If you've checked out any of the cool, free utilities that you can download
you've surely downloaded Greg Chapman's award winning File Cataloger.
(And don't miss this month's fantastic, new utility from Greg, the Directory
The File Cataloger is a wonderful tool that you point at any directory
to quickly link all the files in that directory into a Word document, with or
without a table structure, as hyperlinked files for easy sorting and access.
Folks are always writing us to share details of the time saving uses they've
discovered using File Cataloger. In fact, if you check out Internet radio DJ,
Country Bumpkin's, web site here: http://www.countrybumpkinshow.com/,
you'll be utilizing the results of Greg's File Cataloger when you search his
media library for your favorite song. Country Bumpkin, aka Mervin, owner of
the famed Word
support list on Yahoo, was thrilled to discover he could use the File Cataloger
to easily catalog the tons of media files he uses in conjunction with his online
Yes, I, too, have built myself a cool MP3 media catalog of my music with File
Cataloger. And one of these days I'll get around to updating my photo
catalog. But one of the things I use File Cataloger for most is to help me keep
my code and support libraries updated. Many folks have asked me how I handle
this. So, in this article, I'll explain. This information is geared toward anyone
who wants to keep code snippets or technical support solutions handy.
After you download the File Cataloger, you need to unzip it. This will give
you a Word template. By simply double clicking this template, the code begins
to run. (Note! You will first be asked to accept our digital signature,
if you've never done so before. Read this month's article
by David Horowitz that explains how to accept digital signatures.) The template
presents a dialog box with some options. Browse to the directory you
want to catalog. Select the file type(s) you want in the linked list
and click Start.
After you run the cataloger, you'll end up with a file similar to the image
below, depending on the options you chose. In the image below, you'll see that
it is a table with three columns. These are the default columns. The first is
Description, where I can enter some info about the linked file in each
row. Then you have the File Path/File Name, which contains the hyperlink
to the file in that directory. And finally, there's a column showing the File
Type for the file being linked. If you've linked many types of files, this
is important information. However, I generally keep my directories fairly organized,
so in my case, this column isn't of much use to me. Therefore, when I first
start a new master catalog document, I make a few personal modifications.
The first thing I do is drag my cursor down the length of the File Type
column to remove all that info. I could just delete the whole column. But I
find this way just as easy and then I don't have to recreate the column. You
see, I want that column, I just plan to use it for other information.
By highlighting all the rows in that column and hitting Delete, I can
remove all the text in the row for that column, but it leaves the column and
the MACROBUTTON code in the heading, as you can see below.
Next, I select the Heading Row and hit Shift/F9. This converts
the resulting titles in the heading back into their raw field codes. In
this case, the field code being used is the MACROBUTTON. The macro button field
allows you to double click the displayed text to run a macro or VBA procedure.
Actually, the default is a double click. But that's because the macro button
was created in the days before the Web. Now that folks are so accustomed to
single clicking, Greg provides the option on the File Catalog dialog box to
choose a Single Click sort. This adds additional code into the template
that converts the default from two clicks to one.
This means that, rather than clicking Table/Sort, setting defaults and
clicking OK to sort a column in alphabetical order, I can just click
once on the column heading and that column will sort itself. This is useful
when you want to sort the table by different columns. If you know the file name
you need, you can sort by File Name. If not, you might find sorting by File
Type or Description more useful.
But I plan to modify the MACROBUTTON code a bit. So while the field code is
opened, as shown in the image below, I select the display name which
is the last portion of the code. Then I change it from File Type to Key
Note! The syntax for the macro button is as follows: (field
name = MACROBUTTON), (name of macro to run=TableSortAToZ), (display
text=File Type). I don't want to change the field code name or mess with
the name of the macro that will run. But I am free to change the name of the
column heading to anything I plan to enter in that column. In my case, I plan
to add a keyword to help me find the file link I need.
I also like to add an additional column. In the heading row, I can duplicate
the MACROBUTTON code by using the Ctrl/F9 keystroke to enter the proper
field brackets, which are not the standard keyboard brackets! And then
I just duplicate Greg's syntax info, but change the display text to read Application
for this column. This gives me a column to add the name of the app for each
link. That'll make it faster to find the group of links I need, such as those
for Word or Outlook.
