Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 18, 2024  7:50 pm. PST

Inside Sesame Issue Index
Switch to Keyword/Topic Index | Subscriber Express Index

2004  2005  2006  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020

As issues of Inside Sesame are published, their contents are added to our Keyword/Topic index and Issue (this) index. The Issue index is organized by year and month of issue and includes a description of the contents of each issue. The Keyword/Topic index is organized by keyword, much like the index in the back of a book. A special Subscriber Express Search Index also available to Inside Sesame subscribers. This database can be searched by keyword, topic, article title, author and various other criteria to locate the issues in which the search criteria occur. Subscribers can then view those issues immediately.

Ordering Back Issues...
Back issues are $25.00 each. (Current subscribers receive a 20% discount.) Note the order code(s) of the back issue(s) you wish to order. At the Order Form, you will be able to select them from the Back Issue pick-list.

January 2007 issue summary. . . [order code JAN 07]

Special 16-page issue

Reconciling Design Changes Over a Network
Before you can apply design changes to an application, you have to make sure that nobody has it open and can't attempt to open it while the reconcile is in process. So you decide to shut down Sesame Server then it restart it after reconciling. But how do you restart Sesame Server if you don't have access to the server machine? Here's a workaround that's brilliant both in its ingenuity and simplicity — one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" solutions.

Making Your Reports Do the Math
Anyone who has designed a basic columnar report in Sesame already has enough skill to add Derived Columns to reports. In this example, a database of invoices has fields for Customer, Invoice Amount and Late Fee, and you want an Open Invoices report to add up the Invoice Amount and Late Fee to show the Total Due. Once you've seen how easy it is to do this, you'll find all kinds of uses for Derived Columns.

Sesame Lite — How to Make a Design Change
If you're relatively new to Sesame, perhaps you've backed-off making design changes to your database because you're not sure how to go about it. In this first of a regular series of Sesame Lite articles, we show you how easy it is to make a few design modifications, such as specifying a different background color for your form, changing how dates are displayed and adding a new field.

Have Your Apps Back Themselves Up
This is more of a demonstration of Sesame's capabilities than a backup regimen you should adopt, but we'll show you a generic program you can drop into any form that backs up the application automatically at regular timed intervals, such as every half hour or every two hours while the application is being used. Sample application included in this month's download file.

A Browser for Your Reports, Revisited
In the November 2006 issue ("A Better Browser for Your Sesame Reports") we showed how to set the SESAME_PRINT_PREVIEW_COMMAND variable to use a browser other than your default browser for your report viewing and printing. The idea behind this two-browser approach is to maintain your regular browser's settings (header/footer text, page margins, page orientation) for normal Web browsing, and use a second browser with settings that make more sense for Sesame reports. In this follow-up article, we show how to create multiple profiles in Firefox to accommodate any special report output needs you may have.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Run XLookups Only When a Value Changes — Suppose you want your  XLookups to run only when certain value on the form has changed. This took some doing in Q&A — including an additional temporary field. It's much easier in Sesame.

  • Prevent Values from Being Changed — How do you go about preventing certain fields from being changed once they have been filled? You'll be surprised how easy it is to do in Sesame.

  • XLookups and Security — Misconceptions — We clear up confusions about how the Set XLookup User ID/Password feature works.

  • Using Sesame to Make Backups — Sesame has two built-in features that enable you to quickly make a backup copy of any application. We tell you what they are and how to use them.

  • Toggling the Menu Tree — Sometimes you could use more screen real estate for your form. Here's how to quickly put the menu tree away so more of your form shows without scrolling, then bring the tree back again when needed.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Use @ServerDate/@ServerTime Instead of @Date/@Time — There are excellent reasons why you shouldn't use the old-style @Date and @Time functions in your programming to supply the current date and time. We spell them out.

  • Quickly Parse Dates and Times — When you need to isolate the components of the current date (month, day, year) or time of day (hour, minutes, seconds), here's an easy, clean and intuitive way to do it.

