Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
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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 is 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 2013 issue summary. . . [order code JAN 13]

@Number Nirvana
Got a multiple-database Q&A system with multiple @Numbers to migrate? Mindful that Sesame supports just one @Number per application and doesn't migrate @Number as an Initial Value, our Fresh & Easy approach to @Numbering in Sesame gives you the capabilities of the old program with hardly any work in the new one. Toolkit helper file included in this month's download file.

Automatically Unlock Files and Start Sesame Server
In past issues we've shown a variety of ways to use Windows Tasklist in batch files to simplify Sesame Server-related tasks. Some of these methods report whether Sesame is currently running or not. Others unlock specific applications and then start Sesame Server. Here's a comprehensive solution that does it all. Sample batch files included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Words to the Wise Developer — A few other things to keep in mind before starting out on a new database design.

  • Same Database in Multiple Views — Suppose you needed to compare two records in the same database by having both of them right in front of you. What are your options?

  • Add a 'Calc Record' Button to Your Form — There's no Calculate option on the Sesame commands panel. So just how do you make a custom button run a form calc?

  • Looked-Up Lists Going All to Pieces — The most likely reason why your new picklist looks like it was dragged under a bus for three miles.

  • Backup Recommendations — A few things to keep in mind Sesame-wise when it comes to backup options.

  • Windows 8 — the Good, the Bad, the Ugly — We're still liking Sesame's zippy performance in Windows 8. But there are some not-so-hot — and a few downright awful — behavioral and productivity issues with the slick new O/S.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Simplify Summing Similar Fields — Got a series of fields to sum up with any change to the record? Make that programming as efficient as can be.

  • Calculating an Expiration Date — Type in the number of issues and have Sesame tell you the subscription expiration month and year. Sample application included in this month's download file.

February 2013 issue summary. . . [order code FEB 13]

Reports That Fetch Records
While reviewing a report, have you ever wished you could simply click on a row and bring  that record up? Sesame is magical, but not that magical. Or is it?

A Consultant's (or Geek's) Best Friend
If you’re a computer consultant, application designer, IT pro, or just a plain ol’ geek who everyone comes to for computer advice, you might find this little Sesame application indispensable. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Managing Temporary Test Dates
For testing time-sensitive reports and procedures where ranges like new customers month-to-date or last month's sales are in play, you can't simply change your computer's date like you could in the olden days. You have to work smarter and safer.

Map-Enable Your Records & Reports
Online street maps can be helpful when scheduling field personnel or estimating how long it should take your delivery trucks or service guys to get from point A to point B. We show how to pop up Google Maps from your records and reports with the destination address automatically plugged in.

Planning a Sesame Application — Look Before You Leap, Part II
The saga continues. Tons of helpful references on virtually every aspect of application planning and design.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Popup Lists Inconsistency Fixed — Hard to imagine how an insignificant little space in the wrong place can foil some lookups but not others. We resolve this head-scratcher.

  • The Right Way to Stop Sesame Server — A reader wants to know why he can't simply stop Sesame Server via Windows Task Manager.

  • Find Out What's Changing — Stumped as to why calculations are occurring in some records (prompting you to save the record) but not others? Here's how to track down the culprit.

  • Blanking Number Fields — You're not in Q&A anymore. Why you have to change your approach in Sesame to keep unused number fields truly blank so those unsightly goose eggs don't show up in reports and merges.

  • Export to Excel Redux — A quick tutorial on migrating Sesame data to an Excel workbook.

  • Sesame Server's -daemon Startup Switch — A reader uses his own PC to serve up Sesame for himself and two coworkers. Problem is, when he minimizes his Sesame client then later on tries to bring it back up, he inadvertently clicks on the wrong Sesame icon. Fortunately, a little taskbar trick restores sanity.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Trouble With the Change Flag — Under certain conditions (filling an unbound field, for example) Sesame will set a form-change flag when it shouldn't and you don't want it to. We have the fix.

  • Special Group Sorting for Reports — Suppose you need a single report where all the Group1 records appear first, sorted a certain way, followed the Group2 records with their own sort order. Tricky? Yep. But eminently doable if you establish your sort criteria in the records themselves.

