Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 29, 2020  7:09 am. PST

Inside Sesame Issue Index
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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.

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January 2008 issue summary. . .[order code JAN 08]

Bloat-Free Reports in 10 Minutes or Less
Something you probably missed among the gazillion new features and enhancements in Sesame 2.0 — an obscure new tool for Sesame reports. If reports — particularly big ones — are part of your operations, here's how you can reduce their HTML volume by two-thirds and make them display faster without sacrificing a thing.

How to Prevent Orphaned Subrecords
When a subrecord has no link to a parent record, you've got an orphan — a junk record that can create mysterious anomalies in reports and elsewhere. Finally, here's a routine that stops orphans dead in their tracks in every case, every time. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

Find and Delete Duplicate Records
Sesame 2.0 brings powerful new weapons to bear in the age-old war against duplicate records. Got total dupes? Partial dupes. Possible dupes. Packed with tips and insights from a Sesame developer who knows more about hands-on duplicate record handling than anybody, this comprehensive article tells you everything you need to know.

Sesame Add-in Label-Maker Gets a
Huge Capability and Performance Boost
For many Sesame users, Inside Sesame's LabelWiz has proven to be the most hassle-free way to merge print their mailing and shipping labels. Now, the all-new LabelWizPro for Sesame 2.0 makes it even easier.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Security Settings Preventing XLookups — You might want to prevent certain user groups from editing sensitive fields, but still need your XLookups associated with them to work. Here's what it takes.

  • Create a History Database with XResult Set — Notes and comments entered into a record can be quickly and transparently added to another database — even one in another application. How do you do this without subforms? Sample Application included in this month's download file.

  • Backup Your Sesame Files —  A reader asks if it's okay to backup Sesame applications when Sesame Server is running and the applications might be open.

  • Annual Application Shuffling — Some companies like to start over each year with a fresh database, copying over their active records from the previous year then updating them for the new year. This can be (and usually is) a big job. We show how to simplify it.

  • Comment your code — It's easy to add notes and comments to your programming, and there are very good reasons why you should.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Trapped in Extend Mode — Sesame's Extend mode lets you add new records while working in Update mode. This can be useful in some cases. But it can be problematic if you have restrictions in the form. If you've ever gotten trapped in Extend mode, maybe you've wondered if it can be disabled. It can.

  • How to Kill a Mass Update or Terminate a Running Program — Sesame 2.0 has a new kill switch. We tell you what does and when it might not do the trick.

  • How to Create a Percent Field — The easy way to create a field that stores percentages and automatically displays them with a % sign.

February 2008 issue summary. . .[order code FEB 08]

Navigate Your File System Inside Sesame
An innovative collection of new tools in Sesame 2.0 gives you direct access to the drives, directories and files in your computer's (and the server's) file system from inside your Sesame applications. This article focuses on suitability to task of the four new file access commands, so you'll understand what they're good for (and not-so good for). Then you'll find out how to create a custom hybrid file dialog that prompted the first Sesame developer to see it to say, "This is fantastic. I mean it. I already have two different uses for it." Sample Application included in this month's download file.

WordMerge Streamlined for Sesame 2.0
Several important revisions to WordMerge — based on new features available in Sesame 2.0 — have recently been made to simplify, streamline, and make this venerable Sesame merge printing add-in even easier to use. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Ending Your Programming — Old style Q&A programming with CNexts and Gotos to terminate the program and move elsewhere are compared to Sesame's ThrowFocus command.

  • Trap Users in a Field, Revisited — Here's the definitive way to keep a user from exiting a field when the data in it doesn't meet your validation criteria.

  • Spelling Errors and Efficient XLookups —  Some tips on common errors that prevent XLookups from working, and how to replace a series of inefficient @XLookups with a single @XLookupSourceList.

  • Hiding Tab Pages — Yep, now you can hide individual tab pages in a tab group and unhide them at will. We show you how.

  • Using Table View to Create a Popup Scheduler — A clever and uncomplicated technique for displaying an appointment or event schedule using a custom form and simple table view. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

  • Autocalc Problems After Translation — Why autocalc programming might not work as expected and what you overlooked that's causing it.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Create Drill-Down Picklists with @PopupChoiceList — Why Sesame 2.0's @PopupChoiceList beats @PopupMenu for certain kinds of picklists. We show you a nifty combination picklist that lets you drill-down to the item you want. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

  • Avoid Sinister @XLookupsSourceList Errors — Certain kinds of lookups can bomb big time if the data you're retrieving has any semicolons in it. But a welcome 2.0 enhancement helps prevent this from happening.

