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[Example] Business Cards

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:19 pm
by DACM
This example is basically a Rolodex app, utilizing a List Box on a Form to select a contact from a database. The selected contact information is presented on a business card, or sheet of business cards, suitable for printing. The print-output conforms to standard business card stock including Avery 8371, 8871, 8373, 8873 and others.

    Now when pondering mass print/email functions involving a database, we should first consider the mail-merge wizard built-into Writer (tutorial1, tutorial2, tutorial3). The Writer mail-merge function can produce a set of address labels, form letters, or even business cards -- each reflecting a different record in a database, or duplicating a single hand-typed entry as necessary for return labels. And once, you've produced a mail-merge template, you can open and print it at any time and it will always reflect the latest linked data.

    Secondarily, we can take advantage of existing graphical designs through Writer Templates. The immediate disadvantage of a typical Writer Template is the static nature of the page. While the graphical elements and text-formatting are preset for immediate use, any user-defined text entries must be hand-typed or copied manually into each unit (label, card, etc.) on the page layout.

    We also have a third option which involves adding Form-Controls to a page or template in Base/Writer/Calc. Form-Controls grant access to the associated data source through hidden Form layers known as "MainForms" and "SubForms." Standalone Forms can seamlessly access multiple data-sources. The Controls, themselves, offer user-interaction via drop-downs, input-boxes, data-sheets, record-navigation elements, etc. The Form-page may be sized precisely during the design phase for printing purposes. And since most Controls support the "Printable" property, the Form developer can avoid printing selected Controls. The disadvantage is that Form-Controls do not support transparency in *Office, so the flexibility of the design/aesthetics becomes quite limited. This generally means no background color/images or other advanced designs due to the opaque nature of Form-Controls.
This example file demonstrates the third option above, using Form-Controls interactively in a business card application within Base. Of note is the technique used to display Company logo's, which are downloaded on-the-fly from the internet (with internet connection) using URL's stored in the COMPANIES table; no images are stored in the database. No macros are used in this example.
 Edit: Here's a variation where the business card is used to enhance the visual appeal of a typical Contacts form: Add_Notes_with_Timestamp.odb ...
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