Most databases divide each record into a set of fields. This allows for searches to be done on particular fields. SpeedDex, on the other hand, is a free-form database, meaning that each record is a single fixed field.
This has the advantage of allowing the addition of an another piece of information in a record Ð such as a second fax number Ð without adding a new field to the record in the database. The records can also contain completely random notes, such as a friend's flight information. The disadvantages to this are the limited flexibility of searches and the difficulty in exporting information to another database.
Users can place text, graphics, or even a file within a SpeedDex record. Text can be searched for within a record, a whole file of records, or over multiple files. Unfortunately, there is no way of selecting or searching within a subset of records.
A more serious problem resulting from the inability to select multiple records is that users must select and print each record separately Ð impractical for all but the smallest files.
The best workaround is to export the whole database to an ASCII or RTF file and then print a selection from it. Despite the absence of on-line help, an experienced user can figure out SpeedDex quickly. The 76-page manual is complete, full of graphic examples (and more errors than one might expect), and is suitable for those with minimal computer experience.
Files can be imported from tab-delimited ASCII files, Rolonex format, and QuickDex on the Mac. Files can be exported into either ASCII or RTF format. Despite shortcomings, SpeedDex is a well-designed product that offers a convenient, easy-to-use solution for the simplest database needs at an affordable price.
by M Carling
A simple, free-form database that is easy to use. Its price makes it a good value for meeting the simplest database needs. Some small improvements would make this an excellent package.
Information Technology Solutions, 400 W. Erie #402, Chicago, IL 60610.