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Help: Recent Additions & Changes

  1. What do the icons stand for in an event listing?
  2. Washington on-the-Brazos State Park
  3. How do I fix the density maps on my profile?
  4. How do I change my stamp?
  5. How do I edit my profile?
  6. How do I add a map of US states or Canadian provinces to my profile?
  7. What printer/toner combinations work with which transfer methods?
  8. What's the Wassa Widget do?
  9. What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?
  10. How do I log hitchiker or personal travelers?
  11. How do I update an F-Summary?
  12. What is an LTC?
  13. What's the difference between public, protected, and private groups?
  14. What do the icons on an LTC represent?
  15. What are the different types of letterboxes?
  16. Can you carve logos on stamps to plant legally?
  17. Where is the "Search for my letterboxes" function?
  18. Why is the auto-login not working for my account?
  19. How do I include a link in my messages?
  20. What happened to virtual boxes?
  21. How does embossing work?
  22. What is an F-Summary (Find Summary)?
  23. Hi does anyone know on the listings before a clue what a Circled F means. know that F means Found and X means not found. thanks
  24. Can I turn a single box into a series later?
  25. How can I unrecord a find?
  26. Can we check the info for "This Day in History" on dates other than today?
  27. We posted a new letterbox, but nobody else can find them. Where have I gone wrong?
  28. Are there any guidelines for hosting an LTC swap?
  29. What's the difference between the carver, planter, and owner of a letterbox?
  30. How do I save box clues I want to find?
  31. What's the difference between a cootie and a flea?
  32. How do I remove the frown/sad face from my letterbox?
  33. Is there a clue guide available for Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC?
  34. Is there a clue guide available for Cane Creek Park in Waxhaw, NC?
  35. What do the arrows represent?
  36. Woodlawn Cemetery, Syracuse, New York
  37. How do you letterbox at all? This is so confusing!
  38. How do I create an alias?
  39. How do I record my LbNA finds on Atlas Quest
  40. Columbia
  41. How do I manage tags?
  42. How do hitchhikers work?
  43. What is the difference between a "Planter" and an "Owner"?
  44. Some boxes are found after being marked retired. What does this mean?
  45. How do I search the message boards?
  46. What are P-club and F-club restrictions?
  47. How does the Basic Search work?
  48. How do I view the finds on a letterbox?
  49. I am trying to upload my signature stamp photo and it shows preview but after hitting saved it says no file uploaded. The picture is in gif and under 10mb. Not sure if there's a problem with site or no. Please help. Thank you Lisa
  50. What are Treasure Hikers?

What do the icons stand for in an event listing?

Last Updated: April 27, 2016 08:22:52 AM


The event will be held outdoors such as at a park, perhaps with a pavilion or other facilities available.
The event will be held indoors at a restaurant or similar location where food or drinks may be available for purchase.
A multi-day event where letterboxers are encouraged to spend the night together at a campground.
Events held at libraries, museums, schools and other places of learning.
Tag sale, birthdays, weddings, and other non-letterboxing events that letterboxers are welcome to attend.
The event will be held at a pub or other adult-only type of event.
An online event, such as in a chat room or other online location.
An unspecified subtype, or anything that does not fit the categories listed above.


The event is a potluck--bring some food, drinks, or eating utensils and prepare to eat!
The venue allows letterboxing opportunities.
Pets are allowed at the event.
There is an entrance fee, parking fee, or some sort of expense associated with this event.
The date and time of the event is a mystery and must be figured out from clues.
The location of the event is a mystery and must be figured out from clues.
A raffle will be held at the event and there's a good chance that the organizers of the event will need raffle prizes if you have anything available.


This attendee is available to drive a carpool to the event.
This attendee wants or needs a ride to the event.

Help Home > Events & Gatherings

Washington on-the-Brazos State Park

Last Updated: April 26, 2016 07:38:08 AM

Anyone wishing to place a letterbox in a Washington on-the-Brazos State Park should check-in with park staff first.

Help Home > Land Manager Policies > Texas

How do I fix the density maps on my profile?

Last Updated: April 22, 2016 08:59:02 AM

Premium members have density maps of their plants and finds automatically generated on their profile. States are filled in based on the location of your plants and finds on listed letterboxes where the location is known. Although simple and easy, this is not an infallible system. Mystery boxes may not be counted if AQ doesn't know what state it is in, and sometimes boxes—especially from events—are later relocated to other states making it look like you have finds in states that you've never even been to.

However! As premium members, you have the power to fix this by adding a custom location to such boxes. Be sure to include, at a minimum, the state where you actually found the box.

For instance, take the hypothetical situation where your find map is showing that you've found a box in Illinois—a state that you've never been to.

Also, remember, you can add custom locations to your own boxes as well. For instance, if your only plant in Nevada was a mystery box listed as "somewhere in the United States", AQ won't show a plant in Nevada. But you can add a custom location to your mystery box to tell AQ that the box is really in Nevada and the density map of your plants will then show a plant in Nevada.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Profiles

How do I change my stamp?

Last Updated: April 22, 2016 08:44:02 AM

Click the Replace Signature Stamp just below your signature stamp on your profile. The icon will look like this. From there, you'll be able to upload a new image which will replace the existing one.

If you need to rotate your image because your smartphone or other device uploaded the image with an incorrect orientation, you can edit your signature stamp by clicking the Edit button by your signature stamp.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Profiles

How do I edit my profile?

Last Updated: April 22, 2016 08:39:02 AM

On your profile page, you'll find an edit link (the image of the pencil that looks like Edit) at the beginning of each section that you can edit. You can edit your own profile as well as the profiles of sub-accounts attached to your account.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Profiles

How do I add a map of US states or Canadian provinces to my profile?

Last Updated: April 22, 2016 08:36:35 AM

Premium Members

Premium members can have both plant and find maps automatically generated for the United States. You'll only see the map if you actually have plants and finds in the United States. There is also an option to disable the maps on your profile if you'd prefer not to see them included, but the maps will be on by default.

Non-Premium Members (or areas outside of the United States)

Maps for the US or other regions can be added to one's profile by adding a link to an outside site like World66. Copy the code given and paste it into the free flowing thoughts section of your profile.

If you use the wiki markup option (most accounts do since that's the one enabled by default), you will need to replace the <img src="http with [img:http and then change the > to a ].

Also if you would like it to be in its own section, place a "++ Map" just prior to the code.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Profiles

What printer/toner combinations work with which transfer methods?

Last Updated: April 12, 2016 03:02:01 AM

Printer/CopierToner Cartridge/ManufacturerHeatAcetoneXyleneTransparency/Direct Transfer
HP Laserjet 4200 SeriesOfficeMax OM9881Great on PZ White and pink stuff, workable on PZ orange Mixed results on all tested blocks ?Can work with just rubbing, but better with heat
HP Laserjet 4 PlusHP 98A (92298A)??works great on the pink stuff?
HP Laserjet 5PHP 03A Toner Cartridge, HP C3903A?Produces very good image on Safety Kut and dollar store erasers (haven't tried other blocks)??
HP Laserjet 4300dtnHP 39Aworks on PZ Kut White and Orange, though heat setting should be lower with the orange???
Xerox Workcenter 5645Produces good images on pink stuff and PZ Kut white; faint but usable images on PZ Kut orange???
HP Laserjet 1022n?works fineyes??
Xerox XC356"old"Yes??Yes, when set on dark
ALPS Micro-Dry 1300 (no longer produced)ALPS dye sublimation ribbon cartridgesAbso-freakin-lutely amazing clarity on pink stuff; haven't tried anything else.n/an/an/a
Samsung ML-2010SamsungTransfer is always dark and crisp!???
HP Laserjet 2100HP?Works extremely well on white PZ Kut, and almost as well with orange PZ Kut??
HP Laserjet 2100M???worked very good on the pink stuff (clear, crisp transfer)?
HP Color Laserjet 4600dn *???worked okay on the pink stuff (transfer needs minor touchups before carving)?
HP Color LaserJet 1518 *HPworks on PZ Kut white and pink stuffworks on PZ Kut white??
HP Color LaserJet 2320 MFP *HPworks on PZ Kut white and pink stuffworks on PZ Kut white??
Xerox Docucolor 250 (Kinkos)???Amazing on the orange, ok on pink?
Toshiba e-Studio 45Produces good images on pink stuff and PZ Kut white; faint but usable images on PZ Kut orange???
Canon NP2020Transfers clear, dark image well on all materials???
Dell 1710nTransfers clearly on white and orange PZ Kut??
Brother HL-L2360DWBrother DR-630Clear, crisp iron/heat B/W transfers onto pink stuff and white PZ Kut; OZ dark, but not quite as crisp due to sheen???

