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Using The Software – Tables, Records, Forms And Fields

Tables and Data: The system contains data that is grouped together in Tables. Each Table can contain either:

Standing DataCustomer, Supplier or Nominal ledger account details that generally are updated infrequently. Examples of this are: Customer names and addresses and Nominal Account descriptions, or;
Transactional data – this could be payments, receipts, accounting adjustments, invoices, credit notes etc; in fact any item that produces an entry representing an event in financial terms in the software or is included in a report. Each transaction will vary in timing and amount.

You may find it useful to think of a Table as an array of rows and columns – similar to a spreadsheet. Columns contain data with similar values; Rows contain data that is related in some way. Each entry in a column is called a Field, and the collection of related fields in a row is called a Record. Each record is identified by a unique reference field, known as a Code. The columns are the structure of the record e.g. a simple customer address table may have 10 columns – 1 for a code, 1 for name, 4 for address Lines, 1 for postcode, 1 for country, 2 for telephone and fax The row would contain the details for one customer – the Customer Record.

Forms: You instruct the program to perform an operation by using a Menu – see Menus. The system will then request you, as a user, to supply the data it needs to complete your request. It does this by opening a Form.

A Form is a graphical interface between the user and the system. Forms contain fields from one or more tables into which you will enter data. The forms that you will use have been designed to make data processing easy, intuitive and efficient – See Enter Data – next article.

Sizing and Moving Forms: Once a form has been opened, you can change its size and/or its position on the Workspace. This will enable you to customize the workspace to suit your requirements by having more than one form open at a time. You can then easily switch between common recurring tasks.

To move forms within the workspace – click in the top section (Header) of the form then, holding down the left mouse button, drag the form to a required location in the workspace.

To resize forms you use the buttons on the top right of the Form Header, as follows:
Minimize Button – Click to minimise the form and move it to the bottom left corner of the workspace (parking it for use later). The button changes to the Restore button – click to restore the form to its normal size in the same position in the workspace as when it was minimised.

Clicking anywhere on a minimised form displays a menu with the following options:

Restore – Click to restore the form to its normal size in the same position in the workspace as when it was minimised.
Move – Click – a cross appears on the form. Using the mouse, drag the form to a new position in the workspace and click to drop it in the new position.
Minimise – greyed out
Close – Close the form.

Maximise Button – Click to enlarge the form to fill the workspace. The button changes to the Minimise button – click to restore the form to its normal size in the same position in the workspace as when it was maximised. Does not apply to all forms.

Types of Form: Forms can either be Single Page or Multi-page depending on how these are displayed. A Multi-page form consists of a series of Single Page forms which are grouped together by the program to appear as if they are in a card index box.
Clicking the Tab on a ‘card’ will bring that form to the front so that you can then enter data.

Saving and abandoning input: Input is entered into a form and when complete is saved or submitted. This applies to new data and amended data. In this scenario there is a save or submit button and a ‘Cancel‘ button. ‘Cancel’ may come with a warning – are you sure? although not necessarily – pressing this button will close the form and lose the data entered. Enquiry forms are read only and there is nor submit or save button – these forms will have a ‘Close’ button. The ‘esc‘ key and the ‘X’ on the title bar will close without saving in all circumstances.

Pressing X is likely to be a cause of at least some data irregularities. All software programs manage the data that they process as efficiently as they can, which often means keeping some data in memory before committing it to the databases on the disks. This is how computers work and there is nothing that can or should be done to change it. While the software is running, this is all smooth. Pressing the X doesn’t close Prelude or your session, it simply disconnects you from your session, which otherwise continues to run on the platform. If you were to log in immediately after pressing X, you would see Prelude still running exactly where you left it when you pressed X. A disconnected session will eventually be terminated by our platform housekeeping services, which as above is a process that should not be changed so as to ensure unused resources are released to other users who need them. Terminating a desktop session that has open software programs, e.g. Prelude, is akin to pulling the plug on your PC while you are using it. Any live data in memory is immediately lost and even the operating system struggles to resume sometimes, needing recovery tools to get back up and running. When you have finished with Prelude, please close it (File > Exit) and any other programs you have running, e.g. Explorer, then close the desktop session (Start > Log off).


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