Using Excel to Create Input Form

   One of the most powerful aspects of Pathagoras that it can generate a data collection form 'on-the-fly' from the variables present in the currently on-screen document. It also allows the administrator to create Input Form masks as described in this section when make it possible to control the order of entry of data, to provide pre-typed examples and completion tips for the end user. Masks help the data-entry person to more accurately input the client/customer/patient's personal information used to complete the assembled document. But the underlying form on which the mask is built is simple and unadorned.

   Sometimes, a more extensive, universal, complex, complete, attractive, etc. intake form is needed or desired. Pathagoras for Excel can provide that. Pathagoras for Excel can generate an Instant Database record from Excel and the result is instantly usable in Word.

   Here are some situations we contemplate:

a. Off-site collection of data. The typical Instant Database routine in 'Pathagoras for Word' 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, lookup 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.

   If you are encountering a need described by any of the above situations, contact us regarding the Excel version of Pathagoras. See this page of the manual for more information, or click here to view the separate Manual.