The following is a further elaboration of the feature documented in the First Contact User Guide, in the FCConfig – Field Selection and Options section.
In that section there is a discussion about changing text entry fields to droplists that are populated with selections you maintain from the My Lists screen in First Contact. It mentions that in some cases a field that is initially a te (text) type, can be changed to a drop or combo type, linked to a user-specified list. A drop field type is one where the user must select an option from a fixed list of choices. A combo field type is like a drop, except that it also permits the user to type in something new that does not appear in the list.
The first step is to consult with an SOS tech support rep to see if the field you would like to change to a list-linked drop or combo is eligible for such a modification. If it is, the tech will use a special program to modify the field type for you, using a remote support utility.
The next step will be to create the list containing the desired selections you want to appear for that field:
- Open First Contact and click the My Lists icon at the top of the screen.
- At the very bottom of the Lists window, notice a bar with small buttons. Click the plus sign to add a new list:
- An empty row will appear in the My Lists window. Type in your new list name, which should be unique and contain neither spaces nor punctuation, then press the ENTER key on your keyboard:
- Click the Save button at the top of the window.
- Now that your list has been created, you can add the desired items to the list. Click the My Lists button to re-open the My Lists window.
- Click the little plus icon just to the left of the name of your new list. A “Data Values” panel will open below it:
- Make sure that the Data Values panel is selected by clicking anywhere within it, then click the little plus button at the bottom of the window:
- An empty row will appear in the Data Values panel. Type the first item for your pick-list, then press ENTER on your keyboard.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you have entered all the desired items for your list. If it takes more than a few minutes, consider clicking the Save button at the top of the window so that your new entries are saved, then re-open My Lists and add some more. Your new items are not permanent until the Save button is executed.
Modifying and Deleting Existing Items
From time to time you may want to modify or remove items from a list. To do so:
- Open My Lists as in step one above.
- Click the little plus box to the left of the list you would like to maintain. The Data Values panel will open, showing the items on your list.
- To change an item, just click anywhere in the item’s current text, make your changes, and press the ENTER key on your keyboard.
- To remove an item, click the “>” icon just to the left of the item to select it, then click the small minus button at the bottom of the window:
- When you have completed your changes to the list, be sure to click the Save button at the top of the My Lists window.
Linking Your New List to a Field in Your Screen Form
Now that you have your list, there is one more thing to do – linking it to the field that your SOS support tech converted from a plain text field to a drop or combo field.
- If you have First Contact running, exit out.
- Open the FCConfig utility by clicking your Windows Start button, then Programs, then the First Contact 2010.x.x (the number depending on the version installed).
- Let us assume that the FC field you are converting to use your list is User_StrField1. Find that field in the Field Name column, and click it to select. (Hint: Click the column title to sort the list alphabetically.)
- Click the Pencil icon in the toolbar at the top of the window to modify the field configuration.
- In the Data Source field type Patient!MyNewList, replacing “MyNewList” with the name of the list you just created in First Contact. Make sure that you include the exclamation mark between “Patient” and the name of your list.
- Check that it says “drop” or “combo” next to Type of Control. If not, select the correct type from the drop list, or type it in, being careful to type all lower case characters.
- Click the Save_Close icon at the top of the window, then, back on the field list, click Save again to finalize your changes and close FCConfig.
- You can now return to First Contact to test your new pick-list field.