Meeting Notes

Meeting: May 10, 1994

Tips and Techniques from Open Forum.

During our monthly open forum we discussed some shortcuts with data entry, moving around a contact screen, moving around the database, and sorting imported data.

Data entry shortcut. Suppose you are entering a bunch of Chicago-based contacts into your ACT! database. Each phone number begins with the same area code (312), each city and each state is the same, etc. After typing half a dozen entries, you begin wondering if there is a way you can save a few keystrokes. Well, there is.

First decide what is in common among all the entries you need to make. Each contact might have the same area code, city, state, and ID status. The next step is to invoke the "Edit, Field Defaults" command by selecting Field Defaults from the Edit pull-down menu (Windows). DOS version users need to select "Edit, Options, Field Defaults" from the pull-down menus.

Next, type the information that is common to all the contacts in the appropriate fields. Now, when you create a new contact record, all of the common information will automatically appear.

Moving from field to field within the contact screen. While we're on the topic of data entry it's worth spending a moment on the topic of moving the cursor from one field to another. You have two choices. You may select either the return key or the tab key for switching fields. This can be done by selecting "Modify, Miscellaneous" under Preferences (found under the Edit pull-down menu in ACT! for Windows).

Note that if "Tab" has been selected to advance the cursor, "Shift Tab" will move the cursor back one field. ("Return" and "Shift Return" work in the same way.)

Moving through your database with ACT! for Windows 2.0. You might have noticed that the icon for moving to contacts beginning with the next (or previous) letter of the alphabet is missing in version 2.0. (The icon is located in the upper left hand corner of the screen and looks like a miniature rolodex.)

Fortunately, there is a simple way to move to contacts beginning with any letter of the alphabet. All you need to do is use the Lookup command. Simply decide whether you're looking for a last name, company, etc. Then type in your letter of choice. For example, looking up by company and typing in the letter "m" will take you to the first record with a company name beginning with "m".

Sorting imported data. Suppose you are using ACT! for Windows and working with an imported database that includes sales figures for a number of companies. Your sales manager asks you to rank these contacts by sales. How might this be accomplished, you ask? The secret is in knowing that ACT! permits you to sort contacts in ascending order by any information placed in User Fields 1, 4, and 7.

Therefore, upon importing this data into ACT!, you need to load the sales data into one of these three user fields. To sort by sales volume simply choose the appropriate user field from the choices given under the Options, Sort pull-down.

Meeting Topic: Printing Calendars and Address Books.

Perhaps you have thought it might be helpful to be able to print a name and address book or even a calendar to take along with you when traveling. In the past this could be accomplished by creating and printing a Phone Report or a Task List, respectively. The result was a stack of 8½ by 11 inch sheets of paper - not something that you could neatly slip into your personal planner.

That's all history (no pun intended) now. ACT! 2.0 for Windows now allows you to print address books and calendars in formats that will fit in the most popular personal organizers used. Invoke the Write Report command and you'll have a host of choices of formats (plain paper, Daytimer pages, Dayrunner pages, etc.), printing options (front only or the front and back of a page), and fonts.

If you are printing an address book, you have the option of including any three additional fields. You might want to include an alternate phone number, second address, or nickname. While if you are printing a calendar, you may choose to include calls, meetings, to do's, priorities, etc. It sure beats carrying around a PC!


© Copyright 1994 by Alan M. Lee, all rights reserved. Other

nonprofit computer user's groups may reprint this material providing

credit is given the author and C.C.S. Future rights for publication

reserved by Alan M. Lee. ACT! is a registered trademark of Symantec Corporation.