Meeting Notes

Meeting Date: February 13, 1996

NEWS YOU CAN USE: This month, many folks in the 708 area code will find their area code changing to 847. Later in the year, another new area code will be introduced. Some phone number exchanges (the first 3 digits of a phone number) will be changing, too. A couple of software products, now or soon to be available, can eliminate the chore of contacting every organization with a 708 area code and asking them whether or not their phone number is changing. Watch this column for details.

MEETING FEATURE: Third Party ACT! Reference Books

We all know and love the ubiquitous manual that comes, courtesy of Symantec, with each copy of ACT!. For a long time, this was the only reference available. While the manual is hard to beat as a comprehensive resource, there has been a recent proliferation of books some of which are very user friendly.

Dennis Frantsve, ACT! certified consultant, offered his comments on a variety of volumes. They detailed below:

1. ACT! for Windows by Douglas Wolf ($19.95). ACT! for Windows is a good, easy-to-use reference. It is clearly written and well-illustrated.

2. ACT! for Windows for Dummies by Jeffrey Mayer ($19.95) is a member of the popular "Dummies" series of references published by IDG. Its strong points are the clear writing style, fun illustrations, and numerous useful tips highlighted with bulls eyes. On the downside, the "cute" writing style can be distraction to those readers who don't appreciate the author's sense of humor ("Wild Card, You Make My Heart Sing"). I suppose there's nothing like a corny topic heading to cheer you up after you've accidentally deleted a dozen contacts.

3. The 10 Minute Guide to ACT! by Shelly O'Hara ($10.99) provides ACT! users with immediate gratification by breaking tasks down into easily accomplished bite (byte?) sized activities. The book is results-oriented and infuses the beginner with confidence.

4. ACT! for Windows by Shelly O'Hara ($27.95) contains many useful tips. The book is clearly written. The information is presented in the context of real-life scenarios - a useful format. There is also a separate key concept section that provides a good overview of the program.

5. Using ACT!: A QUE Book ($19.95) is an extremely "user friendly" reference. The book's thorough explanations are complemented with pictures of the ACT! contact screen. Using ACT! is a comprehensive technical reference. Nothing seems to be missing.

6. ACT! 2.0 for Windows At A Glance by Glenna J. Peek ($15.95) is a good bet for getting up and running with ACT! on a day-to-day basis. The information is well-presented. A series of contact screens on one page is complimented by corresponding explanations on the facing page. Plus, the book is spiral bound. It stays flat on your desk freeing both hands to fuss with your PC.

Happy reading!


If you find yourself creating your own custom reports, here's a way to insert a horizontal line across the page. You've got two options. The first is to copy and paste a line from an existing ACT! report template to your template. Note that the line is just one character. The second way to insert a line into a document or template (or even ACT! notes) is to insert a line of blank spaces across the page, highlight the spaces, then underline them (STYLE, UNDERLINE). Voila!

An ACT! for Windows database can be easily transferred to a Macintosh PC - if the Macintosh is running system 7.5. Simply copy your database to a floppy disc. (Open up the database of interest and use the SAVE AS command to save the database to the floppy.) Then, after popping the disc into the Mac, drag the new files to the database folder.

Those of you that do a significant amount of direct marketing will be happy to know that Dazzle, an ACT! add-on product, can create and print postal bar codes on envelopes and mailing labels. Dazzle also is great for printing advertising information on the outside of many different sizes of envelopes. Dazzle can print diagonally across the corner of an envelope, and in it's deluxe version, will automatically call the post office, check your database and update zip codes to the full 9 digits. Pretty nifty!


of the ACT! User Group will be held on April 9, 1996. The topic will be "Database Marketing With ACT!". Get some hints on how to set up, use, and customize an ACT! database. We will describe a marketing application and demonstrate how to import contact data from a Dun & Bradstreet marketing database. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month 8 times a year. 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.