Story Lite notes and storyboard Rotating Header Image

Help Story Lite software

NEWS: Upgrade to Notes Story Board – the creative upgrade to Story Lite – with how to write ebooks bundle!

For a fast introduction please see the How to Use Story Lite page >


  • Boxes can be dragged about at their top
  • Move around the whole layout by clicking on the Canvas background (shows a Hand) and dragging
  • Use the Info Map and the red box  (top left) to change view

Border colour for a Box – you have to set the Box Border Width in Preferences first. It is 0 by default.

Preferences for lots of settings:

Prefs are on the File menu

or right click on the background Canvas area.

For more on Preferences, see bottom of this page.

Templates: File / Open templates gets to a folder
full of different template examples, some are empty box layouts (3,4,5 boxes etc),
and some are examples of it in use.
The folder is set in your Preferences, default is in Program files for Story Lite.

You can save them into the Templates folder, then manually change the extension from .sto to .stp

Sorry about this method! If file extensions are not showing go to (PC) control panel, appearance, folder options.

DEFINITION of terms – see after the Help content.


The View

Your  view is of a Canvas with many boxes on it, each box is
an editor for text. Images can also be loaded.

Info Map

This is the small map in top left. It is interactive, you
can drag the red box (the View) around to see your layout of Boxes.

How to move about

The easiest way to move around is by clicking and dragging
on the Canvas background.

How to move quickly from one Box to the next or previous Box

Ctrl Tab for next Box
Shift Ctrl Tab for previous Box

How to move Boxes around on the Canvas

Just click at the top of the Box and drag it about.

Boxes are not in any stack order, they are all at the same level ‘vertically’; but clicking on one to select it will bring it to the front.

Add box and Clone box – this box will appear on top of the others.

Delete / Add Box

Delete is done with the small x at top right.

Add Box is on the top menu bar. Added on top of the other boxes.

Application settings

These are the window size that the application opens with.

Canvas settings

This is what you work with, the actual size of the
background area. This is usually bigger than your view.

Use click and drag to move the Canvas around (it looks as if
the Boxes are moving, it is the background).

Scroll buttons and Canvas size

If you use the Scroll buttons it expands the Canvas – but this
is not easily visible. The actual size of the Canvas is always in File menu / Statistics.

Moving around the view

The scroll buttons at edges of the view actually add
space to the canvas, that you can then move boxes or your layout into.

It looks as if the View is moving.

So just make extra space, then drag your boxes around.

If you can’t see all the Boxes, use Zoom to reduce the view
– a 50% view will show more Canvas.

Outside the Canvas

Reset View

Panic button – if you get lost this is your way to reset the
boxes back to the top left corner, with 100% view.

Editing text

Editing text

All text editing controls are in the top panel (windows) or
top of screen (Java/Apple).

Windows:  panel only shows up when you move your cursor over
it (this auto select is on a Preference, can also be click to auto select).

This panel only shows up when you move your cursor over it
(this auto select is on a Preference, can also be click to auto select).

Windows:  there are many small buttons in this panel,
they do not show if the box is too small. Zoom in to edit all of them.

Most are obvious.


Color background of the box.

Color and width of the box border.

Text font color.

Text background color (each letter or whatever is selected).


Text can have font color, and box can have background color.

Use color  to make titles and headings, alerts and warnings.


If your writing is going slow, make some inspirational,
character-building, life-enhancing, weird, stupid or downright rude titles
around your main text.


These have a border width and border color. Use this to help
visual grouping as a memory aid.


For instance, all:

Characters can have their own red border box, or a
pale color background to the box.

Places, blue border/background.

Plotlines, green border/background.

Use whatever colors you want.


Zoom slider control is on top bar.

Zoom level is saved with document.

Zoom type:

There are two Zoom types. It is as if your view of the
canvas is going up and down a vertical (out of the screen) Z plane slider. This
is the 3D aspect of the application.

1/ Center zoom – this zoom in and out from the mid-point of
the view (not extents).

2/ Top-left zoom – zoom from top left corner.

3/ Zoom Extents – shows all the Boxes.

Reset View

This sets Zoom to 100% and position the Box layout into the
top left. This is useful if you get lost in the Canvas.


If you have a creative block or are bored, slide the Zoom
control up and down, fast or slow, in time to music or just go mad with it (it
will not break off). This will make you feel much better about your work.


Canvas is a strange concept as in theory it goes on forever.
But we only show the area that has boxes on it. Zoom goes in and out of this,
as if the viewer is on a slider going up and down (in the z axis).

