(Updated May 2016) 

We can spend a great deal of time sorting and arranging our projects, photos and artwork in Artisan software. So when moving Artisan to a new computer, the last thing we want is to do that organizing all over again! Fortunately, you don’t have to! But be warned – this method does involve some technical steps, so if you are not comfortable around computers, you might want to get some help! However, if you follow these steps carefully, you should not have any problems.

NOTE: This tip has been made available free to non-members; however, some of the links below may be available to members only.


Before moving anything from one computer to another, you should naturally back everything up. In fact I am sure you are backing up constantly, aren’t you? We have lots of tips about backing up – click HERE to view them. Make sure you have EVERYTHING backed up – your photos, your projects, your content, your fonts and your activation codes (both the program codes and the digital art kit codes).

You will need to copy all your files (projects, art kits) to your new computer. Exactly how you do that depends on your preference and how you have your computer set up. One suggestion would be to copy all your projects and art kits to an EHD (external hard drive).  Then it is easy to copy them from the EHD to the new computer, and you will have a backup copy on the EHD as a bonus. If your projects and content are already on an EHD,  you will save yourself that step.

Moving Artisan Software

You can’t “move” programs from one computer to another. You need to install the program onto your new computer. To install Artisan you will need your original download file. You can download Artisan from www.forever.com/downloads.  Artisan is licensed for a single user on two computers, so if you are moving it to a third computer, you will need to uninstall it from the old computer. However I recommend that you don’t do that until you have it up and running on the new computer.

For instructions on uninstalling, click here. It is not sufficient to simply delete the Artisan icon.

To activate Artisan on the new computer, enter the software activation code. If you still have your old computer, you can retrieve your activation code. Click here for help with that. If not, you hopefully have backed up your code, or you can retrieve it from your Forever account. The software should install without difficulty. You will need to log into your Forever account using the same email address and password you used when purchasing Artisan.  If this process does not work for any reason, you will see an on-screen message with instructions for manually activating the program.

Keeping Your Content Organized.

This tip details the process of backing up your content. Remember to back up your content on a regular basis. Once you have done that you will have saved a folder called “Artisan 5” that you found in the following location (Replace USERNAME with your own user name):

 C:/Users/USERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Forever/Artisan 5

You will need to copy that entire folder to the new computer. This must be done AFTER installing Artisan. Copy the folder to the SAME location on the new computer. You will almost certainly need to set the folder options to show hidden files, unless you have done that previously (see below). There will already be a folder of that name in that location – you should paste your Artisan 5 folder into the Forever folder in the location specified above. You will see a warning that there is already a file of the same name  in that location. Choose ‘Copy and Replace’.

If you can’t find the AppData folder on your computer, it may be a hidden folder. In that case you need to tick the option to show hidden files and folders. Exactly how to do that depends on your operating system. On the View tab, click Show hidden files, folders and drives. In Windows 8 & 10, open File Explorer, and on the View ribbon, make sure Hidden Items is checked.


In Windows 7, Click Start, and then click Control Panel, Click Appearance and Personalization, and then click Show Hidden Files and Folders. If your old computer used Windows XP, the folder you are looking for will be in this location: C:\ Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Forever (or it may be called Panstoria).

Adding Your Content to Artisan

If your content is on another internal drive (not the C Drive), or an EHD, you will need to make sure that the drive has the same letter that it had previously. HERE are the instructions for changing the Drive letter. Make sure you do this before opening Artisan.

When you open Artisan for the first time on the new computer, even if you have followed all the above steps, it may not look like there is any content. This is because you still need to tell Artisan where to look for content. In the Content Manager, click on Add folder to library. Browse to find the folder (or folders) where your content is located. Click the folder to select it and click OK.

Reconnecting art kits in Artisan.

Even if you can see all your art kits in the content manager, you will likely notice that the folder names are grayed out with big question marks on them. DO NOT PANIC. This is as expected. Artisan doesn’t know that you have moved this folder, so you need to tell it where you moved it.


Right-click on the folder and select Change folder location or remove folder.

In the list that will pop up, choose 4. I want to remove this folder location from my content library.

A warning will appear. Click yes. You will lose any category organization that you had created, but this will happen anyway, so you can ignore the warning.

Now you need to add the folder back to the library from the new location.

Click on Library > Add folder to library.

Importing your Activation Codes

Since you have already backed up your activation codes, it is a simple matter to import them into Artisan on the new computer. This can be done all at once. The backup will be in the form of a text file. Simply copy the text file to the new computer, and follow the instructions here to import them.


