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Main Chapter Advanced User Manual Programmer Manual

Word-processing Fields

Line Editor


The Line Editor is a scrolling mode editor. It is the second of two standard editors VA FileMan provides for editing WORD-PROCESSING-type fields. The distinguishing characteristic of a Scrolling Mode editor is that you enter your text one line at a time, and that you can only edit lines one at a time. Because word processing in a scrolling mode interface can be cumbersome, you may want to set your Preferred Editor to the Screen Editor. VA FileMan continues to provide the Scrolling-Mode Line Editor, however, for those who prefer it.

NOTE: To set your default editor, please refer to the "Choice of Word-processing Editors" chapter in this manual.

For most people, the Screen Editor should be your Preferred Editor for WORD-PROCESSING fields.

Recognizing the Line Editor

When you edit a WORD-PROCESSING field, it's easy to see if VA FileMan chooses the Line Editor as your editor. If the Line Editor is used, the last nine lines of text (if there are that many) are displayed on the screen, with numbered prompts at the start of each line. Also, after the text is listed, you are prompted with "EDIT Option:". The "EDIT Option:" prompt is where you can enter each Line Editor command to work with the text.

For example:

    1>Owing to poverty in early youth, patient seems not to
    2>have had proper diet. Since achieving economic success,
    3>his diet has been adequate, but traces of original
    4>deficiency remain.
  EDIT Option:

How to Enter Text in the Line Editor

If no text exists yet in a WORD-PROCESSING field that you're about to edit, you'll see the field name followed by "1>". This is the Line Editor's prompt for entering word processing text.

For example:


You can now enter the text for Line 1 and press the Enter/Return key. This brings you to a prompt "2>" for Line 2, and so forth. Keep adding lines until you are done; then, press the Enter/Return key on a blank line to finish your edit, as shown below:

    1>Owing to poverty in early youth, patient seems not to
    2>have had proper diet. Since achieving economic success,
    3>his diet has been adequate, but traces of original
    4>deficiency remain.
  EDIT Option: 


Revising Existing Text

To revise the contents of the WORD-PROCESSING field, you need to call up each individual line that you want to edit and then edit each line. Here is how you can do this:

  1. At the "EDIT Option:" prompt, enter the letter "E" for Edit a Line (Replace __ With __).

  2. At the "Edit line:" prompt, enter the number of the line you need to revise.

  3. Now, beneath the "EDIT Option:" and "Edit line:" prompts, you'll see the line of text that you identified by number and you'll see the "Replace" prompt.

  4. Enter a string in the current line to be replaced.

  5. If the string you enter is found in the current line, you'll set the "With" prompt. Enter a string to replace the original string.

  6. The line is now updated, and you're asked for another string to replace. If you're done editing the line, simply press the Enter/Return key.

Shortcut: Enter Line Number to Edit at "EDIT Option:" Prompt

There's a shortcut to edit a particular line. At the "EDIT Option:" prompt, instead of choosing the Edit a Line (Replace __ With __) option and entering the line number, just enter the line number instead. You are taken directly to the line you specify, and then given the "Replace" prompt to edit the line:

EDIT Option: 5 
    5>was the time of the day that I wnet over to Building 8 and
    Replace wnet With went  Replace  
     was the time of the day that I went over to Building 8 and
  Edit line: 

"Replace...With" Edits: Be Careful

When editing individual lines, you make changes using the "Replace...With" dialogue, where you enter an existing string in the line, and a new string to replace it with. Be careful as you enter your responses to the "Replace" and "With" prompts. Enter enough letters to ensure that the computer replaces the desired string of characters.

Here's why this issue is so important. In one line, you may have two identical words or you may have two identical sets of characters embedded. Since the computer changes only the first occurrence of any series of letters that you enter, review your line carefully before responding to the "Replace" prompt. Then enter enough identifying characters to correct the specific word or characters you wish to change. Let's look at an incorrect entry to illustrate the point.

In the example that follows, you need to change the sentence in the second line from "This example is sample" to the sentence "This example is simple."

