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PHONE "Cut and Paste" Data-base Saves Time and Effort!

PHONE "Cut and Paste" Data-base Saves Time and Effort!

This user has turned PHONE into a catch-all database that helps him keep track of documents, and lets him cut and paste useful information to MEMO and APPT.

By Ronald Vieceli

Many of the "problems" with the 95LX's built-in applications don't have a thing to do with hardware or software. They result from our own limited view of what we think the applications should accomplish. This article outlines some different ways to look at Phone Book and how it relates to the other built-in applications. I hope it will give you some ideas you can use to make the 95LX better meet your needs.

The first thing we have to do is look at all of the applications in terms of what they really do and how they integrate with the overall system. I think one of the BIG stumbling blocks with the Phone Book is its name. If it was called DATABASE, and if the Name, Number, and Address fields were called FIELD1, FIELD2 and NOTES, users would have a much more open view of what it was for.

It's true that Phone Book is different from other databases. It has fewer fields, they can't be renamed or rearranged, and you can't change their length. So what! Instead of focusing on the fact that it doesn't work like a regular database, focus on how you can use PHONE along with the other built-in applications to accomplish what you want.

Creating a "Cut and Paste" Database

Remember that the built-in applications are an integrated system supporting each other. For one thing, the 95LX can easily exchange information through its clipboard. This makes it possible to take address information from PHONE and drop it into a MEMO letter. A normal PHONE entry has the last name, first name in the first field, phone number in the second, and address in the third.

I put additional records for the same name in the Phone Book in a form that is more useable when cut and pasted into the other applications. So, for example, the first entry for "John Smith" would be in the normal form, like this:

PhoneBook Entry: Normal Entry:  Graphic

 I also put Email ID's, fax numbers, and other information in the Address field. I could then make a second record, with name, address, and salutation set up as shown below.

PhoneBook Record Additional Entry:  Graphic

 If I want to write a letter to John Smith, I'll open a blank MEMO screen, go to PHONE and highlight John Smith (not Smith, John), press (F2) to copy the information to the clipboard, go back to MEMO and press (F4) to paste it into MEMO.

I'll make additional entries for the same person in PHONE, if I run out of room. I create additional records with the same name followed by a number (1,2,3, etc.) to keep things organized. So, for example, if the first entry was Smith, John, the second entry would be Smith, John2, the third, Smith, John3, etc. The sorting feature of the Phone Book will keep these records together and in the numbered order. They would look like this on my main Phone Book screen (see graphic, next page):

Sorting Multiple Entries in PhoneBook:  Graphic

 I can highlight the first entry and press (ENTER) to view the entire contents of the card. With the first Smith, John open, I can view the contents of the additional entries by pressing (<PGUP>) and (<PGDN>).

I can create a new Phone Book card by cutting and pasting information from MEMO. For example, I can copy name, address, and salutation information from the beginning of a MEMO letter and paste the information into PHONE. I press (F9) to begin Marking the text, use my ArrowKeys to highlight the desired information, and press (F2) to copy the text to the clipboard. I then switch back to PHONE and press (F4) to paste the information into a new card. The information will appear in the new card, line for line, as it appeared in MEMO. The first line will be copied to the Name field, the second line to the Phone field, and subsequent lines (maximum of 8, including blank lines) to the address field. The first two lines can be no longer than 30 characters and the others no longer than 39. You must end each line by pressing (ENTER).

The Phone Book record I create in this manner can be copied and pasted to MEMO the next time I write a letter to the same person. I also use the Phone Book to store addresses to print on the envelopes. These records are in all caps (to conform to the new postal rules) and end with a form feed character ((CTRL)-L) to eject the envelope from the printer.

Finding Things In This "Cut and Paste" Database

Creating all these different kinds of Phone Book entries does give the main Phone Book screen a ragged and disorganized appearance. There are no more neat rows of names and numbers. Fortunately, PHONE's search features make it easy to find things. For example, press (F6) and type in can and you'll get every record that has "can" in any field, including Canada, canvas, and toucan. You can put unique codes in with the PHONE entries to help you organize and find records. For example, you might put @@ in client's records to distinguish them from personal friends. Then all you would have to do is press (F6) @@ (ENTER) to get a subset of your Phone Book with only clients displayed.

Copying from Phone to Appointment Book

You can also copy and paste from PHONE to APPT. Go to the main screen in PHONE and highlight the record you want to copy. Press (F2), switch to APPT and highlight the desired blank timeslot and press (F4). This pastes the contents of the Name field from PHONE into the selected APPT timeslot. With the APPT time slot still highlighted, press (F6) to go to the Note screen. Press (F4) again and the entire record from PHONE will be placed in the appointment note. The entire PHONE record will always fit into an APPT note. You now have the pertinent information available without looking for it.

Document Management with Phone Book

I use my 95LX to create most of my correspondence and reports. I write memos and letters while I am waiting to see an appointment. I then print them or send them out Email. I keep backups of the files on my PC in case I need to refer back to them later, and delete the originals on the 95LX to free up memory. Unfortunately, this procedure leaves me with a backup directory filled with lots of short files with generally undecipherable names. I use the following approach to help me keep track of where a file is and what it has in it.

I have a separate Phone Book called FILES. When I finish a note or letter in MEMO, I press (CTRL)-(HOME) to go to the top of the document. I type the path and filename on the first line and press (ENTER). On the second line I type a key word to aid in searches and press (ENTER). (Use *MEMO, *LETTER, *DOC, etc.. The asterisk "*" makes searches more exclusive.) I use the last eight lines to enter a description of the file. Each line can be up to 39 characters long and must end with a carriage return (press (ENTER)). The line cannot automatically wrap to the next line or the information beyond the automatic wrap will not transfer to PHONE.

Next I copy this information to my Phone Book. I press (F9) (Mark), use the ArrowKeys to highlight the desired text (the ten lines or less just entered), and press (F2) to copy the information to the clipboard. I then open the FILES Phone Book and press (F4) to Paste the ten lines into a new entry.

I can search the FILES Phone Book by keywords or a description of the file and find out what the filename is.

PHONE: A Simple, Flexible Database

The most basic way to look at PHONE is to view each card as a record consisting of ten fields (each line a separate field). The first two lines are 30 characters long. The remaining eight in the address section are 39 characters long and must end in a carriage return to keep them separate. If you enter information in a consistent manner you can then keep the field information straight and use the Copy and Paste features to put the data in other applications.

For its limitations, PHONE is a remarkably flexible database. You can use it to store bits and scraps of all sorts of information, including addresses, MEMO headers, Email addresses, or anything else you might want to lift out of the Phone Book and paste into another application. Using the Phone Book for these functions will speed your projects on the 95LX and save you keystrokes. Your Phone Book becomes like the "junk drawer" in your kitchen that you throw all your odds and ends into. The big difference is that PHONE's search features make the odd bits of information easy to find!

Copying and pasting to the Phone Book.

iPhone Life magazine


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