Quickstart Guide

Adding Evidence

Once you've found a good quote, you can add evidence two ways: Either by clicking the "Add Evidence" button on the Factsmith toolbar, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+A (the "Ctrl", "Alt", and "A" keys simultaneously.) Note that the keyboard shortcut will work no matter what application you are currently viewing, so you don't even have to switch away from your web browser to add evidence - just press Ctrl+Alt+A. The Evidence Editor window will pop up, empty and ready for your evidence. This window will float on top of whatever else you have open; you can go on using other applications and it will remain visible.

You can type in the text boxes, or copy and paste using the Windows keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+C for copy and Ctrl+V for paste.) All the text boxes are also drag-and-drop capable; you can highlight text in your web browser, etc., and drag it into the Evidence Editor. This is usually the fastest way to load text into the various fields.

Copy or drag the quote into the large text box. (If you want to underline or strike out any portions of the quote, highlight them and click the appropriate formatting button in the toolbar just below the large text field. Also note the "Remove Breaks" button, which will remove those nasty line breaks that PDFs tend to have.) Type the tagline in the text box at the very top of the window; for reference later, you can also select the evidence category from the dropdown box on the right side of the toolbar.

Now for the source citation. Right below the tagline is a dropdown that lists all the available sources. If you've quoted the same source before, just select the source from the dropdown list and you're done. If this is the first time you've quoted it, click the "New Source..." button. The Evidence Editor should be replaced with another window called "Source Editor." This will also float on top of other applications.

Drag or copy the appropriate text into the labeled text fields. Depending on what sort of source you are quoting, you will probably only need or be able to fill some of them. That's OK; just put in as much as you need. Note the two icons on the lower left side of the window: they select entry mode. The left one is the detailed mode and uses the text fields - this should be adequate for most uses. The right one switches you to raw text entry mode, which allows you to give the source as pure text if it's nonstandard and you can't make it fit in the regular fields.

Now for authors. The box on the right lists all the available authors; you should check the boxes by the ones who wrote the article. If you haven't quoted an author before, click "Add" and an extension should pop out of the right side of the window. Put the appropriate text in the fields. Make sure you click "Save" and verify that his/her name is checked! (You can also edit pre-existing authors by clicking on their names on the list; again, make sure to click "Save" if you make any changes.)

All done? Click "OK" to finish. Your new source will be selected automatically. Once you click "OK" on the Evidence Editor, the new evidence card will be added to the end of the brief. You're done!

If you want to edit a card, just double-click it.


You can export your briefs to printable documents at any time; just click "Export" on the File menu or on the toolbar. The Export window will pop up. It works just like the normal save box; just select where to save the exported brief, and select your preferred file format from the dropdown box at the bottom of the window (by default, it's Microsoft Word.) Click "Save" and you're done; you can now open the exported file in the word processor of your choice to print it.

You can easily change what the completed file looks like using export styles. Open the Options dialog (click "Options" on the Tools menu) and click on the Style tab. Then click on the style you want to use. Click "OK" to close the window. (You can also create your own custom styles with a little work; see the Style Guide.)

Organizing Evidence

By default, all new evidence is added to the end of the brief. You can move it wherever you want by clicking on the tagline (in the main brief display) and dragging it to the desired location. (This also works for section headers and text.) You can also sort the entire brief automatically using the Sort menu button on the toolbar.

For better readability, you can split your brief up into sections with section headers. To add a section header, click "Add Section" on the toolbar (just to the right of the Add Evidence button) and type in the section name. You can drag your new header anywhere you want, or double-click to edit it. To change the heading level, just use the small left/right arrow buttons on the toolbar.

Raw Text

You can also add raw text to your brief (for strategy notes, speech rhetoric, etc.) by clicking "Add Text" on the toolbar.