File Library: Managing images and files

Introduction to the File Library

Every file you add to an article in your knowledge base is stored in your File Library. You can access files there to update:

You can also delete files you no longer need and recover files that have been incorrectly deleted.

And for each file, you can view its references: all the places that this file is being used.

Adding file labels, deleting, and recovering files can be done for individual files or for multiple files in bulk. Changing file names or the files themselves must be done for individual files only.

To access your File Library, go to Library > Files. You should see something like this:

A screenshot showing the File Library with numbers at each major control

  1. To add files directly to the File Library, use the + Add Files button. This will open a pop-up where you can select the files to upload. See Adding files and images in bulk for more info.
  2. You can choose to Show Active Files or Show Deleted Files. If you select Show Deleted Files, you'll see a Restore option instead of Delete.
  3. If you've created File Labels, use the Filter by Labels dropdown to filter the File Library to files containing one or more file labels.
  4. You can filter the File Library by File Types. The options are:
    • Show All File Types (default)
    • Show Images Only
    • Show Videos Only
    • Show PDFs Only
    • Show Word Files Only
    • Show Excel Spreadsheets Only
    • Show Powerpoint Presentations Only
    • Show Audio Files Only
    • Show Zip Files Only
  5. You can search for a word or file name. Any search phrases entered here will search within the selected filters. Use the default settings (Show Active Files, no Filter by Labels, Show All File Types) to search your entire File Library of active files.
  6.  When you've selected an individual file, the Edit link will activate. You can click that link to open a pop-up to edit the file's name, file itself, and add or remove file labels. This option is disabled when you have no files selected or multiple files selected. See Editing and updating files for more info.
  7. When you've selected one or more files, the Bulk Label option will activate. You can click that link to open a pop-up to add file labels to all selected files. This option is disabled when you have no files selected or a single file selected. See Using labels as filters for using the label filter and File Labels for more information on file labels themselves!
  8. When you've selected one or more files, the Delete option will activate. You can click that link to delete the selected files. (Note: deleting files will not delete references to those files from categories, articles, or other places they're used, like your Settings > Style. Be sure the file is no longer in use before deleting!) If you've selected the Show Deleted Files option, instead of a Delete option, you'll see a Restore option. See Restoring deleted files for more info on restoring deleted files!
  9. Use the Files per page options to change how many files are displayed per page in the library. Options are 20, 50, and 100. (Default is 20.)
  10. You can toggle between two Display Modes. The default mode is the icon or thumbnail view in the screenshot above, represented by the icon with six squares in two rows. You can toggle to list view by clicking the list icon next to it. Not sure which view would be best? See Which File Library display mode should I use? to help decide!

In order to edit, bulk label, or delete files, you'll need to select them. In icon view, you can select a file by clicking anywhere on the file's thumbnail (1 in the screenshot below). You can select all four files in a row by checking the box to the left of the row (2 in the screenshot below):

When a file is selected in the icon view, a white checkmark on a blue square will appear in the upper right corner of the thumbnail.

See List View for making file selections in List View.

To open an individual file for viewing rather than editing, click on the hyperlinked name below the file thumbnail. The file should open in a new tab if it's supported by your browser, or download if it's not.

List View

Once you select the List View by clicking on the list icon in the Display Mode section of File Library, the filter options and other controls look the same, but the library view changes:

Sample File Library in List View

Now, you'll see a table with various columns:

  1. Name: displays the file's name.
  2. References: displays a summary count of the places this file is used. Click the View details link to open a pop-up to see a more detailed list.
    This functionality was added 28 December 2022 and requires a one-time reindex process to be run to fully populate. If your knowledge base existed before 28 December 2022, contact us to run that reindex!
  3. Labels: displays any File Labels added to the file.
  4. Type: displays the file's type, as designated by the file extension.
  5. Size: displays the total size of the file. File Library will only allow files up to 200MB in size.
  6. Date Created: displays the date the file was originally created.
  7. Last Modified: displays the date the file was last edited. If it has never been edited, the Date Created and Last Modified will be identical.

You can click any of the underlined column headers (all columns except Labels) to sort the view by that column. Clicking the same column multiple times will toggle between ascending and descending sort. The column used to sort will have an up arrow or down arrow next to it. For example, in the screenshot above, our File Library is sorted by Last Modified, descending order.

To select a single file in list view, click anywhere in that file's row or explicitly in the checkbox to the left of the file name. A checkmark will appear in the box the left of the file to indicate it's selected. To select multiple files, use the filter and search to display the files you need to select, then click in the checkbox to the left of the Name column header to select all displayed files for editing.

To open an individual file for viewing, click on the hyperlinked name. The file should open in a new tab if it's supported by your browser, or download if it's not.

Which File Library view should I use?