*Before printing on a color LaserJet, configure the printer driver to "Print in Grayscale" to ensure that the printer only prints with black toner. In the printer Properties, click on the "Color" tab to find the "Print in Grayscale" checkbox.

There has also been discussion about using solvent cocktails with both inkjet and toner based printers, with some success. The most common of these are various carburetor cleaners containing methanol, sometimes referred to as the "napalm" option. There has not been sufficient data submitted to suggest specific a specific combination to try or to avoid.

Help Home > Carving & Mounting Stamps

What's the Wassa Widget do?

Last Updated: April 9, 2016 05:37:53 PM

This Widget will choose a random day, and display the Funniest Post of the Day, as determined by the number of times people voted via the [ Funny ] button.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > My Page

What do the icons stand for in a traditional letterbox?

Last Updated: April 7, 2016 05:39:57 PM

Stamp Types

The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.


The creator does not specify the location of the nearest city for this letterbox. They may have specified the state or country of its location, but you're expected to discover the actual starting point for the hunt yourself. From a technical standpoint, a location is considered a mystery box if the location has no name, address, and city. If the location spans less than one mile, it is not a mystery. And if a location is "somewhere within a city," the owner of the box can specify if it's a mystery location or not. And finally, just because you solve a mystery and add a custom location, the letterbox is still considered a mystery box-adding a specific custom location will not remove this icon.
This picture represents a bonus box, where the clue for the box will be found (usually) in a pre-existing nearby letterbox.
A Word of Mouth (WOM) box. The clues are distributed somewhere other than online, such as via e-mail, postal mail, or delivered in person.
An urban letterbox, as defined here, is located in an area where one is unlikely to experience "The Great Outdoors". Like in a big city, such as New York city. A rest area in the middle of nowhere is an urban box. A large city park with trees and hiking trails is not an urban box. The 'setting' for the letterbox is urban, not necessarily the location, if that makes any sense.
A snow friendly box is rather a squishy concept. Some people might consider a box that requires several miles of cross-country travel using snow shoes or skies as snow 'friendly,' while other may not. Other boxes might be quite findable if there's an inch or two of snow on the ground but may no longer be easily found if there's a foot or two of snow on the ground. In theory, though, a snow friendly box is one in which important landmarks in the clue would not be covered, nor will digging through layers of snow be required to find the box.
A pet friendly letterbox is located in an area that allows pets to roam, usually with a leash requirement.
This letterbox is available only for a limited time. A limited time letterbox is either a box that is planted for only part of the year or a box that you intend to retire within the next three months. Letterboxes planted in regions that are covered in snow for nine months of the year or in stores that require a visit during store hours do not count as limited time boxes.
A bike friendly letterbox is located in an area where bicycles or mountain bikes are permitted and have plenty of room to roam. For instance, while it is legal to ride ones bicycle on busy city streets, it is not considered bike friendly if there are no designated bike lanes available for use near the letterbox. And while many trails may be accessible to mountain bike, it is not considered bike friendly if the trail is for hikers only.
The trail or path to the letterbox should be accessible by wheelchairs or strollers the entire way. However, the letterbox itself may not be reachable from a wheelchair or stroller, and those using them may need assistance from others to actually acquire the box. The letterbox may be planted too high or low for someone in a wheelchair to physically reach, or too far off from the main trail for a wheelchair, but as long as an assistant can retrieve the box and bring it back for the wheelchair-bound person, it's considered wheelchair accessible.
You'll be expected to use your head on this one in order to decipher the clue. The code might be easy or hard-this image promises nothing on that count-the only thing it does promise is that the clue won't be straight-forward as most.
A box that requires some sort of special or unusual equipment like for scuba diving or rock climbing, or even something as simple as a ladder. A compass is not considered "special" equipment for letterboxers!
This image marks letterboxes that require a compass in order to find. The lack of this picture means the clue doesn't require a compass OR that the creator of the letterbox did not specify a compass requirement. It's generally a good idea to always carry a compass in your letterboxing kit, though, so you'll always be prepared.
This letterbox requires payment of some sort of fee-probably a parking or entrance fee-in order to find. The lack of this picture does not necessarily mean no fees are required. The creator may not have specified fees, or perhaps fees were added since the box was planted. It's always a good idea to carry a few extra dollars in case of an unexpected fee or two.
Those who plant letterboxes are able to point out their favorite plants by assigning them the Planter's Choice Award. They might do this because they consider it one of their best boxes, or perhaps it has sentimental value. Whatever the reason, the planter wants you to notice this box.
The blue diamond marks letterboxes that are highly recommended by other letterboxers. If your time is limited, you might want to focus on finding a Blue Diamond letterbox.
Each week, the highest rated box on Atlas Quest is designated the Box of the Week. Use this to search for boxes that have reached such lofty heights.
Some people like to find boxes that are 'historic,' and using this option in one's search can help narrow down the possibilities. A historic box, in this case, is any letterbox that was planted at least ten years ago and has been listed on Atlas Quest for at least five years.
Some letterboxers want to find that elusive box few people ever find or even search for. Searching for 'rare finds,' in this case, will return all boxes that have not had a recorded find for at least one full year.
Clued boxes are those that have some sort of clue included with it. WOM boxes, hitchhikers, event boxes, etc. often do not have clues.

Hike Types

This letterbox is located indoors -- perfect for those cold, wet days when you really do not want to go outside.
A drive-by letterbox, as defined on this website, is a letterbox that requires perhaps 5 to 10 minutes to nab from the time you park your car. A drive-by letterbox will be hidden within eyesight of where one parks, or at least so close that if it were raining, the person would take the box to their car to stamp in.
A stroll is something that's less than a mile round-trip of walking, which would take most people less than 30 minutes to complete (find and return to their starting point) but still too far out to be considered a drive by.
A walk is something that requires 1 to 2 miles round-trip of walking/hiking, which would take most people between 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
A hike is a box that requires 2 to 4 miles round-trip of hiking, which would take most people between 1 to 2 hours to complete.
A trek is 4 to 8 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete.
A backpack is 8 to 15 miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete.
A thru-hike requires 15 or more miles round-trip of hiking, and will typically take most people a minimum of 8 hours to complete.

Note: Use a little common sense with these icons. A flat, paved, 1-mile trail would be a stroll. A rugged 1-mile trail that climbs 1,000 feet in elevation gain would be a walk. Even though both trails are one mile long, they would each fall into different categories since the difficulty level is very different. There are no hard or fast rules regarding this-just use a little common sense. A typical hiking trail that's two miles long would normally be a walk, but if the walk requires an extreme climb going up thousands of feet on a rarely maintained trail, mark it as a hike.


This is a happy letterbox—there are no reported issues with the box and no known repairs are needed.
This is a sad letterbox—it needs some help. Maybe there's a torn ziploc bag or maybe there's been a catastrophic box failure and the logbook is unusable or stamp severely damaged. If you help, by all means, please do!

Help Home > Letterboxes > Traditionals

How do I log hitchiker or personal travelers?

Last Updated: March 31, 2016 08:40:58 AM

From the Letterboxes column on the toolbar at the top of the AtlasQuest page, select Record Find. Type in the name of the letterbox and change the type to HH/cootie/flea (for hitchhikers) or traveler (for personal travelers). Search, type in the pertinent information and then hit the record find button at the bottom of the page.

It is also possible to record a find directly from the box details page of the box you found. Run a regular search like you normally would from the Simple Search page or Advanced Search page. Once you've found the listing for the box you found, use the "Record Find" button on that box's page.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Recording Finds

How do I update an F-Summary?

