gbSnippets - Online Help

This page provides the latest online Help information for gbSnippets, a freeware program which provides an extremely easy-to-use method of storing and searching single and multi-line text data. Use it for phone numbers, birthdays, recipes, group lists, blogs, diaries - anything you want to save, search or share!

The links above point to sections of this page. The page is a bit long, but having a single page with all Help information on it makes it especially easy to browse through gbSnippets Help.

The Games/Graphics and Programmer features are covered in detail on separate Help pages:

A local Help file (gbSnippets.chm) is distributed with gbSnippets. The Help file is usually updated more frequently than gbSnippets and you can always download the latest version here.


gbSnippets allows a user to store lines/paragraphs of text data (called snippets), using a familiar tree-structure to organize and display the information.

Once entered, the information may be displayed or searched in a variety of ways. Information can be viewed, edited, placed on the clipboard, sent by email, converted to HTML for posting on the web, saved as wallpaper, merged with other gbSnippets files, synchronized to libraries on the web, and printed. Snippet libraries encryption is supported.

gbSnippets's main window (below) consists of 3 basic areas - the tree structure (left), the detailed content of the currently selected tree node (right), and a listing of the snippets resulting from searches (bottom). Just above the tree structure is where search terms may be entered, to produce a list of matching snippets. The tree, textbox, and listbox are the primary areas where information is displayed. The menus, context menus, toolbar, and search controls are used to control the display of information.

Each tree item (node) represents text - one line, several lines, or even many paragraphs. The top line of the text is used to populate the tree node titles. You can edit the top line in-place within the tree, or simply edit it in the textbox. gbSnippets will synchronize your inputs!

URL's found in the textbox are active - they may be clicked to open the selected URL in your default browser. URLs can also point to other snippets in the current library.

Using Boolean (AND, OR) or exact search criteria, all snippets matching the search are displayed in the listbox at the bottom of the screen. Navigation buttons, found next to the combobox where the search term was entered, are used to walk through the list of matching snippets.

In addition to the Tree Search (identifying a list of snippets which contain the search term), a TextBox Search is also available which searches (and highlights) the content of the currently selected snippet.

Snippets can be bookmarked. Then, a list of bookmarked snippets can be displayed in the listbox. In addition to bookmarks, one node may be designated as the home node, to which the tree can be returned at any time.

gbSnippets supports several layout options - positioning of the 3 main sections and optionally hiding the search results listbox.

gbSnippets has one main menu, one main toolbar, and three context menus (one for the tree, node content textbox, and search results listbox. The menu options are discussed in detail below.

gbSnippets opens a single file at a time (multiple open files are not supported). Also, a file is always opened in gbSnippets. When first started, gbSnippets creates a default file or opens the previously opened file. If an attempt is made to open a file that does not exist or is an invalid file, gbSnippets will create a default file for viewing.

To make it easy to switch between commonly used snippet libraries, the main toolbar has 5 QuickOpen selections, to which the user can assign a file name and display title.


gbSnippets is distributed as a single file, "". Simply place the file in a folder of your choice and unzip the file to create a folder "gbsnippets", including all necessary subfolders (see image to the right) and supporting files.

I suggest putting it in a folder of its own at "c:\program files\gbsnippets", but there's no requirement to use any particular folder.

gbSnippets does not use the Windows registry. To remove gbSnippets from your system, simply delete the folder in which it resides.


Like most Windows programs, gbSnippets provides a wide selection of menu options. Here's a summary listing of the menus and submenus available from the menu bar. Individual menus are discussed further down this page.

