DropDown List improvements:

   Call Documents by 'substantive name' from DropDown Lists

Many of our customers have called our DropDown Lists the single most powerful tool they use in Pathagoras. We'll take the compliment, and agree as to its power. Not only can you recall any document literally anywhere in your system in two clicks, if you know the name of the document, and if the document exists in one of the folders to which any of your DropDown Lists point, you can instantly recall that document. Simple type that document name (no extension required) to your editing screen, press Alt-G (for 'g'et). BOOM. Pathagoras places a copy of the document right where you called for it. If you haven't tried it, try it now. You will be amazed.

But that's actually old news. We've been doing that for years.(And if you haven't, you should be

This is new stuff: if you use sorting characters (letters, numbers or symbols) at the beginning of your documents' names, Pathagoras allows you to ignore those characters so can recall the document by just its substantive name.

Consider the following document name: "2023-5-TR_Introduction.docx". Assuming the document appears in one of your DropDown Lists, you can call the document to your editing screen by typing this complicated "2023-5-TR_Introduction" followed immediately by  <Alt-G>. That's pretty ugly. With this new feature of Pathagoras, Pathagoras can ignore the prefix and accept "Introduction"<Alt-G> as a valid call. Very intuitive. See discussion and instructions at this link. It's very easy.

   DropDown List Toggle added:

We have added a 'Document Calls Only' toggle to the Process/Suppress cycle. We have found that users are frequently building documents from <<document calls>> attached to documents called from DropDown Lists. Processing the entire document all at once sometimes left text called in via a document call unprocessed. Now you can tell Pathagoras to just process document calls only. When the entire document is assembled using this technique, just press <Alt-P> to process the whole shebang. This new toggle allows a document that contains<<Document Calls>> to insert those <<Document Calls>> where placed, but ignore <<*Options*, *Optional* and *Repeat*>> blocks mixed in. It quite literally allows you the best of both worlds.

DropDown List of a 'List' (Single Word / Short Phrases)

Pathagoras lets you assemble whole documents from a variety of sources into a single unit. But what if you just want to insert a single word or short phrase into your document at a strategic point. Let's say you have a list of all of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream flavors (or short, stock responses to discovery) that you want to save as a simple document, each line containing the single item you want to be able to quickly insert. Pathagoras now allows you to assign the entire content of that document to  DropDown List with each row of the List reflecting exactly what you see. (A quick review: typically each line of a Drop Down List represents an entire document. Click the line and the entire document appears. Here, the individual lines in this special DropDown List represent themselves. A 'click' on the word inserts just that word into your document. Bonus: You can display the list in a 'Clause Selection Screen' and select multiple items. You can literally construct whole sentences from the components in a properly constructed list.

Document Dis-assembly Improvements

We have done a major 're-vamp' of the process and options available to disassemble documents. More intuitive. More automatic.Having a wide variety of clauses to build highly personalized documents is the hallmark of an advanced document assembly system. It was easy to do before (but it had its glitches). Now its even easier. It all starts by highlighting a block of text you want to save as a new clause. Of course, if you are saving the clause to a DropDown List, just select the "Add Text" option in the List. But if you need to save it elsewhere, just press Alt-S. (The old command of Alt-G against highlighted text works too.) And we have updated the Document Dis-Assembly Manual accordingly.

Forms, forms and more forms (here we're talking about Intake Forms).

Since v. 2016, Pathagoras has been able to generate, and then scrape for values when completed, fancy intake forms. We call them 'fancy' because you could make them just that. Pathagoras could generate the essential body and even allowing you to chose how many columns you wanted to start with. After that, you could use your creative talents to 'pretty-fy' the base form. Add color. Resize rows. Change the question to a more user friendly prompt.

But alas, some were looking for a different layout altogether. Instead of the question being answered in the same cell, some of you wanted the prompt in one cell and the user provided answer in the adjacent cell. That would make it easier to 'lock' the question cell so the user just had to tab from answer block to answer block to complete the form.

Some of you wanted to take advantage of Microsoft's really cool 'Content Controls' to present dropdown lists for multiple choice answers and calendars from which dates could be selected. We now provide all those options.

And one of the nicest features is that form creation is so easy. Just display an Instant Database record or mask containing the variables for which you wish to collect information. Press Power Tools and 'Export Variables' and start selecting. You can create any of the various styles in a matter of seconds and chose which one you like the best.

And more importantly, when the client/customer/patient returns the form, you can easily scrape the form for the data and instantly create an Instant Database record.

Instant Database Tools

  'Shrink' record

When you use a long template to import variables, or when you scrape a long and detailed Intake Form (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) the resulting record many have many variables that are not completed. And in many cases those variables are never going to be used for the specific client/customer. Our users have asked 'Is there any way to shrink the Instant Database record down to just the relevant variables?' Yesterday, no. Today, yes. Check out this page.

  Random Value Generator

So let's say you are still developing a document for production use. You want to test out the variables, and the document has 20. You scan the document and the variables appear at the left. To fully test, you need to provide values. And there's the rub. It can be a real pain to fill in what are typically 'fake' values. Pathagoras to the rescue. Now you can have Pathagoras fill in the values for your variables using its random value generator.

[Today] variable

Date arguments and toggles now work with [Today] (So the following are possible [Today(month)]; [Today(day)] See this page for date arguments.) Case is also maintained when arguments used with date variables (including Today).

AskTable answers in 'Packages' can carry forward

You can now tell Pathagoras to apply the answers you give in the AskTable interview in the first document of a package to the second, third, etc. documents in the package. (The default alternative is treat AskTable in the separate documents as a standalone interview. A perfectly fine alternative, and preferred by many.)

'Packages' flaw fixed.

If you selected documents for your packages from different folders using Tree service, only the documents selected from the parent (top-most) folder would automatically be processed. A power user discovered and reported the flaw. Fixed. Thanks, Thomas. Keep those reports coming. We will fix them ASAP.

<<*Repeat* . . .>> command fixed

For the most part, the <<*Repeat*. . .>> command performed as advertised, but when nested inside of tables or inside other commands, the behavior was less consistent. We have ]perfected' the routine in all environments. Famous last words. (Thanks, Bruce, for helping me with this, and presenting so many challenging setups.)


    <<*Repeat*. . . >> and 'True/False' values processed as part of Instant Database routine.

This may be a bit harder to wrap one's head around, primarily because it 'violates' the separation between 'processing' a document (handling the <<*Options* and <<*Optional and <<*Repeat blocks) and 'personalizing' it (replacing [variables] like [Name], [Address], [DOB], etc., with personal data).

We decided to open a hole in the wall in this narrow instance. Why? Because so many users were implementing our scraping tools and really didn't really need to 'process' the document just to run a <<*Repeat* command. The only need was to repeat and properly increment the number of, let's say, the variable [Child]. So if there were 3 children, and their names were scraped from the form as [Child @1], [Child @2] and [Child@3], the Instant Database could then be run immediately after recalling the values scraped (and saved as an IDB record) from the form without being forced into the intermediate 'process' routine.

Okay. That was 'word salad'. But if you have an inkling that this is something you may use, call us for a GoToMeeting session. It's a brand new feature, and we're not even sure where it will take us.