Database Program?

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Old 09-12-05, 06:18 PM
mac169
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Database Program?

I write many reports called Discharge Summary's. I am trying to find a program that can incorporate data from excel, so that I can shorten the time it takes to write the reports. We have all identifying info on excel for data purposes. For example.... I would like to be able to type in the name, and all the identifying information for the person comes up on the format of the report I'm writing. Then a generic paragraph comes up. Then a drop down list of bullets I can add. Then I can write in my own comments if necessary. Then it's done!!!! I use a word template now, but I have to write the person's name and identifying info all the time and I have to re-write bullets all the time. I'm trying to save time and my wrists.

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Old 09-12-05, 07:49 PM
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have you tried directly linking the values in excel to word?
http://www.meadinkent.co.uk/excel-to-word.htm

sounds like medical stuff. do you have the authority to install various programs that may work?
 
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Old 09-13-05, 05:57 AM
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I'm not as conversant in Excel, but what you describe is easily accomplished with similar Lotus programs. Approach (database) I know will do it. You can create a form letter (or form or whatever) on a blank page and link fields in the database that automatically insert the data required at that point on the page. Haven't done anything with it lately, but have used it in the past for wife's student's to do, for instance, form letters to go out to parents with the child's name, parent's name(s), and address automatically inserted. Also used it when I was still working for Uncle Sam to maintain personnel records that I could use to create pre-filled-out forms for various functions -annual dental exams, leave papers, work requests, etc. You could even format the blank page to print the data in specific locations on the page so that you could insert a pre-printed blank form in the printer and have the program print the various data tiems in the proper block locations on the form.

I would be very surprised if the Microsoft programs do not have a similar capability.
 
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Old 09-13-05, 09:41 AM
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Tae's approach sounds like the easiest one.

There is a protocol called DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) that both Excel and Word support, which allows you to pipe data directly between applications by writing a "pipe", which is nothing more than some text put into an Excel Cell or into a Microsoft word macro. It's an obsolete protocol but it allows you to accomplish your task without having to learn Visual Basic.

The nice thing is, DDE is already there (you may have to reinstall Word/Excel to include DDE support though), you don't have to purchase anything. You just need to figure out the specific text in order to create the DDE pipe.

Try to find DDE examples on the internet. One note, a quick google turned up all kinds of references to DDE, but all involved programming in Visual Basic, .COM, .NET etc... -- you don't need to write any code to make this work - its just a simple Cell statement in Excel. I wish I could remember the specifics but I cannot.

Basically, the pipeline text defines which application has the data, where that data can be found within the external application, and where to put that data once it is retrieved.

Surprisingly, the best place to start learning about DDE is probably in the "help" index that you find in Excel and/or Word. It's so old that I'm not sure you'll find good examples by Googling anymore.


Now, if you've got lots of time on your hands (say 2-3 weeks) but don't want to spend any money, a more elegant solution might be to use open source software programs to create a dynamic website linked to a database.

Using the Apache webserver (www.apache.org), the MySQL database (www.mysql.com), and writing a front end in PHP (www.php.net) and HTML - you could have a nice solution whereby you would fill out your reports through a browser interface. If you want to get crazy, get a public domain name for your Apache webserver (available for FREE at www.no-ip.com) and you can fill out your reports from any computer with an internet connection - you can protect this with a secure login. If you keep graphics to a minimum, this is even feasible to do over a dial up connection.

PHP is really easy to learn (check your local library), and there are plenty of HTML tutorials on the web to. If you think its something you want to try, google "LAMP" "Linking Apache, MySQL, and PHP".
 
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Old 09-13-05, 09:53 AM
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Database Program?

Im not an exoert, but have seen some good applications of Microsoft Access that might be of help.

Dick
 
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Old 09-14-05, 11:51 AM
mac169
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Wow, thanks everyone. I am actually a social worker in a school and I do have excel, access, but I am not that good with computers. We don't have an actual tech person and the school system's tech people are always too busy to help, but I will check into some of the things you are talking about. We do have a budget that can buy computer programs.

Thanks for the link also.
 
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Old 09-17-05, 10:12 AM
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Using linked data between excel and word is probably the best route for someone who doesn't have experience with databases.

If you do attempt to create a database with Access (or something else) make sure you read up on database design. It's pretty easy to start using Access and learning basic SQL isn't too much of a hassle, but actually creating a good functional database requires a lot of thought and planning. I had to take a whole class on just design theory for my Database Technology AS.
 
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Old 09-21-05, 11:11 AM
mac169
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Thanks Garou
 
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