Save As ...
Print Selected Node
Print Selected Node+Children
Print Node+Children (Titles)
Print Search Results (Titles)
Import Data
Export Node to HTML
Export Node+Children to HTML
Shell To..
Select FileA ...
Select FileB ...
Select FileC ...
Select FileD ...
Select FileE ...
Clear Open File MRU
Clear Search Term MRU
Select All
Edit TreeView Label
Search Snippet (TextBox)
Screen Capture
Dialog Capture
Set Wallpaper
Time-of-Day Alarm
Countdown Timer
Elapsed Time
TimeStamp Selected Node
UnTimeStamp Selected Node
TimeStamp Node+Children
UnTimeStamp Node+Children
Set Password
Clear Password
Select as Compare Left
Select as Compare Right
Display Comparison
Synchronize With Server
Confirm Delete
AutoSave Changes on Exit
Save Settings on Exit
Load Last File on Startup
Enable URL Highlighting
Import as Single Node
InSitu Import
Convert TABs to Spaces...
Open HTML on Export
Use gbs# on Export
Recommend Password
Alternate Layout
Fixed Splitter Bars
No Size Limits
File Name in Caption
Save Tree Position
AutoEdit Tree Label
Tree Icons
Hide Root
Large Print Title
Show Search Results
AutoShow Search Results
Case Sensitive Search
Include Parent Title in Search
Search While Typing
Clear Settings on Exit
On Top
Programmer Features
Std Font
Std Bold Font
Std Fixed Font
Custom Font
Black & White
Custom Color
Preset Color 1
Preset Color 2
Preset Color 3
Select Custom Font
Select Custom FG Color
Select Custom BG Color
Std Font Size +
Std Font Size -
Custom Font Size +
Custom Font Size -
Font Information
Text Stereogram
Mosaic Stereogram
Matrix Screen Saver
3D Models
Lifetime Financial Planner
Stock Market Simulator
Send Email To..
      New Recipient
Get Daily Message
Local Help ...
Online Help ...
Web Site
Online Update ...
Go-Do List
About ...

Here is additional information on each of the menu items.

File Menu
gbSnippets files are text files which contain the snippet and the information needed to create the Tree display of the information. The files use a .gbs file extension.

When gbSnippets is installed, it creates a subfolder called "gbsnippets" where the several distributed snippet files are placed. However, there is no limitation to where snippet files may be saved.

Edit Menu
gbSnippets Edit menu options are pretty standard fare, All options apply to the node content textbox except the "Edit TreeView Label" option, which applies to the Tree.

Actions Menu
Options are available which cover screen/dialog capture, timers, time stamping and password management.

Options Menu
A wide variety of options are provided underneath the "Options" menu. These menu options primarily allow a user to toggle an option ON/OFf, although a few allow the user to modify a numerical value.

Format Menu
gbSnippets users can select from three pre-programmed, standard fonts or can define a custom font. Whichever font is used is applied to the tree, node content textbox and search results listbox. Here are the pre-programmed, standard values, and the default values for the custom font.

The foreground and background of the 3 display areas can also be set by the user. Four pre-set color schemes (including black on white) are provided, or the user may select BG/FG colors of their choosing.

To simplify changing font size, menu options are also provided which will increment or decrement the standard and custom font sizes. With these options, no other font property is changed.

Amusements Menu
gbSnippets includes a variety of games or graphical displays. These have been included simply for the fun of it - I've enjoyed writing them and I hope you enjoy playing/watching them. I expect to improve on the ones that are here, and to add new ones in the future.

Each of amusements are written to occupy the same space as the search results listbox. This allows the user to continue using gbSnippets even as the amusement is being actively played.

Each of the amusements will have their own toolbar, displayed at the bottom of the window rather than at the top. This helps clarify that the toolbar is for the amusement and keeps it out of the way of using gbSnippets for its primary purpose.

Help Menu
There are several special features included here, including the ability to send snippets via email, download a daily message from the author (regarding gbSnippets) and to perform an online update of the gbSnippets executable.


The toolbar provides quick access to some of the more often used features of gbSnippets.

Here's a description of the functions provided by the toolbar.

Context Menus

There are three context menus available - one for the tree, node content textbox, and search results listbox. Here's a quick look at the commands available in each of the context menus.

This section discusses each command of the three available context menus. Each can be opened by right-mouse clicking over the Tree, Search Results listbox, or textbox controls.

Tree Context Menu Options
gbSnippets uses a cut/copy/paste method of handling nodes, available from the right context menu for the Tree. Nodes may not be dragged to a new location (this may be added in future releases of gbSnippets).

TextBox Context Menu
In general, the textbox context menus options are used to modify the content of the textbox. If a text selection has been made, the menu options work on the selected text or lines containing the selected text, depending on which is appropriate.

Those menu options which work first on selections are marked with an "*". Where the option works on lines, the effect begins with the lines where a selection begins and ends.

Search Results ListBox Context Menu
The list of matching snippets is particularly useful for browsing all matching snippets of a search. Clicking on a snippet in the list also selects the same snippet in the Tree, causing the entire snippet to be displayed in the textbox.

