Collect! Credit and Collection Software™

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How To Use Pick Lists

This document discusses how to modify or create a pick list. Pick lists show predefined choices for any field. This speeds up data entry and minimizes errors. Virtually any field in the system can have a pick list attached to it.

To view the pick list file for a field:

You must have access rights to form and field properties. These rights depend on your user level.

Useful Note User level 99 does not see pick lists, except for internal pick lists created by Collect!. Please sign in as a user level other than 99 to view pick lists.

1. Tab into the field or click in it with your mouse.

2. Press Alt+F1, or Right click the field, and choose Properties from the popup menu. Or, select System from the top menu bar and then select Field Properties from the drop-down choices. Either way, the Access Rights form will open.

3. To make sure you have accessed the right field, look in the Name field of the Access Rights form. It must contain the name of the field whose pick list you are about to modify.

4. Look in the Pick List File field. You will see the name of the pick list file that is attached to this field. (For example, 7.pck) All pick lists in Collect! have the *.pck extension.

5. Tab into the Pick List field and press F2 to view the contents of the pick list file, or select the small folder icon to the right of the field. The pick list Editor will open with information about the data type of the field and a list of choices formatted in a special way. When you add to this list, or modify an entry, please be sure to enter the same type of data in the same format. See details below under "Entering Choices In Your Pick List."

To create a new pick list on a field:

1. Follow Steps 1 through 3 above to open the Access Rights form and ensure that you are on the right field.

2. Select the small folder icon to the right of the Pick List File field to open the pick list Editor. You will see information about the data type of the field and a few sample entries showing you how to format your entries for pick list choices. Please be sure to enter the same type of data in the same format. See details below under "Entering Choices In Your Pick List."

To remove a pick list from a field:

1. Follow the steps above to open the Access Rights form for the field.

2. Click into the Pick List File field and use the Backspace key to delete the *.pck filename. This removes the pick list from the field.

3. Press OK to exit the form.

To delete a pick list file:

Useful Note BE CAREFUL as this actually deletes the pick list file from the pick list folder in Collect!. It is actually gone.

1. Follow the steps above to open the Access Rights form for the field.

2. Select the "X" icon next to the pick list field.

3. Select the OK button when the prompt displays if you are sure that you want to DELETE the file.

4. Press OK to close the Access Rights form.

Useful Note If you are not sure about actually deleting the file, you can simply remove it from the field by backspacing as described above. This leaves the file in the pick list folder but removes it from the field.

Useful Note For information about using the shortcut buttons next to the Pick List File field, please see below under "Buttons On The Pick List Field."

Entering Choices In Your Pick List

1. Please start your pick list on the second line after the line at the top "Pick list for {Field Name}".

That is, leave this description, skip a line and start.

2. If you want to be able to enter a choice not listed, enter quotation marks (i.e. " ") as your LAST choice. This allows the user to type in a choice when they use your pick list. However, your choice must be the right data type. See below.

Useful Note When creating a new pick list, Collect! puts the empty quotes as the first choice, move it to the last choice for a more user friendly experience.


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Each field has limitations regarding the kind of information it holds. When the pick list Editor displays the field's information, please make note of the type of data and the number of characters the field stores. This determines what you can put in this pick list. Your pick list choices must be same data type as the field itself is meant to hold. The text length of your choices must be less than the character length of the field.

It is possible to display textual words when the field is actually a number field. This is done by adding a second column as shown below. This makes it easier to explain the choices to your user even though the database reads them as 1, 2, 3, etc.

Useful Note When you do this, however, don't give the user a blank option, in case they try to enter text only to discover that the pick list will not allow it.

Remember that the choices you enter here will be retrieved in reports, letters and any calculations involving the field that is using this pick list.

When importing to a field with a pick list, ensure that the data you are loading will fit in the field. Also, if you are using FILL VALUE, only fill the value that will be stored in the database. For example, if you use fill value on the Mode field when importing new accounts, use a fill value of A, not ACTIVE.

When running SQL queries on fields with pick lists, the result you get back will always be the database value. Your query, or post query process, will need a translation table to convert the database value into the pick list value if you want it displayed in a report.