If you have succeeded, you should now be able to see all your content, organized in the folders you painstakingly organized previously. Congratulate yourself and go make some pages 🙂

Please note these instructions apply to Artisan only. SBC (StoryBook Creator) can no longer be moved to a new computer, since there is no support from Creative Memories, and therefore no way to activate the program. 


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150 Responses to Artisan Tip: Moving Artisan to a new computer

  1. Debbie Smith says:

    I have purchased a new laptop and am trying to get up to speed on what it will take to move everything from my desktop to the new laptop. I clicked on the link to find out how to copy the activation codes and it is telling me that this tip is not included in my membership! I have a full membership and do not know why it isn’t letting me click on this. 🙁

    • Jan says:

      Debbie, those tips have been archived as they were written for Artisan 4, but they should still be useful to you, so I have added you to the Artisan 4 membership level (as well as Artisan 5).

  2. Ruth Regas says:

    I just recently purchased Artisan 5 and windows 10. I had been running windows XP and Artisan 4. I have moved my content, blueprints and activation codes and am able to access the content. However, I am not able to access any predesigned pages or books. I am able to get to blueprints. Any suggestions? Thanks for all your help with this transition.

    • Ruth Regas says:

      The predesigned pages show up when I’m starting a new project but don’t show up when I want to add a page. Just wanted to clarify my problem.

      • Tameka says:

        Hello Ruth.
        When adding a predesigned page to your project, you need to go to the Home Ribbon> Add a page or Template> Use a template page from an art kit. The you need to select the drop down menu on the theme. That opens your content manager where you can navigate to the Library folder that contains the Predesigned kit.

        • Ruth Regas says:

          I have a new issue with adding a page. When I click on add a page this message comes up…..

          “This feature is not available when viewing more than one page at a time.”

          I’ve restarted the program and tried first thing and this message still comes up.
          So I haven’t been able to try your advice about predesigned pages.

          • Tameka says:

            That is not an issue. You have never been able to add a page to a project while in double page view. Change your view to “All” and then you can add all the pages that you want. After adding pages, return to double page view.

  3. Jackie Symons says:

    I am trying to copy the file Users/USERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Panstoria/Artisan 4 – I found it after click show hidden files but it ONLY HAS HISTORIAN 4 — does not list Panstoria.
    Jackie Symons

  4. Doneine Dickinson says:

    Is there any way to export the categories? I noticed they are not save in a folder so I was wondering if they get moved over when you move Artisan to a new computer? Same thing with tags.

  5. Kathy says:

    I just helped a client download Artisan 5 to a new computer and we moved her art kits and projects to the new computer as well. We followed the instructions here and all seemed fine but all her art kit names are grayed out and each kit on the right has a gray ? on top of it. The instructions say this, “Even if you can see all your art kits in the content manager, you will likely notice that the folder names are grayed out. In that case you need to … you will need to repeat the process for each folder.” We did what it told us to do here but all kits are still grayed out. Also, we can see her categories and the kits in them but they are grayed out as well. Thoughts? Thank you!

    • Shelley says:

      I have added some extra instructions in this tip. Sometimes you have to remove the library folder and add it back in the same location. All the steps are not outlined in this tip.

      • Kathy says:

        ok. bummer. We moved that Artisan 5 folder from the old computer so that we would not lose the organiztion. So what happened? Should we uninstall and reinstall A5 and replace that file again. Do you think it would work correctly the second time around? Thanks for your help and the added info above.

        • Shelley says:

          Unfortunately categories are somehow linked to the original folder the content is in, so any change will result in losing the category organization. There’s no way around that.

      • plummerd63 says:

        After I follow the instructions and select Add Folder to Library, my computer asked me what Folder I want to add and the Desktop selections are all listed. The Desktop is highlighted so I said yes and the message I received is The specified Folder is already included in the content library. I still can’t se my commercial kits. Any help is appreciated.

  6. Clare says:

    Hello, I’m having the same issue as Suzy did back in June (see first post on this thread), and this was your response: “Sometimes that does happen, but it’s easily fixed. Even though Artisan appears to know where your content is, there is a link that’s somehow broken. If you tell Artisan you have moved the files, but then give it the original location as the “new” location, that will reset those broken links.” How do I go about the original location as the new location? Thank you.