  • Selectively Run On-Form-Change Programming with @Triggering Element — On-Form-Change programming can greatly simplify programming overall. But what if you want it to execute it only when certain fields are changed?

  • Find Your Path with a String Array — @FN gives you the path to the current application. But what if your programming needs just the path part without the filename (or just the filename without the path)? The solution is easier than you might think.

  • Handling Lengthy Message Box Text — A clever way to break up a long line of text into individual 10-word lines for an @Msgbox or @Askuser dialog.

  • How to Tell at a Glance If a Report Element is Invisible or Has a Width Set — The latest 2.0.5 update simplifies report design by displaying these two attributes (visibility and width) prominently on the report layout.

March 2008 issue summary. . . [order code MAR 08]

Simplify Tasks with Custom Pop-up Mini Forms
Sesame 2.0 comes with more than a dozen kinds of pop-ups — gizmos you can display over your forms on demand to assist with all kinds of tasks. But there's another kind of pop-up that offers power and flexibility beyond these — what we call custom mini-form pop-ups. They're easy to design — and just wait 'til you see what they can do! Sample Application included in this month's download file.

Meet the Pop-ups
A brief summary of all the pop-ups Sesame provides out of the box.

Create a Global Values Updater
Global Values are special application-wide variables you can use to store and recall information that isn't well-suited for keeping in a database. You can use these Global Values almost anywhere in Sesame, and even organize them into a custom form where you can easily view and update them.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • 'Extra' Characters in Export/Import Files — Backslash characters can mysteriously appear in your Sesame export and import files. Here's why they're there and what they're for.

  • Carriage Returns and Export Files — When Q&A generates an export file, it replaces any carriage returns in the data with spaces. But Sesame does something different — and ultimately more intelligent and useful.

  • The '@' Sign and PrintString —  Watch out for those @ signs when using PrintString — they'll truncate your data unless you know how to deal with them.

  • Easy Form Command Buttons — A brief tutorial on adding buttons to your forms to automate the most common record navigation tasks. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

  • Pop-Up Lists with Subform Data — A reader wants to know how to make Sesame automatically retrieve selected information from a subform and put it on a pick-list for use in the parent form.

  • AutoComplete and Sluggish Databases — Why AutoComplete can slow down data entry and the options you have for improving the situation.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Use AutoComplete for Just One or a Few Fields — For many databases, Sesame 2.0's global AutoComplete is overkill and can hamper performance in large databases. But there's a way to limit AutoComplete to just a few key fields without taking a taking a performance hit.

  • Printing the Date and Time in a Report Header — Sesame 2.0's new AsFormattedByLE command makes it a snap to format money, numbers, dates and times in your reports and other output.

  • Free Follow-Up Scheduler Updated for 2.0 — A handy dandy little follow-up scheduler that lets you set a call-back, appointment, or target date based on intervals such as tomorrow, 10 days from now, next Friday and so forth. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

  • Automatically Rename the Report Just Run and Other Tricks — There's never been an easy way to capture the filename Sesame assigns to a report when you run it — until now. This clever routine takes advantage of three new Sesame 2.0 features to do things like automatically rename a report file on-the-fly and/or open it in Excel or Word.

April 2008 issue summary. . . [order code APR 08]

Let Users Set Their Own AutoComplete Values
Some databases — particularly large ones with thousands of unique values — aren't well-suited to global AutoComplete, but they might be ideally suited for AutoComplete on specific fields. Here's a simple, safe and effective way to let the people using the database set their own AutoComplete values and take some of the "grunt" out of their grunt work. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

Turn a Q&A Line-Item Database into a Parent/Subform Application
New features in Sesame 2.0 make it easier to convert a Q&A line-item database (order entry, donors/donations, customers/payments or the like) into a sensibly-structured and efficient hierarchical application with speedy natural links between the parent and child records. We show you how.

