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Calendar Printing: It Keeps On Going

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jaelynn Williams, Jeffrey Buxton

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Posted: 16 Jun 1999
 

Here we are again, as promised, with more improvements to Calendar Printing. We'll be the first to admit that Calendar Printing was in its infancy when it arrived on the scene with the initial release of GroupWise 5. Since that time, we've discovered, thankfully, that first impressions aren't permanent, and some things, besides wine, really do improve with age. If this weren't true, you'd have given up the idea of printing your calendar just the way you like it long ago. Quite to the contrary, you die-hard Calendar Printing fans have kept the e-mail coming and coming, and we've been burning the midnight oil, reading your feedback, growing a bit nearsighted, and doing our best to deliver better and better iterations of Calendar Printing.

First, we made some improvements with the release of GroupWise 5.2.2. Next, we added rolling calendars, more week views, and even automatic double-sided printing to the feature set with Printing Pack 1. And now, with the beta release of Printing Pack 2, we're adding seven more hot features, and dare we say it? We feel like we're getting dangerously close to Calendar Printing perfection. Read on to get the details about what we've added.

Print Your Calendar the Way You See It

You turn on the kitchen faucet, and you get water. You click Print on an appointment, task, or reminder note view in GroupWise, and you get a hard copy of exactly what you see on screen. Right? Well?that's not how calendar printing worked prior to the release of Printing Pack 2 (PP2 for short). In this world of WYSIWYG software, we understand that you expect to see exactly what displays on screen reproduced on paper. It's one of the benefits of living in 1999 on the brink of Y2K pandemonium, and as many of you have told us, it's downright annoying when it doesn't work that way.

Well, we've heard your comments, some were more tactful than others, and we've risen to meet your expectations with PP2. After you install PP2, you'll be able to print the text (bold, underline, and italics) in your appointments, tasks, and reminder notes exactly as they appear in the view, just like you expect. So?if your boss says, "Don't forget to bring the agenda." You'll see, "Don't forget to bring the agenda." on your printed copy. You've been able to print formatted text in mail messages for some time, but now you can see and print the same formatted text for appointments, tasks, and reminder notes. It kind of completes the circle and makes the whole thing seem tidy, don't you think?

Expandable Month and Week Calendars Hold Everything

Before PP2, the row size in the month and week calendar forms was fixed, set in stone, unmovable. If you wanted to see all your items together in one row, you were out of luck. The form wouldn't budge. Instead, all the text that didn't fit in the row was truncated and tossed onto the overflow page. The good thing about this was the information wasn't lost. The bad thing was that you had to look on two different pages to see what your day looked like. Well, loosen your belt buckle a notch, sit back, and relax because we've eliminated all the size constraints in the new Expandable Month and Expandable Week calendar forms. No more sucking and stretching trying to keep it all in a fixed row. With PP2, your calendar printout will expand until it literally holds everything: appointments, tasks, and reminder notes. Now, you've really got a place for everything, and as Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Two More Multi-User Calendar Forms

Based on your mail messages, it's obvious that many of you need to keep track of appointments, tasks, and reminder notes, for the entire office. But that's not all, you've got to keep track of the entire office not just for the day but for weeks and months at a time. We've also heard from a number of people who work on collaborative teams and want to use GroupWise to keep track of each other.

Prior to Printing Pack 2, you could do this to some degree with the Multi-User Day calendar if you were willing to print each day individually, but that's not really very practical as Gary A. noted in a recent mail message. He said, "The Multi-User Calendar which prints one day per sheet is a tree killer, and not practical for long range work." Gary is right. It's cumbersome, kills trees, and makes the process more difficult than it needs to be. So, we put our noses to the grindstone and fixed the problem in Printing Pack 2 by adding two new Multi-User Calendar forms: Multi-User Week and Multi-User Month. Now, you can print everyone's schedule for the week or the month without monopolizing the printer or depleting your paper and toner budget. And, if it saves a few trees for Gary in the process, well that's an added bonus.

Pictures Make Reading Your Calendar Easier

Many of you want to print all of your appointments, tasks, and reminder notes in one spot on your calendar. This works okay. The only glitch is that once you get a number of calendar doo-dads stuffed into one cell or row in your calendar it takes a minute or two to decipher what's an appointment, what's a task, and what's a reminder note. With so many things stuffed into a small space you can no longer just glance at your schedule, instead you have to study it.

