Recollector User’s Guide


Using Picklists


A picklist is a standard set of values used for a field in your collection database.  For example, if you have a field named Quality for which each record should contain one of a standard set of quality terms (e.g.: mint/exellent/good/fair/poor), then you could create a picklist consisting of these five values.  You would then associate the picklist with the Quality field in your collection database.  As a result, in the data-entry window, the Quality field would display as a text box with an associated drop-down list containing the terms from the picklist:




·         Picklists can only be associated with short text and one-line text fields.

·         Consider auto-completion as an alternative to using picklists.  Auto-completion lets you type the first few characters of a text field value and then press the ESC key.  Recollector will see whether any existing values for this field in your collection begin with the same letters.  If a match is found, Recollector will either fill in the rest of the value (if only one other existing value matches the starting letters you provided), or a popup menu will let you choose from among the existing values that start with the same letters. Auto-completion is provided by Recollector for all short and one-line text fields, except for the ID # field and any field associated with a picklist.  Auto-completion is not provided for long text fields or for non-text fields. Auto-completion is easier to set up than a picklist, since there is no set-up required, but it only helps you enter values when the desired value already exists in another record in your collection.


In addition to drop-down lists, one-value or two-value picklists can be represented in the editor by a checkbox control. This is described in a section at the end of this chapter.


Picklists are created, modified and deleted via the Manage Picklists dialog, which is invoked from the Options menu of the collection viewer window.  The first time you invoke the Manage Picklists dialog, the dialog will mostly be blank (since no picklists have yet been defined for the collection):



Click the Create button to create a picklist.  The following dialog will be displayed:



Enter a name for the picklist, and then enter values in the text-entry field at the bottom, and click Add to add each value to the list.  You can change an existing value by selecting it from the list, typing in a revised text at the bottom, and clicking Replace.  You can delete one or more values by selecting them from the list and clicking Delete.


You can add values to a picklist from an external file.  Click the Add values from file button, and you will be prompted to pick the external file.  Each line in the external file is taken to be a single value, and all of the file’s values are added, with the exception that blank values and values that match an existing value in the picklist are skipped.  The ability to add values to a picklist from a file is particularly useful when you have a picklist with many values, and you already have a file containing those values.  So, for example, if you want to create a picklist with all the two-letter abbreviations for states, it is easier to load this list of values from an external file (which can be easily created from lists of state abbreviations found on the web) than it is to type in all of the state abbreviations.


You can re-order the value list by selecting one or more values and using the arrow buttons, at the right, to move the selected values up or down.  You can also use drag-and-drop to rearrange items in the list. You can also alphabetize the current elements in the list by clicking on the A…Z button. When the picklist values have been entered, click OK to return to the Manage Picklists dialog.  Here is what the Manage Picklist dialog would look like after entering the Quality picklist described at the top of this page:



To associate a field with a picklist, make sure that the desired picklist is selected in to the drop-down list at the upper left.  Then select the desired field from the drop-down list at the lower right and click the Associate button.  The following shows what the Manage Picklists dialog looks like after selecting Quality from the drop-down list at the lower right and clicking Associate:



In this example the field and the picklist happen to have the same name (Quality).  This is not required; picklist names and field names are independent, and you can associate multiple fields with the same picklist.


The Strict checkbox determines whether, during data-entry, a field is required to exactly match one of the values on the associated picklist (or blank: an empty, blank, value is always allowed for any field).  If you choose strict behavior, only values that appear on the picklist are allowed, thereby forcing you to use a “controlled vocabulary” for the associated field. By default, picklists are not strict, and in the data-entry window you will be allowed to type any value into a short text or one-line text field, whether or not it is on the field’s associated picklist. 


Other buttons on the dialog allow you edit the values (or name) of an existing picklist, delete a picklist, or remove the association between a field and a picklist.  (Since a field can only be associated with one picklist, if you associate a field with one picklist, and that field had previously been associated with a different picklist, the program will automatically remove the prior association.)


If you have set up multiple collections, and you have created a picklist in one collection, which you would also like to use in the second collection, you can use the Copy picklist and Paste picklist buttons.  Note that these copy and paste operations do not utilize the Windows clipboard, but are handled entirely within the program.  Therefore, the Copy and Paste operations must be done within a single session of Recollector, copying the picklist from one collection, switching focus to the second collection, and then opening the Picklist Manager dialog in the second collection and pasting the picklist.  This may seem a bit cumbersome, but if you have created an elaborate picklist (e.g. one listing all of the 50 states in the US), it is still much easier, and more accurate, to use this built-in copy and paste capability than re-creating the long picklist from scratch for the second collection.


Auto-populating picklists


If you create a picklist with a single value, and that value is [AUTO] (the word “AUTO” may be in upper, lower, or mixed case, but it must be enclosed within square brackets, as shown), then Recollector will automatically populate the values in the picklist by the actual values found for the associated field in the existing records of the collection.  These auto-populating picklists are always treated as non-strict, allowing you to enter new values.  Any new value that you enter will get added to the auto-populated picklist for the next time you add or edit a record to the collection.  You only need one such auto-populating picklist definition for a collection, since this picklist – and the editor behavior that it provides – can be associated with multiple fields. In this case, the displayed dropdown list for each field will show the existing values for just that field.


An auto-populating picklist is very much like the auto-completion capability described in the note at the beginning of this chapter. Both capabilities provide a way to easily select a new value by choosing from the existing values for a field that occur in other records in the collection.


Creating a checkbox with a picklist


If you have a field that is best represented in the editor by a checkbox – in other words, the value of the field is either on or off – then you can create a special picklist which Recollector will recognize as instructing the program to display the field in the editor as a checkbox.  To do this, create a picklist with either one value or two values, and precede the first value by the word “checkbox” followed by a colon.  The following shows the values from a two-item picklist that has been set up to provide a checkbox in the editor:



In the editor, a field that uses this picklist will be represented by a checkbox that looks like the following:



A one-item picklist can also be used to generate a checkbox control in the editor:



In the editor, a field using a one-item checkbox will look the same as the two-item case:



The difference between a one-item and two-item picklist is reflected in the data value that the field will eventually contain when the checkbox is in the unchecked state. With a one-item picklist, a field represented by an unchecked checkbox will have an empty/missing value, whereas with a two-item picklist the field will have the second of the two values and will therefore never have an empty/missing value.  Note that the checkbox is only shown in the editor. In the Item Details view the field will be shown like any other field: a field label followed by a value (or not shown at all if the field’s value is empty/missing):



Similarly, the field will be shown as a simple text value in the List view or the Image Gallery labels; only in the editor will it be shown as a checkbox.


The choice of whether a picklist is strict or not strict is ignored for checkbox picklists. The behavior is always strict, since you cannot enter alternate values.

Back to: Using the Collection

Back to: Recollector - Home Page