  • Exporting Q&A Multi-line Fields to Sesame — Should you ever decide to export your Q&A data in order to import it into Sesame, be sure to take any Q&A multi-line fields into account. If the data in them is formatted with manual line breaks, it won't be formatted that way in the corresponding Sesame multi-line fields unless you know this trick. 

February 2007 issue summary. . . [order code FEB 07]

Special 15-page issue

Simplify Subform Navigation
Navigating within form-view subforms can take some getting used to. They're a new thing in Sesame. People have trouble remembering the navigation shortcut keys, trouble finding them on the keyboard. There's the fact that they have to be navigated into before they "come to life" — and other issues. But none of this will get in your way when you add a super-convenient navigation bar to your subforms. It's easy. Here's how.

Sesame Lite — Naming Things in Sesame
We've seen it happen time and again. People get into Sesame Designer and go to town creating databases, forms, reports and so forth without knowing how to assign proper, meaningful names to them. So they're left with oddball names like NewSesameApplication, NewForm2, NewDatabase1, NewReport0, Address0 and so forth. Here, finally, is the definitive guide to appropriately naming things in Sesame as you create them.

Sort a String Array on Two Levels
You've got a big block of records retrieved by an @XLookupSourceListAll command that need to be sorted first by descending date and then by ascending name within each date group. How are you gonna do it? This article tells you everything you need to know about basic string array sorting.

Design a 'Bank Statement' Report
Suppose you need to print bank-like statements for your customers that show each debit and credit by date along with a running total? This article shows two ways to do it — one using natural linking and another using relational linking.  Sample application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Updating Translated Databases with XLookup — Sesame can run XLookups on Q&A databases, so you've got a way to keep your new Sesame applications updated with information that's still being entered in the old Q&A databases.

  • Retrieving This Year's Records — We show five different techniques for keeping your users focused on just the current year's batch of records. Pick the one that best accommodates your needs.

  • Adding Letterhead to Reports — Sometimes — A reader wants to know how to design his reports to include his company's letterhead, with the option to print the reports without the letterhead. We offer three solutions.

  • Renaming Reports — Sesame provides two ways to assign meaningful names to reports in place of that NewReport, NewReport0, NewReport1 business. Here's the lowdown.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Toggle Browser Header/Footer Off for Report Printing — Got the new Internet Explorer 7 yet? Now you can simply turn off those default browser headers and footers when printing your Sesame reports.

  • Paring Down an @XLookupSourceListAll() List — You can specify only one record retrieval parameter with the X-commands. What do you do when you need two or more retrieval parameters?

  • Additional Undocumented Math Operators — You've probably encountered the += shortcut operator that SBasic supports. But did you know that you can also take advantage of -=, *= and /= shortcut operators?

  • Exporting Multiline Q&A Fields to Sesame — In order to generate a Standard ASCII export file, Q&A has to strip out any hard carriage returns used to format the data in multiline fields. So what can you do if you want to retain that formatting when porting the data to Sesame?

  • Managing Testing Paths and Real Paths — As a developer, here's a little trick you can use to simplify any programming that involves paths, where your development and testing paths differ from the end-user's.

March 2007 issue summary. . . [order code MAR 07]

Special 15-page issue

Build a Simple Scheduler
Need an easy way to schedule yourself or others on a day-to-day or hour-by-hour basis? Either type of scheduler is a snap for Sesame. We show you how to create both. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Sesame Lite — Simple Mass Updates
What do you do when you need to apply the same kind of update to a whole bunch of existing records? Mass Update is the answer. In this article geared for the Sesame newcomer, we show how to use a mass update to correct bad dates translated into Sesame from a non-Y2K-compliant Q&A database. Once you've seen how mass update works — and how easy it is — you'll love what it can do for you.

I Was a Sesame Newbie!
Someone brand new to Sesame and databases recently took up the challenge of transforming one of the sample applications that comes bundled with Sesame into a little contact manager tailored-made to her own needs. She kept a journal of her experiences and shares them with you.

