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PRODUCT | Red FlagsACT! 2011 QuickStudy Guide from Cornerstone Solutions

Converting Your Older ACT! Database

How would you like a program that analyzes an ACT! 6 (2004) or ACT! 5 (2000) database and in a matter of a few minutes displays a Microsoft Excel worksheet describing the work that should be done prior to conversion? All projects turn out better when time is spent on preparation. Changing from the older database platform to the newer SQL/MSDE platform can present a few problem areas that are tricky to discover. So after you have run Scan and Repair, you will want to run Red Flags.

Red Flags analyzes an ACT! 5 or 6 database to determine any potential upgrade problems prior to converting it to the current version of ACT!. It starts by creating a backup of the existing database. It then performs a field analysis on the Contact and Group tables, displaying the list of database fields and their attributes in an Excel worksheet (Requires Excel 2002 or better). Any potential conversion problems are red-flagged for your review.

"Flags" potential problem areas

Red Flags looks for things like ...

  • Additional address fields (so you can be prepared for a custom conversion)
  • Additional phone fields (ditto)
  • Potential additional secondary contact fields (ditto)
  • Illegal characters in field names
  • Empty pop-ups (so you can remove the "Allow Editing" check prior to conversion)
  • Entry and exit triggers (and removes them if you like)
  • Exceptionally large drop-down lists (for cleanup and review)
  • Upper, Lower, or Initial cap fields that are longer than 70 characters (may truncate on conversion)
  • Renamed core fields
  • User fields 1-10 that have been changed to phone number fields
  • Duplicate field names (and it will fix them if you like)

Provides Usage Statistics/Removes Bad Dates

How many times have you seen a database with fields that are created as Character 50 and all the user ever entered was a Y or an N? Or perhpas there are some fields in the database that were created with good intentions, but no one ever entered any data in the field. Wouldn't it be great to clean those up prior to conversion! Red Flags can help you to identify those fields so that you can deal with them prior to conversion. The program lets you know...

  • How many records have data in the field (so you can consider deleting the field prior to conversion)and
  • What was the longest text entry (so you can make the field smaller if necessary).

Bad Dates... dates in date fields that are not legitimate dates (like "2/31/9"), can cause many problems both before and after conversion. When you get field useage statistics, if RefFlags encounters a bad date, it will remove it for you (they're useless anyway). A log will be kept listing these changes and you will be asked if you wish to view this log when the process is done.

Scans For, and Repairs UNKNOWN USERS

Notes, Histories, and contacts with unknown user IDs in certain fields can cause a conversion to fail. Red Flags will scan the ACT database tables for these entries and let you know if you have any. If the unknown user problem exists, Red Flags can replace them with an existing user of your choice.

Fixes Common Activity Problems

Activities with an end date earlier than the start date will cause failure during conversion. Recurring activities that go on too long (too many recurrences) have also been reported to cause problems. Red Flags will locate and list...

  • Recurring activities that go on for more than 5 years.
  • Activities with End Dates earlier than their start dates.
While Red Flags does not provide an automated tool to fix these problems, a button is provided on the Excel spreadsheet to locate the affected contacts so the problems can be quickly resolved should you decide it is necessary.

Identifies and Helps Repair ACT! Attachment File Problems

Finally the program will provide an analysis of the attachment items found in the Notes/History tab. Red Flags is capable of listing 130,000 attachments. Attachment analysis will let you know...

  • If the path exists on the current workstation and
  • If file can not be found.

Knowing these problems ahead of time allows you to fix the paths in Excel and have them written back to the database prior to the final conversion.

Red Flags also provides two special purpose tools for dealing with Attachments.

  • If you need to change the path of the attachments in ACT!, perhaps because you moved the files to a new location, you can use Excel's Find/Replace feature to change the recorded path in the Excel list, then click a button to write the changed paths back to ACT!.
  • When attachments are converted, the files are copied to an "attachments" folder and linked to the contacts in the converted database. Red Flags provides a tool that will copy the files original paths into the Regarding field of the item in ACT! 6 so a record of the original file location continues to exist. (The need for this second tool is rare, but invaluable if needed.)

Unlimited Use

The program (which sells for $150) allows unlimited usage. So you can use it to analyze as many databases as you like to outline the work you need to perform prior to conversion. This is an essential tool for all consultants.

ACT Support

My name is Susan Clark. I literally wrote the book on ACT! software. I'm the author of The Official ACT! Quick Study Guide.

In addition, I've been consulting with small to medium-sized businesses on their sales and marketing efforts for over 20 years (as well as with a Fortune 500 company every now and then). So, I know what works and what doesn't.

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Other products by Cornerstone Solutions:

Red Flags
Analyzes an ACT! 6 (2004) or ACT! 5 (2000) database and in minutes displays a MS Excel worksheet describing the work that should be done prior to conversion.

Sage ACT! QuickStudy Guides
These Sage ACT! user guides (for Pro or Premium) includes tips for everyday use as well as detailed instructions on customizing and administering your Act! database.

Swiftpage E-Marketing QuickStudy Guide
Swiftpage manual full of tips and step-by-step procedures to help you learn to use Sage E-Marketing for Act!. Everything you need to know to maximize your email results.


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$150 -- Red Flags / one user

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Compatible with:

ACT! 5 /2000

ACT! 6 /2004

Please be advised that redflags is not supported for Windows 8 and requires that excel be installed (as well as ACT! 6) on the computer you wish to run it on. Also, and this is very important! RedFlags was created as a consultant tool and assumes a good knowledge of ACT! 6 and it's workings. Support for the product will not be provided for free.

Technical Support
provided by Cornerstone Solutions



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