CactusBase Pro Tips

[Various hints and tips will appear here soon and the section updated regularly  with new ones. Please email any that you have so that the CactusBase community can benefit from them.]

 

      How to Load CactusBase Pro

      Opening a CactusBase database file

      Saving a CactusBase database file

      Closing CactusBase

 

      How to add a new entry to the database

      How to delete a database entry

 

 Finding & printing database entries

      How to find a database entry

      How to print a database Entry Info card

      How to Print a range of database Entry Info Cards

      How to Print a list of all entries in the database

      How to Print a list of specific entries in the database

      How to Print a tabulated list of entries

      How to Display and Print a tabulated list of specific entries

 

  Searches

      How to use the Search Facility

      How to search for entries where a specific field has not had data added to it

      How to search for entries where a specific field has data added to it

      How to search for entries that have flowered

      How to search for entries that have flowered in a particular year

      How to search for entries that have flowered in a particular month

 

Graphs

      How to view a graph with more items on its x-axis than can be displayed (How to scroll the graph)

      How to zoom into a graph

      How to reduce clutter on the graph

 

 

Loading CactusBase

CactusBase Pro is started by selecting CactusBase Pro from the START BUTTON > PROGRAM FILES > CACTUSBASE PRO.

An introductory screen is displayed for a few seconds. To quickly bypass this screen either click anywhere on the introductory screen or hit a key on the keyboard.

A file requester will then appear asking for a database file to load.

 

      Opening a database file

 

Opening a database file

On loading CactusBase, a file requester will appear asking for a database file to load. The CactusBase database files all have the file extension .MDB which are represented by the  icon. The last file to be opened is automatically displayed, either click on Ok to load this file or use the file requester to locate and select an alternative database file.

 

The standard database files supplied with CactusBase are:-

         Collection.dat Main (Collection) Database

         Prop.dat Propagation Database

         Photo.dat Photographic Database

         A large number of Literature Modules are supplied in the Modules directory

         Demo.dat A demonstration file only containing several hundred Collection entries that allows the evaluation of CactusBase facilities without the need to enter lots of details first.

 

After a brief time the database will be loaded into CactusBase. A particular window in CactusBase may be displayed depending on whether the setting of Show on startup is set in the Options section of CactusBase. The default window to first appear on loading a data file is the TreeView window which displays a list of genera of entries on file from which individual species can be displayed and their entry info cards pulled up. The Options Show on startup allows other windows, such as TableView or Search Facility, to first appear instead of TreeView.

 

Saving a CactusBase database file

Unlike older versions of CactusBase, CactusBase Pro does not require the user to save the database file. Any details that are changed in the currently open database are automatically saved to the database file.

CactusBase Pro does however have a Save as function under the File Menu which allows the current database file to be saved as a new database file name. This is useful if you wish to keep a copy of the current database file, as a backup for instance. The new database saved is automatically opened as the current database for editing.

 

Closing CactusBase

Unlike older versions of CactusBase, CactusBase Pro does not require the user to save the database file before closing. Any details that are changed in the currently open database are automatically saved to the database file. CactusBase Pro can be closed by either selecting Exit from the CactusBase File menu or by clicking on the top right button with an X in it.

 

How to add a new database entry

Arguably the most important function in the software, adding a new entry to the currently open database. There are two main methods of adding a new entry depending on whether the Info card is visible or not. If the Info card is visible then you can use the Add button at the bottom of the Info card. If the Info card is not visible then select either the Entry Info button or the Toolbar or select Entry Info from the Go To menu.

A new Entry Info Card is displayed with an entry name of <<New Entry>>. All fields are blanked out ready for entering data within them pertinent to the new entry being recorded.

It is totally up to you which data fields are used. There are only a few which must have data entered such as the entry name (the topmost field in the Entry Info cards) and the Purchased from date. A warning message will appear if a field needs data entered into it.

In the Main (Collection) database the flowering record of the entry can be recorded by clicking on the Flowering Record button on the right hand side of the Entry Info card.

The Classification and Show Record details can be recorded by clicking on the More button at the bottom left side of the Entry Info card.

 

How to delete a database entry

To permanently delete a currently displayed Entry Info card entry from the database click on the Delete button at the bottom of the Info card. A confirmation message will be displayed to allow you to cancel this action if the need arises.

 

How to find a database entry

When the database soon becomes quite large in terms of the number of entries in it, it becomes important to be able to quickly and easily find entries for display and/or editing.

