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Tutorials

Note: Unless indicated otherwise, all references to 'MyStuff2' apply to all three versions.

Need help with a topic not covered here? Use the support page to ask a question.

General Information

How do I get help in MyStuff2?

MyStuff2 comes with context-sensitive help. If you need help for any screen in MyStuff2, double-tap on the screen's title to display help about that screen. The help screen works much like a Web browser. As you read the help text, there may be links to other screens. Tapping these links will bring up the help for that other screen.

On the iPad you may move around and resize the help screen. This allows you to read the help information while working with MyStuff2.

How much data can I store in MyStuff2?

MyStuff2 Lite has a limit of 15 items. The other versions of MyStuff2 have no limit on the number of items. I have tested MyStuff2 with over 16,000 items loaded.

You can add images and item attachments until you run out of storage space on your iOS device. However, there is a practical limit imposed by iOS. When you use the built-in backup feature of MyStuff2, a zip file is created that contains all data, images, and attachments. Due to limits imposed by iOS, this zip file can't be larger than 4GB. So even though, in theory, you can store much more data in MyStuff2, you won't be able to use MyStuff2's backup feature (or an export) if the resulting file is larger than 4GB.

Do you have plans for a version of MyStuff2 for Android/Windows/Mac?

I have no plans to support MyStuff2 on any system other than iOS. I have enough work planned for MyStuff2 on iOS to keep me busy for a couple of years. I simply do not have the time to create a completely separate version for Android or Windows. Even supporting OS X (Mac) would require a tremendous amount of work.

Adding Data

Where did the + button go?

Under the right circumstances MyStuff2 will switch to read-only mode. When this happens the + button at the bottom of the item list screen won't appear, all Edit buttons will be disabled, and the "Import Data" and "Restore Data" buttons on the Data Transfer screen won't appear.

If the current database is a shared database, you should first check the Why is my database read-only on the Data Sync page. If none of those apply, continue with the following information.

To fix this problem you need to force close MyStuff2 and then start it again. When you restart (do not delete) MyStuff2, iOS will prompt you to log into your iTunes account. Once you do, MyStuff2 will work again as expected. This will only need to be done once.

Please note that it is iOS, not MyStuff2, asking for your iTunes login. MyStuff2, like any other iOS app, is not given your iTunes username or password. MyStuff2 is only told whether the login was successful or not.

How do I add my movies, books, or other stuff?

Welcome to MyStuff2. You've downloaded and run the app and you are now looking at a list of Categories. MyStuff2 comes with several sample categories for adding your items. Let's add your movies as an example. Adding items to the other sample categories would be the same.

  1. From the main Categories screen tap on Movies (but not on the circled arrow icon).
  2. You will now be on the Item List screen and it is titled Movies. The title will match whatever category, location, or action you choose.
  3. The list is currently empty since you have not yet added any new items. Tap the + icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen to bring up the New Item screen.
  4. On the New Item screen you enter all the information about one of your movies. You have three ways to add the movie's information.
    1. Type in a value for each category attribute (title, genre, format, etc.).
    2. Search Amazon by tapping the search icon in the bottom toolbar.
    3. Scan or enter the movie's barcode by tapping the barcode icon in the bottom toolbar.
  5. You can add images to your item by tapping the Add Image row. You may add up to 10 images.
  6. You can set the item's location by tapping the row labeled 'location' near the top. MyStuff2 comes with a set of sample locations. See the Locations screen to setup your own locations.
  7. Once you have added all the information about the movie tap the Save button. The movie will now be listed on the Item List screen.
  8. If you plan to add several movies at a time you should tap the 'multi-add' icon at the bottom of the New Item screen. This makes adding multiple items easier.
How do I add two movies, books, or CDs, etc. with the same title?

By default, most of the sample categories that come with MyStuff2 are setup to prevent duplicates. But there are cases where you may wish to enter two items with the same name or title into the same category.

