Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 File express: An introduction
 Using file express
 Adding records
 Finding a record
 Sort of the index
 Label printing

Group Title: Circular
Title: Getting started with a database management system
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094891/00001
 Material Information
Title: Getting started with a database management system
Series Title: Computer series - Florida Cooperative Extension Service ; 863
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Watson, Dennis G.
Layton, David S.
Halsey, Larry A.
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1990
Copyright Date: 1990
Subject: Database management   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "February 1990."
Statement of Responsibility: Dennis G. Watson, David S. Layton, Larry A. Halsey.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094891
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 26846447

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    File express: An introduction
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Using file express
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Adding records
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Finding a record
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Sort of the index
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Label printing
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
Full Text

February 1990
February 1990

Circular 863

Getting Started with a Database

Management System

Dennis G. Watson, David S. Layton, Larry A. Halsey

Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida/John T. Woeate, Dean

Mention of a brand name, trade name, or trademark does not
constitute a guarantee by the Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida of said product, nor does it imply
approval to the exclusion of other similar products.

Table of Contents

Abstract ......................... .................1
Introduction ..........................................2
Basic Terminology 3
Notation 4
Screen Representation 5
File Express: An Introduction .............................. 6
How to Get File Express 6
Hardware and Software Requirements 6
Installing Program 6
Starting Program 8
Stopping Program 9
Using File Express ......... ................. ....... 10
Creating a Database 10
Defining the Fields 12
AddingRecords ......... ....................... 18
Finding aRecord ..................................... 20
Sort the Index ................................... 23
Label Printing ......... .............. ....... 25
Quick Labels 25
Bulk Label Printing 27


Dennis G. Watson, David S. Layton,
Larry A. Halsey*


Database management software with a personal computer allows
convenient storage and retrieval of large amounts of stored data
such as mailing lists and records. Database management and basic
terms used in database management are defined. File Express, an
example of database management software for IBM-compatible
computers, is used to create a mailing list database. Features such
as field definition, data entry, sorting, and label printing are covered
in detail. This publication serves as an introduction to database
management software and highlights some of the capabilities of
database management software.

* Assistant Professor and Student Programmer, Agricultural
Engineering Department, Gainesville; Jefferson County
Extension Director, Monticello, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


One of the earliest reasons why people wanted computers was to
handle large quantities of data. Agricultural managers have the
same need, as they repeatedly find themselves managing large
volumes of data to make decisions that will significantly affect their
business. Since the early 1980's, record-keeping programs have
been the most common agricultural software applications. Record-
keeping software is usually based on some type of database manage-
ment system.

Database management software was developed to store and retrieve
information. A database is an organized collection of related
information. Anyone who has used a phone has used a database.
The phone book is an example of a printed database. A phone book
also exists as part of a larger database on a computer at the office
of the telephone company. From this larger database, a report is
printed and distributed as a phone book.

A phone book consists of an alphabetical listing of the names of all
persons in a city or region, in association with their addresses and
phone numbers. Information in a database is organized in some
order. Each entry (or record) in a phone book or other database has
the same categories of information.

Management is very important in the use of a database. If a phone
book was not managed to add records for new members of a com-
munity or delete records for those who have moved away, it would
become obsolete. Managing a database includes being able to sort
information. Sorting is very important to effectively using a
database. For example, a phone book is useful because the list is
sorted in alphabetical order by last name, which is a lot better than
by phone numbers in ascending order.

Another important function of managing a database is generating
a report to be used in making management decisions for a company.
For example, a telephone company wants to estimate the additional
number of phone lines which will be needed over the next two years.
Its database includes the number of lines for each customer and the
date on which service was connected. By entering the proper com-
mands for the database management software, a listing which
summarizes the number of new lines added for each of the past five
years can be easily generated. Managers can use the historical data
to project the number of new lines which will be needed.

In summary, a database management system consists of a set of
procedures for creating and managing an organized collection of
information. In the remainder of this circular, the acronym DBMS
is used to refer to a DataBase Management System for use with

A few years ago, users of personal computers had to choose between
DBMS software that was either powerful or easy to use. The early
DBMS programs that were powerful enough to perform a variety of
functions were also difficult to learn. Programs that were easy to
use lacked many of the advanced features. In recent years, software

Getting Started with a Database Management System

developers have responded to early criticisms and developed
programs which are powerful, yet easy to use. These advancements
have resulted in increased interest in DBMS software.

DBMS software has a wide variety of applications. In a general
sense, DBMS can be used whenever it is necessary to store and
retrieve information. More specific applications of databases in-
clude maintaining a record of sales and receipts, keeping cow-calf
production records, and creating a customer database and printing
labels. These are just a few examples of applications for database

This circular serves as an introduction to DBMS software. After
studying this document, you will be familiar with some of the
concepts required to use a DBMS. In addition, you will be able to
use File Express (a DBMS program for IBM-compatible microcom-
puters) to develop a customer database and print mailing labels for
each customer.

Basic Terminology Basic Terminology
Effective use of DBMS software requires becoming familiar with a
few basic terms. These terms are common to all DBMS software.
The first term is database, which we have already defined as an
organized collection of information. A database of phone numbers
would include names, addresses, and phone numbers. A database
of customers would have similar information. A database of cow-calf
records would include the identification number or name of each
cow, with data on the health and weight of each calf.