Create a Custom Menu Bar Menu
Ever wished there was a way to add a custom button or menu to Sesame's menu bar? What's been keeping you?

How to Perform Q&A Tasks in Sesame — Navigation
This is the first in a series of Sesame Lite articles aimed specifically at those who have migrated to Sesame from Q&A. In this first installment we focus on form navigation — how to set up your data entry form so that the cursor moves from field to field in the order you want.

Renaming Sesame Reports
The way Sesame generates report files and how it names them may not be optimum for your company or the way you work. Here's the secret to making Sesame automatically name your report files to the custom names you specify. Sample Application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Navigation Command Button Tips — A step-by-step tutorial on adding handy record and mode navigation buttons to your form.

  • Context Sensitive Command Buttons — Programming your navigation buttons to do things such as switch from Update to Search, and having them disappear when they don't make sense for the mode you're working in.

  • Command Button Navigation —  Placing navigation buttons so they don't interfere with normal navigation through the form.

  • Changing Field Types — Oops! — you accidentally added a Date field when you really wanted a Text field. How do fix that?

  • Keyword Fields for Searching — There are a couple of potential traps when it comes to Sesame Keyword fields. But you can avoid them if you know how. 

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Add a Pop-Up Mini-Word Processor to Your Application — Here's a one-click way to bring up a handy dandy Notepad-like mini-word processor to compose, save, search and edit text independent of any fields on your form.

  • Copy and Save Code Snippets — Sesame's Program Editor lets you save your programming to an external file — but it doesn't let you save just a subroutine, the programming from just one layout element, or a few lines of brilliantly written code. Here's an easy way to copy just what you want to an external file.

  • Icon-ize Your Command Buttons — Buttons on your form that have icons  instead of text for labels? Whoudda thought!

May 2008 issue summary. . .[order code MAY 08]

Search Smartly on Common Date Ranges
People don’t have trouble with time concepts such as this week, next month, yesterday, the rest of the week, month to date and so on. But computers do. We’d like to know “What’s on my schedule next week?” or “Whose policy has expired so far this month?” without having to hit a moving target by manually typing in precise starting and ending dates that can change from day to day. But how do you work it out so that you can choose any of the common time frames from a picklist and have Sesame know exactly what you want?

TAPI and Sesame — First Encounter
A client was looking to integrate his Sesame application with his office phone system in a way that would automatically find and display the database record that matched the incoming caller's caller ID. Here's how we helped him achieve the goal.

Close Up Blank Lines with MergeFilePrint()
For merge document printing, MergeFilePrint's "fold" option is designed to collapse blank lines containing nothing but one or more empty merge fields. But for RTF merge docs this doesn't always do the trick. Lantica is still working on the problem, but in the meantime here's a programming option that'll bring immediate relief.

How to Perform Q&A Tasks in Sesame — Initial Values
This is the second in our series of Sesame Lite articles aimed specifically at those who have migrated to Sesame from Q&A. In this installment we look at Initial Values — how Sesame's Initial Values compare with Q&A's and why, in Sesame, you might be better off not using the conventional approach to them at all.

Announcing the Simple Sesame Calendar
The cleverest and potentially most useful Sesame add-in that ever was. A handy, easy-to-use pop-up Calendar/Scheduler that can be of serious assistance when it comes to managing time and events for just you or everybody in the office.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Automatic Reports List Command Button — How to run any report from a convenient pop-up piclist.

  • Case-Sensitive Report Lists — How to change your report names so that they appear on the tree in alphabetical order.

  • XPosing Rules —  If your successful XPosts in Q&A are failing in Sesame, here's the likely culprit.

  • Search Two Copies of the Same Form — You're working on a result set of records when a customer calls and you need to pull up their record immediately. How do you do it without abandoning the result set you're on?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Prevent a Non-Listed Entry in a Combo Box — Don't want users typing new values into a combo box? Here's a way to stop them cold.

  • Center Text in a Text Box — Sesame doesn't support Q&A's JC (Justify Center) alignment option for fields. But you may be able to beat the system.

  • Inspect and Use the Clipboard's Contents — Is there a way to copy your clipboard's contents into a variable (where they can be inspected with programming) without having to paste them somewhere first?