Since MyStuff2 can be tailored to suit your own needs, this can be easily changed. Let us use the Music sample category as an example. You may have two CDs with the same title. To allow for this, please do the following:

  1. From the main Cateogries screen, tap on the circled arrow icon to the right of the Music category.
  2. On the Category screen, tap on the "title" attribute.
  3. On the Edit Attribute screen, turn off the Unique property.
  4. Tap Save on the Edit Attribute screen.
  5. Return back to the main Categories screen.

At this point you can now add two items with the same title to the Music category.

How do I solve the "Unable to process the file 'xyz'" message when adding an attachment?

When you choose to add an attachment from another app, a message appears in MyStuff2 telling you to launch the other app. Only tap the Cancel button if you decide you don't want to add an attachment. Otherwise, leave the message in place and go to the other app.

Viewing Data

Why do all my items show up as [No Value] on the item list?

MyStuff2 shows [No Value] for an item on an item list under a few different conditions.

  • The item is assigned to a category that has no attributes. Please make sure you have added the desired attributes to your category.
  • The item is assigned to a category with attributes but you have not entered any values into any of the attributes for the item.
  • Even if you entered some values for one or more category attributes you may still see [No Value]. The value displayed in the item list is the item's title. The item's title is defined on the Item Display section of the category. If the item doesn't have any values for any of the attributes setup under the category's Item Display then [No Value] is displayed.

Please note that values entered into custom item attributes do not count. Also remember that custom item attributes should rarely be used. If you find that you are adding them to most of your items then you should reconsider using appropriate category attributes.

How do I see a price total for my items?

MyStuff2 provides a summary view of your data. View a desired list of items you wish to summarize. Do this by selecting a category, location, or action. Optionally apply a filter as desired. Once the list contains the items you wish to summarize, tap the Summary icon at the bottom of the item list screen (the icon with the Greek letter Sigma Σ). This brings up the Summary screen.

The Summary screen shows a summary of the attributes associated with the items in the item list. The summary data shown for each attribute can be configured individually. This is done by editing the associated category and then setting the desired value for each attribute's Summary property.

So to see a price summary of your items you must first be sure your category (or categories) have some sort of "price" attribute. Make sure the Summary property of "price" attribute at least has the "Total" value selected. Then, of course, you need to make sure your items have their price value filled in. Now view the item list and tap the summary icon.

Setting Up Categories

How do I customize one of the sample categories to better suit my needs?

The sample categories are great to get started quickly but everyone has different needs. Let's walk through an example of changing the sample Movie category to keep track of when you last watched a movie. Each piece of information you wish to keep track of is called an attribute in MyStuff2. Other terms used might be field or column.

  1. To modify a category you must return to the main Categories screen.
  2. Tap the circled arrow icon to the right of the category. This takes you to the Category screen where you can make all kinds of changes to the category.
  3. In this example we wish to add a new attribute. Tap the Edit button on the Category screen and then tap the Add Attribute row. This brings you to the New Attribute screen.
  4. Enter a name for your new attribute. By convention your attribute names should be in all lowercase but this is not a requirement.
  5. You should now pick an appropriate Type for the attribute. Since we want to add a date in this example you should tap Type and then select Date from the list of types.
  6. Feel free to set any of the other attribute properties as you see fit. The defaults should be enough to get you started.
  7. Tap Save to save the new attribute and return to the Category screen.
  8. You can change the order of the attributes. Press and hold on the drag handle to the right of each attribute and drag the attribute up or down to the desired location.
  9. Once you are done making changes to the category tap the Done button.
  10. Return to the main Categories screen and tap on Movies to see your list of movies. Tap on a movie and you will now see the new 'last watched' attribute (or whatever new attribute you added).
How do I create my own category?

One of the many strengths of MyStuff2 is that it can be setup to keep track of whatever information you want, not just those of the sample categories. The following basic steps can be used to create and setup your own category. Much of this information also applies to making changes to an existing category.

  1. To add a new category you must return to the main Categories screen.
  2. Tap the Edit button and tap the Add Category row. This brings you to the New Category screen.
  3. At a minimum you need to give your new category a name and at least one attribute. Tap Add Attribute for each new attribute you wish to add to the category.
  4. Most likely you want to configure the category's Item Display. This allows you to specify exactly how this category's items will be displayed on the Item List screen. This includes the title and subtitle lines as well as any colors you wish to use.
  5. If you plan to use Amazon search or barcode scanning to add items to this new category then you need to setup the category's Product Mappings.
  6. Once you have configured the new category tap the Save button. The new category will now appear on the Categories screen.
How do I use an icon for a category instead of a color dot?

