VISUAL NEWSLETTER – APR 2004      

 


DOS / WINDOWS INTERFACE TIPS

 

There are some functions that are more easily accomplished in a Windows Accounting environment. However, with the exception of the simple Cut & Paste, many features normally assumed to be a function of Windows based systems can also be accomplished in Dos based systems as well.

 

If you want to have multiple programs open at the same time, Windows works well. Libra and many other Dos programs can also be opened at the same time as Word & Excel. To convert Libra to a Window press <Alt><Enter>. To minimize Libra and go back to Windows press <Alt><Tab>. You can even open multiple sessions of Libra by setting the WSID=01,02,03 for up to three sessions in your AUTOEXEC files. You can then use <Alt><Tab> to switch between sessions.

 

In some Windows based systems it is somewhat easier to transfer data to an external program such as Excel.  While this is not as seamless in Libra, using the Report Writers and spool files, as well as built in exports make this process fairly easy.

 

Printing to Laser printers is sometimes viewed as a Windows function but many Libra users print invoices, cheques and reports to Laser printers without problems. This is simply a matter of defining a compatible PCL printer driver and setting form lengths to Laser requirements. In fact Libra prints to Laser much better than some Windows programs print to Dot Matrix printers. In fact, one client that converted to Great Plains had to replace all of their dot matrix printers and forms with Laser ones.

 

Similarly Libra can print to most shared Windows printers around the office as long as they support Dos based drivers such as HP-PCL 4, 5 & 6. USB printers are not directly supported but can often be configured.

 

Even when it comes to compatibility, Libra has remained compatible with every version of Microsoft Windows, while many Windows based programs have crashed on the release of Windows NT, 2000 or XP for instance. Some Dos based programs will not work with Windows 2000, however they are compatible with Windows XP oddly enough. This attests to the ongoing commitment of Microsoft’s Dos interface for at least the near future.

 

There are even ways to make use of Copy and Paste technology if you have a little patience. To copy data from a Libra screen put Libra into a Window by pressing <Alt><Enter>. Then click on the icon in the upper left corner of the Windows and select Edit & Mark. Using your mouse, click and drag to create a data block. Press enter to copy this block to the clip board. You can then go to another program such as Word and paste the block of data to your word processor. Adjusting the font to Courier 8 point will allow an entire Libra screen to appear as it did in Dos. While in the Libra window you can also cursor to another field select Edit and Paste to paste a line of data within Libra itself. While not as convenient as Direct access this function still has its uses.

 

By moving data as described previously into say Excel or Lotus 123, users can make use of graphs, fonts and other feature to dress up their work and reports that are not directly available to the Dos environment.

 

One thing that most Windows users seem to miss, in a Dos based application, is mouse support. This does make menu navigation somewhat easier. An upgrade to Libra’s Windows System Manager can provide this functionality within Libra. For this to work however, you will also need to upgrade all of your Libra accounting modules as well to the latest distribution version, which currently is 6.9.