Efficient Data Entry
Many users simply use iData Pro to store random information of one
kind or another. This is often done using freeform datafiles, and
the user just adds new records as needed.
However, there are many cases where the use of fields is important
for more "structured" data. A good example is a contact file, where
each record contains specific bits of information about a particular
person. Here's an example:
It is certainly possible to create such a datafile and then just add
records from time to time as needed.
However, sometimes you may have a large quantity of data in some
other format (e.g. printed) that you need to get into a datafile as
efficiently as possible. This page will provide a few ideas about
how to do this.
You can enter data in either List View or Data View.
Because List View displays as a table, with records as rows and
fields as columns, it is particularly useful if you are creating
many records in one sitting and need to be able to see some of the
records that you've entered previously.
On the other hand, Basic View, which shows one record at a time,
with fields as rows, may be a bit simpler, since it's not as easy to
edit the wrong record.
You can get to be pretty efficient in either view by using command
keys, but moving among fields is somewhat different.
Starting With a New Record
1. Use command-= (command-equal) to add the new
2. Depending on your needs, you can set a datafile to add new
records at the beginning of the datafile, at the end of the
datafile, or after the current record.
a, Use command-option-comma
to bring up the Settings
b. Click the Always
c. Make your selection under Always add new records:.
d. Click the Save
3. You can use shift-command-V
to switch between Basic View and List View. (If you end up doing
this a lot, you should make sure that the upper left corner of the
windows for both views are in approximately the same location to
minimize window movement.
1. When a new record is created, the first field of the new record
will become active.
2. After typing something (or nothing) into a field, type tab to move to the next field.
(Typing tab with the last
field active will take you back to the first field.)
to move to the previous field. (Typing tab with the first field active will take you back
to the last field.)
You can also click in any field to make it active.
3. There are several ways to select all of the text in a field so
that it can be overwritten:
a. Type command-A
to select all the text in an active field.
b. Double-click in the current field to select all the
text in that field.
c. Click on a field name to select all the text in that
field (in the current record).
4. Type command-\ (command-backslash) to move the
entry point to the Freeform Text Area. Or, just click in the
Freeform Text Area.
You can also type command-[ (command-left
bracket)to make the Find Box active, or type command-] (command-right bracket) to make
the current field active.
5. Once you're satisfied with the current record, you can type command-= to add another
record. You may want to type command-S
to save your changes at this point.
1. Many experienced users of iData have developed the habit of
typing the return key to
move between records.
In ancient times (starting in around 1988), we
set up iData's earliest predecessor, QuickDEX, so that when the Find
Box was empty, the user could type the return (or enter)
key to go to the next record. This was continued in InfoGenie
(1995-2002) and iData, because so many users who started with one
program continued with its replacement.
The problem is that iData is very different from
QuickDEX and InfoGenie (both pre-OS X programs). The result is
that the return key has
become what is referred to as "overloaded" with a variety of
a. With the Find Box active and empty, it takes
you to the next record. Use command-'
b. With the Find Box active and containing
text, it searches for the text. Use command-G instead.
c. With a field active in Basic View, it takes
you to the next field in the same record. Use tab instead.
d. With a field active in List View, it takes you
to the same field in the next record. Use command-shift-] (command-shift
right bracket) instead.
e. With the Freeform Text Area active, it inserts
a return into the text. This is the most natural use of the return key.
2. Even after a datafile is created, you can change the order of the
fields. You can also set some fields not to show in List View. These
changes can be made in the Modify Fields
window. If the datafile has not been synced, you can also add and
delete fields in that window.
3. Also, if you want to edit a particular subset of records, you may
be able to create a selection of records that contain a particular
bit of text in a particular field; records that were created or
modified on, before, or after a particular date; or using some other
criteria. You can make a quick selection
using the Find Box. (See the section on Find
or Select Results.) Or, make
a more complex selection.
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