Last Updated: March 31, 2016 08:34:46 AM

F-Summary is created automatically when finders record finding (or failing to find) a letterbox.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Recording Finds

What is an LTC?

Last Updated: March 28, 2016 02:40:59 PM

LTCs are Letterboxer Trading Cards.

They are a variant of ATCs or Artist Trading Cards. ATCs are small pieces of artwork created for the sole purpose of trading with other artists. So, LTCs are created with the intention of trading with other letterboxers. What makes the card an LTC is that the design contains an image that is hand-carved and hand-stamped. Other embellishments and stamps can be used, but the hand-carved stamp must be part of the art on the front of the card.

LTCs were suggested on AQ (Atlas Quest) by a letterboxer and became a reality when Mama Cache hosted the first swap. She wrote up the first guidelines and they are still in effect today. You can read about how they came to be and the guidelines on her Letterbox Trading Card page.

LTCs are usually made of card stock or similar heavyweight paper. They measure 2.5" by 3.5" (the size of a baseball card), and can use any medium or combination of media.
Construction paper is a poor choice because of the acid content which will shorten the life of your work. Seek out acid free options to come closer to archival quality (long lasting) art work. Scrapbooking papers and card stocks offer a wide variety of acid free choices. Watercolor papers and some art canvases are also good bases. Cards have been made from a wide variety of base materials such as fabric, fused beads, very thin wood, etc.

More information on techniques can be found in AQ's LTC Category. If you use facebook, lots of help, feedback, and techniques can be found in the Letterbox Trading Cards group.

LTC Examples

Help Home > Letterboxes > LTC

What's the difference between public, protected, and private groups?

Last Updated: March 19, 2016 05:00:39 AM

A public group is visible to everyone, and anyone can join or leave the group at a whim. You are not able to restrict letterboxes or trackers to those in a public group—it wouldn't be much of a restriction if anyone could join whenever they wanted to, after all!
Protected groups are hidden from everyone except from those who are members of it. Nobody outside of the group can read messages on boards in a protected group, and members will be able to restrict boxes and trackers to members of their group. Any member of a protected group can invite non-members into the group.
A private group is almost identical to the protected group, except only group admins are able to invite new members to the group rather than any member of the group.

Help Home > Groups

What do the icons on an LTC represent?

Last Updated: March 15, 2016 03:40:50 PM

Stamp Types

The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp.
The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp.


The card is an undersized card (inchies, twinchies, quisps, etc.).
The card is a standard sized LTC.
The card is an oversized card (bookmarks, postcards, etc.).


The stamp used for the LTC has been previously used in some other box, and not necessarily another LTC.
You must solve some sort of puzzle or other challenge in order to 'earn' this LTC.

Help Home > Letterboxes > LTC

What are the different types of letterboxes?

Last Updated: March 12, 2016 04:28:23 PM

Traditional: A 'traditional' box is the standard, run-of-the-mill letterbox with a rubber stamp, a logbook and requires clues in order to find it.
Hitchhiker: The original spinoff, hitchhikers have a rubber stamp and a logbook and travel from box to box, hitching rides between boxes from the letterboxers who find it. It is okay to leave a hitchhiker behind if you do not feel like carrying the hitchhiker to a different letterbox. The category has been extended to also include cooties and fleas (which can travel from person-to-person).
Postal: A postal is a rubber stamp and the logbook that's mailed from one letterboxer to another, usually through the USPS.
Personal Traveler: A stamp that a letterboxer carries that can be 'found'—usually by answering questions or doing something for that person. The clues will state what the requirements are to get the traveler.
LTC: Short for Letterboxer Trading Cards, an LTC are like baseball cards that can be swapped and traded. They are handmade by letterboxers and should include some sort of stamp in the image. A standard LTC has a fixed 2.5" x 3.5" dimensions, but a growing number of non-standard sizes and shapes are now being included in this category including inchies, quisps, postcards and bookmarks.
Event Box: A box whose sole purpose is to be present at an event or gathering for other people to stamp into. Typically, they're readily available on tabletops, in ice chests, and otherwise hanging around waiting for your observant eye to stumble onto them and usually don't require clues to find. Some event boxes might have clues. For example, if they're locked in a container and the clue is needed for the combination. (Not to be confused with a traditional box since the box itself isn't hidden and out of sight—it's just inaccessible until the combination is figured out.)
Other: For anything else that doesn't quite fit into any other category, it can be labeled as an 'other' box. Usually it involves a rubber stamp, but in a context that none of the other terms conveys.
Reserved: Use this for boxes that have not yet been planted but are scheduled to be planted at some point in the future. Your box will be assigned a unique ID number and once the box has been planted, you can convert it into one of the other types of boxes. Only you will be able to see your reserved boxes.

Help Home > Letterboxes

Can you carve logos on stamps to plant legally?

Last Updated: March 5, 2016 10:16:23 AM

While we cannot provide any sort of definitive legal advice, it seems reasonable to assume that you should get permission from copyright/trademark owners before using their logos if you want to be on the up-and-up.

However, it also seems doubtful that corporations are going to spend time and money going after you because you've carved a stamp of their logo for personal use—with the caveat that you aren't earning an income from the use of such logos or attempt to mislead others that they endorse whatever it is you are using it for.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Help

Where is the "Search for my letterboxes" function?

Last Updated: February 22, 2016 09:05:47 AM

Under the My Page menubar option, select My Logbook. Choose Plants for action if it isn't already select, then click Go.

Help Home > Letterboxes

Why is the auto-login not working for my account?

Last Updated: February 15, 2016 12:09:36 PM

First, check for the obvious:

  1. Are you using a "private" window or session? Private sessions will delete your cookies after you finish using the website—including the code to log you in automatically.
  2. Is another member of your family or a visiting friend logging you out then logging into their own account?
  3. Are your browser preferences set to automatically delete all cookies upon closing the browser?
  4. Do you have cookies turned on?
  5. Some anti-virus software may delete cookies from your browser to prevent "tracking" or to hide websites that you have visited. What is else is your anti-virus software doing besides checking for viruses?

If one of those is not the problem, then a "cookie" in your browser has probably become corrupted. This most often seems to happen when someone imports data from one browser into another, such as from Internet Explorer into Firefox, but regardless of the reason, you'll need to delete the cookie.

If you're using Internet Explorer

  1. Click the Tools option.
  2. Click the Internet Options option.
  3. On the General tab, under Browsing history, click Delete.

Note: This will delete all of your cookies in Internet Explorer and you may have to log into other websites again as well as Atlas Quest.

If you're using Firefox

  1. Click the Tools option.
  2. Click the Options... option.
  3. On the Privacy tab, click the Show cookies... button.
  4. Click on the cookie for site with the name cAutoLogin6.
  5. Click on the Remove cookie button.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Registering & Logging In

How do I include a link in my messages?

Last Updated: January 30, 2016 07:57:24 AM

If you type a link all by itself, it should automatically turn clickable with no additional effort.

If you want the link to be labeled with something other than the URL, check the Wiki Markup or HTML Markup help pages. Most people, by default, have their preferences set up to use the wiki formatting so try that (at first) if you aren't sure.

You'll also find many other tips for formatting your messages on those help pages including how to make text bold, italic, underlined, and more.

Wiki Markup:
HTML Markup:
Markup Preferences: (the last option)

Help Home > Atlas Quest > AQ Mail

What happened to virtual boxes?

Last Updated: January 23, 2016 08:04:54 PM

Virtuals are a slippery term to describe 'online letterboxes.' Historically, it required an online hunt through websites in order to solve a puzzle, but they eventually grew into one-word answers that could often be solved without any research at all. As standards went down, they were eventually moved into their own category. Eventually, people largely stopped using them and support was finally dropped at the end of 2014. You'll still find a few virtual boxes listed on private websites, however. To learn more about virtuals and chat with other fans of virtual boxes, join the Virtuals Group.

Help Home > Letterboxes

How does embossing work?

