This tip is a bit technical, but pay close attention, because after all the time you spend organising your content in Artisan, you don’t want to lose it in case of a computer failure. We all know the importance of backing up, don’t we!

There are 3 steps to backing up your content. In addition you need to back up the software activation codes.

  1. Back up the content itself.
  2. Back up your library folders, categories and tags.
  3. Back up your content activation codes.


To back up your content (Art Kits), you need to know where it is located on your computer. Each library folder in Artisan 5 represents a Windows folder on your computer somewhere.

If you know where your content is saved on your computer:

  • Copy the entire folder (or folders) containing your art kits, both commercial and personal, to your backup files.
  • Keep the folder structure exactly the same. Create a new folder on the backup drive called “Content Backup” or similar, and put the folders containing your art kits in there, and nothing else.
  • Backups can be on an external hard drive, flash drives, DVDs, or in the cloud.
  • If you are using a back-up program, make sure the folder/folders containing your content are included in the back-up.
  • Update your backup each time you purchase new art kits.
  • Make note of the exact location on your computer of your art kits. Write it down, or take a screenshot of the Windows folder so you will know where to restore the content to, if you need to.

If you do NOT know where your content is saved on your computer:

  • To locate your content,  open Content Manager.
  • In the Library section of the Organize Panel, select the first of your library folders. You will see the details of the location in the window just above the kit thumbnails.

  • If your digital content is all over the computer, this tip will help you gather it together.


  1. Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer in Windows 8 & earlier).
  2. Find the following folder:
    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Forever\Artisan 5
  3. Copy that whole folder and save it with your backup. Do not open the folder or change any of the contents. Just save it.
  4. If you can’t find the AppData folder on your computer, it may be a hidden folder. To show hidden files & folders:
    • Windows 10, 8.1 or 8:
      Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer). On the View Ribbon, check Hidden items
    • Windows 7 or Vista:
      Click Start, and then click Control Panel, Click Appearance and Personalization , and then click Show Hidden Files and Folders. On the View tab, click Show hidden files, folders and drives.


Commercial Art Kits

  • The tags are stored inside the actual art kit folders themselves, so you don’t need to back them up separately. When you back up your art kits, you automatically back up the tags as well. No extra backing up is required.
  • If you needed to restore your art kits from a CD or download, you would lose any tags that you had added yourself. This is why backing up your content is important, even if you still have the original CDs.

Personal Art Kits

  • Tags for personal art kits (PAKs) are attached to the folders that the PAKs live in. So when backing up or moving PAKs, it is essential to keep the exact same folder structure, if you want to maintain your tags. If you move items from one folder to another, for example, the tags will be lost.


Make sure you back up your activation codes every time you install new artwork. It only takes a second, and it can save you a heap of work down the track.

In Artisan, click on Manage Content > Activation Codes.


A window will open with all your codes. At the bottom you will see “Make a backup copy of my codes”.

  • Clicking “Make a backup copy of my codes” will open a text file containing all your activation codes.
  • Save the text file.  Click on File > Save As.
  • I recommend saving the codes in more than one location – on your computer, on an external hard drive or flash drive, or in the Cloud (e.g. Google docs, Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive), in case you need to restore following a total computer loss.
  • It is also a good idea to print the list, as one more backup.
  • Backup your codes every time you install new content.


If you need to reinstall Artisan, or move it to a different computer, you will need your software activation code or Product Key. You can access your Product Key by clicking Help > About.

Click where indicated to copy the information to the Windows Clipboard. Then paste it into a text file or Word document, and save it safely.

You can also obtain your Product Key by logging in to your account at Click on the ‘hamburger’ menu in the top right corner of the screen, next to your photo or initials, and choose ORDER HISTORY.


Restoring Your Content

To restore your content, if you need to, just copy the folders containing the art kits, both commercial and personal, to their original locations. As well, copy the whole folder (C:Users/YOURNAME/AppData/Roaming/Forever/Artisan 5) that you had previously saved.

It is important that you restore the files to the same location where they had previously been (i.e. the same drive letter and path). The code for the art kits in the files includes the location (drive letter and path) for each art kit.  This means that when the file is restored, art kits will appear in the categories only if they are found in the same locations (drive letter and path) as when they were originally categorized.


  • It is really important that you DO NOT TOUCH anything inside the C:Users/YOURNAME/AppData/Roaming/Forever/Artisan 5 folder. The only thing you should do with that folder is copy it when you are backing up.
  • 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. Click Start, and then click Control Panel, Click Appearance and Personalization (Windows 8/7/Vista), and then click Show Hidden Files and Folders. On the View tab, click Show hidden files, folders and drives.
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30 Responses to Artisan 5 Tip: Backing Up Content

  1. Vicky Barshis says:

    I’ve been trying to back up my customizations per the instructions above, but I can’t find that file, even with viewing hidden files everywhere. Do the instructions need to be updated, or is it just me and my computer?

