PARADIGM TECHNOLOGY LTD
VERSION 2. 9/01/93
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
EASYBAR PLUS and associated documentation are copyrighted works of Paradigm Technology Ltd. Oxfordshire, England. Any reproduction of these works in any way (including reverse engineering) without the express written permission of Paradigm Technology Ltd is prohibited.
By purchasing this copy of EASYBAR PLUS the user is hereby granted a licence for the use of the software on one Psion Organiser II at any one time. Copying a single original copy of EASYBAR PLUS for use on more than one Psion Organiser constitutes a breach of copyright.
Excluding the provisions made under common law, Paradigm Technology Ltd. will not be responsible for any loss, damage or injury arising either directly or indirectly from the use of this software product. This includes (but is not limited to) loss of data, loss of profit or loss of contracts, howsoever arising.
Paradigm Technology would like to acknowledge the help and assistance of the following in the production of this product.
Psion UK Plc Corporate Systems Division
Psion UK Plc Technical Support Department
Psion & Organiser II are registered trademarks of Psion PLC.
All other trademarks acknowledged.
1. INTRODUCTION 2. HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS 3. GENERAL OPERATION 4. INSTALLING EASYBAR PLUS 5. STARTING EASYBAR PLUS 6. SETUP MENU 6.1 FIELDS 6.2 FILENAME 6.3 FILESAVE 6.4 PROMPTS 6.5 HEADERS 6.6 DATE 6.7 PRINTER 6.8 WIDTH 7. GO 8. REVIEW 9. TRANSFER 10. PRINT 11. FOOTNOTE APPENDICES A. TECHNICAL SUPPORT B. POWER/BATTERIES C. ASCII FILES AND DATA FORMATS D. USING THE DATAFILE WITH PC APPLICATIONS E. ADVANCED USE F. EASYBAR PLUS & ORGANISER II MODEL POS200 G. COMMS LINK DEFAULT SETTINGS H. BAR CODE FORMATS I. UPGRADING FROM EASYBAR VERSION 1
Welcome to EASYBAR PLUS, the simple and cost effective way to Bar code data collection on the Psion Organiser.
EASYBAR PLUS has been designed for users who have relatively straightforward bar code data collection requirements, and need to feed the collected data into a PC. Most of all, EASYBAR PLUS is easy to set up and use, no computer programming skills are needed.
This manual provides a step by step guide to setting up and using EASYBAR PLUS. Please read the manual before attempting to capture "real" data. We would recommend that you go through the manual with EASYBAR PLUS running on the Organiser, and have some test bar codes available, so that you can fully familiarise yourself with EASYBAR PLUS's operation.
EASYBAR PLUS runs on all variants of the Psion Organiser II handheld computer (except the model CM which does not support the use of bar code readers). EASYBAR PLUS will also run on Organiser II corporate 'P' series models.
The other hardware required to run EASYBAR is a Psion Bar code wand (or other suitable reader connected via a Psion Bar code Interface - e.g. Laser Scanner) and the Psion RS232 Comms link. A Psion Printer II, Extech Organiser printer, or a serial printer connected via the Comms Link are optionally required if you wish to use the direct printing facilities.
The destination device for the output data file can be any desk-top computer capable of running the Psion Comms Link server software, namely an IBM PC or compatible, or an Apple Mackintosh. In this manual he destination device will be assumed to be an IBM PC or compatible.
EASYBAR PLUS has been designed as a simple and easy to use bar code data capture programme. EASYBAR PLUS can capture up to four bar code reads per record along with one numeric keyboard entry and one text keyboard entry. The entry can also be optionally date and time stamped. Within the memory limits of the Organiser itself, there is no limit to the number of records that can be collected.
A menu driven setup system allows you to configure what data you wish to capture, along with a number of other options. It is worth spending a few minutes studying the various setup options to establish the best mode of use for your application. Once defined the setup options remain in operation until you change them.
