sethb

/Seth Bonder

About Seth Bonder

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Seth Bonder has created 106 blog entries.

How to Build an Error Handler in Access VBA

2019-03-20T14:14:15-04:00

Dealing with errors in VBA code, especially in Access, is a vital part of setting up procedures. If nothing else, an error-handler can give the user a better idea of what’s glitching, if something does. And having a message box come up to give the user even moderately clear information can be a huge help. It also helps the database admin person, and the VBA coder. There are normally three main steps to setting up an error handling routine. First, right up at the top of the procedure, we need a line to tell it what to do for errors. Some [...]

How to Build an Error Handler in Access VBA2019-03-20T14:14:15-04:00

How to Add a Calculated Field to an MS Access Query

2019-03-15T21:19:34-04:00

Calculated fields are a really big help in Access; they let us derive data from existing information. And they’re flexible, too. If one of the source items changes, the calculation updates immediately, just like an Excel formula. But some people aren’t aware you can add them to a query. And this is an especially cool thing, because every time we run a query, we get the latest info. One example where we might use this capability would be calculating a restock—how many items we need to add. We can open the database, check the table we draw data from, and design [...]

How to Add a Calculated Field to an MS Access Query2019-03-15T21:19:34-04:00

How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop

2019-03-04T12:21:19-04:00

Creating a watermark, whether for use in company stationery, or websites, or wherever, has become fairly important recently. It’s part of what is known as product branding. I won’t go into the discussion of designing logos, as it’s a very involved process. But many companies want their official colors, fonts, and logos to be visible in any facet of their business, especially those the public sees. The watermark is very helpful in the subtle-advertising mode. They’re visible, but unobtrusive. For this example, I’ll use our own company logo (which I happen to like). We first open it in Photoshop, and make [...]

How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop2019-03-04T12:21:19-04:00

How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop

2019-02-25T17:23:23-04:00

When we convert a color image to grayscale in Photoshop, we  obviously toss out color. But sometimes this makes the image look a little flat. Color can make an image look vivid, and not just because color is there. It also allows subtle contrasts, enhancements, and other things which are harder in a grayscale image. But grayscale images can be enhanced, and there are one or two tricks we can pull before the actual conversion. One is based on the color or colors which form the majority of the image. We can use a Color Balance adjustment layer to make colors [...]

How to (Better) Convert to Grayscale in Photoshop2019-02-25T17:23:23-04:00

How to Use the Organizer in Microsoft Project

2019-02-19T13:44:11-04:00

The Organizer is one of the lesser-known features in Project. And it’s a shame that this one is overlooked. It can be a major help in both building templates and making already-built elements easily available. One common example is calendars. If you build a company calendar, and want it in other projects, you can copy it anywhere with the Organizer. Since calendars can take some work to create, they are among the most frequently-copied items in the program. First, we open the source and destination projects. Any two can be used. We then go to the View tab, and either Task [...]

How to Use the Organizer in Microsoft Project2019-02-19T13:44:11-04:00

Using the ISNULL Function in Crystal Reports

2019-02-16T18:44:59-04:00

The IsNull function in Crystal allows us to deal efficiently with nulls, or empty fields, in a data source. I talked about this in an earlier post. We don’t want to skip partly empty records, in most cases. But if we bring in nulls, we have to be able to work around them or compensate for them. The first example shows what happens if there is nothing in the Region field, and no IsNull to help. We get a comma between city and state/region, but there is sometimes no state/region to display. And some people find this distracting, or even irritating. [...]

Using the ISNULL Function in Crystal Reports2019-02-16T18:44:59-04:00

How to Work with Nulls in Crystal Reports

2019-02-08T16:41:16-04:00

Crystal Reports handles nulls, or completely unfilled fields, in a particular way. And it’s very important that anyone using the program understands the details clearly. A null, in Crystal’s view, is a database field which never had anything in it, and doesn’t now. A real-life example of this is in some people-related databases; folks sometimes don’t have an official home phone anymore. They do 99.9% of their stuff via smartphone, and don’t need a hard line. So they’ll have a number in the Cell Phone field, and nothing in the Home Phone field. But this means a technically incomplete record, and [...]