June 2008 issue summary. . . [order code JUN 08]

Importing Excel Data
Sesame can't import Excel data directly — but almost directly. You simply have to put the Excel data into a format that Sesame can deal with. Fortunately, that's easy.

How to Perform Q&A Tasks in Sesame — Restrict Values
Another in our series of Sesame Lite articles aimed specifically at those who have migrated to Sesame from Q&A. This month the topic is restrictions (called Restrict Values in Q&A). Like last month's article on Initial Values, Sesame supports restrictions but with quirks that might make you prefer to do things a different way. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Auto-Archive Your Sesame Records
Periodically trimming down your application records is something you should always consider. Databases bloated with unnecessary or out-of-date records tend to slow down common tasks like searches and lookups. Here's how to set Sesame up to automatically move old records into an archive database where they'll stay safe in case you ever need to refer to them.

Smart Sesame Add-in Makes Finding Files Fast & Easy
The all-new FileFinder2 from Inside Sesame is hands-down the easiest way to navigate your file system to find the files you need. Fully customizable for each user, FileFinder2 is designed to accommodate the way you work, your file system, the types of files you need to find, and what you need to do with them.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Non-Y2K-Complaint Dates in Q&A Translations — Got early 1900's dates in your translated database? Whoops. Here's what you did wrong and what you can do to fix the problem with minimum hassle.

  • When XLookups Require Multiple Restrictions — How do you lookup data when two or more Key values in the external file need to match?

  • Clean Up Q&A Reports After Translation — Translated reports can suffer from cosmetic, readability and record inclusion issues. Here are some easy-to-follow steps that can get that "beautiful report" back for you.

  • Print Different Forms Based on Record Content — You can tell Sesame to print one form or another based on almost anything in the record. Here's how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • How to Specify a Directory Using Sesame's FTP Commands — Sesame can upload files to your Web site in real time. Here's a quick how-to.

  • Run a Report and Automatically Update Your Web Site — Sesame reports are web-ready. This companion tip describes how to make Sesame automatically upload a new report to your Web site the moment you run it.

(Insider password required)

July 2008 issue summary. . . [order code JUL 08]

Add a File Linker to Your Database
For many organizations, a sensible way to improve information management and increase productivity is to have the database store links to related external files — Microsoft Word, PDF, photos and other types of files — rather than having users waste time poking around in My Computer to find them. This handy file linker makes linking external files to your database records a no-brainer. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Make Your Mass Updates Run Faster
Sesame 2.0.5 includes an all new Mass Update Engine feature that can run your mass updates up 10 times faster. But you'll need a little additional know-how to get it right. Here's the lowdown.

Migrating Q&A Print Specs to Sesame
Sesame doesn't translate Q&A print specs (the Q&A feature that enables you to print selected fields to precise positions on the page.) So what do you do if you have Q&A print specs that you need to make work the same way in Sesame? This article covers everything you need to know and helps simplify the conversion.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Variable Dates in Report Headers — How to add a variable to a report header that always prints the current date at the top of the report.

  • Centering Headers and Footers in Reports — Yes, you can do it. Here's how.

  • Page Breaks in Reports Printed to HTML Preview — How to replace those phony page breaks in reports with real one.

  • Viewing Sesame Reports in Excel — Microsoft Excel does a pretty good job of rendering HTML, so you can use Excel to spiff up your Sesame reports after they've been run. Here's how to simplify opening your reports in Excel.

  • Sizing Images for Use on Sesame Forms — Here's why that image you dropped onto your data entry form looks fuzzy or jaggy, and what you need to do to smooth it out and make it look real purty.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Print Lengthy Records the Easy Way — Sesame 2.0's new PrintAForm() command has some amazing capabilities, including the ability to break lengthy records across multiple pages when printing them.

  • Search Your Programming Easier and Faster — Sesame 2.0's new Global Find option gives you an easy way to search all your programming for a particular function, command, phrase or word.

  • Run a Report and Have It Display in Excel — Using Sesame 2.0's new PrintAReport() command, it's easy to work it out so that your reports automatically display in Excel when run.

  • Using Printer Control Codes in WordMerge Docs — If you're printing WordMerge docs to odd-sized continuous forms on a dot matrix (impact) printer, Word might not want to cooperate. That's where special printer codes you embed in the doc can save the day.

