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— updated 2022-11-21


Herbalists' BootCamp
Tutorial #2:   Setup and Documentation

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
These BootCamp tutorials will help you get started using the HerbalThink-TCM software, ensure it is installed correctly, demonstrate how to use important features and modules, and teach you basic principles of Chinese herbology that you can begin applying practically. Successful completion of this series is required for admission to the RMHInet brainstorming network and to our professional courses.

Copyright ©2016-2020 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.

Jump to another BootCamp tutorial:
#1: Introduction, Download #2: Setup and Documentation #3: Self-Study Reference #4: Herbal Tutor #5: Pulse Simulator #6: CaseQuery #7: AutoSage-TCM #8: Completing member/admission requirements

Subtopics on this page…


Tutorial #2:   Setup and Documentation

Estimated completion time:   3 hours


Questionnaire #2

  • Download/Save questionnaire-02.txt
  • Most questions will require YES/NO answers; if "NO", include a brief explanation, if possible. Many of these questions may seem mundane, but they will ensure that your software has been installed correctly and will help us to maintain it on the three different operating systems we support — Windows, MacOS-X, and Linux.
  • Follow the instructions in the remainder of this tutorial; fill in your answers to the questionnaire when asked to do so.
  • Email your completed questionnaire to your assigned BootCamp tutor (the person who emailed you the original download instructions — Tutorial #1) and wait for a reply/feedback before continuing with the next tutorial.
  • Note: we must receive your tuition payment before we send activation codes for the 'Test' version-option of HerbalThink-TCM. (Mail checks to RMHI postal address.)

Installation and startup

To activate the Test option, which gives you trial access to approximately 15% of the course material, including all introductory information required for completing RMHI's Herbalists' BootCamp, you will first need to complete this tutorial. If you intend to apply for admission or would like to become a member of the RMHInet brainstorming network, you must complete all the tutorials of Herbalists' BootCamp.

It is important to follow the installation instructions exactly — see the 'HowToInstall' document link on the page where you originally downloaded the software.

To run HerbalThink-TCM the first time, find the original folder that you installed, which will be named something like  HerbalThinkTCM_45116  ( is the version number). Open up this folder, and you should see a single folder:  herbalthinktcm . Finally, open up this folder to see all the primary components of the HerbalThink-TCM system. The folder contents should be as follows (on MacOS-X — for Windows and Linux, the ordering may be slightly different, but all the same items should be included).


The files that are highlighted above in green are the application files that you will be running. To run HerbalThink-TCM, double-click on one of the following files, whichever is appropriate for your operating system:

  • HERBALTHINKTCM-macosx-cmd.command
  • HERBALTHINKTCM-windows-bat.bat

The first time you run it, your system software validation feature may respond by saying the software is "untrusted" or "the developer cannot be verified". We do not participate in either Apple's or Microsoft's certification, but we do thoroughly check our software for viruses, etc., before each release. To run, you must specify that you allow our software to run, and the procedure for this differs on the Mac and on Windows. It may be as simple as selecting some option like "Run anyway", or you may need to go into your System Preferences to specifically add  HERBALTHINKTCM  to your permitted list of allowed software. Refer to your operating system instructions for how to do this:

For convenience in future startups, it will be useful for you to do one of the following:

  • Windows: Right-click on the  HERBALTHINKTCM-windows-bat.bat  file and select  Create Shortcut , then copy this shortcut and paste it onto your Desktop.
  • MacOS-X: Right-click on the  HERBALTHINKTCM-macosx-cmd.command  file and select  Make Alias , then copy this alias and either paste it onto your Desktop or drag it to the Dock (on the right side where documents are normally represented).
  • Linux: create a Desktop Launcher for .

(Eventually, you will want to run the CaseQuery application, so you should also make a shortcut to the appropriate  CASEQUERY-xxx  file for your operating system.)

After starting HerbalThink-TCM, the following sequence will typically occur:

A Terminal/Console window may appear with a printout indicating "HerbalThinkTCM starting, please wait...". You can ignore this window, closing it at the end after you have finished your work with HerbalThink-TCM:


Common user errors, known OS problems

In quick sequence, the following splash panels should temporarily appear:



For new users, the previous splash panel will display the following text:
      Version-option: Free

Finally, the green HerbalThinkTCM control panel will appear near the upper left corner of your monitor screen:


The preceding is how it will appear on MacOS-X. On Windows and Linux:

  • The command menus will be attached to the control panel window itself.
  • The  HerbalThinkTCM  menu appears labelled, instead, as the  File  menu.

If you need more help in running HerbalThink-TCM, double-click on the file  Help.html  inside the  herbalthinktcm  folder. The complete documentation/help will then open up in your default browser.


—>>  Questionnaire — Installation and startup

Please answer the questions in section A of the questionnaire.


Verifying correct installation

Select the  About HerbalThinkTCM  command from the  HerbalThinkTCM  menu (or the  File  menu on Windows and Linux). In the window that appears, select the  About This Computer  tab:


If you have followed all the installation instructions correctly and no problems were detected during installation, the top of the window should state:
      --------- Warnings -------

At the end of this tutorial, you will be selecting the  Copy All  button at the bottom of the preceding tab. This will copy all the window's contents to your System Clipboard, which you can then  Paste  (keyboard shortcut:   Windows: ⌃V ; MacOS-X: ⌘V ) into your email questionnaire — see the last question.

