If you have a problem for which you cannot find a solution, please send me an email to support@starexplorer.com. Please provide as much information as possible.

If you think that some specific area coverage is missing and you can think of a way to cover it, please feel free to send an email to help@starexplorer.com, and I try to comply ASAP.

Also, a very convenient way to get help/more info is to get registered at Digital Grin forum (which is a nice place for a smugmug user to hang out anyway:-) and look through the smugmug APIs, hacks & tricks section. S*E users are spread all across the globe and somebody from your own time zone may have an answer for you in no time at all. Registration is free and easy. You can also look for the information without the registration, but you won't be able to post your questions.

Finally, there is a blog, where I usually post latest S*E-related information. Post a comment under any entry, and rest assured I'll be notified.

Hope this page makes your experience with S*E smooth and easy, so you can concentrate on really important things rather than on "why this darn thing does not work again":-)

 

Index:

  1. I'm not  an advanced user. What shall I do to get S*E and have it working?
  2. S*E asks for password. Is it safe?
  3. I have configured S*E. How can I upload pictures?
  4. I want to create a new album. Can S*E do it for me?
  5. I need to create a lot of albums in the same category. Can I create all them at once?
  6. I already have my local folders named after my categories. Can I upload the whole tree in one shot?
  7. I'm unable to login, getting invalid URL
  8. Post failed: (-1), cannot login
  9. Cannot find answer here, what shall I do?
  10. How to use "Send to Smugmug" feature?
  11. How can I get my Pro Sales Info into Excel?
  12. What is this "cache deal" about?
  13. Pivot your data (separate page)
  14. Sales Reporting (separate page)
  15. How do I report the problem?
  16. Can S*E integrate with Adobe Lightroom?

More to follow...

 

 
Q: I'm not an advanced user. What shall I do to get S*E and have it working?
A:
It's easy as 1-2-3:
  1. Go to the Download page, download the full version and launch the setup.
    By default it will install S*E to "C:\Program Files\Star Explorer"
  2. Locate starexplorer.exe where you installed it and launch it
  3. S*E will suggest to open the account configuration dialog. Click OK.
    When S*E opens the dialog fill the Account, Subscription and Email fields according to your smugmug registration data. You can leave Usability fields empty for now. Click OK.

That's it! S*E is ready to work. Next question:-)
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Q: S*E asks for password. Is it safe?
A:
Yes, to the best of my knowledge. When you see a login dialog, simply enter your smugmug password. S*E will only use this information to contact smugmug this one time. Password is not stored locally and only exists in your machine's memory for the duration of the initial connect. Once the login is successful, it's discarded and not used anymore.
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Q: I have configured S*E. How can I upload pictures?
A:
By default S*E is set to connect upon start. It will also try to get the list of existing albums. This behavior is controlled by Connection page in the Tools|Options dialog:

If you don't have any albums at all, you might need to all categories. It can be done automatically (check the "Get List of Categories" option) or manually (File|Get Categories, also Ctrl+Shift+G).

Once you have some categories in the tree, the rest is easy:

  1. Select some category/subcategory
  2. Select an album you want to upload to.
    Once you have an album selected, you can simply drag and drop files from Windows Explorer so any place on S*E window. You can also change the album, drop more pictures, and so on.
  3. Once you have dropped all the pictures you wanted to upload at this time, simply select Upload command from menu (or press Ctrl+U)

    After the confirmation dialog S*E will start the upload process.

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Q: I want to create a new album. Can S*E do it for me?
A:
Of course it can. Here's how:
  1. Select desired category/subcategory
  2. Click right mouse button to call a popup menu (or simply press Ctrl+N):

  3. You will see the New Album Dialog:

    The only required field is Title, everything else is optional. Hit OK.

S*E would temporarily switch to a terminal mode, create the album, and then display it in the list view.
(Note: unless you have a Professional subscription, some options might be disabled).
(Note: This dialog mimics standard smugmug gallery customization dialog, so if you have any questions about what's what, please refer to standard smugmug help.)
(Note: if there are some errors during the creation process, it will stay in terminal mode. You can always switch back to normal mode via View menu)
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Q: I need to create a lot of albums in the same category. Can I create all them at once?
A:
Yes, you can, and it's very easy. You already know how to create a single new album, right?
  1. Select desired category/subcategory
  2. From the popup menu select "Create Several Albums.." command, or simply press Ctrl+Shift+N. You will see a dialog like this:
  3. Simply enter the names of the albums on separate lines, set other options and click OK.

