Chicago ACT! USER GROUP
Meeting Date: May 14, 1996
NEWS YOU CAN
USE: The ACT! SIG will be on summer hiatus
for July and August. Our next meeting will be September 10. The topic will
be ACT! 3.0. (Our Hard Copy column will return the following month.) Have a
Windows users: the latest released version of ACT! for
Windows is version 2.0.8. This update provides for smoother operation
of Mobile Link and enables Windows 95 users to use direct Internet
e-mail via the Microsoft Exchange. ACT! 2.0.8 is available from
Symantec or from E Tech Systems at (847) 352-4770.
Macintosh users: the latest release is version 2.52. Patch
discs are available at ACT! User Group meetings.
FEATURE: ACT! Add-Ons. At this month’s
meeting, we took a look at a number of "add-on" programs designed to help
users get more utility from ACT!. We were joined by co-presenters Tom
Grannan, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Bart Carson,
President both of Napersoft.
Due to ACT!’s popularity, third party programs have
proliferated. For example, there are programs that display and allow
you to select contacts graphically on a map such as Maplinx
(described in our May 1995 column), programs that enable you to
transform business cards into ACT! contact records (Corex’s Card Scan
or Seiko’s Smart Business Card Reader), or programs that allow you to
use ACT! with your favorite word processor (Napersoft’s WinMerge or
Oakhurst Systems’ ACT! Pack).
Tom Grannan of Napersoft described two products his company
developed to work with ACT!: WinMerge Standard and WinMerge
Enterprise. Both products permit ACT! users to use word processors
such as Word, AmiPro, Word Perfect, and Word Pro instead of ACT!’s
built-in word processor.
With WinMerge Standard, for example, you can create mailing
labels - or for that matter, form letters - using data from your ACT!
contact list using Microsoft Word. This enables you to insert an
Excel chart or graph, for example (provided you have Excel), into a
document being sent to your contacts. Since WinMerge Enterprise can
access data from any Windows program, Enterprise adds the capability
of integrating ACT!’s database with others. For instance, you could
draft a document in Word to ACT! customer contacts with a table of
products and prices that are specific to particular contacts. Each
contact record would need to contain a customer account number which
acts as a reference to that customer’s record in another database. It
is in this other database that the specifics of products and pricing
for each customer are recorded.
WinMerge Enterprise also has built-in intelligence which
will apply proper capitalization (case), format phone numbers (adding
parentheses for area codes), and check for missing required data
(street address, city, etc.) in data imported from outside
Next, we demo’d Seiko’s Smart Business Card Reader and found
it to be a very effective tool for automatically entering name,
address, company, etc. into ACT!. The system (which is priced at
about $200) range includes a small scanner which plugs directly into
the parallel port of your PC. No special interface card is required.
To use the Smart Business Card Reader, simply insert business cards
one-by-one into the reader. The reader displays an image of the
business card on your monitor (automatically inverting the image if
you happened to insert the card upside down) and shows you what data
is being entered in each field.
The Smart Business Card Reader has its own database. This
allows you to review all entries before sending them into ACT!.
Though much improved over similar devices available a couple of years
ago, the Smart Business Card Reader may occasionally have difficulty
reading certain fonts or colors. Though not as fast as an expert
typist, the Smart Business Card Reader might be a worthwhile
investment if you tend to collect a lot of business cards.
Scheduling Events In Multiple Databases
Q I’ve got two ACT! databases. Is there a way to schedule my
monthly staff meetings (and other events) in both databases without
doing double the work?
A ACT! can only schedule events in the (one) database
currently open. However, you might try merging the two databases into
a temporary database. After you have done your scheduling, delete
this temporary database.
Looking Up A Specific Phone Number
Q How can I look up a specific phone number in my ACT!
database which is not in the main phone number field?
A If you know the specific field the phone number is in, use
the command LOOKUP, OTHER. You’ll get a blank contact screen. Execute
the command EDIT, CLEAR to clear the previous query. Then, type in
the phone number you are looking for in the appropriate field. Click
If you only know part of the phone number, or are not sure
which field the phone number is in, use ACT!’s keyword search.
Execute the command LOOKUP, KEYWORD. Type the phone number in the
dialog box. (Remember you can use "*" to denote unknown characters.
Typing "708*" will select all contacts in the 708 area code.) Before
clicking OK, don’t forget to check off contacts, activities, notes,
etc. in order to instruct ACT! as to where to search.
OUR NEXT MEETING . . .
of the ACT! User Group will be held on Tuesday September 10.
We will have a progress report on the next release of ACT!: version
3.0. 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. Have a great summer!
© 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