PTOOLS Version 2.9 Upgrade

PTOOLS 2.9 has been officially released! While I have done extensive testing, it would be prudent for regular Ptoools users to burn your current Ptools folder to a CD for backup before applying this upgrade just to be on the safe side.

Download / Install Ptools Version 2.9 Upgrade 1.4 Megs self installing program.  Please note that version 2.9 uses a new configuration file named ptools.cfg and contains the following text.


You can edit this file by selecting the Ptools file menu, then Run Windows Program, and type in: notepad ptools.cfg
The second line contains 6 items delimited by the ; character. For current PTOOLS calendar users, the second item, TOWN, should be changed to LAST as TOWN instructs the calendar to use TOWN instead of LASTNAME. Your current calendar is using LASTNAME. Addl. info on the other fields will be forthcoming.

Notes: Version 2.9 includes all features from versions 2.7 and 2.8

General Topics:

Version 2.9 Additions and Enhancements
The primary addition is a means to Export upload files for the USPS postcard and letter interface.
The Export to ASCII Delimited format has been fixed
Groundwork laid for running multiple Technicians from one master database
Misc. Info, tips, and tricks

Version 2.8 Additions and Enhancements

Ptools V 2.8 major additions and enhancements:

1] A dedicated Service History file has been added for those who want to track a complete service record (Finally!)

2] Comment field sizes have been quadrupled and recommended over the less reliable “Memo” field file which has a history of being more prone to corruption.

3] A dedicated email field has been added (finally!)

4] A direct internet interface to Map Quest and USPS Zip Code has been added

5] While in the Client Edit Screen, F5 will copy selected text to the Windows Clipboard. F6 will paste text that resides in the Windows Clipboard.

6] The PDA Paste Function has been enhanced to accept both the original format and a format that contains the field labels which are filtered out during PDA Paste import. Allowing the field labels is helpful if using a online calender such as or most other calendars as having the field labels prevents having to remember them. Tip: you can also Cell phone text message a new client in PDF Memo Block format to your email address but will probably not be able to use the field labels as text messages are often limited to 160 characters and the field labels total about 160 characters. See PDA Memo Block samples below (This feature was added 08/30/2008)

7] The client data file now has a field to store the name of an image file so that you can save pictures of pianos or maps to the customer’s house. All image filenames are limited to 12 chars in length: max8char.jpg = 12 They can be shorter but not longer. Images must be located in a folder named “PICS” and located within your ptools folder. This folder is created the 1st time you convert to a 2.8 file format using the Svc Hist button.

Note: In order to take advantage of most of these features, you must upgrade your client data file by using the Svc. Hist Button. The routine will detect and add the new and expanded fields to your current client data file as well as create a dedicated service history file. It should also be noted that adding the additional fields to your customer data file will almost double the size of the file but I strongly believe the trade off is worth the added size. You may have to modify your backup routine to CD’s or USB drives as your main data file may no longer fit on a 3.5 in diskette.

New Customer Data File Fields:

Structure for database: CCMS.RDF (could also be named CL.DBF)
Number of Data Records: 671
Date of last update: 10/19/07
Field Field Name Type Width Dec
1 TDATE Character 5 0
2 DAY Character 2 0
3 TIME Character 6 0
4 CALL Character 5 0
5 MP Character 10 0
6 FIRST Character 20 0
7 LAST Character 21 0
8 ADDRESS Character 28 0
9 CITY Character 21 0
10 STATE Character 4 0
11 ZIP Character 10 0
12 PHONE Character 12 0
13 PHONE2 Character 12 0
14 MFG Character 20 0
15 TYPE Character 7 0
16 PR Character 1 0
17 COMMENTS Character 200 0 (increased from 50)
18 COMMENTS2 Character 200 0 (increased from 50)
19 PREVIOUS Character 52 0
20 VTDATE Numeric 8 0
21 VCDATE Numeric 8 0
22 CMEMO Memo 10 0
23 MTIME Numeric 4 0
24 CDAY Character 2 0
25 LASTSPEC Character 15 0
26 YR Character 2 0
27 MO Character 2 0
28 CLCONAME Character 40 0
29 MMSALUTE Character 40 0