  • More Label View for Table View — Two problems with table view subforms are squeezing all the fields you need into a row that fits the parent form’s width, and labeling those fields in a way that makes them readily identifiable. We're more than happy to help you with the latter.

March 2013 issue summary. . . [order code MAR 13]

Website Favorites — Sesame Style
Light years beyond browser-enabled "Favorites" and "Bookmarks," this handy little database helps you really organize your favorite web sites, including ones requiring logins and passwords. Cool click-and-browse features, too. Ready-to-use  application included in this month's download file.

Simplify Converting a Q&A Line-Items Database
In past issues we've taken some of the pain out of turning a line-items-style Q&A database into a productive, space-saving Sesame Table View subform. Now we've made it even easier.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Export/Import Data with Carriage Returns — Everything you need to know about migrating data that contains carriage returns.

  • Creating Records in the Wrong Mode — We've all done it at one time or other — attempted to add a new record without realizing we're in Search mode. Here are some tips that might help you and your users avoid the trap.

  • Custom Menu Avoids Wrong Mode Syndrome — A more sensible way to ensure that you're actually in Add mode when adding new records.

  • Sort Table View Subforms — A lot of folks miss seeing this in Sesame's menu system. But it's essential when you need to sort your subrecords.

  • Calculate Data from External Database — How to perform on-the-fly calculations on data being looked-up from another database.

  • Email to Multiple Email Addresses — Got a database with more than one email address field in it? Here's how ensure that your email goes to all of them.

  • Don't Count Blank in Reports — We straighten an errant reader out on the correct (and only) way to prevent Sesame from including blank values in a summary count.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Rarely-Used Sesame Function Empowers Conditionals — It's a programming function you may have never used or didn't even know existed. But boy does it have some nifty capabilities.

  • Auto-run a Procedure on First Login of Day — Got an under-the-hood @XResultSetRunProgram-style mass update or web site upload that needs to automatically run once a day? Here's the essential ingredient.

  • Dropdowns for Table View Subforms — Sesame pop-ups can't be made to pop up where you want them while working in a table subform — until now.

  • Reports Not Looking Quite Right? — It might be due to this simple missed setting.

  • Printing the Sesame Slate — Ever print out the contents of Sesame's WriteLn() window only to find yourself straining to read the tiny output? You missed a little something that has always been there.

  • Get Faster Programmed Retrieves — Retrieves that use programming functions such as @Date can be slower than molasses. But you can speed them up big time with this little-known trick.

April 2013 issue summary. . . [order code APR 13]

Build a (Popular) Popup Emailer
More and more these days, database users want the ability to fire off emails right from their database records. This super-convenient little Sesame-style popup emailer does it all — even file attachments — on demand.

Complex Searches XResultSet Style
This article explores advanced XResultSet-style search techniques in terms of the kinds of through-the-form searches you've been doing, not just since the advent of Sesame, but since way back in the halcyon days of Q&A. Need a combination AND/OR search? Here's how to get it.  Sample application included in this month's download file.

When Sesame Has No Port In the Storm
All of a sudden, nobody can connect with Sesame Server. It might have absolutely nothing at all to do with Sesame — or the server computer, for that matter.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • DSR Files Gone Following System Restore — A few things you can do to save yourself from this disaster-in-waiting.

  • Barcode Reader Automation — A reader using a barcode scanner on his inventory items needed a way to automate the process of creating new database records. And to the rescue we came. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • WordMerge Gets Another Tweak  — Say "hello" to real double-quote marks in your merged data — and to more reliable WordMerge performance as well.

  • Changing Internal Pseudo Passcodes — When you need programming-based runtime passcode protection for private or security-related tasks, here's an easy way to change that passcode after you've temporarily given it to a another.

  • Sort Subforms Using the Spec Window — Why is it so difficult for folks to figure out how to sort their subforms? It's right there in front of their eyes.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Speed-Up Sluggish ...{@Date...}-Style XResultSet Searches — Last month in "Faster Programmed Retrieves," we showed how to supercharge through-the-form record retrievals when using traditional programmed search criteria like >{@Date - 60}. Though that magic trick doesn't work with XResultSet searches, we conjured up another one that does.

  • Cleaner Report Column Headings — Improve the look of your report column headings with this simple two-click upgrade.

