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Find in a AppleWorks Database by Cindy O'Hora

One of my PTO responsibilities was to sort out who wanted to help with each project and to give lists of these volunteers to the appropriate chairperson. My predecessor shared with me that it took her two solid weeks with papers all over her family room to get this done. Her story made me so glad I knew how to work with a database. Database makes this is the kind of project a breeze.

Find lets you look at the data in your records. You can select out all the ones with a common word, number, or phrase. It creates subsets of all the records that contain that requested information.

I'll demonstrate using my volunteer job.

I made a sign up sheet. It offered the twenty different volunteer activities.

I made a database with separate fields for the parent's name, phone number, the student's name, the student's class, and finally a separate field for each volunteer activity.

I entered all the data from the sign up sheets. Each parent had a separate sheet. Some parents volunteered to help with up to ten of our projects! Rather than type out each activity's name, I chose to put an x in the field if the person elected to do it. I left it blank if they did not.

Update: I created this database back in the ClarisWorks 2 days. Beginning with ClarisWorks 4 a check box Field Type was added. This is a great example of when you could use them.

Here is the powerful part:

Go Layout...Find.

You are presented with a blank record. Note: when you use Find, the Database Status Panel (the gray strip on left) is slightly modified. As you become more sophisticated in database, I urge you to explore the options it presents in ClarisWorks/AppleWorks Help. We are going to stick to basics for now.

Enter the data you want to find in the appropriate field. For the volunteers, I tabbed to the Fall Book Fair field and entered an x.

Hit the return key. Or click the Find button in the Database Status Panel. A moment later I was presented with a list of all the folks who said they'd help with the book fair.

In the Database Status Panel, I have a report. It shows that of the 50 people who had offered to volunteer for the school, ten wanted to help with the book fair.


To print the result.

I created a new layout which reported just the basic personal info like name, phone, student name. I called it "Chair Report". (This is optional! I could just print the report, but there would be all those extra event fields. I hate to waste ink and paper! More about New Layouts in another tip.)

I switched to that layout by going Layout...Chair report and printed the subset list.

I titled each subset before I printed it.

1. Go View...Page View.

2. Use Format ... Insert Header.

3. Enter the title. Fall Book Fair

4. I returned to my original layout by going Layout...Layout 1.

5. I still had only a sub list of those who offered to help in the Fall Book Fair.

To see all the records in the database again: Go Organize .. Show All Records.

Sometimes, no lots of times, people forget to Organize .. Show All Records. When they Find again the database looks only within the records located in the last Find. Typically, you get no records as a result. Just a blank page. Do not panic. If you entered the records and saved it is still there.

Go Organize...Show All Records. Now try your next Find again.

You might elect to save the subsets. Go File... Save As and name each one appropriately. I don't do this. I find it too easy to "refind" if I need the information. In fact, several chairpersons lost their lists and came to me months later. They asked if I had saved a photocopy. I told them no. (You should have seen them pale.) But I gave them a new one in about two minutes. I could not have run the PTO without CW/AW database.

One improvement I could have made would have been to import the school phone directory database, rather than enter all the personal data from scratch. Yes, I would have gotten a lot of folks who did not volunteer. I could easily delete them from the volunteer database. If I ever do this again, that is just what I'll do. ;-)

When would I ever really use this?

Digital address book

Find makes it very easy to use a digital address book. If I need Aunt Tillie's address, I go Layout... Find, type her name in the name field and up she pops. This is much faster than scrolling down through the list. You could also find all the family that lives in North Carolina or in a particular zip code by entering that data in the appropriate field in Find.

Event organization

The guidance counselor at school was having a career day for the sixth graders. She offered multiple speakers for the sixth graders to hear. They had to choose four from the list. She came to me with her problem and 120 sheets of wishes. In a few minutes, she was entering in a database and had her student/speaker lists in no time. Thanks to database she could easily give each teacher with a list of kids to expect for each presentation along with a list to each student of where they were to go.

Do I have one of those?

Organize your collection of books (card catalog), Hummels, cds, plants, baseball cards, kid's sports program, charity event donors or quotes using database. Now you can harness Find to locate individuals in a flash.

Book survey

For the Read Across America event at a local school, I offered to conduct a favorite book survey. I made a database with the fields: title, author, teacher, boy or girl & grade. About 300 kids participated. I entered the individual votes in records. I harnessed Find to obtain the results. Using database meant I could Find: the girls' favorite book, the 3rd grade's favorite book, the favorite book in an individual teacher's class and the whole school's favorite author - EASILY!


Want to share the info in your database with another computer user?

The very last thing I would do is give a printed copy of a database to someone. I MIGHT give them a digital copy via email or on a floppy/cd. Save As it to DIF. They'll be glad you did.

One caveat to remember about sharing databases with others is - are you sure you want to give all that info away?
Your club members might not want you to give out their names and addresses, for example. (Never release a database with Social Security Numbers or other private personal data without each individual's consent.)

"The mark of a well educated person is not necessarily in knowing all the answers,
but in knowing where to find them." --Douglas Everett

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©1998 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. Posted 1/1998

All the material in this site is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Cynthia O'Hora. These restrictions include the use of the materials in an educational setting. This site is an entirely volunteer effort. I am not associated with Apple Computers or any of its subsidiaries.