Powerful 'Simple Search' Slated for 2.0
The way it works reminds you of an Internet search engine. This cool search tool can find names, terms and phrases wherever they might occur in the database, and return the "hits" in an order that makes the most sense.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Windows Vista and Sesame — What can you expect with Sesame when you migrate to Windows newest operating system?

  • Q&A and Vista — Got any old Q&A databases still lying around that you haven't yet translated? Better get busy!

  • Our Own Vista Installation Experience — Our Inside Sesame Help Desk editor took the plunge recently and shares his experiences with you.

  • Navigating Sesame Forms — Did you know that you can change the navigation order of a Sesame form using a little-known Designer feature? You can, but you could be in for a surprise down the road if you do.

  • Special Characters in Element Names — Which keyboard characters are off limits when naming things in Sesame? What do you do if you really need them in descriptive labels that users are expecting to see on your forms?

  • Remove Browser Headers and Footers in Reports — We show you three options you have to deal with that awful stuff that appears at the tops and bottoms of your pages whenever you preview/print a Sesame report.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Get Back to Where You Were in the Program Spec — A clever little way to insert a bookmark in your programming when you have to go off and do something else for a while.

  • Commas and Combo Boxes — What happens when you try to stuff a combo box with choices that include commas — and what to do if you really those commas.

  • Locking Down and Hiding a Tab Page — You need to make a particular tab page read-only — or hide it altogether — under certain conditions. What's the trick?

  • XLookup and Testing (The Doppelganger Effect) — Under certain conditions the XLookups you've programmed can appear to stop working. (Hint: it isn't because you're in Designer Preview mode.) This little tip will keep you from scratching your head or chasing after non-existent programming mistakes.

April 2007 issue summary. . . [order code APR 07]

Help Is On the Way
Remember Q&A for DOS' Help Spec, where you could create custom help screens that popped-up automatically or with an F1 keypress during data entry? You can design a similar — even better — help system for your Sesame applications. It's easier than you might think. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Sesame Lite — Sort Your Records Automatically
A database doesn't store or automatically display your records in any sorted order. You have to tell it how you want your records sorted. Here's how to tell it once and have it thereafter and forevermore display your records sorted just as you like. No rocket science involved. Beginners welcome.

Get More from Keyword Fields
Need to store the names of image files, PDFs, spreadsheets, Word docs or other types of files in your records and be able to display them instantly? A Keyword field is just the ticket. Two clicks and there's file you need to see.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • More on Vista — We've had more than a month to play around with Microsoft's latest operating system. Thinking of getting it? Caveat Emptor.

  • Using Reserved Words in Field/Layout Element Names — Want to use words like Date and Time in your field names? Here are the rules you need to follow.

  • Mixed Case Field/Layout Element Names — A reader wants to know if his mixed case Q&A field names will give Sesame any trouble when translating the database.

  • Changing the Form Size — For the Nth time, here's how make your form larger so you can put more stuff on it.

  • Find Hidden Fields in Designer — You can add fields to a form that are functional but can't be seen. Problem is, how do you find them in Designer?

  • Select Data as You Move Through a Form — A reader wants to know how to make Sesame automatically select the data in each field as she tabs through the form.

  • Search for Parenthesis and Other Special Characters — If you use special characters such as parentheses, semicolons or ampersands in your data, you'll need to employ a special search technique to find them.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Avoid Creating Two Records with the Same Value — Here's a clever technique that lets you populate a combo box with exclusive values that don't exist in any other record in the database.

  • Size Date Fields Economically and Consistently — Got lots of date fields on your form? You may be wasting lots of form space. Here's a trick that helps you quickly minimize the size of those fields while making them all uniform in appearance as a bonus. 