August 2008 issue summary. . . [order code AUG 08]

Create a Custom Main Menu for Your Application
A custom main menu that greets you when you open an application is classier and easier than using Sesame's default command tree to open databases. Sesame 2.0 introduced the application startup form — a special kind of form that replaces the Sesame splash screen when you open the application. It makes an ideal platform for a custom main menu, and you can add one to your application in half an hour. We show you how.

Q&A to Sesame — Lookup Tables
This introductory article tells you all about what happens to your lookup table when translating a Q&A database containing one. You'll get tips on what causes Sesame lookups to fail when they worked fine in Q&A, how to replace lookup table retrievals with smarter combo boxes — even how to dispense with the lookup table altogether.

Spruce Up Your Table View Subforms
Let's face it, your typical Sesame table view subform isn't likely to win a beauty contest anytime soon. Mostly it has to do with color. No matter what you try, you can't get rid of that drab default gray around the thing. Fortunately, there's a way to fix that — and it's surprisingly easy.

Simplify Sesame Update Deployments
Perhaps the best reason why an alternate network setup beats the standard one is when Lantica announces a new interim release with new features and bug fixes. The more users you have, the more risk prone a typical deployment can be. Find out what you can do to guarantee that all users — and the server — are using the same interim release version.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Search All Fields for Single or Multiple Value(s) — Two easy ways to search for data no matter where it occurs on the form, without having to type search criteria into multiple fields.

  • Manage Your Tabbed Forms — A clever trick that tells you if a tab has data in it without having to actually open the tab.

  • Designing and Naming Tabs — A primer on adding tab pages to a form along with the best reasons for doing so.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Convert All Checkboxes to Bi-State — Sesame checkboxes have three states by default. But folks often don't need or want the unchecked or "No" state. They want either "Yes" or nothing. Normally, you have to program each checkbox to make it bi-state, but here's a trick where one program automatically converts all checkboxes to bi-state — including those you may add later.

  • Which Tab Am I On? — It's easy to lose track of which tab page you're on when they all look pretty much the same. Here's how to instantly know which page you're on without having to color the tabs differently.

  • Duplicate Names Cause Runtime Compile Error — Under certain conditions you can wind up with a layout element that's named the same as the form. You'll get odd behavior, such as the programming testing OK but producing a compile error in Sesame runtime. Here's how to fix the problem.

September 2008 issue summary. . .[order code SEP 08]

All About Program Execution Order
Program Execution Order is a mysterious entity. It’s there, but you don’t see it. You may have never even heard of it. It can be important, vital even. But on the other hand it’s something you can do without. It's the order in which On-Form-Change or "Calc" programming statements execute. Find out how this Q&A artifact is translated by Sesame and why you ought not to leave it the way it is.

Change Your Default Printer On-the-Fly in Sesame
MergeFilePrint() is a terrific choice for everyday merge printing. It's much easier to setup than WordMerge or WordMerge Lite, It merges your data in the same format as it appears in your records, prints immediately with no further user interaction, and requires very little programming. But it has a drawback — it always prints to your default printer — until now, that is.

Record Numbering, Duplicates and Linked Things
If you're using X-commands, have subforms, or need to link external files to your records, record numbering can be a vital enabler. But watch out! If you manage to get duplicate record numbers in your database — and there are many ways you can — you're headed for trouble. This article discusses record numbering and duplicate IDs and how to find, fix, and even prevent dups from occurring.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Creating Unique Values in Records for Lookups — If your XLookups don't use matching key values that are guaranteed to be unique, they can easily retrieve the wrong information. Here's a clever technique that lets you search on part of a company name in a way that ensures you get the right "ACME" company. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Adding Blank Lines to Reports — Want an extra line after each report record, but don't want to double space a lengthy value that wraps in the column? Here's the trick.

  • Email Notification when Records Are Added — Got a database you want to tightly control so that you're notified whenever a new record is added. An auto-spawned email with the details of a new record added might be just the ticket.

  • Track Who's Changing Records — How to create a little hidden field that lets admin people find out who modified the record and when.

  • Make Sure Pop-up Lists Wait for the Form to Open — A pick-list designed to pop up on entering the first field will pop up prematurely before the form shows. Here's how to fix that.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Sort Sesame's Selection Lists — Sesame Designer 2.0 includes a bunch of handy new selection lists. For those list where the entries aren't sorted alphabetically, you can force them to an alphabetic sort with a keystroke.

