Chicago ACT! USER GROUP
Meeting Date: March 12, 1996
FEATURE: New Feature! Tales
From the Trenches.
Tales From the Trenches gives us an opportunity to describe
how various ACT! users utilize ACT! in unique and different ways.
Hopefully this segment, which will appear from time to time, will
expand your notion of what ACT! can do, stimulate your imagination,
and help you get more value from your investment in ACT!.
Jack Murch of Motorola has a rather unique job. As a
customer relations manager, Jack is regularly called on to arrange
visits and tours for foreign industrialists, suppliers, and potential
business partners to Motorola’s facilities. It’s safe to say that
Jack would have great difficulty doing his job if it weren’t for
ACT!. The heart of everything is Jack’s master database of 1000
contacts of Motorola facilities, hotels, transportation companies,
concierges, tourist attractions, and associates. Jack uses ACT! for
Macintosh on a network with 10 users and, like most of us, uses ACT!
to keep track of contacts and to schedule activities for himself.
Jack also uses ACT! to help him organize and coordinate company
The fun begins when a guest is scheduled to visit. Jack
creates a separate ACT! database specifically for the visit. This new
database, a subset of Jack’s master database, contains all pertinent
contacts: hotels, Motorola facilities, restaurants, tourist
attractions, etc. The database also includes a my record labeled "the
visit". This way Jack can schedule activities for the visit and print
out an itinerary or calendar. Jack differentiates between
administrative, off-site, and on-site activities by scheduling these
activities as low, medium, or high priority respectively. This way
when Jack scans ACT!’s task list, he can immediately zero in on all
on-site activities since they all appear in red. Off-site activities
appear in blue and administrative activities appear in
Jack has invested considerable effort in customizing ACT! to
the task. For example, he renamed one of ACT!’s user fields
"transportation". To make life easier, Jack created a custom popup
listing various modes of transportation available. Jack makes use of
the optional code and popup entry fields available in popups to
abbreviate field entries while providing a full description of the
entry. This helps make Jack’s system user-friendly.
Jack has also cleverly devised a custom report he calls
"agenda". This report represents a day-by-day list of activities. The
report includes information from the "meeting" and "to do" fields and
includes the contact name and phone number. Finally, Jack has created
a number of his own custom letters and templates. This way Jack can
create name badges for a number of visitors, an airport gate sign to
give to a driver meeting a guest, or a standard letter inviting an
out-of-town guest to dinner.
As if this wasn’t enough, Jack also uses ACT! as an
inventory system to track company assets - specifically two-way
radios which are loaned out to employees. Jack re-named the "company"
and "contact" fields "model" and "serial number" respectively. He
uses the "call" and "to do" fields to record the date a radio is lent
out and the date a radio is returned. Jack also created fields for
the borrower’s name, the frequency band of the radio and the unit ID.
Finally, Jack uses ACT! to keep track of a each radio’s repair
Synchronizing Databases on Two PCs
Q What is synchronization and is it part of ACT! (for
Windows) 2.0.6? Will laplink serve the same purpose?
A Synchronization is process whereby two databases are
updated field by field so that their contents are identical. ACT!
2.0.6 alone does not have the ability to perform synchronization. The
addition of Mobilelink to ACT!, however, permits the user to
automatically keep databases synchronized. Mobilelink keeps a
transaction log of changes made to each record on a field by field
basis. The end result is two databases with identical information
reflecting the most recent changes made. Laplink, on the other hand,
permits you make a copy of your database on a portable (second)
computer. This permits you to take your portable PC into the field
and make changes to the data. When you return to the office, laplink
permits you to transfer this information back to the main PC.
However, laplink works by overwriting the original database. Thus any
changes were made to your database on the office computer while you
were away would be lost.
Phone Dialer Area Code
Q How do you tell ACT! what area code you are calling
A In order for ACT! to correctly dial the phone for you, you
need to tell ACT! what area code you are dialing from. This enables
ACT! to differentiate between phone numbers that have the same area
code as yours and those that do not - and ensures that ACT! dials the
area code appropriately. ACT! 2.0.5 and all later versions have a
pull-down menu with three choices for location. This allows ACT! to
accommodate laptop users who have an office in one area code but also
work from another location (home) with a different area code. To
enter specific area codes for these locations, use the command EDIT,
PREFERENCES, DIALING. Click on the down arrow adjacent to "location"
and enter the appropriate area code for the given site. Note that you
can enter any prefixes (such as a "9" to dial out at the office) that
Faxing Notes and History
Q How can I fax notes and history for a contact to an
A In general, you can fax from ACT! as long as you can get
the PRINT command to work. (Faxing works the same as printing - only
instead of printing to the printer, you "print" to your fax/modem.)
For example, you can fax your ACT! notes. To fax history, create a
report (one way is to use the command REPORT, CONTACT REPORT). Next
delete the information you don’t want. Then, just fax the document.
The commands are FILE, PRINT, SETUP (select fax as the printer), OK.
Adventurous users may want to create a custom report which includes
notes and history.
OUR NEXT MEETING . . .
of the ACT! User Group will be held on Tuesday May 14. We
will demonstrate and discuss a variety of "add-on" products which
enable you to scan business cards directly into your ACT! database,
interface with other word processors and more! Plus, the latest ACT!
for Windows update, 2.0.8, will be available. User Group meetings are
free and open to all C.C.S. members. They are held on the second
Tuesday of each month 8 times a year at the Midway Motor Lodge in Elk
Grove Village. Call E Tech Systems at (847) 352-4770 for
© Copyright 1996 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