May 2013 issue summary. . . [order code MAY 13]

Post Payments PDQ
Businesses that do a lot of billing and receive a lot of checks each day could use a little help with getting those payments into their system. Fortunately, regardless of the invoice design or how the payment information is normally entered, the entire exercise can be hugely simplified with a little Sesame-style payment processing helper. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Saving User-Specific Retrieve Specs
An inventive approach to creating, saving and reusing routinely-needed retrieve specs for each user.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Make On-Form-Entry Program Fire On First Record Only — Need a program to execute only on the first record in Add or Search mode? Here's how to do it.

  • Leverage the Power of ClientLocalValues — Variables you can set, reset and re-use throughout an entire  Sesame session. (Hint: they're not GlobalValues, they're personal.Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Line Up Those Field Labels  — Trying to get your labels and fields to align vertically down the form? We show you to do it.

  • Clear a Bad Entry or Reset the Entire Record — You inadvertently selected the wrong customer and now a host of fields have been auto-filled with incorrect information. We show several ways to set things right without having to manually clear all of those fields.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Instantly Find the Right Record in a Sorted Subform Stack — New Sesame users can be left scratching their heads when searching a Form View subform. They expect it to behave like a normal form, but it doesn’t always cooperate. Here's why and what you can do about it.

  • Placing Static Text On a Line or Box Element — When you place a static text box on a line, the line shows through it. If only there was a way to make the text cover the line.

  • Get Off My Record! — When you land on a locked record, it can be helpful to know who's sitting on it. Sesame can tell you that, except under certain conditions.

  • Line Separator for Report Column Headings — a cool trick that repeats your report column headings and their separator lines on every page.

June 2013 issue summary. . . [order code JUN 13]

Gang-Printing Photos
If you should ever need to automate the process of organizing photos from a group of records to print to a single sheet of paper, here's an elegant and surprisingly simple solution. Sample application included in this month's download file.

The Well-Tempered XResultSet
@XResultSetSearch is a powerful tool. But with that power comes responsibility. Bad things can happen if you don't get things exactly right.

Speed Up Your WordMerges
Your MS Word merges can slow to a crawl with forms containing a large number of fields. This daring backdoor technique tells the WordMerge program in advance which fields the target merge doc actually contains, enabling WordMerge to limit its processing and output to just the fields needed. Sample VBA script  included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Help Me Program — Sesame's Program Editor has some nifty optional features that can elevate programming tasks from aggravating to agreeable.

  • Mass Update Rules of the Road — A little refresher course on the power and pitfalls of Sesame Mass Updates.

  • Email Merge to Multiple Email Addresses  — If you've every tried to run an MS Word-to-Outlook email merge with multiple email addresses in a record, chances are you've been stopped cold. The workaround is surprisingly simple.

  • Sesame Element Names vs. Labels — Here's something you could get away with in Q&A but you can't in Sesame. The result can be confusing until you understand what Sesame does with those flakey field names you've tried to assign.

  • Automate Annual Recall Dates — Annual checkups in a doctor's office. Your patient record should show the date of the last visit as well as automatically calculate the date of the next one based on the current visit date.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Check For an About-To-Be Duped Record Across Multiple fields — In a situation where you need to compare two or more fields in a new record to see if their values occur in the same fields in another record, Sesame’s @XResultSetSearch can come in handy.

  • Partial Record Copying Revisited — A goof-proof pushbutton technique for copying a portion of a database record to start a new record.

  • Give Your Saved Sort Specs Useful Names — That way you'll know exactly what they do.

  • Document Your App In the App — Every developer needs a place to store some reminder notes about the application. Here's as good a place as any.

July 2013 issue summary. . . [order code JUL 13]

Reports That Print Multiple Records Across
In a normal columnar report, Sesame prints the records strictly down the page. But did you know that you can refine your layout to print records across then down? Need two, three or more records across? We show you how with a generic report design.

Is It a Table View on Steroids Or an Interactive Report?
Need more from Sesame's Table View? Wish your reports were more versatile? Part custom table view, part editable report — depending on how you want to use it — a new PowerView popup from the Inside Sesame Labs might be just what you're after.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Printing Multiline Fields in Forms — Alternate forms can be a terrific way to simplify printing tasks — as long as you know a few important ground rules.

  • Find Your Newest Records — For databases that don't contain fields specifying when the record was created or last modified, here are some options you have for finding the latest and oldest records.

