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  1. #1
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    database info to database program (Word 2000)

    I've developed a client mailing list in Word using mail merge for label making. It's time to move on up to something more sophisticated, but I do not want to move over to Access (too complicated by reputation, too expensive). I was thinking of Filemaker Pro, but I do not know whether the data stored in Word is easy to move over. Since I know absolutely nothing about database programs, the answer may be as easy as "of course!"--which would be a nice change of pace. Bottom line, what is easy, flexible and works?

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    Quite honestly, Access CAN be VERY easy to use, of VERY difficult. It all depends on what you are trying to do.

    A simple Contact DB would be easy to set up. The hardest part about setting up databases is setting up the table structure properly. If you do that properly from the start, then the rest is gravy.

    I can't comment on Access bering expensive , since I always get Office Proffessional Versions, which include Access.

    Access can be easy. Access is VERY flexible (I know folks that use Access for simple stuff at home, to folks that use Access as a Enterprise-wide Solutions across multiple remote location). Access will work very easily as a Word datasource.

    Bottom line: Try Access, you may be supprised at the power, flexibility and esae of use of it.

    Just my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> CAD worth.
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    Unfortunately common sense isn't so common!!
    Visit my website for useful Word, Excel and Access code, templates and Add-Ins

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    There's a simple database at http://www.thewordexpert.com/downloads.htm#MyAddiesBook

    You'll see mention of an extreme version. It's complete, but not uploaded to my web yet. You (and anyone else) can email me for it.

    "too complicated by reputation": People don't follow the rules for properly creating tables in Access and then wonder why they cannot get anything to work. In over 4 years of software support, 99% of problems people had with their databases was the bad layout of the data in their tables.

    "too expensive": Not for the capability it provides.

    Filemaker Pro -vs- Access? You'll find lots more free help on Access on the web than you will on Filemaker Pro.

    Just opining...

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    I have to second what Bryan and Dreamboat said about Access. I think you will find that it is no more difficult than Filemaker Pro or other simple databases, if you are trying to do straightforward things. In particular, there is a template that will build a simple Contact Management system for you and you should be pretty well set. On the other hand, mail merges using an Access database are a bit more complex than using a Word or Excel document, mostly because you have much greater flexibility in what you can do in Access by using a query as your data source. In addition, if you already own the standard version of Office, you can upgrade to the professional version for a price that isn't much different from what you would pay for another database product.

    Bottom line, Access is easy if you don't ask it to do complicated things, it works as well as or better than any other desktop database, and it is more flexible than any other competing product.
    Wendell

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    We use FileMaker Pro a lot (5.0 and 5.5), and in many ways it is much easier than Access, which we also use a lot (Access 2000). Some of this ease of use is due to limitations built in to the product. For example:
    <UL><LI>There is only one "table" per "file" in FileMaker. FileMaker opens other files on the fly when you define relationships between tables. For a single-table solution, FileMaker is a joy; for multi-table, it can be more confusing than Access.

    <LI>When you add fields in FileMaker, you can have them automatically added to the layout (form) currently on the screen. Layouts are a bit less finicky in FileMaker than in Access, but you don't have the same field-level control (e.g., and event that triggers a macro when the user changes a field).

    <LI>To perform a query in FileMaker, instead of using a wizard or building a query in a design matrix, you press Ctrl+F and your form turns into a query-by-example screen. Press Ctrl+B to return to data entry/edit mode. Press Ctrl+U to preview the form as it would print. Press Ctrl+L to modify the layout. By having everything work off a small set of layouts, rather than elements scattered over several tabs, the user stays very centered. (However, the Layout List pop-up gets hard to navigate if you go beyond the number of items that fit on one screen.) To do this in Access probably takes a bit of programming.[/list]Regarding interoperability, FileMaker supports ODBC in and out, so you could use it for Word merges. Note that the database product must be running in order to support this; the driver cannot read from the data file itself. FileMaker has built-in TCP/IP networking, so if you start the product, choose File|Open... and click Hosts, you can connect to any open database shared over your network. Although FileMaker offers a server products, for a small number of users, you won't need it. (Neither FileMaker nor Access should be run over a WAN, even at T1 speed.)

    To get your data into either product, you probably would convert it to a comma- or tab-separated format. Conceivably, it would be easiest to first convert it to Excel and then to the database, but I haven't had to do this for so long...

    To get other questions answered, such as "has anyone successfully done X," you can visit the FileMaker newsgroup, comp.databases.filemaker using the Outlook Express newsreader or http://groups.google.com/.

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    Hi Grover:
    One additional thing you might consider if the size of your datasource is getting too big for Word, is Excel.

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    In addition to what others have said, it seems you're pretty much on your way to converting the Word table into a form Access can use.

    As mentioned, you could convert the word table into comma-delimited text (or other delimited forms) and import that into Access or most other DB programs. For that, you'd select the table and, in Word 2000, select the Convert table to text under the Table menu item.

    Another way, is to go thru Excel:
    - copy the Word table to the clipboard and paste into Excel
    - save the Excel file
    - in Access, you can get External Data (under the file menu) when creating a new table where 1 choice is to get an Excel file (for some strange reason, you can't get a Word file that is a table directly from Access although Word will accept an Access table for mail-merge). I don't use other DB programs but I'd think they'd have the ability to get external data already in table form as stored by at least some other programs.

    HTH

    Fred

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    I'm sorry I offended any Access users, but I would quite literally like to "pour" my Word document into a database program and then make selections of data with virtually no further effort. It's not about laziness either; I am currently learning Adobe Illustrator in my spare time, and that baby sucks up time like a vacuum cleaner.

    In the literature involving Filemaker Pro 6.0, it seems like someone can pour in data from an Excel spreadsheet. I don't use Excel, but another possibility was to convert my Word document into an Excel table using a converter with Word and try it that way.

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    Re: database info to database program (Word 2000)

    I don't think anyone is offended - as a group however we tend to use Access because of it's power. For a simple task like you are considering I don't see much difference in the two. Just as with Filemaker, I can take an Excel spreadsheet and import the data into a new table, and it will take the first row for field names, or I can simply link to it and work with the data. Word can then be used to either do merges from the table, or you can create a query and restrict the data in some fashion. Since you've been doing that in Word, you can simply work with the table and do your filtering in Word. One advantage of Access is that it will be started automatically by Word when you open your merge document. Filemaker would need to be started before hand. I think the bottom line here is that you probably will want to take your Word document and make it an Excel workbook. Then you can use that as the source for your merge, and you don't need either database. On the other hand, if the merge data is constantly being updated, you should probably seriously consider a database. For one thing, Excel is a single user, while Access can be used by several people. Hope this puts things in perspective a bit more.
    Wendell

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