Starting with MyStuff2 2.0 you have three methods for setting some sort of icon to be used for each category and group.

  • Color Dot
  • Symbol/Emoji
  • Image

This makes it even easier to tell an item's category when looking at an item list.

To set the icon start from the main Categories screen in MyStuff2. Tap the circled arrow icon to the right of the category. On the Category screen tap on Item Display. Scroll down to the Icon and Colors section. Tap on the circled arrow to the right of Icon to choose which type of icon you want.

Note: In order to use Emoji characters as a symbol you must first ensure that the Emoji keyboard has been enabled on your iOS device. Run the Settings app on your iOS device. Go to General, then Keyboard, and then International Keyboards. If Emoji is not shown in the upper list then tap on Add New Keyboard.... On the Add New Keyboard screen tap on Emoji.

If the "Category Color Dots" setting in MyStuff2 is set to OFF then no icon will be shown for any category or group.

If you used MyStuff2 1.4.x then you may note that setting up an icon is now different. You no longer need to add an Emoji character to the category's name to set the symbol.

Barcode Scanning and Amazon Integration

How do I add items via barcode scanning?

Assuming you are using an iOS device with a camera you do the following:

  1. Pick any category, location, or action so you are viewing its list of items.
  2. Tap the + icon at the bottom right corner of the Item List screen.
  3. On the New Item screen tap the barcode icon at the bottom.
  4. Scan the barcode with device's camera.
  5. Once the barcode is scanned a search will be performed against Amazon. If a single match is found then the new item will be populated. If more than one product is found then you must pick one from the presented list. If the barcode is not found at Amazon then a message will appear indicating that no match was found.

If the new item has no category then you will be asked to select an appropriate category based on the matching product.

If the matching product is associated with a different category than is currently selected then you will be given a few choices on how to proceed.

If you are using an iOS device with no camera you still have two options. You can manually type in the barcode number or if you have a picture of a barcode in your photo library you can select the image and the barcode image will be scanned.

I'm having a hard time scanning barcodes with my iPad 2 or 4th generation iPod touch.

Unfortunately the cameras found on the iPad 2 and the 4th generation iPod touch are not very good compared to other iOS devices. Some people seem to have little to no issues scanning with these devices while others have no success at all. If you are having issues scanning barcodes with MyStuff2 on either of these devices there is an option that should help. But first make sure you are using plenty of good light on the barcode. Good lighting is critical to a good scan.

MyStuff2 can be setup to use another, free, iOS app to perform the barcode scanning. This other app, pic2shop, seems to do better at scanning on these two devices. To enable the use of pic2shop (or pic2shop pro) run MyStuff2, go to Tools, then Settings. Scroll to the bottom and tap on Barcode Scanning. Select pic2shop.

Now add a new item and tap the barcode icon as usual. On the Scan Barcode screen you will now see a Scan with Pic2Shop button instead of the camera view. If you do not yet have pic2shop installed then the button will be labeld Install Pic2Shop. Tap the button to be taken to the App Store app so you can install pic2shop. After it is installed return to MyStuff2 and the button should now sat Scan with Pic2Shop. Tap the Scan with Pic2Shop button to launch pic2shop and scan a barcode. You will be returned to MyStuff2 which will process the scanned barcode and retrieve the data from Amazon.

How do I use pic2shop with MyStuff2?

MyStuff2 can be setup to use another, free, iOS app to perform the barcode scanning. This other app, pic2shop, seems to do better at scanning on the iPad 2 and 4th generation iPod touch. To enable the use of pic2shop (or pic2shop pro) run MyStuff2, go to Tools, then Settings. Scroll to the bottom and tap on Barcode Scanning. Select pic2shop.

