Archivos FAQs

If you have a question that isn’t listed here, contact us and let us know what it is!

General Questions

Okay... how do you pronounce "Archivos"?

Honestly… any way you want. 🙂

But among the development and content teams, we call it ARK-eh-vĹŤs.

How would I use ARCHIVOS?

Well, that depends on who you are. But here’s the thing…

ARCHIVOS was designed to illuminate stories. And everything is a story.

  • Writers can use it to document their story worlds, creating a story bible for their own use or to share with their readers.
  • Role Playing Gamers can use it to chronicle the adventures in their games and map out the history and geography of their game world.
  • Fans can celebrate the novels, games, and films they love by offering commentary on documented characters, places, and events
  • Educators can use it to help their students appreciate classic literature or to chronicle a historic period.
  • Genealogists can use it to document a family tree, incorporating generations of data into a single display.
  • Corporations can use it to map out their organization or to share the history and legacy of the organization.
  • Tour Companies can use it to showcase their tours, highlighting each stop and the landmarks to be enjoyed at each one.

ARCHIVOS is a whole new way to document and share the stories that mean the most to us, whatever those stories are.

Do I have to own the copyright for the stories I present in ARCHIVOS?

Wow… you’re going right for the tough questions, aren’t you. The answer is yes, but we’re not answering the question you think you’re asking.

We allow follow-on works here at ARCHIVOS – that means that you can share content or “stories” based on the works of other creators, but unless something is in the public domain, you can’t quote paragraphs and paragraphs, word for word, in the same order as the source work; that’s copyright infringement.

And you own the copyright in anything you write that’s original to you, as soon as you write it on paper or it’s saved to a mobile device or computer’s hard drive, even if it’s based on someone else’s story. You don’t own their characters even if you use them, or their words, even if you quote them – but you do hold copyright in your own creativity.

If you’re using ARCHIVOS to write or share your commentary, analysis, meta, fanfiction, criticism, parody, research, or scholarship, then that content likely will be considered “fair use” by us – because it would also likely be considered fair use by US courts (and ARCHIVOS is located in the US). You don’t need permission from the copyrightholder to create a transformative work, because you’re making a “fair use” of someone else’s copyright.

However, if you copy all or most or even much of someone else’s work, and don’t add any analysis, commentary, criticism, research or meta, that might infringe on someone else’s copyright. ARCHIVOS is strongly committed to protecting the rights of content creators around the world and we’re strong advocates of the DMCA (the Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and has procedures in place to address any infringement concerns that may arise.

We consider ARCHIVOS a kind of “visual wiki” and rely on our users to be responsible in their presentation of content they don’t own. If there is a question of infringement, we’ll work with all parties involved to ensure it is resolved quickly and fairly.

Questions About the Application

Story Settings

What is a "Story Setting" in ARCHIVOS?

In ARCHIVOS, a “Story Setting” is the container in which you’ll build your story world. You decide the scope of the settings you create…

  • It can encompass an entire series of books, films, comics… or focus on a single tale.
  • It can chronicle an entire RPG campaign… or a single adventure.
  • It could detail an entire era of history… or just a single event.
  • It could be a city guide for a tourism bureau, highlighting tours for guests.
  • The possibilities are limitless!

Each ARCHIVOS Story Setting can contain unlimited Story Elements (people, places, events, etc.), so you can fill each setting with as many narrative elements as you like.

PLUS, Personal and Professional subscribers can create unlimited settings in ARCHIVOS, so let your imagination run wild!

How do I create a Story Setting

Once you’ve signed up for an ARCHIVOS subscription, the first step is to create a new Story Setting:

When you first create your account, you have no settings, so you can either click the “Create Story” button in the upper left corner of the dashboard or click the prompt in the middle of the screen.

When you first start out, there are two ways to create a new setting…

Either way, you’ll get a dialog box where you can enter your story’s title and a brief description. Click “Create”, and you’re ready to build a story!

Just give your setting a Name and a Description and you’re good to go!

How do I configure my story setting?