  • 'Global Find' and the @Msgbox that Wasn't — One of these days, after translating a Q&A Q&A 4.0 database, you might see an @Msgbox pop up that you didn't put there. If you do a Global Find (new to Designer 2.0) on "@Msgbox" or its text, you'll never find it. So what is it?

October 2008 issue summary. . .[order code OCT 08]

Add/Update Records in Another Database On-the-Fly
Businesses typically track their customers in one database, and what they sell to them in another. An Inside Sesame reader recently asked if there was a way to have Sesame automatically update a customer's record from a new estimate, rather than having to go into the customers database to update the record beforehand. That's easy. And you can do a whole lot more than that:

  • You can make corrections or additions to the address fields in, say, a new sales order, and have Sesame automatically and transparently update the customer's record with those corrections or additions.

  • When entering an order for a new customer, Sesame can automatically create the new customer record on-the-fly.

  • Adding a new order can also update an Order History subform in the customer’s record — a jazzy capability you probably haven’t seen until now.

We show you how to do all this. Plus there's a sample application in this month's subscriber download file that does it all.

XResultSet — Start With a Successful Search
Sesame 2.0 introduced the family of XResultSet commands. And they’re wonderful. Just ask anyone who’s used them. An XResultSet is a “virtual table” of data you can work with in any way you like. In this article, we don't cover all the things you can do with XResultSet, just the most important thing — the  very first step in any XResultSet program: retrieving the right records.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Keep Track of Your Design Progress — Several ways to sensibly document the modifications you make to an application. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Execute Subform Programming from the Main Form — How to use the FormRunProgram() command to remotely run subform programming.

  • Use Sesame to Get Info From the Web — With two addresses in a Sesame record, you can get a map and driving directions with the click of a button.

  • Make XLookups Non-Path Specific — Are those XLookups working okay in Preview mode but bombing after you Reconcile? Here's what the problem is and how to fix it.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • A New and Easy Way to Check for Unique Values — A simple Sesame 2.0 command makes it a snap to ensure that the data you've just entered is unique for that field across the entire database.

  • Use a Single Text field to Store Replaced Data — When you replace some data with newer data, what do you do if you want to keep track of the earlier data as well? It takes just one additional field.

  • Get the Lead Out of Large String Arrays — Manipulating really big string arrays in programming can slow things down and try patience. Here's an option that probably hasn't crossed your mind.

  • Use the List Directory Commands with Care — Sesame 2.0’s @LocalListDirectory() and @ServerListDirectory() are terrific tools for listing the files and folders in a specified directory. But there’s a potential gotcha lurking in both commands.

November 2008 issue summary. . .[order code NOV 08]

An Easier Way to Turn a Q&A Line-items Database
Into a Relational Application
You can forget what you might know about migrating a Q&A line-items database (invoices, sales orders, donation receipts) to Sesame. Here's a novel approach that eliminates the most tedious steps, saving you gobs of time and effort.

See More Data, Do Less Work with an Interactive Sesame Add-in
You've never seen anything like it. This application supercharger looks and works like it was just made for Sesame. You design it yourself, so it costs only the time you spend creating it. It's infinitely customizable with colors, fonts, buttons, dropdowns, tables and even images. You can pop it up from anywhere in Sesame to display your data in ways you never thought possible. And it can even update your databases for you. Sample application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Translate and Convert Multi-Year Databases — Are you one of those who copied their Q&A database every year to start a new one? And now you're scratching your head over how turn them into a Sesame application? Help is here.

  • Natural vs. Relational Subforms — What are the real differences? And what are you looking at in terms of functionality and performance issues?

  • Check Your Q&A Number Field Formats Before Translating — You can save yourself a whole lot of time and confusion by taking a few simple steps before translating that Q&A database.

  • Print Preview Reports in Internet Explorer 7 — Windows Vista hides a host of features that can make it easier to preview and print your Sesame reports. Here's how to unhide them.

  • Get Rid of Deleted Fields Permanently — When you delete layout elements from a Sesame form, the database fields they were bound to are still there — and they'll stay there forever unless you know what else you have to do.