Need more help with Copy/Paste?
(If you are concerned about computer privacy and wonder what all this information is for, it helps us to diagnose what might have gone wrong if you did not follow installation instructions correctly.
If you got the "Warnings: None" message, no major problems were detected, and you can just send us the first 20 lines — up to and including the line "user.dir = ..." .)


Reminder:   The Documentation module contains a lot of stuff that most of you will NEVER need to read. Herbalists' BootCamp is designed to simultaneously introduce you to important theoretical and practical principles of TCM as well as ensure that you understand most of what you will ever need to know about maneuvering through the software.

In the green HerbalThinkTCM control panel, click on the  Documentation  button, which will bring up a new window entitled Help (Documentation). You may also access the Documentation by two other methods:

  • Select the  HerbalThink Help  command from the  Help  menu.
  • Double-click on the file  Help.html  within your  herbalthinktcm  folder, which will open it in your default browser.

For the purposes of this section, you must open the Help by clicking on the control panel button.

Your Help window should now appear as follows:


For beginners, you should click on the  Go to the Getting Started page  link in the left frame. This will present only those items of likely interest to new users. Now click the  Documentation and Self-Study Reference  link in the left frame, and your Help window should now appear as follows:


For users who are not especially computer-savvy, there are many important tips on this page that are standard to many computer programs, and you should become familiar with those features, like changing font size and resizing/enlarging windows.


Chinese characters

Click on the  Displaying/copying Chinese characters  link in the Subtopics on this page… section to jump down to that subtopic. You should see a table with two sets of rows of Chinese characters. In each set, the bottom row should be identical to the upper row:


If the rows are identical, your system has a complete set of Chinese fonts installed. If some of the characters in the bottom rows appear empty or as an empty box, then your system may be missing all or some of the character set. See your system installation instructions for details. (Chinese fonts are usually pre-installed on most modern operating systems.)

Important notes:
    The above table is an identical graphical-image copy of the table as it appears on the author's computer, so the complete set of Chinese characters will always appear correctly here. You need to examine your computer's capabilities by viewing the corresponding table as specified in these instructions.
    Knowing Chinese language is not necessary or required in our courses. Chinese terminology is provided for reference purposes.


Displaying PDF, MP3-audio, and web-links

Now scroll down to the next section, 3rd-party applications: PDF-document, MP3-audio, links to Internet pages. Click on each of the following links and note whether the corresponding file is displayed correctly:

  •  Link to PDF file  — should open in your default PDF reader.
  •  Link to MP3-audio file  — should open in your default audio player.
    (The complete audio-visual tutorial can be found within Help/Documentation. For now, just play the first few seconds to verify that your audio is set up correctly.)
  •  — link to RMHI's website. Should open in your default browser (e.g.: Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari).

Navigating multi-frame windows

Now scroll down to the next section, Navigating multiple frames and windows — types of hyperlinks. Practice clicking on the various links in the table to see examples of how many windows within the text modules of HerbalThink-TCM are organized using multiple frames within each window. Initially, this may be slightly confusing to new users. However, you will eventually appreciate how this allows you to quickly jump around in the texts and databases via cross-referencing links, without losing your place or sense of location in the overall hierarchy.


Changing font size

To permanently change the default font size, for example to display a bigger type for easier reading, choose the  Preferences…  command.


—>>  Questionnaire — Documentation

Please answer the questions in section B of the questionnaire.


Using your operating system's  'Magnifier/Zoom'  feature

Windows, MacOS-X, and most Linux desktop operating systems have a very handy feature that allows you to magnify small text. This is especially useful for older software that may not allow for text size enlargement within the application itself. The 'Magnifier/Zoom' feature will be useful if you plan to use the Herbal Tutor interactive-game module extensively.

Herbal Tutor has been in use since the year 2000. We freely admit that the interface is ugly, somewhat clunky, and could do with an update (we are working on it). However, this software has been a crucial component of our curriculum for over 15 years, and it still works quite well with the latest versions of Java (7, 8). Students who faithfully use it throughout the one-year Level-1 course consistently demonstrate clinical skills and analytic abilities that routinely exceed that of 4-year TCM college graduates. We have 15 years of statistics to prove this beyond any doubt. So we are reluctant to replace it until the new software has been thoroughly tested to verify its effectiveness as a learning tool.

There are a few simple tricks that will help you overcome the small text size in the game windows of Herbal Tutor:

  • MacOS-X:   Open System Preferences, then select  Keyboard|Shortcuts|Accessibility  (or  UniversalAccess|Seeing|Zoom  on earlier OSX versions). Turn on the Zoom control.   Recommended options:
        · Smooth images
        · Zoom follows the keyboard focus
        · When zoomed in, screen image moves:     Only when pointer reaches an edge
    To zoom in or out:  ⌘⌥+  or  ⌘⌥−    (⌥ is the 'option' key)
  • Windows:   Go to the Start screen and type  Magnifier  or select Control Panel | Ease of Access Center. Click on  Start Magnifier  feature to access its settings. Recommended options:
        · Full screen view
        · Turn OFF color inversion
        · Follow the keyboard focus
    To zoom in or out:  ⊞+  or  ⊞−      is the Windows-logo key)
  • Linux:   A similar feature, usually called 'Magnifier', is commonly included with many Linux desktop systems.

