28 June 2011

PPPro: What is Reply Priority?

Penpal Pro asks for some information called "Reply Priority" - what is it? How do you use it?

Reply Priority lets you tell the system how urgent it is that you reply to a given letter. If you get a letter that you think needs to be answered more quickly than others, you may give it a higher priority than others.

On the Penpal Details screen, you set the default Reply Priority for this penpal. In the example pictured, every letter you receive from this pal will automatically be given the High priority value.

Of course, a penpal may send you something that does not fit this default value. You may need to set a higher or lower priority value for different letters from the same pal.

You do that on the Letters detail screen. When you mark a letter as "I received it" you can adjust the letter's priority. The pal's default value will be automatically set, but you can choose a higher or lower priority value before you save the letter record.

When you run the "Letters I Owe" report (from the Reports tab of the Main Screen), all the letters you owe are then listed, grouped by priority in descending order. So it is easy to see which ones are the highest priority to answer.

PPPro: Adding a Country

PenPal Pro comes pre-loaded with more than 130 countries already in the system. But maybe you have a penpal in one that's missing, or maybe world events have created new countries since this list was created.

The list of Countries shows up on the Penpal Details form, where you can identify a pal's Nationality. It also shows up on the Addresses form.

How do you add a new country to the list?

From the Main Screen, click on the Lists tab. You will see a bunch of lists that you can change.
Next, click on the Countries button. This opens the Countries screen, with country names paired with a unique 3-letter country code.

To change the name of an existing country, first find it in the list, either by scrolling down to it or by searching (press Control-F for the search box). Then simply type the new name in the Country Name box, and click the Save button at the top of the screen. (changing the 3-letter code is not recommended).

To add a new country, click the Add Country button at the top of the screen. You will get a blank entry, with space for a country name and 3-letter code.

Type the name of the new country, up to 50 characters. Press the Tab key or click in the 3-letter code field and type a code for the new country (note: this must be unique, if the 3-letter code exists already for another country, you will get an error message). Then click the Save button at the top of the screen.

Ta-da! Now the new country will appear with all the rest in your Penpal and Addresses forms.

PPPro: Search for Pal

Maybe you started out with just a few correspondents. But over time, you added 10, 20, 50, even 500 or more penpals to the system.

Using the Next Record and Previous Record buttons at the bottom of the Penpal Details form can take a long time to scroll through them all.

How do you quickly move to the information for a particular penpal?

The secret is to do a search. Put your cursor in the Name field by clicking in it or pressing the Tab key until the field is highlighted. Then hold the Control-key (it says "Ctrl" and is usually in the lower left corner of a standard keyboard) and press the "F"-key (F for "Find").

You should now see the Find-and-Replace dialog box, that looks something like this:

Type some or all of the name you want to search for. To find a pal named "Jane Ellen Smith" you could type the whole name. Or just "Jane", which would find all pals named "Jane".

Click on the arrow beside Match to tell the search routine whether you want to match the whole field ("Jane Ellen Smith"), the start of the field ("Jane"), or text that appears in any part of the field ("Ellen")

Then click the Find Next button. If the first pal it finds is not the one you are searching for, click Find Next again, until you find the right one.