Throughout EASYBAR PLUS menu items may be accessed by using the cursor keys to position the cursor over the desired function and pressing the exe key. Alternatively if the first letter of the function is unique to that menu, simply press the appropriate letter.
EASYBAR PLUS can capture up to six fields per individual data record. The seventh and eighth fields are added if date and time stamping is selected. The standard output format is a comma delimited ASCII file, with the record format
"BARCODE1","BARCODE2","BARCODE3","BARCODE4" ,number field,"TEXT FIELD","date","time"
If you are unfamiliar with ASCII files and formats, see appendix C. Appendix D contains guidance on how to use the EASYBAR PLUS datafiles with a number of popular PC application software packages.
EASYBAR PLUS is supplied on a Datapak, simply fit the pack into either of the Datapak slots on the back of the Organiser.
EASYBAR PLUS will auto-load on all Organiser variants. On XP, LZ and LZ64 Organisers, simply press the ON/CLEAR key twice and EASYBAR PLUS will automatically appear on the top level menu. On P series Organisers EASYBAR PLUS will run as soon as the machine is activated. (On P series machines, make sure that no other "bootable" pack(s) are installed).
To unload EASYBAR PLUS, simply remove the datapak, pressing ON/CLEAR (from the Organiser main menu) twice will cause the EASYBAR PLUS prompt to be removed from the top level menu.
On XP ,LZ and LZ64's, start EASYBAR PLUS by pressing EXE with the cursor on the EASYBAR PLUS menu item (or pressing E if no other menu items commence with E). P series machines will automatically display the EASYBAR PLUS main menu. If the date and time stamping option has been previously selected, EASYBAR PLUS will prompt you to check the current date and time. If the date displayed is correct press EXE to accept it. If the date is incorrect press ON/CLEAR and enter the correct date. The same procedure applies to the time entry.
The presentation of menu items varies slightly between 2 and 4 line Organisers. All menu options are available on both screen sizes, however 2 line users may need to make additional use of the cursor keys to access some menu selections. Any other differences will be highlighted in the appropriate sections.
The EASYBAR PLUS main menu contains 6 items
|GO||Starts data collection.|
|SETUP||Defines a number of data collection options.|
|TRANSFER||Sends the collected data to the PC.|
|REVIEW||Lets you look at the data collected.|
|Prints data to a local printer.|
|QUIT||Exits EASYBAR PLUS|
The following sections explain the operation of each of these menu items.
Selecting SETUP from the main menu brings up 9 sub menu options:
|FIELDS||Selects what data fields to collect.|
|FILE-NAME||Sets the name for the datafile.|
|FILE-SAVE||Selects wether to keep or overwrite existing data.|
|PROMPTS||Defines what to display on screens during data collection.|
|HEADERS||Selects optional insertion of datafile labels.|
|DATE||Selects optional date & time stamping.|
|PRINTER||Selects the type of printer being used.|
|WIDTH||Defines the printer character width.|
|QUIT||Exit to main menu.|
The options defined in these sub-menus will remain in operation until you change them. Because the setup options are stored in the internal RAM of the Organiser, the only other circumstance under which you may need to change them is if the internal RAM contents has been reset or lost for some reason. Removing the EASYBAR PLUS datapak to another Organiser will also necessitate re-configuring the SETUP options.
If you are running an application with a number of Organisers and EASYBAR PLUS and you wish to run them all with the same configuration, you may clone the setup options by simply copying the file EASY0BAR from the internal memory of the first unit configured to a separate Datapak, and then copying back the file to the internal memory on the other Organisers.
EASYBAR PLUS can collect data in a variety of different ways, you may collect single bar codes only or multiple bar codes, plus a number and/or text typed in at the keyboard.
Additionally EASYBAR PLUS offers two AUTOCOUNT options. In AUTOCOUNT mode EASYBAR PLUS will check to see if a bar code read is the same as any previously read. If it does find a match, EASYBAR PLUS increments the number in the numeric field by one (having entered 1 on the first read). Therefore there will only ever be one entry for each individual bar code, along with a count of the number of times it was read. This can be useful in applications such as stock control.
