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2,001 Tips

Lotus Approach 96

Make It Fit to Print

When you're using Approach 96 to print a form created in an earlier version, some fields might not print. To solve this problem, print the form using a lower print resolution setting, such as 300dpi; or go to Design mode, select the field nearest to the field that doesn't fit and apply the Reduce Boundaries setting.

Follow the Arrows

You can rearrange objects on a form by dragging and dropping them. To move one or more selected objects a little at a time, use the arrow keys. The selected objects move one screen pixel in the direction determined by the arrow you press.

Stack Objects Inside a Box

When designing views, you can stack objects on top of each other. For example, you can place a box on-screen and drop related objects inside it. To stack objects, select the object, open the Object menu and choose Arrange. Your stacking options are Bring to Front, Send to Back, Bring Forward and Send Backward.

Do That Again

When entering data, you can duplicate a value from the last record you created by clicking on the field object and choosing the "Duplicate data from previous record" SmartIcon. You can also recall entries by opening the Browse menu and choosing Insert/Previous Value.

A Quick Date

You can save time if the date you're entering in a form is the current month and year. If there's no prior date displayed in the field object, you only have to enter the day. Approach will default to the month and year.

A Database by Any Other Name ...

Aliases allow you to make circular joins. You can join Database A to Database B and Database B to Database C. You can't join Database A to C, but you can join Database A to an alias of C. To create an alias in the Join dialog box, click on the database you want and select Alias. Approach displays the databases in the Join dialog box as Database C 1 and Database C 2.

Safety in Numbers

Approach 96 uses a TeamSecurity feature to secure your databases. TeamSecurity lets you customize privileges for a group. You can use its Require Password option to require the group to use a password for each database.

X Marks the Spot

Approach will sometimes let you know if there is a problem with a formula you define in a calculated field. If the OK button is inactive and the checkered flag has a red X through it, something is wrong. Check to see if you have the same number of left and right parentheses.

Don't Mix Your Macros

When creating a macro in the Define Macro dialog box, you can see the names of the previously defined macros by dropping down the Macro Name combo box. Keep the names different enough to reduce confusion.

Work by Design

You should always be in Design mode when you create or use a worksheet. Some Approach functions only work in Design mode, and you don't want to have to keep switching between Browse and Design modes. Also, you must be in Design mode if you're using a password with a worksheet.

Use InfoBox to Customize Worksheets

Use the InfoBox when customizing worksheets. Because the InfoBox stays on-screen until you close it, you can customize a group of cells in InfoBox, select another group in the Approach window and then customize that group in the InfoBox. To display the InfoBox click on the InfoBox icon, press Ctrl+E or choose Worksheet Properties from the Worksheet menu.

Just Add Water

Approach will create instant charts for you if you're working with a crosstab view. To create an instant chart from a crosstab, select that crosstab as the current view, then either click on the Chart Crosstab icon or open the Crosstab menu and choose Chart Crosstab.

Beware of Disappearing Charts

When modifying text in a chart using the Chart SmartIcon bar, don't try to delete a text element by using the Delete or Backspace key or using the Edit/Cut command. You will lose your entire chart if you do. The chart you're working with is always selected in its entirety.

Icons of a Feather Flock Together

When you're setting up your SmartIcon set, you can group icons for related operations. To separate icons into groups, drag the Spacer icon at the top of the icon list to the right of your group.

Let Your Field Do the Dialin

Approach's Phone Dialer lets you dial a number by selecting a field that contains a phone number and choosing Dial from the Browse or Worksheet menu.

Quick Imports

Approach will import a spreadsheet and convert it directly to a database. Open the File menu, select Open and select the spreadsheet file type. Approach will open the file and convert it.

Map 'Em or Zap 'Em

When importing an Approach file into your open file, all unmapped fields will appear as NO FIELD REFERENCE in Design mode when Show Data is turned off. With Show Data mode on, the unmapped fields are blank. Use the InfoBox to assign database fields to the unmapped fields, or delete them from the views.

Boot Your Headers and Footers

A header and footer appear on every page of a report. To keep them off the first page, create a title page and make it different from the rest of the report. To create a title page, switch to Design mode, open the Report menu and choose Add Title Page/Show Title Page. When you're finished working with the title page, uncheck Show Title Page to return to the main page of the report.

Keep Your Label Options Open

When specifying the size and shape of mailing labels, you can change the custom options in Design mode. Click on the Edit Label Options button in the mailing label InfoBox, and make your changes in the Mailing Label Assistant's Options dialog box.

Work Smart

Approach 96's SmartIcons duplicate pull-down menu commands. To display the SmartIcon bar by default, select File/User Setup/Approach Preferences and check the SmartIcons box in the Show section of the Display page.

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