EDIT Option: 2 
    2>This example is sample
    Replace ample With imple  Replace  
     This eximple is sample
  Edit line: 

As you can see from this example, VA FileMan replaced the first occurrence of the "ample" characters. Thus, "example" was changed to "eximple" rather than "sample" being changed to "simple" because the word "example" came before the word "simple" in the sentence (i.e., it was the first occurrence). Obviously, we should have replaced the whole word "sample" with "simple" to avoid any confusion.

Shortcuts at the "Replace...With" Prompt

As with editing long field values, you can replace long strings of characters by using ellipses. An ellipsis is three successive periods ("..."). When editing, you can replace longer strings of characters by using an ellipsis at the "Replace" prompt. You can specify ranges of text to replace for any line (just as with a long text field) with the ellipsis.

For example, to replace an entire line at a "Replace...With" prompt, enter the ellipsis (three periods) at the "Replace" prompt. You are then able to replace the entire default with what you entered at the "With" prompt:

EDIT Option: 5 
    5>care of the boxes.
    Replace ... With care to replace the existing supplies.  Replace  
     care to replace the existing supplies.
  Edit line: 

"Replace..." Prompt Shortcuts

The table below lists valid shortcut you can use in the "Replace...With" editor:

Shortcut Action
... Replaces everything.
xxx... Replaces everything starting from the characters "xxx" to the end. <PF1>E Replaces everything from the beginning up to and including the characters "xxx." <PF1>Q
xxx...yyy Replaces everything starting from "xxx" up to and including "yyy." <PF1>A
end or END Appends what you enter at the "With" prompt to the end of the value. <PF1>S


Available Commands

In the Line Editor, all commands are available at the "EDIT Option:" prompt. To see a list of available commands, simply enter two question marks, as shown below:

EDIT Option: ??
       Choose, by first letter, a Word Processing Command from the following:
            Add Lines to End of Text
            Break a Line into Two
            Change Every String to Another in a Range of Lines
            Delete Line(s)
            Edit a Line (Replace __  With __)
            Insert Line(s) after an Existing Line
            Join Line to the One Following
            List a Range of Lines
            Move Lines to New Location within Text
            Print Lines as Formatted Output
            Repeat Lines at a New Location
            Search for a String
            Transfer Lines From Another Document
            Utility Sub-Menu
            Y-Programmer Edit
       or type a Line Number to edit that line.
  EDIT Option: Utilities in Word-Processing
  UTILITY Option: ??
       Choose, by first letter, a Utility Command from the following:
            Editor Change
            File Transfer from Foreign CPU
            Text-Terminator-String Change
  UTILITY Option:

LIST: List the Message

Assume that you've just entered four lines of text in a WORD-PROCESSING field and would now like to review the entire text. After entering text on Line 4 ("4>"), press the Enter/Return key. When prompted for Line 5 ( "5>"), press the Enter/Return key again and you'll arrive at the "EDIT Option:" prompt. Enter "L" (for List a Range of Lines option) and choose the range of lines to list (in this case, Lines 1 to 4):

EDIT Option: L  ist line: 1//   to: 4// 
    1>Owing to poverty in early youth, patient seems not to
    2>have had proper diet. Since achieving economic success,
    3>his diet has been adequate, but traces of original
    4>deficiency remain.
  EDIT Option: 

ADD: Append More Text

After listing lines of text (see "LIST: List the Message" topic), suppose you need to add a few comments at the end of your message. From the "EDIT Option:" prompt, enter "A" (for Add Lines to End of Text option). You can now add additional lines:

EDIT Option: A  dd lines
    6> Next appointment will be in three weeks.
    7> Regular appointments need to be set up.

