Can I install Toolsuite with Office 365 (CTR)?


Cradle Toolsuite is compatible with both 2013 and 2016 Office 365. To see all Toolsuite compatibility see this page. Toolsuite should work with Office 365 the same as with a normal Office install. Occasionally there are problems due to issues with Office 365 not always with Toolsuite.

Document Loader, Document Publisher and Spellchecker make up Toolsuite
Document Loader, Document Publisher and Spellchecker make up Toolsuite

Office Updates

Recently there was an issue with an update to Office 365 which stopped our InstallShield correctly detecting the installed version. This issue has been fixed by changing our detection routine in a patch release. If you are seeing this issue with your original install files, please download the latest files and try again. Unfortunately this could happen again as we have no control over these updates. All 3SL can do is update our routines as and when this comes to our attention.

Occasionally when Office is updated and when newly installed, it requires you to Accept new terms. If you have not done this then you will see an Error when trying to start Toolsuite applications.

  • Error instartup: Object reference not set to an instance of an object

Windows 10 Updates

Since a Windows 10 update earlier this year everything is running slower on may different Microsoft™ Windows flavours. Word can open slower and this can cause issues if you are trying to publish a document. There is no work around for this except to keep trying to publish. Check this blog for more information but the summary so far is:

  • With Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU), benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns, but we don’t expect most users to notice a change because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.
  • Aklso on Windows 10 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), some benchmarks show more significant slowdowns, and we expect that some users will notice a decrease in system performance.
  • Windows 8 and Windows 7 on older silicon (2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU), we expect most users to notice a decrease in system performance.
  • Windows Server on any silicon, especially in any IO-intensive application, shows a more significant performance impact when you enable the mitigations to isolate untrusted code within a Windows Server instance. This is why you want to be careful to evaluate the risk of untrusted code for each Windows Server instance, and balance the security versus performance trade-off for your environment.

Connection or Server Issues

Occasionally the Microsoft server or the connection is down (DownDetector) and this can also cause issues with the Office and Toolsuite. There is no work around for this except patience. Once the connection/server is fixed and up and running you should have no issues with Toolsuite.

Subscription and MSI installs

Having a mix of subscription and Microsoft Installer based MS Office installs can cause detection issues during a Toolsuite install. For example the user has a click-to-run Office 2013  installed but a Microsoft Installer version of MS Project or Visio™. This has been fixed by altering how we detect the architecture of the Office applications.

Mixed Office Versions

It is recommended in our install guides not to have mixed Office environments. For example you may have MS Office 2010 but Project 2016. These type of environments can cause install issues. Even once an install is successful there can be application issues including the loading and publishing documents.


Spreadsheet Day 2017

How would we work without those ubiquitous columns and rows?

It may have started with Visicalc but these days it is hard to find an aspect of our organisational life that doesn’t have a spreadsheet in it. So during spreadsheet day 2017 try and think what it would be like adding up your budget by hand, working out hours worked per project, or even listing the office Christmas dinner totals.

Cradle supports a Microsoft Excel® capture utility directly bringing data in or CSV import from any spreadsheet’s saved output.


When the Office Toolsuite has been installed with Cradle you are able to capture information from Microsoft Excel® directly into Cradle.
On the sheet of interest select the Cradle Toolbar and Login to Cradle. Then select Capture and in the resultant Data Capture dialog, assign the correct columns to the item attributes in the database. You can change the Options… to overwrite or merge the data and you can Validate the data before Capture. The resultant capture can be viewed in Cradle via Workbench or Web Access. You will of course need the privilege to ITEM_CREATE.

Stages capturing from Excel
Excel® Capture Facility

Import CSV

To import items into Cradle you will additionally need the IMPORT privilege.
This is similar to the Capture utility, but can be run with any CSV source. Selecting CSV as the import type and then assigning each of the columns to the attributes of the item, will allow the data to be imported into Cradle.
More details about the CSV format can be found in the Cradle Help.

So why not celebrate everything columnar on spreadsheet day 2017 and capture some information into Cradle.

If you have a really old version of Cradle you may need to remove the old plug-ins

Import Overwrite Options When Loading from CSV, TSV or Excel

Cradle can import data from external files in different formats. One of the most common formats is CSV / TSV (comma separated value and tab separated value). When data is imported from CSV / TSV files, you can choose different import overwrite options. The option that you choose will control whether your data is imported and, if it is imported, which existing data in your database will be kept, or replaced by data from the import file.

Items and Attributes

To explain these options, let’s use a simple picture to represent an item and the attributes inside it:

Cradle item and attributes
An Item With Some Attributes


Lets say in your Cradle database you have an item with the following attributes:

item in Cradle database
A Cradle Database Item with Some Attributes Set

meaning that the item in the database has values set in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th attributes.

In a spreadsheet you have a row with data in columns corresponding to the 1st, 2nd and 5th attributes of the item in the database:

item in import file
An Item in an Import File with Some Attributes Set

Import Overwrite Options

Option A – Overwrite On

If Overwrite is On then, for each row in the spreadsheet or each record in the CSV / TSV file, Cradle will find the work-in-progress item (if any) and delete everything inside it, and completely replace the contents of the work-in progress item with the data from that record or spreadsheet row.