The AUTOCOUNT+TEXT option works in the same way as autocount but also allows a text field. The first time a code is swiped, a new text entry may be made. If the same code is swiped again, then the existing text entry is displayed for optional amendment or simply for reference. Section 7 on GO contains more details about use of the AUTOCOUNT options. AUTOCOUNT will of course allow only a single barcode entry per record.
To select the format and operation required, simply place the cursor over the required entry and press EXE. If a multiple bar code read mode is selected. EASYBAR PLUS will prompt for the number of bar code fields to be collected. The number currently selected will be displayed, to change the number, press ON/CLEAR, enter the number required (1 to 4) and confirm by pressing EXE. Once the selection has been made, EASYBAR PLUS will automatically return to the Setup menu. If you subsequently re-enter the FIELDS/SETUP sub menu, the currently selected option will always appear in the first line of the screen. To exit without making changes simply press ON/CLEAR.
Selecting the Setup/Filename option allows you to give the datafile a name of your choice. When this option is first selected EASYBAR PLUS offers a default filename BARCODES. If you wish to change the filename, press the ON/CLEAR key to delete the current filename, type in the new name and press EXE to enter the new name.
Filenames may have a maximum of eight characters. The first character in a filename must be a letter, but the remainder may consist of both numbers and letters. Filenames must not contain other characters ie. <>./\%' etc. Do not place a "dot" (.xxx) file extension on the filename, as a default extension is supplied in the file transfer process. Take care not to select a filename that is the same as an existing file on the Organiser. For example, if you have an XP ,LZ or LZ64 Organiser, do not use the filename MAIN as this is the file that is used by the top level menu FIND & SAVE functions.
Each time a new data collection session commences, you may tell EASYBAR PLUS whether to add the data collected to any that may already exist in the file (append mode), or whether to start again and discard existing data (overwrite mode).
If you select APPEND, EASYBAR PLUS will simply continue to add new records to the currently named datafile (as defined in the Setup/Filename function).
If you select OVERWRITE, EASYBAR PLUS will create a new file (with the name defined in Setup/Filename) this will automatically delete any data previously held in the file.
Take care to select which option you require. If you accidentally overwrite a file THE DATA IT CONTAINED CANNOT BE RECOVERED (Unless you have previously stored a copy of the datafile via the TRANSFER function or the Organiser's own Copy function).
The mode that is currently selected appears first on the menu line. To change mode simply select the first letter of the mode required or move the cursor to that mode, then press EXE. If you do not wish to change the mode, press ON/CLEAR to exit to the main setup menu.
You will then be offered an option of where to store the file on the Organiser. Depending on which Datapak slot you have installed EASYBAR PLUS you will have a choice of:
PAK-A PAK-B (If EASYBAR PLUS is in the PAK-C slot)
PAR-A PAK-C (If EASYBAR PLUS is in the PAK-B slot)
The first pak displayed is the currently selected storage location.
PAK-A is the Organisers internal RAM storage, for most applications we would recommend that data is stored here. Using the internal ram gives maximum flexibility, faster operation and lower power drain on the battery.
However if you need to store data in a more permanent format, or if you wish to use datapaks to physically transfer the data elsewhere, then use a Datapak in the alternative slot.
In addition to conventional datapaks you may also use a 32K Rampak. This gives all the benefits of internal RAM storage but on a removable pack. If you use a Rampak though it must be used PRECISELY in accordance with directions supplied with the device, especially with regard to use when attaching top slot devices. We would strongly recommend that you do not use a Rampak if usage in accordance with the supplied instructions cannot be guarantied at al times.
Psion's 256K Flashpak storage devices may also be used with EASYBAR PLUS, for large data collection applications these probably represent the optimal data storage media. A full range of datapaks are available from Paradigm Technology Ltd.
