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Frequently-Asked Questions

How do I install the program?
Why doesn't the calendar display my shift schedule?
Why is the File | Print option grayed out?
What kinds of calendars can I print?
Where are my .ini files?
How do I display an alternate shift schedule?
How do I edit the .ini file manually?
How do I display an alternate message file?
How do I save or delete part of a message file?
Why don't my messages appear when I open a message file?
Why does vertical placement of wallet calendars vary?
How do I create a repeating event?
How do I create an image for posting to a web site?
How do I create calendar images for my cell phone?

How do I install the program?

To install ShiftCal, download and run the installation program ("setup.exe"). The actual procedure varies somewhat depending upon the version of Windows the user is running.

Users running Windows Vista, 7 or 8: navigate to the installation program, right-click on "setup.exe", and select "Run as Administrator" from the local menu.

If the User Account Control (UAC) is active, the user will be asked to confirm that the installation program should run.

Users running Windows 2000 or Windows XP can simply run the installation program:

1. Navigate to the installation program in Windows Explorer and double-click on the filename, or
2. Navigate to the installation program using the Browse button in the Run dialog

Using the Installshield WebDeploy option

Another alternative is the WebDeploy option, which requires Microsoft(R) Internet Explorer.

Instructions for using the WebDeploy option are available here.

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Why doesn't the calendar display my shift schedule?

The program reads shift schedule information from a file named "shiftcal.ini" on startup, which may be modified by any of the following methods:

1. Copy an existing .ini file to "shiftcal.ini", (overwriting it if it exists).
2. Edit "shiftcal.ini" (manually or with CalMod) to your shift rotation.
3. Create a shift schedule with CalMod and save it as "shiftcal.ini".

1. If one of the sample files corresponds to your shift schedule, use Drag-and-Drop to create a copy of the file and rename the copy to "shiftcal.ini".

Instructions for using Drag-and-Drop to copy a file can be found here.

Alternatively, open the file in Notepad and save it as "shiftcal.ini":

Click on Start | Search | For Files or Folders, enter the name of the file (e.g. Seattle.ini), and click on the "Find Now" button.

The Find dialog will locate the file (e.g. Seattle.ini) in the data directory.

Double-click on the filename to open it in Notepad.

Select File | Save As, enter "shiftcal.ini" in the filename edit control, and click on the "Save" button.

If Windows displays a message box stating that "shiftcal.ini" exists, asking if the user wants to replace the existing file, click on the "Yes" button.

Return to "My Shift Schedule"

2.An existing .ini file which is similar to the user's shift schedule(perhaps using a different start date, or different colors for the platoons)can be manually edited using a text editor like Notepad. Save the edited file as "shiftcal.ini".

Return to "My Shift Schedule"

3. If none of the .ini files on the Shift Schedules page is similar to your shift rotation, you will have to create a newfile defining your shift rotation. The easiest way to do this is with CalMod, a utility that is included in the normal program installation.If CalMod is not installed on your computer, it can be downloaded from the web site.

Return to "My Shift Schedule"

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Why is the File | Print option grayed out?

ShiftCal is commercial software; it is not public domain.

Printing is one of the features reserved for licensed users.

See The Bad News, or click here for soapbox mode.

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What kinds of calendars can I print?

ShiftCal can print a wide variety of calendars including:

- Monthly calendars (with or without messages/events)

- Annual calendars (with or without messages/events)

- Semi-annual calendars (with or without messages/events)

- Daily Organizer pages (with or without messages/events)

- Business-card-size wallet calendars (6 months per side)

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Where are my .ini files?

This discussion applies in particular to users who want to download additional .ini files or to manually edit existing .ini files. ShiftCal and CalModlocate the required files using standard Windows techniques.

ShiftCal was originally distributed as a zip file which couldbe extracted into a single directory; we maintained this model for many years. However, as more users deploy ShiftCal into shared (network)environments, there is no assurance that an end-user has the necessary access rights to modify files in the program directory. This practice also violates current user-rights standards.

As a result, we have adopted the Windows convention of maintaining data files in a user directory; the problem is trying to be fairly consistent over the many versions of Windows.

Windows 2000 Pro (tm) and Windows XP (tm) provide a directory for each user under the "Documents and Settings" folder. ShiftCal places data files in a sub-directory under the user's "Application Data" folder:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Erickson\ShiftCal6\

Windows Vista changed the rules by incorporating a "Users" folder and including a roaming or local directory in the path:

C:\Users\username\AppData\roaming\Erickson\ShiftCal6\

...and Windows 7 and 8 followed suit, using the same directory structure.

If the data files are in a non-standard location, perform a Search | For Files or Folders from the Start Menu for "shiftcal.cds".

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How do I display an alternate shift schedule?

The program displays the shift schedule defined in "shiftcal.ini" onstartup, but the user can switch to another shift schedule by opening that agency's .ini file.

From the program menu, select File | Ini File.

Select the desired .ini file and click on the "Open" button.

An alternate .ini file can also be specified in a desktop shortcut or on the command line; see Alternate Shift Schedule for details.

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How do I edit an .ini file manually?

Key point:We suggest making a copy of an existing .ini file before editing it.

To open "shiftcal.ini" in Notepad, follow these steps:

1. Click on the "Start" button.
2. Select "Find", then "Files or Folders".
3. Type "shiftcal.ini" in the "Named" edit control, then click on the "Find Now" button.
4. Double-click on "shiftcal.ini" in the "files found" list.

If you prefer to navigate to the file, see Where are my .ini files?.

