Chicago ACT! USER GROUP
Meeting: February 14. 1995
Tips and Techniques from Open
During our monthly open forum we discussed editing the
layout of the ACT! for Windows contact screen, changing the order of
items in an ACT! for Windows popup list, and the use of ACT!
If you are using ACT! for Windows you can change the layout
of the contact screen with Symantec's layout editor program. By using
the layout editor, you are no longer limited to the standard contact
screens provided by Symantec. You can place fields wherever you'd
like thereby designing your own contact screen.
The layout editor is available through Symantec. You may
download it from the Symantec Bulletin Board or order it on disc from
While we're on the topic of contact screens, you can choose
from a variety of "stock" layouts using the (Windows) command: VIEW,
LAYOUT. The only trick is that this command alters the flip side of
the contact screen - not the screen in view when the command is
invoked. If this all gets a bit confusing, remember that you can
restore things to their original state using the commands: VIEW,
LAYOUT, CONTACT 2, then VIEW, LAYOUT, CONTACT 1.
Popups are a great time-saver for entering general
information in any contact field. (You can create your own popups
using the command: EDIT, FIELD ATTRIBUTES then selecting the
appropriate field and checking the popup box.)
When multiple entries are made in a popup box, they are
automatically arranged alphabetically. (Note that you can add entries
to a popup by using the EDIT, ADD command once the popup is open.)
Suppose you had a popup, though, for day of the week and wanted the
days to be listed in calendar order (rather than in alphabetical
order). How would this be done?
The trick is to check off the "code field" box in the field
attributes menu. (Use the EDIT, FIELD ATTRIBUTES command.) This
creates a second field in the popup. To enter days of the week so
that they appear in calendar order, type "1, 2, 3, etc." in the popup
entry field and the corresponding day of the week (Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday) in the code field. Again, use the EDIT, ADD command once
the popup is open.
A number of add-on programs for ACT! exist which give ACT!
added features and flexibility. Examples of such programs are ACT PAC
and ACT TREE. Such programs allow you to organize (and edit) ACT!
contact records in a spreadsheet format, move entries easily from one
field to another, or use other word processing programs with
While these add-on programs may seem appealing at first,
they add another layer of complexity. When difficulties occur it can
be difficult to track down the true cause of a problem. This is why
we suggest that PC users remove aftermarket screen savers and other
Meeting Topic: Boolean Lookups.
Lookups are among ACT!'s more powerful features. Simple
lookups permit you to identify all contacts in a given state, zip
code, or those with a particular ID Status. These quick lookups are
readily accessed from ACT!'s pull-down "Lookup" menu. Keyword lookups
search all fields, notes, and history for a specific word of your
choosing. Keyword lookups are the only lookups that search notes and
history. However, keyword lookups are slow.
Boolean lookups are a class of lookups that involve two or
more parameters. An example of a Boolean lookup might be "everyone on
Milwaukee Avenue/Blvd./Street who is a customer". Two criteria need
to be satisfied in order for a contact to be selected by this lookup.
The contact street address has to be Milwaukee (Ave., Blvd., or
Street) and the contact has to be a customer. (The ID Status field
should contain the designation: "customer".)
Such a lookup can be executed using the command: LOOKUP,
OTHER. The next step is to clear all fields. This can be done using
the command: EDIT, CLEAR. Next, type "*Milwaukee*" in the address
field and "Customer" in the ID Status field. The asterisks (*) as
"wildcards" and instruct ACT! not to differentiate between Milwaukee
Street, Milwaukee Avenue, or 123 Milwaukee Blvd. Click on the OK
boxes to run the lookup.
To select those contacts who are located on Milwaukee
Avenue, Street, etc. or who are customers requires a different
approach. One way to do this is to follow the steps in the previous
paragraph but to execute the command: QUERY, CONVERT TO SMARTQUERY
after entering the information in the contact fields. Then change the
Boolean operator "AND" to "OR". Alternatively, you could type out the
query in the smartquery window.
While there is a specific order of operations for Boolean
logic, the best insurance against unanticipated results is to use
parentheses around those operations that should be performed first.
For example, using parentheses in the following query guarantees that
only customers who are located either on Elston or Milwaukee will be
((Address_1 CONTAINS "Milwaukee") OR (Address_1 CONTAINS
"Elston")) AND (ID Status=Customer)
Finally, you may find it helpful to construct a small dummy
database to test your query. Make sure to include contacts who
parameters lie just inside and just outside the search criteria as
this is where errors typically occur.
© Copyright 1995 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 Symantec