Approach Users Mailing List faq (Rich Text Format version) Last updated: 29 Jan 2011

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Approach Users Mailing List FAQ (Rich Text Format version)
Last updated: 29 Jan 2011
This FAQ contains a summary of answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Approach Users Mailing List, as well as other material that may be helpful to a wide range of Approach users.
The text (.txt) version of the FAQ is available for download at
This Rich Text Format (.rtf) version of the FAQ is available for download at
The web version of the FAQ is at

Approach User Support FAQ (Web, Rich Text Format, and text versions) and associated documents (Web site, newsletters and mailing list documents) are provided as is without any expressed or implied warranties. The editor and contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

Special thanks to www.XpertSS.Com for their many contributions to this FAQ
The Approach User Support web site

How to get the latest edition of the FAQ

How to receive a newsletter containing FAQ updates

How to get the Archive of LotusScripts

Contributions, comments, corrections, or feedback

Lotus support now at
Our collective wisdom so far...
The basics ("Stuff you really should know before you read other stuff")

Getting started with joined databases!

Help me design my database!

Designing and problem solving techniques

Looping macros

Record numbering, including auto-incrementing serial numbers

Using Boolean fields

Reinstalling Approach

General information

What is Approach? (Is it truly relational?)

How does Approach compare to other DB's?

IBM's Lotus Approach Support web site


Example and commercial Approach applications

Other information sources about Approach

Other information sources about LotusScript

Can I Develop Stand-alone databases (Run-time) using Approach?

Can Approach handle big databases?

Moving or copying databases (.apr/.vew .dbf .dbt files)

Help for MS-Access uses moving to Approach

Getting started with LotusScript

Approach/.dbf specifications and overcoming limitations

The latest version and upcoming developments

Versions of Approach for MS-Windows / NT

Versions of Approach for OS/2

dBase IV limitations

Limitations of Approach

Maximum of 50 joins limitation

.oyz index files

Files and File Types

Maximum of 20 charts per .apr

Optimizing databases and minimising the chance of problems

Optimizing the speed of a database

Compressing databases with a macro or script

Reducing ("Compressing") the size of a database file

Why doesn't the .dbf file size decrease when I delete records?

Good practices to reduce that chances of encountering problems

DON'T delete macros, named find/sorts or scripts...

Backing-up your data using a macro

Corrupt index (.adx) files

.apx files

Repairing corrupt index (.adx) files

Deleting and recreating index files (.adx)

Errors, lockups, crashes, and other problems

General Protection Faults (GPF's)

Repairing corrupt .apr/.vew files (e.g. errors when changing views)

Out of Memory error message

"Record is locked- retry -cancel" error message

"Someone locked this record" errors

"Unable to open ___.dbf file, 5009" errors

"Macro error: Import table has changed" error

Internal Error: Cannot load string 0

"Could not load infobox dynalink" error

InfoBox, Tools Palette, etc... won't appear

"Page Fault... at 0137:0049eb64" in Approach 96

Approach 3.02 crashing in design mode and when switching views

"An error has occured in your program" errors

Database being used exclusively error

"Internal Error - Cannot load string - 1035." error message

"GPF in APPREXPR.DLL at 0009:0D2C." error message

Vanishing scripts

"Could not find database [path].mdb" error

"couldn't open database because it is open in another language..."

Globals Sub "Initialize" doesn't always get executed


Printing formatting problems

Printer problems (including GPFs, HP Printers)

Header / Footer problems in v2.1

MS-Windows 95 printing blank pages (v2 & v3)

Printing field definitions

Printer fonts problems

Pages sizes in v9.6

Dates and times

Calculating elapsed time

Calculating ages from birth dates

Calculating number of weekdays

Finding or calculating dates

21st Century Dates

Two digit year assumptions (eg 01/01/29)

Date format with 4 digit year (e.g. 1997)

Importing Dates

Dates in report titles

Find the previous weeks records

Y2K / Millennium bug compliance and leap years

Time and Date Schedule (uses SQL and multiple records)

Formatting and displaying fields and buttons

Field Formatting (including not / rounding numbers)

Displaying Negative Values In Red (Changing fonts colours using LotusScript)

Leading zeros (eg. 00054628)

Trailing zeros (eg. 1.400)

Display problems (including problems switching to a particular form)

Removing unwanted characters from phone numbers

Radio Buttons Field Label

Make empty fields disappear (... rather than just turn invisible)

Converting numbers to words 34 to thirty-four?

Sliding fields together on mailing labels

Including quotes, symbols and international characters in strings

Phone numbers

How to make a field invisible on a form

Conditionally display a pushbutton

Stopping Approach from using Marlett as the default font

Reports and form letters

Deleting the body in summary reports

Tips on layout of Reports / Altering report width

Total page counts on Reports

Form letters (and multi-page reports)

Stopping v96 (and beyond) from entering design mode when switching to a report

Repeating panels in Reports

Creating HTML and text file reports

Data entry

Limiting the options in a drop down list using an Alias table

Making keyboard entries into a formula or macro

Limiting the number of characters entered into a text field

Conditional form navigation ( tabs )

Recovering deleted records

Bypass the misuse of the "Esc"-button when using auto-increment


Automatically finding a 'drop down' list entry

Preserving the found set when switching forms

Finds on multipage forms

Finding records which do not contain *text*

Tricky finds

Including Find criteria on a report

How to pre-fill fields in a form-based find


Setting default sort order for a database or view

Saving records in their sort order

Sorting memo fields or fields that reference a memo field

Calculated fields

IF limitations in v3.0*

Using values from the previous record

Tricky calculations

Generating a random unused PIN number

The Combine() function in calculated and memo fields

Using calculated fields in joins and exports

Calculations on numbers in a text field (eg imperial measurements such as 3'6")

