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Getting Speed Locate to Work with Dates and Numbers
Getting Speed Locate to Work with Dates and Numbers

Speed locate ordinarily lets you locate an item in a database by typing the first few characters of a selected field. However if the field contains numbers, dates or times, speed locate fails.

An unsatisfactory workaround for this is to store dates in a text field rather than a date field. The problem with this workaround is that when you sort the items using a text field you will wind up with 11/29/99 coming before 8/12/98 in the list.

The best solution is to keep dates in Date Fields but add a text field to the database. Use the MENU File Modify command and press F2 (Add). Call the field DateSort or whatever you wish and choose Text as the Field Type. Press ESC to cancel the Add field operation and, if you wish, resize the field to a minimum since it will always be empty. Press F10 (OK) to return to the List View. Press F7 (Sort) and use the DateSort field as the "1st sort item." and the DateField as the "2nd sort item". Check the Ascending box for both fields. Press F10 (Done). You should now be able to use the speed locate operation with dates. Expect that speed locate may be slightly slower than it usually is. The reason for the slowness is because the Date Field is not the 1st sort field.

A similar strategy will let you use speed locate on a Number field. You'll need to add a new Text field, NumSort. Be sure the Number field is located in the first column and use the NumSort field as the "1st sort field" and the Number field as the "2nd sort field." Make sure that both fields are sorted in Ascending order. (This clever trick was discovered by David Sargeant. Be sure to read David's column on page 11 to see what he does in his spare time.)

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