Last Updated: January 14, 2016 04:14:43 AM

OK, here is your handy, pocket guide for embossing, from a rubber stamper:

There are two types of embossing:
  1. Heat embossing; which gives your image a raised, glossy look
  2. Dry embossing; which uses a stencil to give your paper a raised look

Embossing powder is actually ground up plastic that you are melting onto your paper. You can use clear ink with colored embossing powder, or you can use colored ink with clear embossing powder. Each version has a slightly different 'look'.

For embossing to work you need to use PIGMENT ink. This ink stays 'wet' longer, and the embossing powder will stick to your stamped image. Colorbox inks are one of many brands of pigment ink and come in all sorts of colors. VersaMark is also a pigment ink but is clear (and actually gives you a 'watermark' look if you just stamp with it and don't add the embossing powder.) No matter how fast you are, the embossing powder will not stick to an image stamped with DYE-BASED ink. It simply drys too fast. Markers are ususally dye based so if you tried that and it didn't work, that's the reason.

After stamping your image, pour the embossing powder on and then tap off all excess powder. You should be able to tap the paper fairly hard without losing the powder sticking to the image. NOW is the time to look the paper over and brush off any stray particles of powder. Another option is to buy a little bag of rosin to rub on your paper BEFORE you stamp. This will cut down on the static and oils from your fingers, which is usually the reason you've got the extra particles in the first place.

Now, it's time to heat this powder. Don't try to emboss with a hair dryer. They do not get hot enough and they blow too hard, you'll end up with powder everywhere! If you don't have a heat tool, you could hold your paper above a lightbulb, the burner of your stove, or even your toaster... but that's a more difficult way to control the embossing process and you have a greater possibility of burning something (the paper, you, the house... you get the idea). So, I recommend you go ahead and just buy the heat tool in the first place. You'll be buying it eventually, because embossing is such a cool effect.

There are a couple of tricks to using the heat tool. Hold the tool about an inch or so away, and move it back and forth or in circles, just a little. If you wave it around too much, you're not getting the heat to the powder effectively. As you see the powder melt and get shiny, move to another section of the stamped image. It is possible to burn your paper, or the powder, so you do need to watch what's going on. When you see it get shiny, move on. If your embossed image turns out flat rather than raised, it means you had the heat on it too long. Once the powder has melted, it's done, and any further heat doesn't accomplish anything.

You may find it helpful to have something (wooden skewer, a chopstick, tweezers, etc) to hold the paper down so it doesn't blow away while you're embossing and you don't burn your fingers. Also, keep the heat tool away from your jar of embossing powder or you'll wind up with a solid mass of melted embossing powder.

TIP: I stamp and put embossing powder on 10 LTCs and then lay them on a non-stick cookie cooling rack. Then I use the heat tool to emboss them. No more burned fingers! -Rocklun

Certain kinds of embossing powders do not raise up as much. The glittery ones are a good example of that. Also Tim Holtz has some new distress powders that do not raise up or change colors. It's really cool, but if you're just starting out, start with just regular embossing powders at first.

If you have trouble with the glittery embossing powder, double check that it really is glitter embossing powder and not just glitter. Plain ol' glitter won't work in an embossing situation because there is nothing melting with it to keep it stuck to the image. You can emboss plain ol' glitter, if you use Heat & Stick embossing powder. In that case, you just emboss your image with the powder, heat it up and then pour the glitter on and tap to remove the excess.

Couple of tips when using the Heat & Stick embossing powder:
Here's a neat trick for getting a multiple-colored embossed image, without investing in a bunch of pigment ink pads: Glycerin. (If you buy special "embossing inkpads", you'll find the ink is glycerin-based, so that's the secret of it all.) This works best on images with large flat surfaces, not as well with line drawings. Dampen your finger and apply a very thin coat of glycerin to the surface of the stamp. VERY thin. Next, color your image with markers. You can do single color or multiple colors. Any nice juicy markers, such as your regular Marvys will do. You have to be careful that puddles of glycerin don't form in tight corners, or the image won't look very crisp. Anyway, after inking it all up, huff as usual, stamp, sprinkle on clear embossing powder, and heat it up. It gives you the versatility of pigment inks without buying them in multiple colors. Of course you can also buy the Marvy Matchable embossing markers, which are really nice too, but pretty expensive. A bottle of glycerin at the drug store is cheap and lasts a long time.

And here's another embossing trick that may or may not work for you. Some inkjet inks will emboss IF you work fast and use the "best" print quality. I have found that HP black ink works best - colored ink does not seem to work at all. Again, work fast or you'll get spotty embossing. Works best with small line graphics or lettering.

Ink from EraserMate pens also is embossable.

For dry embossing, you use brass stencils, a light table (or other backlight source) and a burnishing tool. Put the stencil on the light table. Taping the stencil to the light table helps keep it in place. Place the paper on top of the stencil. Then use the tool to "rub" the paper down into the grooves of the stencil. When you are finished, you have a raised image. The stencils can be found in hobby and scrapbooking stores.

A couple of tips when dry embossing:

Help Home > Letterboxes > LTC

What is an F-Summary (Find Summary)?

Last Updated: November 23, 2015 08:28:29 AM

Clue pages now include a summary of the finds (and attempted finds) of each letterbox which is called an F-summary for short. For instance, you might see a box with an F-summary of FFFFFFFFxxxFFxx. These are the last 15 finds and attempts made on the letterbox. Each F represents a find while each x represents a failed find (i.e. an attempt).

In this example, there were 8 finds, then 3 attempts, then 2 finds, then 2 more attempts. Perhaps the box went missing, then it was replaced, then it went missing again. Or maybe those 3 successive attempts were people who just couldn't find the box because it had been replaced in the wrong location and the 4th person who looked for it realized it was behind the wrong tree. Or maybe the 3 attempts were a single group of people looking for a box and failed to find it so they all marked it as an attempt.

The point is, there are a lot of ways to interpret this data, but sometimes it's useful just to see what sort of patterns they make. A lot of attempts interspersed with finds might suggest the box is particularly tricky to find. A long series of finds followed by a long series of attempts probably means the box is missing.

If someone has chosen to hide the finds or attempts on one of their letterboxes, no F-summary will be displayed.

Help Home > Letterboxes > Traditionals > Finding

Hi does anyone know on the listings before a clue what a Circled F means. know that F means Found and X means not found. thanks

Last Updated: November 21, 2015 05:57:05 PM

Help Home > Letterboxes > Searching

Can I turn a single box into a series later?

Last Updated: November 9, 2015 08:20:05 AM

Yes. In the toolbar at the top of this page select My Page, then My Logbook, and the original letterbox which you planted. Choose Edit at the top of that page, then select Series Info and Add Box.

Help Home > Getting Started

How can I unrecord a find?

Last Updated: October 13, 2015 08:41:52 AM

You can view a list of all of your finds in your logbook at Change the 'type' to the type of box that you inadvertently recorded a find on, so if you wanted to remove a find on a traditional box, make sure you're viewing the page for traditional finds. Then click the "Remove Find" link on the find you'd like to remove.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Recording Finds

Can we check the info for "This Day in History" on dates other than today?

Last Updated: October 1, 2015 02:34:19 PM

Sorry, but that feature is not currently available at this time.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > My Page

We posted a new letterbox, but nobody else can find them. Where have I gone wrong?

Last Updated: September 4, 2015 08:19:15 AM

Help Home > Trip Planner

Are there any guidelines for hosting an LTC swap?

Last Updated: August 23, 2015 05:23:41 PM

These guidelines are designed to help people who want to host a LTC swap. These are not rules; rather, they are meant to be a commonsense approach to hosting.

Before You Host Your First Swap
Join and complete several swaps before you host your own. That will give you an opportunity to see how swaps work (and don’t work!).

Hosting Your First Swap
Once you’ve seen how swaps work, feel free to host one! Here are some helpful tips:

Completing the Swap
Once your swap is in progress, there are things you can do to make sure it completes successfully:

Help Home > Trackers > LTC Trackers

What's the difference between the carver, planter, and owner of a letterbox?

Last Updated: August 19, 2015 07:19:18 AM

Find reports will go to everyone associated with the letterbox except the carvers, including the person who listed the letterbox if they are not already listed as the planter, owner or contact.

