What is FedEZ?
FedEZ is a Windows-based application which allows you to create, store, and print Federal Express airbills on a dot-matrix printer. You can create templates for applications which require only a few changes, or start from scratch and build a new form. You can optionally save the form for future use.
What do I need to run FedEZ?
You will need an IBM-PC/AT compatible computer running Windows 3.0 (Standard or 386-Enhanced modes only), a dot-matrix printer that is supported by Windows (must be able to set a 5.5" page length), and a supply of Federal Express airbills (revision 1/91 or 4/91 only). These revisions changed the placement of some of the Services fields, and earlier versions of the Airbill will not line up correctly when printed. However, if you still have some earlier versions of the Airbill, you can still use FedEZ to fill in the other supported sections of the document. You'll have to fill in the Services box by hand. If you can dedicate a dot-matrix printer solely to printing FedEx forms, you will be better off. That way, you can leave the Airbills correctly installed and aligned without having to remove and reinstall them each time you want to print an Airbill . If you have ever tried to align forms (of any kind) in a dot-matrix printer, you will know what I am talking about...
How do I install FedEZ?
You may install FedEZ into any directory you wish. In addition, you must install the file VBRUN100.DLL in your Windows subdirectory for this program to run. If you did not receive the file VBRUN100.DLL, it may be obtained from Compuserve in the MSLANG forum. If you do not have access to Compuserve, I will mail it to you provided that you send me a self-addressed, stamped diskette mailer and a blank diskette.
You can either use the File, Run menu from Program Manager to execute the program, or for convenience, you may add it to a Program Manager group. To do this, select the Program Manager group that you wish to add FedEZ to, click File, New, Program Item. Use the Browse button to select the subdirectory into which you installed the FedEZ files, and click OK when you have selected the FedEZ.EXE file. Now all you have to do is double-click the FedEZ icon, and you're in.
Before using the program for the first time, please configure it by choosing File, Page Setup from the main menu. You will be prompted for the Left Margin Offset, the Top Margin Offset, Number of Copies, and the font name to be used when printing. An explanation is in order:
Left Margin Offset: If the default margin settings print too far to the right or left on the Airbill, you can add a correction factor here. For example, if the printout is 1/4" too far to the left on the form, you can type .25 in this box to shift the printout 1/4" to the right. You can enter a negative number to shift it to the left. You may need to experiment a few times to get this just right. Offset values may be between -1 and +2 inches. If it still won't line up, try adjusting the paper-feed sprockets to move the forms to the proper position.
Top Margin Offset:Similar to the Left Margin Offset, but adjusts the alignment vertically. The higher the number, the further down the printer will advance before printing. Allowable values in this field are 0 to +1 inches.
Copies:Determines how many copies of the form will be printed.
Font:This drop-down list box shows all the available fonts for the selected printer. For best results, select a fixed-width font (they typically have the text "CPI" as part of the font name). Courier is the default font, but the printout will probably look better if you select one of the pre-listed fonts from this box. A 12 CPI font seems to work quite well, but again, feel free to experiment (perhaps just on plain white paper at first) to see how these settings will affect the final form.
These settings are applied to all forms, and may be changed at any time.
Configuring the printer:
Unfortunately, I am unable to write anything that will let me modify the printer directly from within the program, so you must use the Control Panel to configure the printer before you try to print.
You can run Control Panel from outside of FedEZ, or you can run it by using the File, Control Panel selection from the main menu.
Make sure your dot matrix printer is the default printer, and make sure your paper height is set to 5.5". If your print driver doesn't support a 5.5" paper height, this program will not work for you. Also, set the paper width to more than 8.5" if available, since the Airbill is quite wide. Printing may be erratic if you use an 8.5" paper width. I have had good luck with using a 10" paper width.
Even the best Windows applications seem finicky in being able to let you cancel a print job, so it came as no surprise to me that I couldn't seem to abort a print job easily. This program will send all the forms to the printer before returning control to you. In the event that you are going to print multiple copies of a form at once, you may also want to enable the Print Manger (use Control Panel to do this). If you use Print Manger, In the event things go wrong, you can open the Print Manager (press CTRL-ESC, select Print Manger from the Task List) and terminate the print job. If you do this, you can get back to FedEZ by pressing CTRL-ESC again to bring up the Task List, and selecting FedEZ from the list.
Using the FedEZ program:
Once you're in the FedEZ program, the screen defaults to a new form with the prompts filled in for each blank. As you move from field to field with the TAB key, the text in the next field will become highlighted. To replace the text that's already in that field, just start typing, and the existing text will be deleted. If you wish to edit the text that's already in that field, use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the correction point, and type from there. The Insert and Delete keys will work here as well. If there are fields with prompts in them, those prompts will print unless you blank them out. Once you're familiar with the prompts and know what information goes into each one, you can use the File, New menu, and tell it NO when it asks if it should provide prompts in the fields.
To select a payment method, or a service option, simply click the option with the mouse, and the indicator will light up in that option. If you do not have a mouse, you can also press and hold the ALT key, then press the underlined letter of the option you want. For example, to select "Bill 3rd Party", you can press and hold the ALT key, and then press "3". If you want to leave either the payment method section or service options section blank, select the Leave Blank option in the appropriate section.
If you select the Date field, either by TABbing to it, or by clicking it with the mouse, FedEZ checks to see if the field is blank. If it is, it automatically inserts the current system date into the field. If you want to leave the field blank, just delete the information from it. If you put the word AUTO into the date field, FedEZ will automatically insert the current system date into the printout at print time. That way, you can make a template that will always print the correct date. If you fill in an actual date, save the file, and load that template at a later date, it will retain the original date. Using the AUTO keyword in the Date field will ensure that the date will always be current when the form is printed.
When you have filled in all the information you need, you can save the form by using the File, Save or File, Save As options. If you do not specify an extension to the filename, FDX will be used by default. You can print the form by either using the PRINT button on the form screen, or by using the File, Print option from the main menu.
About this program:
This program started out as an experiment in programming with Microsoft's Visual Basic, and turned into a pet project of mine. I would like to give credit to Costas Kitsos for providing the File Open routines. This program has been a learning experience, to say the least.
I am releasing this program under the "Shareware" concept. What this means is that if you find this program to be useful, I would appreciate a small donation ($5.00), or even a letter of "thanks." You may distribute this program freely as long as you include this document and distribute the program unmodified. However, I do retain the Copyright on this and any future version of the software. There are no explicit or implied warranties; use of this software is at the user's own risk. If you would like to report any bugs, or if there are some new features that you would like to see, you may contact me through my Compuserve ID (75136.33), or you may reach me by U.S. Mail by writing to:
8293 W. Floyd Avenue, #5-307
Lakewood, CO 80227
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