Pre-defined Lists (PDL)

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Pre-defined Lists (PDL) are used with custom fields of all types except URLs and Text Blocks. A useful by-product of a PDL is that it's field generates a palette accessible via the Window->Master Palettes menu.

A PDL can function like the MKL if the 'Allow only Words from List' option is ticked in the field's PDL Edit dialog is clicked. This is similar to creating an MKL and only allowing MKL values to be used as keywords.

A PDL can be added when the field is first created or at a later date. Either add words manually or import a PDL via a text file; use one entry per line with a Return character at the end of the last line - or the last entry won't get imported. An existing PDL can also be exported to text file from the same dialog.

As of version 6 you can add a list of values when creating new fields via scripting (Windows/VB only) - see here. Note though this method currently only accepts values that are single words, i.e. spaces in values are not supported; they get split to individual values, so "Fred Smith" is entered as 2 values "Fred" and "Smith".

If you don't use the 'Allow only Words from List' it is possible to enter additional values to a field that aren't in the PDL. This method is pertinent where there are a regular set of values but may be others that can't be accurately predicted. It avoids the administrator having to access and alter the list (unserving the catalogue in the process) but may still be preferable in order to maintain data integrity.

Note that when using a PDL in non list-only mode you will find dialogs such as Find and Edit Field Values open with the first list item and an a drop-down arrow already displayed in the 'value' box. If you drop the list open there is no 'blank' line for a user-set entry. Don't worry, leave the list 'shut' and just click on the existing text - which will be deleted - and type in your text. Note there is also a bug which clips user-set text strings to 20 characters in the Find dialog and 28 in the Edit Field Values dialog. Any other dialogs that use this form of display will have the same problem - the size of the 'text' area of the drop-down control in each case will dictate how many characters can be entered - regardless of the size of the field.

Can you create a new list of both existing and user-entered values using the Portfolio client - like creating a keyword list? Sadly no, but it is easily done by exporting to Excel or Access to create a unique list and re-importing (use VBA and a Collection).

If you change a PDL or add one for the first time to a catalogue that has existing values in that field, the existing data is not affected. Remember therefore that when making changes to lists you may need to vet and correct existing data. Do a Find of the field name and 'exists' which will return all the records with data in that field. Now cycle through and delete/amend as required and you're done.

Question: Pre-defined Lists (PDL) [FAQ00319.htm]
Last Update:- 31 May 2006

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