'Fielded' Database Connections

Using 'Mail Merge' links provided in Word:

   While Pathagoras 'essence' is avoiding fields, Pathagoras actually works quite well with source documents that are linked (using 'merge fields') to external databases. The actual process of linking your source documents to your  database(s), however, is covered in a separate publication for advanced users. Check out External Database Connections Manual (pdf file)

   For what it is worth, we have discovered by survey that linking to external databases via Mail Merge is a rarely used feature. Part of it is due to the complexity of creating 'those dreaded fields' to the novice user.

   Even among those who we know to be sophisticated uses of external databases, Pathagoras' IDB is still by far the tool of choice for database functions.

   “Why is that?,” you may ask. “Why would advanced users choose to put their data in twice?”

The main answer is that the data collected by the external systems simply is not the same data needed for the documents being assembled in Pathagoras. (Some is, of course, but not sufficiently enough to make the effort at linking everything together worthwhile.)

Take, for example, a Last Will & Testament. The external database might contain the names of the Will's maker and his or her spouse, but rarely would the external database contain the names of every beneficiary or the Executor's or Guardian's names. And the ‘Trust Termination Date?' Of course that wouldn't be there.

Document specific variables can best be handled within the document.

On the other hand, if the data stored in an external database is substantial and useful for completing your documents, and if the remaining variables needed to complete the document is insignificant by comparison, then it makes sense to use primarily the external data source. The Manual referenced above will take you step-by-step through the process.