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Turbo Key field hints

unfilled while out form

Turbo Keys Introduction

The Turbo Keys act like the accelerators built in to your browser.

Turbo Keys are drawn from the entire account. Thus, multiple users are sharing the same data base.

There are several Turbo Keys accelerators. The most heavily used accelerator (flash fill) acts on the caller name, company, and telephone number fields as a group. This field group is located below the "While you were out" header in the screenshot at right although Flash Fill is not restricted to While You Were Out forms.


A note before getting started

The Flash Fill feature is controlled by system-defined parts of the programmable template. The feature is automatic.

Here we discuss the built-in While You Were Out form.

In this form, the caller and phone number are designated as "flashfill" fields. Selecting a value from the hint list will fill out other fields. The affiliation field (company) is designated as a "refinehints" field. Selecting a hint for an affiliation field narrows the hint choices presented for other fields but does not fill them out.

clicking field drops down hints list

The gray list

We click on the name and a gray drop down box shows the 8 most recent unique names in messages taken (at left). The gray list is sorted in recency order: the most recent caller name is at the top. If the same caller called twice in the most recent 8 calls, they would be listed only once. Duplicates are eliminated.

If the same caller called recently (say, earlier in the day), you can select their name from the gray drop down list.

Since there is no partial name entered at this point, the list of recent names corresponds to the most recent unique callers. The gray background and recency sort is telling you that the entire data base has not been searched.

For an account with many thousands of messages in the history, it is typical that the background will remain gray (40 or more matches with 1-3 initial letters). As more letters are typed, the background turns white as the entire data base has been searched.

For an account with fewer than 40 unique callers, the white list (below) is shown initially. The rule is that if there are more than 40 messages, the gray list is shown. If there are 40 or fewer, the white list is shown.


typing a letter narrows hints list

The white list

Here we have typed the letter "J" (at right) and there are 3 callers among our entire 629 message history with that initial letter. The background turns to white (entire history searched) and the sort has turned to alphabetic. The sort shown shows the older case dependent sort. The most recent sort is case independent.

In the illustrations which follow, we are working with caller "James". We can select the record for James either by clicking the name or by using the arrow keys to highlight and select. Here, we have used the down arrow key twice to highlight James with a light blue background. As a coincidence, we could have used the up arrow key the same number of times. James is selected once he has been highlighted by using the right arrow key.


changes in field values show up in yellow

Flash fill

By selecting "James", his information is filled in from his most recent call. Additionally, Telephone Message Pad compares this information with the second most recent call from James. A white background denotes the two fields match. the background is also white if there is only one previous call.

Of course, if there is no previous call (say, caller "Jonah Jones"), all of the information must be filled in for the first time.


Occasionally, you may see a yellow field and only one entry in the drop down hints list. This happens because with the most recent or second most recent entry was empty. The hint list does not display blank or empty entries as hints.

Also note a subtlety here: the name must be "selected". Merely typing "James" in its entirety is not sufficient to pull up James' previous call. You must select James from the drop down list either by using the right arrow key or clicking with the mouse.

A corollary of this subtlety is that the hint possibilities are fixed at the time of a selection or erasing a field in its entirety. Once selected, backspacing 4 times in "James" will not reveal a hint for, say, "Joe". To start over, delete "James" entirely.


investigating changed fields

Editing a flash filled field

We now investigate why the company/of/affiliation field is colored yellow. We click inside the field. The hint list at this time is reduced to entries meeting the criteria of fields selected. Since we only selected the name, the affiliation field is constrained by entries for the name selected. We merely click on the field to display the list of hints.

By restricting choices in fields based on other information already entered, we hope to reduce mistakes and speed up operation at the same time.


Flash Fill Control

In most cases, this is a major time savings. However, "most" is not "all" and so there are 3 levels of control afforded the user over this feature. (1) for custom forms, this feature is enabled or disabled in the form itself. (2) the user may shut off fast fill for themselves, even if the form implements it, and (3) any secondary field may be edited and any desired corrections made. Hints may be accepted and affect only that field. The primary field may be edited as well provided no further hints are accepted. Reselect any hint within a primary overwrites the secondaries anew.

An early version of flash fill had restrictions on the order of entry. The current version allows fields to be filled out in any order. This allows you the flexibility of asking for a name or telephone number to begin filling out the form. Often this is good enough to specify exactly who is calling. In those cases where it isn't (e.g. two people with same name), you can correct the other entries based on hints showing all possible values.

To protect the integrity of data you enter, flash fill only fills fields you have not "touched". If you click on the phone number field, enter some data, change your mind, and then erase it, this still counts as a field you have touched. Even clicking on it will count as "touching". From then on until you are finished filling out the form, that phone number will not be overwritten merely by selecting a hint on another field.

Other Turbo Keys documentation

There is additional historical information about Turbo Keys on our auxiliary page.