Meeting Notes

Meeting: April 11, 1995


Tips and Techniques from Open Forum

During our monthly open forum we discussed dates in form letters, creating a new "my record", and looking up contacts with multiple parameters in a single field.

We are often asked: "How do I eliminate the day of the week in form letters? This is not an ACT! problem, at all. ACT! is simply deferring to a choice made in Windows. To solve it, change the date format under the "International" section of the Windows Control Panel. (The Control Panel can be found under the "Main" grouping under Program Manager.)

Click the "Change" button under the Date Format box and alter the Long Date Format to your liking. Note that one of the choices for day of the week is blank. Choosing this option eliminates the day of the week from the date. An example of the format appears at the bottom of the dialog box.

Note that when a form letter is written (as in the command: WRITE, FORM LETTER) the current date is always automatically inserted in the chosen letter template. The date is updated whenever that template is used. To change the date in a letter template to one specific date, manually delete and replace the date by manually typing it over. (Though it looks the same on the screen, this inserts text instead of a "live" field.)

Alternatively, the EDIT, INSERT DATE command can be used. (Make sure the "Do Not Update" box is checked.) Writing the word "Date" (instead of "May 15, 1995") in the heading of your letter template will serve as a reminder to insert the proper date in whenever you use the letter.

If it is necessary to create a new "my record" for an ACT! database you have two possibilities. The first is to change the "my record" by modifying existing information. However, if you need to change the User ID (the name automatically inserted in Notes) it is necessary to create an entirely new "my record". This can be accomplished by creating a new database. An easy way to do this is to save the currently opened database as one with a new file name. Use the commands: FILE, SAVE AS. Enter the new "my record" information when prompted to do so.

It is sometimes useful to look up contacts meeting more than one criterion in a single lookup. You might want to perform such a lookup to send all "customers" and all "vendors" an address change notice for your office. (Customers and vendors are both an ID Status.)

You can perform this lookup by using the commands: LOOKUP, OTHER, then EDIT, CLEAR. Next, type "customers" (the first of the two criteria) in the ID Status field. Now execute the commands: QUERY, CONVERT TO SMARTQUERY. You'll see the words: "(ID_Status = "Customer")". Now type in the Boolean operator "OR" followed by "(ID_Status = "Vendor")". To run the query, use the command: QUERY, EXECUTE. You'll get a list of all customers and vendors.


The recently released 2.0.4 upgrade (for Windows) is designed to upgrade Act! versions 2.0 or higher. Aside from offering a number of improvements, it is necessary for use with ACT! Mobile Link. Mobile Link permits a user in the field to retrieve information from and update an existing database on another PC. Mobile Link began shipping this past April.

Improvements offered by the upgrade include:

. A Group button permitting quick access to all groups. In addition, the group function now operates more reliably. A new menu item, Group Membership, allows you to see which groups a contact belongs to. (It is still advisable to create groups from simple lookups. That way, if groups are lost, they can easily be reconstructed.)

. A more intuitive command for printing address book pages. The address book printing feature is now accessed via the FILE, PRINT command when a database is open.

. Improved keyword search. Previously, the only choice was to search all fields, notes, and history. Now the user may specify which of five areas (Contacts, Activities, Notes, History, or E-Mail) are to be searched. By narrowing the search up front, search time is reduced.

. A new phone location. Three sets of phone locations can now be accommodated: Home, Office, or Mobile. This is helpful for those who have ACT! on a laptop and use ACT! to dial the phone from different locations. By switching ACT! from "Office" to "Home" after the commute, ACT! dials the appropriate area code.

. User-specified default fonts for word-processing and notes. Default fonts can be set via the command: EDIT, PREFERENCES, WORDPROCESSOR/NOTES.

ACT! 2.0.4 automatically saves new contracts upon upon entry. The printing of labels has been improved. In addition:

. Re-indexing is 6-8 times faster, and

. Importing data is 4 times faster.

ACT! 2.0.4 is available from Symantec Customer Service at 1-800-441-7234. The cost is $9.95.

© Copyright 1995 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.