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How To Attach Files To Records

Storing additional information about your accounts is easily accomplished by attaching files to records. Any type of file can be attached to an account. As long as Windows is set up to handle that file type, you can instantly display any kind of original information about an account.

Files can be attached to Transactions, Contacts or Attachments.

Files are attached to Transactions using the Attachment field in the Transaction form. You may want to store scanned original invoices, MS Excel spreadsheets or any other appropriate file type associated with a transaction.

Files are attached to Contacts using the Attachment field in the Contact form. This provides an efficient way to pass messages around your office or to track details of specific incidents occurring with a file. A Contact attachment is typically used for information related only to that particular Contact. Attaching information to a Contact keeps the information "private." (Perhaps you don't want to put it in the Debtor's notes because it is not globally useful.) If a Contact in your WIP List ( Work In Progress/ To Do list) has an attachment, the attachment opens when you select the Contact in the WIP List. The debtor's record is displayed as well.

Files are attached to Attachments using the File field on the Attachment form. You may attach any documents that are related to a Debtor, such as credit reports, scanned insurance papers or auditing information. This information is readily available and close at hand whenever it is needed.

Attachment Field

The File field in the Attachment form and the Attachment fields in the Transaction and Contact forms display the filename of the attachment that is being stored. These fields are empty when no attachment exists.

To the right of the Attachment or File field there are four buttons. Use these buttons to do the following.

- Open a file
- Print a file
- Delete a file
- Select a file from the Attach folder (or elsewhere, if applicable)

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Open A File

If the Attachment field already contains the name of an attached file, select the button with the small folder icon to open the file. Collect! will instruct Windows to launch the appropriate program to display the file. For example, *.docs, *.html pages, *.xls spreadsheets, or even *.pngs can be opened, if your system is set up to recognize these file types.

tip.gif If you put a URL in this field, Collect! will use your web browser to go to the web site when you select the OPEN button.

If the Attachment field is empty, select the Open button to create an attachment, and the Text Editor will start. Enter text as needed and then press F8 to Save and Exit.

When the Text Editor opens, notice the title bar of the window. It contains the complete path of the new file, ending in the attachment file's name. Collect! gives your file a name that contains the debtor File Number, a dot, and a sequential number indicating the number of attachments that have been created for this debtor. Each debtor can have up to 999 of these attachment files. They are stored in the CV11\bin\global\masterdb\attach\ folder of your CV11 application, in a debtor folder named with the debtor File Number or a client folder named with the client Number.

For example, a debtor with File Number 1400 might have her first attachment stored in the following way.

C:\CV11\bin\global\masterdb\attach\debtor\1000\1400\1400.1

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File Path

Let's examine the whole path name of an attachment file.

Let's suppose you have created an attachment file for a debtor whose File Number is 1424. When you open the Text Editor, you will see, in the title bar the path and file name.

C:\CV11\bin\global\masterdb\attach\debtor\1000\1424\1424.1

Now, let's suppose you create an attachment file for a debtor whose File Number is 5689. When you open the Text Editor, you will see, in the title bar the following.

C:\CV11\bin\global\masterdb\attach\debtor\5000\5689\5689.1

This is the way Collect! names attachment files that you create with the Text Editor. They are ASCII text files. In the database directory, either DEMODB or MASTERDB, there is an Attach folder. In the Attach\debtor folder, there is a folder for every thousand debtor File Numbers, i.e., 1000, 2000, and so on.

In these folders, there is a separate folder for each debtor who has attachments. When you create an attachment for the first time for a debtor, Collect! creates a folder just for this debtor. It is named after the debtor's File Number, i.e. 1424, 5689 as we saw above.

Each file that you create and save is stored in the directory with the name of the debtor File Number. All attachments for the particular debtor will contain his File Number, followed by a dot, followed by a sequential number, indicating the number of documents created in the Text Editor for this debtor and stored.

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Print A File

To Print the displayed file select the button with the small printer icon. This will prompt you to print to your system's default printer.

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Delete A File

To delete the file select the button with the stylized X on it. This prompts you to delete the file.

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Select An Existing File

To attach an existing file to your Transaction, Contact or Attachment, select the magnifying glass button. This feature lets you attach any kind of file to your record. As long as Windows knows how to display the file type, you can attach it. For example, *.docs, *.html pages, *.xls spreadsheets, or even *.pngs can be displayed instantly, with original information about a Debtor, a Transaction or a Contact.

The Attachment fields in the Contact and Transaction forms have space for a filename up to 62 characters. Collect! lets you select attachment files from anywhere in your system. They are copied by default to a global folder so that they are accessible from anywhere to all of your users.

tip.gif You can set your global path preferences from the System Setup menu accessible from System, Preferences. Select Database Preferences.

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Viewing Attachments

If there is a filename in the Attachment field, select it to open it or select the Open button. If the file is a text file created in Collect!, the Text Editor will open to display the file. Otherwise, Windows will open the appropriate program, such as MS Excel or MS Word, to view the file.

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Attaching Scanned Or Imported Documents To Accounts

Any number of scanned images such as, pictures, word processing documents, invoices, credit bureau reports, email or any other document that you can display in Windows can be attached to an account and recalled instantly. A high performance scanner can be used to automate the process of attaching these files to accounts. Please refer to How To Store Scanned Documents In Accounts.

The Collect! import/export module can be used to attach credit reports or other query results in ASCII text format. Collect! can read this information during an Import and attach it to the appropriate accounts. Please refer to How To Attach Credit Reports To Debtor Accounts.

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Printing Attachments In Reports

You can print attachments in reports and letters using the @File command in your report templates. However, this will work only if the attachment file you are printing is an ASCII text file. Please refer to How To Print A File In A Report.

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Summary

Attachments provide a flexible way to store additional information about your accounts. Files of any type can be stored as long as Windows can display them. Files can be attached to Transactions, Contacts or Attachments. Files attached to Transactions and Contacts must be in the Attach folder of the database you are working in. Files attached to Attachments can be anywhere in your system or network.

There are many special uses of this feature and links to additional topics are listed below.

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See Also

- How to Store Scanned Documents in Accounts
- Attached Documents

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