Meeting Notes

Meeting Date: January 9, 1996

MEETING FEATURE: The Top 10 ACT! 2.0 Tips, Shortcuts, and Secrets

So you’ve resolved to use ACT! to help you become more efficient at your job, right?? It IS a New Year... Here are some helpful tips and shortcuts that will make your life just a little simpler and make you feel just like an ACT! "power user":

  1. To quickly schedule a call for a particular contact onto your calendar, click on any one the three calendar icons then DOUBLE click on a blank calendar spot. Next, click "OK". A call will be scheduled for the record you are on.

  2. To log the name of a letter you are writing to a contact into that contact’s History, perform the FILE SAVE command before printing the letter.

  3. Use the F9 key to quickly open and close Notes.

  4. To "speed tag" a list of contacts, view the list by pressing the F8 key. Use the arrow keys in conjunction with the space bar to tag and untag contacts.

  5. When inserting new contacts with group affiliations, first open the group to which the contact will belong. Any new contacts subsequently added will now be included in that group - automatically.

  6. To quickly jump to a contact, use the PHONE, QUICK LIST command to quickly look up key contacts. (To make use of this shortcut, you’ll first have to add your key contacts to your "quick list". Build a quick list by using the command PHONE, QUICK LIST/MODIFY QUICK LIST, ADD.) After clicking on the contact's name, immediately hit the space bar (or enter key) and then the ESC key to avoid placing a call. You can automate the look up procedure by writing a macro and assigning an icon to it.

  7. To do a "LOOKUP OTHER" search 25% faster, use the Fast Query macro available from E Tech Systems. (E Tech can be reached at (847) 352-4770.) Fast Query will be most beneficial to those using large databases or using older, slower PCs.

  8. Keyword searches can now be limited to notes, history, etc. Plus, they only search the active group. This can make keyword searches much quicker. Windows users will need to have version 2.0.6 to enjoy this improvement.

  9. Use "CTRL-F5" to insert a "null" or blank field in conjunction with the LOOKUP, OTHER and EDIT CURRENT LOOKUP commands. In this way, you can search for blank fields or clear a specific field for all contacts.

  10. To save time when entering contacts, set the State field default to your own state. Also set its field attribute to uppercase. This way, all state abbreviations will be typed in capital letters. Similarly, if you are entering a lot of contacts from a given city, certain company, or with the same area code, edit the default record accordingly. (Use the command EDIT, FIELD DEFAULTS. Type the appropriate information in the appropriate fields.)


This month, we discussed ACT!’s word processor, re-indexing, and printing labels.

One user noticed that when typing a letter with ACT!’s word processor, some characters on the right hand side of the screen were cut off. This is a known bug. Rest assured that the characters are really there. Letters will print out just fine.

Your ACT! database requires periodic maintenance called re-indexing. ACT!’s internal index is similar to a table of contents for your contacts. Normal day-to-day operations as well as system "lock-ups" (and subsequent re-booting) create inconsistencies in the database’s index. Re-indexing repairs these sorts of errors. It is best to re-index periodically (say every couple of weeks) as well as before and after a merge.

Perhaps you’ve been collecting partially used pages of address labels - maybe saving them for a rainy day. Well, here’s a way to get ACT! to start printing on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. label. The basic idea is to use the FORMAT, PAGE command to edit the report template for the labels of choice. By adjusting the top of the page margin, you can make your printer start printing at the next fresh label. You can calculate this spot by knowing the height of an individual label and the fact that 6 lines of 10 pt type (ACT!’s default) occupy one inch. If you create and save (with different names, of course) several modified versions of the basic label report, you’ll always be able to put those partially used label sheets to good use.


of the ACT! User Group will be held on February 13. We discuss several helpful ACT! reference books currently on the market which make life with ACT! just a bit easier. 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 (847) 352-4770 for details.

© Copyright 1996 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.