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3. Anything after the first space will be used as a description in the Pick List when you are choosing an item in the list.

For instance:

"New York"

4. Enter the available choices by adding numbers in quotation marks to the first column (one choice per line). The order in which you enter the choices is the order in which they will be displayed.

For example:

Pick list for Client Class

Accounts Receivable

Useful Note Some fields have alpha characters in the first column. These fields store alpha in the database. One example is the Country field.

5. Once you have created your pick list, press F8 to save the new list. Click the OK button to return to the underlying form. Try out your list.

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1. For large fields:

"First Choice "
"Second Choice"
"Third Choice "
" "

In this example, the choices of First Choice, Second Choice and Third Choice would appear in the drop-down list. The example also allows for users to enter their own choice. See the Words of Caution above.

If First Choice were selected, then First Choice would appear in the field. Its value would be entered in the database as well.

2. For small fields using an identifier:

01 First Choice
02 Second Choice
03 Third Choice

In this example, the choices of 01 First Choice, 02 Second Choice and 03 Third Choice would appear in the drop-down list. If 01 First Choice were selected, then 01 would be placed into the database and would display in the field.

Also, in the second example, no other option could be entered because the empty quotation marks are missing from this example. This is an easy way to ensure that only valid entries are entered in any given field.

Useful Note Typically, pick lists contain two columns in the pick list editor. The column on the left is the data that will actually be put into the database, while the column on the right is displayed to the user for identification.

For example, imagine that you create a pick list entry containing "1" in the first column, and the word "Medical" in the second column. The user will see the word Medical when picking from the list and when looking at the field. However, the number 1 will be stored in the database to represent their choice. This means that you have the additional flexibility of using numeric fields to display character text. See Words of Caution above.

Useful Note This is particularly useful when batch processing or selecting accounts based on a specific criterion.

3. Three-column pick list:

Choice One

The third column in this pick list contains display color information. Now the field with change color depending on the choice the user picks.

Please refer to an online Color Chart for colors that you may use.

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Pick List File Names

When a pick list is created, Collect! gives it a number and a PCK extension. Pick list files are stored in a pick list folder in the database sub-directory of Collect!. For example, if you are working in the masterdb database, then the pick lists are stored the masterdb\picklist folder.



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Buttons On The Pick List Field

In the Access Rights form, the pick list field has four shortcut buttons to the right of it. Use these buttons to quickly do the following.

  • Open a pick list file

    If the Pick List File field already contains the name of a pick list file, click this button to open the file in the pick list Editor. Then you can modify the file if needed

    If the Pick List File field is empty, selecting the Open button will open a new pick list file for you.

  • Print a pick list file

    To Print the displayed pick list file select the Print button.

  • Delete a pick list file

    To delete the pick list file, select the button with the stylized X on it. This prompts you to delete the file. CAUTION!! This actually deletes the *.pck file from your Collect! folder.

  • Select a pick list file

    To attach an existing pick list file to the field, click the Magnifying Glass button. Collect! will open a dialog displaying the contents of the picklist folder for the database you are in. For example, Collect\masterdb\picklist. Pick list files have a *.pck extension. NOTE -- You should already know which file you want to select.

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Setting User Level Pick Lists

The Form Rights Pick List field gives you the ability to assign a special pick list to a particular user level. This is very useful for limiting the operator's choices. For instance, you can create one pick list for your system level users and another for your collectors. An example would be the Debtor Status field. Perhaps you want your collectors to be able to change the Status, but limit them to a few choices. This is where you could benefit from setting the pick list in Form Rights for the user level you have assigned to your collectors.

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Printing Pick Lists

The @PV command enables you to populate a variable with the database (or numeric value) of a pick list. This command is useful if you need the database value for an export or SQL query.

Use @PV to:

  • Return the database or numeric value of a pick list to a variable.

Syntax: @varReturn* = @PV()


1. @varReturn* = @PV(

Sample pick list on the state field:
"CA" California
"OR" Oregon
"WA" Washington

In normaly use, would return the readable text (California, Oregon, Washington).

@varReturn* = @PV( will return the first column to the @varReturn variable (CA, OR, WA).

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