Each entry in a database is called a record. In a customer database,
each record would include an individual customer's name, address,
and phone number. In the process of managing a database, records
are added, deleted, and edited (records are edited to change or
update information).

Each record consists of fields. Field refers to a space in the record
that is set aside to hold a certain item of information. All records
in a database have the same fields. When a database is created,
fields are defined. For example, a customer record would consist of
a field for the customer name, a field for the customer address, and
a field for the customer phone number. A field can be defined as
alphanumeric, numeric, or true/false. A field that is defined as
alphanumeric can contain alphabetic or numeric characters. A
character is the smallest unit of information which can be entered
into a database. Each field in a database consists of one or more
characters. Examples of alphanumeric fields are names and ad-
dresses. A numeric field is used only for numbers. Examples of
numeric fields are phone numbers and zip codes. Phone numbers
and zip codes can also be defined as alphanumeric fields, however,
fields that are defined as numbers can be sorted much faster than
alphanumeric fields. A field that is defined as a true/false (boolean)
type contains characters such as 'T or 'F' to indicate whether the
item is true or false. For example, a phone company's database
would contain a true/false field to indicate whether the number is

Getting Started with a Database Management System

A DBMS uses an index to quickly find records in a database.
Records do not have to be added to a database in any particular
order, however, some order is needed for the software to quickly find
a record. For example, a customer named Tom Aaron is added to a
customer database which contains over 100 customers. The DBMS
does not sort the database so the record for Tom Aaron is left at the
end. Instead, the DBMS software generates a new index for the
customer database. An index can be thought of as a table with two
columns. Using a customer database example, the first column
could be the last name of the customers listed in alphabetical order.
The second column would be a number corresponding to the number
of the record that contained the customer information. If the record
for Tom Aaron is record number 101 in the customer database, then
the number 101 would appear beside Aaron in the index. With this
strategy, a DBMS can quickly find the record for Tom Aaron without
searching the entire database. Multiple indexes can be used for one
database. For a customer database, a different index could be used
to find records based on customer name, phone number, or zip code.

A DBMS is commonly used to generate a report. A report is simply
a table which summarizes information in a database. Numerous
reports can be generated from a single database. For example, a
report could be generated from a customer database listing all
customers with whom contact has been made in the past six months.
The capability of a DBMS to summarize all information in a
database into a report is extremely important for managers.

The five terms discussed in this section are the basic terminology
needed to use a DBMS. The following sections focus on the use of
File Express (a commercial DBMS) on IBM-compatible microcom-
puters. Many DBMS programs are commercially available which
have features comparable to File Express. File Express is discussed
in this document as an example of a DBMS because of its relatively
low cost, ease of use, and familiarity by the authors.

Notation Notation
This documentation includes step-by-step instructions and ex-
amples of using File Express. At times, you will be required to enter
commands and make choices.

When asked to enter a command, an instruction similar to the
following will appear in this document.

Enter c:

When the word'Enter' appears, press the keys corresponding to the
boldface characters which follow. Once all the characters have been
typed, the 'Enter' key must be pressed. By pressing the 'Enter' key
you are signaling the end of your response and instructing the
computer program to continue. In this example the keys 'c' and':'
should be pressed followed by the 'Enter' key.

At other times, you will be instructed to simply press a key. For
example the following instruction may appear.

Press Spacebar

Getting Started with a Database Management System

The key or keys represented by the word or words in boldface, which
follow the word 'Press' should be pressed and released by the user.
In the above example, the Spacebar key should be pressed and
released. another example of an instruction to press a key is:

Press Alt-F10

This instruction requires that the user press two keys at the same
time. A good technique for pressing two keys at the same time, is
to press and hold the first key (Alt in this case), press the second key
(F10) and release both keys.

Screen Representation
Throughout this document, representations of the display screen
are included. Two types of presentation are used. One is a figure
of the entire screen, such as Fig. 1.

Screen Representation

The second method of presenting the computer screen is by showing
a part of the screen. In this case, the text to which your attention
should be directed will be enclosed in a gray box as follows.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Do. tt- I()- '1-t
Time: CEA1



File Express is a DBMS program for IBM-compatible microcom-
puters. File Express is copyrighted by Expressware Corporation.
The following description of File Express is based on version 4.0.
File Express is distributed as user-supported software, which
means that non-registered users are granted a limited license to use
File Express on a trial basis. Expressware encourages customers
to copy the software to allow others to try out the program. After
the program has been evaluated a registered set of disks should be
purchased from a local dealer or directly from Expressware. The
current registration fee is $69.95.

How to get File Express How to get File Express
File Express is available from various sources including other
computer users, computer users groups, electronic bulletin boards,
and Expressware Corporation, P.O. Box 230, Redmond, WA 98073
(phone: 206-788-0932). Depending on the source from which you
obtain File Express, there may be a nominal charge for distribution

Requirements Hardware and Software Requirements
File Express is designed to run on computers that are 100% com-
patible with an IBM PC, XT, or AT. The minimum hardware
requirements are 320 kilobytes of RAM (random access memory),
two disk drives, and PC- or MS-DOS version 2.0 or higher. A printer
is required for reports or labels. File Express will work with either
monochrome or color displays.
Installing Program Installing Program
File Express is normally distributed on two 5 1/4-in. floppy disket-
tes. One disk is the program disk and the second one is the
supplemental disk. File Express must be properly installed before
use. The complete instructions for installing File Express are in the
File Express documentation. The following instructions are
provided for convenience.