Configure you Story Setting

Avatar and Cover Images

The Avatar Image of your Story Setting is what gets displayed in the Storyteller Menu Bar and in the title bar when you’re working in that setting. The Cover Image is displayed in the Storyteller Dashboard and in the Story Summary page for stories shared in the public catalog (Professional Subscribers only).

Display Story in Public Catalog

Professional Subscribers can share their story settings in the public Story Catalog. This listing is available to the general public, so make sure your setting is clean and complete and ready to showcase (see more about sharing your setting publicly below).

Type of Story

Select the general type of setting you plan to develop.

At this time, this property has no impact on the development of your setting. We’re still developing the framework for different types of Story Setting. As more in-depth story development and presentation features are developed, this property will determine your Story Setting’s placement in the Story Catalog as well as unlock functions relevant to the setting type (like custom calendars for fictional settings or default content for Public Domain settings).


Defining the genre(s) of your setting will help visitors find your setting more easily.

You can select as many genres or sub-genres to apply to your setting as you like. Genres are divided into Top-Level Genres (Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller, and Mystery) with sub-genres for each listed underneath. Selecting a sub-genre automatically includes the setting in the Top-Level Genre selection. So designating a setting as “Space Opera” will allow the setting to show up in any “Science Fiction” filters.

There are also genres listed under “Other Types”.

If the Story Setting you’re developing requires a more unique identification than the choices provided, you can select the “Other” option and enter the genre label of your choice. Your entry will be added to the genre filter on the Story Catalog page.

Private Notes

Any reminders or guidelines you want to define for yourself can be entered here. This is only visible to you (and your collaborators, if you decide to invite other writers into the setting)… the public will never see what you enter here.

Delete Story Button

Sometimes, you just gotta scrap an idea and start over. We’ll confirm you REALLY want to delete your hard work, but if you say yes twice, the setting will be completely erased.

How do I delete a story setting?

It’s inevitable that you’ll create a Story Setting that, for whatever reason, just isn’t working. It needs to go… so how do you delete it?

Click the “Gear” icon up in the title bar to load the Story Setting Configuration Screen, then click the red “Delete Story” button at the bottom of the screen.

This action will delete EVERYTHING in the Story Setting, so we’ll ask you to confirm your decision before all that work gets turned into pixelated ash.

(seriously, there’s no “undo” on this, so be sure.)

Story Elements

How do I add a new Story Element to my setting?

Once your Story Setting is created, it’s time to flesh it out with some Story Elements!

New Story Settings have no elements, and there are two ways to rectify that situation: Click the “Add Element Button” or click the prompt for adding an element for new Story Settings.

Story Element Type

You can choose from the following list to define the Type of Story Element you’re creating:

  • Person* – from protagonists to the smallest walk-on role
  • Region* – worlds, continents, countries, counties, mountain ranges, forests, etc.
  • Location* – towns, buildings, landmarks, ruins, etc.
  • Organization – governments, guilds, religions, cabals, corporations, etc.
  • Item – relics, artifacts, unique tools, cars, ships, etc.
  • Event* – battles, treaties, plagues, births, deaths, graduations, etc.
  • Culture– ethnicity, as well as speculative cultures (elves, dwarves, giants, aliens, etc.)
  • Discipline – magic, kung-fu, cloak fighting, psionics, etc.

*These Story Elements have additional unique properties:

  • Person allows the Storyteller to assign an optional gender (Male, Female, Other)
  • Regions and Locations allow Storytellers to assign map graphics to the Element and configure it for display in the Living Map (qv)
  • Events allow Storytellers to assign a date, date range, and/or time to the Event Element

Note that, once you save a Story Element, you cannot change the Type designation. This is due to the dependency between the Story Element Type and the Relationships it can have. If you create a Story Element and realize you’ve assigned the wrong Type designation, your only recourse is to delete it and create it again with the correct Type.

How do I access a Story Element to edit it?

Once you open a Story Setting in ARCHIVOS, all the Elements you’ve created in that Setting are available in the Element Roster on the left side of the display…

One thing we’ve discovered over the years… stories can get BIG!

Hundreds of characters, events, and locations are a lot to manage. So we created a way to target the elements you want quickly and make changes to those elements just as quickly.

