Concepts for the HowNow Administrator

The following concepts are very important for you, as a HowNow Administrator, to understand.

There may seem to be subtle differences between Active and Inactive Items, Approved and Unapproved Items, and Current Editions; or between Items, Profiles, Documents and Editions and Records, but these are concepts that a HowNow Administrator must fully understand, in order to be effective in the role.

Definition: A Profile is a collection of metadata about an entry in HowNow. The Profile specifies the entry’s Title, Description, and other attributes depending on the type of entry.

Note: "Metadata" simply means "information about information", usually to help in locating the information at a later date.

Knowledge Section


An item in HowNow is an entry in the Knowledge section of the HowNow database. When you do a search in Knowledge, the search results list contains items. An item is made up of two things: a profile and (optionally) a related document or web page.

There are three types of items in HowNow:

  • Note – No document or web address is attached to the Item. Such entries are useful where the related information is very brief and can be displayed within the item description (which is displayed in the search results list). For example, an explanation of where to find the office’s First Aid Kit could be a suitable "Note" item because a separate document may not be deemed necessary.
  • Document – This is the typical item in HowNow where a document is attached to the item. The document can be any type of file – e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, RTF, TXT, JPG, GIF, MP3, MPEG, etc. Any file your computer can open can be added to HowNow.
  • Web Page – This type of item links directly to a web address. The web page is not stored within HowNow as a document, rather, HowNow links to the "live" web site. HowNow therefore provides an ideal way for your organisation to manage its collection of approved web pages. This is far superior to individual users saving "Favourites" (or "Bookmarks") within their web browser (which saves the information on their local drive), because putting the web addresses in HowNow makes them accessible to all staff on the network.

Active and Inactive Items

Active items can be viewed by standard HowNow users; inactive items cannot. Your HowNow Administrator or Content Administrator may elect to make some items in HowNow inactive. This does not delete the profile or the related document (if applicable). Inactive items can be made active again at a later date.

Also, if you do not wish to use some of the content you receive, make those documents inactive and they will not appear in search results. An example would be making all the ‘Click and Type’ letters inactive when you are using merge documents.

Note: Do not delete the content you don’t want. HowNow will install it again when a deleted document is updated in a content update.


An edition is a version of a document. One item in HowNow can have multiple editions of the related document, but standard HowNow users see only current editions of documents. The concept of editions allows the download process of HowNow content updates to be 100% automatic. When an updated document is included in a content update, a new edition of the document is downloaded into your HowNow. The existing version in HowNow (your "current edition") is not deleted or overwritten. Not until the latest edition of the document is made the current edition, will standard HowNow users be able to view the new version.

This process of controlling which editions are the current editions is the responsibility of your HowNow Administrator or Content Administrator.

Note: When editing documents that already have an item profile in HowNow (i.e. that are already "in" HowNow), do not rename documents when you edit them. For example, if your organisation subscribes to the HowNow Accountants content updates, your modified versions of HowNow Accountants documents will not be overwritten by Content Updates, because a new edition is automatically created when you edit a document in HowNow. Changing filenames (e.g. via File > Save As in Word or Excel) causes two problems: (1) Hyperlinks in other documents that are linked to the original document will not link to renamed modified documents (which means there might be dozens of hyperlinks you would need to find and edit to include the new filename; and (2) When new versions of the document are included in content updates, you will miss out on the benefit of having the document updated.

Current Status

The current edition of a document is the version ("edition") that can be viewed by standard HowNow users. For content maintenance purposes, your HowNow Administrator or Content Administrator can also elect to view non-current Editions earlier than the current edition. 

Approval Status

The Approval Status of a document can be viewed by your HowNow Administrator or Content Administrator as well as by the designated reviewers in your organisation. Designated reviewers in your organisation will have Items added to their Review List from time to time. A Reviewer can edit Items in HowNow. 

Approved and Unapproved Items

An approved item is one that has been deemed by your HowNow Administrator to be approved for use by members of your organisation. An item can be Current and Unapproved if the HowNow Administrator does not wish to restrict access to the document, but wishes standard HowNow users to be cautioned, before the document opens, that it is, at this stage, an Unapproved document.

On the File > Options > Updates tab, the Load Content as Approved option can be selected so that documents downloaded in a content update are automatically assigned with the "Approved" status. Check with your HowNow Leader before changing this setting, as it is a management policy decision. 

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.