Hard Disk Systems

When using a hard disk system it is possible to put all of the program
files in a single subdirectory and your database files in one or more
other subdirectories. The following instructions assume that both
the programs and the data will reside in the same subdirectory.
Insert the File Express program disk in drive A and

Enter c:

to change to your hard disk drive. If you want to install File Express
on another drive, use the appropriate drive letter.

Enter cd \

Getting Started with a Database Management System

to change to the root directory on the drive and

Enter md fe

to make a new subdirectory called FE and

Enter ed fe

to change to the new subdirectory. Copy the files from the File
Express program disk in drive Ato your hard disk with the following

Enter copy a:*.*

Once the files have been copied, the DOS prompt will reappear.
Remove the program disk from drive A and insert the File Express
supplemental disk in drive A and

Enter copy a:tutoriaL*

Enter copy a:.exe

These commands copy the tutorial database and some of File
Express's overlay programs which are included on the supplemental

Two Diskette Systems

You will need three formatted diskettes to install File Express on
your system. Diskettes can be formatted by placing your DOS disk
in drive A and a blank disk in drive B. To make sure the A drive is
the currently logged drive,

Enter a:

and to format the diskette in drive B,

Enter format b:

Repeat this procedure for each of the three blank disks. Label the
diskettes'File Express Working Disk 1','File Express Working Disk
2', and 'File Express Data Disk'. Place the master copy of the File
Express program disk in drive A and the disk you labeled 'File
Express Working Disk 1' in drive B.

Enter copy a:*.* b:

to copy all of the files to the working disk. When the files have been
copied, place the master copy of the File Express supplemental disk
in drive A and the diskette you labeled "File Express Working Disk
2" in drive B.

Enter copy a:*.* b:

Getting Started with a Database Management System

to copy all of the files to the working disk. Now place the disk you
labeled "File Express Data Disk" in drive B and

Enter copy tutoriaL* b:

This will copy a sample database to your working diskette. You now
have a set of working diskettes for File Express.

Starting Program Starting Program
Once File Express has been installed, it can be started with a few
simple commands. If File Express is installed on your hard disk,
begin by changing to the drive and directory where File Express was
installed. If you used the suggested directories, the commands are:

Enter c:

Enter cd \fe

If you used a different drive or subdirectory, substitute the ap-
propriate drive and subdirectory name in the above commands.

For File Express installed on floppy disks, put the 'File Express
Working Disk 1' in drive A and the 'File Express Data Disk' in drive
B. Make drive A the current (or logged) drive:

Enter a:

For both hard disk and floppy disk installations,

Enter fe

to start File Express. Upon starting, File Express will display its
title screen (Fig 2).

Getting Started with a Database Management System

-- ,,- .-U =- --_ -
n------m--n--- ME-r------------
- -=- i -a-"a- -- -i -i
Sm m- m- Imm-mi m mm

S (C Cop~ jriht. 19, 1985 1586, 1587 ExpresmAre Corportin
?ortlons (Cl Copgrrljt Microsoft Forpitlon, 1982, 83. 84, 85. 86. 7
- -All Ights reamred
-.i^-i:"xmrmn t --Imue
ledmod jiVA 1 8873
--- (2U61788-932
Press an key to continue or ( Fig. 2. Title screen of File Express program.

Stopping Program Stopping Program
Two methods are available for exiting File Express. The first is to
continue pressing the Esc key until File Express displays the follow-
ing message askingyou to confirm your decision to stop the program.

Press Y

to stop the File Express program. The second method is to advance
or back up to the main menu of File Express and

Press 9


Press Q

The message requesting that you confirm your decision to quit File
Express will be displayed.

Press Y

to stop the program or

Press N

to continue using File Express.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


File Express can be used for a variety of purposes that range from
maintaining a mailing list to enterprise production records. This
circular will not attempt to overwhelm the reader with information
on all of the applications for which File Express can be used, but will
make every effort to give the reader an understanding of how to
create a simple database and use this database to print mailing
labels. We will begin by assuming that you have performed the
tasks outlined in the preceding section on installing the program on
your computer.

Creating A Database

Creating A Database
Start File Express. The title screen (Fig. 2) will be displayed.

Press Spacebar

to continue. After a slight delay, the following message is displayed,
requesting the drive to use for data files.

The appropriate drive letter should be entered or to use the default

Press Enter

A second message appears, requesting the path to be used for data
files. The appropriate path should be entered or to use the default

Press Enter

Should you enter a path which does not exist, the following message
will be displayed.

After pressing a key, you will be able to reenter the drive and path.

When this information is entered, the program proceeds to the
database selection screen, Fig. 3.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

T g 3. Sce 'en .r e ---aa; a b e.

-- - :i -i

eteo er nei-oL datn- n e aabase- Te ctoriae- dtabai- t_ a t- -a I-

on this screen is supplied by Expressware Corporation. If you
will guide you through a tutorial exercise. For our purposes, we are
going to start a new database.