May 2007 issue summary. . . [order code MAY 07]

Managing Table View Subforms
If you use subforms at all, you might prefer the table view variety to form view because they can reveal a lot more information at a glance while taking up much less space on the parent or main form. On the other hand, maybe you’ve had some trouble with table view subforms, found them awkward for data entry or not as cooperative as you’d like when it comes to controlling what your people put into them. The good news is that you can have all the benefits of table view subforms without any of the hassle, simply by changing the way they’re filled. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Reclaim Your Full Page Width for Reports
When printing out some very wide Sesame reports, have you ever noticed that you don’t get the full page width because the right margin is far bigger than it ought to be? There's a reason for this along with an easy fix.

Greet Employees with a Dynamic Welcome Screen
Many businesses have an employee database with fields for addresses, phone numbers, business-related personal data — you name it. But often this data is entered once then never updated, even though personal information can change. To help keep this information up to date, how about a welcome screen that displays an employee’s pertinent data every time they log in, and lets them update it right then and there? This article includes some other neat tricks, too, such as restricting a user to just their own records and restricting a client picklist to just active clients. Sample application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Custom Save/Navigation Buttons — Using buttons to save and navigate can help users do their work more efficiently. But add subforms to the mix and it's a whole new ball game. Here are some insider tricks that'll help you better account for subforms when using save/navigation buttons.

  • Preparing Q&A Databases for Translation — Some tips on revamping Q&A Write docs for use with Sesame.

  • Post-Translation Y2K Problems — Here's what happens when you translate a Q&A database that was never made Y2K compliant. The fix is surprisingly easy.

  • Translating Q&A DOS Print Specs — They don't translate, but here are some options you have for adding print-spec-like features to your Sesame apps.

  • Translating Q&A DOS Help Screens — A reader wants to know how to format his help screens in Sesame so they look more like his old Q&A ones. Our Help Desk editor goes the extra mile by providing three options for designing custom help in Sesame.

  • Can't Sort with the Menu Tree Closed — Suppose you want to keep the menu tree closed so your people don't have access to exporting, mass updating and the like — but you need to give them sorting options. How do you go about it?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Dirty Little (Search) Secrets — Ever get bent out of shape over repeated searches that don't turn up the records you want, only to discover that you forgot to clear one or more incompatible parameters from earlier searches? This clever custom feature helps you avoid those frustrating, time-wasting mis-retrieves.

  • Quickly Find a Block of Code in a Lengthy Program — When switching back and forth between the form and the Program Editor, returning to where you were in a big Program Spec can be a hassle. Ever thought about indexing your programs for faster access?

June 2007 issue summary. . . [order code JUN 07]

Simple Merge Letters for Everyday Needs
There's the original WordMerge way of merge printing. Powerful, but a little tricky to set up. Then there's WordMerge Lite, an easier way to merge print from Sesame. But what — bottom line — is the easiest way to get up and running with merge printing if you need just a few simple merge docs? We boil it all down to the basic basics.

Sesame Update Released
Sesame 1.1.5 should be available during the first week of June. What's in it?

Sesame Lite — Printing Out Your Database Records
Here's an excellent primer on printing your records using Sesame's internal form printing commands. Includes tips, tricks, troubleshooting techniques and solutions for a variety of form printing issues.

A Generic Drop-In Function to Custom Sort String Arrays
More and more Sesame users are discovering the remarkable power and simplicity of @XLookupSourceListAll() for retrieving data from multiple records and fields in a database. Problem is, all that data comes back in a random record order and may need to be sorted before you can actually process it. The User Defined Function (UDF) featured in this article can be dropped into any program to automatically sort the data ascending or descending on any two fields you choose — including number and money fields.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Controlling License Usage — We respond to a subscriber who asks some interesting questions about how Sesame licenses work.

  • From Q&A to a Multi-Database Application — When you translate several Q&A databases, you get a separate Sesame application for each one. But you'd prefer to have all those databases in a single Sesame application. How do you go about it?

  • Missing Totals in Translated Reports — You've translated a Q&A database. You see that Sesame has translated your Q&A columnar reports as well, but the subtotals and grand totals are now missing. How do you get them back?