The list of matching snippets can be printed, or sent to the clipboard. Where snippets are primarily one-line snippets, this is especially useful.

Layout Options

gbSnippets provides several ways to customize the layout to match the way you like to view the data.

Alternate Layout
By default, the search result listbox is shown at the bottom of the main window, stretching all the way across the window. Using the "Options/Alternate Layout" menu option, the node content textbox can be made to extend from the top to bottom of the main window. This limits the width of the search results listbox.

Standard Layout
Alternate Layout

The standard layout display more information in the results of a Tree search, whereas the alternate layout displays as much of the textbox content as possible.

Hiding the Search Results ListBox

When a Tree Search is performed, the list of matching snippets is shown in the Search Results listbox. This provides a convenient list of matching snippets, from which the user can select a desired snippet to view. However, when no search is in work it may be convenient to hide the Search Results listbox.

The "Options/Show Search Results" menu option or the toolbar "List" button can be used to hide/show the Search Results listbox. Hiding the listbox provides the maximum view of the contents of the Tree, which can be desirable when visually browsing the Tree for snippets of interest.

When the Search Results are hidden, both the default and alternate layouts look the same - only the Tree and node content textbox are shown.

Search Results ListBox Not Shown

Fixed Splitter Bars
gbSnippets uses both vertical and horizontal splitter bars to adjust the size of the various sections of the display. Normally, the splitter bars will maintain their relative position if the main window is resized.

The "Options/Fixed Splitter Bars" menu option allows the user to lock the position of the splitter bars. When used, this option fixes the distance from the left side of the main window to the vertical splitter bar. It also fixes the distance from the bottom of the main window to the horizontal splitter bar.

This option can ensure that the content of the Tree is always in view, as well as to provide a maximum viewing area for the node content textbox as the window is resized.


Although mentioned above in the Toolbar section, the QuickOpen feature of gbSnippets deserves more discussion. There are 5 buttons on the toolbar, to which a user can assign a library. Pressing one of those buttons opens the assigned library. So switching between often-used library files is very simple and very quick.

By default, the toolbar items are simply labeled "a", "b", "c", "d", and "e" (see image). The user may rename the toolbar items, as in the second image.

Default Labels
Custom Labels

When switching to a new file using QuickOpen, the user will be prompted to save any existing changes to the currently opened library.

When the File/Select FileA (or B-E) menu options are chosen, the user is prompted to select the desired library file. Then the user is also asked to provide an up-to-7 letters title for the library file. That title will be displayed in the toolbar.

Active Links

gbSnippets supports hypertext links. Just as in a browser, the links are highlighted and underlined, needing only to be clicked to open the link location. Links may point to website URLs or to other snippets within the current library.

Active URL Link
This works exactly as you would expect. Simply type in a typical HTTP address and the link will be active. Click on the link to open the URL in your default browser.

Active Snippet Link
Elsewhere in Help, the use of gbs (assigned by gbSnippets author) and gbu numbers (assigned by users) was discussed. An active snippet link can be made to either snippet number type. Use "http://gbl_xxxxx" to jump to a gbs# and use "http://gbj_xxxxx" to jump to a gbu#. The image to the right shows both approaches.

In case you wonder, the "l" and "j" are simply mnemonics for Link and Jump.


gbSnippets provides two separate methods of searching - a Tree Search and a Node Search.

Tree Search
A tree may be searched for snippets which match one or more search terms. To initiate a Tree Search, simply type in the search terms to the combobox located just above the Tree and press Enter. Matching snippets will be displayed in the search results listbox at the bottom of the page. The first matching snippet is selected in the tree.

When multiple matching snippets are found, navigation between the matching snippets can be done in two ways. Next to the combobox, where search terms are entered, are two buttons - hands pointing up and down, corresponding to moving up and down the list of matching snippets.

Alternately, clicking on a snippet in the listbox will jump to that specific snippet - highlighting it in the tree and displaying its content in the textbox.

Tree searches support Boolean (AND, OR) searches as well as exact string searches. Quotes are not used. These are all valid search terms:

There are several tree search options, all available from the "Options" menu. See the earlier discussion on "Option" menu options. These control how a search will be made and how search results will be displayed.

Finally, the last 10 search terms are placed in the combobox. Simply press the combobox down arrow to display the most recent searches and select an item to repeat the search. Each time a search is made, the search terms are added to the top of the dropdown list. Duplicate entries are removed.