Searching and Filtering the Element List

The search box at the top of the Element List will search the entire roster of Story Elements by title or description. So if you put a keyword in the Full Profile or Summary for a group of Story Elements, you can search for it here and only those elements will be displayed.

Similarly, you can filter the list by Element Type by clicking the “Filter” icon at the top of the list. Select the Element Type(s) you want to filter by and the list becomes much more manageable.

Make Mass Updates

So you’ve been creating new elements like a mad fiend for the last half-hour… and now you need to save them all?!? No worries… just click the “Manage Elements” button to open up a fast efficient way to do that and more…

Your element roster is displayed with additional details, all of it sortable and searchable. But the best part is the ability to select multiple elements and apply an update to all of them. Quickly save or hide or show dozens of elements with the click of a mouse.

How do I edit a Story Element?

All your element configuration settings (click to view larger image)

Defining the properties of your Story Elements will determine how they appear in the various ARCHIVOS display modes.

Element Name

This will be the label assigned to the element in all the places that showcase Story Elements, including the Story Summary page, the View Story Elements listing, and all the ARCHIVOS display modes and Profiles.

NOTE: While you CAN use special characters in this field, it can make it difficult to find the element in searches. “Éomer” may be the correct spelling, but a search for “Eomer” will come up empty.

Element Avatar Image

This graphic will be used to represent your Story Element in the Story Setting Summary page and in all the ARCHIVOS display modes and Profiles. Images must be in JPG or PNG format and can be no larger than 5MB.

Element Details Panel

The Element Details Panel lets you define some basic information about the element and then collapse it so it’s out of the way.

Story Web Default Element

This defines the first element that gets loaded when the story web is called up. If you don’t define a Default Element, the first element you created will be displayed.

Hidden Elements

This applies to Story Settings that have been shared or made public (Professional Subscriptions only). Hidden story elements still show up in your Storyteller views of the display modes, but they aren’t displayed in the public Story Web, Living Map, or Timeline. These are story elements you want to keep hidden for the time being… maybe you’re releasing a new story next week and want to add the elements from that story but not share them until the release. Or if you’re running a role-playing game, these might be the adversaries of the player characters. YOU can see them and all their connections, but no one else can.

Summary (popup)

This text appears in the display modes when you mouseover an element Avatar. It’s quick summary information about the story element.

Profile Image

This is the image that will appear in the Summary Profile of the element in the various display modes. It can be a different image from the Avatar or not… your call.

Other Details

Person and Event Story Elements can have additional data (gender for people, dates and times for events). That data can be defined here.

Note that you can access the Story Web, Living Map, and Timeline by clicking the buttons across the bottom of the page.

These are the Storyteller Views of the display modes and are your primary tools for analysis and exploration of your Story Settings as you build them. They will display Hidden (with transparent avatars) and Unsaved (red) elements. These are your primary work areas, so check them out often.

Configuration Views

You’ll ALWAYS be able to access the edit pages for all your elements by clicking the desired element in the left-hand column.

The default view for your new Story Element is the Full Profile. This is the text that gets displayed when you view the Full Profile for an element in any of the display modes. It’s a full rich-text editor, so format your text for maximum appeal.

You can access the other element configurations (Relationships, Related Links, Private Notes, etc.) by clicking the tabs at the top of the Element Editing Display.

How do I add an image to my Story Element

Whether you’re uploading an Avatar for your main character or a map for your main location, images are a major part of your ARCHIVOS Story Setting.

We’ve upgraded our image upload features, so now you have a lot more control over the images you include in your settings.

You can even re-crop a previously uploaded image (so you don’t have to upload it again):

Why is my Story Element showing up red in the display?

ARCHIVOS saves your work as you go… but it doesn’t log it into the display modes until you say so.

If an element is showing up red, it means you’ve made changes and haven’t saved the draft to the ARCHIVOS display.

Once you save the element (either by clicking the “Save Draft” button in the Element Edit Page or using the “Save Drafts feature in the “Manage Elements window), ARCHIVOS logs the changes and the displays update accordingly.