Now add a new item and tap the barcode icon as usual. On the Scan Barcode screen you will now see a Scan with Pic2Shop button instead of the camera view. If you do not yet have pic2shop installed then the button will be labeld Install Pic2Shop. Tap the button to be taken to the App Store app so you can install pic2shop. After it is installed return to MyStuff2 and the button should now sat Scan with Pic2Shop. Tap the Scan with Pic2Shop button to launch pic2shop and scan a barcode. You will be returned to MyStuff2 which will process the scanned barcode and retrieve the data from Amazon.

How do I get Amazon data loaded for my own categories?

The sample categories provided with MyStuff2 are already setup to get data from Amazon. When you create your own categories you must perform this setup yourself. After setting up your category as described above, you need to tap on Product Mappings on the Category screen.

On the Product Mapping screen you must first select one or more Product Departments appropriate for the category. The more departments you select the slower Amazon lookups will be. So only pick the ones you really need. After you pick the needed department or departments you must map your category attributes to the appropriate product attributes.

Now when you scan a barcode or perform an Amazon search, any category attributes having a product attribute mapping will be filled in the new item.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Not all category attributes have to be mapped to a product attribute. Any unmapped category attributes can be filled in manually.
  • There is no guarantee that a given product will have data for all mapped attributes. MyStuff2 can only add whatever data Amazon happens to have for the product.

Data Transfer

How do I keep my data synchronized across multiple devices?

As of MyStuff2 4.0 you can setup automatic data sync. For complete details please see the Data Sync page. If you are using an older version of MyStuff2 and you are unable to update, you will need to manually transfer data between devices. See below for more details.

Keep in mind these methods are not foolproof so please be very careful. I strongly suggest you always make use of MyStuff2's built-in backup feature to save your data first just incase things get messed up. You can always restore your data from the backup and try something else.

One possible approach is to always treat one device as the "master" and any other devices as the "slaves". All data changes must be done only on the master. The slave devices must only be used for looking at the data. After you make some changes on the master device you perform a backup using the built-in backup feature. Then on each slave device you perform a restore using the backup file created from the master device. This is a bit of a sledgehammer approach but it may work for you.

If you need to be more selective about the data you synchronize or you don't wish to have a single master device you can make use of MyStuff2's built-in Import and Export features. Let's say you added some new movies to your Movie category and want to add them to another device.

  1. On your device you would view the Movie category then create a filter that only shows items created since a specific date. Or you can create a filter that shows items updated or created since a certain date.
  2. Once your movie item list only contains the movies you wish to export, tap the Actions icon at the bottom of the Items screen and select Share Items.
  3. On the Export Settings screen make sure the correct category and filter are selected. Export the data using the desired method.
  4. On the other device import the data using the appropriate method. On the Import Settings screen make sure the correct category is selected.
  5. Make sure the appropriate choices are selected to deal with duplicate items. This is where you need to be careful to avoid unexpected data loss.
How do I import existing lists into MyStuff2?

It is quite possible you already have lists of items in some other application or maybe in a spreadsheet. The first step in being able to import this data into MyStuff2 is exporting the existing data into a format that MyStuff2 supports. As of MyStuff2 2.0 you can import CSV (comma separated values) or TSV (tab separated values) files, Excel (xlsx only) spreadsheets, and Open Document Format spreadsheets (ods). Many applications have some sort of export feature. Please refer to your application's documentation or help on how to export the data as a CSV or TSV file, or one of the spreadsheet formats.

See one of the more specific topics below on details about how to actually import a CSV file or a spreadsheet file.

How do I import a CSV file into MyStuff2?

A CSV file is a plain text file that generally uses one line for each list item. Each value is separated by a comma, tab, or other character (hence the name). MyStuff2 can handle several possible separators (field delimiters).

Ideally the resulting CSV file should use a text encoding called UTF-8. This is especially important if your data uses any characters beyond the simple letters A-Z, numbers 0-9, and some standard punctuation. Any uses of accented letters, characters from languages using a different alphabet such as Greek, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. must ensure that the CSV file is encoded using UTF-8. Use of the incorrect encoding will likely result in the imported data being garbled.