And finally, just because I'm an organizational freak, I decide to select and
move the last Keyword column over to the left, so the last column is the actual
linked column. I select it and then can either drag it into place or
So here's my default table. I have a column for Application, Keywords,
Description and finally, the linked File. Each column header will
run the same sorting macro.
I now select the heading row and hit Shift/F9 again to toggle
the field code back into it's resultsthe display text. I can then get
busy adding details about each linked file. This may seem like a lot of work
to some folks and no one says you have to set up your table in this manner.
You're free to do what you want. As a support professional, I find this method
works for me. And since I have thousands of linked support files from years
of supporting dozens of applications and various versions of each applicationthis
extra effort at the start helps me end up with a very efficient library where
I can quickly find the solution to the tons of questions I answer each day.
I can make the job of filling in the rest of the info go faster thanks to the
great way Word handles copying and pasting info into tables. As shown in the
image below, I type Office one time, hit the Copy button on my cool Microsoft
Office Keyboard, highlight the rest of the Office rows and hit the Paste
...and all those cells are quickly filled in with the same application name,
as you can see below.
Okay, now I have this table filled up with all these useful file links, keywords
and descriptions. So what do I do when I need to add more links to the master
table? Well, that depends on what catalog table in which I'm working. In the
case of my code or support libraries, I collect a lot of new files every
day. Rather than manually linking new files all the time, it's much easier to
just let them accumulate for a week and then take a few minutes to add those
additional files at the end of the week.
To make the collection process easier, I keep shortcuts to blank text files
(Notepad files) on my desktop, as you can see below. One for code snippets and
one for support issues.
Each are shortcuts from the actual file located in my Library's New
subdirectory. This allows me to quickly open the notepad by double clicking
it on my desktop, dropping the code or support info into the blank pad, and
then hit Alt/F + A for File/Save As. I give the file a self-explanatory
name, such as Office_Error1305 and hit OK to save the text
file. And as you can see in the image below, this means I can have a ton of
info files that are very small, since they are text files.
At the end of the week, I run the File Cataloger against the New sub
directory to quickly link all the newly added files. But now it gets a bit tricky.
Since the files are linked from their current location in the New subdirectory,
but I need to move them into the master directory, I'll also have to modify
the newly linked code a bit.
After running the Cataloger on the new files and getting them all linked up,
I select that new table in this newly linked doc and hit Shift/F9 to
convert the hyperlink to raw code. Since the master file also resides within
the Library_Support directory, I don't need the full path. Although the
cataloger has an option for File Name Only, that only relates to the
displayed name and not the hyperlink. The hyperlink will still contain
the full path. But after viewing the raw code, as shown below, I can now run
a quick Find/Replace to search out the path information and replace it
with nothing, thereby removing it.
And now, as you can see below, the hyperlink is linked to a local file;
in other words, one in the same directory as the master document. By
removing all path information, the file will default to look in the same directory
where the master file resides. I'm now free to move all these new files out
of the New directory and into the master Library_Support directory
where this master document will find them. Well, it'll find them as soon as
I add them to the master table. This is the last part of the update.
I go back to my master support document, add a few rows to the bottom of the
table and simply paste in all the new hyperlinks. A few more minutes to add
some application, keyword and description info and it's updated. I can now resort
all these new files within the mass of other info.
Obviously, you'll only have to do the first modifications once when you set
up your master file, and that's only if you want to add more columns or modify
the defaults. Updating with new files is something I do regularly, so I have
the process down to a science. It helps me keep up on support issues.
I have a code library using this same format. Each linked text file in that
library is a code snippet or procedure. When building a new project, I can quickly
find the code I need to drop into the new project.
As I said, this may seem like a lot of work to some folks, but for me it works.
And if you'd like to see a really big collection of files, I'll show
you all the email Thank Yous I've collected from users who appreciated the fact
that I was able to quickly supply them with the solution to their problem. Thank
you File Cataloger! And thank you Greg for creating such a cool utility to save
me time while I build libraries containing a wealth of information.