Press Enter

to create a new database. File Express asks you to enter the name
of the new database.

Enter maillist

to create a database which will be used to manage a mailing list.
Upon entering the name of the new database, File Express will
pause momentarily and then display the screen for defining fields
in the database records (Fig. 4). (If you are unsure of this terminol-
ogy, refer to the 'Basic Terminology' section of this circular.)

Getting Started with a Database Management System
.;'. -- ,.. .: : ,: ._ - T ...-. .-J

Getting Started with a Database Management System

'*r l ;i. 4'J** *i ."i;. '* Dili 3131 FSIIIU' .4"'
file: IST ''; lecadm L" Leth:19 k-1

Enter NAl for fleai

I4--1 . -1, 4
|.."V, 1 :

-0 * i : ... .
; ., i "' . J, ." : .' !' , [. I '. ., ,'i '

=---. . ~. i i --- _-y -. .."--.

- i .

Fig. 4. Screen for defining fields in a new database.

Defining the Fields

Defining the Fields

For this exercise, we will define a database of customers or clients
which is similar to what a county extension office might use. For
each client, a name, address, and phone number is needed. Addi-
tional information about the agricultural enterprise would also be
useful. The first step in setting up a new database is to decide what
each of the fields in the database will contain. For each field, we
must identify a name, type, and length. The name will be the name
which describes the field's contents. File Express allows 12 charac-
ters to describe a field. For example, a field for storing the last name
of a client could be called 'Last Name'. For field type, we can choose
from options such as character, numeric, or date. The field type of
character as used by File Express is more accurately called al-
phanumeric, but for consistency with File Express the term charac-
ter will be used. Character types are required for fields that contain
names and addresses and can be used for fields such as zip code and
phone number. The character type used by File Express is better
defined as alphanumeric. Numeric fields are required for data
which are numbers and will need to be sorted in order of numerical
value. Date fields are fields which are formatted for dates in the
form 'mm-dd-yy'. Table 1 lists the field definitions for this sample
mailing list database.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Table 1. Field definitions for mailing list database.

# Field Name Type Length

1 Last Name C 20
2 First Name C 20
3 Address 1 C 25
4 Address 2 C 25
5 City C 15
6 State C 2
7 Zip Code U 10
8 Phone Number U 12
9 Demograp R/S C 5
10 Pest Cert # C 10
11 Cert Expire D 8
12 Farm Size C 6
13 Farm Type C 60
14 Advisory Cor C 8
15 Gen News C 1
16 Hort News C 1
17 Vege News C 1
18 Home Ec News C 1
19 Leadership C 15
20 Comments C 40

The 'Demograp R/S' field is used for reporting purposes. Codes for
race and sex are entered in this field. Abbreviations such as 'W for
white, 'B' for black, 'F for female, and 'M' for male are used. The
pesticide certification number (Pest Cert #') and expiration date
('Cert Expire') are recorded to notify applicators when they need to
renew their certificate. Farm size and farm type are used to
categorize the farm for internal purposes. Farm size could contain
'small', 'medium', or large'. Farm type would consist of key words
which describe a farm, with spaces between each word. For ex-
ample, 'corn, soybean, beef, vege' would describe a farm with corn,
soybean, beef, and vegetable enterprises.

County extension programs usually have several advisory commit-
tees. The advisory committee field will contain an abbreviation for
any advisory committee on which the client serves. Fields are
included for four categories of newsletters (general, horticulture,
vegetables, and home economics). These fields are defined to be one
character in length. An x is entered in the field for each newsletter
which the client should receive. If a client should not receive a
newsletter, the field is left blank. The leadership field is used to
make short notes on any leadership position of the person. Ex-
amples of leadership notes are: county board, mayor, and school
board. The last field (comments) is used to enter any other notes
about the client.

The listing of field names in Table 1 is only an example. These fields
were taken from a database used in a county extension office.
Although some of the items may be pertinent to your situation,
others will not. Once you have completed the tutorial exercise and
feel comfortable with how a database management system works,
you can create your own databases.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Now, you are ready to begin entering the field definitions into File
Express. The field definition screen (Fig. 4) should be displayed,
with the prompt 'Enter NAME for Field'.

Enter Last Name

as the name of the first field. This field is a character type, so

Press Enter

to accept the default of'C'. Twenty characters should be sufficient
for a last name.

Enter 20

for the length of the field. The format column is automatically filled
in as character. For index length, accept the default value (two) and

Press Enter

The above commands complete the first line of the table. Using
Table 1 as a guide, enter the appropriate information for fields 2
through 6. Field number 7 (zip code) is slightly different. With the
cursor positioned to enter the field name for field 7,

Enter Zip Code

as the name of the field. This field can be defined as a special type
of character field. A zip code has 5 characters followed by a hyphen
and an optional 4 characters. Instead of entering the hyphen each
time a zip code is entered, you can define a format or mask for the

Press u

to choose field type 'U', for a user-defined field. Ten characters are
needed including the hyphen, so

Enter 10

for the length of the field. Instead of the format column being
automatically completed, File Express requires that a mask be
entered. To enter the mask,

Press Spacebar

five times, to leave five blank spaces.