  • Sum Up Subform Values — Two simple methods to make Sesame automatically add up your subform number or money fields and put the totals in fields on the parent form.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Quickly Select All Report Elements — Ever needed to select all the elements in a report layout? (Doin' the Shift-click boogie.) You know the time and care it takes. Here's an undocumented trick that selects all the LEs in one go.

  • How to Use 'ThisElement' — Knowing how and where to use this special Sesame location reference can save you time and programming.

  • Font Smoothing Can Improve Sesame's Looks — If you use Sesame on a notebook or flat screen monitor, here's a simple Windows setting that can give your applications a free face lift.

  • Be Careful of @Newline() in Reports — @Newline() (new line) doesn't work in Sesame reports the same way it does in form programming. It can catch you out big time with @XLookupSourceListAll().

Keep Track of Your Music, Photo, Archived Data Files with the CD/DVD Cataloger — For home, office, or both, our industrial-strength CD/DVD Cataloger helps you quickly find that certain something in your collection of compact disks. 

December 2008 issue summary. . . [order code DEC 08]

Too Many Lookup Tables?
Sesame permits just one Q&A-style lookup table per application. So if you're looking to migrate several Q&A databases to a single Sesame app — and more than one of them contains a lookup table — you could be in for a long haul. Here's a fresh, time-saving approach that lets you keep all those Q&A lookup tables just as they are and merge them all into the same Sesame app.

Watch Out for Read-Only Fields in Shared Applications
Did you know that your read-only fields can suddenly become editable when two users access the same record? We tell you the mechanism that allows this to happen and what you can do to safeguard your read-onlies so they stay that way no matter what.

My Favorite Sesame.ini File Settings
With the release of Sesame 2.1, another batch of look, feel and performance enhancements have been made accessible via the sesame.ini startup file. Here are our editor's top 12 picks for settings most likely to improve your Sesame experience.

WordMerge Crosses the Finish Line
The venerable drop-in program we developed back in the early days to simplify merging Sesame data with MS Word documents scales the final hurdle. Recently, a way was discovered to merge large blocks of multi-paragraph text. Now there isn't anything WordMerge can't handle. New paste-in WordMerge program included in this month's download file.

Get a Quick Count of Recurring Values
In some databases a count of recurring values in certain fields can be useful, such as how many people or organizations from each country you have, or how many customers you have from each ZIP Code in your market area. You don't need to toil over a report design for this. We give you a program you can drop into any form for quick counts on any fields you specify.

New Add-In Formats Export Data — and More
If you do data exports, you're gonna love this new custom export dialog developed by Inside Sesame Labs. You an drop it into any form. Not only does it let you save export files to your local PC (in client/server mode, Sesame does not), it gives you formatting options for dates, money, numbers and Booleans for complete control over your export data.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Discounting Blanks When Searching on Dates — Here's hands-down the easiest way to search for earlier than dates without having Sesame include all the records where the date field is empty.

  • Export Data to a Local Drive — In client/server mode, exported data is always saved on the server. Here's an inventive way to beat that restriction.

  • Fix Translated Report Retrieve Specs to Ensure Correct Reports — If your old Q&A reports aren't including the right records in Sesame, here's the problem and how to fix it.

  • Create a Restricted Drop-Down (Combo) Box — Want to make it so users are restricted to just the items on a combo box's list? Here's how. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Create a Specialized Spelling Dictionary — With the release of Sesame 2.1, interactive spell checking finally arrives. If you have a lengthy list of specialized words (such as medical or legal terms) that you need to add to the dictionary, we show you how to do it in short order.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Easily Move Multiple Report Elements in One Go — Ever needed to move a group of layout elements from one report section to another? You probably didn't know it was even possible.

  • Checking for Multiple Strings in a String Array — You probably know how to find the position of a certain string in a string array. But how do you determine, in a single call, if two or more particular strings are in the string array?

  • Automatically Delete Old Report Files — As you run your reports day in and day out, the number of report files in your system can really stack up. Here's an easy way to make Sesame automatically and silently delete those old report files for you each morning.

  • Follow the Bouncing Form — Does your data entry form sort of jiggle and bounce around as you move from field to field? Here's why and what you can do about it.