Microsoft Access can import database HELP LINE

October 05, 1998|By James Coates | James Coates,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

I am using a DOS database program called PFS File. This has served me in my self-employed piano-tuning business. Is it possible to use a Windows program, such as Works, Corel, etc., type in the database format form I use and transfer all my customer data into that program? Otherwise I'll have to individually type in each.

A solution is relatively easy using a good database program such as Microsoft Access, which allows you to import data and build database forms - such as your billing or tune-up reminder lists - around them. To do this you save your current PFS File data in what is called comma-delimited text.

You then import that text file into Access and it will come up in a NTC template much like a spreadsheet with a different field in each cell and each record in a new row. The software allows you to create a form including each field and manipulates the resulting database by creating reports.

For example, your report might extract all your customers in DuPage County with Yamahas who haven't been visited in two years, for example.

This is kind of complex, but a lots of books such as "Microsoft Access 97 for Dummies" are out there to get you going.

I recently purchased my very first computer, a state-of-the-art very fast and efficient notebook. I didn't expect to be using this indispensable little gadget as much as I am.

My problem, however, is comfort. Just where exactly should my body, hands, etc., be positioned? I find myself inching forward on my chair, hunched over, head cocked. Please clue me in as to the do's and don'ts of laptop ergonomics.

Asking this writer questions about computer posture is akin t asking Evel Knievel for motorcycle safety tips. We both have the X-rays to prove that we're far from perfect exemplars of ergonomic excellence.

In a superb recent article, Bob Condor, the Chicago Tribune's resident expert on workplace wellness, reported that specialists all but unanimously agree that how one holds one's hands over the keyboard and the angle of the display screen from the user's line of sight are the two biggest issues.

Since your laptop is impossibly bad on both counts, the best advice is to make sure that you take frequent breaks and try to sit up straight while working with the new laptop.

Since this probably won't happen, let me suggest that you buy a proper monitor, a keyboard and a trackball and hook all three into your laptop while at home.

Monitors plug into the back of the vast majority of laptops but you'll need to find a "Y" splitter with most notebooks to connect both the keyboard and trackball. Most big computer stores carry these splitters.

Pub Date: 10/05/98

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