Press -

to enter the hyphen and

Press Spacebar

Getting Started with a Database Management System

four more times. After the Spacebar is pressed the fourth time, the
cursor changes to show that the maximum of ten characters have
been entered.

Press Enter

The format for zip code should be displayed as five spaces, a hyphen,
and four more spaces.

Press Enter

to accept the default index length. Field 8 also has a mask to format
the characters stored in phone number. Enter the field name, type,
and length for field 8. At the prompt for the mask,

Press Spacebar

three times,

Press -

Press Spacebar

three times,

Press -


Press Spacebar

four more times.

Press Enter

The mask for phone number should be displayed as three spaces, a
hypen, three spaces, a hypen, and four spaces. This will result in
phone numbers being displayed as '123-456-7890'.

Press Enter

to accept the default index length. At this point, you should be able
to enter the rest of the field definitions with the with the information
in Table 1. Field 11 is slightly different in that the field type is 'D'
for date. After entering field 20, the cursor will be on the field name
for field 21. To indicate to File Express that you do not wish to define
any more fields,

Press Enter

Upon completing the entries, your field definition screen should look
like Fig. 5, with the menu at the bottom.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

File: MllUlIST'' lber Lenth; Zl "I Hecords er 360K dlsk: 1258 !
Last NHam C 28 i Character 2
First Name C 2 Character 2
Address 1 C 25 Character 2
Address 2 C 25 Character 2
City C 15 Character 2
State -- --C- -- 2 -- -Character ---- -- -
Zip Code U 18 2
lhonc Humier U l Z
Deimgrap I3 1:/5 i C. Character 2
Pest Cert C 1 Character 2
Cert Expire d:. i: 8'd... -yg 2
F~.a S aracr .. ._... -_:_..
Farm lppe 6 Character' 2 '
Adulsory Con C, : 8 Character 2
Gea Hews C 1, C Character I
Hort Neus C; !ii Character I
Uege eus C 1' Character'
Home Ec Hes C 11 Character 1
Leadership C 15 Character 2
Conents -C 48 Character 2
(S)aue (C)hane (llnsert <()eletel ()Resume (Paiat (L)enth-index (Esc>
Fig. 5. Completed field definition screen.

If the entries are satisfactory,

Press a

to save the definition of the database. If an error was made in
entering the information,

Press c

to change a field definition. If you press 'C', you will be asked for a
field number. Enter the number of the field to be changed. For
example, to change the zip code field,

Enter 7

You can type over a previous entry or press enter to leave it the
same. Once any changes have been made, the field definition must
be saved. After saving the database, File Express will display the
main menu (Fig. 6).

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Getting Started with a Database Management System


There are nine options available from the main menu. To add
records to the new database,

Press 2

to select 'Add New Records'. An option can also be selected by
pressing the first letter of the option. In this case, you would

Press a

to select the 'Add New Records' option.
records will be displayed, Fig. 7.

The screen for adding

MILL13T Adding Record I I
fame Ra
Irst Hame
address I
address Z

1p- Code -
home Humber
ecograp R/S ,
eut Cert I
ert Expire
are Size
nr_ Type .. ...
ulsor Ca
n ews -
art Heus ,, t-- I '
ge News
mo Ic Hews

)doun SlUE RECORD Exit
Fig. 7. Screen for adding records to database.

The fields you previously defined are displayed on the left side of
the screen. Space to the right of the field names is allowed for entry
of the appropriate information. The field length values defined for
each field, limit the number of characters that can be entered for
the respective field. You can enter data for a customer/client or use
the sample data in Fig. 8.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

lILLJST Addiag Record 1 1
art -ame Doe,., -
Lrst Nlam Jon
address I Doe Isterpriss
iress 2 loute 2, lox 180
ltg JIhrlton
tate FL : - -- - -
Ip- Code-- 17MS-e8--- --_: ---I-----
lhoe Humber 89-555-1234 -
eaognp/S N I
nt Cart 123156
rt Expi re 69-22- ::
are.Size edi-u i
visor! Com .en ----

lose Ic NHCN X j

epllcate hp dom <1>) SAUE RECORD a Exit
Fig. 8. Completed entry of a record.

Data is entered for each clientby typing the appropriate information
adjacent to each field name. For example, to enter the data for a
last name of Smith,

Enter Smith

Pressing Enter after each entry will cause the cursor to move to the
next field. If you wish to leave a field blank, simply

Press Enter

and the cursor will move to the next field. You can use the up and
down arrow keys to move to different fields. After entering the
information for each record, review the data to check for errors. If
an error is noted, use the cursor keys to move to the field and edit
the information. When all of the data for a record are correct,

Press F10

to save the record. You can enter more records at this point or wait
and enter them later. The adding records screen is exited as follows:

Press Eec

and File Express will display the main menu.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


Once records have been entered into a database, the need will arise
to find one. File Express has a menu option for finding records. File
Express should be at main menu (Fig. 6).

Press 3


Press f

to enter the find records menu, Fig. 9.


1 Find a Recor I
; 2 Quick Scan ModI

3 Search and Replace
i Search and Delete
s 5 rind duplltel I database
...," ;" '"" i |' I I .
S Find duplicates In 2 databases

-- .-- ---. ,---.. .. tEsc> to ail elnu | -
Fig. 9. Menu screen for finding a record.

