Recollector User’s Guide


Setting User Preferences


Recollector lets you control certain aspects of its behavior via a Preferences dialog. This is accessed via the Preferences choice on the Options menu.  The Preferences dialog is a tabbed dialog. Select the tab at the top to access preference choices related to different aspects of the program.  Preferences apply to all of your collections. So when you bring up the Preferences dialog from one collection window, all the choices you make will also apply to any other collection window that is open or that is subsequently opened.




The Images tab lets you specify certain aspects of Recollector’s handling of images.




Data Entry/Editing


The Data Entry/Editing tab provides access to two choices affecting the behavior of the window used for adding or editing data:



Note: A number of the more commonly used editor preferences are also accessible via the Preferences menu that is available on the data-entry/editing window.


·         Editor font and Font size – You can modify the font and font size used in the date-entry/editing window.  Only monospaced fonts are allowed, so the drop-down list of font family names only shows a relatively small number of choices.

·         Spell check (one-line and multi-line text fields) – If spell checking is turned on, one-line and multi-line text fields will highlight possibly misspelled words with red underlining.

·         Warn on illegal numeric or date field data – Normally, during data entry or editing, Recollector allows you to enter any kind of data in any data field.  If you would like the program to provide a little bit of checking, you can turn on this check box.  If this choice is selected, the program will not let you exit a data-entry/editing screen if any of the numeric data fields (currency, dimension or number fields) contain non-numeric data or any of the date fields contain non-date data.  Be advised, though, that Recollector’s rules for what is an allowable number or date are very lenient: “$123.45 or more” is treated as a valid number (because part of the text can be extracted and interpreted as a number) and “99-XYZ-2005” is treated as a valid date (because part of the text, 2005, can be interpreted as a year).  Only values that cannot possibly be interpreted as numbers or dates will be flagged.

·         Format for dates inserted by the calendar helper – Next to each date-type field in the data-entry/editing window is a calendar button. Clicking on the button brings up a calendar that can be used to choose a particular date. When the date is chosen, the selected date is inserted into the date field’s text-entry box. This preference determines how the date is formatted as text. Choose the desired formatting style from the dropdown list. The dropdown list shows an example date (July 4, 1976) displayed in a variety of formats. Note that some of the date formats use the European-style convention of day preceding month (e.g. “04/07/76”), while others use the American-style convention of month preceding day (e.g. “07/04/76”). (See the next paragraph for another preference related to American vs. European date formats.)

·         Interpretation of numeric dates – This choice lets you control how the program interprets dates that you enter with numeric month and day values (e.g. 10/11/2006).  By default such dates are interpreted by the “American” convention of month-before-day. Choose European style to have the interpretation be day-before-month.  The only effect of this choice is on sorting: When sorting is by a date column, the program tries to convert the text value in the date field into a valid date, and then does chronological sorting.  The results of sorting can differ, depending upon whether numeric dates are being interpreted by American or European conventions. For example, 10/11/2006 is earlier than 11/10/2006 by American sorting, but 10/11/2006 is later than 11/10/2006 by European sorting.

·         Decimal symbol interpretation – This choice lets you choose between the two common styles of displaying numbers (including currency and dimension values): (1) With a period (.) as the decimal separator and comma (,) as the grouping separator for groups of three digits; or, (2) With a comma (,) as the decimal separator and a period (.) as the grouping separator for groups of three digits. This preference is intended primarily to ensure correct sorting of numeric values that contain periods and/or commas as either decimal or grouping separators.  This preference also affects the display of currency information in the Summary window and the Item Details display of currency field values.

·         Height (in lines) of long-text data-entry boxes – The data-entry/editing window normally provides text-entry boxes that are 5 lines high. (The boxes are scrollable, so you can always access and edit longer text, but the visible portion shows 5 lines by default.)  If you prefer boxes that display fewer or more lines, you can select a number here (between 2 and 20).

