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Previous updates

see What's New? for most recent updates.

11 November 2021

Markdown files

Ensembling now understands and previews Markdown files with a .md suffix when uploaded in the usual way.
Markdown is a simple syntax applied to plain text which expresses basic formatting such as headings, paragraphs, bold and italic, bulleted lists, links etc.
See more about markdown in the context of Ensembling

11 November 2021

Security hardening

Changes made to include recent web security controls. While you shouldn't notice any difference, this has required quite a few code changes. So if anything isn't now working as expected, please send feedback (top right).

3 November 2021

Preview links

Use to obtain a link to a document, folder or project that is suitable for posting to social media and similar (like Slack) which can produce small summary panels of a page when links are posted to them.
Note this will expose some of the content to people who wouldn't otherwise be able to see the page. Though smaller than most pages, the preview image is larger than a thumbnail, so text in it may be readable.
People following the link from the third-party still need to log in to access the full document or folder.

22 September 2020

Download All now available at the top level

You can now download all your project folders at once with in the top-level Ensembling folder

16 January 2020

Different kinds of folder

Additional icons have been introduced to differentiate better between different kinds of folder.
The behaviour hasn't changed at all, but projects (top level folders which people are assigned to and therefore control who can see what) are now shown with a filing cabinet icon . Project and ordinary folder icons are shown in the "breadcrumb trail" (the line at the top showing where the item you are looking at sits in the hierarchy of folders). The special folders for deleted items , search results and show also now have their own icons.

22 October 2018

Google Titan hardware key can now be used to log in

As well as Yubico keys (see 3 August below), you can now also log in without a password using Google's equivalent hardware key, called Titan, or its cheaper, unbranded cousin, Feitian ePass.
In both cases, only the USB keys, not the Bluetooth equivalents, currently work with browser logins (in general, not just Ensmbling).

18 October 2018

Information for unassigned project visitors

People who follow a link to an item in a project to which they are not assigned can now be greeted with a customized message about the project to help them consider whether to proceed to request assignment.
Only project leaders can do this, by choosing the
button on the menu.

4 September 2018

Streamlined file chooser

When you , in the file tab, you can now choose more than one file at the same time, rather than having to press the Choose File / Browse button multiple times.
While you could always previously have added more than one file with repeated button clicks, this makes it more efficient to, say, add numerous photos at once.
By the way, Firefox has also joined Chrome in that you can drag and drop (one or more) files onto the file chooser button rather than clicking it.

3 August 2018

Password-less logins

One of the original aims with Ensembling was to make login as friction-less as possible, such as the links in invitations that log you in as they take you to a document, and login-by-email.
Now there's another way: logging in using a physical key, or biometric (fingerprint, face recognition etc). A new standard was agreed recently (called "webauthn") to allow browsers to use these, and Google is coming out with its own keys, called Trident, this autumn. I think this is going to become widespread in the near future.
But it's already possible to get one from Yubico:

Yubico 2 Security Key

To set up a key, log in another way, then click on your name, or then in the top right corner and click the key/biometric button.
Then in future, click the key/biometric button on the login page to log in (it'll remember you did this for the next time).

14 May 2018


Various changes related to privacy – because new data protection rules come into force shortly, Ensembling has tightened up on some areas related to data retention and processing:
* if you were logging in using Google, Yahoo etc, you can still login to Ensembling by entering just the email associated with that account, and we'll send you a verification email instead.
I hope to be able to offer further non-password means to login in the near future - a new browser feature has been added to Firefox, and shortly to in Chrome, that will enable biometrics like fingerprints and hardware tokens like the Yubikey to be used to log in to websites instead of using passwords. You can expect to see many sites adopting this technology soon.

16 Jan 2018

Keyboard shortcuts for next/previous comment


History links

Where appropriate, [history] now has links to each comment, version, document or folder that was added or changed, not just the most recent version of a document it was in.