That's all there is to it!
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Q: I already have my local folders named after my categories. Can I upload the whole tree in one shot?
A:
Yes. It's an advanced feature, but it works. Just be careful.

Assume you have category named 2005, subcategory 2005-01 and you drop folder named 2005 containing subfolder 2005-01 containing subfolder My Album containing images and subfolders - all this while being in the root of the tree. S*E would recognize the name structure and will "auto create" album My Album for you. This album will not be created immediately - it will be shown in the album list as a "new item", and you will be able to drop new images into it. To complete this action, simply press green Upload button (or press Ctrl+U). You can also create those albums without uploading the images by selecting proper popup menu item, or pressing gray "cog" button, or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+U.

The auto-generated Albums are named according to the pertinent Preferences setting. You can also rename them (highlight and press F2) before actually creating them.

New albums will be created with your default album settings. You can modify them from Tools | Default Albums Settings menu (F11) at any time before the actual creation process.
Note that the default settings are different from the most recently used ones (which are stored each time when you create new albums directly) , even though you can make them to be identical (see "Create New Album(s)" dialog).
If you select category 2005 rather than the root - then you need to drop 2005-01 folder into it. Try it a few times and you'll "get the picture".

Important
: to have this feature enabled you need to get categories (and, naturally, albums, too:-) first.

If you don't feel comfortable using it - don't:-)
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Q: I'm unable to login, getting "invalid URL"
A:
Most likely you have an obsolete version. Get the latest one, and it should help. Also make sure your account settings are correct (you can test them using Test button from Account dialog)
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Q: Post failed: (-1), cannot login
A:
The reasons could be plentiful, but the most common is that SSL DLLs cannot be found. They has to be located either in the same folder where S*E executable is, or somewhere in the PATH (e.g.: C:\windows\system32).
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Q: Cannot find answer here, what shall I do?
A: Don't despair! Most of the reported problems are configuration-related and only very infrequently require actual programming fixes. Here's what you can do to help to identify your problem:
  • open S*E, don't connect (if you see the countdown panel, simply hit ESC)
  • open configuration Options dialog:
  • Go to the Log and Terminal page and check all the options you can
    (the first one may be disabled, that's OK):
  • Hit OK
  • Try to connect (File|Connect, or hit F9)
  • If problem remains, open terminal page (View|terminal, Ctrl+T), copy all the information from the window and send it to support@starexplorer.com.

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Q: How can I get my Pro Sales Info into Excel?
A:
Since version 0.1.0.90 it's a no-brainer.
  • Launch S*E, connect, select "Get Sales Info" from the "Online" menu:

  • You will see the dialog which would look like follows:

    You can set date range or download all. You can also go directly to your smugmug sales page if you want to check the dates first. Select the options you want and hit "Download" button.
  • You will see a new window:

    The top (or the only list if you didn't request the orders details) contains summary info. It also serves as a quick filtering for bottom order detail list.
  • You can control this window from both the toolbar and the context menus, available for each list:

  • Note that you can send an email to a customer, view images online, view and save orders all together or separately. But most importantly, you can save this data as CSV or TXT files, which you can then process with Excel or other tool ("Save" and "Copy" actions require purchasing of valid PRO license, otherwise only three first rows of each list will be processed).
  • Check out Microsoft Tutorial on Pivot Tables
  • New: Get your kicks on Excel Pivot Tables - crash course right on this site!

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Q: What is this "cache deal" about?
Do I get some money back?
A: No, no cash. But your time is money, too, and this feature helps you to save time.
Prior to version 102 you had to download the list of albums (and sometimes the list of categories, too) each time before you could upload anything. Depending on the speed of your connection it could take anywhere from several seconds to a minute or two. Now with the cache (this is a computer term from French "cacher", meaning "hide, put aside") in place all the data about categories and albums is stored locally, so you don't have to get those lists manually each time.

Of course, as with almost everything, there is a small catch. If you manipulate with categories, subcategories, or albums outside of S*E (e.g. via smugmug web-based UI) you will not see those changes at first. S*E will use local "cached" data and will not be aware of those changes.
It may sound like a problem, but, luckily, it's not. If you know that you did some change to your smugmug account outside S*E and you don't see them, all you need to do is to run "Get Albums" (Ctrl+Shift+A) and/or "Get Categories" (Ctrl+Shift+G) commands one time, S*E will refresh the cache - and you'll be back in sync:-)

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Q: How to use "Send to Smugmug" feature?
A:
It's easy! Open S*E Options editor (Ctrl+F11), navigate to Send to Smugmug and click "Install..." button:

Confirm your choice. Now go to your windows explorer, select files/folders, click right mouse button, go to Send To menu and then Smugmug (via S*E):

S*E will start (if it was not started before), and selected files will be added to the upload section of S*E. You can repeat this operation several times before starting upload. Essentially this is just another method of adding files.