·         Two-line height text box for image fields – The text-entry field for image fields is normally one line high. If you have many images, or long full pathnames for images, you might find one line inadequate to view all the text in the image field at one time. If you turn on this preference, image fields will be shown in the editor with text boxes that are two lines high.

·         Compact layout for wide entry/editing windows – Normally Recollector lays out the fields in the data entry/editing window from top to bottom (though it will sometimes position two short text fields side-by-side, to conserve a bit of space).  This is not the most efficient use of screen space, and if your collection has a large number of fields, you may find that not all the fields fit in the edit/editing window without scrolling up or down.  An alternative compact layout strategy is available that is considerably more efficient in its use of screen space, such that with most collections you can display all of the fields at once, with no need to scroll.  The program only switches to compact layout mode when two conditions are met:


1.      The data entry/editing window is sufficiently wide. The threshold is 1000 device independent pixels (or slightly over 10”).  Expanding the window to be near full-screen width (or maximizing the data entry/editing window to full-screen size) will, on most displays, cause this threshold to be met. If you resize the data entry/editing window larger or smaller, crossing this threshold width, the window will automatically switch between its normal layout strategy (for narrower windows) and the compact layout strategy (for wider windows).

2.      The compact layout preference check box must be set on this tab of the Preferences dialog.  If the check box is not set (by default it is not set), the normal layout strategy will be used in all cases.


Note concerning normal vs. compact layout: With normal layout, fields are laid out, top-to-bottom, according to the Item Details field order. With compact layout, fields whose data type uses wide text-entry boxes (one-line text, long text and image fields) are laid out on the left side of the data entry/editing window, and fields that use short text-entry boxes (short text, number, date, currency, dimension) are laid out on the right side. Within each of these two sections, fields are laid out according to the Item Details field order. If the total height of the laid out fields on the left side is longer than that of the fields on the right (or vice versa), fields will be shifted right (or left) to approximately equalize the height of the two sides, thereby minimizing the overall space used and helping to make all fields visible at once.

·         Auto-generate ID # when adding records – The ID # field in the data-entry window is accompanied by a button (labeled Assign next ‘ID #’ value) whenever the other records in the collection contain numeric values. This button can be used to assign the next sequential numeric value and put it into the ID # field.  If you turn on this preference, then the assignment will happen automatically when you ask to add a new record.


Item Details



The Item Details tab lets you control several aspects of the way data is displayed or printed for the Item Details view:


·         Display font - The font used when displaying or printing Item Details is normally Times New Roman.  However, if you prefer a different font, you can select one from the drop-down list. 

·         Font size – The Item Details view is normally displayed using the font size corresponding to the Small, Medium, and Large font-size choices found on the Options menu.  But you can explicitly set a different font size for the Item Details display.

·         Center thumbnails – If you have image fields for which the field label is suppressed (see description of suppression, further on in this paragraph), and you are using a normal (not compact) display, then you may find it visually more appealing to have your thumbnail image(s) centered on the screen (or printout page), rather than aligned at the left-hand edge.  Turn on this check box to request that thumbnail images be centered.  Note that this centering will only be applied to fields whose field label is suppressed, and that suppression of field labels in the Item Details display is accomplished by changing the field name to a name enclosed in parentheses, for example: “(Images)”.  (See the section titled Adding a Field in the section of the User’s Guide on Modifying a Collection’s Fields for a fuller description of the effects of parenthesizing field names.)

·         Always include two-digit fractional part for currency values – Normally whole-number currency values are displayed without a decimal point or fractional digits. You can use this preference to turn on the display of “.00” as part of all whole-number currency values.  When your collection contains currency data with fractional components for some values (for example: 20.75), you may prefer to always display the two-digit fractional part for all currency values, even when the value is a whole number (for example, 150.00).  That is the purpose of this preference.  Note: This preference also affects the display of currency values in the List view and the Image Gallery view. It also affects the display of currency values in printed reports and in generated web site pages.

