Recollector User’s Guide

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Using Recollector:

Are there any restrictions on the fields that I can add to my collection database?

Can I change the order of fields in either the Item Details display or in the List display?

Can I get text to be displayed in italics in the Item Details view?

Can I get text to be underlined in the Item Details view?

Can I get a large amount of text in a long text field to be broken into separate paragraphs for display in the Item Details view?

How do I create a link for text in the Item Details view that will jump from one collection record to another one when I click on it?

Can I get a larger text-entry window in the data-entry/editing dialog, for entering large amounts of text into a field?

I made some errors editing or adding data. How can I undo my changes?

Can I have more than one collection database?

 

Troubleshooting (more complicated, sometimes technical, stuff):

Can I make changes to my collection outside of Recollector, by editing the collection file in a text editor?

Can I rename an existing collection?

Can I change the currency or dimension units that I initially specified for my collection?

How can I move my collection to a different location (or different computer), or rename the collection file?

How can I delete a collection? (I was just testing out Recollector and I made a “pretend” collection, but now it shows up in the list of my collections, but I just want it to go away.)

How can I get Recollector to recognize a collection that I deleted but have now restored from a backup?

Will my collection be lost when I upgrade to the next edition of Recollector?

I really messed up doing data-entry and just exited the program. Can I undo the mess I made?

I added some jump-to links. They show up OK (as blue-underlined links), but when I click on them nothing happens.

 

Are there any restrictions on the fields that I can add to my collection database?

 

Not really.  When you initially create a database, you choose from one of the available templates, which provides you with a starting set of fields.  But this is really just a convenience, so at least some of the fields that you will have in your database are there right from the start, without your having to individually specify them.  But you are free to add any additional fields that you want (or modify or delete any of the fields provided by the template).  There is no limit to the number of fields that a collection can have (though, of course, if your collection has hundreds of fields, you will likely find it somewhat cumbersome to edit and view your collection entries).  The only restrictions regarding fields are these:

 

·         Your collection must have an ID # field (though you are free to change its name, and you are free to never actually put any data into this field, if you don’t want to use it).

·         Fields must be one of the eight provided data types; you cannot create new data types.

·         Each field must have a name, and field names must be distinct.

 

Can I change the order of fields in either the Item Details display or in the List display?

 

Yes, you can change the field order in both places. To change the field order in the Item Details display, pick Item Details: Field Order from the Options menu on the collection viewer window. Use the dialog box that comes up to select and move fields to new positions.  The choices you make here will affect not only the field order displayed in the Item Details display, but also the field order displayed when printing single records, and the field order shown in the data-entry/editing window.

 

The order of fields in the List view of the collection window is completely separate. It is controlled by the dialog that you access by choosing List: Field Selection from the Options  menu.  You can also change the order of fields in the List view by clicking and dragging on the column headers in the List display: Click a column header and then, still holding the mouse button down, drag to the right or left until you get to the place to which you want the column moved.

 

Both kinds of field order (Item Details and List) are saved as part of the collection, so these choices will be remembered from one session to the next.

 

Can I get text to be displayed in italics in the Item Details view?

 

For text fields, select the text that you wish to display in italics.  Then right-click on the text box bring up the options menu, and choose Italic.  This will convert the selected text to italics. 

 

You can’t specify italic text for non-text fields (i.e. dates, numbers, currencies, dimensions or image/audio/video fields).

 

Can I get text to be underlined in the Item Details view?

 

For text fields, select the text that you wish to display as underlined.  Then right-click on the text box bring up the options menu, and choose Underlined.  This will convert the selected text to be underlined.

 

You can’t specify underlined text for non-text fields (i.e. dates, numbers, currencies, dimensions or image/audio/video fields).

 

Can I get a large amount of text in a long text field to be broken into separate paragraphs for display in the Item Details view?

 

To get text in a field to be formatted as multiple paragraphs, include an extra blank line between sections of text that you want to be separate paragraphs.  Separate paragraphs will be formatted in the Item Details display (or when printed) as hanging paragraphs (with a hanging indent).

 

How do I create a link for text in the Item Details view that will jump from one collection record to another one when I click on it?

 

To create a link that will function as a jump from one map record to another, you must use the “ID #” field of the record to which you want to link.  Include this ID # in the text for a field.  If the field is a text field, select the text representing the ID #, and then right-click on the text box to bring up the options menu and choose Jump-to link.  The ID # will be displayed as a link (underlined and colored blue), and, in the Item Details view, when clicked on, the Item Details display will jump to the corresponding record. When selecting the text to use as a jump-to link, do not include any text other than the actual ID # value.