Only the planters receive credit for a plant. Some people like to count any letterbox they've carved the stamp for as a plant, but Atlas Quest does not for two reasons: (1) A hand-carved stamp is optional and it seems odd to get credit for planting a letterbox for a feature that's optional, and (2) if you later find the letterbox with your stamp, you can still record it as an official find. If you were getting credit for the box as a plant, you would not also be able to claim credit for it as a find.

Likewise, as much as we appreciate those who've adopted and maintain a letterbox, those are adopted letterboxes and do not count towards your P-count. However, they may count towards your F-count if you went out and found the box yourself.

The owner of a letterbox may change, sometimes quite often, and ownership can be revoked or transferred by the listed planter or owner. The carver of a letterbox cannot transfer ownership of the box to someone else—unless, of course, they are also a planter or owner.

Finally, there is a 'secret' piece of information included with every letterbox listing—the person who originally listed the box in the first place. Their name won't show up anywhere on the listing; it was originally designed to find people who list letterboxes without permission. However, if they have received permission to list the boxes, it also assumes you have permission to edit the boxes as necessary, and therefore the original lister of the box can also edit the boxes. Anyone designated as the owner or planter can edit clues, but not someone listed as a carver or contact.

If the carver, planter, or owner do not have accounts on Atlas Quest, leave the appropriate option blank and give credit where credit is due directly in the clues.

Table summary (powers and privileges):
Status Notified of a Find Credit for the Plant Edit the clue Transfer Ownership Expected Use
Owner Yes No Yes Yes The person who maintains the box
Planter Yes Yes Yes Yes The person(s) who physically planted the letterbox
Lister Yes No Yes No The person who listed the box on Atlas Quest
Carver Yes/No No No No The person who carved the stamp. By default, when a carver is added to a box, he or she is also added as a contact automatically, so most carvers will get notifications of finds, but this does give them the ability to opt out.
Contact Yes No No No People who should be notified whenever a find or attempt is recorded

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes

How do I save box clues I want to find?

Last Updated: August 7, 2015 03:44:42 AM

You'll probably want to "tag" boxes that you want to find later. Tags are kind of like bookmarks for boxes, trackers and events that you apply and can later run a search that pulls up the objects you've tagged. Non-premium members can use up to four different tags while premium members can use up to eight different tags.

After running a search, you can tag multiple boxes by checking the boxes that you want to add a tag to then using the tag control at the bottom of the search results to specify which tag to apply to those boxes. You can also tag individual boxes one at a time using the tag options on the box details page.

In future searches, your tagged boxes will have a small icon listed next to their name with the tags you've applied, but you can run a search for just boxes you've tagged using the Advanced Search options.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Help

What's the difference between a cootie and a flea?

Last Updated: August 6, 2015 02:53:17 PM

A flea is a non-restricted form of a cootie. Where cooties must be passed from person-to-person, fleas are a little easier to... "get rid of." You can plant fleas in letterboxes like hitchhikers, or on a person like a traditional cootie. You can log in with a thumbprint signature or use your signature stamps.

Help Home > Letterboxes > Hitchhikers/Cooties/Fleas

How do I remove the frown/sad face from my letterbox?

Last Updated: August 5, 2015 03:15:04 PM

The frown/sad face next to a letterbox means that the box needs some sort of maintenance, but if you check up on the box and fix whatever problems are with it or find that it has no problems, you can remove the frown by recording a maintenance visit on the box. You can mark what date that you checked up on the box as well as select the happy face option (which will remove the frown).

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Help

Is there a clue guide available for Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve in Huntersville, NC?

Last Updated: August 5, 2015 07:35:05 AM

Yes. After answering this question repeatedly, it just seemed to make sense to put one together. Every box listed in this guide as well as the tips to each box has been done only with permission of each planter. By listing it in Wiki, anyone can update it to keep the information more up to date (or add or remove their boxes as they see fit). You can also check the revision date of this question listing to see when the guide was last updated.

Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve Clue Guide

This Mecklenburg County Park has fishing, horseback riding, hiking trails, plantation tours, a raptor center exhibit, nature center, and gift shop. Entrance to the park is free and all the letterboxes are located in free areas. There is a fee to see the plantation and the raptor center only.


Clues are listed in order from the entrance of the preserve to the back. The boxes are also listed as in order as they are on the trail unless otherwise indicated. You will need to check the links to the clues to see if the boxes are currently available or not.

HILL TRAIL (Hiking Only)

The Three Little Pigs: Patrick

Bell *

Bell's Bodyguard!!! *

*this is actually on a Connector trail off of the Hill Trail. If you continue on this Connector trail past this box it will connect to the Cove Trail where you pick up the clues for Battle of the Blues.

(this section of the Cove Trail is picked up from the Connector Trail that BELL and BELL'S BODYGUARD is on)

The Golden Unicorn!

Battle of the Blues


Twin Sons of a Different Mother

Rowling's Raptors: Hedwig

SPLIT ROCK TRAIL (starting at Rowling's Raptors: Hedwig)

Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?*

*From the Piedmont Prairie trail you turn right to get this box. Then turn back and head in the other direction for the rest:

Freebird's Economic Stimulus Package

Nina Remembered


Bible Belt: The Dove *

*this one does not necessarily come before the other boxes. I just listed it first since you need to count benches and will have to keep track of that as you go around. I have also not told you which direction you are traveling-you'll need to figure out the clue for that

Flying Purity

Tu-Whit Tu-Who


3 21's

Bible Belt: O Tannenbaum *
Birds of a Feather
Carolina Raptor Center

SHADY TRAIL (Hiking and Horse) --Gazebo end

The Raptor Letterbox

BUZZARD ROCK TRAIL (Hiking and Horse)

Bible Belt: Noah's Ark *

*You will pass the intersection with the sign "Washwoman Rock". Remember this since you need to come back to it for the next clues

Igpay Atinlay *

*You will just past Laura's Trail. Double back to it and pick up the clues there for the next box.


How How (WOM-not listed on any online website) *
Pass Brock-Snake and head up to the large rocks. HUGE rock on the left near the trail. Behind the back of this rock, under another rock.

*I discovered this old letterbox while planting one day. It was created by Eagle Ray. When I contacted him about it, he stated that he gave it to some friends for planting and never heard about it again. He thought they hadn't planted it. That was about 3 years ago! I told him where it was but he has not listed it yet. I did give me permission to put it on this guide with the clues, though.

GAQLBE09: Harbor Lights

AUDUBON TRAIL (Hikers only)-starting at end of road (across from plantation)

Pride of Charlotte: Box #1-3

Rowling's Raptors: Errol *

*Look for the gazebo while doing Pride of Charlotte series and pick up the Errol clue from there.

I Held an Owl Call!!

PREbox...H.E.R.e.s. - A Toast!!

CATTAIL TRAIL (Hikers only)

Pride of Charlotte: Box #4-5

Rowling's Raptors: Pigwidgeon *

*Look for the owl perch in this clue while doing the Pride of Charlotte boxes.


Three Little Pigs: Peter

Help Home > Getting Started

Is there a clue guide available for Cane Creek Park in Waxhaw, NC?

Last Updated: August 2, 2015 08:28:07 AM

Yes. After answering this question repeatedly, it just seemed to make sense to put one together. Every box listed in this guide as well as the tips to each box has been done only with permission of each planter. By listing it in Wiki, anyone can update it to keep the information more up to date (or add or remove their boxes as they see fit). You can also check the revision date of this question listing to see when the guide was last updated.

Most of these boxes were planted in 2007. The trails have been extensively changed since then and many clues became outdated. Any clues that have not had a chance to get updated by the planters yet have additional notes after the clues. Planters are all aware of this guide and may update it as clues are updated and the additional notes are no longer needed

Clue Guide for Cane Creek

This Union County park has hiking, fishing, camping, rental boats, miniature golf, climbing wall, soccer field, and horse trails (including areas to camp with horses).

Important information about the park and trails
1. There is a $4 fee to park
2. Park hours are STRICTLY enforced (they WILL lock you in if you are not out on time!!). Check the sign when you enter but they are typically 8 to 5pm.
3. You can pick up a map when you pay the parking fee or get one here.
4. Most trails are horse trails as well.