TextBox Search
The content of a selected node can be searched for a specific text string by pressing F3 or by selecting the "Edit/Search Node" menu option to call up a small dialog in which to enter the search term.

Enter or press one of the search buttons to find and highlight matching text. The Enter key can also be repeatedly pressed to search forward through the node content.

A TextBox Search is limited to the content of the currently selected node. When the end of the node content is reached and no further matches are found, pressing the search buttons will result in a beep sound.

If a Tree Search has been previously made, the TextBox Search dialog will open with the first word of the most recent Tree Search.

A TextBox Search does not support Boolean (AND,OR) searches. The search can be made case-sensitive by selecting the checkbox on the TextBox Search dialog.

The TextBox Search dialog also allows replacement of the search term. Once a matching text string is found, and highlighted, pressing "Replace" will replace the search string with the replacement string.

The dialog also allows moving through the snippets found in the search results listbox. The "Next Snippet" and "Previous Snippet" buttons do not move through the entire tree, just the snippets in the listbox.

Search Commands: ..match, ..tally
In addition to the Tree and TextBox Search features, gbSnippets offers two commands which return lists that are opened in NotePad as temporary text files (see the discussion on Commands, further down this page).

The ..match command is entered as "..match searchterm", and returns a list of all lines which contain "searchterm" (from one, or all snippets). The specific snippets contaning the list is not identified (the Tree search provides the list). The ..match command can conveniently provide just those lines containing the search term without requiring the user to scroll through individual snippets.

The ..tally command works on a user-defined list of search terms, and returns a list of the number of times the terms are used in one, or all, snippets. The list is kept in a simple text file, which can be accessed by entering the "..tallylist" command.

..freq Command
Occasionally I'd like to know how many times a term is found in a list. After using the textbox context menu "WordList" and "Sort" commands, using ..freq will display a list of how many times each term is used. The command works equally well on counting duplicate lines.

Snippet Comparison

Sometimes you need to know if two snippets are the same, or if a potential snippet matches an existing snippet. gbSnippets provides a popup dialog (see the image to the right) which can be used to compare any two texts. The two texts can be pasted into the left/right textboxes.

Or, Action menu items can be used to selecting specific snippets to be entered into the left and right textboxes.

In the adjacent image you can see two snippets, containing lines "one" through "ten", except that two lines have some additional text. When the Compare button is pressed the text on each side is replaced as shown in the image, with "**********" lines indicating where differences have been found.

The window provides a scroll-locking feature to allow both side to be scrolled up and down at the same rate. It has a Tops (display top line of both snippets) and a Restore (replace comparison results with original text) features.

Sharing Snippets

gbSnippets provides several ways in which you can share your snippets with others.

Email Sharing
Once you create a list of email recipients, using the "Help/Send Email To..." menu option, you can use gbSnippets to open your default email client with a message pre-addressed to anyone on the list. The content of the snippet (or just the selection, if one has been made) is placed on the clipboard, ready to be pasted into the email body at your convenience.

Future versions of gbSnippets will allow you to send the email directly, without having to work through your default email client.

HTML Sharing
You can export a single node, or even the entire tree to HTML format. When exporting an entire tree (or node with children), each snippet gets its own file. gbSnippets will also create an index page containing a link to each of the individual snippet files.

All of the exported snippets are placed in a subfolder called "HTML", placed beneath the folder where gbSnippets was installed, with no other files. Any pre-existing files contained in the folder are deleted when an export is done. This simplifies finding the newly created files and makes it easy to select/copy/move files as desired.

Future versions of gbSnippets will include the ability to FTP the files directly to your website.


gbSnippets allows snippet data files to be encrypted. The current encryption method uses a password string to encrypt the file. Currently, a fairly simple encryption method is used. Future versions of gbSnippets will include stronger encryption algorithms.

However, the mechanism for handling encrypted files will be the same. A user creates a file, adds content, assigns a password and then saves the file. The assigned password will be used to encrypt the content and save it to disk.

gbSnippets can recognize when a file is encrypted. When an encrypted file is opened, the user will be asked to supply the password. When the file is saved, the password will be used again, unless the user changes the password before saving it.

Once the file is opened, the password can be changed or cleared. When a password is cleared, the next time the snippet file is saved, it will be saved unencrypted.

