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Lotus 1-2-3 data entry made easy with a macro.

THE MOST EFFICIENT METHOD for entering data into a Lotus 1-2-3, Release 3.1 (Lotus Development Corp., Cambridge, Mass.) database table is to transcribe information from data collection forms in batches of similar information type. Each column of a data collection form represents a batch of information. The size of the batch is determined by the number of rows used per form. The only way to further simplify and speed this process is to use a macro.

* Macro basics. A macro is a series of commands that is created to perform a specific task. Macros help to automate procedures, ultimately saving valuable time. Data entry into a database table is an ideal candidate for automation with a macro because the process is composed of simple but repetitive tasks that are tremendously time-consuming.

A macro can be entered into a file with other data or entered into a file that contains only macros. If a macro is placed in a data file, it should be placed in a separate worksheet with the GROUP mode of the current file turned off. This will prevent the macro from being damaged by the manipulation of data.

A macro placed in its own file will automatically have its cell and range specifications assigned to whatever file the macro is placed in. This creates a problem when operating the macro from a file other than the one in which the macro resides; however, the situation can be circumvented by inserting a file reference before the macro cell or range specifications. The file reference is the name of the file where the macro resides plus an extension enclosed in double angle brackets:


Macro instructions are entered as labels in consecutive cells of a column. When a macro is run, it is read cell by cell, down the column until a blank cell, a cell containing a numeric value, or the macro command QUIT is encountered.

Once a macro is entered, it must be assigned a range name using the /RANGE NAME menu path. The range name is used to run the main macro. It may also serve to identify a branch or subroutine location.

After completion, the macro is documented by entering the macro's range name as a label to the left of the macro's first cell. Macro instructions are documented by entering comments to the right of the cells containing the macro.

* Macro operation. The data entry macro described in Figure 1 allows raw data to be entered into a Lotus 1-2-3 database table in batches of similar information type. The data entry macro is activated by depressing the <ALT> and <M> keys simultaneously. Once the macro is activated, the operator is prompted to position the cell pointer where data entry is to begin. Depressing the <RETURN> key initiates the presentation of menu options. The ROW# option should be selected first to designate the size of a batch of data to be entered.

All the data entry menu options are designed to simplify input of either labels or values. The cell pointer will automatically advance one row after data input. When data is entered into the final row, the cell pointer shifts up the number of rows previously advanced to the cell where data input began. The operator is then prompted to position the cell pointer for entry of the next batch of data.

* Menu options. Menu options consist of ACCESSION, NUMERIC, LABEL, SINGLE, COPY, ROW#, EDIT, and QUIT.

* ACCESSION was designed for input of accession numbers. A numeric value is entered followed by <RETURN>. Depressing the <RETURN> key without data entry will input the previous value advanced by one. This feature is particularly useful for laboratories that use laboratory information systems. In such situations the accession numbers are always assigned in ascending order, but could skip numbers depending on system use.

* The NUMERIC option allows for the input of only numeric values. Depressing the <RETURN> key without data input will automatically enter the previous value.

* The LABEL option enters all information including numeric characters as labels. Depressing the <RETURN> key without data input will enter the previous label.

* The SINGLE option allows for the entry of a single keyboard character without depressing the <RETURN> key. Characters zero through nine are entered as numeric values; all other characters are entered as labels. Depressing the <RETURN> key will input the previous character.

* The COPY option will copy an entry the number of times designated by the number entered in the ROW# option. A blank space can be entered to erase data.

* The EDIT option allows input of information into individual cells without changing the row number setting. The cell pointer is positioned over the cell to be edited and the information is entered using the arrow keys. Depressing the <RETURN> key will end this function and cause the macro to prompt the operator to reposition the cell pointer for entry of the next batch of data.

* The QUIT option is used to erase any macro messages remaining on the monitor and end the macro. Alternative means can be employed to break out of the macro, but the macro messages will remain on the monitor. In this event, the macro should be restarted and the QUIT option selected.

* Decrease time and errors. This data entry macro enhances the use of spreadsheet database tables by affording a substantial savings of time and increasing accuracy. Anyone wishing a copy of this macro free of charge may send a DOS-formatted diskette and a self-addressed mailer with return postage affixed to Dr. Michael Dalto, 1494 Sweetman Ave., Elmont, NY, 11003.


1. Lotus 1-2-3 Release 3.1 Reference Manual. Cambridge, Mass: Lotus Development Corp.; 1990.

2. Lotus 1-2-3 Release 3.1 Tutorial. Cambridge, Mass: Lotus Development Corp.; 1990.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Computer Dialog
Author:Dalto, Michael
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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