Once you have an appropriate CSV file containing the items you wish to import you can follow these steps to get the data into MyStuff2:

  1. Run MyStuff2 and go to the Tools screen by tapping on the Tools icon (looks like a gear).
  2. Tap on Data Transfer to bring up the Data Transfer screen.
  3. Tap on the circled arrow to the left if Import Data and select the appropriate Data Transfer Method appropriate for the location of the CSV file.
  4. Tap on Import Data. Depending on your chosen Data Transfer Method, you will be presented a screen allowing you to select the CSV file.
  5. Once the selected file has found its way into MyStuff2 you will be presented the Import Settings screen. You can perform multiple imports from the selected file. If the imported file contained multiple CSV files then you will see one entry per CSV file.
  6. For each CSV file verify all settings under CSV File Format are correct. MyStuff2 analyzes the CSV file and takes a best guess at the various delimiter values. However you must be sure the Header Row is correct as well as verify the delimiters match what you used when creating the CSV file. The Date Format and Duration Format settings must be appropriate to any date or duration values you may have in the CSV file.
  7. Select the category the imported items are to be imported into. Tap Add Category on the Category selection screen to create a new category for the imported data.
  8. If the imported data doesn't have a column specifying each item's location, you can select a location.
  9. The Column Mapping screen allows you to specify where each column in the CSV file is to be assigned. You do not need to use ever column and not every property and attribute needs to be assigned to a column. Once you have completed the column mapping tap the Done button to begin the actual import.
  10. Under Import Item Processing you can select settings to deal with any duplicate items encounterd during the import.
  11. Once you have verified all of the Import Settings are correct, tap the Continue button to start the actual import.
  12. Depending on the amount of text on each line of the CSV file, how many rows are in the CSV file, and the speed of your iOS device, the import can take anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes or more. You should let the import complete with no interruption. You can tap the Cancel button to abort the import for any reason.
  13. Once all of the data has been processed you will be shown a summary telling you how many items were imported, how many were skipped, how many duplicates were found, and a list of any invalid data (such as a date value that wasn't valid).
  14. After reviewing the summary you can choose to keep the imported data, review the newly imported items, or cancel the import. So far no existing items have been changed or deleted.
  15. If you choose to import the new items then existing items will be deleted if appropriate and all of the new items will be added.
  16. If you choose to review the new items you will be able to see a list of the new items and you will be able to look at each one but you will not be able to make any changes. This review is so you can decide if everything was imported as expected. If you realize something is wrong such as using the wrong encoding on the CSV file or you mapped a CSV column to the wrong attribute you can tap Cancel to abort the import. If the data looks good then tap the Import button to complete the import.
Why is the Import button disabled on the Import Settings screen?

When you choose to import data, MyStuff2 needs to know a lot of information to be able to complete the import. MyStuff2 makes an attempt to determine as much of this information as it can but sometimes it can't find all of the needed answers. When this happens, the Import button will be disabled on the Import Settings screen. This means you need to provide more details. Under the Import Data section you will see one or more rows with red text. It is the rows in red that need your attention.

Tapping on a red row will bring up the Data Settings screen. Make sure each value on this screen is correct. In most cases the required action is to choose a category. MyStuff2 needs to know which category your data is to be imported into. If you need to import the data into a new category, tap on Add Category from the Caetgory screen. MyStuff2 will offer a new category based on the data being imported. Make any adjustments to the new category as needed. Then save the new category.

Once a category has been selected, be sure to double check the Column Mappings at the bottom of the Data Setting screen. This screen allows you to specify how the data in inported file is to be entered into the category.

How do I include images when I import data?

Including images along with your imported data takes a little bit more setup than just importing a plain CSV file or spreadsheet. The basic idea is you create a zip file that contains the CSV file or spreadsheet and all of the associated images. You need to add one more column to the CSV file or spreadsheet. For each item in the CSV file or spreadsheet that has one or more images you enter their paths into this additional column.

Let's walk through an example to make this clear. Let's pretend I have a CSV file with a few items (the steps for a spreadsheet are the same). It might look like this:

    Title,Note
    Item 1 title,Item 2 note
    Item 2 title,"Creative titles, no?"
    Another Item,"See, that was different."