Note: When Windows saves a file it can write the file anywhere on the disk - not necessarily overwriting an earlier saved copy. So if you've previously saved your data as unencrypted, then save it again as encrypted, the hard drive may contain a recoverable copy of the unencrypted data. If this is of concern to you, I suggest using one of the many available utilities which erase unused portions of hard drives.

Also, when you export content of an encrypted file to RTF/HTML, be aware that the exported RTF/HTML files are not encrypted.

Screen Capture

Once information has been displayed in gbSnippets, you can create an image of the dialog. The image is placed on the clipboard ready for pasting into any application (word processor, email client, etc.) you choose.

Or, once captured, the dialog image can be used as your desktop wallpaper, It's like placing a single post-it note in the middle of your screen! I use it to display information that I'll need to refer to several times over the next day or too. Then, when I'm done, change my wallpaper to something else.


When you're working, you may want to track time-related information. gbSnippets provides 3 different timers, whose information are displayed in the statusbar along the bottom of the main window.

Unique Snippet Numbers

gbSnippets supports two optional methods for uniquely identifying a snippet - user numbering and gbSnippets default numbering.

gbSnippet Numbering System
Each of the snippets in the libraries distributed with gbSnippets has been assigned a unique number such as "gbs_00001". These are referred to as gbs#'s. The number portion must consist of five digits.

This unique identifier can be placed anywhere in the snippet, but I've placed them all at the end of the snippet. When a snippet is selected in the Tree, the gbs# is placed in the statusbar. Use of the gbs# is optional.

Two commands, ..gbs and ..addgbs, are provided to help manage the snippet gbs#'.

If the ..gbs command is entered, a popup MsgBox provides information on gbs# usage. The largest used number is displayed (so you know what number to assign to the next snippet). Also the title of any snippets not containing a gbs# is listed. Finally any gbs# duplicates (found more than once) are listed.

If the ..addgbs command is entered, a gbs# is added to every snippet in the library. The command is entered as "..addgbs 123", and the added gbs#'s are numbered starting with "123". This command does not overwrite and existing gbs#, so use with caution.

THe numbering system enables two significant features - server synchronization and internal hypertext linking.

Internal Hypertext Linking
To create a link from one snippet to another, type in a link such as this (L is for link):

The 'gbl' identifies the entry as a link to another snippet. The '00015' identifies the specific snippet.

Server Synchronization
When server synchronization is performed (see the discussion elsewhere on this Help page), snippets with the same gbs#'s are compared to one another.

User Numbering System
In case a user wants to provide their own numbering system and to synchronize with their own server libraries, gbSnippets also support the use of 'gbu' numbering. It works exactly as 'gbs' numbering. Additionally, hypertext links to gbu#'s use a 'gbj' link like this (j is for jump):

Server Synchronization

gbSnippets can synchronize a local library with the same library found on either the gbSnippets server or a user defined server!

Whenever a gbSnippets library is updated, it is placed on the gbSnippets server. Use the Actions/Synchronize With gbSnippets Server menu option to pull up the following screen, from which the server and local libraries of the same name can be compared for changes, and differences added to the local library.


When the synchronization window is called, it automatically fills the left listbox with the gbs#'s from the current library. Click on a gbs# to see it in the textbox to the right of the list.

The dialog provides the following options.

User Server
If you have selected "Synchronize With User Server", the synchronization dialog will look and operate the same, except that it will display gbu#'s (user numbers) and download the library file from the user's server (the addresso of which is entered using the ..users command).


Sometimes I add features to an application, but not really wanting to give the feature prime time space on the menu or toolbar. Also, I like not having to switch between the mouse and the keyboard. So, I sometimes add a "command" feature which allows me to type in a command. With gbSnippets I've added command options to the combobox.

In particular, search terms are examined against a list of potential "commands", all of which start with ".." to avoid conflict with other legitimate search terms. When a "" search term (command) is found, a corresponding action is taken rather than completing the usual search.

Here are the commands gbSnippets currently recognizes. I may eventually move these to menu/toolbar positions, but for now they must be entered via keyboard in the combobox. Note: commands are recognized only when the Enter key is pressed while the combox has focus.

Most of these commands are discussed in other sections, where their function contributes to the features in that section (such as ..match is discussed in the section on Search). The following list is more of a reference list than a how-to section.

In the list, the commands are grouped by related functions.

Request For Feature Suggestions

I'm completely open to suggestions from gbSnippets users. Tell me what you'd like to see added!