RED TRAIL starting at the entrance of the park
A little under 4 miles round trip if you get all the boxes. The trail is generally flat and clear.

NOTE: LOOK FOR A YELLOW GATE AS YOU GO ON THIS HIKE-- It's actually the "pink gate" referenced in Tomatoes are Evil

Fiesta! is a short distance down the BLUE TRAIL. Then go back to the RED TRAIL and continue on for

When is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

YELLOW TRAIL starting at the entrance of the park
About 1.5 miles round trip if you get all the boxes. The trail is clear with some hills and narrow near the water's edge sometimes.

Grandma's Flowers

After finding this box, go back to the bridge and start at that point from the bridge referenced in
Waxhaw 2007

Tea Party Guest of Honor?

From the yellow post in the hill ridge line you should be able to see the chain link fence you need in the following clue (it's NOT the chainlink fence ON the ridgeline):

The Dead Lemur
Note: the yellow and purple trail intersection is now marked by a yellow post on a hill line. The blazes have changed (none are now painted on the tree). It's currently the 6th yellow mounted blaze. This tree is cradling white rocks. Count the referenced paces from this tree.

LOT #4
Less than a mile roundtrip

NOTE: LOOK FOR THE TRAIL BEHIND THE BASEBALL FIELD -- it's referenced in Tomatoes are Evil

The Path Home

About 3 miles round trip of you get all the boxes-- this includes looping back to start again for one of them

Mother & Son + The Waxhaws
You will do this box and loop back to the start for the rest so you can do it first and come back or last and come back.

You will go a little ways up the YELLOW TRAIL to get this box:
Attack of the Mosquitoes!

Then return back to RED TRAIL and continue on to the ORANGE TRAIL. You will go up the ORANGE TRAIL to get this series:
The Perfect Cup of Tea

Then return back to the RED TRAIL and continue on
you will then look at the clues for Determined Smail and pick them up where I have indicated you need to if you are using the clue guide.

Help Home > Getting Started

What do the arrows represent?

Last Updated: July 27, 2015 05:17:18 PM

When running a location-based search, Atlas Quest display the distance to each letterbox from the point of your search, along with an arrow indicating the direction the box is from that location.
Arrow Description
None The letterbox is exactly where you ran your search!
Unknown The location of the letterbox isn't specific enough to know what direction it is from the location you searched.
North The letterbox is north of the location of your search.
Northeast The letterbox is northeast of the location of your search.
East The letterbox is east of the location of your search.
Southeast The letterbox is southeast of the location of your search.
South The letterbox is south of the location of your search.
Southwest The letterbox is southwest of the location of your search.
West The letterbox is west of the location of your search.
Northwest The letterbox is northwest of the location of your search.

Help Home > Letterboxes > Searching

Woodlawn Cemetery, Syracuse, New York

Last Updated: July 16, 2015 04:38:48 PM

Letterboxes are not allowed here without permission from the folks running the cemetery, and from the angry email that admins here got about sending the New York State Attorney General after us for such a heinous crime, it seems very unlikely that that would happen. Don't plant letterboxes here, and don't look for them here.

Help Home > Land Manager Policies > New York

How do you letterbox at all? This is so confusing!

Last Updated: July 13, 2015 02:50:16 AM

Take a big breath and relax. This isn't a test! Then read the Getting Started page and get out looking for some letterboxes!

Help Home > Getting Started

How do I create an alias?

Last Updated: July 13, 2015 02:38:45 AM

Go to the My Accounts page (it's under the My Page menubar option). If you're in a sub-account already, you won't see this as an option since only the main account can create sub-accounts.

Then click the Create New Account button and fill out the following form. You'll have the option to create an alias, child or adult account, but you'll select the alias option and submit the details. Alias created!

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Profiles

How do I record my LbNA finds on Atlas Quest

Last Updated: July 13, 2015 02:34:19 AM

One of the benefits of premium memberships is the ability to record letterboxes not listed on Atlasquest—such as those only on LBNA. Otherwise you must wait for a "Hat Day" to record your non-AQ listed finds. Here is some extra help.

Help Home > Letterboxing North America (LbNA)


Last Updated: July 4, 2015 07:42:31 PM

Permit Application

Help Home > Land Manager Policies > Missouri

How do I manage tags?

Last Updated: July 4, 2015 05:46:50 PM

First, make sure you are logged into your Atlas Quest account. You can't manage anything if AQ doesn't know who you are!

Then, when you view a letterbox, tracker or event—you'll see a set of checkboxes for each of the available tags. Check or uncheck as necessary, then click the "Save Changes" button to make them stick.

To change the name of a tracker, click the pencil next to the "Save Changes" button. The pencil represents the 'edit' link, and it'll let you edit the names of the tags.

Help Home > Atlas Quest

How do hitchhikers work?

Last Updated: June 14, 2015 02:09:56 PM

Hitchhikers are letterboxes that travel from box to box with no permanent home of their own. They're also known as parasites in some circles, though in the United States the term hitchhiker is the standard. A hitchhiker includes the same basic components as a letterbox: a rubber stamp and a logbook either in a very small container or bag. It is found inside a host letterbox.

Stamp your personal signature stamp and the stamp of the host letterbox in the hitchhiker's logbook. Stamp the hitchhiker in your logbook and the host letterbox's logbook. The finder typically takes the hitchhiker and plants it in another letterbox.

Hitchhiker Etiquette Tips
[Source: Silent Doug's articles on hitchhikers that had been at]

Added 12/2007: Hitchhikers have now started to travel in postals. As with all HHs, if you question if it is only to travel in one type of box, contact the owner prior to changing box types. Many postal HHs stay with the ring they start in (And sometimes do not have their own logbook), while others jump from postal box to postal box (These have seperate logbooks). They may also jump from postals into traditional letterboxes if the owner allows this. A good rule of thumb, "When in doubt, ask the box owner." mff

If you're considering launching a hitchhiker, you may want to consider making it a flea instead. A flea is much like a hitchhiker except there are more possible ways to move it, including just slipping it into some other letterboxer's pocket while he's not looking.

Help Home > Letterboxes > Hitchhikers/Cooties/Fleas

What is the difference between a "Planter" and an "Owner"?

Last Updated: June 13, 2015 08:53:27 PM

The planter is someone who participated in actually planting a letterbox while the owner is the person responsible for maintaining the letterbox. The planter is usually the owner, but if someone else adopts a box, the owner may be different.

On Atlas Quest, a box can have any number of planters, but all boxes have exactly one and only one owner. In the unusual case that a box has no owner (the person requested that their account be deleted, for instance, so the owner really has no account on AQ), it'll be assigned to the System account, a generic account that nobody monitors.

Planters cannot record a find on their boxes, but the owner can do so if they are not also a planter.

Help Home > Glossary Definitions

Some boxes are found after being marked retired. What does this mean?

Last Updated: June 13, 2015 08:35:21 PM

It could mean any number of things. Maybe the status of the box was changed to retired after several people reported it missing but it turned out not to be missing at all. Maybe someone is recording finds years after they actually found the box but aren't listing accurate find dates. Maybe they recorded a find on the wrong box mistaking it for another box with the same or similar name.

The point is, there are a lot of reasons someone might record a find on a box that has been retired, but there's no way to tell which reason it is without contacting the owner and/or finder to ask.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Help

How do I search the message boards?

Last Updated: June 13, 2015 06:12:52 AM

The simplest, quickest, and most common search you'll likely run on the message boards is to look for posts with a specific keyword or phrase within the message. You can run this type of search from most any message board page just by entering the keyword in the search box in the upper-right corner of the page. For more advanced search options such as searching for posts by specific members, on specific boards, during a specific timespan, and more, use the dedicated Search Messages page.

