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Did you know that DB/TextWorks has a built-in image viewer? And that it can be used to view not only images but PDFs as well? As a well-established software application, DB/TextWorks has quite a few features that aren’t always well known or used.

Lately we’ve been helping clients make good use of the image / document viewer as part of our DB/TextWorks hosting service. This service is mainly about providing access only to DB/TextWorks software on our server, but not necessarily the entire ecosystem of applications our clients may be used to having on their own PCs for viewing and editing documents.

For our museum and archival clients with databases of historic photographs, and our many clients with databases of documents, when managing records in a textbase on our server, they still need a quick and easy way to open these files, if not to edit them, but at least to make sure they select the correct file name to add to the record. The image and PDF viewer built in to DB/TextWorks provides a great way to do this, since the files open within DB/TextWorks, with no need to wait for any other software to load.

You can take advantage of this feature in your own DB/TextWorks software and textbases, even if you’re not using our hosting service. Here’s how:

Textbase fields must be of type Image

In order to use the built-in viewer, the fields in your textbases which contain the image and document file names must be of type Image.

To check if they are, launch DB/TextWorks, open your textbase, choose the Display menu, then the Textbase Information entry. In the report, under the Field Summary heading, look for your image and document fields and see if they are of type Image. If not, you can edit the textbase structure to change them (e.g. from Text to Image).

The built-in viewer works with almost all image file types, but PDF is the only document type it can display (e.g. not Word documents). To launch external viewers, such as MS Word, for other document types, you can use the suggestions in this blog post:

Use the complete path to files in textbase records

When adding the names of image and document files to textbase records, right click on the field you use to store the image or document file name and choose Browse Files. You can now navigate to and select an image or document and the complete path and file name will be in the textbase, with no typos.


  • H:\DBTextWorksData\Images\SomeImage123.jpg
  • H:\DBTextWorksData\Documents\SomeDocument456.pdf

Having the full path will help DB/TextWorks to find and display the file in the built-in viewer.

(Note: an alternative to the above is to place the folders of images and documents underneath the folder that has the textbase in it, and then in the textbase record, use only the folder and file name – e.g. Documents\SomeDocument456.pdf. DB/TextWorks will find the files under the textbase folder in this case).

Using the built-in viewer

To open an image or document, when viewing a record that has a file name in a field of type Image, the toolbar button circled in red in the screenshot below will become available and clicking it will launch the viewer, with the image showing.


Once the viewer is open, you can use the toolbar that appears to navigate through all the images or all the pages of a PDF, within the record, even if they are in several separate fields. You can also zoom in and out, and show thumbnails of all images or pages of a PDF. How handy is that!


Another way to view an image within DB/TextWorks is to embed a Picture Box in a Report Form or Display Form, so the image appears when viewing search results or a record (rather than opening it in the built-in viewer), as shown below.


To learn more about the image viewer and other image tips, launch DB/TextWorks, then choose the Help menu and Help Topics entry. In the help window, select the “Working with Images” topic.

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