How to Work with Nulls in Crystal Reports2019-02-08T16:41:16-04:00

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text

2019-02-08T11:56:05-04:00

Someone had a question about working with text in Photoshop using Bitmap mode: “Between 50% threshold, pattern dither, diffusion dither and halftone screen, which one is more suitable for text use?” This is the image mode which converts to strictly black-and-white pixels. We want to be aware that even Grayscale mode, often thought of as “black-and-white”, isn’t really. Bitmap is the only mode which natively uses just those two colors. But even Bitmap mode has a few variations, as mentioned above. So if one is scanning text in from somewhere, which should we use? The answer depends partially on whether there’s [...]

Using Bitmap Mode in Photoshop with Text2019-02-08T11:56:05-04:00

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop

2019-02-08T16:25:10-04:00

Got a real-life question from someone this time, regarding how to fix glare. It’s a fairly typical problem in some images. Reflections off shiny surfaces, lights accidentally pointing toward the camera, even some kinds of glossy fabric, or curved glass acting as a lens can distract, if not irritate, the viewer (and the subject, and the photographer). Here’s a wedding picture with just this kind of problem. Just above the bride’s head, we’re getting a spot of unusual brightness. (The lady asked, “Can you adjust my halo?” ? ) Obviously, we want to tone the glare spot down as much as [...]

How to Reduce Image Glare in Photoshop2019-02-08T16:25:10-04:00

Using Master Pages in Adobe InDesign—Basics

2019-01-29T15:56:20-04:00

The concept of master pages in Adobe InDesign is closely related to headers and footers in many other programs. Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, or even Excel or Access all have a similar feature. So if you’ve used headers and footers, you won’t be on totally unfamiliar ground. Masters are essentially the “background” behind any pages they’re applied to. Think of paper behind glass, with stuff drawn on the glass, and you’ve got the basic concept. Once we open a document, we usually set the number of pages first. This makes it easier to figure out what goes on a given master [...]

Using Master Pages in Adobe InDesign—Basics2019-01-29T15:56:20-04:00

Using Guides for Line-Up in Adobe InDesign

2019-01-28T16:07:37-04:00

Although some people don’t think it’s vital, lining page elements up neatly—for which guides are very helpful—in Adobe InDesign can make a big difference in the final product. The eye is a better instrument than some people think. And visual neatness can greatly reduce perceived “clutter” in a document. Luckily, the process is very easy, and the program gives us a couple of simple but powerful tools to help. Once we have our page elements in place, we can drag guides right out of the rulers. You can place as many as you like, anywhere, on any page. They don’t print [...]

Using Guides for Line-Up in Adobe InDesign2019-01-28T16:07:37-04:00

How to Create a Preflight Profile for Adobe InDesign

2019-01-28T12:21:59-04:00

When working with InDesign, we need to “preflight” files we intend to print. A pilot will inspect an airplane before flying it, which is where the term comes from. Similarly, we check a file for various potential problems before we print it. And if it’s going to a commercial printing business, this is even more important. A LOT of time and money could be wasted if we don’t. A preflight profile is how we deal with it. A profile is a set of rules we need the document to follow. You can think of it as rather like your mental checklist [...]

How to Create a Preflight Profile for Adobe InDesign2019-01-28T12:21:59-04:00

How to Create or Import a Table in Adobe InDesign

2019-01-25T15:19:29-04:00

The table is just too useful to keep out of many business documents these days. It’s too good at organizing data. Luckily, even a desktop publishing program like InDesign has the feature handy. And we can even import an existing one pretty much as-is, to save some time. To create it from scratch, with a document to hold it, we have to create or select a text frame. Even if we’re going to put graphics in the table, it’s one of those things the program “just does”. Then we go to the Table menu and click the Insert Table… command. We [...]

How to Create or Import a Table in Adobe InDesign2019-01-25T15:19:29-04:00

Using the Symbol Sprayer and Shifter in Adobe Illustrator

2019-01-24T17:46:46-04:00

The Symbol tools in Illustrator give the program some true artistic ability. Many people, even now, think this is lacking, and that Illustrator is more "tech" where Photoshop is “arty”. But if properly used, Illustrator can do some very arty things. Two of the Symbol tools, in particular, are rather easy to use, and can produce some striking results. One is the Sprayer. It allows us to select a symbol and “scatter” a bunch of repeats in a given area. (A symbol, in Illustrator-ese, is an object we add to the Symbols panel for spraying, shifting, etc. Think of spray paint [...]