  • Copy Files Automatically on Startup — If you're using WordMerge or WordMerge Lite in a multi-user environment, User A will run smack into a wall when he tries to print a merge letter that User B is using. The technique in this tip lets you keep all your merge docs centrally located on the server, while automatically providing each user with his or her own duplicate set.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Using @Layout in Programming — Here's how to avoid failed XLookups after changing a form's name. This tip also explains how renaming things can cause XLookups to fail without warning.

July 2007 issue summary. . . [order code JUl 07]

Instantly Capture Electronic Signatures
As technology evolves, businesses have more and more opportunities to replace paper documents, forms, and contracts with electronic substitutes. As a result, the need to capture signatures electronically has become an important — if not essential — component. But simply capturing an electronic signature isn't enough for it to be legally binding. This article demonstrates how Sesame and a signature capture device can be used to automate the making of valid, signed electronic documents.

Sesame Lite — Getting Started with Programming
Maybe you’re not yet a Sesame programmer, but each month you glance at the programming examples in Inside Sesame and you’d like to give some of them a try. Maybe you’ve even opened the program editor only to find yourself scratching your head at the lists of layout elements and programming events. This article aims to get you past the first hurdle — “Where do I put the *#$*! programming?!”

Remove Unwanted Records from an @XLookupSourceListAll() Retrieval
More and more folks are discovering the remarkable power of @XLookupSourceListAll() for grabbing data from multiple records and fields. Problem is, you can retrieve on only one criteria. So if you're after the "Western" region records that contain an email address and sales of at least $10,000, you'll need to retrieve on one of the above criteria then remove the ones that don't meet the other two. Here's a fast and easy way to do just that.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Find the Day and Week of the Year — Sesame doesn't have built-in functions for these, so we fill the gap with our own.

  • Set an Initial Value for a Checkbox — Want a checkbox checked by default? It's a snap.

  • Mix Your Own Custom Colors — Ever struggled to get just the right shade of tan (or blue or green or any other color) for your form? Struggle no more with this clever approach.

  • Import Spreadsheet Data — Got an Excel Workbook with data you'd like to get into a Sesame database? No need to make it more complicated than it has to be.

  • Sesame Server Setup Advice — We answer some basic questions on sensibly configuring Sesame Server.

  • Unattended Shutdown and Restart of Sesame Server — Periodic unattended shutdown/restart of the computer on which Sesame Server is running can create all kinds of problems. But if you absolutely must do it, here's how to do it right.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Navigation Buttons and Subforms — If you use navigation buttons on your forms for things like Next Record, Prev Record and Search — and you have a subform — you can guarantee that any subform edits will be saved by adding one more simple command to your navigation programming.

  • Sort a String Array on Up to Three Fields — That's right! Take that two-dimensional string array returned by @XLookupSourceListAll() and sort it DS or AS on each of three fields, say, by descending dollar volume within ascending state within ascending sales region.

  • The Best Way to Back Up When Mass Updating — You're smart to back up before running mass updates. But if you're really smart, what should you do just before you back up?

  • Flag Duplicate Values Immediately — Duplicate values in a database can spell trouble. Part numbers, Social “Security” Numbers, phone numbers, ID numbers, record numbers and the like, if not unique when they should be, can cause a variety of problems. Here's a simple program that can prevent them.

  • Enter the Current Date — Faster — And you thought that Ctrl-F5 was the only date entry shortcut.

August 2007 issue summary. . . [order code AUG 07]

Introducing Custom Form Widgets
Ever heard of a User Defined Widget? Neither did we until a client hit us with a data entry requirement that forced us to invent one. None of Sesame’s "stock" form elements could rise to the challenge. Only a new “hybrid” widget — what we call an Add/Remove Box — could do the trick. 

