Making Batch changes easier

I use the batch features very rarely. It’s not a feature that most users will use often enough to use it optimally. So I think it needs a bit more detail in the step by step process.

I would make the following suggestions based on my own experiences of using the batch functions.

  1. Batch Create might be better named Batch Add - as you are adding new entries. It is then more consistent with the other names of update and delete. I always seem to think batch create is the operation I need before trying batch update.

  2. Because it is such a rarely used feature, I think it would be a good idea where you have the 1,2,3 steps of copy to clipboard etc, instructing how to use the function, you could have the first step that clearly explains the function of batch create/add - which is to batch add new records or new transactions. This would make it quicker for users to see that they might be using the wrong batch function as I for some reason always think batch create is what I need as I want to create a batch file and then update it later.

  3. Another issue that I encounter with batch update is that when I copy the clipboard to Excel, some of the entries change from say 0150 to 150 or even worse they change to something like 1240800388917 to 1.2408E+12. Could Manager possibly export the format of the field being exported to excel or whatever spreadsheet the user is using to ensure that the fields are set as text. Or failing that, have as one of the steps in the 1,2,3 to remind the user when opening a new excel file to select the entire worksheet and format as text. This will avoid data be changed by the spreadsheet if using a different field format.

  4. I have also noticed that the date format of some transactions seem to change. I can’t recall exactly but it might be changing from 06/03/2022 to 6/03/2022 or the other way around. Can’t remember atm.

There are three basic data managing operations in Manager, Create, Update and Delete. Using “Add” will introduce inconsistency.

I agree, It would be a plus to have some information provided to assist users.

You can easily correct figures presented like 1.2408E+12. To keep leading zeros in spreadsheets, I prefix numbers that will not be used in mathematical operations with an apostrophe (').


You have to be mindful of the date and time settings in both Manager and your computer/application.

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I can’t comment on the date as I don’t remember what changed. However, my date and time settings in both Manager and computer don’t change over the years. In addition, only some transaction dates are affected - probably about 5% of the records if that. So it’s just a strange anomaly.

Yes there are ways around the batch format issues as you suggest. But I think a better solution is that Manager prevents the issue from occurring in the first place. I don’t know how easy or difficult that would be to do. But failing that, a good solution would be to have a step that says format entire worksheet as text - because people forget if they don’t use the batch option very often. I use it less than once a year all told.

That’s not something that manager does, it’s the spreadsheet that copies this (1.2408E+12) format to the clipboard and there’s no way to get the original number back by Manager.

And judging by your proposed solution of exporting formats @dalacor, I can say that you’re fully aware of the source of the problem.

However, since many users have different spreadsheet programs with different sizes plus, not all create data have the same number of rows; that will create lots of other problems when copying formats.

Another related solution would be to download a template file say in .docx format, but that also has it’s own problems, like is the template going to be dynamic or static:

  • If it’s dynamic, this means that Manager has to have a .docx generator that ensures compatibility with a whole lot of spreadsheet software.

  • If it’s static then it probably isn’t future proof since it’s likely to break whenever any changes in structure occur.

The safest solution is to have the user specify the formats as @Abeiku said here:

An easier method is to use this custom cell format: 0.

And as far as this:

That will definitely hamper the user from doing any calculations in the spreadsheet.

Going back full circle to your original request:

What if Manager formats the header row and the row next to it will all necessary custom formats and then instruct the user to copy those formats across all rows?

That seems promising.

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In addition to the response of @Abeiku where he explains that batch create is consistent with Manager’s data management operations, the use of the word create is also correct because the batch create function creates the necessary keys that serve as identifiers. Batch update already has these keys and can not create new ones so you can only update existing information that you could also change using edit.

Who would have thought my little topic would generate so much interest!

Regarding Batch Create versus Batch Add. I believe batch add is more descriptive of what that batch function is. Batch Create to me means create a batch file, not create records or transactions by batch. Which is why I keep clicking on Batch Create instead of Batch Update when I need to do a batch job. I think Batch Add is more clear that you are adding new records.

I appreciate that it may not be possible for Manager to force text format for all fields exported. Which is why I suggested the option of adding a step in the batch form where it reminds the user to set the default format for the worksheet regardless of what spreadsheet program that they use. This would solve the problem for most users and I am quite happy to use that. But I need that as a step in the batch form because otherwise you forget. For those doing calculations, you can ignore that step.

The main use that most users have for batch is to update records, delete them or add new records. I don’t know how many use batch to do calculations? But as I said, you can skip that step.

Agree that is the safest solution for batch it means only entries which are intended to change are changed.

Not really.

Dates should be exported in a non ambiguous format which has the same sort order for text and date such as

For more advanced calculation text to number or date functions are available in spreadsheets so can easily be incorporated in any formulas used.

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Yes indeed.

To replicate this, just do as follows:

  1. change the cell format to text
  2. Type in whatever formula you want
  3. Excel will not calculate anything since it’s considered as text.

This will not affect formulas calculated prior to setting the format to text, but in our case we will have the batch create sheet formatted as text first before filling it in – so this should apply here.

Just as confirmation, you can see that the “Show formulas” is unchecked.

I have already modified my original request to that of having a step instruction to format worksheet as text for users who simply want to bulk update transactions in Manager. For those who want to do calculations obviously this step needs to be missed out. So at this point, all I would request is clearer instructions in the steps 1,2 and 3 forms to more clearly state the purpose of the function and how to ensure data is consistent with Manager (if you just want to batch update). Secondly the developer could consider create versus add as a name for the function.

There are clearly two different uses for the batch update and the process needs to cater for both uses.

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