When EASYBAR PLUS is collecting data, prompts are displayed on the screen to guide the operator. EASYBAR PLUS supplies default prompts of:
|SWIPE BAR CODE||During bar code capture|
|ENTER NUMBER||If using keyboard number entry|
|ENTER TEXT||If using keyboard text entry|
You may if you wish change or add to the prompts by selecting PROMPTS from the set-up menu, and then selecting the prompt that you wish to change. Pressing ON/CLEAR will delete the existing entry and allow you to enter a new one. Edit the prompt entry using the cursor keys and SPACE, SHIFT and DELETE keys as appropriate. When you are happy with the prompt, press EXE. If a multiple bar code data collection mode has been selected, a separate prompt may be entered for each bar code field.
ON 2 LINE ORGANISERS - One prompt line with a maximum of 16 characters is available.
ON 4 LINE ORGANISERS - Two prompt lines, each with a maximum of 20 characters are available with the default prompts on the second line. (Note that each line must be edited separately - pressing EXE to accept each line in turn).
To return to the Setup menu from the Prompts menu, select QUIT or press ON/CLEAR.
EASYBAR PLUS can insert a header label at the top of each newly created datafile. If header use is selected, then the first line of the ASCII text file will contain the labels:
This can be helpful it you need to manipulate the data later and would like to retain a label for each field. However if you are transferring the file directly to a spreadsheet or database you may prefer to omit the header labels.
Once again the first option displayed is the currently selected option. and may be changed by pressing H or N as appropriate, followed by EXE. Press ON/CLEAR to exit without making changes. Note that EASYBAR PLUS will only insert the header at the start of each new datafile, selecting headers whilst using an existing datafile in append mode will have no effect until a new datafile is created.
The date option allows the optional date and time stamping functions to be selected. If the ON option is selected, the current date and time will be prompted for as described in section 5.
Once selected a record entry will be automatically "stamped" with the current system date and time on the completion of each entry. The format for the date and time fields are "DDMMYY" for date and "HHMM" (24 hour clock) for time.
This selects the type of printer being used to produce local print outs. Select XTECH if using an Extech type Organiser top mounted printer. For all other printer types connected via the Comms Link, and for the Psion Printer II, select OTHER.
Selects the column with mode for printing. The default is 40 which is the best setting for the Psion and Extech 40 column printers. If you are using a wider carriage printer you may select any column with up to 200 characters.
With EASYBAR PLUS now configured to your requirements, data collection can now be commenced.
GO starts a data collection session. Once selected GO will start to collect data according to the options you have defined in SETUP. Before selecting GO, make sure that your bar code reader is properly attached to the Organiser top slot. If when you start data collection you get a NO BAR CODE READER message on the screen, double check that the bar code reader is properly attached before restarting with GO.
First the Bar code swipe prompt will appear, EASYBAR PLUS is now waiting for a Bar code to be swiped. If using a conventional switched wand, simply activate the wand switch and "swipe" the bar code. Successful swiping sometimes needs a little practise. If you have difficulty, hold the wand at a slight angle to the reading surface (not at right angles), start the swipe on a clear area to one side of the code. Ensuring a constant contact with the surface, draw the wand tip across the across the surface of the code on one swift and consistent move. The key is to ensure a constant speed across the bar code.
Sometimes you may encounter bar codes that have been badly printed, damaged, or are under highly reflective surfaces or printed in reflective colours. One or a combination of these factors may cause the wand to be unable to read the code. If this occurs you can type in the bar code number that is usually printed in "human" readable form above or below most bar codes. To do this simply press the EXE key whilst the swipe prompt is being displayed. The cursor will appear on the screen and you can enter the appropriate data, take care to enter it accurately. Press EXE again when the manual entry is complete, EASYBAR PLUS will store the keyed data as if it had been entered by the wand, and will then resume normal operation.
