Re: Ipaq 5550 software - Handheld

This is a discussion on Re: Ipaq 5550 software - Handheld ; I operate a small Home Inspection business and don't like any of the pda report software available for this task, and so am considering seeking help in converting my 20 page MS Word inspection report into a template for use ...

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Thread: Re: Ipaq 5550 software

  1. Re: Ipaq 5550 software

    I operate a small Home Inspection business and don't like any of the pda
    report software available for this task, and so am considering seeking help
    in converting my 20 page MS Word inspection report into a template for use
    on my pda.

    My report is a combination check-list, with fields for entering comments,
    with extensive use of tables. My interest is to keep the original
    formatting and simply tap check marks into the appropriate boxes and import
    boiler-plate comments where needed, then basically hit the print key and
    have that page printing off in my van (wireless) while I work on the next
    area of concern.

    Does that sound workable, or are pda's not quite there yet ?

    Are there any software conversion programs that'll convert my report to
    something the pda can handle without screwing up current formatting, or
    would my current report need to be recreated as some sort of 'forms'
    document ?

    Thanks,
    Joe
    joe.k-at-telus.com



  2. Re: Ipaq 5550 software

    On Mon, 01 Dec 2003 07:48:44 GMT, "Joe"
    wrote:

    >My report is a combination check-list, with fields for entering comments,
    >with extensive use of tables. My interest is to keep the original
    >formatting and simply tap check marks into the appropriate boxes and import
    >boiler-plate comments where needed, then basically hit the print key and
    >have that page printing off in my van (wireless) while I work on the next
    >area of concern.
    >
    >Does that sound workable, or are pda's not quite there yet ?


    PDAs have been there for years, at least for handling business
    forms in the field.

    If doing something along those lines, I'd set up a template for
    the general word processing layout, by converting across the most
    simplified version of my MS Word document. I always found you
    could write a MS Word document that wouldn't convert if you used
    all the bells and whistles, hence doing a simplified version.

    I'd make a separate boilerplate word processing document for cut
    and paste boilerplate. A bunch of macros for selecting and
    moving the appropriate boilerplate would probably be easier than
    just keeping both documents open and manually cutting and
    pasting. If I were doing it manually I'd think about using a
    multiple clipboard.

    If there were a lot of boilerplate possibilities, instead of a
    word processor document, I'd more likely use the database, to
    take advantage of its search facilities. I'd have each database
    record contain, as its final field, an embedded word processing
    file of the boilerplate selection for that record. I guess if
    your boilerplate text is reasonably small you could use you could
    use an unlimited length field. However then when you paste, the
    text would just flow according to the template label for that
    area. If you use embedded word processing files, you can
    incorporate any custom formatting special to each piece of
    boilerplate.

    I'd do all the tables with embedded spreadsheets in the word
    processing document. I'd try to keep each spreadsheet fairly
    small, rather than trying to do a giant one that handles
    everything, because I figure that is asking for trouble. This
    would let you easily tap the check mark boxes.

    If you had a lot of different potential tables, I'd again make
    use of a boilerplate database. This time I'd make the last field
    of each record a embedded spreadsheet. That way you could select
    and paste specific tables throughout your template as you worked.

    Can we assume that you don't need custom graphics? Well, maybe
    except for a logo and letterhead graphics, and a signature. I've
    never been enormously impressed with the results of embedded
    graphics, even when converted from very nice PC graphics. Just
    lost too much definition in moving to the PDA.

    You may however want some of the spreadsheet material presented
    as graphs. I guess that depends on the sort of presentation you
    use now.

    Printing was always the weak point when I was originally doing
    business using a PDA. If you are travelling, then you either use
    a battery powered portable printer, or you run it off a car
    battery (possibly via an inverter if packing an office style
    printer). I used a Canon BJC80, with the optional battery pack.
    The printer drivers had to be replaced with third party ones
    before I had reasonable results. You could always get better
    results if you printed via a Windows PC. But that rather
    defeated the idea of PDA portability.

    Not sure how you go about the wireless connection unless you are
    also packing a PC. I don't know of a printer with a long range
    wireless connection. I always just used the IrDA link to the
    BJC80.

    One trick that may work for you, if the other party is at an
    office style situation, is to use the PDA fax facility. Just
    send your completed report as a fax via your cell phone to their
    computer or fax number. That makes an end run around the need
    for carrying a printer.

    My stuff was done 1998-1999 using a Psion 5. The macro package
    was a freeware add-on, as was the revised printer driver. The
    rest of the stuff was built in, although some of the built-in
    stuff had patches.

    I get the impression that with an Ipaq you may be looking for a
    few more third party products, but I'm sure there are lots
    available.

    --
    Eric Lindsay http://www.ericlindsay.com/guff
    Airlie Beach Qld Australia - Great Barrier Reef entry
    Psion & Epoc site http://www.ericlindsay.com/epoc
    Bait for spammers: root@localhost postmaster@localhost
    admin@localhost abuse@localhost postmaster@127.0.0.1

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