 

You can’t specify jump-to links in non-text fields (i.e. dates, numbers, currencies, dimensions or image/audio/video fields).

 

You can also use the R-type (‘R’ for “record jump”) special hyperlink to create a jump-to link whose visible text is something other than the ID # value of the destination record.  Instructions on how to create this type of special hyperlink are included in the Editing Data section of the User’s Guide.

 

Can I get a larger text-entry window in the data-entry/editing dialog, for entering large amounts of text into a field?

 

Yes, right-button click in the text box for the field you wish to edit.  This will pop up the options menu.  Choose Edit field in larger pop-up window. As a short-cut, you can also hold down the <CTRL> key and double-click on the text box.  This will also bring up the larger text-entry window, however this method only works if the text box you double-click on is not completely empty.

 

Note also that when you type into a multi-line text-entry box (either within the data-entry dialog or in the larger window you can bring up), there is no auto-wrapping of text. As you reach the right-hand edge of the window, typed-in text continues on the same line and the window simply scrolls to the right.  At any point, if you want to re-wrap the text to fit, just right-button click on the text box to bring up the options menu, and choose Re-wrap text to fit.

 

Another change you can make to help with adding or editing long text fields is to increase the size of the editor’s multi-line text entry boxes.  This size is set on the Data Entry/Editing tab of the Preferences dialog. (Choose Preferences from the Options menu, and click on the Data Entry/Editing tab.)

 

I made some errors editing or adding data. How can I undo my changes?

 

Recollector does not have an “Undo” menu choice. (Text entry fields in the data editing window do have Undo choices on their right-click options menu; so you can undo just-performed typing or editing operations.) However, you can use Revert, on the File menu, to undo all the changes you made since the last time in the session that your collection was saved to disk.  (If your collection has not yet been saved to disk in the current session, Revert will restore the collection to the state it was in when you began the current session.)

 

If you have saved your collection to disk in the current session, Revert will give you the choice of throwing away the changes made since the last save or all the changes in the current session.

 

In general, it is a good idea to do fairly frequent saves (Save, on the File menu) when you are making lots of changes to your collection (editing or adding new records).  That way, if you realize that you just made a mistake, doing a Revert will only throw away the changes made since the last save, and you will probably only have to re-do a small amount of work, if any.  To guarantee that changes are saved to disk on a timely basis, you can turn on auto-save from the Preferences dialog. Choose Preferences from the Options menu and select the Auto-save tab.  Pick “Auto-save” and select an auto-save interval.

 

If things get a bit more desperate, and you realize that you have made a number of mistakes, and you saved the collection to disk with mistakes present, you can always choose to Revert to the state of the collection as of the beginning of the session. You will have to re-do this session’s work, but at least you will have your collection in a state that excludes all the mistakes of the current session.

 

Can I have more than one collection database?

 

Yes, you can have as many different collections as you want. Recollector keeps track of each new collection that you create in a separate file. You can have multiple collections open at the same time; each will be shown its own collection viewer window.

 

Each collection is completely independent of the others, so you can set up each collection with whatever choices are appropriate (fields to use, currency and dimension units choice, sorting order, etc.).

 

Can I make changes to my collection outside of Recollector, by editing the collection file in a text editor?

 

No and yes. (Read on.)

 

No, definitely, in the case that your collection file is password-protected and encrypted. Otherwise, read on.

 

No, in the sense that if you edit the collection file outside of the Recollector environment, you risk corrupting the file in such a way that you may not be able to open the file the next time you try to do so with Recollector.

 

Yes, in the sense that the collection file is a text file, in XML format, which can be opened and modified by any text editor.  In other words, there is nothing, physically, that prevents you from opening the collection file with, for example, notepad, and making changes.

 

If you want to make changes to your collection, the way do this is within the Recollector program, not outside of it by editing the collection file.

 

If you really feel compelled to edit the collection file directly (and you consider yourself a guru on XML file structure), you are obviously on your own. I can think of no good reason why this should ever be necessary.  At the least, you should make a backup copy of the collection file before making any changes to it, because in the likely case that the edited version can no longer be successfully opened by Recollector, at least you will be able to gracefully fall back to restoring the file to its prior state from the backup copy.  (Click here for information on the built-in backup and restore facilities.)

 

Can I rename an existing collection?

 

Yes. Select Modify Fields or Image Directory from the Edit menu of the collection viewer window.  In the dialog that comes up, the collection name is shown in a text entry field at the upper right.  Edit the text in this box to change the collection name.

 

Can I change the currency or dimension units that I initially specified for my collection?

 

Yes. Select Modify Fields or Image Directory from the Edit menu of the collection viewer window.  In the dialog that comes up, the currency and dimension units are shown as radio buttons at the bottom right.  You can use the radio buttons to change the choices. 

