How to update books which were created using older versions of ToolBook

Utilities ›› Version Updater ››


How can a book, created in an older version of ToolBook, be used in a newer version of ToolBook?


Each version of ToolBook comes with a Version Updater utility. Use this utility to convert a book to your newer version of ToolBook.

It is not possible to downgrade a book to an older version. For example if your book was created in ToolBook 11.5, you will not be able to downgrade it to a 9.5 format - in order to edit it in ToolBook 9.5.

How to launch the Version Updater

The Version Updater can be launched using a shortcut in the Utilities group within ToolBook program group.

For example in ToolBook 11.5 this can be found here:


  WINDOWS START menu | Programs | ToolBook 11.5 | Utilities | Version Updater

What exactly does the Version Updater do?

This is a bit detailed, and the details may not matter to you. If they do, read on.

Opening the Version Updater

Upon opening the Version Updater, the first thing it tries to do is create a bunch of temporary files at this location: C:\Program Files\Common Files\ToolBook\TBSystem.

Renames your original file

This first thing it does is rename your original file.

Opens your file in ToolBook 11.5

Next ToolBook 11.5 has to forcibly open your file within the ToolBook 11.5 engine. Two immediate problems might occur at this stage:

ToolBook might complain about being unable to load/locate various SBK files (System Books).

Read the section above entitled Opening the Version Updater, which will explain what this is about and the typical way to fix it.

ToolBook might complain about a "Bad Extension" or "Extension not found in Path"

This is where things get complicated. When editing a ToolBook file you'll find an option for managing Extensions, available from the File menu.

Extensions are 3rd party technologies (not a part of ToolBook) which can be linked into ToolBook to add certain features to ToolBook. The problematic part is that when opening a .TBK file, the first thing ToolBook does is verify all of your Extensions can be loaded, and if not it stops opening your ToolBook file and reports this error.

For example:

ToolBook does not have built in way to display Excel files, but Windows (Excel really) does provide a way for other programs (such as ToolBook) to show an Excel spread sheet inside of ToolBook using a Microsoft technology called OLE (which stands for Object Linking and Embedding). If you wanted to embed an Excel file into ToolBook to display a spreadsheet on a page, you'd typically put the Excel file into your Project folder and then drag and drop the icon for the Excel file onto the ToolBook page. What shows up in ToolBook is a view into the file (a view of the Spreadsheet) on your page. This process creates an OLE link between your ToolBook file and Excel....and if you now look at your Extensions list (found in the File menu) you will find that Excel has been added as an Extension (though the extension name will show up as something cryptic like "sheet" instead of Excel).

A problem will occur, however, if you try to open the ToolBook file on a computer where Excel is not installed. In this case ToolBook can't create an OLE link to Excel and immediately complains that you have a Bad Extension or Extension not found in Path. ToolBook will be unable to open your book file until Excel is present.

Another common example:
In order to add an image to ToolBook you can use Copy/Paste, or use the Insert | Graphic menu option. There is another way, a problematic way, that users try to add an image to a ToolBook page...and that is by Dragging a image icon from a folder and dropping it onto a ToolBook page. To you it will appear to work, the image will display on the page, but this does not import the image as a standard image object within ToolBook. Instead, like the example above, it creates an OLE link to your specified image editor program on your computer. Let's say you drag/drop a JPG file into ToolBook, and your default editor for JPG files is Photoshop...what happens is that a Photoshop OLE extension is added to ToolBook, and it is Photoshop which is responsible for showing the image on the page. If you move your project to another computer which does not have Photoshop installed you'll not be able to open your book because the link back to Photoshop can't be created. ToolBook will be unable to open your book file until Photoshop is present.

Technically an extension can either be an ActiveX control or a OLE object. ActiveX controls are things you'd normally think of as plugins - such as the Flash Player, the QuickTime Player, the Windows Media Player. In the same way, if you created a book which used QuickTime and moved your lesson to another computer, it would be unable to open unless QuickTime was installed there as well.

The solution to this problem is to open the file on the same computer it was created on, within the same version of ToolBook it was created in, so that the needed Extensions will be present, and so the book will fully load. Then locate and remove any problem/unneeded Extensions from your pages, and then remove the Extension itself from the Extensions list in the File menu. If at this point you Save your file, it will be saved without the linked Extensions.....allowing the file to be opened on another computer (and ultimately be Version Updated).

Updates the System Books List

If you look in the File | Bound System Books menu within one of your books you'll likely find a list of files called System Books. They are essentially Library files that are needed by ToolBook to function.

For example TB115HYP.SBK is the name of the HYPERLINK System Book used by ToolBook 11.5. If your book is from ToolBook 10.5, the name of this file would be TB105HYP.SBK. Notice the name of the file contains the version number of the ToolBook it is meant for.

The Version Updater will analyze this list and replace any old System Book names with the ToolBook 11.5 equivalent names.

Recompile OpenScript

This utility will look for every line of OpenScript programming code contained in the book and force all of it to recompile using the ToolBook 11.5 script compiler.


If your book has been Script Removed, you cannot Version Update the book. You'll end up getting errors about Dead Scripts. This is because ToolBook will be unable to update (recompile) the scripts since the scripts have been removed. You'll need to locate your original non-Script Removed version which you've hopefully archived.

Update OpenScript

If you've used any catalog objects in your book, those catalog objects will contain various bits of OpenScript to provide them with functionality. The Version Updater will update those catalog objects that you've used in your book, with any new updated code/logic which have been applied to those objects.

Pre-ToolBook 9 Books

If your original ToolBook file was from a version of ToolBook older than ToolBook 9, read on.

ToolBook versions earlier than ToolBook 9 were written using 16 bit technologies (and some 32 bit bit). However when ToolBook 9 was created, it was created as a pure 32 bit application.

This fact is not important to most users, but for those who have added lots of OpenScript programming to their book, it is very important because some of the commands and functions you might have used don't exist anymore in a 32 bit world.

The Version Updater will analyze your book for such OpenScript problems and show you a report of where each problem is and the suggested way to fix it (if known). In many cases ToolBook can do the update for you.

If your original file is from a version of ToolBook older than ToolBook 9, it is possible that your book may contain 16 bit Extensions (ActiveX controls or OLE Objects) that you had added to your book.

Since ToolBook 9 (and higher) can't load 16 bit Extensions, if your older file contains 16 bit Extensions you will need to remove those Extensions from your book before using the Version Updater. If you fail to do so, you'll receive an error during the Version Update process complaining about an un-loadable Extension.

Saves the book

Lastly the Version Updater will Save your book using the original file name.

KEYWORDS: 21818 P2193

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