventory’ at the lower left of the new window that will pop up.

      For Edit (copy some items) first create a new folder in inventory to hold those items, then select them in the archive prim’s Contents tab (hold Shift and click each item to select as many as you want) then click-hold-drag them across into the new inventory folder.

      You don’t need to archive everything. Your inventory will hold a lot, so as long as you keep it organised with a good folder system you can keep out all the outfits and whatnot that you might need. Think of your archives in the same way as your attic or garage: they’re where you keep the stuff you might only need once a year (like the Christmas decorations!) and don’t want cluttering up your home and cupboards throughout the year. So, basically, anything you won’t need to access frequently should go in your archives.

      Hope that helps, but if you need to know any more, just holler! :)

      Comment by Mar | June 5, 2010 | Reply

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