Since Report Writer inspection report files can take up room over time, particularly when lots of images or attachments are included, some inspectors may wish to periodically remove older ones from their hard drive to save space or simply to make future full data backups from their 3D program faster and smaller.

Note: Before deleting any data files we recommend using Office Management File > Backup All Files option to back up all existing data as a precaution. You should be making regular backups periodically. See our prior Tips article on  Safeguarding your important inspection data.

An easy way to archive old reports is to simply copy the .R3D files from the program data folder onto other removable media, (such as an external drive, thumbdrive, or cloud backup location), and then delete them from the data folder on the hard drive. This doesn't remove job information from the Office Management database, so it's still easy to look up info about older jobs. And you'd still have the report files backed up on your other media for safekeeping in case you ever did need to open them again. They just wouldn't be taking up room in your program data folder.


  • To easily access your data folder directly, in the Report Writer, click Preferences > Preferences, and choose the File Locations tab. Click the Open folder button for your Data files to launch the folder in Explorer.
  • Close any open reports in your 3D Software.
  • In Explorer, you may select or highlight the items you want to copy or delete. Individual inspection reports files are saved as .r3d type files in your data folder. Generally you wouldn't want to remove other types of data files.
  • Tip: In Explorer, use the Views button to display file Details, so that you can organize them by type, so that all your .r3d report files are together in the list. Then just highlight the desired files you wish to remove, and then right-click on one of them.  Before right-clicking, you may hold down your CTRL key while selecting multiple files, or hold Shift to select the first and last files in an entire group of adjacent files at once.
  • When all the files you wish to archive are selected, right-click the group of highlighted files and Copy them. This saves them to the windows clipboard for pasting elsewhere.
  • Next open your external storage location and paste or transfer them there.  (Or you could even create a separate folder on your computer for storing the older files if you just want to exclude them from future data backups made from within 3D, but make sure you do store backup copies off your drive as well).
  • After you've stored copies of the report files to your alternate location for archival, select them again in your 3D data folder and then right-click and simply Delete them to the recycle bin.

Now that those files are no longer in your data folder, it will make future backups from inside 3D smaller and faster.  However records of your jobs is still present in Office Management so that you may easily look up prior jobs info when needed and use existing contacts with new jobs.

If you later need to access a particular inspection report file you archived:

  • Locate and display the job in Office Management.
  • If "Open Inspection" is not available for the job, that means its report file is not present in your main data folder. Note the "Job Name" that generally designates the report filename.  That is usually the filename you would want to locate in your archived report files.
  • Insert your media containing the report .r3d file into the drive as applicable.
  • Switch to the Report Writer.
  • In the Report Writer, click File > Open Inspection option.
  • Use the file dialog window to navigate to the drive or report folder where your inspection files are stored, locate the desired inspection report file, and open it it that way.

Note: If you need to change or edit an older report file information for some reason, you may need to copy it back to your 3D data folder on your hard drive, so Windows can properly access and write to update the file, and so that Office Management can actually link up to the job to "see" it there.  If you want to re-use the original report as a base for a new inspection, then after copying the original .r3d file back to your data folder, you may rename the filename to match your new Job Name.  Then be certain to re-open the inspection from the new job in Office Management to link the renamed file to the new job.  You may need to reselect narratives that previously merged information into the report, and remove and reattach any Attachments, or edit those directly to update them appropriate for the new job.

Some inspectors prefer to print and archive final PDF printouts of their reports periodically instead, after which may may also either archive or simply remove any older original .r3d report files they don't need from their program data folder. If you create separate PDFs for each report, then archiving .PDF files may be done similarly to archiving .r3d files- by opening the folder where your final PDFs are stored in Explorer, selecting the desired group of PDF files, and copying and storing them on alternate media or a backup drive for safekeeping. 

PDFs are not backed up by the 3D backup feature, since PDF (Portable Document Format) is not a 3D software program format but are basically equivalent to final "printouts", similar to printing out to your printer. So you may wish to back those up separately if you create and archive them. Since PDFs files do not require the 3D program to be opened, this is a really handy way to archive reports on other media that may be easily transferred and opened on any computer.

PDF files also retain their exact original final "printed" look. You would need to also retain the .r3d files however, if you want to be able to open inspections in 3D software. That might be useful if you want to use an older report as a starting base to a reinspect a property previously inspected, as mentioned in the article above, or should you need to issue a revision or corrected report for some reason. Or you may wish to retain original .r3d files until the statute of limitations in your area expires, particularly if you archived additional files, photos, or inspector notes with the report that you didn't include in your final report.  For convenience, one could archive both their original .r3d and PDF final printouts for various groups of reports on the same backup media if desired.

Now that you know how easy it is to manage older report files by archiving them and removing them from your software data folder, you may want to archive older report files every year, every six months, quarter, or perhaps only every few years. Or whenever you decide using the Backup All Files option in Office Management to do a full backup of all your existing data files starts taking a little too long or too large for your liking.