From the 'Find Records' menu,

Press 1

to display the 'Find a Record' screen, Fig. 10.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

- ~ ~ ~ _~a~auw


-" Ifind reaom uwlth
I fieldav. j.field:
Y'sl IIlal

I Last Hane 2
2 First Hna 26
-3-- ddress- -- 25-
4 Address 2 25
5 City 15
S6 State Z -
ii'7? Zip Code-. 18
8 Pkone Hume 12 -
i..9. Omenrai n --

ZIP = 98687

Field number mg be used Instead: F6 IS 98607

-Use-quotatI -marks around text -- "AI-IZ3/I"
i uitkh Ilbhded th operators: PHOI-"555-1212"

ComCaarstootlmr than equIl: ZI >) 41999
h-, 7
"*''ltslrf^Fni lfr: 22 V

M fet Cert; .1 .
glp ind FgIIh tlls I e compared: 1?ICt= FNICIE
itit co-M altsons: ZlF)r>8 MA STATE1
USee r "uia fd' for a complete lirt of option

Find all the records where:

Fig. 10. 'Find A Record' screen.

File Express allows you to search for a record based on an entry in
any field. If you entered the sample data for John Doe previously,
then a record exists with the last name of Doe. To search for this

Enter last name is Doe

File Express begins searching for a record with the last name equal
to Doe. File Express will accept various commands for searching for
a record. The search for Doe could have been entered as'F1 = Doe',
where 'Fl' refers to the last name field. An abbreviated form of the
name could be used, such as last name is Do', but you may get
records like Dobbs or Donaldson or Downtown Market in addition
to Doe. If File Express finds a matching record, a screen showing
the record's contents is displayed, Fig. 11.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


P; 3 Record It

ack \
Fig. 11. Display of record matching search criteria.

Various options are available from the menu at the bottom of the
screen. For example,

Press R

to return to the 'Find a Record' screen to perform a second search.
This time search for all clients with corn and soybean enterprises.

Enter Farm type = ..corn.. and farm type f ..soy..

File Express will display the first record in which the words 'corn'
and 'soy' appear in the farm type field. The double periods before
and after 'corn' informs File Express that any record which has the
letters'corn' somewhere in the farm type field is to be considered a
match. Otherwise, the field must start with'corn'. In this example,
the record for Doe will be displayed (Fig. 11). Likewise, a search on
two or more fields to find all vegetable growers with pesticide
certification numbers would do entered as'Pest Cert # >= 0 and Fary
Type = ..veg..'. If more that one record is found which meets the
search criteria, press 'n' or the Spacebar to view the next record.
File Express will display a'NO MORE MATCHES' statement on the
screen after you have viewed the last matching record.

Press Esc

to return to the 'Find Records' menu and

Press Esc

again to return to the main menu (Fig. 6).

Getting Started with a Database Management System

9t- RAW
iren I Doe Iwtarprihe
hWress 2 loute 2. Box 180'.
:IMy luraltun I
Fke L I'
-II Coda-- -- 15-OIUS ----:--- -I--.
011aa Nurber 000555-12s234
Wut Cert a 1U3456
Pimiu Size madimu
*N-71pe -.Cr MMW
ulaory LcbmgemnI ,1;: :-':"l~`;-'

aitnur~eus x
Idim 1C Newa. X i :

T .Y,


File Express allows creation of an index to a database, which can be
sorted in any order. For this example, the index needs to be sorted
in the order of the field last name'. From the main menu,

Press 4


Press a

to display the 'Sort Section' screen, Fig. 12.

--Sor Sec o.
Last Name
First Name
Address 1-
Address 2
City .
State -
ea H0 -. -
lDem hip 1/. .

Advisory Co
.e. Nes-. -N

First Field number to sort on
Fig. 12. Display of'Sort Section' screen.
Sorting is performed either ascending or descending order. Sup-

pose a database consists of 26 records and each record has a last
name beginning with a different letter. If a sort is performed on last
name in ascending order, the record with the last name beginning
with would be first If the last name field were sorted in
desending order, the last name beginning with would be first.
Sorting a database on last name would be convenient for generating
a list ofnames in alphabetical order. When sorting an alphanumeric
Fig. 12. Display of'Sort Section' screen.

field, the ordering is performed in either ascending or descending orders, spaces,
pose a database consists of 26 records and each record has a last

and symbols ing with a different ltcharacter. If sort is performed ASCII. Forn last
name in ascending order, the record with the last name by soeginning

zip code.
with A would be ff the'Sort Section' screen, you are prompt sorted for the

first field number to sort on. For this example, the sort will be based
defending order,with the last name and first name beginning sorted. Since first
Sortingame is a databashigher priority than first name, last name will be convenient for generating

Getting list of names in alphabetical order. When sorting an alphanumeric
field, the ordering is based on the order of letters, numbers, spaces,
and symbols in the standard character set, called ASCII. For
mailing labels, time and postage expense can be saved by sorting by
zip code.

