Meeting Notes

Meeting Date: October 10, 1995


More on ACT! for Windows 2.0.6. The latest ACT! for Windows update - 2.0.6 - was recently released. The enhancements offered by 2.0.6 provide for improved performance with Mobilelink, optimization for usage with Windows 95, and smoother operation when using ACT! for Windows on a network with Macintoshes running (the new) version 2.5. Several miscellaneous bugs were fixed. In addition, the re-indexing function has been improved. (The edit date of a contact record is no longer automatically updated to the current date.) This improves the reliability of merging.

The ACT! 2.0.6 patch disc updates Windows versions 2.0.4 and 2.0.5. (If you have an earlier version of ACT! 2.0, you will need to make an intermediate update to version 2.0.4 before jumping to 2.0.6.) ACT! 2.0.6 is available from Symantec (800) 441-7234, the Symantec forums on CompuServe or America On-line, or from E Tech Systems at (708) 352-4770. Patch discs are readily available at ACT! User Group meetings.

New Version 2.5: ACT! for Macintosh. Mac users, rejoice! By the time you read this, ACT! version 2.5 for the Macintosh will be available. Some new features include the ability to "attach" other files to a contact's history. For example, actual letters or documents as well as scanned-in art can be made part of a contact's history record. It's easy to perform this task too - just drag and drop the item into history. Another new feature is the ability to keep multiple windows open simultaneously. You could, for instance, keep the task list, calendar, and contact screen open all at once - re-sizing and moving windows in any way you wish. Many of the features found in ACT! 2.5 for the Macintosh will find their way into the new Windows version planned for 1996.


Mike Rocca of Electronic Presentation Systems (708-469-9126) graciously provided us with an In Focus Systems LitePro 580 LCD multimedia projector for our meeting. The 580 combines a high resolution color liquid crystal display with a powerful projector and stereo speakers in a compact package. Mike impressed us with this system by running movies (fed from a small VCR) during our meeting breaks as well as giving us a CD ROM demo. The image was definitely brighter and more vivid than the LCD panel/overhead projector we usually use for our meetings. The 580 lists for $9995 but sells for considerably less.

Mike's CD ROM equipped color Pentium laptop was loaded with Windows 95 and the current version of ACT!. Mike reported that ACT! 2.0 works fine in the Windows 95 environment - perhaps running a bit faster than with Windows 3.1. While Symantec plans to release a Windows 95 version of ACT! next year, no release date has been officially announced. Mike, a sales manager, had made use of ACT!'s customizable WRITE pull-down menu. He had created a few standard letters such as a quote and a thank-you letter and entered their names in the menu for quick access.


• Is 10 point Arial becoming a bit boring? Did you know that it is possible to select any font as the automatic font of choice for notes (and word processing)? To do this, use the command EDIT, PREFERENCES, WORD PROCESSING. Any font on your system can be set as the default for notes and word processing. You also have the option of inserting an "auto ID" (the first 10 letters of your name according to your "my record") each time you open a contact's notes file. Note that the margins for ACT!'s notes are fixed. While you can alter the margins on notes for a given contact, it is not possible to set these parameters globally.

• Perhaps you've wondered if it's possible to increase the number of characters in a given field on your contact screen. Okay, perhaps you have not. For the curious among you, ACT! permits a fixed number of characters in a contact field. For example, User Field 1 may only contain 50 characters. There is no way to change the length of a field. The moral of the story is: save your lengthy expositions for the notes section!

• To determine if you sent a particular letter to a contact, you just need to look in that contact's history. Once you've identified the file (letter), open it (using the FILE, OPEN command) for closer scrutiny. Note that in order for letters to be logged into history when you write them with ACT! you must use the SAVE AS command before printing.

If you are using ACT! on a network as the core of a sales automation system, it is helpful to be able to prepare activity reports for individual users. For instance it is often valuable for a sales manager to have activity reports for sales reps. The advanced custom reports produced by a package such as Crystal Reports (an ACT! add-on) may be useful. All activity will be captured as long as salespeople work with a database on the designated network (disc) drive (as opposed to their individual machines' "C" drives).

The January 9, 1996  ACT! SIG meeting will feature the "Top Ten Tips, Shortcuts & Secrets" for getting the most from ACT!. User Group meetings are free and open to all C.C.S. members. They are held on the second Tuesday of each month 8 times a year at the Midway Motor Lodge in Elk Grove Village. Call E Tech Systems at (708) 352-4770 for details. Please join us!

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.