[University of Florida Herbarium] [Florida Museum of Natural History]

Quick Guide to PLabel for Windows


PLabel: Herbarium Label Program Main Menu Add/Edit Table Structures Version Changes

The "Active File"

The active file is one of the user created data files where labels are stored. This file is a Microsoft Visual FoxPro table composed of a file ending with the *.plw extension and another ending with *.fpt (e.g., MyPlabelFile.plw, MyPlabelFile.fpt). These two files are critical if you want to copy your PLabel data to another computer. Other files created to store various accompanying data include:
*.cdx - e.g. MyPlabelFile.cdx - an index file of the plabel data used to navigate by various file orders. This file will be recreated if missing. If this file is not kept in sync with your current PLabel data file it will appear that records are missing.
*.mem - e.g. MyPlabelFile.mem - remembers the data entered on the "add label" screen between sessions.
*.plwtemplate - e.g. MyPlabelFile.plwtemplate - remembers the data entered in the "template" screen between sessions.
The structure of the *.plw file is shown on the table structures page.

When the program loads there is no active file. You will be offered a file selection box when you select any option in the main menu if a file is required. Once a file has been selected in a session it becomes the "active file". Add/edit/print menus will default to the active file. To change the active file, click on the "ACTIVE FILE" button on the main menu screen. Select a file and navigate directories as in most MS-Windows programs.

To create a new file, choose "New" from the file selection window. The file will be created in the directory you are in, so be sure you are in the directory where you want the file. Enter a file name in the blue/green box.



IMPORTANT! - you must copy both the *.plw and *.fpt file when you copy your data files. PLabel for Windows, or any other database using these files, will not open a *.plw file alone.


Main Menu

The Main Menu is the central navigation window of PLabel. Highlight the option you want to select with the up/down arrow and by clicking on it. Double-click anywhere in the menu box or press enter to select the item.


Add / Edit / Print PLabel Files


The add/edit/print window is the PLabel Main Window. There are seven pages in this window.

Print Labels

PLabel for Windows is designed to print labels to a rich text file (*.rtf) which may be opened in MS-Word or many other word processors. In order to print to the rich text file the report name should be set to "richtext_file" in the print config. (see below). Other MS-Foxpro reports are included with the program, but those older report configurations will no longer render font kerning correctly due to Windows updates. However, the summary lists should still correctly. One can also export the file to tab delimited and load those files in another program to print.

The print window is the far right tab on the PLabel Main Screen it includes the print settings. The following is an outline of the label layout.

Schematic of Label Layout [RTF forms]
Heading
Title
[Family (if above)]
Scientific Name
  determiner, det. date
[Family (if below)]
Secondary geographic division: label data (location, habitat, plant description)
Collector  Coll. #Date coll.
  with (additional collectors)
Project Footing
Institutional Footing

The Print Window page has seven panels for control of print features.

  • Project Footings: print at the bottom of each label above the institutional footing. The project footings are stored in a separate data file and can be selected with the navigation buttons in the panel. Double triangles go to the top or bottom of the file, single triangles more one entry at a time. The project footing showing will be the one printed. A reserved entry to print no project footing is at the beginning of the file.

    Project footing formatting is controlled by entries in several fields:

  • Institutional (Inst.) Footings: print at the very bottom of each label. The institutional footings are stored in a separate data file and can be selected with the navigation buttons in the panel. Double triangles go to the top or bottom of the file, single triangles more one entry at a time. The institutional footing showing will be the one printed. A reserved entry to print no institutional footing is at the beginning of the file.

    Institutional footing formatting is controlled by entries in several fields:

    Exporting PLabel Data

    PLabel data files are stored in MS-Foxpro data file format. Details on the fields in the tables are available in the table structures Web page. To export data from PLabel follow these steps:

    1. Update to the latest version of PLabel. Version 2.8 and greater supports current MS-Excel export/import methods.
    2. Choose the PRINT tab for the Main Form (the form with the Add/Edit tabs).
    3. On the print screen fill in the print criteria in the top portion. To export the entire file leave the default which is the full record number range for the file.
    4. Choose the EXPORT TO FILE button at the bottom of the screen.
    5. Choose a FILE FORMAT for export:
      PLabel format (*.plw) - The output file will be in Plabel format. This is a way to split off part of a file.
      Tab-delimited (*.txt) - The header and each data line ends with a carriage return/line feed (chr(13)+chr(10). The first line contains the names of the fields separated with tabs. Each other line contains the field values separated with tabs. Please note that this data format does not use quotes to contain the data fields. I.e., this is not the comma-separated value format, .csv.
      Summary tab-delimited text (*.txt) - This summary file is in the tab-delimited format with the following fields or pseudo-fields: Family, Taxon (combination of taxon related fields), Collector, Coll. #, Date Coll., Geography (combination of various geographic fields). This file is suitable for generating a summary list of collections in MS-Word or other program.
    6. Click the CHOOSE FILE! button and enter a file name. The default folder is \plwin2\export\. You can navigate to another folder if you wish for your file to be in a different one.
    7. Click the EXPORT button to export to the file, or to cancel, click the CANCEL button.

