Contents of the README.TXT file
Welcome to the PC Inventory database. It was designed by Bob
Bruchalski and redone in Clipper 5.01 by Steve Campbell of the
United States District Court of Washington D.C. We can not support
the program and if you have any problems they are your problems.
This is the short version of the standard disclaimer you have to
use when you do stuff like this.
Any questions, suggestions etc. please post a message on the AO
board or give us a call. I've enclosed documentation on using the
The Report Writer allows you to create custom reports, output the
reports to printer or disk, and save the report specifications for
The Report Writer menu displays 12 command options down the left
side, a column which gives the column number, and five columns
which show the report specifications. The command options are:
Load REPORT: Select this option for a list of previously
defined and saved reports. Highlight the report you want,
press Enter, and the all the specifications for the selected
report will be loaded into the Report Writer.
Create REPORT: Select this option to create a new report. When
you select this option, you will be asked to name the report.
After naming the report, you must select Edit REPORT to define
the new report.
Edit REPORT: Select this option if you want to define a new
report you have just Created, or change a report you have just
When defining a new report you have just Created, the lite-bar
will be over column 1 of Column Contents. Press Enter to
display a list of database fields. Place the lite-bar over
the field you want to use in column 1 and press Enter. The
name of the field you have selected will appear in the Column
Whether you are specifying the second column for a new report,
or editing an existing report you have Loaded, the editing
procedure is the same.
Use the arrow keys to move the lite-bar to the Column
Contents, Column Title, Width, Pict, and Total columns. Use
the ENTER key to change the contents of a column. Use the
INSERT key to add a new column. Use the DELETE key to delete
a column. Use the ESCAPE key when finished editing.
To Add: To add a new column to the report, place the lite-bar
over the Column Contents column where you want to insert the
new column, and press Enter. Select the desired field from
the list of fields which will be displayed. You will then be
asked to select one of two choices: (1) Use value contained in
database field: , or (2) Build extended expression
from field: . Normally, you will want to select
the first choice.
In some cases, however, you may want the column contents to
contain some modification of the field value selected. If so,
select the second choice, and the Report Writer's Expression
Builder will appear. See the Expression Builder section for
more information on using this feature.
To Change: To change the contents of any of the five report
specification columns, use the arrow keys to place the lite-
bar over the item you want to change, and press Enter.
If you are changing an item in the Column Contents column, you
will be given two choices: (1) Pick New Value for this column,
and (2) Extend with Expression Builder. If you select the
first choice, you will be presented with the same choices as
discussed above when adding a new column. If you select the
second choice, you will be presented with the Expression
If you are changing an item in the Column Title column, you
will first be asked to specify the column width, and will then
be asked for the new title. The Column Title column initially
contains the name of the field you have selected.
The Width column shows how wide the column is. If you want to
change the width of a column, select this item and enter a new
column width. The default is the width of the field.
Important note: You will probably want to increase the
default column size for numeric fields if you are
totaling the column. If you don't, the column may not be
wide enough to display the totaled values.
The Pict column lets you specify a picture, or mask, for
numeric fields. If you edit a numeric field's picture, you
will see the following:
9 A number
. Position of the decimal point.
, Inserts a comma
* Inserts asterisks for leading blanks
$ Inserts $ signs for leading blanks
@( Encloses negatives in parentheses.
@B Left justifies numbers
@C Displays CR after a positive number
@X Displays DB after a negative number
@Z Displays spaces instead of zeros if =0
The 9, period, comma, etc. are referred to as template
Examples may help. If you wish the numeric field to display
its numbers with commas inserted at the proper places, you
would enter 999,999,999.99 in the picture clause. 77654.33
would be displayed as 77,654.33. 100022345 would be displayed
Template symbols may be combined in the picture clause. For
example, enter @( 999,999.99 in the picture clause to display
negative comma-formatted numbers in parenthesis. Note the
space between the @( template symbol and the 999,999.99
Finally, you may edit the Total column if you want the Report
Writer to total your numeric field columns.
Delete Report: Select this option to delete previously saved
Headers/Footers: Select this option to enter page titles
and/or page footers.
Filtering: Select this option to set a filter, i.e., specify
the criteria which records have to meet in order to be
included in the report. See the Query Builder section for a
full discussion of how to specify a filter condition using the
Grouping Order: This option is only available if the database
has an active index. You can find out if you have an active
index by choosing Grouping Order from the command list, and
then selecting View current sort selection. If there is no
active index, the report writer will tell you.
You may use this option to have the report writer group your
data into major and secondary groups. A group change is a
point where a change takes place in one of the keys in an
indexed database. Report subtotals will be printed at a group
If your database has one or more active indexes, the report
writer will present a menu of index choices. Pick the index
you want to use for the report.
Next, the report writer will ask you if you want to select a
major group from the index key. If you answer Yes, the report
writer will present a menu of major group choices based on the
index you have chosen to use. For example, if your index is
based on the expression LNAME + FNAME, the menu will show two
If you select the full expression (LNAME+FNAME), the report
writer will not ask you if you want to use a secondary group.
If you select LNAME, the report writer will ask you if you
want to select a secondary group from the index key. If you
answer Yes, the report writer will present a menu of choices
based on the unselected portion of the index expression. In
the example we are using, the menu would consist of the single
If this seems confusing, don't worry. Experiment with it a
little by producing sample reports, and you will quickly see
how it works.
Other Options: Select this option to customize the look of
your report. There are five categories within this option:
Page Dimensions: Use the choices in this category to set
the desired page length, page width, top margin, and left
Group Headers and Totals: Use the choices in this
category to give the major or minor groups, if any, a
title. The default titles are Major Group: and Minor
Group:. You can also select any underlining characters
you may want to use for the gropu headers and totals.
Eject (new page) Options: Use the choices in this
category to specify how you want the report writer to
Separator Characters: Use the choices in this category to
specify separator lines and characters for titles,
individual detail lines, columns, etc.
Miscellaneous Options: Use the choices in this category
to specify whether you want to include a standard two
line header on each page consisting of the page #, date,
and time. You can also specify whether you want a full
or summary report. You would use a summary report
primarily for numeric reports where the major group
totals were all you were interested in.
The printer setup and exit codes allow you to send
printer control codes to the printer at the beginning and
end or the report. For example, if you are working with
an Epson dot matrix printer, and want to print a report
in condensed print, you would enter 15 as the setup code
and 18 as the exit code. Printer control codes vary
widely from printer to printer.
Unless you are very familiar with the printer control
codes used by your printer, you will normally leave the
printer setup and exit codes blank. Leaving them blank
means that the printer will print in whatever font the
printer is currently set for.
Print Report: Select this option to send the report to the
printer or to a disk file. We suggest using the disk file
option until you are sure you have the report just the way you
want it, since the disk file option displays the report on the
screen while also writing to the disk. You can see right away
whether the report looks the way you want it to.
You can suspend or quit report production by pressing the Esc
key at any time.
If you tell the report writer to prepare a disk file, you will
be prompted for a file name.
Report Status: Select this option to see a summary of the
total configuration being used by the report writer.