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Working with Form Properties Files

- Document for Excel Invoice Manager

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This version of the document, "Working with Form Properties Files", was written for Excel Invoice Manager, which was now renamed to Uniform Invoice Software. For the latest version of this document, please download Uniform Invoice Software.

Form Properties File

A form properties file saves all the customizable properties about a data list window, including form size, column widths, sort criterion and default search options, etc. For each database you connect to, Excel Invoice Manager creates a corresponding form properties file automatically, with the same file name as the database file and an extension ".fs".

For example, if you connect to a database MyInvoice.mdb, a form properties file "MyInvoice.fs" is created automatically. By default, form properties files are stored in the following folder in Windows 2000/XP:

<System Driver>\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Application Data\Office-Kit.com\Excel Invoice Manager\

Note: The Application Data folder is hidden by default. To make it visible: In Windows Explorer, click the menu Tools -> Folder Options; Go to the View tab; Choose the Show hidden files and folders option; click OK.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, by default the form properties files are stored in the following folder:

<System Driver>\Users\<User Name>\AppData\Roaming\Office-Kit.com\Excel Invoice Manager\

Note: The AppData folder is hidden by default. To make it visible: In Windows Explorer, click Organize -> Folder and Search Options; Go to the View tab; choose the Show hidden files and folders option; click OK.

For this reason, you don't need to deal with the form properties file in most cases. If a form properties file is corrupt for some reasons, such as a power failure when you are closing a data list window, simply delete the form properties file to have the program create a new one for you.

Form Properties Map file

There will be no problems if all the databases you are using have different names, but what if two databases have the same name, or what if you want to move the form properties file from the default folder (the installation folder of Excel Invoice Manager) to another folder where you have read-write privilege?

This is why the Form Properties Map File was introduced. As the name implies, the map file forces Excel Invoice Manager to load a specified form properties file for a given database, instead of the default form properties file that has the same file name as the database file and an ".fs" extension.

1. When do I need a map file?

Generally you don't need a map file, unless you have two or more database files that have the same name, or you don't have read-write privilege in the installation folder of Excel Invoice Manager.

In the first situation, you can use map file to instruct Excel Invoice Manager to load a specified form properties file when connecting to a database. For example, if you have two database file that are both named as MyCompany.mdb, but stored in the different folders, say C:\MyCompany1 and C:\MyCompany2, you can put the following lines in the map file:

Form Properties Map File
Database= C:\MyCompany1\MyCompany.mdb
Properties=C:\MyCompany1\Company1.fs

Database=C:\MyCompany2\MyCompany.mdb
Properties=C:\MyCompany2\Company2.fs
		

In the second situation, you need to be able to create and write to the form properties file, since Excel Invoice Manager updates the properties file whenever you modify a form property, such as its width or height, or the size of the columns.

For example, you installed the program into a folder in a network driver Z:\MyInvoice, where you don't have the privilege to create or update file. In this case, you can use the map file to instruct Excel Invoice Manager to load the form properties file from a folder in which you have read-write privilege, instead of the installation folder of Excel Invoice Manager:

Form Properties Map File
Database=Z:\MyDB\MyInvoiceDB.mdb
Properties=Z:\MyFolder\MyInvoiceDB.fs
		

2. How do I create a map file?

A form properties map file is a plain text file that has a name of FORMSMAP.TXT. The file must be stored in the installation folder of Excel Invoice Manager. You can create this file using any text editor, including Notepad.

For each database you will connect to, create an entry which consists of two lines. The first line starts with the keyword "Database=" followed by the full qualified database file path and name; the second line starts with the keyword "Properties=" followed by the full qualified properties file path and name.

Below is an example of the FORMSMAP.TXT file:

In this example, when the invoice template connects to the C:\MyInvoice\Company1.mdb database, Excel Invoice Manager uses C:\MyInvoice\Company1.fs as the properties file. If the invoice template connects to E:\INV2\Sample.mdb, it uses E:\INV2\Sam.fs as the form properties file.

Note:

  1. Don't store the form properties file in a shared network folder and share the properties file between multiple computers/users.
  2. Databases that are not listed in the map file will use the default properties file, i.e. a properties file that has the same name as the database file, but with a different extension (".fs"). Excel Invoice Manager always creates the default properties file in the default folder as detailed above.