If you have consistent problems reading certain bar codes, then the problem will almost certainly lie with the bar code quality and/or suitability of the reader optics to the print media. Contact Paradigm Technology Ltd. for further advice on Bar code printers and alternative reader devices should this be the case.
Once EASYBAR PLUS has captured a good bar code read, the Organiser will omit an audible beep to confirm the read, the message OK will be displayed briefly on the Organiser screen. EASYBAR PLUS will then continue with further bar code reads or numeric and text capture with the appropriate prompts being displayed. Enter your data at the keyboard and press EXE to finish each entry. For the numeric entry any number of up to twelve digits may be entered.
If you are using AUTOCOUNT+TEXT mode to capture data, EASYBAR PLUS's operation will differ slightly. If you swipe a code identical to one that already exists in the file, EASYBAR PLUS will then display the existing text entry against that bar code number (and automatically increment the number field by one). You may then edit the text entry in the normal way. To accept the entry as it stands, simply press EXE. This facility also allows EASYBAR PLUS to be used as a simple "look-up" system. For example in a retail application the datafile could comprise bar codes plus prices or descriptions in the text field. Swiping the bar code would cause the appropriate price/description to appear on the screen. See appendix E for guidance on more advanced use in such applications.
To end a data capture session, simply press ON/CLEAR whilst the first bar code prompt is on the screen (you cannot exit from further bar code prompts or from the numeric and text prompts as this would make the data record incomplete).
If you are using EASYBAR PLUS in overwrite mode, a message saying:
FINISH AND CLOSE THIS FILE? Y/N
is then displayed. Press Y to confirm the end of the collection session. If you pressed ON/CLEAR unintentionally, or decide to carry on, press N and you will return to the Bar code swipe prompt to continue data collection.
Having captured your data, you may wish to review the data before transferring it using the REVIEW facility.
REVIEW provides a facility to look at the data you have captured. Enter the Review function via the menu in the normal way (i.e. press R or position cursor and press EXE).
A Search screen will be displayed, as well as just looking at the datafile, EASYBAR PLUS can search for a specific entry against a "clue" that you provide. Organiser users who use Organiser FIND function will be familiar with this method of searching. Say that you knew there was a record with a text entry "CABLE GROMMETS" and you wanted to double check the entry. If you entered CABLE and pressed EXE, EASYBAR PLUS would search the datafile and display any record that contains the text string CABLE. Press EXE after each record is displayed to find any more matches, if no more matches are found, EASYBAR PLUS returns to the SEARCH screen. The SEARCH function works on all fields within a datafile, so you may search against number and bar code entries as well.
If you simply want to page through and look at each record, just press EXE at the search prompt without entering any search characters. You will page through each record in the datafile each time you press EXE. When the end of the file is reached you will again return to the search prompt. Note that EASYBAR PLUS will display each record as a single line in the standard ASCII text string format.
To exit from REVIEW mode simply press the ON/CLEAR key to return to the main EASYBAR PLUS menu.
The next step is to transfer your data to the PC.
To transfer your data, you must first install and run the Psion CL software supplied with the Psion RS232 Comms link on the PC. EASYBAR PLUS is designed to operate on the default settings of CL on both the PC and the Organiser (see appendix G for a list of these settings). The following assumes that you are transferring to an IBM PC or compatible, and that the Comms link cable is attached to the COM1 serial port of the PC. To use other Com ports you will need to use the CL command with the appropriate switch settings, see the Psion Comms Link manual for further guidance.
** For connection to an Apple Mackintosh, the Organiser Comms link must be set for Psion protocol, see the Psion Comms Link manual for more details on connecting to a Mac.
AT THE PC - Enter the directory that you have copied the CL software into, your datafiles will also be copied into this directory. Start the comms link server by typing CL. A message saying:
PSION ORGANISER II COMMS LINK SERVER
will appear on me PC screen. This is all you need to do at the PC end.