The biggest difference is that those files are not assigned to any new or existing albums. So, before you do the upload, you'd need to assign them. To do that, switch to S*E, select target album, select those files and hit right mouse button:

You can also click a new mini-toolbar button next to upload one with the album picture on it.

Once images are assigned, you can complete the upload.

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Q: How do I report the problem?
A: Here's a truly great set of guidelines on how to provide such information
.
It's well worth reading, IMHO, but here's an executive summary:
  • Please make sure you have the latest S*E version.
    You can always find your local version by pressing F1 anywhere in S*E.  In a highly marginal case that S*E won't even load, please locate starexplorer.exe in Windows Explorer and view its properties (Alt+Enter).
    Respectively, the latest available S*E version is always on top of every page of this site.
    Rule of thumb: if you didn't update for 3 months or longer, it's probably too old.:-)
     
  • Please make sure you have the most recent Windows updates installed.
    You'd be surprised how many problems could be safely avoided by keeping your Windows OS up to date.
     
  • Please make sure your internet connection is working properly.
    Since you are reading this, I assume it's working in general, but it may be working at a fraction of its full speed. Image upload is a broadband thing and you'd need all the bandwidth you can possibly have. Go to DSL Reports and run a couple of speed tests. If they consistently show that you're at the much lower rate than the median within your area and/or provider, it's time to check your router or call your provider.
     
  • Please make sure Smugmug is up and running.
    While Smugmug is known to be way more reliable than the other photo sharing sites, bad things happen even to the greatest sites. Check your account online and see that the operation you're trying to perform is actually doable from the web interface.
     
  • Low-level Problem (Access Violations, etc).
    Most of such problems are indicated by a special error window, would suggest you to send me a bug report directly from this window by pressing a button. If you think it's an S*E problem (and not, say, a DVD disk in a CD drive), by al means please do so, but don't forget to put some extra info to indicate what lead to the problem. Please be specific.
     
  • Clear hash.
    A lot of issues were, in fact, related to an expired session cached locally. In most cases S*E would take care of it automatically, but if push comes to shove, you can force it manually. To do this, open S*E Account Settings (Alt+F11), and hit Clear Hash button, followed by hitting Test button. While you're at it, make sure your other account-related settings are in order, especially the Subscription level.
     
  • High-Level Problems (Feature that used to work does not anymore, etc).
    No AV, but S*E is not doing what it was clearly supposed to do and, most importantly, used to do?
    First of all, try to reproduce the problem. That is, if it's safe to do. I don't want you to upload a million files again, or create thousand new galleries, but a scaled down similar action would help a lot.
    Once you have the problem reproduced (or not, but you gave it an honest try), describe all the facts relevant to it in the email, and, most importantly, please locate and attach the latest log file. Log files are most likely located in a path like C:\Documents and Settings\your_user_name\Application Data\StarExplorer\Data\Logs in chronologically arranged folders. You can easily locate the log files from S*E's main menu, Tools, Log Files menu item...
    Hint: Before actively starting to reproduce the problem, do the following:
    1) launch S*E with /debug=1 command line parameter (if this line does not make much sense - just skip this step)
    2) once S*E is launched, go to Preferences, Log and Terminal, and check all the check boxes you can.
    3) restart S*E
    These steps will help you to collect much more information in the aforementioned log file.
    When you done, clear the checkboxes, since they will make S*E to operate slower.
     
  • Hope you never need all this!

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Q: Can S*E integrate with Adobe Lightroom?
A:
It sure can! Here is what one of S*E users found out:


Star*Explorer can be easily integrated into Adobe Lightroom.
Just put a shortcut to starexplorer.exe into the
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Export Actions
folder.
Now, when in Lightroom, highlight the photos you want to send to Smugmug and click Export.
Leave the output folder unchecked;
set the JPEG image quality;
set the output size if you want it to be less than full;
set the color space to sRGB;
and in the Post-processing box at the bottom of the dialog, pick StarExplorer.
In a few seconds Star*Explorer will start up and the file will be listed and ready to go.

Mike Sullivan (user #84)

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Q: S*E plain does not work!
Power is out and I was hoping to use this downtime to upload some pictures, but I can't even get to S*E, my screen is black.
A: Sorry, this is a unrecoverable problem.
I guess it's time for you to switch from PC to Apple, them Macs are known to be far more reliable and user-friendly.
Cheers!:-)

 

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