Sometimes, a more extensive, universal, complex, complete, attractive, etc. intake form is needed or desired. Excel can help you provide that, and, if properly configured, the information contained in the spreadsheet is instantly usable in Word.
Here are some situations we contemplate:
a. Off-site collection of data. The typical Instant Database routine contemplates data entry on the computer on which you are working. It also contemplates that you will be providing the data input labor.
Sometimes the entity from whom you want to gather data isn't within your office and/or doesn't have Pathagoras installed. In such case, the Excel solution is ideal. Just send the form over to the client or customer to complete.
Almost everyone has Excel (or a spreadsheet program that can create an Excel-type spreadsheet, e.g. Corel's Quattro Pro®). You can create a customer form --let's say an intake form -- specifically designed to gather the desired data from the customer. You can send it over to the client or customer for completion (or direct to client or customer to a website where it can be completed on-line or downloaded). Pathagoras is not needed to complete the forms.
Once completed, the customer can send it back by email. You then can open the spreadsheet and use Pathagoras (Excel) to instantly move the data into an IDB record.
b. Intake form 'design control.' Perhaps you just want something 'prettier' or with more eye-appeal. Much fancier and user friendly intake sheets can be designed using Excel.
c. More mathematical power and function. Perhaps you need something more functional and powerful in terms of mathematics that only a spreadsheet can offer. Word is rather limited in its math 'skills.' Excel, on the other hand, is ideally suited for complex calculations.
d. More control regarding validation and cascading answer sets. In addition to powerful calculation capabilities, Excel provides very powerful validation, look-up and a myriad of other tools which promote speed and accuracy in the collection of data and selection of values. Excel allows you to select a 'top level' response (a 'category', a 'type') in one cell of the spreadsheet and by that choice alone, present to the user a limited selection of choices for the remaining cells that need to be completed. The end result of cascading answers is accuracy in result, accuracy in spelling, and less confusion by the end user as to what choices are available in a give setting.
The techniques for blending Excel data with Pathagoras' Instant Database is discussed fully in this section at this link.
For Gathering Personal Information:
Post a simple form on-line to gather the client, customer or patient's personal information and history. Or a form can be e-mailed to the client/customer/patient for completion 'at home' and then emailed back. When returned, use the Pathagoras for Excel tools to instantly create a Matter record.
In addition to the personal information that can be provided by the customer or client, you might reserve a spot on the spreadsheet for "Office Use Only." When the completed spreadsheet is return, the 'rest' of the information can be added (e.g., responsible attorney, patient id, case number, etc.) before the Matter record is exported.
For Calculating Totals:
Bid Work: One user uses Excel to list and total the various components of a job that is being bid upon. He has name the cells that contain the identification information for the customer and the sub-totals for the various components, as well as a projected total for the entire proposal. Using Pathagoras for Excel, the totals (and other named cells) can be exported to an Instant Database record. While still in Excel, the user carries those totals automatically into a Word document designed especially to summarize the bid. The personalization of the letter occurs practically instantaneously when the auto-complete option is selected. The entire process is done without codes and fields.
Similar application: HUD-1 Settlement Statement Forms. The total amounts due from the borrower and owing to the seller can be exported to an Instant Database record and printed out in a 'summary letter.'
For Calculating Dates:
One user needs to advise a client of critical deadline dates. She has prepared a spreadsheet which calculates the dates, starting from a specific final date, and backing up for the intermediate dates. All date calculations are done by Excel. Once the spreadsheet has been populated, the Instant Database record is created and Word is activated. The user selects the appropriate Word document to mail. Press Alt-D to call up the client's IDB record (that was created in Excel but totally compatible with Word) and the deadline and intermediate dates are quickly replaced throughout the document. Print, stuff affix postage and you are done.
For Currency Conversions:
One user makes bids to recipients in many foreign countries. The Excel spreadsheet has been set up to perform conversions in several different currencies, and the conversions can be passed on to Pathagoras (Word) as the bid is being formulated.