At the bottom of the 'Sort Section' screen, you are prompted for the
first field number to sort on. For this example, the sort will be based
on name, with the last name and first name being sorted. Since last
name is a higher priority than first name, last name will be the

Getting Started with a Database Management System +

selected as the highest priority field for the sort. To sort on last

Enter 1

The next prompt requests the portion of the field to sort. The length
of the field is 20 characters and the default value is displayed as
1:20. To select the default value and have the database sorted on
all 20 characters in the last name,

Press Enter

File Express allows you to sort on less than all characters, but this
feature is seldom used. The next prompt requests whether to sort
the database in ascending or descending order. To sort in ascending

Press a

File Express requests the number of the second field to sort on. For
this example, you would sort on first name in ascending order.

Enter 2

Press Enter

Press a

Since no other fields need to be sorted,

Press F10

to instruct File Express to perform the sort. After the sort is
completed, the main menu (Fig. 6) will be displayed.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


There are two methods of creating and printing labels in File
Express. The first and quickest method is to use the "Quick Label"
feature. This method prints one label per record and is useful when
only a few labels need to be printed. The second method is to select
the option on the main menu entitled "Label Printing". This method
is convenient when several labels are needed for each record. Both
methods are discussed. Printing of labels can be demonstrated on
printers with regular paper installed, however, continuous label
forms for printers will be needed to actually generate mailing labels.

Quick Label

Quick Label

As stated above, quick labels are best suited for applications where
a small number of labels need to be printed. For example, you may
want to print a label for each new entry in the mailing list database.
To create a quick label you will need to be at the main menu of File
Express (Fig. 6).

Press 7


Press m

to select the 'Maintenance' option from the main menu and display
the maintenance screen, Fig. 13.


Fig. 13. Database maintenance menu screen.

Press 2

Getting Started with a Database Management System


I Change database arcs
.-- A(Nau,-l-tgp'le- ltth-
formalas, decimals,
or paint scma)
2 quizck-label "etop

P-. .ifl~c ptil
4 kcalisilaeasa js atabas

Triatf-d at abalte AW ta ~Li;;.

- !ltt

- - - i!
Maintenance melm

~----- ----'-?~-


to select the 'Quick label setup' option. When this option is selected,
the 'Quick Label Setup' screen is displayed, Fig. 14.

Quick Label Setup-
I field neoe ln Format to dit Cl to 1)? or Saw
1 La l stl 'a, i ,' ", . I
,2 lFirst HNam Z 28 ,,,,, .
,.4 .Add..r ..
S city.v.i Z .. i
6 State- .
7 p Code. 1..
Ploan INunbr Z
A lemograp &4-..5-.K
19 Poest Cert 10
PgUp and ghn

V" I 1 I__ __.
T tab F field S = space Cl = carriage return "Text il quotes"
Example: Tie rt F CI 31 "or occu pnt' CR F3 CR F4 F5 F5 F C13
Fig. 14. Screen for setting up quick labels.

On the left side of the screen the labels contained within the
database are displayed. On the right side of the screen you are
prompted for the number of the format you want to edit. If you have
not created a format, none will appear. Instructions for creating a
format are given at the bottom of the screen. Following is a typical
mailing label for the entry previously made in the database:

John Doe
Doe Enterprises
Route 2, Box 180
Ruralton, FL 12345-0180

Press 1

to edit the first format. The cursor will be displayed at the left of
the line on the bottom of the screen. Enter the format codes for the
label as follows:

Enter f2 sl fl cr f3 cr f4 cr f5 "," 6 s2 f7

The format codes specify the position of each field which is to be
printed on the label. The sequence of codes, 'f2 sl fl cr' cause the
first line of the above sample label to be printed. f2' refers to the
second field (first name) which is the first item to be printed on the
top line of the label. 'sl' causes a space to be inserted after the first
name. 'cr' causes the printer to advance to the next line. The codes,
'f3 cr f4 cr' cause the next two lines of the label to be printed. The
codes, 'f5 "," f6 s2 f7' specify the last line with the city, state, and zip

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Press F10

to save the label format To return to the main menu,

Press Ese

To print a quick label for a record, the record must be displayed on
the screen. Refer to the prior section on 'Find Records' to find a
record. Once the record is displayed, a menu will also appear at the
bottom of the screen (Fig. 11). The last option is' Label'. Make sure
you have your printer turned on, connected, and ready.

Press L

and one label with the format defined in the quick label screen will
be printed. Ifyou have formatted several different quick labels, File
Express will ask you which one to use. You must remember which
number represents the label you want. Once again you can use the
escape key, to return to the main menu.

Bulk Label Printing Bulk Label Printing
As mentioned above, if you need to print a large number of labels
from a database that have a common field, the Label Printing option
at the Main Menu will work more efficiently. For instance, you
could print all the labels in a database or all the labels that have a
specific field or fields in common. To begin this procedure, go to the
main menu of File Express and

Press 6


Press L

to display the mailing label menu, Fig. 15.

Getting Started with a Database Management System


t. ..*.*
II ,

1 Design a new Label

-- -2 Chose an existing Label

SI oces
';* j --J. 1 .'
-tr ':- \l-p -m | .- -

1 S bit all processing '"


I Selection

Fig. 15. Mailing label menu screen.

Mailing labels defined for quick labels are not usable from the
mailing label menu, so a new label must be defined.

Press 1

to design a new label and the 'Set Label Sizes and Spacings' screen
will be displayed, Fig. 16.

