Okay. Pathagoras can link to external databases. And it can do it quite well.

   But Pathagoras is at its core a plain text document assembly program. It was written with a primary goal of avoiding inserting data fields into your documents.

   So what's the deal here? Are fields allowed or not? Are they a good thing or not?

   Here are some concerns:

 You have to link to original database from which the fields were created.

 Creating fields means creating settings for those fields. For example, if you want text replacement made in ALL CAPS, you have to put an all caps signal in the field.

 You will likely have a need for variables and values that don't exist in your database. (Does your database contain a reference to the 3rd alternate personal representative? Perhaps, but not likely.) So how can those be handled?

 Pathagoras Instant Database ignores all those issues. There is no need to link to a database to create fields. Plain text means there is nothing to link. Just type them. As to styles, just prepare the variable with the 'look' you want the replacement to mimic. [CLIENT NAME] alone handles the ALL CAPS issue. And there can never be a situation where a variable doesn't 'exist' in the database. But if you use Masks, and the variable doesn't exist in the Mask, not a problem. Pathagoras adds it on the fly. You will never have a situation where a new variable creates any headaches.

     We do understand the 'type only once' concept, but sometimes typing twice makes some sense.

    Many of our sophisticated users who successfully linked to their external databases eventually dropped that approach and returned to Pathagoras' plain text, easy to create, easy to complete, easy to save, easy to recall, easy to edit Instant Database system.

    But everything you choose to do is 'on balance.' What works best in your office is what you should adopt. If linking to your external database is the best thing, then go for it. Pathagoras makes it easy (and the above is not intended to talk you out of it; just to give perspective). Pathagoras is a wonderful document assembly tool that can fully take advantage of external databases.

 If you insert database fields into your document, they will not conflict with anything that Pathagoras does.Indeed, if you have disassembled a document with such fields and then reassemble a selection of those clauses, it's a piece of cake to reconnect to the source data and fill-in the fields with the appropriate data as you always have.

 A hybrid use of the Instant Database is possible. If your database is 'missing' some variables, just place plain text variables where they are needed in the source document(s). (We are talking about that proverbial [3rd Alternate Personal Representative].) After assembly of a new document for a client or customer, just press <Alt-D> and Scan. Pathagoras will identify those few remaining variables and give you the opportunity to replace them.

 Even if you never use Pathagoras' Instant Database tools, the broad range of program features -- Conditional Text, Repeats, Interviews, DropDown Lists, PathSmart, SaveSmart, and the myriad of other tools of Pathagoras are terrific in their own rights. So if you choose not to part from your database, don't worry. Pathagoras still works great without any connection to the Instant Database..