2.02. Installation

We are assuming you have obtained mSupply via the Internet or on a CD.

If you have downloaded the file you need, and you have saved it to your desktop, it is important that you saved the file with an “.exe” extension or it will not run (You can rename a file by right-clicking on it). The default name for the file is “mSupply_installer.exe”

If you are using the CD, it should automatically run when inserted. Otherwise, locate the file “mSupply…..exe” on the CD using Windows Explorer.

It is strongly recommended that users who are not familiar with program installation adhere to these directions.

  • Double-click “mSupply_installer.exe”, and it will automatically run the mSupply installer.
  • The installer will do the following:
    • Create a folder on your chosen drive called “mSupply”
    • In Windows XP & 2000, create in the mSupply folder a sub folder called “Database” containing an example data file.
    • In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the example data file is installed in the My Documents/mSupply/Example sub folder.
      • NOTE: You can use this data file for practice. (Or use the tutorial at the start of the manual to learn the basics quickly)
    • Install the “mSupply.exe” application and associated files. Double-clicking this file will do the same as double-clicking the “start mSupply” icon on your desktop.
    • Install “readme.txt” - information on licensing and using mSupply.
    • Install “mSupply manual….pdf” - this document (CD version only).
    • Create two shortcuts on your desktop: “ start mSupply” and “ mSupply manual” (CD version only)
    • Create a “mSupply folder” entry in the “programs” section of your “start” menu.

Now you are ready to begin! Proceed to the section below on starting the example database.

The mSupply installer treats Example data files in a special way. Re-installing mSupply on a previous installation will replace all the files except the Example data file. This is to prevent valuable data from being deleted as users may have started entering actual stock into the Example data file.

To install a fresh copy of the Example data file on Windows you can carry out one of the options described below:

  • Un-install mSupply using the Windows menu Start > Program Files > mSupply > Uninstall mSupply . This will remove all installed files of mSupply which includes the Example data files. Re-installing mSupply now will install a fresh copy of the Example data file.
  • You can manually delete the Example data file and re-install mSupply. The mSupply installer will install a fresh copy of the example database as the previously installed file has been deleted.

On Macintosh machines, simply replace the Example folder from the mSupply installer image.

  • In the regional settings in Control Panel, we recommend that the short date format is set to display only 2 digits for the year (YY, not YYYY).mSupply lists are set up to allow only enough space for 4 digits with most font sizes, but occasionally 4 digit years may be truncated. Having the wrong setting here will only affect display, not the actual data. It does not matter if you use DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY or YY/MM/DD
  • If the display of lists in mSupply overlaps the separator lines, turn off large font in the display control panel.

After installation, if mSupply fails to start, then please review your regional format setting and try English (United Kingdom) or English (US)

For example with regional format setting of English (Nigeria) it is known that mSupply will not start.

The solution is to change the regional format setting to something more common like English (United Kingdom) or English (US):

2.01. Requirements

Hardware requirements vary widely depending on what you want to use mSupply for

Here's a rough guide.

Absolute minimum Windows 7,XP, Vista or Windows 2000 computer with a 500 Mhz Pentium processor or equivalent.
Suggested single user or Client machine for use with server. Win 2000 or later, 800 Mhz or faster Pentium processor or equivalent, 256Mb RAM
Suggested server Win 2003 or XP or Win 7 or later, 1.8Ghz Core 2 duo or equivalent, minimum of 1Gb RAM. 4Hard disks. 3 configured as RAID5, Attached to Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit with software to shut down server if battery power is about to run out.
  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
  • 50Mb hard disk space.
  • A connected printer is not absolutely necessary in every situation, but for most situations it is a requirement. A dot-matrix printer may be used, but an ink-jet or laser is preferable.
  • Buy hardware for which you are able to obtain good support.
  • Buy brands with a reputation for quality (even if it means buying a slower/older machine).
  • We have clients running mSupply on a wide range of hardware. We are happy to discuss hardware options further via email or phone.

Once you start using mSupply, it is of crucial importance that you have a method of backing up your data. mSupply stores all its data in a file that rapidly becomes large. You need, therefore, to have a high capacity removable storage device. We strongly recommend the use of an external hard disk using either firewire (IEEE 1394) or USB2 to facilitate off-site storage of backups.

  • See the section in Preferences that covers mSupply's built-in backup features that allow backup to another disk, and to an internet backup site… you'll find it here: Backup
  • If not using our internet backup service, you need to be able to store backed up data off-site to prevent the risk of loss by fire, theft, etc.

Sustainable Solutions will not be able to help you recover lost data in the event of hardware failure if no backup is available.

Windows based operating systems are particularly prone to malware if precautions are not taken. We recommend the following precautions:

  • Install a reputable anti-virus program, including web protection if the computer has access to the internet. We recommend F-Prot.
  • Disable USB ports - refer to this site for suggested methods.

Ensure that access to passwords to allow exceptions to the above two measures are kept secure.

If you open a data file that was created with a previous version, it will automatically be updated to the new format. Please note that this process may take some time.

Note that if you are using a version earlier than v1.96 you must first upgrade to v1.96 and then to version 2 or 3.