  • Quickly Clear All Custom Helps and Other Things  — Sesame Designer has some handy tools for setting or removing properties on groups of fields.

  • Creating System Folders with Customer Names — If you're planning to use customer's company names as folder names in your computer's file system, these few basics will keep you out of trouble. 

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Click Open a Client's Folder — Some businesses store clients’ electronic files and docs (PDF’s, photos, etc.) in their file system. This handy button opens the client's folder in the familiar Windows Explorer — and offers to create a new folder if it doesn't already exist.

  • Validate (and Format) Credit Card Numbers — This checksum routine run on a major credit card tells you instantly if the number is valid.

  • When Translated/Imported Report Elements Lose Their Formatting — This simple trick saves you from having to delete then re-add these elements.

  • List All Your Reports In a Handy Popup — Sesame won't allow two reports with the same name in an application. If your app contains lots of reports with more on the way, this informative little popup could come in handy

August 2013 issue summary. . . [order code AUG 13]

Basic Billing Report-Style
Sesame's report writer doesn't lend itself well to complex business documents like invoices, sales orders and purchase orders. Or does it? Can you say Freeform? We show how to design serviceable invoices, packing lists and the like that can be previewed, printed and even emailed from your browser simply by clicking on the report name in Sesame's built-in commands panel. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Designing a Sesame Widget Popup
Few people know that Sesame comes with a built-in toolkit that enables you to design all kinds of runtime popups for gathering information from users. Never heard of @OpenWindow and @RunWindow? Now you will. And you'll see how they can add a powerful new dimension to your data entry. 

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Sesame Reports, Internet Explorer, and Excel — A powerful feature that many Sesame users took advantage of in Internet Explorer 8 disappeared in later versions of IE. Now it's back — well, sort of.

  • Simplify Effective Data Entry Messaging — Data entry error-trapping messages can be critically important in some databases. But tools like @Msgbox warnings can be more bothersome than helpful. Here's a way to inform users when they need informing without interrupting their data entry flow.

  • Change Form Size With the Property Editor  — The easiest way to resize your form to the exact dimensions you need.

  • Creating and Using Backups Properly — Oops! Somebody inadvertently opened a backup copy of the application and worked for hours in it while others worked in the real application. What a mess. Here's a way to prevent this from happening.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Auto-Run Nightly Sesame Procedures — Need a way to have Sesame automatically run one or more automated procedures at night? This should get you started.

  • Date Search Anomaly in Table Subform — We found a glitch when manually searching a subform on multiple criteria that include an @Date parameter. Fortunately, we also found an easy workaround.

September/October 2013 issue summary. . . [order code SEP 13]

Lookup ZIP Codes On the Fly From USPS Website
When entering a street address into your database, wouldn’t it be nice if Sesame could automatically retrieve the official 9-digit ZIP code directly from the US Postal Service website and drop it right into the ZIP Code field? That’s exactly what we're going to show you how to do. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Children Controlling Their Parents
A case study involving a special kind of report where parent records must be excluded from the report when certain conditions prevail in any of that parent's child records. It's kind of an upside-down approach, but you'll find out when and how such a report can be a real problem solver and how to design one yourself should the need ever arise.

Building a Pop-up Window Builder
Last month we introduced you to Sesame's @OpenWindow and @RunWindow commands that enable you to design all kinds of runtime pop-ups for gathering information from users. In this month's follow-up, we provide you with a toolkit that makes creating these handy  pop-ups a lot easier.  Sample application included in this month's download file.

Sesame lacks a VBA/Excel-like NOW() function that returns both the current date and time. Without it, date/time calcs can be a hassle. But not to worry. Here's an innovative approach to finding out if a new date and time — for an appointment, for example — occurs between other appointment dates and times already in the database. The technique reduces date/time combinations to simple, sortable decimal numbers that can then be easily compared.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Allow a Field to Be Changed (Sometimes) — Three ways to protect a field from changes, but still enable it to be changed when it really needs changing. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Auto-Scroll Your Form — Don't Do It! — A reader wants to know how to use command buttons to scroll his lengthy form between major sections. A better solution is to organize the form into Tab Pages that don't look like Tab Pages.