  7. Suzy says:

    I just put a new hard drive in my windows 10 laptop. I followed all the directions here, but when I go into Artisan my thumbnails and tags and categories are there, but they are all grayed out with a white circle and gray question mark on them. I’ve clicked to change the directory, but they are already pointed at the right directory. If I click on the blue link at the top of the screen, it takes me to the right directory, and all the files are there. I’m not sure what else to do. Any suggestions?

    • Shelley says:

      Sometimes that does happen, but it’s easily fixed. Even though Artisan appears to know where your content is, there is a link that’s somehow broken. If you tell Artisan you have moved the files, but then give it the original location as the “new” location, that will reset those broken links.

      • Suzy says:

        I have done that, but the question marks still don’t go away. I don’t know what else to try. I’ve tried changing it using the option #2 “I moved this folder to a new location or drive” and option #3 “The drive letter of the disk for this folder location has changed.” but both ways it just stays a grayed out kit with a question mark.

        I’m wondering if it has to do with my file structure. I have my kits in c:/users/public/documents/ then in three different directories, Designer Content, Personal Art Kits, and Commercial Art Kits. Within those directories are, for example, a folder with a designer’s name, that has multiple folders with each of their kits stored separately. Commercial has a folder for each type of content (e.g. overlays, additions, Click and Fill pages, etc.) and then the package files in those directories.

        The only other thing I can think of is that maybe it is something to do with windows 10. Are you pixies on windows 10 yet?

        Any other ideas?

        • Suzy says:

          Oh, and oddly enough, on the personal art kits, if I open it with the edit art kit button, it will take me to the active and not grayed out elements of the kit, but when I “x” out of the edit art kit window, it’s still gray with a question mark.

          • Shelley says:

            If you are still having trouble, send some screen shots of your library folders and the windows directories to info@pixels2pages.net and I’ll see what I can figure out. But I suspect if you get rid of the sub-folders you’ll be OK.

        • Shelley says:

          It might be the folders inside folders that is your problem. Each Library folder must contain only kits, no sub-folders. This tip might help.

          • Suzy says:

            Well, I’m still not sure what the problem is, but I found that if I delete the file from my library and then re-add it, it will index exactly half of the content – every other file. Then, when I exit and re-start Artisan, it will index the other half of the content. Of course, I lose my categories this way, but I have a crop on Tuesday, and I need to have my content, and at least all my tags are there, which I use way more than categories.

            The file structure is exactly the same as I had it before I upgraded to Windows 10, and works fine once I delete and re-add, so I don’t know what the issue is. Each folder that contains kits does contain only kits, it is just that there are a lot of them.

            Honestly, I was more worried about tags anyway, so I better get to re-adding and deleting.

          • Shelley says:

            That’s a mystery then, but I’m glad you got it working!

  8. Karen Thompson says:

    Preparing to move artisan 5 to my new computer. Unable to locate the artisan file in spite of extensive search including hidden files

  9. Cindy Rold says:

    I keep changing the drive letter, but nothing happens. It continues to show Z, even though I have changed it to E. Any suggestions?

    • Shelley says:

      I wonder if the E drive is already being used for a DVD drive or USB port? Changing the drive letter usually works best with a letter further down the alphabet.

  10. jewels75 jewels75 says:

    I am getting a new computer so will be upgrading to Artisan from SBC. Would it be easier to install Artisan on my old computer first? Can I go straight to Artisan 5 or do I have to get Artisan 4 first? Will all my content, projects, etc. transfer over?

  11. Phyllis says:

    Working with a customer and helping her with loading A4 on her new computer (she hasn’t purchased A5 yet). We did all these steps however, the “Fonts” folder is still grayed out… what drive letter would she put in “Change Folder Location” for that folder? She uses an External Hard Drive for her artwork and has a specific letter designated for that EHD.
    Thanks for help.

    • Shelley says:

      The fonts folder doesn’t have a drive letter. It’s an automatic folder created by Artisan. I’m wondering if she maybe created a folder called Fonts, thinking that was what she needed to do. The folder in Artisan 4 should be called “Installed Fonts”. If she has a folder that’s simply called Fonts it should be deleted, I would think.

  12. Kelly McKinley says:

    Need a new scrapbooking program, but want it for my mac. Any options? Have a parallel program.

