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From Word Processing to Database, computer miracle by Cindy O'Hora
"I believe in Miracles. I use AppleWorks, AppleWorks." sung to "I believe in Miracles".

If you are a regular reader of my tips, you know that I close each one with a quote. Most of them are, in my humble opinion, perfectly related to the topic of the tip. Accomplishing this is harder than you might think.

I started collecting tips several years ago when I came across a text document on the web which had about 70 of them. I downloaded it and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I surfed here and there on the web, I came across more quotes and copy ... pasted them into this original quotes word processing document. I also added interesting quotes from cards, TV shows, and books I was reading. The end result of all this pasting was a 40 page document with about 22 quotes on each page. Egads!

Each time I wanted a quote I opened this document and used Find/Change to search for a keyword or just scrolled down the document looking for a "honey". After I used the quote in the site, I changed the style of the text in some way to remind me that I had already used it.

Lately, every time I opened the document I muttered to myself that it should have been a database. The idea of changing it over through the "miracle of copy... paste" didn't appeal to me. I knew that it would be a lengthy, tedious process.

I'm a goal driven person, so I finally quit procrastinating. I made the database for the quotes. In this case, I made a field for the quote, the author, the date I added it, and finally a check box to click when I had used it. I started to copy ... paste between the two documents.

About the 10th record I stopped. "This is a Mac computer and I'm pretty good at AppleWorks!" I cried. "There has to be an easier way." So I resolved to sleep on it. (For reasons I cannot explain, I solve many computer challenges in my sleep.)

Sure enough, I awoke the next day with the answer. It requires a multistep preparation and translation plan. But it sure beats the daylights out of days (if not weeks) of my earlier method. I need to paste the wp document in spreadsheet. Save it to DIF. Then insert the interim DIF document into the database.


Computer miracle

Step 1: Preparation - Fix the returns

If variety is the spice of life, then my document was pretty spicy. Sometimes I hit the return key once sometimes twice when adding new quotes. In addition, some quotes were multiline, created by using returns.

The problem is that each return would put that line of text into a new cell when I pasted them into a spreadsheet.

To remove the returns I used the Edit ... Find/Change feature.

Go command command... semicolon. This displays the "invisibles" in your document.

Highlight and copy the crooked arrow symbol.

Go Edit ... Find/Change ... Find/Change. or command key... f

Paste the crooked arrow in the Find box. It will appear as a slash p. Leave the change box EMPTY.

I hit the Find/Change button to identify and remove returns from the document. But I didn't want all the returns removed. I wanted a return at the end of each quote. So I used Find Next to skip the returns between quotes.

In a matter of 1/2 hour, I had optimized my returns.


Step 2: Get thee to a Spreadsheet.

You cannot go straight from a wp document to a database and create individual records. But you can do it from a spreadsheet. So I took the quotes to a spreadsheet.

In the Word Processing document:

Go Edit ... Select All. command key... a

Go Edit ... Copy. command key
... c

Go Command command key
... n. (New document) Choose Spreadsheet.

Go Edit ... Paste. command key... v

Each line of text (separated by a return) is pasted into a new cell going down the rows of the spreadsheet. The text flows across the columns. The quotes are actually pasted only in column A's cells.

Be aware that there are limits to how much text can be entered in a cell. Text that exceeds the limit is truncated. (cut off) This is easily repaired later through..... you guessed it "copy ... paste".


Step 3. Intermediate translation.

Go File ... Save As.

Using the Save As pop-up menu (above the title bar), select DIF (database intermediate format). Call the document "interim".

Save it to the Desktop.


Step 4. Come on in.

Open the database document.

Go File ... Insert. Select the DIF document which was saved on the Desktop.

In the dialog box, I matched the data from the spreadsheet with the field in the database in which I want the data entered.

Click OK. A copy dialog box opened with a progress bar. The computer is now doing all that copy ... pasting for me.


I checked the number of records. I saw that I had inserted 650 quotes successfully!!! That, my friends, would have been entirely TOO MUCH copy ... pasting, even for me.


Can I use this with databases made in other programs?

Absolutely! In fact that is just how I helped someone who had no direct route import an old software database into AW.


"I believe in miracles. I perform them daily with my Mac and AppleWorks!" Cindy O'Hora






























































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©2000 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. Posted 3/2000 by
Cindy O'Hora

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.