New Features in iData Pro

From August 2014 Through July 2020

This is organized into several general categories. It includes only changes that may be useful to users who upgrade to iData Pro 4 from iData 3 (and earlier versions).


1. Added routines to synchronize datafiles via Dropbox, replacing the routines for the now defunct MobileMe/iDisk. (Due to changes in the Dropbox framework, iData Pro now requires Mac OS 10.10 or greater.)

2. Instead of preventing the creation of WiFi sync files over 5 MB in size, iData now just puts up a warning, which can be ignored.

3. Added a note to the Modify Fields window that is shown when the datafile has a sync ID, explaining that fields cannot be inserted or deleted.  

4. iData Pro can now synchronize .id3 datafiles to the new, FREE iData Mobile Plus for the iPhone and iPad. See the User Guide item to find out about this change. (The iData Mobile app will not work on newer versions of iOS, so most users will have no use for .idm-format datafiles.)

5. Added Save As New Sync File... item to the File menu. This menu item is to be used when creating a new sync file. Therefore, Synchronize Datafiles... under the File menu is now to be used only when synchronizing two existing datafiles. Previously, Synchronize Datafiles... performed both functions, depending on whether the current datafile had a Sync ID. This change is added to increase flexibility in cases where the user needs to create more than one sync file for a particular datafile.

6. Sync IDs are no longer checked before performing local synchronization. They were never checked before for Dropbox and WiFi synchronization, and it is really unnecessary, since field structure is checked prior to synchronization, to assure that all fields match. The main function of Sync IDs now is to prevent the deletion or addition of fields in the Modify Fields function.

7. Added a new Download Datafile via WiFi... item to the File menu. This provides a way for datafiles that are created in iData Mobile Plus to be downloaded to the Mac over a WiFi connection. See the User Guide item. Once downloaded, they can be synced as usual.

8. Added a new Download Datafile From Dropbox... item to the File menu. This provides a way for datafiles that have been uploaded to Dropbox from iData Pro or iData Mobile Plus to be downloaded to a Mac from Dropbox. See the User Guide item. Once downloaded, they can be synced as usual.


1 . Added a Toggle button with a magnifying glass icon between the Backward Search and Forward Search buttons (at the left side of the Find Box). This toggles between the normal search function and a simple record filter (selection) function. When the filter function is active, the Backward Search button changes to a Select All button, while the Forward Search button changes to a Quick Select button. (See the User Guide for this change and the following change.)

2. Added an option to use Web search engine-style entry of target strings in the Find Box. Option-clicking the Toggle button changes the button icon between a left-slanting magnifying glass with an ampersand in it (showing that target strings should be in classic iData style) and a right-slanting magnifying glass with double quotes (showing that target strings should be in search engine style, with spaces separating multiple targets and double quotes required to include spaces as part of the target). In both cases, unlike Web search engines, non-alphanumeric characters are not treated as spaces.

3. Added a Beep When Find Fails checkbox to the General preference pane.

4. Made the following changes regarding case-sensitive searching: (See User Guide.)

    a.  Removed the Perform Case-sensitive Searches item from the General preference pane.

    b. Case-sensitive searching is now toggled by control-clicking the magnifying glass image to the left of the Find Box. When case-sensitive searching is turned on, the magnifying glass image will include an A character.

    c. Case-sensitive searching is now set for each individual datafile, rather than being saved as an application-wide preference.

5. When a search finds the target text in the Freeform Text Area, the text color is now temporarily changed to a color. This makes it much easier to see the selected text when the FTA is not active. See in User Guide.

6. Added a Set Found Text Color: item to the General preference pane. The default color is red, but this may not be the best color for everyone.

7. When a search finds the target text in one or more fields, one field is made active and the field text is changed to a color. See in User Guide.

8. Changed ampersand search symbol from '&' to &&. This was done because the straight single quotes will be automatically changed to curly quotes if  “smart quotes” are turned on in System Preference, causing the search to fail. Also, && is used in iData Mobile Plus and is easier to type.

    NOTE: Since the Find Box will not be active in this case, you cannot use a simple return or shift-return to repeat the search. So, it is probably best to simply get into the habit of using command- G for forward searches and command-shift-G for reverse searches in all cases.

9. Added a new Disable Search Option Button menu item to the Find sub-menu under the Edit menu. Clicking this menu item disables the Search Option Button (the magnifying glass icon) at the left of the Find Box, and the item name then changes to Enable Search Option Button. Disabling the Search Option Button will ensure that you don't accidentally change your search mode without noticing it.