ON THE ORGANISER - Unplug the Bar code reader from the Organiser and attach the Comms Link cable. Select TRANSFER from the EASYBAR PLUS main menu. A message saying:
to the PC Y/N
(A: may be B: or C: depending on memory location).
will appear on the screen. At this point CHECK THAT THE COMMS LINK IS PROPERLY ATTACHED & CL IS RUNNING ON THE PC.
When you are satisfied that the Organiser and PC are properly connected, press Y to start the transfer. If the connection is not ready press N and double check the connection before re-commencing.
Confirm again on the Organiser that you wish to proceed by pressing any key. Providing that the connection is good the PC screen will flash up a message saying: RUNNING FTRAN SERVER. You should also have some activity from the appropriate disc drive whilst the datafile is being copied. DO NOT PRESS ANY KEYS DURING THE TRANSFER.
Once the transfer is complete, the PC screen will return to its previous status. EASYBAR PLUS on the Organiser will then offer the option for you to save your datafile on the Organiser under a different name. This is in case you want to store a back-up copy. If you wish to store a copy of the file, press Y, EASYBAR PLUS will then ask you to supply a new filename. The letter prior to the colon at the beginning of the filename denotes the memory pack location, you may select either A: (for internal RAM) or, B: or C: datapak slots depending on which slot EASYBAR PLUS is currently installed in. You cannot back-up datafiles to the EASYBAR PLUS datapak. Once again, take care not to select an existing filename (e.g. MAIN).
Finally EASYBAR PLUS will offer the option to delete the existing file. This is only really relevant if you normally use APPEND mode as OVERWRITE mode automatically deletes previous data. Press Y to delete the file or N to retain the file. EASYBAR PLUS then returns to the main EASYBAR PLUS menu.
On the PC the datafile should now reside in the currently selected directory. The filename will be the same as the filename you defined in the EASYBAR PLUS set-up menu, except that it will now have the extension .ODB You can check that the file is there by using the DOS DIR command to see the filename, and the TYPE command to view the file on the screen. See appendix D for advice on using datafiles output from EASYBAR PLUS with Lotus 123, dBase III+ and Microsoft Works V.2.
The print function provides a facility to produce a local hard copy of the EASYBAR PLUS datafile. Connect the Organiser to the appropriate printer, if connecting to an external serial printer remember that a serial printer adaptor will also be required.
Once connected, selecting print will cause the datafile to be sent to the printer. Each record and field will be printed sequentially, with a new record always commencing on a new line. Depending on the length of he record, the fields for the record may be split over two or more lines, however individual fields will always be printed together providing be SETUP/WIDTH function has been correctly set.
You should now be in a position to start actively collecting data using EASYBAR PLUS. We hope that you find the software both useful and easy to use. EASYBAR PLUS was developed in response to demand from users for a straightforward and easy to use piece of bar code data collection software. We would welcome constructive feedback and comment on the operation of this software.
We have set out to provide a system that will have broad applicability to as many users as possible, inevitably because businesses are different, and as EASYBAR PLUS users grow their businesses, needs may differ or change. If your bar code data collection requirements go beyond that provided in the standard version of EASYBAR PLUS, or your needs could best be accommodated by a minor modification of the standard software, then we would be happy to discuss possible customisation/development on a consultancy basis. Also, other more sophisticated packages are available should your business needs grow beyond that met by the EASYBAR PLUS package.
We can also assist with bar code printing equipment and software as well.
The appendices that follow are intended to offer guidance on more specialised and technical issues, consult them as required.
The price of EASYBAR PLUS includes limited telephone technical support for three months from the date of purchase. Please note that this support is specifically limited to the EASYBAR PLUS software itself and cannot cover operational problems that may arise from faults or failures in associated Hardware. Equally we cannot provide support for the use of EASYBAR PLUS datafiles with specific applications.
Before calling for technical support, check the following.
Power - Try a fresh battery. Connections - Are all cables and Interfaces properly connected. Hardware Operation - Is the Organiser operating normally in all other respects? BAR CODES - Are the codes poorly printed or under a reflective surface? if possible, see if another Wand/Organiser can read the code.