JOIN: Combine Two Lines of Text

Suppose you're at the "EDIT Option:" prompt. After briefly reviewing your text, you've decided that Lines 4 and 5 ("4>" and "5>") are too short. You can use the Join command (i.e., Join Line to the One Following option) to join Line 4 to the next line:

EDIT Option: L  ist line: 2//   to: 3//  
    2>left by
    3>the doorway.
  EDIT Option: J  oin line: 2  
    2>left by the doorway.
  EDIT Option: 

INSERT: Insert New Line(s) of Text Between Existing Ones

Suppose that you want to insert new lines of text in the middle of existing text in a WORD-PROCESSING field. Using the Add Lines to End of Text won't work, because that appends new text lines at the end of the existing lines. Instead, you can use the Insert command [i.e., Insert Line(s) after an Existing Line], to do this:

EDIT Option: L  ist line: 1//   to: 5//  
    1>The delivery people came, and left several packages
    2>by the doorway.
    3>We've got some work ahead of us now.
  EDIT Option: I  nsert after line: 2 
    4> Finally, the order arrived! 

DELETE: Delete a Line or Lines

Occasionally, you may need to delete lines of text in a WORD-PROCESSING field. Use the Delete command [i.e., Delete Line(s) option] at the "EDIT Option:" prompt to do this:

EDIT Option: D  elete from line: 5  thru: 3// 6

  OK TO REMOVE 2 LINES? No// Y   (Yes).....
    1>The delivery people came, and left several packages
    2>by the doorway.
    4>Finally, the order arrived!
  EDIT Option: 

Advanced Features

Most of the features of the Line Editor are self-explanatory and simple to use. However, a few require additional explanation, as follows in this chapter.

NOTE: To see a full list of the commands available at the "EDIT Option:" prompt, enter two question marks ("??").

File Transfer (Use When Uploading ASCII Text)

The File Transfer from Foreign CPU option from the Utility Sub-Menu lets you upload text from another system into your WORD-PROCESSING field text, using an ASCII (non-error-correcting) transfer. For example, if you are connected from a personal computer (PC), you can use your communication software to send a text file.

The file to be transferred must be a text (pure ASCII) file. Most word processing programs have a way of saving a document as text (i.e., without special formatting information); check your word processor's manual. Also, you need to know how to send a text file using your PC's communication software; if you're not sure how, check your communications software manual.

To use the File Transfer from Foreign CPU option:

  1. Make sure the file you're transferring is a pure ASCII text file.

  2. While editing a WORD-PROCESSING field in the Line Editor, choose the Utility Sub-Menu option at the "EDIT Option:" prompt. Then choose the File Transfer from Foreign CPU option from the Utility menu.

  3. At the "MAXIMUM string length? : (3-245):" prompt, enter maximum string length for lines you are uploading.

  4. The Line Editor now waits up to 30 seconds for you to initiate an ASCII transfer of the file.

  5. Use your communications software to perform an ASCII upload of the file. All uploaded text is appended to the WORD-PROCESSING field that you are editing.

  6. Once you have finished uploading, it takes 30 seconds of inactivity until the transfer can complete. When done, and after 30 seconds of inactivity, the computer responds "FILE TRANSFER COMPLETE" and you are returned to the "EDIT Option:" prompt.

The same precautions apply for uploading large quantities of text to the Line Editor as apply with the Screen Editor. In particular, if you need to upload large quantities of text quickly, consider switching to an Alternate Editor such as Kermit (if installed as an Alternate Editor by your site) which provides error-correcting communications protocol. Unlike an ASCII transfer (used with the File Transfer option), an error-correcting protocol such as Kermit can transfer text and automatically compensate for any communications overflows, without losing characters.

Text-Terminator-String Change

(Use When Uploading Text with Blank Lines)

In the Line Editor, a blank line (null string) signals the end of data entry (and returns you to the "EDIT Option:" prompt. Thus, if you plan to paste or upload text into the Line Editor from a personal computer, any blank lines in the uploaded text have the side effect of signaling the end of data entry (prematurely). One way around this is to use the File Transfer from Foreign CPU option. Another way around this problem is to use the Text-Terminator-String Change option on the Utility Sub-Menu. This lets you change the text terminator so that some character string, rather than a blank line, is what is used to signal the end of data entry.