10. The Multi-File Find function window now displays the name of each datafile in the Searching in: text field as it is being searched.

11. The Bring Datafile Forward button in the Multi-File Find window will now be disabled if the user selects Close All Open Datafiles in the File menu.


1. Added a Sort Tasks sub-menu to the Edit menu. When sorting a datafile using the Sort Datafile... menu item in the Edit menu, the sort dialogs now include an option to add the sorting options you have selected as a named "sort task" to the Sort Tasks sub-menu. To repeat a particular set of sorting options at any time, you just select that sort task from the sub-menu. These tasks are datafile-specific, and you can have as many as you need for any datafile. A sort task item may be removed from the sub-menu by holding down the option key while selecting the item. See  in  User Guide.

2. Added two new functions to perform case-insensitive sorting of text in the Freeform Text Area (FTA) of a record as lines. They are Sort Current FTA By Line and Reverse Sort Current FTA By Line, both under the Edit menu. These functions affect only the FTA of the current record. (If the text includes blank lines, they will be sorted together at the top of the FTA -- or at the bottom, in the case of the reverse sort. Some non-alphanumeric characters will sort toward the top, others toward the bottom.)

Exporting and Importing

1. Changed the default filename extension for files exported as tab-delimited from .tab.txt to .tab.

2. Added CSV (Comma Separated Values) File... to the Export As and Import sub-menus under the File menu.

3. Added RTFD File... to the Export As sub-menu under the File menu.

4. Added Folder of RTFD Files... to the Export As sub-menu under the File menu.

5. Added Folder of Text Files... to the Export As sub-menu under the File menu.

6. Improved importing of CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. Missing field data and excess field data are now made to fit, and noted within the datafile.

7. Added iData 2 Template... item to the Import sub-menu, under the File menu.

8. Removed iData 2 Datafiles Folder... and iData Datafiles Folder... items from the Import sub-menu, under the File menu. iData 2 and iData 1 datafiles can still be imported individually. (Eleven years seemed long enough to retain those items.)

9. Removed Apple Address Book item from the Import sub-menu under the File menu. It has become impossible to automate the creation of a useful field-based datafile from the Address Book, due to the large number of entry categories and formats.

Record Related

1. Added Delete All Selected Records menu item to the Records sub-menu under the Edit menu. Before deleting all selected records, the pre-deletion datafile is backed up to a Backups folder. The backed up datafile will have the format Datafile Name MM-DD-YY_hh•mm•ss (i.e. month-day-year_hour-minute-second). The backup process can be turned off (and back on) by using the Don't backup datafiles after Delete Selected Records operation checkbox in the Special preference pane.

2. Added a Lock Button to the right of the Find Box. This button toggles the locked state of the current record. When the record is locked, the Lock Button icon is a locked padlock. When it is unlocked, it is an unlocked padlock. No text changes can be made to a locked record. The locked state persists when the datafile is closed.

3. Added the following items to the Records sub-menu of the Edit menu: Lock All Records, Unlock All Records, and Undo Previous Lock/Unlock All.

4. Added Scale Freeform Text Area sub-menu to the View menu. This sub-menu includes a range of scale values from 10% through 6400%. The 100% item can be selected using command-shift-zero). There are also Reduce (command-shift-hyphen) and Enlarge (command-shift-equal) items. A group of Reduce and Enlarge toolbar buttons have also been added. (Select Customize Toolbar… under the View menu to add that group to your toolbar.) Scaling applies only to the Freeform Text Area, since it is likely to include pasted text and images, while the text sizes for the Find Box and Fields can be set in the Format datafile settings. Scaling applies to all records, but does not persist when the datafile is closed.  See User Guide.

5. Added Print Current Freeform Selection… to the Print sub-menu under the File menu. (command-option-P) This command will print whatever text is selected (highlighted) in the Freeform Text Area of the current record. See User Guide.

6. Added a new Record Size item to the Show Record  Information function (under the View menu).

7. Added a toolbar button that brings up the Record Information window. The User Guide for this item has been updated.

8. When the URL, window title, or text/images from the clipboard are added to the Freeform Text Area (FTA) of the current record, the Grab Web Address functions now activate the FTA and place the text insertion point at the end of the inserted text. If the URL and window title are added to fields and nothing is added from the clipboard, the text insertion point is placed in the Find Box.

9. Modified the Grab Web Address functions to work correctly when running under Mac OS 10.14 (Mojave) and greater. See the User Guide for changes to this function.

Datafile and App Related

1. Added an Always restore the previous session when iData opens checkbox to the Special preference pane.

2. Added a Close All Open Datafiles item to the File menu. The hot key for this is command-option-W. This menu item closes only datafiles, not any other windows that may also be open (such as the Multi-File Find panel).