CactusBase Pro contains a number of methods for doing this. Which ever method is used depends greatly on your own preference and largely on where you are in CactusBase.

 

Find Entry If the Entry Info card is not visible then select either the Entry Info button or the Toolbar or select Entry Info from the Go To menu to display the Find Entry window. Type in the name of the entry in the text box and click on Find. The text allows wildcards (an asterisk *), for example to find the first Mammillaria on the database type in Mammillaria*. To find the first entry containing the name Mammillaria alba then type in Mammillaria alba. To find the first entry containing the letters nana type in *nana*.

 

Search Facility The Search Facility allows the display of entries conforming to any number of search criteria. One of which is the entry name which works like the Find Entry above in that the name can include wildcards. The difference here is that all the entries conforming to the criteria are displayed in the search result window from which one can be selected for displaying in the Entry Info card by double clicking on it. The Find Entry, in contrast, just displays the first Entry Info card conforming to the search critieria. The Search Facility can be opened by selecting Search Facility from the Go To menu or clicking on the Search Facility button on the Toolbar.

 

TableView By default the TableView window lists the entries by entry name in alphabetical order. Just scroll down the TableView list and double click on an entry row to display the corresponding Entry Info card. TableView can be opened by selecting Search Facility from the Go To menu or clicking on the TableView button on the Toolbar.

 

TreeView The TreeView window lists the entries by genus name in alphabetical order. Just click on the genus name you are interested in to display all the species under the genus. Just scroll down the TableView list and click on an entry to display the corresponding Entry Info card. TreeView can be opened by selecting Search Facility from the Go To menu or clicking on the TreeView button on the Toolbar.

 

How to Print a database Entry Info card

Find and display the database Entry Info you want to print (See How to find a database entry to do this). Select Print from the File menu or click on the Print button on the Entry Info card. The Print Form window will appear with the default layout for printing the entry. To change the design of the Print Form see Print Form Overview in the Help file. Once the layout is how you would like the Info Card printed then select Print again from the File menu or click on the printer icon on the Print Form Tools toolbar.

If the printed output does not fit the page being printed then some adjustments are needed to the layout using the Print Editing tools see Print Form Overview in the Help file. Many aspects of the Print Form can be changed such as size, colour and type of Heading and Main Body typefaces, background picture, frames etc using the Print Form Tools.

 

How to Print a range of database Entry Info cards

Use the Search Facility to select the list of entries you want printed using the numerous search criteria available. Once the search criteria have been selected, click on Search to output the resulting entry names in the Search Facility results list. Click on the Print Info to print the Info Cards for all the entries in the results list.

 

How to Print a list of all entries in the database

Use the Search Facility and click on the Search button without setting any search criteria. This will output all entries on the database in the Search results list on the right side of the Search Facility. Click on Print List to print out the list of entries to your printer. A message will first appear asking whether you want to see a Print Preview to judge how the printed list will look.

Use Printer Font Setup from the File menu to change the size and type of typeface to use in the printed list. This needs to be set before printing the list otherwise the default type and size of typeface will be used.

 

How to Print a list of specific entries in the database

Use the Search Facility to select search criteria to output specific database entries in the Search results list on the right side of the Search Facility. Click on the Search button to output the search results in the Search results list. Click on Print List to print out the list of entries to your printer. A message will first appear asking whether you want to see a Print Preview to judge how the printed list will look.

Use Printer Font Setup from the File menu to change the size and type of typeface to use in the printed list. This needs to be set before printing the list otherwise the default type and size of typeface will be used.

 

How to Print a tabulated list of entries

Use TableView to print a tabulated list of entries. Firstly, set up the columns you want to be printed in the table. This is achieved by clicking on a column heading with the left mouse button where you can add a new column using Insert or delete the existing column using Delete. You can change the currently selected column by using Select Field. The columns can be repositioned by left clicking on the column heading and whilst holding down the left mouse button dragging the column to a new position. Once the TableView is set up how you want it printed then click on the Print button at the bottom of the TableView window.

A message will first appear asking whether you want to see a Print Preview to judge how the printed list will look. If some of the columns are overlapping or off the edge of the printed paper then click on the Cancel button and resize or reposition the problematic columns. To resize a column click on the edge of the column in the column header and whilst clicking on it drag the edge of the column to its new position.  Once happy with the Print Preview then click on Print to send the table to the Printer.