With this in mind, we've added graphical symbols to selected month and week forms to help you quickly distinguish between task, appointments, and reminder notes. Now, when you print, you'll see the clock symbol next to each appointment, a check box next to each task, and a bullet next to each reminder note. These icons will help you quickly distinguish the different types of items on your calendar (even if they are a little too plain to win any graphic design awards). Of course, you'll only see these handy icons on calendar forms that put all your items into one cell. (If each item has it's own cell, it goes without saying that the icons would be redundant.) Check out the new look by taking a peek at one of these forms: Franklin Quest Week, Franklin Quest month, Multi-Week, Multi-User Month, Rolling month, and Expandable month.

Improved Overflow Pages

We've cleaned up a few loose ends in PP2, one of which is the absence of overflow pages on the Daily Appointments and Weekly Appointments forms. For some reason, which we don't remember anymore, we didn't include overflow pages for these two forms. This meant, as many of you have experienced, that when you printed a Daily or Weekly Appointments form any text that didn't fit in the form was truncated and tossed. Yes, that's right. We just hurled that extra info out the window, like clutter taking up space in the garage.

Needless to say, we knew this wasn't the best way or even a good way to handle extra text, so we fixed it with PP2. Now when you print the Daily or Weekly Appointments view, the extra text is printed on an overflow page. We've also improved the overflow concept for PP2. Before, the only text that was printed on the overflow page was from the early and late appointments that would not fit in the Early/Late box located on the first page. In the new design, the Early/Late box has been removed and all early and late appointments (along with the text from any truncated shaded graphical blocks) are printed on the overflow pages. All the text you would expect to see is now available, which is to say no longer tossed, or otherwise lost.

Support for Centered Manual Feed Printers

There are left manual feed printers, and there are centered manual feed printers. One year the standard is left manual feed printers, and the next year centered manual feed printers are the rage. Until PP2, Calendar Printing only supported left manual feed printers (seemed to be the standard at the time). If you fed a piece of custom size paper into a left manual feed printer, your calendar would print like a charm. This was not the case if you fed a piece of custom size paper into a centered manual feed printer. In the case of the centered manual feed, you'd be lucky if you could see an inch or two of your appointments printed on the left margin of your paper.

Well, we heard from a lot of readers who are the proud owners of centered manual feed printers, and so we've added support for centered manual feed in PP2. To use a centered manual feed printer all you have to do is click a check box on the Options page in the Calendar Printing dialog box, simple as that and your ready to do manual printing. With PP2, you can print your calendar successfully with either type of manual feed printer.

No More Mixed up Reminder Notes

We wouldn't have guessed this on our own, but from your feedback, it's clear that you're very particular about the order in which your reminder notes print. As you've noticed, they print in what appears to be a somewhat random order. Rest assured there is a reason reminder notes printed in the order they did. It has to do with how GroupWise reads them from the database, but what do you care about the nuts and bolts? You just want them to print them in the same order as you see them in the GroupWise view. (We're back to the WYSIWYG thing again, aren't we?) With PP2, reminder notes will print in the same order that they display in your GroupWise view.

Hot on the Heels of PP2

If you didn't see the Calendar Printing enhancement you've been hoping for in the lucky seven listed above, take heart. It may be coming in the next release of GroupWise. Of course, we can't give any exact names or dates for this upcoming release. If we did they'd cut off our paychecks and show us the door, but we can give you a heads up on at least two Calendar Printing features that we know will be a part of it.

Print All Appointments in a Folder

The first feature is the ability to print only the appointments, tasks, and reminder notes located in the currently selected folder. We've had numerous requests for this enhancement from people like Kristy B. She wrote:

We have a user who has linked all of his calendar appointments to case folders. He'd like to print out the appointments that are linked to just one folder but whenever we print the calendar it prints all appointments. Is there a way to just print appointments linked to a certain folder?

We think it's a great idea, and we've got it queued up and ready for the next release of GroupWise, which is sooner than you think.

Select Dates with Calendar Button

The second feature we know you'll find in the next release is a Calendar button (pops up a mini-calendar where you can click the dates you want to print) on the Content tab of the Calendar Printing dialog. They're going to squeeze it in between the Starting date and Number of Months text boxes. It's a little thing, literally, but it will make it a whole lot easier to specify the dates you want to print. Your hand won't even have to leave your mouse.

Clearly, we're always doing our best to make Calendar Printing do what you want it to do. So, if you don't see a feature or enhancement you need in PP2 or the next release, fire up your e-mail and send us your request. Who knows what you might get in a future, future release?


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