3. Added Set new password for this datafile: item to the General datafile settings. Note that setting a password will NOT provide any real security, since datafiles can be opened in any word processor. This function is provided simply as a management tool for administrators who need to restrict the ability to change datafile content to specific individuals. See User Guide.

4. Added Toggle Toolbar Style to the View menu. (command-control-T) This command will toggle the datafile window toolbar between the “classic” button set and a new “minimalist” set. The minimalist toolbar is more uniform than the classic toolbar. Both styles of menu now treat related items as groups. (NOTE: Due to what we believe are one or more system bugs, the regular size group icons may be truncated, or the small size group icons may be spaced too widely following the selection or deselection of the Use Small Size option in the toolbar's pop-up menu. This is a temporary problem that can be fixed by closing and reopening the datafile after making that change. Also, if the toolbar customization palette is brought up while the Use small size option is selected, the group icons will be truncated in the palette. These bugs have been reported to Apple.) See User Guide.

5. Added Do not save changes to the window if the content has not changed item to the General iData Pro preferences. This option is provided for those who do not want the Modified Date of their datafiles to change every time they change the window appearance without changing any of the datafile content. Please note that this option is not compatible with the Always open this datafile: To the most recently viewed record in General datafile settings, which requires that the most recently viewed record info be saved every time the datafile is closed. Therefore that option will not be available (selectable) in the datafile settings window. See User Guide.

6. When opening a datafile,  iData now checks to see if the number of records in the Catalog listing (which determines which records are viewed, and in what order) matches the number of records actually contained in the datafile. If a discrepancy is found, the user is asked whether to correct it or ignore it. This kind of error can occur if a datafile is corrupted -- for example, while being transmitted by email, or due to a power outage while it is being saved.

7. Added a Change Datafiles Folder... menu item to the Datafiles menu. This item lets you change to a different folder to be used by iData Pro to build the Datafiles menu. See in User Guide.

8. Added a Change Templates Folder... menu item to the Templates menu. This item lets you change to a different folder to be used by iData Pro to build the Templates menu. See in User Guide.

9. Added Show Datafiles Folder in Finder and Show Templates Folder in Finder menu items to the File menu. These may come in handy if you get confused while changing your datafiles and templates folders using the two preceding functions. See in User Guide.

10. Now, when a new field-based datafile is created, the divider between the fields and the Freeform Text Area is moved down enough to show at least one record.

11. Added a Warn when datafile size is greater than 1 GB checkbox to the General tab of the Datafile Settings window. This was added because it has come to my attention that datafiles around 2 GB in size cannot be opened in iData Pro, so this warning will give the user a chance to split the datafile, or otherwise reduce its size, before it is too late. See Datafile Settings in the User Guide.

12. Added a new item, Strip Highlights in All Selected Records to the Format menu. See the User Guide for this item.

13. Added a new Set Freeform Text Area Background Color item to the General tab in the Datafile Settings window. The User Guide for this item has been updated.

14. Added a new item, Current Field in Next Record to the Activate sub-menu, under the Edit menu. The command key for this menu item is option-command-] (option-command-right square bracket). In the case of freeform datafiles, the Freeform Text Area is activated in the next record, since there are no fields. This is useful when filling in the same field in a large number of records, as might be necessary if you add a new field to an existing datafile.

15. Added a Create Links for All Phone Numbers item to the Format menu. This function uses the Telephone Number Templates list in the Dialing tab of the Preferences window, scans the Freeform Text Area and fields of all records for phone numbers that match any of the templates, and then adds a tel:// link to the phone number text. These links will also be tappable when synced to iData Mobile Plus. See the User Guide for this item.

16. Now recognizes phone numbers preceded by tel:// as telephone number links. These links can be dialed using your  iPhone if it is set up. Read the Apple article HERE. The User Guide for telephone dialing has been updated.

17. Added a Select Empty Fields button to the Modify fields dialog to select all fields that are empty in every record. If desired, these fields can then be deleted.

18. Added a Dial Using FaceTime option to the Dialing preference pane.

19. The New Datafile function no longer offers the option of creating new datafiles in .idm format. This was done because the original iData Mobile does not run under newer versions of iOS, most users will have no reason to create new .idm-format datafiles, and the option was causing confusion for some new users. Several User Guide articles have been updated to make this point clear. If you need to create a new datafile in .idm format, you can use Save As iData Mobile Datafile...  under the File menu to save a new datafile in that format.

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