The following items can now be edited:

The [Shift Schedule] section contains the settings that define the shift rotation:

NumberOfPlatoons: number of platoons in your system (typically 3)

DaysInRotation: number of days in one entire shift rotation (varies from 3 to 24 or more)

ShiftRotation: a sequence of letters that corresponds to the platoon on duty for each day in one entire rotation; the number of characters equals DaysInRotation.

StartDate: any date when the shift rotation described in ShiftRotation begins. StartDate is totally arbitrary, but the program will only display dates in color for dates that occur after StartDate. See the CalMod documentation for information on retreating StartDate to display past years in color.

In the [Colors] section, set the platoon colors (APlt, BPlt, etc.) to correspond to your platoon colors. For the inverse colors (AInv, BInv, etc.): use white ifthe platoon color is a dark color like red or blue; use black if the platoon color is a light color like lime or yellow.

Save your changes, open your new .ini fileusing File | Ini File, and check the display against a printed calendar. If it matches, save your file as "shiftcal.ini" and the program will display your shift rotation on startup.

Example: the simplest three-platoon system would be to work one day, then have two days off.

NumberOfPlatoons=3
DaysInRotation=3
ShiftRotation=ABC
StartDate=01/01/06 (presuming that A shift worked on January 1)

Example: Los Angeles City

NumberOfPlatoons=3
DaysInRotation=9
ShiftRotation=ABCBCACAB
StartDate=01/01/95

See Editing Ini Files for details.

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How do I display an alternate message file?

The program displays the events/messages contained in "shiftcal.cds" on startup, but the user can switch to another event file at any time.

Perform a File | Open and confirm that the Files of Type combo box displays "CDS Files".

Select the desired event file and click on the "Open" button.

An alternate message file can also be specified as part of a desktop link; see Alternate Message Files for details.

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How do I save or delete part of a message file?

To archive selected messages, proceed as follows:

1. Display the message form with Edit | Messages (or use keyboard shortcut "Alt-E, M")
2. Click on the "Multi" button to select entire records
3. Select the first record to be deleted by clicking on it
4. Select multiple records if desired:
- Use [Shift] and the Up- or Down-Arrow key (contiguous records); or
- Control-Click (non-contiguous records)
5. Activate the local menu:
- Press the local menu key; or
- Right-click on the selected records
6. Choose "Save selected records to file" from the local menu
7. Enter a descriptive filename and click on "Save"

To delete selected records, proceed as follows:

1. Display the message form with Edit | Messages (or use keyboard shortcut "Alt-E, M")
2. Click on the "Multi" button to select entire records
3. Select the first record to be deleted by clicking on it
4. Select multiple records if desired:
- Use [Shift] and the Up- or Down-Arrow key (contiguous records); or
- Control-Click (non-contiguous records)
5. Activate the local menu:
- Press the local menu key; or
- Right-click on the selected records
6. Select "Delete selected records" from the local menu
7. Confirm by clicking on the "Ok" button

Key point: if the records to be saved or deleted have a keyword or phrase in common, use the Edit | Find Text menu option. Enter a word or phrase into the edit control and click on the "Ok" button. The message dialog will display all records that contain the word or phrase. Click on the "Multi" button, then click on the first record. Hold down the [Shift] key, then press and hold the Down-Arrow key until all of the records are highlighted. Release both keys and follow steps 5, 6, and 7 above to save or delete the selected records.

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Why don't my messages appear when I open a message file?

There are two conditions that can cause this fault:

The first is that the user does not have read/write privileges to the currentdirectory; either relocate the files to another directory, or modify the user's privileges.

The second condition is a compatibility issue with some video drivers.The following work-around will permit the user to open message files on systems that exhibit this behavior:

Turn messages off by issuing a Settings | Show Messagescommand (the user may either click on the menu or use the keyboard shortcut "Alt-S, S").

Open the desired message file using File | Open.

Turn messages back on by issuing a Settings | Show Messages command (the user may click on the menu or use the keyboard shortcut "Alt-S, S").

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Why does the vertical placement of wallet calendars vary?

Some users have reported that wallet calendars print higher on one side of the business card stock than on the other. This is caused by variations in how the printer picks up paper from the input tray, which is affected by several factors:

1. Paper curl - the printer picks up paper more quickly when the curl is "up".
2. Paper stack - the presence of card stock on top of bond paper affects paper pickup.
3. Prepared edge - some card stock has a special texture on one side of the leading edge.

If the leading edge displays any curl, you can try to reduce it by flexing the card stock over the edge of the table, or by manually bending the leading edge in the opposite direction.

For best results, unload the paper tray and feed business card stock one sheet at a time. At the very least, load only business card stock in the input tray - do not mix paper types.

Although business card stock with a prepared edge may pick up consistently, when printing large quantities of business cards, the opposite side invariably picks up differently, resulting in a poorly-centered printout. Some users report better results if they ignore the textured leading edge and insert the other end into the printer first.

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How do I create a repeating event?

To create events that repeat:
- every n days or weeks (e.g. every 14 days or two weeks)
- on a specific date every month (e.g. on the 15th of the month)
- on a specific date every year (e.g. November 26 of every year)
- on a specific day-of-the-week (e.g. the last Friday of the month)

See Repeating Events

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How do I create an image for posting to a web site?

Users with a current license are authorized to post calendar images to a personal or agency web site if a link is provided to www.shiftcal.com.

See Posting Calendars to a Web Site

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How do I create calendar images for my cell phone?

Users with a current license are authorized to create images for transferring to cellphone.

Android Android phones: calendar app
Cellphone Cellphone Gallery Images
GCalendar Google Calendar (GMail users)
Apple Macintosh & iPhone
Wallpaper Cell Phone Wallpaper images

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Copyright © 2013 T. Wesley Erickson
Warner Springs, California
All rights reserved.

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