    To open the tab-delimited file in MS-Excel

    1. Choose the file from the File/Open menu of MS-Excel.
    2. The MS-Excel should open a text import wizard and indicate that it recognizes the file as: Delimited; Start import at row 1; File source: 437 : OEM United States.
    3. Select "NEXT".
    4. Delimiters: "Tab" should be selected.
    5. Text qualifier: change from " to "none".
    6. Select "NEXT".
    7. Column data format should be left as "General".
    8. Select "FINISH".

    Importing Data to a PLabel Data File

    PLabel data files are stored in MS-Foxpro data file format. Details on the fields in the tables are available in the table structures Web page. In order to import data to a PLabel file the data field names must match the data fields in an existing PLabel file. If you want to check the format of an existing Plabel file you can also export it to a tab-delimited file, *.txt, (see above) and then look at the header line for the field names. The following are recommended steps for importing a file.

    1. Update to the latest version of PLabel. Version 2.8 and greater supports current MS-Excel export/import methods.
    2. Important: due to the possiblity of errors in import file layout, it is best to import your data to a new temporary file first. Once that file is scrutinized and deemed ok you can merge it with an existing Plabel file via import.
    3. Open Plabel and create a new database file (Main Menu / Plabel Data Files (Add Edit Print) / NEW - give it a file name) OR (ACTIVE FILE / NEW - give it a file name).
    4. From the PRINT tab screen of PLabel, choose the "IMPORT A FILE" button.
    5. Choose the file format of your import file:
      Plabel format (*.plw) - a Plabel file may be merged in to the end of an existing PLabel file.
      Tab-delimited text (*.txt) - a tab-delimited file with the following format:
      The header and each data line end with a carriage return/line feed (chr(13)+chr(10). The first line contains the names of the fields separated with tabs. These fields should match the PLabel fields. Fields that do not match the Plabel format will be ignored. The fields do not have to be in the same order as the order of the fields in a PLabel file. Each other line contains the field values (in same order as the fields line) separated with tabs. Individual fields may or may not be enclosed with quotes on both ends. This is the tab-delmiited (*.txt) format of MS-Excel. This is NOT the comma-separated value format, .csv.
    6. Click the "CHOOSE FILE!" button and enter a file name. The default folder is \plwin2\export\. You can navigate to another folder if you wish for your file to be in a different one.
    7. Click the "IMPORT" button to import the file, or to cancel, click the CANCEL button.

    Creating a File for Import into PLabel with MS-Excel

    1. Set up a file with fields that match PLabel. See the table structures Web page. Or, create a PLabel file and export it to tab-delimited and import it to MS-Excel.
    2. Save the MS-Excel file: "Save As" - Text (tab-delimited) (*.txt.)

    Convert DOS (*.PLB) File

    You can always go back to your original PLabel (DOS) *.plb file if something goes wrong with this conversion.

    1. Open or create a new PLabel for Windows file (*.plw).
    2. Choose the PLabel for DOS (*.plb) file to load in. It will merge the records from that file into the *.plw file.

    Be sure to look over the converted records carefully. The most prone area for errors is in the conversion of the locality coordinates field into lat./long. and STR fields. If the program doesn't understand the format the information is in it should dump the locality coordinates in the STR field.

    Frequently asked questions.

    PLabel: Herbarium Label Program Main Menu Add/Edit Table Structures Version Changes

    [University of Florida Herbarium]
    University of Florida Herbarium collections:
    Vascular Plants | Herbarium Library
    Bryophyte and Lichens | Mycological
    Wood | Paleobotany (affiliated collection)
    [Florida Museum of Natural History]

    [top of page]
    Last content update: 15 Apr 2004
    Edited by: Kent D. Perkins, e-mail: kperkins@flmnh.ufl.edu
    Copyright ©, 1995-2003 University of Florida Herbarium / Florida Museum of Natural History