Select Menu

It is often useful to view only a selection of records that have certain aspects in common. For example, if you record all your online purchases in an iData Pro datafile, you might want to look at only the records from one particular vendor. Or, you may wish to look at all the records that have been shipped, but not received. To do this, select the Records... item from the Select menu (or type command-E).

Clicking the selected records numbers in the datafile window will also bring up the Select Records dialog:

Selecting records is most powerful when the datafile has fields, but can also be used with datafiles that have no fields. Here are some example selections in a datafile that has no fields.

The illustration above shows how you would select all records that contained "California".

If this were a simple freeform address file, the second selection example, above, would select all addresses in California outside of Los Angeles.

Every record in iData Pro has a hidden creation date and modification date. These dates can be used in the selection process by selecting Created Date or Modified Date in the Select Records Based On: popup menu, the selecting Dates in the Treat Content As: popup menu. The example above would select all records that were created in 2004 or later, but not modified today.

(Note that iData does provide a way to view the created and modified dates for each record.)

Text in fields can also be treated as dates, rather than as literal text. The example above will select not only records in which the Completed On field contains "07/01/06", but also records in which it contains text such as "1 Jul 06" and "July 1, 2006". This also permits "Earlier Than" and "Later Than" comparisons, as shown above for creation and modification dates.

In a similar way, text in fields can be treated as numbers, rather than as literal text. This permits "Greater Than" and "Less Than" comparisons based on numerical value, as in the example above.

If the datafile has fields, you can limit the selection criteria to a specific field. In this example from my online purchases datafile, the selection would show records for purchases where the item has shipped, but not yet been received. I find this useful for tracking orders.

NOTE: It is also possible to create a selection of records by entering text in the Find Box.

A More Complicated Example

iData Pro lets you set up two criteria for a selection in the Select Records window. However, there are other commands in the Select menu that will give you the ability to make much more elaborate selections. Let's say you have a list of customers for your automotive racing parts company. The list includes the customer's address, email address, type of car they own, and whether they want to receive notification about new products. You have a new racing exhaust system for Honda and Acura cars, but is not street legal in California, Massachusetts, and Iowa.

So, you want to do a mailing to the people who have purchased one of the two products, want to be notified, and are not in California. That is more than you can do in the Select Records window. Here is how you would make such a selection.

1. Select records that contain CA or MA in the State field. Now, only the records for customers from California and Massachusetts will be selected.

2. To add all Iowa customers to this selection we will use Select More from Omitted... from the Select menu. In this window, select records where State contains IA. Now all California, Massachusetts, and Iowa records will be selected.

3. From the Select menu, choose Switch to Omitted to change the selection to all customers not from California, Massachusetts, or Iowa. So, now you have all the customers in states where the new racing exhaust is street legal.

4. Now we want to limit the selection to owners of Acura and Honda cars. With Records... in the Select menu make a selection where the Car field contains Acura or Honda. This will result in a selection of all Acura and Honda owners in states where your product is street legal.

5. There is only one step left. That is to select only the customers who wish to be notified. Simply select records where the Notify field contains "y".

Now, only customers who want to learn about new products, have an Acura or Honda, and don't live in CA, MA, or IA are selected. You can go through the records and send email messages to all of them, or you can save the file with the Save Selected As... item in the File menu.

A selection will not be saved when you save a datafile and close it. When it opens again, all records will be selected.

If you get into trouble when making a selection and it doesn't come out the way you wanted, you can use All Records in the Select menu (or type command-option-A) to select all records and start over. Or, you can use the Revert to Previous Selection to just go back one step.

Occasionally, you may find the Deselect Current Record command useful to remove one or two records from a selection. If you did a select for records where State begins with "ca" (to select California records), and one customer is from Caledonia, you can just deselect the one record. Use the command-option-control-D key combination to perform this command from the keyboard.

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