Lookup by Date Range

I recently received this e-mail from a sales rep I know:

Subject: what the #$@%
Date: 12/5/01 5:29 PM
I would like to sort by dates in Lookup and I notice that some fields are not highlighted or not even listed as fields although they appear on the screen. So, I can't sort by create date as far as I can tell. Do I need to create and input a create date myself even though the system has it. What is this all about?

Thanks for your help (or pointing me to where I can get it).

The sales rep is correct. After running a "Lookup" based on the "Create Date," the "Lookup" can't then be sorted by date. This is also true for the "Edit Date" and "Merge Date" fields. However, there are four standard data fields that are available to sort by date after a "Lookup." They are: "Last Attempt," "Last Meeting," "Last Reach," and "Letter Date." The dates in these fields are automatically picked up from the "Notes/History" (respectively, "Call Attempted" or "Call Left Message," "Meeting Held," "Call Completed," and "Letter Sent").

Why does this matter? Perhaps you are interested in who you have been talking to recently on the phone, and would like to see those contact records listed in chronological order from today back to some other date. From the "Lookup" pull down menu select "By Example." When the dialog box appears click into the "Last Reach" field under the "Status" tab. Enter a date range as follows "MM/DD/YY..MM/DD/YY" where the first date is the beginning of your range and the latter is the end (today for this example). The two periods ".." are the Boolean operator that signifies "range". Clicking the green exclamation point creates the "Lookup" of contact records with whom you have completed a phone call during the specified date range.

To display the "Lookup" as a list, and sort it by date, click into the "Contact List" view (from the "View" toolbar typically placed vertically on the left). By right clicking the mouse anywhere on the table of contacts, and selecting "Add Columns," a dialog box will pop up. Scroll down to "Last Reach" and highlight this entry by clicking it once. Next click the "Add" button and finally "Close." The new column of information will be displayed at the far right of the view, so you may have to scroll to uncover it. Now click the header "Last Reach" at the top of the column. This will sort the list by date in the column with the oldest at the top of the list. Clicking the header again will reverse the order and place the most recent date at the top of the list.

If, as our sales rep suggested, you create a new data field to record dates in your database, be sure to select "Date" in the "Type" field under the "Attributes" tab in the "Fields" section of the "Define Fields" dialog box. Otherwise you will not be able to "Lookup" by date ranges in this data field, only by specific characters.

Thanks to Carl Glendening of Lebon Press in Hartford, CT for bringing his dilemma to my attention. For his refusal to believe that ACT! couldn't do what he wanted it to, and his willingness to ask for help, Carl receives an "ACT! Tip of the Week" Tipster Atta'boy! Carl also receives my thanks for relieving me of the burden of having to come up with a topic so close to Christmas.

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