Now let's say we have two images for item 1, none for item 2, and 1 image for the last item. Create a directory on your computer and put the CSV file and all the images into the directory. Now edit the CSV file and add a new column with the names of the images. The updated CSV file might look like this:

    Title,Note,Images
    Item 1 title,Item 2 note,image1.png|image2.png
    Item 2 title,"Creative titles, no?",
    Another Item,"See, that was different.",funstuff.png

Please note the use of the vertical bar character '|' between the names of the images for the first item. It is possible to use a different character. Make sure you select the appropriate 'Multi-value Delimiter' on the Import Settings screen. The vertical bar is the default for MyStuff2.

If you have many items and many images you may not want all of the images in the same directory as the CSV file. If you want you can create one or more other subdirectories to hold the images. The images must be in a subdirectory below the directory containing the CSV file. For example:

  • .../data/
    • mydata.csv
    • item 1 images/
      • image1.png
      • image2.png
    • item 3 images/
      • funstuff.png

With that directory setup your CSV file would look like this:

    Title,Note,Images
    Item 1 title,Item 2 note,item 1 images/image1.png|item 1 images/image2.png
    Item 2 title,"Creative titles, no?",
    Another Item,"See, that was different.",item 3 images/funstuff.png

The important thing to know here is that the value you add for the image in the CSV file must be a path to the image relative to the CSV file itself within the zip file.

Once all the files are in place you need to zip them up.

Follow the usual steps for importing CSV data into MyStuff2. Just make note of these key points:

  • Select the zip file and not the CSV file for import into MyStuff2.
  • Ensure you select the proper 'Multi-value Delimiter' on the Import Settings screen so it matches whatever character you used to separate multiple image names for a given item.
  • On the Column Mapping screen make sure you map the Images property under Built-in Item Properties with the CSV column that contains the image names.
How do I transfer my data from one device to another?

You get home with your shiny new iOS device and get it all setup. You get all of your apps installed on the new device and you run MyStuff2. But all you see are the sample categories and no data. Now what?

Transferring your data from your old device to a new device is simple enough. At a high level you do a backup on the old device then you restore that data into MyStuff2 on the new device. Here are more detailed instructions:

On the old device with all the data:

  1. Run MyStuff2 and go to the Tools screen by tapping on the Tools icon (looks like a gear).
  2. Tap on Data Transfer to bring up the Data Transfer screen.
  3. Select the appropriate Data Transfer Method next to the Backup Data button.
  4. Tap on Backup Data. Depending on your chosen Data Transfer Method, you will be presented a screen allowing you to save the MyStuffBackup.msa file.

On the new device with no data:

  1. Run MyStuff2 and go to the Tools screen by tapping on the Tools icon (looks like a gear).
  2. Tap on Data Transfer to bring up the Data Transfer screen.
  3. Select the appropriate Data Transfer Method next to the Restore Button. This should be the same method used to do the backup.
  4. Tap on Restore Data. Depending on your chosen Data Transfer Method, you will be presented a screen allowing you to select the MyStuffBackup.msa file. Choose the same backup file you just created from the old device.
  5. Confirm you wish to restore the data.
What can I do about MyStuff2 backups getting too large?

If you add a lot of images to your items using your iOS device's camera then you may find that the backup file created by MyStuff2 is very large and it takes a lot of time to transfer. This is due to the fact that the camera images take up a lot of space. This is especially true on devices such as the iPhone 4s or iPad 3 which have high megapixel cameras.

By default, MyStuff2 keeps a copy of those images in their original full size. There is a setting you can change that will help reduce the size of these images. Run MyStuff2 and go to Tools then Settings. Near the bottom of the Settings screen is a setting named "Images Size". Choose a value for this setting that better meets your needs. Choosing a smaller value will reduce all existing images and all newly added images will be made smaller as appropriate.

Please keep in mind that once the images are made smaller there is no way to make them bigger again. I suggest you make a backup before choosing to make the images smaller. If you make them too small you can restore the original data and then try a different setting.