Beyond Text Boxes — Sesame Lite
If you're working with a translated Q&A form, or you've designed a new form comprised mainly of "Q&A style" fields, it might be time to break out of the old mold and start taking advantage of some of the new tools Sesame gives you. This article describes how to add and use some of Sesame's slightly more advanced layout element types — combo boxes, list boxes, check boxes and radio button groups — to enhance and simplify data entry and searching.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • More on Unattended Sesame Server Startup — Periodic unattended shutdown/restart of the computer where Sesame Server is running can create problems. Last month we showed how to use a startup batch file to automatically unlock locked databases and restart Sesame Server. This month we answer a reader who needs a more sophisticated startup solution.

  • Simplify Subform Data Entry/Running Reports — We help a reader who's having trouble training new users on Table Subforms — and even more trouble  training them to run reports that need data from both the main form and the subform.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • Drag-'n'-Drop Stuff into Your Database Records — email addresses, text from PDFs or Word docs — even file paths from your file system — you can drag-'n'-drop almost anything into a Sesame field.

  • Simplify Record Validation and Correction — One way to simplify data entry validation is by performing all the checks when the user attempts to move off the record in a way that saves it. Here's how to display a single stay-open screen that explains everything that's wrong with the record on a bulleted list.

  • Copying Lengthy Text from the Slate — Do you occasionally need to copy text from the WriteLn window to paste elsewhere? This tip makes it as easy as can be.

  • Don't Overlook the 'On Immediate Change' Event — Ever tried to use the On Element Immediate Change event with a text box and dismissed it as a gimmick? It’s actually a very valuable event for element types that are changed with a single mouse action, like combo boxes, check boxes and radio buttons. We explain.

September 2007 issue summary. . . . . . [order code SEP 07]

Special 16-page issue!

An Upgrade for the Record Books — Something rarely seen — an Inside Sesame editorial! But we're so taken with Sesame 2.0 that we just couldn't resist. Read our views on what makes this particular upgrade so special, not just for you, but also in the way it smashes the software industry's bean-counter paradigm of how far a single upgrade should actually go to add value to a product.

Use Popup Dialogs to Add Records to Other Databases
One of the holy grails of earlier generation database managers like Q&A was this: How do you add new records to Database A while working in Database B? Now, with Sesame 2.0, you can. This article looks at two types of custom popup dialogs you can create in 2.0, along with the new XResultSetCreateNewRecord() command — two features you can team up to add new records to external databases on the fly. (Sample application included in this month's download file.)

Controlling Record Deletion
Sesame makes it easy to delete records — too easy in the opinions of many Sesame  developers and database administrators. But there are a number of things you can do, as this article points out, to better control and even prevent record deletions. (Sample application included in this month's download file.)

Sesame 2.0 Arrives!
Three years in the making, Sesame 2 has finally been released. This article covers issues such as obtaining the upgrade, preparing for it, installing it, upgrading your 1.x Sesame applications to 2.0, and some the big differences you can expect to see right off the bat.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Sesame 2.0 Quick Reports — Yes, Virginia, you can now create, run, and even save simple columnar reports while actively working with your data. We take you through the easy steps to produce a quick report on the fly.

  • Programming and Read-Only Fields — Sesame read only fields behave differently than their Q&A counterparts. If you've translated a Q&A database and are noticing some unexpected behavior with your read onlies and programming, here's why and what you can do about it.

  • Is Sesame Server Running? — You can run Sesame Server as a Windows service so that you never see Server's interface. But how can you tell if Sesame Server is really running simply by looking at the server machine. We show how using several different methods.

  • Spiff Up Custom Menus and Forms with Logos — Add some class to your applications by displaying your company's logo on your Sesame custom menus and forms. It takes just a minute. Here's how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • 'Toggle Buttons' Streamline Data Entry — Last month we introduced user-define form widgets with a custom Add/Remove box. This month, we show you how to make another custom user widget called a toggle button. What can it do? Well, it looks and works like a button, except that it toggles or loops through a range of predefined values as you click on it.