25 May 2017

Recover (un-delete) button

It is no longer necessary to manually move something out of the deleted items folder that was deleted by accident back to its original location. There is now a button in the menu for each item(*) in the deleted items folder which will put it back where it was. This also works for project folders which, it became apparent recently, could not be recovered by moving them manually.
(* for items deleted from 25 May onwards, not for items put in the deleted items folder before that which would be deleted on or before 8 June.)

May 2016

New formatted text editor

The formatted text editor (on the Add Document and Supersede panels) has been update to use a more recent incarnation of the software (TinyMCE version 4; previously it was its much older predecessor ckeditor

July 2014

Pushover notifications

Both and can now trigger Pushover notifications on iOS and Android phones and tablets, and Chrome, Firefox and Safari desktop browsers (Pushover app purchase required).

July 2012

Order of folder contents

(on the
menu) you can look at the contents of a folder organised alphabetically or oldest or newest first, and with all sub-folders at the start or end of the list. Until now, you could only see folders in the order that project participants put them, defaulting to newest first.

Initial view

In , you can now choose what you see when you log in without giving a specific document in the URL. You can go to:

October 2011

Send by email

You can now
on the
menu to send one or more files to people directly by email (previously you'd have had to download the file(s) and then attach them to an email of your own).

May 2011 - version 4


Automatically archive folders in a project which haven't seen any activity in a while. more…

Universal suffrage

A project editor can set up a vote among team members for which of several documents they prefer. more…


Be reminded personally, or remind the whole team, about a document or folder by setting an alarm to go off some time in the future to send email and flash indicators on the screen. more…

Formatted email

Email sent by Ensembling is now formatted (HTML) for better readability. (However, we know some purists who hate this, so if you're one of those, you can turn it off).

Organizing email threads

Have incoming email organised into folders according to thread/conversation and person dealing with it. In effect a ticket tracking system with comment annotations. More…


As well as watches and feeds you can now also see all the changes made to a document or everything in a folder using (on the menu).


The things you do less often are now on secondary menus so there are fewer things to choose from on the screen at once. If you'd prefer to click rather than hover to see these, change your setting.

Internet Explorer 9

Changes to support IE9. It's almost like using a modern browser.

Less enthusiastic selection

The default on selecting something is to select only that.

Links in comments

If you put a URL in a comment, it will now be clickable

Do more things with search results

You can do most of the things you can do with any folder to the contents of a or result (especially useful for selected items).

February 2011


Ensembling is now using HTTPS. For the uninitiated, that's the thing that gives you a padlock for the site, and it indicates that data is encrypted to and from the server.

January 2011


You can now mark a folder or document as a favourite: use .
You can show all your favourites using .
More …


Show Selected, Show Deleted and Select Watches are now subsumed into a single button which also provides several other ways to show groups of documents and folders other than by folder contents, including recently visited documents. More …

Document information

Folders now show the size, word count and number of comments against each document in the folder.

Previous updates

see Previous Updates for changes in previous versions.

November 2010

Annotated PDF

Annotated PDF files (that is, with the comments included using PDF's standard markup) are now available.

Comments move

For large pages, comment boxes stay on the screen when you scroll horizontally. You can drag the panel around if it's in the way using the yellow top border like other similar panels.

Email sorting

If you sort emails from Ensembling by subject or thread in your email program, messages will now group together sensibly.

January 2010: version 3

Formatted text

Formatted text content can now be edited directly within Ensembling either when adding a new document or editing or superseding an old one.

Page scaling

You now have the choice of presenting large pages or pages in small screens and windows at full size with a horizontal scroll bar, or scaled to fit the window as before. Set this as a personal option.

September 2009


Find text using (top right).

Rotate pages

Pages inthe wrong orientation in the original file can now have their previews corrected using (formerly a separate 'rotate' button).

Rearrange folders

Those who have privileges to add documents etc. can now also rearrange folder contents. Folders are usually ordered most recent content first, but you can now drag and drop a thumbnail of an icon in a folder to position it manually. Also drag an icon over a folder name to move it to that folder.