  • MS Office, Internet Explorer, and Sesame Update — With an eye on retaining the ability to open your Sesame reports in Excel, here are some timely details you need to know about Internet Explorer and MS Office 13.

  • Mass Update to Append to Existing Data  — How to append entries to Keyword fields using a Mass Update.

  • 'Earlier Than' Date Search Dilemma — The one essential thing you need to keep in mind when searching for "earlier-than" dates.

  • Translated Data Gone? Probably Not — When you believe you've deleted some fields from a translated Q&A database (then find out you really need some of them back), chances are they're not gone at all and are easy to restore. We show you how to do it.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Fix Broken Fonts in Reports — Baffled by your browser's refusal to display your reports with the fonts you chose in Designer? Try this clever fix.

  • Fonts Looking Strange in Reports — This companion tip offers another way to make your report fonts appear as designed.

  • Sesame's Importer Smarter Than You Might Think — When you need to import a plain text data file into a database, how do you tell Sesame what kind of delimiter the file uses. Or do you really need to? This tip also shows how to import text files using a simple program.

November/December 2013 issue summary  [order code NOV 13]

User-Updatable Field Restrictions — Q&A, Sesame and Alt-F7
Q&A and Sesame don’t deal with field restrictions in the same way. This probably isn’t news to you. But what might be of interest is how you can make Sesame restrictions behave more Q&A-like — if that’s what you’re after. For example, you can have restrictions checked on-field-exit instead of on-record-exit, prevent blank and unchanged restricted fields from being endlessly flagged, mimic Q&A’s optional Alt-F7 pop-up restrict values pick-list, and even update your restrictions right in Sesame runtime.

Supercharged Date Popup Slated for Next Release
Check out this snazzy new calendar widget that enables you to hide the year and month navigation buttons, prompt for multiple dates, limit the range of dates that can be selected, exclude weekends and/or specific dates, control the its appearance, and even make it pop up right where you want it.

Background Color — A Many Splendored Thing
A cavalcade of colorful conceptions for making your forms easy on the eyes and easy to follow. Box elements, layers, tabs and even background images can all be used to colorize and otherwise spruce up your data entry forms.

Duplicating Fields on a Different Form
You might need to add a new field to two forms, or copy a field from one form to another. Rather than go through the process twice from scratch, it’s easier to add one field exactly as you want it on one of the forms, then copy it to the other one. Just be sure to do it exactly right. Otherwise, you'll get yourself in trouble.

_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Get Info From Latest Records In a Database — When starting a new order, this reader needs to pull in certain information from the customer's last order. We show  how Sesame can do that automatically.

  • Mass Update Redux and Primer — All the things you must and must not do when preparing and running a mass update.

  • Restrict/Hide Fields from Some Users — Some terrific angles on using Sesame features to control what certain users are able to see and do in a database.

  • Never 'Update' or 'Fix' Server Computer with Sesame Running  — It was a case of "where's the latest backup?" when the IT guy decided to install a printer driver that crashed the server.

  • Instant-Message Your Users — When you need custom data entry messages but neither tooltips, custom help, @msg, @msgbox nor @askuser fill the bill, here's another option.

  • What Sesame Mode Am I Really In? — You may have seen this. You're working in Add Data mode but the mode indicator box at the top of the form says "Update." What's the story here and what can you do about it?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Self-Confirming Button Click — Some types of tasks requiring a button click don’t provide any visual feedback that anything actually happened. Here's how to reassure the user by momentarily changing the button label.

  • Easy Post-Translation Y2K Date Fix — To fix non-Y2K-compliant dates, you can run one or more corrective mass updates in Q&A prior to translating. But our paste-in generic mass update program can do it in Sesame with a lot less fuss by automatically finding and fixing all the date fields in one go.

  • Convert Decimals to Fractions On-the-Fly with this advanced user defined function.

  • Log File Writing Made Easy — It doesn't get easier than this clever one-liner.

  • Find Out If Another Program is Running — Before running a Sesame procedure, you might need to know if a particular external program is already running. You can do it with this simple Windows Tasklist check that can even tell you if you've got a second copy of Sesame running.

  • What to Do About the 'Bell' Character — This non-keyboard character served a useful purpose in Q&A. It doesn't in Sesame. If you've translated a database containing these special characters, here's what it takes to get rid of them.


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