October 2007 issue summary. . . [order code OCT 07]

Special 14-page issue!

Using 2.0's XResultSet Commands to Lookup Data
Is XLookup dead? Maybe. Right up there at the top of the list of the most powerful new features in Sesame 2.0 is the XResultSet family of commands. Similar in some respects to the old tried-and-true XLookup family (@XLookup, @XLookupAll, @XListValues, @XLookupSourceListAll), but re-engineered from the ground up to do a whole lot more faster, XResultSet offers a host of new possibilities for automating interaction between databases. We tell you how XResultSet stacks up against XLookup in terms of versatility, performance and programming ease. If you're using XLookup for anything but the simplest lookups, this is a must-read.  (Sample application included in this month's download file.)

More Useful Sesame 2.0 Features
Last month we showcased a few new Sesame 2.0 features. This month we show you three more — Toggle Attachment that fills the whole Sesame window with the form you're working in to give you more working space, Bookmark Record to whisk you right back to that key record you were working on a few minutes ago, and the amazing all-new Simple Search that performs Google-like searches on your database and displays the matching records in logically-weighted order.

Using Checkboxes in Merge Documents
If your Word merge docs could use some checkboxes that are either checked or unchecked depending on what's in the records in your Sesame data source file, here's how to get them.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Changing Illegal Field Names — Form layout element names containing reserved characters (such as / + - or *) can make trouble for your programming and cause problems elsewhere in Sesame as well . Here's how to change any element names (along with the database field names they're bound to) that contain reserved characters. 

  • Unbound Elements 'Lose' Data — If you ever add a new element to a form only to find that it mysteriously doesn't hold onto the data you put into it, here's where you went wrong and how to fix the problem.

  • 'Saving' Takes Too Long — We have no idea where new Sesame users (even those coming from Q&A) get the idea that they're supposed to click the Save icon (or File / Save) whenever they add or change some data. Here's why that's not only wrong but can lead to problems. As a last resort, you can disable those application save options altogether.

  • Changing Security in Version 2 — Sesame 2.0 gives you an important new  option for updating security in applications. If you're responsible for the security of your Sesame apps, don't miss this.

  • Time Calculations in Sesame — There's a right way and a wrong way to go about calculating time in SBasic. Here are some of the fundamentals you need to know when doing time math. (Sample application included in this month's download file.)

  • Making a Checkbox Use Only Two States — Sesame checkboxes support three states: Yes / No / Unknown. For some database administrators, though, a third option just makes managing checkbox data more difficult and unpredictable. Here's the trick to making a checkbox support only two states.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today


  • How to Turn Off Autocomplete for Just One Element — In Sesame 2.0, Autocomplete is automatically on for all text elements. But for information like notes or driving directions, in can actually hamper data entry. Here's how to turn it off for specific elements.

  • How to Print Thicker PrintString Lines — You did it in 1.x by stacking shallow boxes on top of one another. In 2.0 there's a much easier and more sensible way to print thick lines in your PrintString programs.

  • LabelWiz Not Working After Upgrading to 2.0 — This handy label maker/printer add-in for Sesame can stop working after upgrading to 2.0. The fix is a simple one-liner.

  • Crosstabber and WordMerge Lite Issue in 2.0 — The Crosstabber report add-in for Sesame that generates real Q&A-style crosstab reports, along with the WordMerge Lite add-in for simple merge document printing, both suffer from a subtle change that was made to Sesame 2. Fortunately, the fixes are easy.

November 2007 issue summary. . . [order code Nov 07]

Special 16-page issue!

Merge Printing Options in Sesame 2.0
Whether you need merge printing solutions now or maybe down the road, this article surveys all the choices you have. From the original PrintString and venerable WordMerge, to WordMerge Lite, Freeform Reports, LabelWiz and the new 2.0 Merge File Print commands, each method has its strengths and weaknesses — advantages and disadvantages — for the kind of merge printing you're doing. Start here and find out how to pick the right tool for the job. 