IMPORTANT! Always make a backup of your data file before upgrading, and preferably keep a copy off-site. We will not be able to help you in the event of some unexpected disaster if you haven't followed this advice!

2.03. Starting mSupply for the first time

To start mSupply, either

  • double-click the start mSupply icon on your desktop, or
  • choose the start mSupply item from the mSupply menu in the programs section of the Start menu (on Windows). If this is the first time mSupply has been started after installation, then an example data file will be opened allowing you to follow the mSupply tutorial. mSupply will present you with a log in window.

Note that mSupply will “remember” the last data file used, and automatically present the log-in window for that file unless you move or rename your data file. If you do this, mSupply will show you a standard open/save window for you to choose the new name/location of your data.

If you would like to create a new data file now, then log in to the example data file and from the mSupply menu do the following.

  • File > New Data File… Navigate to a convenient location. Assign a name to your data file and click the save button. mSupply will now start creating a new data file.
  • You will be presented with a login window. See below for instructions

  • Start entering your data.

Here is an another way to create a new data file.

  • Quit mSupply if it is running.
  • Start mSupply and then immediately hold down the “alt” key (You will now be shown the following which has a number of radio buttons with the different options available.


  • Choose the 3rd radio button Create a new data file . Another window will open where you can choose the location and name of your new data.

Once mSupply has opened up a particular data file, that file becomes the default file which is opened automatically on restarting mSupply. To use a different file, it must be chosen, as described later. If the default data file is renamed or moved to a different location, it must be opened using its new name or location.

The first time you use mSupply, you will be presented with the log-in window like this:

mSupply® ships with three users. “user 1” and “user 2” are the designer and administrator - these two users cannot be deleted, but they can be edited, allowing the use of appropriate names and making changes to their passwords and permissions.

  1. You should select user 1(pass=user1) from the list
  2. Enter the password “user1” (without the quotes). When different users with their own level of access have been set up, you will then log-in by selecting your user name and typing your own password.
  3. From the drop down list, select the store with which you are working. Most mSupply users will be operating with a single store, but for users operating with more than one store, the login screen allows you to select any of the stores to which you have access. After selecting the desired store, all transactions will relate to that store until you return to the login screen and select a different store from the drop down menu.
    • Supervisors and other Level 1 users will have an additional menu item, Supervisor - All stores . In this mode, all stores are accessible, and you would use this mode, for instance, when placing an order for supplies which will be distributed to a number of stores. Further information is available here: Show stores
  4. Choose login mode …., you have the option to select Store mode or Dispensary mode ; the default can be set in your Preferences

Finally, click OK to login

The following 2 steps are necessary to start mSupply for the first time.

  • Create a new data file
  • Prepare the new data file for use

In order to create a new data file, see above Creating a new data file

Save the data file in a location that you can easily find for doing backups. We suggest you create a folder called “mSupply data” inside the My Documents on Windows PC or the documents folder on a MAC to store your data file.

  1. Choose your home currency. Currencies are used when you are calculating cost prices for orders, and when you are comparing quotations from suppliers. Choose Special > Currencies. If your currency is not already shown, click the New button at the top of the window and choose from the pick-list the three letter code abbreviation of the currency you will use to operate your database (e.g. “INR” for Indian Rupees, or “SAR” for South African Rands, or “USD” for US dollars). Set the “Rate” to “1”.
  2. Enter your Preferences. Choose File>Preferences to do this. Read the chapter of the manual on Preferences to learn what the different Preference settings do. You will find the Preferences section here
  3. Enter your Suppliers and Customers.
  4. If you have a computer file holding your customer and/or supplier details, it can be imported directly into mSupply. See Importing Customers, Suppliers, Patients.
  5. You can also do this as you go along simply by entering a customer or supplier the first time you create an invoice or order from them.
  6. Enter the items you keep in stock. There are a number of ways you can do this:
    • If you have a computer file holding details of the items you stock, it can be imported directly into mSupply. For more information see Import items
    • A file containing the WHO essential drug list is available from the download page of the mSupply web site. You are encouraged to use this file should you have no computer file of your own.
    • You can enter each item using the New item Command from the item menu.
    • Enter your stock figures.
    • If you have a computer file holding both details of the items you stock and your current stock figures, it can be imported directly into mSupply. See: Import items and stock
    • Your opening stock may be entered manually; choose Item>Inventory adjust - add stock , and enter the required details.
    • If you intend to record the location of each item, you should define the locations that your store contains. See Locations - Defining locations.

At the log in window you have the option to log into a specific store or to log in as 'Supervisor' by choosing option 3 shown in the below window.

Unless you intend to use multiple virtual stores in mSupply you can ignore this option. More information will be found here: Virtual stores

mSupply allows you to log in in two different modes, Store mode or Dispensary mode . Each user can have his/her permissions set to allow or disallow each mode.

Each mode presents the user with a different menu bar and different windows, depending on whether you are issuing stock to an organisation or an individual

See Dispensary Mode.

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  • Last modified: 2019/10/18 05:06
  • by Lou Lomas