Use Printer Font Setup from the File menu to change the size and type of typeface to use in the printed table. This needs to be set before printing the table otherwise the default type and size of typeface will be used.

 

How to use the Search Facility

To use the Search Facility see the section on this Search Facility section in the help file.

How to search for entries where a specific field has not had data added to it

It is often useful to check that all entries have had data added to them in specific fields such as Purchased from and Location.

Use the Search Facility and type in a question mark (?) in the criteria corresponding to the field you are interested in. Click on the Search button and a list of entries that contain no data in the field will be displayed in the Search result list to the right hand side of the Search Facility. Double-clicking on an entry in the Results list will open up the corresponding Entry Info card for editing and adding data to the field in question.

How to search for entries where a specific field has data added to it

It is often useful to check entries have had data added to them in specific fields such as Purchased from and Location.

Use the Search Facility and type in an asterisk (*) in the criteria corresponding to the field you are interested in. Click on the Search button and a list of entries that contain data in the field will be displayed in the Search result list to the right hand side of the Search Facility. Double-clicking on an entry in the Results list will open up the corresponding Entry Info card for editing.

How to search for entries that have flowered

Use the Search Facility and type in an asterisk (*) in the Year criteria on the Flowering tab (bottom left of the Search facility). Click on the Search button and a list of entries that have flowered will be displayed in the Search result list to the right hand side of the Search Facility. Double-clicking on an entry in the Results list will open up the corresponding Entry Info card for editing.

How to search for entries that have flowered in a particular year

Use the Search Facility and type in a year (eg 2002) in the Year criteria on the Flowering tab (bottom left of the Search facility). Click on the Search button and a list of entries that have flowered in that year will be displayed in the Search result list to the right hand side of the Search Facility. Double-clicking on an entry in the Results list will open up the corresponding Entry Info card for editing.

How to search for entries that have flowered in a particular month

Use the Search Facility and type in <1000 in the appropriate Month criteria on the Flowering tab (bottom left of the Search facility). Click on the Search button and a list of entries that have flowered (with less than 1000 flowers but greater than zero) in the corresponding month will be displayed in the Search result list to the right hand side of the Search Facility. Double-clicking on an entry in the Results list will open up the corresponding Entry Info card for editing.

 

How to Display and Print a tabulated list of specific entries

Use the Search Facility to first select search criteria to output specific database entries in the Search results list on the right side of the Search Facility. Click on the Search button to output the search results in the Search results list. Click on TableView button to display the specific entries from the Search results in the TableView window. Use the Print button on TableView to print the tabulated list (see How to Print a tabulated list of entries).

 

Graphs

How to view a graph with more items on its x-axis than can be displayed (How to scroll the graph)

If the X-axis contains a large number of entries (20 or more) then they are not all displayed together. Instead the graph toolbar will show four navigation bars to the right of the Template button. Use these to scroll the x-axis either left or right to reveal the hidden entries. An example of this situation is displaying a genera graph which often contains more than 20 entries (Genera).

Another method is to use the right mouse button. Hold down the right mouse button while the cursor is over the graph and while holding down the button move the mouse left or right, this will scroll the graph to reveal the other entries.

 

How to zoom into a graph

Click on the zoom button on the graph toolbar (a magnifier with a plus sign in it) and use the left mouse button, while holding down the button move the mouse around the screen which will either zoom in or out of the graph depending on the direction of the mouse.

You can also zoom into a graph by using the left mouse button to drag a rectangular lasso box to designate the area of the graph to zoom. Drag the box from top left corner to bottom right corner of the area you want to zoom. To unzoom use the right mouse button drag the box from bottom right to top left. This will reset the graph back to the default zoom. 

 

How to reduce clutter on the graph

The graph display has been designed to look good on preferably a 1024 x 600 resolution display. On smaller resolution displays the graphs can look rather cluttered. This clutter can be reduced by one or more of the following means:-

         Maximise the graph window by clicking on the maximise button at the top right of the graph window to the left of the x button.

         Get rid of the Legend display. Double click on the graph to open the graph editor. Click on the Legend tab and uncheck the Visible checkbox.

         Get rid of the Graph Title. Double click on the graph to open the graph editor. Click on the Titles tab and make sure that the selection box at the top left side of the tab says Title. Uncheck the Visible checkbox in the Style tab.

         Show less series points on the x-axis. Double click on the graph to open the graph editor. Click on the Paging tab and change the number of series points to display at one time on the x-axis.