Adding and Testing Variables

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Definition: A 'variable' is simply a place holder. It is used hold space for personal data (a name, an address, a value) to be inserted later on.

The process:  At document assembly time, variables that Pathagoras can identify are replaced with personal or client/customer specific information so that the final product is highly personalized for the client, customer or patient.

   To be 'automatic', a variable need only be enclosed within plain text, square brackets.

[This is a variable.]
So are these: [Client Name], [Date of Contract]
NOTE: The red coloring of the brackets in the above examples is not required in your actual documents.
The process of identifying variables is quite automatic in Pathagoras. After you display a document containing variables, press the key combination <Alt-D>.  Pathagoras quickly identifies all variables within the document and presents them to you on an easy to complete screen. (The 'd' stands for 'd'atabase, as in Instant Database)

Your turn:

1.Open a document you want to 'Pathagorize.'  Look for 'personal data' in the document. We are talking about names, addresses, dates, quantities, colors, etc. Anything that is likely to be different from one completed document to the next.
2.Surround each item of 'personal data' with [square brackets]. Then, convert the text now between the brackets to more 'variable sounding' names. So John Doe in the original would become “[Client Name]”; "1221 Main Street" becomes "[Customer Street Address1]“ , etc.
 
That is it. The text now within the [square brackets] are automated variables. In the next exercise, you will see how Pathagoras takes these variables and place them onto and easy to complete input form.

lightbulbsmallPathagoras offers a full range of tools to automate the 'variable creation' process described above. The manual method which we describe above demonstrates how simple the process really is. But when you have lots of replacements to make, you will want to know about the automated methods available. When you are ready, check out the 'Create Variables' Assistant. This link will take you to the main Help Manual, with the page turned to the appropriate topic. But for now, let's stick with the manual method.

Testing your work:

   While we never want you to work on your original documents, it is inevitable as you are testing what you have created. So, we start with a warning. Before testing, save your work in progress.

   Alternatively, and this is a strong recommendation, copy the section of text you want to test to a new document. Test using that copied text.

   With the text you want to test on screen, press the key combination <Alt-D>. This will call up the Instant Database screen.

   If AutoScan is on, your bracketed variables will automatically populate the screen. Otherwise, click the Scan button found in the lower left corner of the screen.

   With all of the document's variables now displayed, provide replacement values for each listed variable (or just a few of them, since you are just testing). Type the replacements in 'normal' typing style (names with upper and lower case letter, everything else probably in just lower case . . . just the way you would normally type the text.)

   Click the Next>> button. Pathagoras will first ask if you want to save the record. (A record is the pairings of the each variable with the personal values you assigned.) Say 'Yes' (this will be your first contribution to Pathagoras' Instant Database) and give the record a name. 'Last Name, First Name' is a good naming convention.

   Review the results. Make sure you DO NOT SAVE this now changed document (or else you will lose your original document). To fix what may need fixing, or modify what needs modifying, close the document without saving it. Reopen the last saved version and make corrections.

   In actual production use, Pathagoras will always present a copy of the source text, never the original. Overwriting an original is not a concern. But as you are testing your setup, you likely will be working from the original. Hence this additional warning.