  13. Liz says:

    Hi Shelly,

    I am currently trying to transition from SBC on an old computer to Artisan 5 on my new computer and worried about upgrading between computers. I downloaded Artisan 5 to my old computer to make the transition easier, but it won’t run on Vista, even though it is 64 bit. When I went in the C:/Users/USERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Panstoria…. I found a Artisan 4 file with only 14KB, as well as my SBC4 with 4.02MB and SBC4.0 with 129KB. Even though I have not run Artisan on my old computer, do I still copy the Artisan 4 file to keep my categories in tact? Will it automatically update to the Artisan 5? I greatly appreciate your help!

    • Shelley says:

      Liz I’m not sure that the SBC file will work in Artisan 5. If you want you can test it. Make a copy of the folder on your new computer and save it somewhere else, then copy the SBC file & see what happens. But I’m wondering if that’s necessary – it might be easier to redo your categories. New computer, fresh start!

  14. Pam says:

    Hi Shelley, I looked further at older comments and found your answer to a similar question – so I persisted and have succeeded in putting my content on my new computer. Thanks for your help.

  15. Pam says:

    Hi Shelley, I would love some help in the steps I need to follow to transfer from Storybook 4 on an old laptop to Artisan 4 on a new laptop. Would it be better to load Artisan 5 on the old computer before transferring the whole lot to the new computer?? It is definitely a strain on my old grey brain!! Thanks

  16. Rhona Collinson says:

    I have just had an upgrade on my computer to make it 64 bit [for Artisan 5]. The upgrade has involved giving me a new C drive and saving all my content on the old hard drive which is now F Drive. I have redownloaded Artisan 4 from my account at Panstoria on to C Drive, but cannot follow how to bring the content in from F Drive. I note that you say to give the drive the same letter, but this is not possible. I have found the Panstoria / Artisan 4 Folder in F Drive, but don’t see how to bring up the content. Thanks for your help.

    • Shelley says:

      Keeing the same drive letter is only significant if you want to maintain all your category structures. I suspect you may have lost those anyway. The easiest thing at this stage is to just tell Artisan to look in your F Drive for the existing content. This tip explains how.

      • Rhona Collinson says:

        Thanks, Shelley. I have managed to retrieve my albums [phew!] but am still hunting for kits. I obviously didn’t save them the right way, or just can’t identify them. I’ll keep looking.

        • Shelley says:

          Your older kits might be *.package files, or *.sbkit files, and the more recent will be *.pakit files. If that helps.

          • Rhona Collinson says:

            Thanks, Shelley, for this tip. I had files hidden in all sorts of places, particularly the old SBC files, stored before P2P came along. This has all been a good learning experience in organisation.

          • Shelley says:

            That’s great Rhona. It’s like Christmas, finding art kits you didn’t remember you had! 🙂

  17. Heather says:

    I have purchased Artisan and when I downloaded it all of my Storybook content/projects went into Artisan beautifully. Now I have a new computer. Will my Storybook content be able to be moved over as well?

  18. Annette says:

    Hi Shelley, So I am just starting to reorganize my content categories after installing artisan 4 on a new laptop, and I am thinking I should make some changes before I go any further. I put artisan 4 on my C drive (thus the app data folder also went to C drive) and all my art kits on my D drive, and I’m wondering if the app data and the art kits should be on the same letter drive? Does that matter now or does it make planning and backing up for future crashes easier? I could easily move everything to C drive now if needed, just trying to get it right? Thanks!

  19. Nanette Shipman says:

    This is gradually getting done, but I’ve run into a snag. I copied the folder C:/Users/USERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Panstoria/Artisan 4 to the new computer in the same place, but I have no categories. My tags appear to be fine, but all the categories are gone. I must have goofed up somewhere. What should I do next?

    • Shelley says:

      Are your art kits on a drive with the same letter as on your old computer?

      • Nanette Shipman says:

        Actually, I don’t think they are. My old computer had space problems and I had put all my scrapbooking stuff on the D drive. The new computer puts everything on C. I’ve directed Artisan to the new location, and all the kits are there. Tags are ok, but no categories. Am I going to need to re-do categories?

        • Shelley says:

          Sorry for the delay in answering. Yes, I’m afraid you are. You can’t rename the C drive, and categories are linked to the drive letter. Look at is a chance to reorganise (that’s what I had to do for the same reason, and it didn’t take too long.)

          • Nanette Shipman says:

            Thanks Shelley. I hadn’t checked back for a while since I was trying to do the crop. But I really missed my categories! It slowed me down a lot. The sad thing is that I had just re-organized 2 or 3 months ago. Oh well. Here we go again!

          • Shelley says:

            Oh dear! I hope it doesn’t take you too long this time!

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