*Aliases*

  Multiple choice variables used by Pathagoras can get very long. Imagine typing into your document a list of all 50 United States of America.(You can see what it might look like in the box below.) Not only is the footprint very large,but imagine typing it into multiple different documents where a listing of states is required..

   Pathagoras lets you reference a long (however you may define 'long') lists via a device we call an '*Alias*'. An '*Alias*' is simply a word or phrase that represents a multiple item list of items. The alias is identified and recognized as such by Pathagoras when it is enclosed between two asterisks.

   Compare this 'bad' example (a perfectly 'legal' but clear inefficient way to present a list of the 50 United States):

 Travels ‘R’ Us is pleased to advise that we have completed the itinerary for your summer vacation. On the first leg of your trip, we have scheduled you to visit the great state of [Alabama/Alaska/Arkansas/Arizona/California/Colorado/ Connecticut/Delaware/Florida/Georgia/Hawaii/Idaho/Illinois/Indiana/Iowa/Kentucky/Louisiana/Maine/Maryland/ Massachusetts/Michigan/Minnesota/ Mississippi/Missouri/Montana/Nebraska/Nevada/New Hampshire/New Jersey/New Mexico/New York/North Carolina/North Dakota/Ohio/Oklahoma/Oregon/Pennsylvania/Rhode Island/South Carolina/South Dakota/Tennessee/Texas/Utah/Vermont/Virginia/Washington/West Virginia/ Wisconsin/Wyoming].

 

  with this 'good' Example:

 Travels ‘R’ Us is pleased to advise that we have completed the itinerary for your summer vacation. On the first leg of your trip, we have scheduled you to visit the great state of [*States*].

   The values assigned to an alias are stored in a simple Excel spreadsheet. That spreadsheet is named 'multichoice.xlsx' and, by default, is located in the Instant Database folder. You can open, edit, add to, delete from, and otherwise manipulate this spreadsheet at will.

informationThe list of the 50 United States ships with the Demo and Retail versions of Pathagoras. The 'alias' is called  "States”. Therefore, you can copy any of the boxed examples on this page and paste it into a document. Press <Alt-D> to see the described action. To refer to the alias in a variable, use [*States*]; in a simple options call: {*States*}.

Aliases ‘in action’:

   When an alias is encountered, Pathagoras searches the top row of the Multichoice.xlsx spreadsheet for the appearance of the alias term. (In the spreadsheet, the asterisks dont' appear.) It then captures the choices assigned to the alias by reading down the column beneath the term.

(1) With Instant Database, the choices are displayed in a drop down list on the Instant Database screen. (This, of course, is identical to the way multiple choice variables are presented. In other words, while only the *Alias* appears in your document, it is as if you manually typed the entire list of choices in the body of your document. )

(2) With Options blocks (regular or simple), the choices are shown in an overlay screen during initial document processing. (Again, this is identical to the way that Options are presented if each was physically present in the document.)

Notes: When you think of *aliases*, think broadly. They can represent anything that you can think of: a product line, the attorneys in your office, the cities and counties served by your practice. The list can be used time and time again. The same *alias* can even be used in the same sentence, and by changing the language within the variable to reflect a different context, you can get the desired result.  Continuing with the above example:        

 Travels ‘R’ Us is pleased to advise that we have completed the itinerary for your summer vacation. On the first leg of your trip, we have scheduled you to visit the great state of [Leg1*States*] for 4 days, and then you will travel to [Leg2*States*] for three. The return portion of your journey will take you through [Leg3*States*] and [Leg4*States*] (two days each).

  See Also:

 Simple Multiple Choices

 Cascading Options

 Cascading Variables

 Dot Variables (Dot Variables are not aliases, but they are stored in the same spreadsheet as are aliases. This link is for those who wonder about the connection.)

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