·         Slide show interval – The Options menu of the collection window contains a Start Slide Show choice (available only when displaying Item Details).  If this is selected, then the current Item Details is displayed for an interval, and then the display automatically moves to the next record.  The preference specified here determines the length of time, in seconds, that each Item Details is displayed before switching to the next record.  By default this interval is 10 seconds. Any value between 1 second and 300 seconds (5 minutes) is allowed.

Note: Several other aspects of the Item Details display are controlled from the menus and from other dialogs:

·         The order of displayed fields is controlled from the dialog invoked by the Item Details: Field Order choice on the Options menu.

·         Normally the Item Details view shows all fields that contain data.  But you can limit the Item Details display (or printout) to just those fields that are currently included in the List view. Selecting Limit Item Details to Only Fields Shown in List on the Options menu does this.  Note that the order of the fields shown in the Item Details display will also be the same as that shown in the List view if you select this option.  This allows you to create a completely custom Item Details display (choice of items and their order) by creating a field profile (see Creating and using Field Profiles for details on how to do this) that has just the fields you want to see, in the order you want to see them.  Then switch the List view to use this profile (using Set Field Selection from Profile on the Options menu) and turn the Limit Item Details to Only Fields Shown in List toggle on. Now, when you switch to the Item Details display, you will see the custom field selection/order that you desire.


Other Preferences


A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated


The Other Preferences tab lets you control several other aspects of the program:


·         Auto-save – Allows changes to be automatically saved after a specified interval.  Normally, auto-save is enabled. If auto-save is enabled, the program will check every time the specified interval has elapsed, and if any changes have been made to your collection, the collection will be saved to disk, just as if you had chosen Save from the File menu.  (Auto-save will not write the collection back to the disk if nothing has been changed.)

Note: When auto-save is not enabled, and your collection has unsaved changes, you will be prompted whether to save those changes when you exit the program.  If auto-save is enabled, then any unsaved changes will automatically be saved, without prompting. If you find the prompts annoying, but don’t actually want auto-save, you can achieve this effect by enabling auto-save, setting the auto-save interval to a very large value (for example, 10000 minutes). This way no timer-based saving will occur, but, when you close the collection or exit the application, any unsaved changes will be saved, without any additional prompting.


·         Do not show update reminders – When you start up Recollector, the program decides whether to notify you that a newer version of the software is available.  It will do this when the version you are running is not the latest version.  (Recollector does not want to badger you to upgrade, so if you decline to upgrade, the program will not remind you again for at least a week.)  Nevertheless, if you find these weekly reminders annoying, you can turn them off completely, by turning on the “Do not show update reminders” preference.


Note: Recollector needs to access the internet to determine the version number of the latest available version of the software.  Therefore, if you are running Recollector but your computer does not have internet access, the update notification will not be shown, regardless of the version you are running.


·         Set to default sort order when opening a collection – Normally, when you open a collection, its sort order is set to whatever the sort order had been when you last closed the collection (either by explicitly closing the collection or by exiting Recollector). This is true even if the collection has a default sort order defined.  However, with this preference turned on, Recollector will always set a collection’s sort order to its default sort order when the collection is opened.  This preference has no effect on collections that do not have a defined default sort order.


·         Maximum number of sort fields – Recollector lets you sort your data records by more than one sort field. Records are sorted initially by the first sort field.  If multiple records have the same value for the first sort field, then they will be ordered, within that group of records, by the value of the second sort field (assuming a second sort field has been defined).  And, similarly, if a group of records all share the same value for the first sort field, and also share the same value for the second sort field, this group of records will be additionally ordered by the value of the third sort field.  And so on. With this preference, you can specify the maximum number of sort fields that can be used, between 1 and 8.  The default is 4.


·         Right-align numeric fields in List View – In the List View, the value shown in every field is normally left-aligned. However, this preference lets you specify that the contents of numeric fields (which includes fields whose type is ‘currency’, ‘number’ or ‘dimension’) should be displayed right-aligned.

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