Set Label Sizes and Spacings

Pitch (l>egular, (C>oNpressed, (Twelvc, one

Line spacing (B) or (8) lanes per Inck 6

-.JiHu ean lanibelsacross theepe A 1 .to5 ) _

ldth of lahel, I characters ; 37
Lines doun from oe label to .ext 6
Printable lines per label 4
S- Tak posltlo- to first label 1
S(FI> < uhen illished I

Fig. 16. 'Set Label Sizes and Spacings' screen.

The default values are appropriate for standard labels, so

Getting Started with a Database Management System


' .' I J l' I' l .l''-.'
J. J, , .

' 1 7 '
;[** '

- , .
'.i h.
, i

Press F10

to accept the default values. You will be asked to test this label on
your printer. For this example,

Press n

to select the default of N'. A prompt appears asking if you want
manual or automatic spacing between fields.

Press Enter

for the default of automatic spacing and display the 'Create Label
Layout' screen, Fig. 17.

--Create Label Luaout

-___ _- -

I--_: I-- -A t New- -- sm-
*- - 4-4-- -i -

,r, t h, Eptate l est Cet I .K.i...z CM .__ ... .. .e.s
diresx 1 I lp Code -- -iCrt Expire lU Itm ^E.cduertip
dress 2- iDriuu.tu-i.er-WiraSlze--iort Hew___ ^im nl .
Field muber to Frllt on Line I
I z) 9 EC.i (Enter>-next line -eras line Fig. 17. Screen for defining the layout of a label.

The label layout screen allows you to position the fields on the label.
Directions are given at the bottom of the screen. For our label the
following sequence of keystrokes will be used. To define a label with
the first name and last name on the first line,

Enter 2


Enter 1

File Express will respond by placing first and last name position
indicators on the label displayed on the screen. In this case, the last
name extends beyond the right margin of the label. You will rarely
encounter a name with the maximum of 20 characters in both the
first and last names. To allow the contents to extend past the right

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Press Enter

To move to the next line of the label,

Press Enter

The following keyboard commands are used to finish the label.

Enter 3

Press Enter

Enter 4

Press Enter

Enter 5

To have a comma appear in the label between the city and state,
instruct File Express that you wish to enter text that is the same on
all labels. To do this,

Press Alt-T

and then enter tye comma, as follows:


and the final two commands to complete the label definition:

Enter 6

Enter 7

The label layout should match Fig. 18.

To complete the label definition,

Press F10

The record selection screen will be displayed which works like the
'Find A Record' screen (Fig. 10). The left side of the screen lists the
fields in your database and the right side of the screen gives
directions for selecting records. To print labels for all the records
use the option 'All' which may be the default.

Enter all

An alternative is to select all records which have a character in the
'Gen News' field, which indicates that they should receive the
general newsletter. To select all records with a value in the 'Gen
News' field,

Enter Gen News > ""

Getting Started with a Database Management System

:.. .l- .. .n

fr 4' I 2p

It- r Code
-- -- 4I

trst dame te et Ct isory Co. Ec Ice
ddresm 1 tp COde art Expire ea New dership
-ddres 2--- ho,.e _a -- ari-s -- L INs. nts

INext Field a Line 4
( ) -REC.- (Iter.-next lie .]_ -erase line lt.--T)-text F1O-tinished
Fig. 18. Completed definition of mailing label layout.

Other combinations can be used to generate labels for the desired
records. After the record selecting criteria is entered, File Express
displays a'Set paging option' prompt. For this example and in most

Enter n

To save the label layout,
-- t. _, =.--:.4 -o- ::: ... -- -

,u,-: Clty r:^-- e r.| 1 ,,,a Type Kc,, Hews

Press y
The name of th e label layout must be entered,
ilext Field on LLne 4 I
= <9> EeC.I -next line <)T-ere line -text -finished
Fig. 18. Completed definition of mailing label layout.

Other combinations can be used to generate labels for the desired
records. After the record selecting criteria is entered, File Express
displays a 'Set paging option' prompt. For this example and in most

Enter n

To save the label layout,

Press y

The name of the label layout must be entered,

Enter mailing

The output options screen will be displayed, Fig. 19.

Getting Started with a Database Management System

Outpa O las
I---- ' I .. .

Urite to (S>creen, ()rlter, or '(D)sk

Friaten Fort LPT(1), LT', ;PT(3) 1i
hoaer of Labels to frint for ehb Record 1

.C)antiNum- a c i c. :
...I !,i ....
(Chatinuss ee or wt# ea chlabel row ,
SPrinter iltlallzatlo Itnlf (aotlonall

lead records from S(FI) uhen finished 4

Fig. 19. Screen listing label printing options.

To send output to a printer,

Press p

If your printer is connected to 'LPT1' (or you're not sure),

Press 1

To print 10 labels for each record,

Enter 10

and to accept the default values on the rest of the options,

Enter F10

Make sure your printer is turned on, connected, and ready and then

Press Spacebar

to print the labels. This completes the section on printing labels.

File Express includes many other features which are not included
in this primer. Refer to your File Express documentation for more

Getting Started with a Database Management System

This publication was produced at a cost of $499.89, or $1.00 per copy, to provide information to agribusinesses
on the practical use of database management software. 2-500-90

Woeste, director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the
May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of extension
publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk
rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.

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