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Using and editing the DataCard

Using and editing the DataCard

The DataCard is a window that shows up in the list screen in the PhoneBook, DataBase, and NoteTaker applications (See Screen 1.) The DataCard, a Rolodex-type card appearing in the right hand part of the screen, is a feature on the HP 200LX, but not on the HP 100LX.

 Screen 1.

 You'll notice that at the bottom of the card two numbers appear inside parentheses; in our example, (2/11). This indicates that there are 11 records in this file, and that the second record is highlighted and is being displayed.

 You can cause the DataCard to be displayed (or not to be displayed) by toggling (CTRL)+(D), or by pressing (MENU), View, DataCard.

 The DataCard is simply a Smart Clip of some of the information from the fields of whatever record is highlighted (See Screen 2.)

 Screen 2.

 By editing the DataCard Smart Clip, you can customize your PhoneBook to suit your needs.

Here's an example. I rarely refer to a persons address or their company name, so the default DataCard is wasting space by displaying these fields. Instead, I'm constantly referring to business and home phone numbers, e-mail addresses (which I store in the Alternate field) and the first few lines of the Note field. What Id like is a DataCard that displays this information from a record without me having to open that record.

 In order to create such a customized DataCard, you need to know how to edit the DataCard Smart Clip.

First, open the PhoneBook application, then press (F5) (Clip), then use the UpArrow or DownArrow keys to select DataCard from the Smart Clip List. Then press (F4) (Edit). The Edit Smart Clip Definition window will appear (See Screen 3.)

 Screen 3.

 Your own DataCard Smart Clip definition may, or may not, resemble the one displayed in Screen 3, depending on whether or not the definition has already been edited.

 The information that's displayed in the DataCard in Screen 1 has been determined by the definition that's shown in Screen 3. In other words, to change the appearance and contents of the DataCard we need to edit and change the DataCard Smart Clip definition.

 The first interesting thing to note is that, although Doe, John appears in the records Name field (Screen 2), when we look at the DataCard (Screen 1) we see John Doe. Although most of us probably prefer this first name, last name display, some of you might find the names easier to read if they were displayed as the names in a regular phone book are (i.e., last name, first name). And even if you prefer the John Doe format, knowing how to change the order of first and last names can be useful in other situations besides the DataCard display; for instance, in creating Smart Clips that select data from fields and sends it to the printer or saves it to file.

 So lets change the name order. First, make sure Name is highlighted in the Edit Smart Clip Definition (Screen 3), then press (F4) (Edit). A Define Field box will appear.

 Notice that the Name field is highlighted, and that the Reverse name box is toggled. When this box is checked, the characters that appear before the first comma in a field get displayed after the comma, and vice versa.

If you TAB down to the Reverse name box and press the (SpaceBar) the checkmark will disappear. Now press (F10) (OK), and you'll notice that the comma and the tilde characters (, & ~) no longer are part of the Name field definition. The tilde character merely indicates that the Reverse name box is checked for this field.

 Now press (F10) (F10), (OK)(OK), and you'll see that the top line of your DataCard now reads Doe, John.

 Now lets look at the second line in the DataCard Smart Clip definition (See Screen 3). Note the presence of the equal sign character (=). When the equal sign character appears on a line by itself, a thick line appears on the DataCard. When the minus sign character (-) appears on a line by itself, as it does on the sixth line of the definition, a thin line appears on the DataCard. Such lines can be useful to visually separate the contents of your DataCard (See Screen 1.)

 Here's another neat trick. Notice that, although the Smart Clip Definition contains both Address1 and Address2 fields (See Screen 3), the DataCard contains only the information from the records Address1 field (123 Birch Lane). The presence of a question mark (?) following Address2 in the Smart Clip definition indicates that the Suppress line if empty box has been checked for that field. Checking the Suppress line box prevents a blank line from appearing in the DataCard when there is no data in a particular field.

Now that we know how to edit the DataCard Smart Clip, lets create our own personalized DataCard that displays only the following fields: Name, business phone, home phone, alternate, and note.

First, press (F5) (Clip), highlight DataCard, then press (F4) (Edit). When the definition window appears, press the (DownArrow) key once. This will move the flashing cursor down to the second line so that the equal sign is highlighted. Now repeatedly press the (Del) key until lines two through ten of the definition are erased. Alternately, you can hold down the (Shift) key and press the DownArrow key nine times. This will highlight lines two through ten. Then press the (DEL) key to erase the lines.

 The DataCard definition window will now contain only one line (the line with the name field on it). With the cursor on the second line, press (Shift) b (Shift) 5 (Spacebar). B: will now appear on the second line.

 Now press (F2) (Field). This will bring up the Define Field window. Press the (DownArrow) key once. When the Business field is highlighted, press (F10) (OK). Now press (ENTER) to move down to line three.

 Press the (Spacebar) twelve times, then press (Shift) h (Shift) 5 (Spacebar). H: will now appear on the third line. Press (F2) (Field) and add the Home field to line three. Then press (ENTER) to move to the fourth line.

 Type E-mail:, then press (F2) (Field), highlight the Alternate field, then press (F10) (OK). Then press (ENTER) to move to line five.

 On line five, type Note:, then press (F2) (Field), highlight the Note field, then press (F10) (OK).

 Our custom DataCard definition is complete, so we can press (F10) (F10) (OK) (OK). Our custom DataCard looks much different from the PhoneBook's default DataCard (Screen 1).

 Here's why I like this particular customized DataCard. After using PhoneBook for months and entering hundreds of telephone numbers into new records, Vie gotten accustomed to the fact that the business number is on the left and the home phone is on the right (see Screen 2). Because my custom DataCard maintains this left-right display of telephone numbers, its easier for me to read. I also like to be able to see at a glance a persons e-mail address; and the fact that I store e-mail addresses in the Alternate field doesn't matter, since Vie included the E-mail reference in the DataCard.

 Here's why I like the contents of the Note field to be displayed: although I use the PhoneBook to store names and telephone numbers, I'm constantly referring to the odd bits of information that I store in the Note field. As long as I put the most important information in the top six lines of the Note field, this information is always displayed.

 When you edit your own DataCard, think for a moment before you start, and decide what it is you actually use PhoneBook (or DataBase or NoteTaker) for. Once you know which fields you look at most often, you can design a custom DataCard that can be especially useful.

 Ralph C. Turner

 Managing Editor

 The HP Palmtop Paper


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