The use of a bar code wand or scanner on an Organiser makes significant demands on the Organiser's 9V battery. In high volume use it is not impossible to flatten a new battery in a day! The use of proprietary rechargeable batteries are not normally recommended. Specific Organiser rechargeable batteries and heavy duty rechargeable batteries are available from Paradigm Technology Ltd.
Steps that you can take to improve power consumption include:
Using a Mains Adaptor if scanning at a fixed location. Saving to RAM based memory (Internal or Rampak) Ensuring wand is switched (Standard Psion wands are switched, some third party suppliers have in the past connected un-switched wands/scanners) Try to minimise the wand "button time" during swiping.
ASCII is the standard way that most desk-top computers encode individual characters. If a computer file comprises purely ASCII code it is often referred to as a text file. If you use a word-processor on you desk-top computer, then the text that you type in will almost certainly be saved as ASCII text characters. Because ASCII code is an almost universal standard, it is an ideal way of transferring data between computer systems. Most popular application software has the capability to accept information or output information via ASCII files. Lotus 123, dBase III+ and Microsoft Works are just three popular software titles that can do this (see appendix D).
However whilst a stream of text would be fine for a Word-processor, it could produce rather meaningless results in a Database or Spreadsheet. There has to be some mechanism for such applications to know where in the text each individual field or record begins and ends. There are a number standard text file formats that do this. The most common way though is to separate each field with a comma, hence
FIELD1DATA, FIELD2DATA, FIELD3DATA, .... etc.
Such files are usually referred to as COMMA DELIMITED FILES or CCDRA DELIMITED TEXT.
One final convention within a comma delimited file allows applications to differentiate between text and numbers. A number character can be used in two different ways, either as a numeric value, or as part of a piece of text (as in an address for example). To differentiate between data meant to be text and data meant to be numbers, it is normal to place text data within quotation marks. Each individual entry or RECORD in a database is represented on a different line of the text file (i.e. the record ends with a carriage return). The format normally applies to each line in a spreadsheet, or each record in a database. So a typical comma delimited ASCII database record would look something like this:
"FRED","SMITH","1 ACACIA AVENUE",20000,12000,210191<cr> "DAVE","JONES","2 ACACIA AVENUE",18000,7000,220291 <cr>
EASYBAR PLUS outputs its data in this type of format, the standard format for a file transferred out of EASYBAR PLUS is
So a typical delimited file output from EASYBAR PLUS may look like this:
"5001234","23254","1.29","",2,"TI OF BEANS","290492","1322" "5001233"."23253","2.99","",9,"JAR OF JAM","290492","1420"
Note that although the bar codes are numbers they are output as text data, this is because in most applications the number is not used as a numeric value but simply as a identifier for the item (i.e. you probably would not want to multiply 5001234 by 3). If your application does require the use of the bar code as a numeric, you will have to either remove the quotation marks (by using a text or word processor) or use the convert facility offered in some spreadsheets and databases.
The following is quick summary of how to use the datafiles output by EASYBAR PLUS with three popular PC applications. Most reasonably sophisticated PC software programmes have the capability to import from comma delimited text files. For specific guidance for your software, try looking in the software's manual under headings such as ASCII FILES, DELIMITED TEXT/FILES, IMPORTING DATA, FILE FORMATS or USE WITH OTHER APPLICATIONS.
EASYBAR PLUS datafiles will load directly into Lotus spreadsheets.
The data will then be read into the work-sheet with the first bar code entry being read into the highlighted slot.
Use with dBase is a little more complex insofar as there must be a database ready to receive the data input. If you are new to dBase, use the Appsgen utility or the CREATE command to create a database file. Ensure that the format of the database matches the format of the EASYBAR PLUS datafile, i.e. the Bar code field is the first record, followed by the number and text fields. Make sure the field type and sizes are correct. When Importing data dBase will truncate fields if there is insufficient space in a record.
