ChessBase 10's database pane

by ChessBase
4/7/2009 – There are numerous ways to configure your ChessBase 10's "database desktop", which is the first thing you see when you launch the program. It lets you navigate to a database anywhere on your computer. The latest edition of our ChessBase Workshop shows you how to find a configuration for the desktop which is exactly right for you. Steve Lopez explains.

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In this ChessBase Workshop we're going to continue our examination of the first thing you see when you launch ChessBase 10: the database window. We've already talked about the Explorer pane (the lefthand pane) which lets you navigate to a database anywhere on your computer. Once you've located such a database, and you decide you'd like it to be one of the databases which always come up in the normal view whenever you launch ChessBase, go to the File menu, select "Open", then "Database", then use the Windows File Select dialogue to navigate to its folder, then double-click on its file name to add it to your "desktop" of databases in ChessBase 10. After you've added several databases, your "desktop" will look something like this:


As you're probbaly aware, single-clicking on a database to highlight it will bring up its game list in the lower pane of the database window. For example, I've single-clicked on the Correspondence Database in the above illustration; here's what I see in the lower pane:


Returning to the database "desktop", there are several ways to configure this pane. If you right-click in an empty spot (not on an icon) in this pane, you'll get a popup menu. If you select "View", you'll see several options in a submenu:


Although these are very similar to the display options found in Windows Explorer, we'll take the time to examine them one by one and show you what you can expect to see when you select them. Let's start with "Details":


This is very similar to many people's preferred Windows Explorer view. You get some useful file details (such as the number of games in a database and the number of times its game list has been opened, as well as the drive/folder path to the databases's files). Note that the width of the columns can be resized by grabbing and dragging the lines separating the names in the column headers.

Your second option would be to select "Symbols":


In my experience with numerous ChessBase users, this is by far the most popular display. It's the one I use for a couple of reasons. The large icon size makes it easy to right-click on a database's icon (there'll be more on this in next week's ChessBase Workshop, by the way). The size of the icons also facilitates the "drag and drop" process which allows you to copy a database's contents into a second database.

The third option is "Small symbols":


This is especially useful for users who have a very large number of databases and who choose to not group/store them within folder icons (as discussed two columns ago in ChessBase Workshop).

The fourth and final option is "List", which is similar to the "Details" view minus, of course, the details themselves:


Right-click again in the database "desktop" and this time select "Sort symbols". You'll see a submenu appear off to the side:


You're provided with six options for sorting the order in which database icons/listings appear on the desktop:


  • Title -- this refers to the name of the database as shown with its icon. Clicking a second time on "Title" reverses the sort order, so you can toggle back and forth between alphabetical order and reverse alphabetical order.
  • Format -- this refers to the file format of the databases, and groups/sorts them according to whether they're in .cbh (modern ChessBase), .cbf (old ChessBase), or .pgn (Portable Game Notation) format. This, too, will togle back and forth between two different sort orders.
  • Size -- organizes the databases by the number of games in each; here again, repeated clicking will change the sort order back and forth between ascending to descending.
  • Path -- sorts the databases according to their drive/folder locations on your computer.
  • Date -- sorts the databases by the date on which they were last modified.
  • Type -- sorts the databases by their type, defined by the symbols used for their icons (Opening, Correspondence, Analysis, etc.). We'll discuss this at length in an upcoming ChessBase Workshop.

There are four additional commands available in this menu:



  • Open Database -- allows you to open an existing database, and will also add its icon to the database "desktop" which we're discussing;
  • New Database -- allows you to create a brand-new database, and will also add its icon to the database "desktop";
  • Add folder shortcut -- this was discussed at length two columns ago in ChessBase Workshop;
  • Windows Explorer -- a handy shortcut which launches Windows Explorer in a separate program window.

While we're here (and before we close things out for another week), I'll toss out another item for your perusal. In the previous ChessBase Workshop, we discussed a pane which I called the "Explorer" view, and at the start of this very column I showed you the game list pane which also appears as part of the database window. If either (or both) of these panes are not displayed in your ChessBase 10 program, there's a toggle available which turns them on and off. Go to the Window menu at the top of the database window:


At the top of this menu are two toggles which switch these panes on and off. If a box with a check mark appears next to the name of the pane, it's switched "on"; you can toggle them on and off just by clicking on them in this menu.

Until next week, have fun!


© 2008, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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