The Display Mode in File Library lets you toggle between Icon view and List view. Each view has its own best use cases:

Icon view or thumbnail view is best used for:

  • "Seeing" the files: if you're working a lot with visual or video content, icon view can help you visually scan your files quickly to see if they need updates or confirm you have the right file
  • Seeing the most recently edited files first (they are always presented at the start of the icon view)

List view is best used for:

  • Sorting your file library in different ways
  • Seeing the file labels that are added to various files
  • Seeing the exact date the file was created or last modified
  • Auditing file types to, for example, remove all .jpg files and replace them with .png files
  • High-volume bulk labeling or bulk delete/recovery. If you can use the filters and search to display only the files you need, you can bulk-select the entire library for these bulk operations!

They're equally useful for:

  • Editing individual file details (name, file labels, the file itself)
  • Deleting or restoring files

See Introduction to the File Library for an overview of File Library and the icon view; see List View for more details on the List view.

Adding files and images directly in File Library

To add multiple images, videos, or files at once:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click the Add Files button in the upper left.
    Screenshot showing the File Library with a callout to the Add Files button in upper leftAdd Files button in File Library
  3. This will open a pop-up where you can either drag files from your desktop/File Explorer into the pop-up, or click the button to Browse Files, navigate to the files you want to add, and open to add them.
    Screenshot showing the Upload Files pop-up, callouts to the "Drag files here" section and the Browse to Files button in lower leftDrag files to the popup where it says "Drag files here" or click Browse to Files to open a window
  4. Once you've added the files you'd like to upload, click the Upload Files button in the lower right.
    Click the Upload Files button to complete the upload


Editing and updating files in the File Library

Every file you add to an article in your knowledge base is stored in your File Library. You can access files there to update the name, the file itself, and labels associated with that file.

Renaming files

By default, files are uploaded with a name based on the file you originally uploaded. This is the name that will show up when the file is downloaded/opened.

If you'd like to edit this to something more user-friendly or search-friendly:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Find the file you'd like to edit (use search or the Labels filters if necessary).
  3. Click on that file.
  4. Click the Edit link in the lower left corner or just above the file thumbnails on the left.
    Click on the file and then click either of the two Edit links
  5. This will open the Edit File  pop-up. Edit the File Name to be what you'd like.
  6. Click the Save File button in the lower right.
    Edit the File Name and then Save File

Updating files

Linus is a busy little owl, and he updates a lot of screenshots and articles. Whenever he can, he reuses existing screenshots in the File Library. When it comes time for him to update that screenshot, rather than manually replacing the screenshot in every single article he used it in individually, he updates the existing file in File Library with the new screenshot.  This approach has some great advantages:

  • It's a real time-saver for editors (one update in File Library rather than manually editing a bunch of articles)
  • It keeps the File Library from getting bloated with old/outdated/duplicate copies of files
  • It guarantees that everywhere the screenshot was used, it's updated to the latest version of the file

We strongly recommend updating files from the File Library!

To make this kind of update:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Find the file you'd like to edit (use search or the Labels filters if necessary).
  3. Click on that file.
  4. Click the Edit link in the lower left corner or just above the file thumbnails on the left.
    Select file and click one of the two Edit links
  5. Click the Upload New File button in the lower left.
    Upload New File
  6. Navigate to and select the new version of the file you want to replace the existing one.
  7. The name of the file you've selected will display in the lower left corner. If this is correct, click the Save File button in the lower right.
    Confirm new file to be uploaded in lower left is correct and Save File

As the warning at the top of the pop-up notes, while most articles will update immediately, some can take up to an hour to update. Contact us if you have issues with a file not updating.

File references

Beginning on 28 December 2022, any time a file is used, we track the reference so that you know whether it's safe to delete that file.

This will track references within the same knowledge base that the file is stored in; if you have multiple knowledge bases, it will not track references to the file in other knowledge bases! We recommend adding a file label or some other method to alert yourself not to delete files referenced by other KBs.

File references are tracked for:

  • Articles
    • Article body content: will check all draft articles and published articles. Will not check inactive article versions.
    • Article URL redirect
    • Article thumbnail
    • Article banner
  • Categories
    • Category URL redirect
    • Category icon
    • Category description
    • Custom content category body
    • Category thumbnail and banner (for custom content categories and topic display categories)
  • Snippet body content
  • Theme
    • Settings > Style logo
    • Settings > Style Custom HTML templates
    • Settings > Style Custom CSS
  • Other
    • Knowledge Base > Home Page

The file references will update once you save changes on any of these pages.

If your knowledge base existed before 28 December 2022, we need to run a one-time index to populate these references on all your existing files. Please contact us to request this reindex before you start using the field!

You can view the file references in Library > Files in two places:

  • In the Thumbnail View, when you click on an individual file, the references are displayed in the file metadata displayed in the lower left.
  • In the List View, References is included as its own column . Selecting an individual file in this view will also display the references in the file metadata in the lower left.

In either location, click the View details... link to open a pop-up that will display a detailed hyperlinked list of all the references. The references will display in 5 sections:

  • Theme References: Contains references in Settings > Style, including the logo, Custom HTML templates, and Custom CSS
  • Article References: Contains references within article body, URL redirect, banner, thumbnail.
  • Category References: Contains references within category description, icon, URL redirect, etc.
  • Snippet References: Contains references within snippet body.
  • Other References: Contains references within Knowledge Base > Home Page.

