Using the parameter “batch” interface toolbar

Saturday 12 December 2009 @ 7:10 am

Have you ever noticed that some parameters include a small toolbar below the List of Values (LOV) drop down?  This toolbar has two scroll arrows on either side of a small drop down list and two buttons with funnels on them.  The toolbar doesn’t show up very often so it took me quite a while to figure out where it comes from and what it is supposed to do.  So this article is for anyone else out there who is puzzled.

This is a called the batch interface.  It is included in Crystal versions 11 and 12 and appears automatically whenever there are more than 200 values in the parameter list (LOV).  To make the long list easier to navigate Crystal automatically batches the values into groups of 200 and then shows you the batch interface toolbar.  You can scroll through the batch numbers by clicking the left and right arrows.  The number one is the first batch, two is the second batch, etc.  You select a batch and can click the drop down to see the values in that batch.  Once you find the batch that has the value(s) you want, you can start selecting.

You can even narrow your search by typing in a few characters of the value you want.  Only values that contain those characters  will be displayed.  If more than 200 values match your filter string they will be batched again in the same way.

But there are some odd features of this interface:

1) It treats numbers or dates as if they were character values.  So if you had a list of 300 numbers you could filter for the number 17 and you would then see only numbers like 17, 117, 171, 175, or anything else in the list that contained those 2 digits.

2) The filter is case sensitive.  So if you type ‘bike’ it will not see values that have the word ‘Bike’ in them.

My main complaint is that this feature appears with no explanation and no help.  The first few times I saw these extra buttons I didn’t even know why they had appeared, let alone how to use them.  And finding the answer wasn’t easy.  The explanation of this toolbar is under the heading “long lists” in the index.  So unless you already know why this interface appears, it is pretty tough to find.

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