Feedback was that the menus needed icons so it was easier to locate the operation needed at a glance. If you prefer you can switch back to just the words for a less busy screen, or cleaner still use just the icons (text is shown if you hover overthe icon).
Some of the menus have also moved around so the more common operations are at the beginning.

August 2009

Submit documents by email

It is now possible to submit documents to a dead letterbox by email.

Projects available to anyone

As well as explicitly adding colleagues to a project, you can now make a project available to anyone who follows the link provided.

Recover deleted items

Deleted items can now be recovered from the Deleted items folder for a few days after deletion.

Move comments

Now just click and drag the marker for a comment to move it to a new position.


Tick the box when adding a new document to get a brainstorming document. This is a variation that allows you to invite and accumulate comments on a clean sheet - the pre-draft stage of developing a document. For example collectively compiling an agenda, a shopping list or suggestions for a syllabus.

View plain text

Plain text is extracted from text files (office documents, PDF and plain text) and can be retrieved from the menu.

July 2009


explicitly unpacks the constituent files and folders in an uploaded zip file.

June 2009

Word counts and file information

The new button next to the version number provides extensive file metadata include count of words in text files both overall and page by page.

Reports and word counts

Word counts are also included in reports, with an aggregate total at the end. Reports can now also be made from your selected items so you can see comments and word counts (with total) for an arbitrary selection of files.

April 2009

Thumbnails in folder lists

A thumbnail for each document is shown alongside the name and other details in Folder content lists.

Microsoft Office 2007 support

Microsoft's .docx and .pptx files are now fully supported. (.xlsx files are recognised as spreadsheets like .xls files are but neither have page previews).

March 2009

Better Watches, including RSS Feeds

Monitor changes via a feed instead of by email if you prefer. See the form for the link, or click the icon in the browser bar. Also, the messages (by email or RSS) now contain more context (e.g. why someone added a new version, looming deadlines, the text a comment is in response to). See who's watching on the form. More…

Back button works

Each document or folder now forms a unique page, so the back button, history etc works. You can also bookmark pages with the document or folder name in the bookmark.

Better Internet Explorer Downloads

Almost whatever you try, Internet Explorer stops you doing it on spurious security grounds and in such a way that inexperienced users don't even see that's what it is doing - it just appear not to be working. Anyway, I think I now have a reasonable compromise that draws people's attention to download and pop-up blockers without being unnecessarily intrusive.

File format support: PPT and EPS

Microsoft PowerPoint and Encapsulated PostScript files now preview what's in them. (EPS files contain scalable graphics, widely used for things like logos; PowerPoint doesn't include Office 2007's .pptx format yet).

Add files via URL

If your file is already on the internet somewhere, add it by quoting the URL rather than downloading and uploading it.

February 2009

Stay logged in

Tick the box on the Add or change your details form (accessed by clicking on your name in the top right - or [please identify yourself] if we don't know who you are yet), and you'll stay logged in on your computer until you explicitly log out.

Comment deadlines

You can now set deadlines for comments.

A real server

Ensembling is now running on a real server. This means that downloads and especially displaying page previews is much faster.

Public submissions

A folder can be designated to receive documents from people who aren't part of your project. This is on the same terms as publishing: you can allow access to anyone who knows the link or you can offer invited visitors a pass code for access. Use to do this. More…


[edit] replaces [download for editing]. It pops up a form rather than doing it immediately, and the form offers three alternative kinds of editing, as well as the opportunity to forget you were editing a version if you didn't intend to or circumstances change. More…

Saving new versions

You can now supersede one version of a file with another almost like editing a document on your own computer. Choose [edit] and then Open + Save As. This needs a one time setup on your computer.


As you can see, you can now get help and information. There's a [help] link in the top right corner of the main window and forms have have a [help] link in their top right corner. The content isn't very complete yet.