Here's a sample showing references in all areas:

Sample View details references list

Once the initial reindex has been run for older knowledge bases, you should be able to safely delete any files which show 0 references for all reference options. This also lets you track down all the places a file is used in case you need to update content relating to it!

This will track references within the same knowledge base that the file is stored in; if you have multiple knowledge bases, it will not track references to the file in other knowledge bases! We recommend adding a file label or some other method to alert yourself not to delete files referenced by other KBs.

Restoring deleted files

Sometimes, you delete the wrong file by accident--maybe you didn't realize you'd selected an entire row of files, or two files are named identically and you deleted the wrong one.

KnowledgeOwl allows you to restore files you've deleted. Restoring files will:

  • Restore access to them by the original URL
  • Restore any links to files using that original URL
  • Add the file back to your main Library > Files view
  • Add the file back into the Add from Library search within the editor

To restore deleted files:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. The first dropdown defaults to "Show Active Files". Select the second option from this dropdown: Show Deleted Files.
    Screenshot of the File Library. The file-status dropdown is selected and Show Deleted Files option is highlighted and has an arrow pointing to it.
  3. This will display all deleted files in your File Library, with the most recently deleted listed first. You can use the other dropdown filters or the search to locate the file(s) you'd like to restore.
  4. For each file you'd like to restore, select the file.
    1. In icon view, click anywhere in the file thumbnail to add a checkmark in the upper right. To restore an entire row of files, click the checkbox to the left of the row.
    2. In list view, click anywhere in the file's row to add a checkmark to the left of the file. To select all files within a filter/search, check the box in the upper left next to the Name column header.
  5. Once you've finished selecting the files, click the Restore link in the upper left.
  6. You'll see a confirmation message. For a single file, it will ask if you want to restore "this" file; for multiple files, you'll see a list of the files selected. Click OK to confirm the restoration.
    Screenshot of the restore confirmation, which says "The following files will be restore" and lists three files below that. The Cancel and OK buttons are in the lower right and an arrow points to OK.Sample restore confirmation for multiple files
  7. When the restoration is complete, the view of the deleted files will update and the restored file will no longer show in that view.
  8. You can now use the dropdown at the top to Show Active Files and the restored file will be there.
    Screenshot of the File Library. The file-status dropdown is selected and Show Active Files option is highlighted and has an arrow pointing to it.

Find a file's URL

There are a few places within KnowledgeOwl where you might need to have the URL to your image, like Changing the background image on your homepage.

There are two ways to get that URL: selecting the file from within the library to view its details, or opening the file itself and grabbing the URL (this second approach doesn't work well with zip files or other files which must be downloaded rather than viewed directly in the browser)

Select the file from within the library:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. In Icon view, click the image thumbnail.
    Screenshot showing the File Library with a callout to a file thumbnailFile thumbnail in File Library
  3. In List view, click anywhere in the file's row or click the checkbox to the left of the file name.
  4. This will open the details of the image in the lower left. You can copy the URL from there to use it where you need it.
    Screenshot showing the File Library with a single file selected, details showing in lower left, and callout pointing to the URL in those detailsFile details open in lower left window

Open the file itself:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. In either view, click the hyperlinked name of the file.
    Screenshot showing the File Library with a callout to one of the file's hyperlinksFile hyperlink in File Library
  3. This will open the image in your browser. Copy the URL from your address bar to use it where you need it.
    Screenshot showing the file URL in a browser's address barSample file URL in new tab of browser

Managing files using file labels

Similar to tags in articles, you can add labels to files so that you can filter the File Library more easily.

File Labels:

  • Are only visible to users with access to the File Library in app.knowledgeowl.com
  • Can be used as filters in the File Library
  • Can be added to/removed from files in the File Library
  • Can be created in the Files Library or in the File Label Library
  • Can be edited, deleted, and merged in the File Label Library

For more information, see File Labels.

Using labels as filters

Once you have added file labels to your files, those file labels can be used to filter your File Library. To do so:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click the Filter by Labels dropdown.
  3. Select the label(s) you'd like to use as filters. If you select more than one label, only files with all the selected labels will be displayed.
  4. Once you select a label, the File Library display will update to show only the files with that label. Here, I've selected "screenshot":
  5. To remove a label from your filter, click on it again to deselect it. (Or reload the page.)

You can combine the labels filter with the file type filter and search, too.

Who can access the files stored in my knowledge base?

The Security Settings for your knowledge base (Settings > Security) determine the general security requirements for readers to access your knowledge base.

The files you upload to your knowledge base--PDFs, Excel sheets, screenshots, Word documents, etc.--do not automatically use this same security.

By default, even if your knowledge base requires login, the files you've uploaded do not require login. This is by design so that you can give customers the link to specific documents and they can easily download the file by clicking on that link or URL without having to log in to your knowledge base.

However, you can adjust your security settings so that readers have to be logged in to access files and images stored within your knowledge base.