Summary fields

Summary fields

Demystifying Summary Functions

Problems with summary panels

Using a summary field to count records which meet certain criteria

Repeating panels

Problems with repeating panels

Finds on repeating panels fields

Using an alias to limit the records in a repeating panel

Working with other data formats and applications

Exporting numbers

Approach 97 incorrectly exporting numbers via macros

Working with Paradox database files

Accessing Access files (*.mdb)

Accessing .dbf's updated by Access / Paradox

Using index files other than .adx (eg.mdx)

Export of Crosstabs to 1-2-3

Using Approach and IBM DB2

SQL and Approach

Using SQL from LotusScript

Using SQL in Approach with non-SQL data sources

Sending email directly from a form

Using the contents of a variable field as an export filename

Exporting summary fields

Using a macro or Script to open documents in other applications

Problems getting TeamMail to work

Export in the Quickbooks export format

The Approach ODBC SQL server driver

ODBC Connection to Oracle database tables

Transferring data to the Clipboard

Accessing information in an Approach database on the web (WWW)

How to lauch your default browser to view a URL contained in a text field

Network installation of Approach

Running Approach on a network

Finding the current Network ID

Dealing with different paths to the same data from different computers

Accessing .dbf files using Novell client 4.83 on Windows 2000

Upgrading Approach and/or your operating system

Do you need to upgrade?

Conversion of old .apr's to Approach 96

Approach and Windows NT

Upgrading ...

Free Approach 3.02 Upgrade

Approach v97 and Windows 98/vME

Running different versions of Approach concurrently

Running applications developed in Approach for MS-Windows on OS/2 versions

Installing the Approach 97 apfixpak

Approach and Windows 2000

Approach on a Linux server

Dialing phone numbers from within Approach

Approach and Windows XP

Building applications and working with .apr's

Automatically opening files

Automatically opening a particular view

Automatic macro on opening/closing View file

Keeping users out of design environment

Database security

Changing security passwords

Stopping people accidentally entering data

Stopping users from deleting records

Stopping Approach from prompting to save an .apr

Running a Macro in a different .apr files

Moving a view from one .apr to another

Starting Approach without displaying the startup banner

User selection of database tables within an .apr

Distributing .dbf database files to users

Scripts are not imported with an .apr

Example LotusScripts

Getting the path of a database file

Screen updating during script execution


CurrencyToWords function

Conditional Automatic Entry

Create a delimited text file from two fields

Disable the action bar, smart icons, status bar and view tabs

Serialized invoice number on billing

Draw rounded rectangles to size (for envelope windows)

Using keydown event to automatically enter or modify a date

Launch multiple Approach applications at start-up

Syntax use of currentview.body.objectname.text

Script Launch at Record Change Event

Check Existing Data and ask for details for new record

Lotus Notes SQL script

Read in the Approach User Section in win.ini

Handling Approach Object Errors

Error trapping and data manipulation script

Creating a dot notation text file

Progress bar

Flashing text

Import a text file (or .dbf) into a DBF

Linked List class (beats 64K limit on arrays)

Fill Field No.1

Fill Field No.2

Named Find Event

Named Find Event with selection sort

Named Find Event with a different sort routine

Find the current network ID No.1

Find the current network ID No.2

User selection of database tables within an .apr

Pushing selections from one list box to another

Accessing items in a list box

SQL delete

Activating a macro in another APR

Converting Approach form to MS Word Document

Creating a new row in a repeating panel

Copying calculated fields to the clipboard

A button activated script that launches URL contained in a text field

Loading a document into some other application

A "Translate" function in LotusScript

Another "Translate" function in LotusScript

Passing the contents of a field to

Splitting a text field apart at Tabs

Using Windows 95/98 API to launch another application

Go back to the last thing that the user was using

Go back to the last thing that the user was using (A different response)

"Freezing" the screen while executing a LotusScript

Controlling the window size when opening Approach

Unclassified articles

Generating and reading barcodes

Zip codes and Post codes

Recovering deleted records

Turning off screen updates when running a macro

Advise when using memo fields...

Creating a 'Help' file

Storing pictures

Remote dialup access to Approach

Multi-line messagebox

Tips on using the Script Editor

Printing out .apr file properties

Setting the auto-incrementing serial number

Quick access to objects in the script editor

Automatically saving your work
How the Approach Users Mailing List works
The Approach Users Mailing List

The Topic

Off topic and personal messages

The List Owner

Subscribing, unsubscribing, digests and other options

Question and Answer Posts



Mail storms
Official Stuff




The Approach User Support web site

The is the official web site associated with the Approach Users Mailing List and the other related services. Check it out at:

How to get the latest edition of the FAQ

The latest version of the FAQ is available at the Approach User Support web site:

How to receive a newsletter containing FAQ updates

If you are not subscribed to the Approach Users Mailing List and you would like to automatically receive a notice when the FAQ is updated then subscribed to the AUMLNEWS list on the following web page:
The AUMLNEWS only carries notices of FAQ updates and occasional messages about important events such as the release of a new version of Approach.

How to get the Archive of LotusScripts

The Archive of LotusScripts is now incorporated in the FAQ available at:

Contributions, comments, corrections, or feedback

If you have any comments, corrections, or feedback, please email me (John Brown) at However, new FAQ articles and scripts should be set to the mailing list first so that people have a chance to comment on it before it goes into the FAQ.

Lotus support now at

Our frustrations with have finally come to an end! The site has been shut down, and now the official place to get support for Lotus Approach on line is at, which at this stage looks as if it is going to take your frustration to new and dizzying hights!
I haven't got around to removing/updating my links from the old site yet. I'll try to get around to it soon. In the mean time, if anyone stumbles across an old link and knows where it should be redirected to, feel free to let me know at Thanks!

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