Following are screen shots of a Herbal Tutor game window, first without magnification and then with optimal magnification. If you plan on using it a lot, the Magnifier option will come in handy. (To access Herbal Tutor, you must first activate the Test option; see next section below.)

Normal size:
With 1.5x magnification:


—>>  Questionnaire — Magnifier/Zoom

Please answer the questions in section C of the questionnaire.


Verifying correct installation

Select the  About HerbalThinkTCM  command from the  HerbalThinkTCM  menu (or the  File  menu on Windows and Linux). In the window that appears, select the  About This Computer  tab.   (See for screen shots: Verifying correct installation, above.)

Select the  Copy All  button at the bottom of the tab. This will copy all the window's contents to your System Clipboard, which you can then  Paste  (keyboard shortcut:   Windows: ⌃V ; MacOS-X: ⌘V ) into your email questionnaire.

  • OR:   If you got the "Warnings: None" message, no major problems were detected, and you can just send us the first 20 lines — up to and including the line "user.dir = ...".

We will need this information to generate your Test activation codes.

Need more help with Copy/Paste?

—>>  Questionnaire — Verifying

Please answer the question in section D of the questionnaire.


Activating the  'Test'  option

To receive activation codes for the Test version-option, you must first:

  • Email your completed questionnaire to your assigned tutor; it should include the 'Copy All' information from the 'About This Computer' tab — see Verifying correct installation, above.
  • Arrange a time to call RMHI if you need help with the remaining Tutorials (if your assigned tutor is not able to help you), most of which can be completed by following the written instructions and then sending in your questionnaire results by email.
  • Arrange to pay the tuition fee for Herbalists' Bootcamp. After we receive this payment, you will receive activation codes for the Test version-option.

The Test version-option includes access to all introductory material, which you will need to read/access in order to fulfill the RMHI admissions requirements, in the main reference and software modules of HerbalThink-TCM. The activation codes are contained in a text-file attachment. Open that attachment using any simple text editor like TextEdit, Notepad, or WordPad. Within this file, there are two fields of information that you will require:

  • (If your computer has multiple users/accounts, be sure that you are logged onto the same user account that you used to do the first part of this tutorial.)
  • Launch (run) HerbalThink-TCM.
  • Choose  Activate license…  from the  Help  menu.
  • Copy (Windows: ⌃C ; MacOS-X: ⌘C ) the  LICENSEE  field from the attached file, including the beginning and ending '$'. Then paste it into the corresponding text entry box of the Activate license window; use either the  Paste  command in the  Edit  menu or the keyboard shortcut (Windows: ⌃V ; MacOS-X: ⌘V ).
  • Now do the same for the  LICENSE KEY  field.

Your window should now appear as in the following example:


Now click the  Activate  button at the bottom, and immediately the Test version-option should now be highlighted in bold-green:


You may now close the Activate license window.


Supplements to this tutorial


Tutorials #3-8:   Self-Study Reference, Herbal Tutor, Pulse Simulator, CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM

Use of these modules within the HerbalThink-TCM system is covered in the remainder of this Tutorial series. Follow the instructions carefully, then answer the simple questions in the questionnaire for each tutorial. These questions are primarily designed to ensure that you understand how to access the different software modules and find relevant subsections in each that contains the required information. This is a very basic skill that you will be using frequently as a software user, as a member of the RMHInet brainstorming network, and/or as an enrolled RMHI student. These tutorials will explain everything you will need to know in order to qualify either for Active Member status in RMHInet or for admission to RMHI's certification courses.

The reason that we request briefly knowing about your background, interests, and goals in using HerbalThink-TCM is to enable us to tailor the tutorial to your needs. That is the primary reason why we prefer supplementing these remaining online tutorials by Skype audio call, because it is difficult to create a one-size-fits-all introduction. The software is quite flexible and accommodates a wide range of users, from beginners with no prior experience of TCM to experts.

Regardless of whether you decide to join our RMHInet brainstorming network or apply for admission to an RMHI certification course, by completing this tutorial series, we hope to permanently transform your understanding of health and illness.


Strive to complete one tutorial every few weeks

There is a huge amount of reading material in the course, much of it optional. While you are encouraged to follow your curiosity, avoid the common educational pitfall of reading too much without taking time for practical applications. Too much theoretical information without practical applications creates intellectual dilettantes. The mind becomes stuffed with clutter desperately in need of real-world context.

That is why it is so important to stay on track to complete these tutorials. You should strive to complete at least one tutorial every few weeks. The tutorials are designed to keep you focused on the ultimate goal — how are you going to apply what you have read and learned to real-life situations?

Please submit your completed questionnaire for this tutorial, wait to receive feedback from your assigned tutor, then go to  Tutorial #3:   Self-Study Reference