Using the Symbol Sprayer and Shifter in Adobe Illustrator2019-01-24T17:46:46-04:00

How to Use the Transform Features in Adobe Illustrator

2019-01-24T14:57:25-04:00

When we want to transform, or make specific changes to, an object in Illustrator, we can use the Transform panel. We can also use a couple of the tools in the Tools panel, depending on our preference. For certain kinds of diagrams and precise illustrations,  we may need an accurate angle, or exact amount of change. So knowing how to use the various transform abilities can be critical. (Note: It’s a good idea to make a copy of the object, layer, or document you’re working on, for practice.) The Transform panel can handle several basic kinds of change—size, rotation, and shear. [...]

How to Use the Transform Features in Adobe Illustrator2019-01-24T14:57:25-04:00

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project

2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

A template in Project, as in most other programs, is a blank form. We fill in the spaces, as on a tax form or license application. The more complex the job, the more complex the form. So when we’re managing a project, any help we can get doing a bunch of similar projects is really good. The key is having a project file that’s mostly or entirely complete—i.e., the project is done. Because if we know the project ran successfully, we can frequently use it to guide others of the same sort. So we open the file in question, and see [...]

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

Using the Split Form and Datasheet Form in Microsoft Access

2019-01-22T13:59:46-04:00

The idea of the split form in Access is rather like its cousin in Project. We set up a view with the “big picture” or large-scale view in one portion of the window (usually the top), and details in the bottom. Sometimes vice versa, but the thinking is to have both available for convenience. Creating a split form is very easy, as it’s listed within the regular forms. We select the table we want to work with, go to the Create tab->Forms->More Forms, and click Split Form. The result is to show the data from the table in two ways. One, [...]

Using the Split Form and Datasheet Form in Microsoft Access2019-01-22T13:59:46-04:00

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

When we create a project plan, summary tasks are like the main points in a term paper outline. They mark off the highest-level things we need to do in the project. They’re the main stages or phases we look at. So they’re a useful tool for visually organizing the project, in a user-friendly way. The good news is, we don’t have to insert them immediately. We can start by just writing down what we need to do, and clean up later. Here we have a list of tasks for doing some house painting. (Yes, I’ve done this for real. Yes, that’s [...]

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

Project allows for things like calculated fields and other custom data. It holds some fields “in reserve” aside from the ones set up for task names, durations, etc. This way, users can insert data the program couldn’t know about in advance. (I mentioned custom text fields a while back, but a calculated field is a slightly different thing.) Having some experience with formulas, in the style of Access or Excel, will help. And making sure one has a clear idea of what needs to be calculated is important, naturally. We start by calling up the Custom Fields box. It’s under the [...]

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop

2019-01-09T16:25:18-04:00

One of the more subtle problems in digital photography is something called moiré. It looks rather like a slight mesh of light and dark lines, sometimes curved, sometimes straight. Certain kinds of fabric produce this effect when one takes pictures of, say, people in suits. Silks are among the biggest culprits, and wedding images can abound with it. Luckily, there’s a bit of work we can do in Photoshop to greatly reduce the visibility of moiré. We start by opening the picture and selecting the area with the moiré effect. We want to use a couple of pixels of feather, so [...]

How to Fix the Moiré Effect in Photoshop2019-01-09T16:25:18-04:00

How to Export Data from Crystal Reports

2019-01-09T12:18:26-04:00

We usually have to export data from Crystal Reports, for a couple of reasons. One is, the program normally has to be there to read a Crystal file, so exporting allows others to read something. And unless the report is on a shared drive, it usually has to be emailed to the other parties. Luckily, the dialog box makes the process about as simple as possible. One can click File->Export->Export Report, or go directly to the Export button in the first toolbar. When the box appears, we have two main choices to make. One is the file format we’ll export data [...]

How to Export Data from Crystal Reports2019-01-09T12:18:26-04:00

How to Use Warp Type in Adobe Illustrator

2019-04-12T17:48:03-04:00

Illustrator is capable of treating text as a graphic element much as anything we draw with any of the tools, so the ability to warp type shouldn’t come as a surprise. Type on a path is another feature in the same ballpark (check my previous post). The basic starting point is the same. We use the Type tool, usually, to create the piece of text we need. We then have to tell the program to treat it as a graphic element rather than a text box per se. (This allows the Warp Type control to show.) We do this by switching [...]

How to Use Warp Type in Adobe Illustrator2019-04-12T17:48:03-04:00

Use Type on a Path in Adobe Illustrator

2018-12-31T20:29:22-04:00

The use of type on a path is an interesting cross between text and graphics, and allows text to be more than just a means of conveying information in Illustrator. But in order to use the feature correctly, one has to understand a couple of things about how it behaves. First, we usually need to create the shape which we’ll use as a baseline, in the sense that typography uses the term—the line on which the text sits. Then, we select the Type on a Path tool (in the same flyout as the regular Type tool). Position the cursor on the [...]

