Chicago ACT! USER GROUP
Meeting Date: May 13, 1997
NEWS YOU CAN
USE: ACT! 3.0 users, the
latest release of ACT! is version 3.0.5. (Use the command HELP, ABOUT ACT!
to check which version you have.) If you don't have the latest update, you
can download it from Symantec's Web site (or use ACT!'s LiveUpdate
feature). Current patch disks are normally available at User Group
meetings. Please note, the ACT! User Group will not be meeting during the
months of June, July, and August. Our fall kick-off meeting is set for
September 9. Mark your calendars now and join us in the fall.
FEATURE: Alan Lee, ACT!
Certified Consultant, discussed the ins and outs of successfully
integrating e-mail with ACT!.
When it comes to communicating via e-mail
with the outside world (meaning communicating beyond the confines of your
company) there are basically two choices: going with one of the commercial
on line services such as Prodigy, CompuServe, America On Line, or the
Microsoft Network (MSN), or, using an Internet service provider (ISP).
Alternatively, a corporate-wide in-house e-mail system can be set up using
applications such as CC:Mail. While a thorough comparison of systems is
beyond the scope of our discussion, the tradeoffs revolve around features
and content, ease of setup and configuration, and how well the systems work
with ACT!. When a compatible on line service/e-mail application is used,
ACT! treats sending an e-mail message the same as writing a letter. That
is, broadcast e-mail (the equivalent of form letters) is permitted and
e-mail correspondence is appropriately logged in history. Out of all the
commercial on line services, only CompuServe works in this fashion with
ACT! (actually ACT! 2.0). Use of ACT! 3.0 with CompuServe is iffy at
Though it takes a bit more effort to get
set up, your best chance of integrating ACT! and e-mail lies with choosing
an ISP. ISPs typically charge $10 to $20 a month for unlimited Internet
access with the larger outfits offering more technical support. Some ISPs
serving the Chicago area include MegsInet (megsinet.net), MCS Net, and
Netcom. You’ll need to choose an Internet browser such as Netscape or
Microsoft Explorer. (Browser software is often free from ISPs. Microsoft
Explorer is included with Windows 95.) You’ll also need to choose e-mail
software such as MS Exchange (now called Microsoft Messaging). (Users
report that Eudora and Pegasus are incompatible with ACT!.) If this all
sounds a bit complicated to set up, here are some good reasons to go
through the trouble.
Why E-mail With
It vastly simplifies broadcast e-mailing.
If you have read this far, you’re probably well-aware that e-mail is an
extremely inexpensive and immediate form of communication. Broadcast e-mail
is an inexpensive and quick way to reach any—or all—of your contacts who
have e-mail addresses. The right e-mail system means that you can write and
send e-mail directly from ACT!. There is no need to create a separate
contact list, import the list to another program, manually update each
contact record to reflect that a message has been sent, and so forth. When
you e-mail through ACT!, contact history is automatically updated. Plus
you’ll be able to make use of ACT!’s in and out boxes to manage (i.e. read,
reply, forward, save, print, etc.) your e-mail messages.
How To Do It
Sending an e-mail message to a group of
contacts is similar to writing a form letter. You’ll need to create an
e-mail template containing the body of your message. (Check last month’s
issue of Hard Copy for more information on templates and a tutorial on
writing form letters.) Next, select the contacts you’d like to e-mail to.
Execute the (ACT! 3.0) command WRITE, MAIL MERGE. Pick the template you
just created and click OK. Select the e-mail option and type the subject of
the message in the subject line. To send messages, click OK, otherwise
choose work off line to send the e-mail message(s)at a later
You may attach any file (spreadsheet,
database, graphic file, etc.) to an e-mail message by selecting the attach
file option when creating a message. Beware that such files may need to be
encoded using applications such as Transfer Pro or Wincode in order for
them to be successfully transferred over the Internet. (Wincode is
available as shareware.)
Latest ACT! Update
Q What "fixes" does the new ACT! 3.0.5
A ACT! 3.0.5 contains the latest bug fixes
and program enhancements. For example, 3.0.5 permits users to save reports
as "rtf" (rich text format) files. In addition, 3.0.5 enables compatibility
with Microsoft Office 97. For a complete list of changes, see the
readme.txt file included in the patch.
Creating Groups with ACT! 3.0
Q How do you create groups in ACT!
A Click on the group icon or execute the
command VIEW, GROUPS to view all existing groups. Then click on any group
to add a specific contact to that group. Execute the command GROUP, NEW
GROUP to add a new one.
OUR NEXT MEETING . .
of the ACT! User Group will be on September
9, 1997. No meetings will be held during June, July, and August. The ACT!
User Group (a SIG of the C.C.S.) holds meetings on the second Tuesday of
the month eight months out of the year. User Group meetings are free and
open to all C.C.S. members. They are held at the Midway Motor Lodge in Elk
Grove Village. Call E Tech Systems at 847-352-4770 to get meeting notices
or e-mail us via www.etechsys.com.
E Tech Systems is an ACT! Certified
Consulting firm and Symantec Authorized Training Center. E Tech has
installed, configured, and customized ACT! for dozens of companies and
trained hundreds of ACT! users. Alan can be reached at E Tech at
847-352-4770 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 1997 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