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Giving 'context' to variables

Views: 3325 Created: 07/14/2013 09:02 am Last Updated: 07/14/2013 09:23 am 0 Rating/ Voters

Q.  I have a variable that I have labelled [Name] and multiple choice variable called [he/she/they]. In context, these variables make sense, but in the Instant Database listing they do not. Is there anyway to give context to the variables? 

A.  Absolutely. Three ways.

  1. In most cases, you can just change the name of the variable. A variable such as [Name], [Address] or [Date] when displayed on the Instant Database screen is far too vague for an end user to be able to know what you mean. Here, it is better to use more descriptive variables like [Name of Client], [Customer Street Address], [Date of Contract], etc.
  2. Okay, we know that a multiple choice variable such as [he/she/they] cannot be made better with just a better 'name'. For that one, you need 'prefix' identifier. A prefix can be as simple as a word or two describing the party or entity to which the pronouns relate. Example: [client:he/she/they]. The colon (:) separating the prefix from the main variable does the trick.
  3. But what if you have [he/she/they] and [him/her/their] and [his/her/their] scattered throughout the document and you want to tie them together? Again it's easy. Here, instead of the simple prefix as in 2, above, add a groupname. A group name is any text, from a single character up to 36 characters surrounded by exclamation marks. The groupname is placed as a prefix just inside the opening bracket. E.g., [!client!he/she/they] and [!client!him/her/their] and [!client!his/her/their]. When processed within the Instant Database screen, all members of the same group are automatically processed in tandem. Read more about groupnames here.