 

How can I move my collection to a different location (or different computer), or rename the collection file?

 

Your collection is stored as a single file.  (If you have forgotten where your collection file is stored, choose Summary from the File menu.  The summary window shows the full pathname for the collection file.)  Exit Recollector before moving the collection file. You can move this file to a new location (or rename the file) using any tools available on your computer for moving files (e.g. Windows Explorer).  Or you can copy the file to a different computer.  Of course it only makes sense to move the file to a different computer if you have also installed (or are planning to install) Recollector on this computer.

                                                             

If you moved (or renamed) the collection file on the same computer where it previously resided:

 

If you moved or renamed the collection file, Recollector will notice that the collection file is not there with its previous name and location, so it will not be seen in the program’s list of recently opened collections. However, you can open the collection file from within Recollector (using either Open from a collection window’s File menu, or by clicking the Browse to find and open a collection file button in the Start-Up Window).  The collection will be opened and added to the list or recently opened collections, with its new name and/or location.

 

If you moved the collection file to a new computer:

 

Recollector will not yet be aware of the collection whose file you have just moved to this computer.  But you can open the collection file from within Recollector (using either Open from a collection window’s File menu, or by clicking the Browse to find and open a collection file button in the Start-Up Window).  The collection will be opened and added to the list or recently opened collections.

                   

If your collection includes images, you should read the section of the User’s Guide regarding the specification of an Image Directory.

 

How can I delete a collection? (I was just testing out Recollector and made a “pretend” collection, but now it shows up in the list of my collections, but I just want it to go away.)

 

Recollector does not provide a mechanism for deleting a collection.  However, you can simply use Windows Explorer to delete the collection file. If the collection had an image directory, you might want to consider deleting it as well, since deleting the collection file will not delete the collection’s associated images.

 

How can I get Recollector to recognize a collection that I deleted but have now restored from a backup?

 

When you use Recollector capability to restore a collection, it automatically reads in the collection file, opens it in a collection window and automatically adds it to the list of recently-used collections.

 

Will my collection be lost when I upgrade to the next edition of Recollector?

 

No. When you move to the next edition of Recollector, nothing is changed with regard to your collection.  Collection files contain version number information, and if a new version of Recollector, containing new features, needs to update your collection file, it will do this automatically.  The only possible problem is using an older version of Recollector on a collection file that was created by a newer version of the program.  Recollector, however, recognizes this situation and an older-version program won’t let you open a later-version collection file – an error message will be shown indicating this situation.

 

I really messed up doing data-entry and just exited the program. Can I undo the mess I made?

 

You may be in luck. In each session, the first time that Recollector saves your collection back to the disk it makes a backup copy of the collection file as it was before the session began. This file is located in the same directory as the collection file and it has the same name as the collection file, except with “.bak” appended (e.g. MyCollection.xml.bak). Before re-starting Recollector, do the following:

1.      Navigate (using Windows Explorer) to the directory where your collection file is stored.

2.      Make a backup copy of the collection file; for example, copy MyCollection.xml to MyCollection.saved. This backup copy is just in case you really mess up and clobber the xml.bak file as well. At least you should still be able to get back to the way things were before you started this exercise.

3.      Delete the collection file (e.g. MyCollection.xml).

4.      Copy the xml.bak file, giving the new copy the name of the normal collection file (e.g., copy MyCollection.xml.bak to MyCollection.xml).

 

You should now be able to start Recollector and, when you look at your collection, it should be exactly as it was the last time you invoked the program, before you made the (messed-up) changes to your collection.

 

Note: If you have been making regular backups of your collection (using the built-in back-up facility), then you always have the option of restoring your collection from the most recently backed-up version of your collection. (Click here for information on the built-in backup and restore facilities.)

 

I added some jump-to links. They show up OK (as blue-underlined links), but when I click on them nothing happens.

 

There are three possible reasons why clicking on a jump-to link doesn't perform the expected jump:

1.      The ID # shown in the link doesn't exist in the collection. Make sure that you actually have a record with this ID # in your collection.

2.      You currently have a subset defined, and the record with the ID # that you are trying to jump to is not included in the current subset.

3.      The text that you selected to turn into a jump-to link has some extra characters that aren't part of the actual ID #. For example, if the text that you have made into a jump-to link is #123, but the actual ID # for the corresponding record is just 123 (without the leading '#' character), then the jump-to link won't work. Change the jump-to link to include just the characters that form the ID # value of the record that you are trying to link to. In the current example, leave the '#' character out when selecting the text to turn into a jump-to link.

 


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