Added to 2.8 format

30 CUSTID Character 15 0
31 EMAIL Character 50 0
32 PICFILE Character 30 0
33 ADD1 Character 30 0 (for future use)
34 ADD2 Character 30 0 (for future use)
35 ADD3 Character 30 0 (for future use

**Total** 953

Misc. Info, tips, and tricks

There have been a number of other refinements to Ptools Version 2.8.

You can now export an email list for use with your email program.

The Set-Up Word Processor fields are out of date and I would replace with the following:
Word Processor 1     WORD.BAT    (W)in (D)os D
Name MSWord          C:\PTOOLS\
Word Processor 2     IE.BAT      (W)in (D)os D
Name Internet        C:\PTOOLS\
Word Processor 3     OE.BAT      (W)in (D)os D
Name Outlook Express C:\PTOOLS\

This will allow you to start MSWord, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express Mail programs from the Ptools File Menu
If you use regular Microsoft Outlook as your mail program, you would use notepad to open OE.BAT and change the text to say start outlook and save the file.

You can also start these programs using the Ptools File menu Dos Program option and enter any of the following commands:

start winword (to start MS Word)
start iexplore (to start Internet Explorer Browser)
start msimn (to start Outlook Express Mail)
start outlook (to start regular MS Outlook)
start clipbrd (to view the Wiondows Clipboard data)
start calc (to start the windows Calculator program)
start exe filename prefix (for many other common programs)

How's that for interesting: Use the Dos Program option to run Windows programs. Go figure... And, my gosh, all those filenames have 8 or less character filename prefixes.

About the new Service History data file

Any time you use the Svc. Hist button and upgrade to the new Ptools Version 2.8 file format, the history file is created with a .HST file extension. If your main client data file is CL.DBF then the history file will be CL.HST If your main data file is CLIENTS.RDF then the service history file will be named CLIENTS.HST

Remember, the default client files are CL.DBF, CL.DBT, and PWSETUP.DBF All other client files will have a name like FILENAME.RDF (Replacable Data File) and will also have FILENAME.DBT, FILENAME.RSF and FILENAME.HST (if converted to 2.8 format). Note that the .RSF extension stands for Replacable Setup File.

PDA Memo Block Format

Ptools V2.8 will filter out the below field labels (in Bold) during import so you can type your info to the right of each label after inserting a space ( FIRST Tremaine). This makes data entry easier and faster. Previous versions of Ptools may not have field labels. Any line (except top line) may be left as a blank line but you should retain the blank lines.

TDATE (YR-MO) 08-09 (Tip: use 79-01 if you do not have a TDATE year-month yet.)
DAY (#) 15
TIME (10:30a) 1:00p
CALL (YR-MO) 09-02
MP 110.00
FIRST Tremaine
LAST Parsons
ADDRESS P. O. Box 241
CITY Georgetown
ZIP 95634
PHONE 530-333-9299
PHONE2 530-333-1369
MFG yamaha m450
TYPE studio
PR y
COMMENTS This person/company sells Ptools/Pscale
COMPANY NAME Sierra Software Services

Any above line (except top line) may be left as a blank line but you should retain the blank line.

A PDA Memo Block without field labels might look like the following: (Note 1st and blank lines must be preserved)


P. O. Box 241
This person/company sells Ptools/Pscale
3081 B St
Sierra Software Services

A PDA Memo Block without field labels saved as "Draft" in your Cell phone text messages might look like the following: You would type over the field labels with the correct information. (Note 1st and blank lines must be preserved) And remember to make multiple copies of your template in your Draft folder. Any line you don't want or need would be left blank.





Return to PTOOLS Home Page