Multiple choice variables vs. *Aliases*

   A variable can be a mere placeholder.

   However, a variable can also serve the additional role of providing the possible answers for the place it is holding.

The variable [Client’s City of Residence] calls (obviously) for the location where the client resides. If there are only a limited number of possible answers, or if the answers are hard to spell, you should consider providing the choices within a 'multiple choice' variable. For example, [Newport News/Hampton/Yorktown/ Williamsburg].

Other examples: [child/children], [he/she/it/they], [him/her/it/them].

A multiple choice variable is presented in the Instant Database screen as a dropdown list, making it easy for the operator to select from among the choices.

Click to enlarge.

   A short list of multiple choices are simple to create. Just separate the choices by slashes. E.g., [chocolate/chocolate ripple/vanilla/French vanilla/Rocky Road/strawberry/ pistachio/banana/orange sherbet (etc.)].

   However, as the list gets longer and longer, it becomes more likely that a different approach should be taken. Lists like the ice cream flavors above take up too much screen ‘real estate’ for most applications.

   Pathagoras provides a more compact way to represent long lists. We call them *Aliases*.

An *Alias* is simply a one or two word reference to what can be a very long string of multiple choices. (In our ice cream example above, the list name might be “*flavors*” and we can have dozens of them, all depicted on-screen by the word *flavors*.)

If you place a *List* between brackets (e.g., “[*flavors*]”), Pathagoras instantly finds the various elements that comprise the list and processes it as part of the <Scan> function.

   If the variable choices are short, or can be typed into the source document without creating a visual distraction because of its length, use the on-screen bracketed and ‘slashed’ multiple choice variables. But when the list gets long, consider Multichoice *Lists.

   Read more about Multiple Choice Variables and *Aliases* by clicking on the appropriate link.

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