Scroll buttons

These are used instead of normal scroll bars as we had
problems linking it all together using them. In Windows version, you can switch
them back  on again as well as the scroll buttons.

These add extra Canvas space – and the Box layout moves to
show it being created.

If the extra Canvas space is already present just not in
View, it just moves into that space.

Background color

This applies to the overall background (the ‘canvas’). You
can have any color you want. Color does not carry on to Export.


Again if bored make your background color something
startling, pink, orange, lime green etc. Use two monitors for red and green and
go 3D.


Try these out.

Automatically select box on mouse over – this means a box
will become selected just by moving the mouse cursor over it.

For more on Preferences, see bottom of this page.


Using on a smaller screen? Or larger?

Set your preferred window size, background colors, etc, in
Preferences; this will be used for your New docs from then on. You can also
save a default document with zoom level and types of boxes and use this to make
a set of different Story files. Some of these are in the example files so use
those or edit them to suit. This is for:

Desktop computer with large screen.

Netbook with small screen.

Phone screen.


Usual controls here. If you want to export for more layout
controls, do so.


This lets you move your work outside of Story software into
a word processor, graphics editor etc.

Text formatting is exported (bold, font face, size etc).

Save as… to Export and Publish button

Save as… also lets you choose the format, normal Sto file,
html (web), rtf (text with formatting.

v2.2 has a Publish button on top right of toolbar which has the same commands, plus a link to a page on exporting to WordPress, Facebook etc.

To get an overall export of the layout as you have made it,

Export Story Image

This takes an image of the view you have – not to extents of
all boxes.

So arrange your view before exporting. (This will soon have
a ‘to extents’ export in case you have a vast canvas).

It makes the image to clipboard (memory) or saves it as a
PNG file.


This works on text (and text formatting like color) edits
only (with Ctrl z as usual), and has a history so just keep on going back in
time. But no Redo.

Canvas features and Box drags etc, zooms, etc., are not on
any undo so Save as (temporary name) before you go off on a major


If you want to try some major edits on a story, just make a
new box the same size and copy/paste all the text into it, or use File/Clone Box.
Then edit one of them. Or make several and edit in different styles and
directions. Box Clone is in the Java version.

This means you can mess about as much as you like.


The canvas is a big as you want. If you drag a box to the
bottom right corner, it will stutter, as due to the scale, new bits of canvas are
added before you drag into them.


We expect people to give us feedback on using the software
as it is very open ended – the controls are simple and obvious, anything can be
done. Small canvas, huge canvas, many or few boxes, colors, plain…


Words used in Story software


The overall background on which the Boxes rest


An editing or editor box.

This is a multifunction Box, text, colors, images. Can be
resized and dragged about.


The bit of the canvas that you see, zoomed in or out, is
called the ‘view’.


The overall Application window that the software creates and
is within, is called the ‘window’


The canvas area bounded by the outermost boxes – the whole
working area whether visible or not.

Zoom, zooming

The scale of the view of boxes and canvas. The Zoom slider
varies continually from 0-2% to 100%

Center view and corner zoom types (see Preferences) scale
the canvas and the boxes; flower center view scales the boxes only, leaving the
canvas the same.

Imagine a slider going up and down from the computer screen,
straight out to your eye; the scale depends on how far you are on that slider.

The percentage shown is the layout dimension scaling, caused
by this sliding.

Zoomable user interface or ZUI

Story software has a zoomable user interface or ZUI – the
canvas, zoom, drag etc.


The layout is how you lay out the boxes on the canvas area, by
dragging into position. Examples are available; see these to get some ideas.
How much of your layout is visible in the view depends on the zoom.

Drag, dragging

Moving a box around the canvas, is called ‘dragging’.

Click and press on the top editing area when selected.

Resize, resizing

Changing the size of a box is called ‘resizing’. This is
done with the usual small handles on the corners and sides of the box.

Pan, panning

Moving the view up or down when zoomed in, using the scroll
bars, or pressing the mouse button down when over the canvas, to use the hand
icon, is called ‘panning’.


These are the defaults that can be edited, off File menu, or
right click on Canvas.

Window start up size can be controlled, to give a default
for smaller or larger devices.

There are many settings here, including box border width (as this is same for all boxes in v1.1)

The Preferences file is stored in:

[name-user-account]/Story Software/Story lite/

Copyright Geoff Davis 2010-2011

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