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Getting Started with Facil (Version 5)

Topics in this document...

  • Installation Overview
  • The License File.
  • Multi-user Installation
  • Selecting the Facil Data File
  • Running Facil for the First Time
  • Setting Up the Initial Data in Your Facil System
  • Microsoft Access Run-time
  • Learning to Use Facil
  • Technical Support

Installation Overview

The installations for Facil and Facil Centro are the same.  In these instructions, Facil refers to both versions of the program.

The Facil setup program will install the program on your computer along with a sample “demo” data file named “FacilData_Demo.mdb”, ready for you to explore and learn.  When you are ready to start entering your own Facil data, follow the instructions below for selecting the Facil data file.  The blank data file is named “FacilData.mdb”.  The file is empty and ready for you to enter your own data.  See the topic “Setting Up the Initial Data…” below.

The initial installation also includes a demonstration license file which allows you to use all the features of Facil, but limits the amount of data that can be entered.  You are welcome to install the demonstration version of Facil on any number of computers.

After the installation is complete, you will add your own license file, supplied to you by Becker Software.  Facil will detect your license automatically, enabling your single user or multi user version of Facil.

The License File

Your license file is emailed to you by Becker Software.  You must copy the license file from the email to your hard disk to complete your installation.  The name of the license file is “FacilLic.txt”.  It is a text file and can be viewed with any text editor.  The license file contains the name of your organization, the version of Facil you are licensed for, and a unique license code number.  Without a valid license file, Facil will only function in demonstration mode.

The license file must be located in the same folder as the Facil data file you are using.  In a standard single user installation, this is the Facil program folder – usually C:\Program Files\Facil 5.  In a multi user installation, the data file is located in the shared folder you have established.

Don’t confuse the license file “FacilLic.txt” with the Facil License Agreement document.  This document is also copied to the Facil program folder for your reference.  It is the same license agreement that was displayed during the installation.

Multi User Installation

A multi-user version of Facil requires that the data file be installed in a location that is shared by all users. This could be a shared folder either on a network file server or on a workstation in a peer-to-peer network. All users must have full permission - including Read, Write, File Create, and File Delete - for the folder containing the shared data.

To enable multi-user sharing of the Facil data, simply put the data file and your Facil license file in the shared folder.  Then, on each Facil workstation, use the Admin Menu / Select Data File function. 

The Facil program does not need to be installed on your network server or in the shared folder on the workstation that is hosting the data file.  The only files that will reside on your server will be the shared data file and the license file.

On each individual client computer, when you first run Facil, it will load the demo data file, ready for you to learn Facil. See "Selecting the Facil Data File" below for instructions on switching from the demo to your data file.

If you have more than a couple of computers on which to install Facil, and are comfortable with manipulating files and directories on your local computer and your server, there are some time saving shortcuts. See the Technical Document "Installing on Multiple Computers" on the Facíl web site at

Selecting the Facil Data File

Facil allows the user to select the data file to be used. In Facil, go to the Admin Menu and use the function "Select Data File". Selecting the Facil data file is just like opening a document in any other program. You can change the data file being used at any time.

A copy of the Facil demonstration data file, FacilData_Demo.mdb, is installed on every workstation. This allows you to use the demonstration data for training purposes and then switch to your actual Facil data file at any time.

When Facil starts, it always uses the same data file as the last time it was used. The folder and file name of the data in use is always shown at the bottom of the Facil main menu. Once you have selected your data file, you will not have to select it again unless you move or rename it.

Note: You may be using "drive letter mapping" to identify shared directories on your file server. This is an obsolete technique where a drive letter (typically F: or higher) is used to point to a server folder so that the workstation can refer to the server folder without specifying the complete name and path to the server. DO NOT use a mapped drive letter to refer to the shared Facil folder. When you run Facil and select your data file, use the "Network Neighborhood" selection in the "Look In:" dropdown instead of a drive letter. Select the server from the list of systems on your network and then select the folder and file. This will insure proper operation of Facil.

Running Facil for the First Time

You can start Facil from the Start Menu or from the Facil icon that is installed on the desktop.

The program will be using the demonstration data when it first starts. If the data file is not found for any reason, the program asks you to select a Facil data file.

It is recommended that you use the demonstration data while you explore Facil. You can return to the demonstration data any time to experiment without disturbing your actual Facil data or other users.

In a multi-user installation, each Facil workstation is independent in selecting the data file they are using. This allows any user to change between the demonstration data and the actual shared data. It also means that every workstation must select the shared data file when they are ready to use it for the first time. 

Setting Up the Initial Data in Your Facil System

When you are ready to begin using your own Facil data, select the empty Facil data file - FacilData.mdb. In a single user installation, it is located in the same folder as the Facil program. In a multi-user installation, the data file is on the network server in the location you specified during the installation.

When you first begin using your own, empty, Facil data file, you must enter supporting data in the "Reference Lists" before you can successfully enter Person, Class, Equipment, or other working data.

The Reference lists are accessed from the Administration menu. A Reference list is typically a list of choices that you will be selecting from when entering other data. For example, Person Types is a Reference list when entering Persons. You must select the Person Type for each person from the choices that you have established in the reference list. Since the Person Type is required to enter a person, you can't enter any people until you have entered one or more choices in the Person Type reference list.

By having you create your own choices for such data as Person Types, Production Subjects, Volunteer Areas, etc. Facil allows you to use your own terminology and adapt the program to your own organization. Review each tab on the Reference list form to see that you have established the basic choices for all areas. If you are unsure of the meaning of the data, read the help on the related form where each data field is explained. You may find it useful to refer to the entries in the demonstration data for examples of typical reference list choices.

Do not feel that it is necessary to have determined and entered the final and complete set of choices for every reference list before you can use Facil. The best approach is to enter the few choices that you are certain you will be using into each reference list. If you need additional choices in a particular data item, that will become evident when you are adding your data to the program. You can decide on the other choices and add them at any time. 

Microsoft Access Run-time

The Facil installation installs a copy of the Microsoft Access 2003 Run-time version. This Run-time installation allows Facil to operate independently, regardless of whether or not you have already installed Microsoft Access (in any version). This installation will not disturb any other version of Access you may have already installed. You can install or uninstall your own copy of any version of Access at any time without any effect on Facil. You can uninstall Facil at any time without disturbing any other version of Access you may have installed.

Warning: The Facil system contains many safeguards to insure the completeness and accuracy of data. While it is possible to open the Facil data file directly using your own copy of Microsoft Access, this is NOT recommended. Working directly with the Facil data files using Access or other software can result in irreparable damage to the data that will prevent the Facil system from functioning. If you do wish to use your Facíl data with Access, any risk can be avoided by simply copying the Facil data file and then working only with the copy. 

Learning to Use Facil

●  Watch the Facil training video to get an explanation of the functions of Facil and how they work.

●  Read the Facil Help file. You can print the entire help file from the Report menu, under System reports.

●  Email or call Becker Software.  Your Technical Support includes answering questions about how to use Facil.

Technical Support

Check the Technical Documents and Frequently Asked Questions on the Facíl web site for information on many aspects of implementing and supporting Facil in your organization.

For Facil technical support, contact Becker Software via email at or by phone at (520) 991-0909.

Technical support is available without charge to licensed users of Facil for a period of 120 days following their purchase. Ongoing technical support agreements and program updates are available from Becker Software. Please email or call for further information. 


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