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Additional F4-Select Options

Datafile Software

Additional F4-Select Options

A series of additional special data items have been made available to assist in searching for records within the <F4-Select> process.

Address and Telephone Search

When maintaining address details most Datafile systems will not be configured to use fixed lines for address details – i.e. they’ll allow five lines for the address (including post code) and the operator enters as required, as opposed to first two lines being street details, third line being town, the fourth county, etc. This means if searching, for example, for customers in ‘York’ the appropriate data could be in the 3rd, 4th or even 5th line of the address. This option allows you to create a special field on the database called ‘ADDRESS’ which, if included as an ‘Extra Selection Item’ upon the database, will display any record containing the search text within any of the address lines.

Two configurations are available – an item ADDRESS searches the name and address fields for matching value, and item ADDRESS/TEL searches the name and address plus telephone and fax number for matching text (so you could search for ‘0151’ or ‘Liverpool’ customers as required with the one item).


Both the ADDRESS and ADDRESS/TEL items are created on a database as sub-items linked to the first line of the name and address range.

Item Name Type Description

ADDRESS = Sub-item, reference base item as first line of name and address block, the start position as ‘1’ and size based on the item size of the first line of address.

ADDRESS/TEL = Details as above.

Item names / type must match exactly that above.

In addition the name and address range must be defined within the database advanced features and the item(s) included within the ‘Extra Selection Items’ option. You can access the database advanced features via <F4-Select> when restructuring a database.

The ‘Extra Selection Items’ allows up to six items to be specified for additional search items when using <F4-Select>, nominate the additional item(s) required. Note that searches using these items will be slower than prime or secondary index searches.

The ‘Name and Address’ range asks you to specify the first and last items within the address block on the database.


Item(s) must be an ‘Extra Selection Item’, it cannot be a secondary index.

Item(s) will only search on the address within <F4-Select>, not when using search criteria in reports or updates. In addition if the data item is shown on screen / report it will not contain the full address detail.

The ADDRESS/TEL item is defined in the same way as above – nominating the FROM/TO range as purely the name and address. In use the system searches this range plus any text data item with TEL or FAX within the data item name.

General Description / Text Search

This option is an extension of the ADDRESS search discussed above. Whilst the ADDRESS search relies on the name and address range, this option allows you to nominate the range within the data item itself so that, for example, you could search the 2/3 lines of stock description for matching text.


To group the range of items you need to create a calculated field and use a special ‘!C16’ function to identify the use of the description / text search feature.

Item Name Type Description

DESCRIPTION * The calculation needs to be referenced as:

!C16 +Dnnn +Dnnn

The ‘!C16’ identifies the calculation as a description/text search option. +Dnnn corresponds to the first and last data item in the range you wish to search. Note that the search range doesn’t have to correspond to an exact range of text items – it can encompass other items but only text items within that range will be matched within <F4-Select> search and the bigger the range the slower the search.

To allow the search the new item must be referenced as one of the ‘Extra Selection Items’ within the Advanced Features of the database structure.


Item(s) must be an ‘Extra Selection Item’, they cannot be a secondary index.

Item(s) will only search within <F4-Select>, not when using search criteria or on update screens or reports.

Omit Non Alpha-Numeric Characters in Search Match

When, for example, a customer name contains initials (‘J J B Sports’) some operators will enter the name as ‘JJB’, others as ‘J J B’, yet others as ‘J. J. B.’ and so on which makes searching for the customer name more difficult as you may have to search several times before you find a record you ‘know’ exists.

This new option allows the system to strip out non-alphanumeric characters from the search so that matching is based on the characters – i.e. a search of JJB would match ‘JJB’, ‘J.J.B.’, ‘J J B’ and so on.


The ‘User Preferences’ parameter screen available from the CONFIG sign-on contains the new parameter to omit non-alphanumeric characters.

Omit space, non alpha/num characters? – Set to omit non-alphanumeric characters when searching for records within <F4-Select>.


For occasions when you want to search exactly for the match prefix the search with the = sign, i.e. ‘=J J B’ would only match records were there is a space between the two J’s and the J and B.

  • Release ID: 5.8