  2. Debbie Malloy says:

    Hello! I recently transferred all my content to a new computer. While my categories showed up on the new computer, they were all empty. Is this normal? I looked at C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Forever\Artisan 5 and didn’t see any evidence of categories at all. Am I missing something? The section on backing up customizations…says it should all be there. Please help if you can. Thank you>

  3. Jean says:

    Once a backup is completed, are there instructions for doing subsequent back ups each month? Is a total backup done again?

  4. Cindy says:

    This was a very helpful article. I’ve run into a couple of snags, I think. My new computer has 2 drives – a 256k SSD (C) and a 1 TB HD (D). I’ve put all my projects and content on the D and Artisan and Historian on the C. I’ve got everything pointed to the right places – I can open projects and can see my content.
    My hang up is with the AppData\Roaming\Forever\Artisan 5. I copied it from the old computer and put it on the C drive but I can’t see where I gained anything by doing this. Is that because the content is on the D Drive?
    I also don’t seem to have my font kits – I had hundreds before and now only have 2. There is no way to see where those are stored (no folder path in Artisan), so how do I get those back?

  5. Susan Baldwin says:

    I have just done my backups – feel somewhat relieved! Thanks for all the instructions! I also backed up my current projects to an external drive. I now have 2 copies of each project showing when I open Artisan 5 (one saying copy). Is there a way to remove this copy thumbnail from my main Artisan open screen?

    • Jan says:

      Good for you, Susan! You can clear your recent projects list by going to the Artisan Help button (blue circle/question mark) at the top right. Go to Options > Projects > Clear Recent Projects. This will remove all of those icons, but it does not delete the projects themselves. The recent project icons will repopulate as you open those projects.

  6. Hope Fry says:

    I opened My Artisan 5 software. It states at the bottom it is up-to date. Is that an error? And do I need to reinstall?

  7. says:

    when my computer crashed I decided to free up space and put all of my content on an EHD. I of course lost the way I organized things in the Categories tab. If I decide to set it up again do I back it up using the c:\users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Artisan5 to my EHD?

  8. Kathy says:

    Help! Help! I was having a problem with Artisan 5 and needed to reinstall it, as per the recommendation from Forever Support. I was following your instructions here to backup my content. I was doing step #1 and instead of COPYING my Personal Art Kits to my external drive I MOVED the whole Personal Art Kit folder to my external disk. Now, when I open Artisan 5 and go to Manage Content, Library, ALL my Personal Art Kits are grayed out and not available! How do I fix this? CAN I fix this?

  9. Susan Borgeson says:

    I am trying to follow the steps above for backing up content.. i have a question..
    i see the 3 step to backing up content. In step 1 back up the content itself. What does that mean?
    I understand the library folders, categories and tags. i understand the activation codes.

    also should you back up Artisan projects file as well?

    • Shelley says:

      The 3 points in the first paragraph are just an introduction. Detailed instructions follow under the separate headings. And yes, you should definitely back up your projects! Check HERE for more on that.

      • Susan Borgeson says:

        Just wanted to update .. i did follow the directions.. i backed up from my computer to a flashdrive. I did all 3 steps as the instructions show above.
        It worked.. i was able upload to my working laptop. I can see my projects, my kits, papers. you and this site are awesome thank you

  10. Susan Borgeson says:

    i have a couple questions.
    First since you take all the time to lovingly upload commerical and personal kits to Artisan5 on your main computer. Create all your tags. Create wonderful projects……is there a way to just copy the “complete Artisan 5 file as is” to a flashdrive? If so, Will your commerical kits, personal kits, projects and tags follow?

    • Shelley says:

      There really isn’t such a thing as a “complete Artisan file”. There are files in different locations – your projects, content, and more. You can copy them to a flash drive (though you’d need a big one!) following the same instructions as for a new computer or an external hard drive HERE.

  11. Caroll says:

    Recently had to replace hard drive and start from 0. Have downloaded Artisan 5 again and am ready to bring in the content. I have content, projects and codes on external drive, where I usually keep them. Where do I go on p2P to find help for getting everything back in Artisan? Thanks! Caroll

  12. Beverly Goodrich says:

    FYI – Typo in Restoring Your Content – it refers to the Artisan 4 folder instead of Artisan 5.

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