A few things to know about keywords searches. First, searches are case-insensitive, so capitalization will not matter. Second, some common words are automatically ignored such as and, then, don't, etc. These are called stopwords, and the full list of stopwords used are:

a, a's, able, about, above, according, accordingly, across, actually, after, afterwards, again, against, ain't, all, allow, allows, almost, alone, along, already, also, although, always, am, among, amongst, an, and, another, any, anybody, anyhow, anyone, anything, anyway, anyways, anywhere, apart, appear, appreciate, appropriate, aq, are, aren't, around, as, aside, ask, asking, associated, at, available, away, awfully, be, became, because, become, becomes, becoming, been, before, beforehand, behind, being, believe, below, beside, besides, best, better, between, beyond, both, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, brief, but, by, c'mon, c's, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, cause, causes, certain, certainly, changes, clearly, clue, co, com, come, comes, concerning, consequently, consider, considering, contain, containing, contains, corresponding, could, couldn't, course, currently, definitely, described, despite, did, didn't, different, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, done, down, downwards, during, each, edu, eg, eight, either, else, elsewhere, enough, entirely, especially, et, etc, even, ever, every, everybody, everyone, everything, everywhere, ex, exactly, example, except, far, few, fifth, first, five, followed, following, follows, for, former, formerly, forth, four, from, further, furthermore, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, going, gone, got, gotten, greetings, had, hadn't, happens, hardly, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, hello, help, hence, her, here, here's, hereafter, hereby, herein, hereupon, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, hither, hopefully, how, howbeit, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, ignored, immediate, in, inasmuch, inc, indeed, indicate, indicated, indicates, inner, insofar, instead, into, inward, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, itself, just, keep, keeps, kept, know, knows, known, last, lately, later, latter, latterly, least, less, lest, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxes, letterboxing, letterboxer, like, liked, likely, little, look, looking, looks, ltd, mainly, many, may, maybe, me, mean, meanwhile, merely, might, more, moreover, most, mostly, much, must, my, myself, name, namely, nd, near, nearly, necessary, need, needs, neither, never, nevertheless, new, next, nine, no, nobody, non, none, noone, nor, normally, not, nothing, novel, now, nowhere, obviously, of, off, often, oh, ok, okay, old, on, once, one, ones, only, onto, or, other, others, otherwise, ought, our, ours, ourselves, out, outside, over, overall, own, park, particular, particularly, per, perhaps, placed, please, plus, possible, presumably, probably, provides, que, quite, qv, rather, rd, re, really, reasonably, regarding, regardless, regards, relatively, respectively, right, rock, said, same, saw, say, saying, says, second, secondly, see, seeing, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, self, selves, sensible, sent, serious, seriously, seven, several, shall, she, should, shouldn't, since, six, so, some, somebody, somehow, someone, something, sometime, sometimes, somewhat, somewhere, soon, sorry, specified, specify, specifying, still, sub, such, sup, sure, t's, take, taken, tell, tends, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, themselves, then, thence, there, there's, thereafter, thereby, therefore, therein, theres, thereupon, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, think, third, this, thorough, thoroughly, those, though, three, through, throughout, thru, thus, to, together, too, took, toward, towards, tree, tried, tries, truly, try, trying, twice, two, un, under, unfortunately, unless, unlikely, until, unto, up, upon, us, use, used, useful, uses, using, usually, value, various, very, via, viz, vs, want, wants, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, welcome, well, went, were, weren't, what, what's, whatever, when, whence, whenever, where, where's, whereafter, whereas, whereby, wherein, whereupon, wherever, whether, which, while, whither, who, who's, whoever, whole, whom, whose, why, will, willing, wish, with, within, without, won't, wonder, would, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves, zero

Any word you attempt to search for in this list will be ignored.

Search Operators

By default, Atlas Quest will return all searches that include one or more of the keywords you specify. You can, however, change that behavior through the use of operators. Supported operators include:
Operator Result
+ A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in every post returned.
- A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any post returned.
( ) Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions
* An asterisk is the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word, not prepended.
" A phrase that is enclosed in double quotes matches only posts that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
@distance Tests tests whether two or more words all start within a specified distance from each other, measured in words. Specify the search words within a double-quoted string immediately before the @distance operator.
<> These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a row. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it.


Search Results
apple banana find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice find posts that contain both words
+apple -macintosh find posts that contain the word “apple” but not “macintosh”
+(apple banana) -macintosh find posts that contain “apple” or “banana”, but not “machintosh”
apple* find posts that contain “apple”, “apples”, “applesauce”, “applet”, etc.
"some words" find posts that contain “some words of wisdom”, but not “some noise words”
"word1 word2 word3" @8 finds posts that contain the words “word1”, “word2” and “word3”—BUT only if all three words are located within 8 words of each other.
+apple +(>turnover <strudel) Find rows that contain the words “apple” and “turnover”, or “apple” and “strudel” (in any order), but rank “apple turnover” higher than “apple strudel”.

Help Home > Message Boards

What are P-club and F-club restrictions?

Last Updated: June 13, 2015 06:12:23 AM

You can restrict your letterboxes to only AQ members with a specified number of plants and/or finds. Keep in mind, these restrictions are based on official AQ counts so members who do not record their plants or finds on this site may not be able to access your clues. You are only allowed to restrict boxes up to your own P- and F-counts, so if you have a P-count of 12 and an F-count of 132 on Atlas Quest, you will not be able to restrict your boxes beyond 12 plants and 132 finds respectively. If you are truly a spectacular planter and finder of letterboxes, AQ will also not allow you to exceed a P-count restriction of 250 or an F-count restriction beyond 9999.

If you have no plants or finds, you cannot restrict boxes by one's P- or F-counts.

Help Home > Atlas Quest > Adding/Editing Letterboxes

How does the Basic Search work?

Last Updated: June 13, 2015 06:11:09 AM

Stopwords are common words that usually aren't very useful for searching—words such as 'the' or 'and'. Those words will be stripped from your search, and the rest of the words that are left will be used as part of the search. The search will return all letterboxes that match any one of the terms you specify, however, they will be sorted with the best matches listed first—usually the boxes that match all of your search terms.

A word in one's search term is more-or-less any sequence of characters that are letters and numbers. Two exceptions are the underscore (_) and apostrophe (') which will count as part of the word. So a search for "self-help" would actually perform a search for the words "self" and "help" rather than the one word "self-help." Searches for "turtle's," however, will count as a single word. Additionally, a search for "turtles" and a search for "turtle's" are two completely different searches with no overlap. (This is how the database works, but for box names, tracker names, and other "titles," AQ internally strips the apostrophes when it's stored in the database so that the database will appear to find the match in those types of searches, but that's actually an AQ feature, not a database one, and you shouldn't always rely on it.)

If you want to search for only boxes that include all of the words then precede each of the words with a plus sign. So, to search for any boxes that include both "self" and "help" you would enter "+self +help". If you want to search for exactly "self help" that occur in that order then put "self help" in the search box, including the quotation marks.


There is a list of words, called stopwords, that are not indexed as being too common and generally useless as far as searches go. If one is used in a search, it will be ignored. The latest version of the stoplist Atlas Quest uses is: a, a's, ain't, all, am, an, and, any, aq, are, aren't, as, at, be, became, because, been, being, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, but, by, c's, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, co, com, could, couldn't, did, didn't, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, each, edu, eg, either, else, et, etc, even, ever, every, ex, far, few, for, further, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, got, had, hadn't, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, her, here, here's, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, how, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, in, inc, into, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxes, letterboxing, letterboxer, many, may, maybe, me, mean, might, much, must, my, myself, nd, no, non, none, nor, not, now, of, oh, ok, okay, old, on, only, onto, or, our, ours, park, per, rd, re, really, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, she, should, shouldn't, since, so, sub, sup, t's, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, then, there, there's, theres, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, this, those, though, thus, to, too, un, up, us, value, very, via, viz, vs, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, were, weren't, whether, which, while, why, with, won't, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves

Some examples might make this more clear:
Search Term Search For Will Match Results Will Not Match Results
h Will search for all boxes whose name begins with h. Will match boxes with names such as Hi!, High Top Letterbox, or Hit the Ball Will not match 'ello or I Just Wanted To Say Hi.
flowers Will search for all boxes that have the word flowers in it. Will find Flowers for Algernon, Pick Some Flowers, and The Flowers Wrath Will not match The Flower or Baking Flour.
War and Peace Will find all boxes that have the words war or peace in it. It will ignore the word and since that is a stopword. Will match War and Peace, Make Peace, Not War, and Peace Monument Will not match Buy an AQ Patch today.
Georgia on my Mind Will search for boxes with the words Georgia and Mind. The words on and my will be ignored since they are stopwords. Will find Georgia on my Mind, Georgia Peaches, Mind Your Manners, and Mind Over Matter. Box names that use both words will rank higher than names that use one word or the other. Will not find Maine on my Brain or The Oregon Files.
turtle's Will search for all boxes that have the word turtle's in it. Will find A Turtle's Shell. Will not match The turtles are a menace!
the least of your worries Will search for boxes the word worries in the name. The words least and your are stopwords and are therefore ignored. Will find My Worries and Don't Worry. Will not find Least of All or Your Birthday Present.

