Preferences - General

menu item You get to the Preferences dialogue by clicking on the Options menu and then selecting the Preferences menu item.  Alternatively you can click on the matching toolbar icon or press CTRL + T.
Preferences Dialogue Default to <NONE> for watchtower conductor option Default to <NONE> for hospitality option Select Font Sample of selected font Header and Footer Settings Away Talk Slips Normal Reports Remember last congregation chosen Deafult to <NONE> for watchtower reader option Default to <NONE> for chairman option Show exported Word reports Background Show times on all reports using custom format Database language Show dates on all reports using custom format Display Speaker Talks first in assignments picklist Working Folder

Use the Preferences dialogue to adjust how the program behaves when adding/modifying home or away talk information.  You can also adjust the style of the generated reports.  The font settings are also available when creating a report on the Report Type property page.

To learn more about the features of this dialogue, glance down the table below or highlight the control you are interested in by clicking on the screenshot above. Please also remember that context help is available to you by either pressing F1 when the control has focus, or by using the question mark icon at the top right corner of the dialogue.

Again, this option affects how the home away entry dialogue behaves.  If it is set, then it remembers the congregation you select when you add a new entry.  This congregation gets selected again by default when adding the next new entry.

It will remain like this until you select a different congregation or close the maintenance dialogue.

Select this option to change how talk numbers are listed on the Home and Away talk entry dialogues.  When set, the speakers assigned talks are listed first, followed by the remaining talk numbers.
Select this option if you want to automatically leave reports that are exported to Word visible and ready to edit.
Select this option if you want to show meeting times using a custom format on reports.  When the setting is on, the edit box becomes enabled and you can alter the custom format string.  You use special text characters to represent the various portions of the time that you want displayed.  The case of the text is important.  Any other text will be included as it is in the time string.  Here are the special text characters:
%H Hour in 24-hour format (00 – 23)
%I Hour in 12-hour format (01 – 12)
%M Minute as decimal number (00 – 59)
%p Current locale’s A.M./P.M. indicator for 12-hour clock
%X Time representation for current locale
%#H, %#I, %#M Remove leading zeros (if any).

Any other text is ignored.  Here are some sample custom strings:

%I:%M o'clock
%#I:%M %p

disable compacting The program will automatically compact your database every 30 days. This option has been implemented for the relatively few number of users who seem to have issues with this functionality.

This option is disabled if you don't have Microsoft Access 2010 or the Microsoft Access 2010 Runtime installed on your computer.
Use time delay when compacting Some users find that the compacting fails because of a time lag between the database being compacting and then being renamed. This is not usually an issue on modern computers but the setting has been implemented in an attempt to help resolve compacting issues.

When switched on, the program will wait a second or two in between each part of the compacting procedure.

This option is disabled if you don't have Microsoft Access 2010 or the Microsoft Access 2010 Runtime installed on your computer.
Reset printer copies to one At times you may print several copies of a report and this setting is stored by default along with all other printer settings. If you prefer that the number of copies get reset back to one when the settings are saved then you should set this option.

It can be frustrating to print a report and expect to get one copy and then find ten printed! So this setting might be useful to you!

Dates are normally displayed on the report using the short date format (this is managed by your computers Regional settings).  But you have full control over how you want the dates to be displayed.  In order to use custom dates you must set the Show dates on all reports using custom format option.  This will enable the edit box and dropdown list.  Use the edit box to specify the format string that you want to use or use the dropdown list to choose from 11 predefined date formats.  You may alter a predefined format string after you have selected it from the dropdown list.  If you do this, the dropdown list will automatically change to say User Defined.  If the days of the week and months of the year format codes are used, they will show in the same language as the program interface.  The format string can contain any number of special characters to represent parts of the date.  Any other text simply gets displayed in the date.  See the custom script help topic for details of the special text characters you can use.

These settings affect how the drop lists Home Talk Entry dialogue operate. If any of the options are selected, then when you add a new home talk entry, the appropriate option will get defaulted to <NONE>.

It is recemmended that you set these options for assignments that you never need to manage.

Note that the description of the last assignment Miscellaneous can changed on the labels option page.

Use these options if you want to display a graphical image in the background of the program.  The dropdown combo has these choices:

Do not show background
Show internal background (this is the default setting)
Show custom background (tiled)
Show custom background (stretched)
Show custom background (centred)

If Show custom background (...) is selected, then the Select button will be enabled and you will see the name of the image file currently selected (if any).  Press the Select button and navigate to a BMP (Windows Bitmap) image that you would like to use for the background.  Try using the various modes available: tiled, stretched and centred.  Results will vary depending on image content and image size.

Notes about using custom images:

The image must remain in the folder where you select it from.  If you move, rename or delete it from its original location the program will show a warning when it starts up and will revert back to the internal background.  There are many backgrounds available on the internet.

Select this option to display the current font being used when generating general reports.
Select this option to display the current font being used when generating away talk slips.

Select the first option if you want to include the header on the generated report.

Select the second option if you want to include the footer on the generated report.

Select the third option if you want to use the chosen font for Normal Reports in the header and/or footer.

These options are disabled if you are currently set to the Away Talk Slips font.  The last option will also be disabled if you opt to not include the header and footer on the report.

This displays a sample of the font being used for the selected report type.
Press this button to modify the settings for the currently selected report type font. Once pressed, it invokes the font selection dialogue. Click on the link for more details.

If you do make changes to the fonts, you must dismiss the dialogue by pressing the OK button. if you don't, your changes will be lost. Once you press OK, any open reports get redrawn using the new font settings.

Use this option to specify what language the database is using.  This might be different to the programs interface language.  This option should already be set correctly, as you are asked to set it automatically when the program starts.  But if you chose the wrong language, then you can use this option to change it.

Understand that you are confirming what the database language is.  It doesn't actually update the database contents to be any specific language.

This setting must be set correctly for the Check for New Talks feature to work correctly.

Use the check option if you want dates to be displayed on the schedules using the same language as the database as opposed to the programs interface language.

You can change where the database and custom report scripts are held by using this option.  There are some important things to understand about using this facility effectively:


Firstly, you must manually copy the existing Public Talks data folder (this is in your user application data location) to the new location.  This could be a memory stick, or perhaps a shared network folder.  Secondly, if you are using a shared network folder, then please ensure it is granted full read / write access.  The same is true of any location that you plan to use.  Thirdly, the custom report scripts are now retrieved from this folder too.  It no longer relies on the registry.

Why may you want to alter the working folder?  Perhaps you have a network of PC's and want the data files in one common location that is backed up automatically by your network server.  Now you can install the software on each of your client computers and point them all to the same working folder.  Ofcourse, you should be running the software from more than one computer at any one time else synchronisation issues happen.

If you are using SoundRota and / or PTImporter then it is important to have the latest versions installed so that they can understand where to look for the database.