You would get the following result:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle requirement management software
Import Overwrite Options – On

As you can see, only the data from the file or spreadsheet (the yellow cells) are now in the item, all previous attributes (the blue cells) are now gone.

Option B – Overwrite Off

If Overwrite is Off then if there is an item in the database for the record in the CSV / TSV file, or row in the spreadsheet, no import will occur. If there is no item in the database for the record or row, then the result is the same as Overwrite set to On.

Option C – Overwrite Merge

This is the more interesting case!

If Overwrite is Merge then, for each row in the spreadsheet or record in the CSV / TSV file, Cradle will find the work-in-progress item (if any) and replace the attributes of that item with the columns from that row in the spreadsheet (or field i the CSV / TSV file) so any attributes in the item that have not been mapped to a column in the spreadsheet row (or field in the CSV / TSV file) will be left alone.

So the attributes that already exist in the item in the database and the attributes in the spreadsheet row or file record are merged:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle system engineering software
Import Overwrite Options – Merge

You would get the following result:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle system engineering software
Import Overwrite Options – Merge

Attributes in the spreadsheet row or file record have been loaded into the item. All other attributes in the item have not been changed.


Setting Overwrite to Merge is useful to add data to database items from an external CSV / TSV file or Excel spreadsheet. Any attributes not in the external file are not affected by the import.

To get more help importing information into Cradle, explore the Cradle help here.

How to Permanently Stop Windows Opening PDFs in Edge

I know that this is not strictly Cradle-related, but for some time I and many of our customers have been annoyed that Windows 10 wants to use Edge to open PDF files. Yes, you can set Acrobat Reader as the default application, but after a while, Windows ‘forgets’ this setting and starts to open PDF files in Edge again.

Thankfully, there really is a solution. Unfortunately, it involves editing the Windows registry…

But, the good news is that after I used this fix a couple of weeks ago, Windows has not reset Edge to open PDF files, and PDF files are still being opened in Acrobat, as I want them to be.

If you have not seen the permanent fix, please look here:

I hope that this is helpful!

How Not to Ruin Your Project With Office Tools


Your project is running and you have little time to finish it.

You need documents for customer sign-off.

Everyone has Office installed, so you do the engineering with Word® and Excel®, and perhaps a little PowerPoint® or Visio® for the complex diagrams.

When you finish, not only is the work done, but you have the documents for approval. So you’ve solved two problems at once, completing the work and documenting it!

Unfortunately, no, you haven’t.

What you have done is to lay the foundations for major difficulties later on, and until the problem is recognised and fixed, the mistake will become larger and more costly.

Your work is locked into documents and the information is:

  • Not centralised, so changes in one document are not automatically made elsewhere
  • Inconsistent, you have no single point of truth
  • Not traceable, so you do not know what is linked, and what is not linked Inflexible, if documents or their structures change, you have serious problems

The Solution

Separate the data from the document.

Watch this short video:
and visit for details of Cradle, the simple, flexible and scalable solution for your entire project that you can deploy in one week!

From concept to creation, you, Cradle and 3SL!

Disabling Old Cradle Add-In from Excel

If you have upgraded from Cradle-6.8 – when we had an add-in for Excel – to Cradle-7.0, then you will have seen the new, and consierably more capable, capture utility. This new capture utility is shown in a Cradle tab in the Excel ribbon.

If the old Add-Ins tab is still visible, then you can remove it. This may be part of your personal Excel setup and so is in your Windows profile and hence is not something that our installer can change.

To remove the Add-Ins tab from Excel (if you see it):

1. Start Excel
2. Right click anywhere in the ribbon and choose ‘customise ribbon’
3. On the right hand side of the dialog, de-select the ‘Add-Ins’ tab (you can check that it is empty!)
4. Click OK

Image showing the cusomize ribbon window in excel
Customize ribbon dialog

We hope that this helps!

Article updated 13/09/2018 – Added image

Cradle-7.1 Platforms Announced!

We are pleased to announce that the following platforms will be supported by Cradle-7.1:

– Linux. Any variant with a version 2.6.32 or later kernel

– Windows:
– Windows 7 (SP1, 32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows Server 2008 (SP2, 32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1, 32-bit and 64-bit)
– Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)
– Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)

– Office:
– 2007 (SP3, 32-bit)
– 2010 (SP2, 32-bit and 64-bit)
– 2013 (SP1, 32-bit and 64-bit)
– 2016 (32-bit and 64-bit)
– Office 365

The changes from Cradle-7.0 are that we have dropped support for Windows Vista and added support for Windows 10, Office 365 and Office 2016. In fact, Cradle-7.0 already runs on Windows 10 and Office 365, but they were not officially supporting by Cradle-7.0. The Cradle-7.1 release adds formal support for these products, and introduces support for Office 2016.

We hope that this is helpful as you plan your migration to Cradle-7.1 and as you consider how Cradle’s platform support fits into the overall Linux/Windows/Office strategy in your organisation.