A simple, two-column table can be a very useful data input form. These tables are easy to create, easy to send to a client, easy to complete, and easy to process.
To create the form, simple draw a two column table in a Word document. Type into the left column the variables you want to gather from the client. (The brackets are optional. If you want to provide a form for the client or customer to complete, you may choose to omit the brackets.) Leave the right column blank. E.g.
[Client City, ST ZIP]
(You can copy and paste the above table into a Word document if you wish as a starter sample.)
Save the table as a Word document.
If you want the client to complete the form, email it to him or her with a request to complete the data in the right column. If an office staffer is charged with completing the form, the staffer would simply recall the form and fill in the data at the right from the client's hand written intake sheet.
The only drawback to the above form is its looks. The form looks boxy and, if you intend the client or customer to complete the form, it is not very professional looking. Further, the variable names that appear at the left may not be friendly or descriptive enough for the end user to know without assistance what is being requested. But if appearances are a secondary concern (or you plan to use the form for 'in-house' data collection only), nothing beats the simplicity of a two column table.
NOTE: You can mail the form as an attachment to a email, or simply as the body of the email. (Make sure you select HTML or Rich Text as the email 'format.' If you send in 'plain text,' the table will be lost.)
When completed and returned by the client/customer in a reply email, just copy the table and paste it into a Word document.
Scraping the data:
When the form is complete, tell Pathagoras to create the records following these steps:
•Press Alt-D to call up the Instant Database form.
•Press the red Power Tools button
•Click the 'Import' button and select 'Import data from two column onscreen form'.
•The Instant Database screen will populate with the variable names and associated values. Continue in the normal manner to save the record.
•Don't forget: some clients are not good spellers. They don't always accurately remember dates. You still need to check behind the informant.