Use Type on a Path in Adobe Illustrator2018-12-31T20:29:22-04:00

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop

2018-12-28T15:24:56-04:00

The Photoshop features called Image Size and Canvas Size can be a little confusing. The names are similar, and at first glance what they do will seem to be also. And both are on the Image menu. But the two controls do something quite different from each other, and understanding how can be helpful. Once we open a sample document, we can try using each one. First, Image Size. This feature can change two main things—(a) the size, in height and width, of the printed image, and (b) its resolution, or level of detail in pixels per inch. Since it can [...]

Working with Image Size and Canvas Size in Photoshop2018-12-28T15:24:56-04:00

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop

2018-12-28T11:25:35-04:00

Resolution, in the graphics world, refers to detail. Usually, in a Photoshop document, it means the number of dots or pixels per inch. And this number tells you how detailed, sharp, or clear the image will be. Generally, the higher, the better. But there are a couple of points we need to know to use this to the fullest. Changing the resolution of an image is very simple. Having opened the image, we go to the Image menu, click Image Size, and change the number as needed. The number of pixels per inch is usually figured according to the purpose of [...]

How to Adjust Resolution in Adobe Photoshop2018-12-28T11:25:35-04:00

How to Create a Parameter Query in Access

2018-12-27T11:54:37-04:00

The parameter query, while easy to set up, actually depends on a sort of quirk in the program, as we’ll see. But regardless, it’s a very powerful feature; it allows many variations on one question in a database. Ranges of dates, differences in spelling, and many others can fit a parameter query. A parameter query on a range of dates uses the “Between—And” keywords, and has the user enter a starting and ending date as indicated. (Any criteria of this sort go in the Criteria row in Query Design view.) The quirk is, when we want the program to ask the [...]

How to Create a Parameter Query in Access2018-12-27T11:54:37-04:00

Creating an Action Query in Microsoft Access

2018-12-24T17:15:05-04:00

The action query in Access is a different thing from the normal query we create, called a “select” query. The latter simply selects data and shows the result. But an action query edits data, or even deletes it. And the key thing one needs to know about this is one cannot use Undo to reverse the effect. So though we can easily create action queries, we need to treat them carefully. Luckily, there is a way to test them first. We can use a food database for our example. Let’s say we need to increase prices on soft cheese (Category 2) [...]

Creating an Action Query in Microsoft Access2018-12-24T17:15:05-04:00

How to Create a Subquery in Microsoft Access

2018-12-24T14:21:36-04:00

Just as there can be subforms and subreports within an Access form or report, there can be a subquery within a query. As the term implies, a “query within a query” allows the main query to be more specific, or complex. It sometimes requires a little bit of Structured Query Language, or SQL. But this is not a problem. Access is a “shell” over SQL as Windows was a shell over DOS, and the two get along fine. A typical example would be setting up a subquery based on text information, to allow more flexibility with the use of number fields [...]

How to Create a Subquery in Microsoft Access2018-12-24T14:21:36-04:00

How to Indicate Blank Results in Crystal Reports

2018-12-19T15:58:21-04:00

When we print a report in any database-connected situation, we sometimes get blank results, i.e. nothing to report. But we certainly don’t want to waste paper on such a thing. So how can we let a user know about it without sending more than one page (at most) to a printer? If you routinely run reports that can come up blank, this might be important. Some programs can show an alert message to this effect: “No results match your criteria.” And though Crystal Reports has what it calls Report Alerts available, I haven’t yet found a direct way to pop up [...]

How to Indicate Blank Results in Crystal Reports2018-12-19T15:58:21-04:00

Using Fields in Text Objects in Crystal Reports

2018-12-14T23:33:17-04:00

Fields, in Crystal Reports, are the way we bring data from a source into a report. Sometimes, we need to combine the data with text even more directly than placing them side by side. The technique we can use is similar to creating a mail merge with fields in a couple of other programs. First, we pull up the basic data of a report. Choose the data source and table(s), deal with links between them if necessary, and OK out of the Database Expert. Next, create the text object. One thing to be careful of is making the text object large [...]

Using Fields in Text Objects in Crystal Reports2018-12-14T23:33:17-04:00