You can change the text terminator to any string of between one and five characters; question marks ("?") or up-arrows ("^") are not allowed in the string. To finish editing a WORD-PROCESSING field and get to the "EDIT Option:" prompt, simply enter your new text terminator string instead of pressing the Enter/Return key on a blank line. You should choose a text terminator that doesn't appear in your text: "end" would not be a good choice, but "EnD" might be.

The new text terminator is not permanent; it remains only as long as you are editing a particular WORD-PROCESSING field. You can change it back to a null line by entering an at-sign ("@") at the "Text-Terminator:" prompt. You can permanently change your default text terminator by changing it in your user characteristics as described in the Kernel manuals.

Programmer Edit (Edit Lines with M Commands)

The Y-Programmer Edit option (invoked by entering the letter Y) is only available to users with programmer's access. You can enter a line of M code that, line-by-line, reads in the current line in variable X and returns the transformed line in variable Y. You can specify the range of lines to be transformed by the M code you enter.

For example, to blank out all lines containing the words "Top Secret", you could enter the following M code:

EDIT Option: Y

The text is in X and returned in Y
Enter MUMPS xecute string to do transformation: I X["Top Secret" S
Y=" "

Editor Change: Switch Editors

The Editor Change option, on the Utility Sub-Menu, shows you a list of the editors available for your use, if you enter two question marks ("??") at the "Select ALTERNATE EDITOR:" prompt. The editors include VA FileMan's own editors (the Line Editor and Screen Editor) and any other editors to which you have access. You choose the editor to use by entering its name. When you exit your chosen editor, you return to the Line Editor's "EDIT option:" prompt.

Transfer Text (from Another WORD-PROCESSING Field)

The Transfer Lines From Another Document option lets you copy text from some other WORD-PROCESSING field into your current field. You need to specify on which line of the current field to place the incoming text and identify the source of the text.

To identify the source of the text, you need to use extended pointer syntax, which is described in the "Relational Navigation" chapter of the "VA FileMan Advanced User Manual." The syntax lets you specify the particular field of a specific entry in a specific file. Briefly, the syntax can be in one of the following two forms:



<expression> IN <file> FILE:<field>

The <expression> or lookup value has several possible forms. One way to refer to the field is by entry name. To retrieve text from the WORD-PROCESSING PROGNOSIS field of the entry Angina Pectoris in a file named DIAGNOSES, you could enter the following:

EDIT Option: T  ransfer incoming text after line: 1

  From what text: ? 

       Select another entry in this file, OR
       use relational syntax to pick up information from a word-
       processing field in another file.

  Do you want the entire TEST list?
  Enter Yes or No: ^
  From what text: "Angina Pectoris":DIAGNOSES:PROGNOSIS 
  From line: 1   thru: 20 
  ARE YOU SURE? NO// y   (YES)... . .

Alternately, you can use the second syntax to retrieve the same field in the same file entry:

Example of Transferring Text.

The requested text is identified by the value of the .01 field in quotes ("Angina Pectoris"). Thus, in this example the <expression> is the entry's name. You also specify which lines you want to transfer. If you enter a single question mark ("?") at the "From line:" prompt, you can list the current numbered lines in the WORD-PROCESSING field. You can then easily choose the lines to be transferred.

If the field from which you are transferring text displays text without wrapping, you'll receive the following message:

  The field you are transferring text from displays text without wrapping.
  The field you are transferring text into may display text differently.

  Do you want to continue?

  Enter Yes or No:

Consider the possibility that the text transferred from the no-wrap field may be unreadable, if the field you are transferring into does wrap text. For example, a spreadsheet might lose the alignment of its columns.

If the transfer does not succeed, the message <no change> is shown. The transfer might fail for several reasons:

You must have READ ACCESS to transfer text from a file.

For details of the different types of file security, please refer to the "Data Security" chapter in the "VA FileMan Advanced User Manual."


Reviewed/Updated: March 4, 2007