To make a new database record using the assistant, proceed as follows:
Dbase will return to the assist screen, your database is now ready to receive data from the EASYBAR PLUS datafile.
Press ESC to exit from assist to the dot prompt. Use the append command with the following operators
APPEND FROM [path]<filename> DELIMITED
[path] is optional, <filename> is the EASYBAR PLUS datafile name, including file extension.
Dbase should now report the number of records copied. The same command will also add EASYBAR PLUS datafiles to the end of a current database. You can check that the data is in the database by using the BROWSE command.
EASYBAR PLUS datafiles can directly create Works spreadsheets or databases. Each datafile will be loaded into a new active application window. If you wish to use the data in an existing Spreadsheet or Database, use Works's copy facilities to copy data from the new window. To create a new Works application window containing the EASYBAR PLUS datafile.
Using the Autocount+text mode it is possible to use EASYBAR PLUS as a simple "Look-up" system. EASYBAR PLUS must be used in APPEND mode for such operation to work.
For example, in a retail environment, EASYBAR PLUS could be used as a price look up (PLU) system. The datafile could be easily built up on the organiser, with the price and description being entered as text data. A typical datafile record entry might therefore read
"5002078","","","",0,"CAN OF BEANS - £0.99","",""
You may already have price list data on your PC that you would like to use instead of entering all the data manually into EASYBAR PLUS. In this case you would need to make up a comma-delimited text file in the EASYBAR PLUS format and copy it into the Organiser via the comms-link (see the Psion Comms Link manual on how to do this). Make sure that you include a dummy numeric field in the file as well. Ensure also that EASYBAR PLUS is set to operate with the correct filename.
To continue the retail use example, because Autocount+text mode increments the numeric field each time a code is read, it is also possible to use the changes EASYBAR PLUS makes to the datafile as a simple sales data capture system. For example, providing that each time an item is sold it is bar code read with EASYBAR PLUS, at the end of a day the record entry described above might read:
"5002078","","","",18,"CAN OF BEANS - £0.99","",""
Copying the datafile back to the PC and loading the data into a spreadsheet would give sales figures for that item for that day (or whatever period).
If a new master file with "dummy" zero's is then reloaded onto the Organiser, the process can be repeated for the following day. Care must be taken to ensure that the master and new files are kept separate.
Finally, if you do use EASYBAR PLUS in this way, take care to ensure that the EXE key is pressed after each look-up, pressing any other key would start amending the text entry for that record.
The Organiser POS200 is a custom organiser model that features numeric keys only. EASYBAR PLUS can be used on this model but certain functionality will inevitably be limited (for example prompts cannot be meaningfully edited). When using the POS200, the following keyboard substitutions apply:
|F1||Up arrow key|
|F2||Down arrow key|
|F3||Left arrow key|
|F1||Y response to screen prompts|
|F2||N response to screen prompts|
The following settings are the normal default settings for Comms Link on the Organiser. If you normally use other settings, we would recommend that you restore and then save the defaults before using EASYBAR PLUS's Transfer option. See the Psion Comms Link manual for more guidance.
P series Organiser users will not need to worry about this as Comms settings can only be modified from within an OPL programme.
EASYBAR PLUS supports all the formats readable by the Psion bar code interface software, namely:
|INTERLEAVED 2 OF 5.||CODABAR||TELEPEN|
|MODIFIED PLESSEY||PLESSEY||CODE 128|
Upgrading from the original Easybar V.1 to EASYBAR PLUS is very easy. The general operation of EASYBAR PLUS is almost identical to that of Easybar V.1. The principal differences are:
Before using EASYBAR PLUS on an Organiser that was previously using Easybar V.1 you MUST DELETE THE FILE EASY0BAR. Use the DELETE facility on the Organiser to delete the old version of the file. On P series Organisers the easiest way to delete the file is by resetting he machine completely by removing the battery. Ensure first of course that you have saved any current data from Easybar V.1.