Use the “Manage Elements” feature to save multiple elements at once:

Collaboration & Sharing

How do I make my story setting visible to others in the Story Catalog?

[NOTE: Having your ARCHIVOS Story Setting listed in the public is a feature available to Professional Level subscribers]

  1. Open the Story Setting you want to make public in the Storyteller dashboard
  2. Click the Story Setting Configuration “gear” icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. In the “Details” tab, check the box next to “Show in public story catalog”

Please note that the content in all public in Story Settings (and the Story Elements they contain) should be no more explicit than what one would read in a Young Adult novel or see in a PG-13-rated film or tv program.

This means…

  • Any nudity has to be non-sexual
  • Any swear words have to be used sparingly, and, in the event of the specific obscenity we politely call the F-word, not used in a sexual context. (You can say “Oh, (BLANK) this!” in a PG-13 film, but not more than once, and never “I’d love to (BLANK) John…”)
  • Violence in PG-13 films may be intense, but must also be bloodless – see Jurassic World or any Marvel Movie, for example

ARCHIVOS has the right to pull down any Story Setting. As per the Terms of Service you agreed to when you created your account:

“Archivos may edit, hide, make private or remove such User Submissions and/or terminate a User’s access for uploading such material in violation of these Terms of Service at any time, without prior notice and at its sole discretion.”

We don’t want to get in the way of you sharing your Story, but we also want to make sure the site is safe and supportive for kids 13 and up.

How do I create an "Invitation Only" story setting or invite other storytellers to collaborate in my story setting?

There may be times when you don’t want the whole world to see your story setting. Like…

  • You want to use your ARCHIVOS setting as an incentive exclusive to people on your mailing list.
  • You’re running a LARP or RPG and you only want your players to see the story world.
  • You want your beta readers to review the setting before you release it to the public.

Regardless, ARCHIVOS has you covered…

Please note…

While this feature is only available to Professional Level Subscribers, the people you invite to view or edit your settings do NOT need to pay for a subscription! The will need to create a free basic account so ARCHIVOS can recognize them when they log in, but after that, they will be able to access your setting(s) as you define.

Just log in to the ARCHIVOS site, select the story setting you want to share, and click the Settings icon (the gear) in the upper right corner of the screen

This will load the Story Setting Page. Select the Private Sharing tab (to allow others to view your private setting) or the Collaboration tab (to invite other storytellers to develop the story setting with you).

Adding Members

  1. Enter the email address of the person to whom you want to extend the invitation to view (or collaborate on) your setting.
  2. Click the “Add Share…” button and an invitation will be sent with instructions on how to access your story setting (if they are not already subscribed, instructions will be included on how to sign up for a free subscription).

The email address will appear in the member list as “pending“. Once they accept the invitation, their status will be updated to “accepted“.

Removing Members

You can remove any individual’s access to your story setting by clicking the red delete button (the trash can) in their row of the member list. They will immediately be removed and no longer able to view or collaborate in this setting. This will not affect their membership in other story settings.

How does collaboration work in ARCHIVOS

While our development team is working towards true real-time collaboration (by February 2019), multiple editors can currently create, edit, and delete story elements in the same story setting.

Here’s how it works…

Editing Locks the Setting

As soon as someone with Editor privileges makes any change to the setting, the setting becomes locked. That person can continue to make changes but anyone else attempting to save an edit will receive an error message notifying them that the story setting is locked and their changes were not saved.

Unlocking a Setting

There are two ways to unlock a locked ARCHIVOS story setting…

  1. Click the UNLOCK SETTING Button – As soon as they lock the story setting, the Locking User will see an “Unlock Story Setting” button in the upper right corner of the editing window for the story setting. Clicking that button instantly unlocks the setting for other editors.
  2. Wait 10 minutes – the setting will automatically become available after 10 minutes of inactivity on the part of the locking user.


At this time there is only the ability to confer full editing rights to other users. We will eventually be refining and quantifying the rights and privileges of invited users more thoroughly, but for now, there is only “full editorial access” (including deleting the entire setting) or “no editorial access”.