Chicago ACT! USER GROUP
Meeting Date: November 1997
NEWS YOU CAN USE
: NOTE OUR NEXT MEETING WILL BE ON TUESDAY JANUARY 13. The
meeting date was erroneously reported as January 14 in last month’s
column. We apologize for the error.
MEETING FEATURE: ACT! ADD-ONs—OAKHURST
Add-on products are software utilities that offer added
enhancements to applications to suit the needs of specific users.
Some very useful add-on products for ACT! users come from a Vienna,
Virginia company by the name of Oakhurst Systems.
This month, we heard from two ACT! users both of whom use
ACT! and Oakhurst add-ons in their daily work. Kay Braun, Manager of
Computer Systems for Woodfield Chevrolet Geo uses ACT! to manipulate
her customer database. This way, customers can be notified when a car
lease is about to expire, or, a holiday greeting card list can be
compiled. Kay faced a problem, though, when she first started her
job. The customer database was in a different format on a mainframe
The information was in the form of "quote-comma delimited"
ASCII data. Each field of data was surrounded with quotation marks
and was separated from other fields with commas. Kay used Oakhurst’s
OAK!Merge! to transform the existing database into an ACT! 3
database. OAK!Merge! ’s "Wizard" simplified the process. In
operation, OAK!Merge! prompts the user to follow a sequence of steps
to convert the database starting with identifying the input file
followed by mapping the data to the various ACT! fields. The user is
again prompted to provide mapping instructions, i.e., which data in
the original database is to be "mapped" (entered) to what ACT! field.
(This ensures that unintended mix-ups such as the customer name
ending up in ACT!’s zip code field will not occur!)
OAK!Merge! also prompts you to decide how to handle
duplicate records. OAK!Merge! asks you which field you would like to
use to establish whether or not a record duplicates an existing one.
(Typically the name field is selected.) OAK!Merge! also asks you to
decide how data will be handled if it is established that a new
record is a duplicate of an old one. You are given the option of
creating a completely new record, updating the existing one
(identified as a duplicate), or totally ignoring the data for the new
record. The nice thing is that once these protocols for handling data
are established, they can be saved. This way, when another batch of
data needs to be merged, it can be done rapidly and
Tom Graham of Goda & Associates uses OAK!Check! to
maintain and clean Goda’s in-house marketing database (in ACT!, of
course). Goda & Associates designs, sets up, and maintains
Internet web sites. OAK!Check! actually is capable of performing 11
different actions not available in standard issue ACT! 2 or 3
software. They include doing simple arithmetic operations, copying
one field to another, removing or replacing characters in a field,
swapping two fields, and updating phone number area
Two of Tom’s favorite OAK!Check! features are case change
(capitalization) and popup validation. Case changes standardize the
appearance of data in fields. OAK!Check! permits the user to
"standardize" capitalization across as many fields as desired
throughout an entire ACT! database. The user has the option of making
fields all capitalized or capitalizing the first letter of each
Pop-up (or drop-down for ACT! 3.0 users) validation ensures
that data entries in fields having pop-ups exactly matches pop-up
entries. Often times different users may enter information in
slightly different ways. For example, one user might enter the state
as Ill. while another might enter it as IL or Illinois. Obviously,
data entry must be consistent for ACT!’s data queries (searches) to
OAK!Check! gives the user the option of simply "flagging"
contact records containing mismatches for correction at a later time,
or, in OAK!Check!’s "interactive mode", the option to fix a record as
OAK!Check! finds it. OAK!Check! also gives the user the option of
replacing a specific errant entry in a field with another. For
example the entry "client" could be automatically replaced with
It’s easy to see why OAK!Check! is a very valuable utility
to many ACT! users.
Q: Is there an easy way to create a new report in ACT!
A: The usual way to create an ACT! report is via the command
FILE, NEW, (select) REPORT TEMPLATE. You can get some help via the
HELP section’s Report Designer by clicking on the HELP icon (question
mark) and searching through the help index. Some users find it
easiest to create a new report by simply modifying an existing one.
Use the command REPORTS, EDIT REPORT TEMPLATE to open an existing
report. After you have made the changes you want, be sure and save
your work using a different file name (using the SAVE AS command) to
avoid erasing the original report.
Q: How do I get ACT! to give me a list of the phone calls I
need to make today?
A: Use the ACT! command VIEW, TASK LIST or the F7 short cut
key. Note that you can use the filter icon to change which activities
Our next meeting will be January 13, 1998. Note that our
meeting location has changed (as of this past September) to the
Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts Lecture Hall located at 201
Schaumburg Court (just off Schaumburg Road, between Plum Grove and
Roselle Roads). 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.
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 Lee can be reached at E Tech at
847-352-4770 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 1997 by Symantec Corporation. All rights
reserved. Portions copyrighted by Alan M. Lee. 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