The author search requires an exact match to the trail name of the person who carved, authored, planted, or owns the letterbox, or leave it blank if you do not wish to search by author.

The box type is self explanatory, but for search results with the most detailed information, it helps to be specific about what type of letterbox you are looking for. The default "all" type strips out many useful details from the search results since it displays for the lowest common denominator.

Special Cases

If you type in a number and only a number, AQ will return the box with that box ID. Everything else will be ignored. So, for instance, if you search for a box with the "name" 181707, AQ will direct you immediately to The Skateboard Kid letterbox.

Additionally, if you know a box is listed on AQ but the clue is hosted on LbNA and so you only printed the LbNA id number, you can look up a box based on the LbNA id number by typing the name as "LbNA ID" (where ID is the ID number assigned by LbNA). For example, searching with the "name" as LbNA 4311 will automatically redirect you to Snoopy, which has an AQ ID of 127, but an LbNA ID of 4311.

Help Home > Letterboxes > Searching

How do I view the finds on a letterbox?

Last Updated: June 12, 2015 03:28:33 AM

The list of who found a box and when for traditional boxes is now a premium member perk. Non-premium members can only see a summary of the most recent finds and attempts of a letterbox along with the last found date.

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I am trying to upload my signature stamp photo and it shows preview but after hitting saved it says no file uploaded. The picture is in gif and under 10mb. Not sure if there's a problem with site or no. Please help. Thank you Lisa

Last Updated: May 26, 2015 02:31:53 PM

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What are Treasure Hikers?

Last Updated: May 23, 2015 05:48:44 AM

Yep. We're all treasure hikers in the general sense of the word... each little piece of art set free in the world is a treasure to plant and find.
But there is a larger game afoot to encourage more boxes on longer distance trails and paths, and that game is Treasure Hikers!
Mama Fox, of the Little Foxes, came up with the original idea and it wasn't long before other states wanted to kick up their hiking heels as well.

Treasure Hiking is a fun way to set hiking goals while letterboxing and earn cool pathtags or other accessories!


Here's the only rule: One point for each mile hiked while letterboxing, either finding or planting, on hikes of 1 mile or longer round trip.

If you have a question about whether something fits the Rule, use your own judgment, bearing in mind that we are operating on the honor system when you report your points. If you need clarification, read through the Suggestions and Footnotes below. The FAQ list is found below the table showing participating states and state coordinators. If you have questions about the program in one of the participating states, please contact the coordinator for that state.

Friendly Suggestions:
Other Footnotes:
If you are interested in starting a program for your state, contact one of the state representatives listed below:
Participating stateWho to contactHow to contactStarting DatePathtags Available
Alaska KnottyKnitterDirtMonkeyAQ Mail1/29/201425, 49
CaliforniaTurtlegirl 19AQ Mail4/1/2009
ColoradoThe3DTsAQ Mail1/1/2010
ConnecticutKit Kat 61 or The QuackersAQ Mail6/1/2009 25, 50, 75, 100, 250
FloridaMonkey Wrangler AQ Mail5/1/2009
Georgia Buttercup, Hawkeye AQ Mail3/20/2009
IllinoisNitrocatAQ Mail4/24/2009
KentuckyEeny Meany Miney MoeAQ Mail3/1/2009
MaineAiphidAQ Mail5/1/2009 25, 50, 100
MassachusettsgraywolfeAQ Mail4/25/2009 50, 100, 150, 200
Michiganthe hicks from the sticksAQ Mail5/22/2009
New HampshireBubbaloo MagooAQ Mail5/21/2009
North CarolinaThe Little Foxes, The Wolf family, Knit WitAQ Mail3/1/200925, 50, 100
Ohio Mn8X AQ Mail3/1/2009
OregonMystic DreamerAQ Mail3/20/2009
Rhode IslandSouthpawAQ Mail6/30/2012 25, 50
South CarolinaGreycrazyAQ Mail3/1/2009 25
TennesseeScouttrekkieAQ Mail3/4/200925
TexasPI JoeAQ Mail1/1/2010 25, 50, 100
Virginiawee3AQ Mail6/1/2009
WashingtonCampFireLadyAQ Mail3/20/2009

There are other similar hiking incentive programs. Contact the organizer(s) listed for the program.
Program nameWho to contactHow to contactStarting Date
New York Letterbox Hiking ChallengeJackbear, Scout, or SahalieAQ e-mail4/2/09
NC Mountain ChallengeDixie or The Little FoxesAQ e-mailin planning stages

Frequently Asked Questions
Really the program is on the honor system, and we prefer that you have fun in the spirit of the game and count your points using your own conscience.
However, some questions get asked regularly so, for the sake of consistent answers (and the sanity of the moderators), this section was added.

What if the box is a one mile hike but I get lost and travel for 3 miles? How many points would that be? Only one. No extra points for being directionally challenged.
Can I go get 10 drivebys at .1 mile each and say that's one mile? No. None of these are qualifying boxes. A qualifying box must be a one mile hike (round trip).
Can I use a bike instead of hiking? No. The program is for hiking. There's nothing stopping you from making your own Treasure Biking program, though.
Do attempts count? No. They don't count as finds and they don't count toward points in this program either. However, if you take a box with you and plant it at one mile or more you could get a point for that.
What if I start a 6 mile hike but I don't finish it? I only do 3 miles one day, then next week I go back for the farthest boxes and do 6 miles? Do I count 9 miles total or only 6? You should count 9 miles total. You did 3 miles one day and 6 miles another day. Just because the boxes happened to be in a series does not change that you hiked 9 miles total on 2 separate days to qualifying boxes.
Can my dog get a pathtag? If your dog walked the distance with you, go ahead and order one for his collar too!
What if I walk a mile to get to a driveby box? Then can I count it? No. A qualifying box is one that is one mile in hike length for anyone to get to. You can't make it a qualifying box by just setting your own starting point.
If I am in a park where there are several separate letterboxes listed and I can find them all by stringing them together to make a hike greater than one mile, can I receive pathtag points? The Treasure Hikers program was originally envisioned as a way to encourage planting boxes on longer hikes in areas where the tendency seemed to be planting drivebys. While many of the coordinators still adhere to the idea that the box you are seeking should require a hike of one mile or more, we also recognize that there are some areas where finding a mile-long trail may be a challenge. Follow your conscience. If you live in such an area, consider planting an urban box that might incorporate a mile-long "sightseeing tour" of your city in the clues.
I heard New York was doing things a little different, what's the deal with that? The New York organizers were inspired by the original Treasure Hikers group, but being New Yorkers, wanted to put a little different spin on it. A Challenge Patch is available for different miles accomplished, 25,50, 75, and 100 instead of a pathtag. They also honor attempts and maintenance, and any other excuse you have to get out and letterbox. As with the Treasure Hikers, the New York Letterbox Hiking Challenge encourages participants to challenge themselves to go on longer hikes. For more information on the NY guidelines, go to:NY Letterbox Hiking Challenge Patch Guidelines
What about partial miles? If we hike 3.5 miles round trip can we round our points up to 4? Rounding up from the halfway point is technically taking credit for mileage that you didn't really hike. Most of the members are rounding down to the whole if the fraction is under a half and rounding down to the half if it is over the halfway point. The beauty of the tracking widget designed by Wassa is that you can input exact mileage without rounding at all. If you truly want credit for that partial mile, use the widget tracker. :-) In addition, as stated above, each individual hike must be at least one mile round trip to begin with. No hiking .7 miles one week and .3 the next and adding them together for one mile.

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