Cut Development Time by Trimming the Application
Ever worked with a large application? One that seems to take forever to load? If the app has lots of forms, mountains of programming and tons of data, there may not be much you can do at the runtime end except upgrade to 2.0. But the development end is another story. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to cut the Designer file down to size so that saving then loading in Preview mode go much faster and save you time.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Form Printing Options — This in-depth survey answers the most frequently-asked questions about form printing, and troubleshooting form printing problems. It also introduces essential new form printing enhancements and options available in Sesame 2.0.

  • 'Set and Forget' Designer's Panel Order — When hammering away on a form in Designer, ever wish you could set the left-hand command and property panels in a certain order, get rid of the ones you never use — and have your preferences stick from here on out? Here's the essential know-how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • How to Create a Repeat Button — A repeat button is one that fires its programming over and over again for as long as you hold the mouse button down. It can be useful for resizing, say, an image element on the fly, moving a layout element up/down or left/right, or increasing/decreasing a counter or numeric value. We show you how to add this custom gizmo to any Sesame form. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Eliminate Checkbox Goofs & Guesswork — A sesame checkbox has three states, Yes, No, and Undecided. Each has its use, but in some applications the three states only make for data entry confusion and problematic retrieves. Here's how to control a checkbox so that it's either Yes (checked) or nothing.

December 2007 issue summary. . . [order code Dec 07]

Special 14-page issue!

XResultSet vs. Mass Update
What is it about Sesame 2.0's new family of XResultSet commands that make it a good replacement for many kinds of traditional mass updates? At more than 50 times faster in some cases, how can it not? Here are even more tricks you can do with XResultSet. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

More New Sesame 2 Features
Table View in Sesame 2 has been completely overhauled. Not just improved, but redesigned from the ground up. There's a host of things you can now do in and with Table View that you couldn't do before, including saving custom Table View specs.

Measuring Text Height for Display — Suppose you want to display some variable-length text in a multi-line field, and you want to make the field just large enough to contain it all so the user doesn't have to scroll. How do you measure the height of a block of text so you programming knows how much bigger or smaller to make the field? Sample Application included in this month's download file.

Print Underlined, Centered and Right-Aligned Text with PrintString — Now you can not only center your PrintString text on the page or align it at the right margin, you can also optionally underline it. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Reserved Characters and Hidden Lookup Fields — Here's another look at how special characters like the "&" can cause XLookups to fail and how you can workaround the problem without having to alter your data.

  • Easily Update Initial Values — If you have to change your database's initial values periodically, you know it's a pain to have to go into Designer to do it, then kick everybody out of the database while you Reconcile. Not any more. Here's a sweet technique that lets you easily update your initial values at any time without any of the hassle.

  • Programming Events and Conditions —  Programming not working as expected after Translating a Q&A database? There are three key things folks often overlook that can get them into trouble. We tell you what they are and how to take them into account in your Sesame programming.

  • Sluggish Data Entry in Sesame 2.0 — If you have a large database, have you experienced irritating delays from the moment you press the keys to when the characters actually appear in the field? Here's what's happening and how to fix it.

  • How to Trap Users in a Field — In Q&A you can prevent a user from leaving a field if the value they typed doesn't meet your programming conditions. This doesn't work in Sesame unless you know the trick.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Hide Those Hard-To-Hide Tree Items — Although you can hide the parts of Sesame's Command Tree you don't want users to have access to, you can run into a problem where two or more items are named the same. In this case, Sesame hides only the first one, leaving the others exposed. But this handy User Defined Function takes care of that problem for you. 

  • Use a Quick Macro to Pop Up the Function Keys Menu — Did you know that you can create a temporary Sesame macro in programming and run it on-the-fly? Who'da thunk?

  • Convert Hex to RGB and Vice Versa — Doesn't everybody need a Hex-to-RGB converter? No? Well, there might come a day.... Here's what this little converter does and when it could come in handy. Sample Application included in this month's download file.