Meeting Notes

Meeting: September 13, 1994

Tips and Techniques from Open Forum.

During our monthly open forum we discussed lookups, printing labels, transferring an ACT! database from Windows to DOS, and using ACT! on a network.

Lookups. It may seem that ACT! for Windows lookups are not as reliable as ACT! for DOS lookups. This is not an accurate statement. ACT! users typically encounter lookup difficulties when dealing with imported data. Spaces, nulls, and punctuation embedded in the data being searched can complicate the lookup.

A good way of testing a lookup - prior to launching into a major database search - is to create a dummy database expressly for the purpose of testing your lookup. You only need to include a few contacts. A couple of contacts should be placed immediately outside the range of your query. For example, if you are looking up zip codes, contacts in the dummy database should have values just above and below the range to be looked up.

Once you are satisfied the query works as expected, run the query on your actual database.

Labels "creeping" down the page. Users of ACT! for Windows 2.0 have reported that when printing labels using a Hewlett Packard DeskJet 1200C printer, printed information does not consistently line up with standard adhesive-backed labels. Indeed the relative positioning seems to worsen as you go further down the page.

This is a recognized problem and has been corrected in ACT! 2.01 (for Windows). Alternatively, you may get better results by experimenting with different Windows printer drivers. In this case, the "HP DeskJet" driver in Windows may yield better results.

Transferring an ACT! database from Windows to DOS. In order to transfer a database from Windows to DOS, save the Windows database (FILE, SAVE AS) in "DOS Format". Once you have started ACT! for DOS, simply import the database you have just saved using the FILE, IMPORT command. You should be on the lookout for format errors, though. For example, ACT! for DOS does not have a car phone field in the contact screen.

Running ACT! on a network. ACT! will run fine on any of the three Symantec supported and approved networks. They include: Novell, Windows for Workgroups, and Lantastic. ACT! may run on other networks, but Symantec will not be able to help you if you run into trouble.

Note that it is necessary to have both DOS and Windows installed on each PC in the network for ACT! to run properly.

Meeting Topic: ACT! 2.01 update (for Windows).

Recently a "patch" disc for ACT! 2.0 (Windows) was made available. The patch disc corrects a few bugs with ACT! 2.0. For example, if you are importing data from ACT! for DOS and finding that your data is being corrupted or you are getting error messages such as "close or ignore error" (?) or "general protection fault" then the patch disc may be the solution.

Another bug corrected by the patch disc is the requirement that phone number area codes and first or last names be used with hyphens and/or punctuation for lookups to work properly. (In other words, to look up all contacts in the 708 area code, you would have to type "708-" for the lookup to function correctly.) You do not have to type the hyphen in the lookup once ACT! 2.01 is installed.

There are several ways to obtain the patch disc. The file can be downloaded from Compuserve or obtained from Symantec (provided you lodge a complaint with the technical support people). Authorized ACT! consultants are also a possible source. Note that current versions of ACT! 2.0 have the patch built in.

To install the patch you'll first need to verify that your machine is running ACT! (for Windows) version 2.0. Use the command "HELP, ABOUT ACT!" to do this. Once you have confirmed this, exit Windows to DOS and type "INSTALL US C:\ACTWIN2" at the C> prompt. Hit the return key to begin installation.

During installation, it is likely that you will get the error message "AAW.DXE was not found". This message indicates that a file needed for network operation could not be located. If you are not running ACT! on a network, this message can be safely ignored. Installation is now complete.

© 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.