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Simple Software for a Simple Life!
HOWTO: Using Alarms on Windows PC
Views: 3997 Created: 08-10-2010 23:38 Last Updated: 08-31-2011 10:50

ListPro allows you to set alarms based on the items in your lists. When the time for the alarm arrives, ListPro will pop up a window on your computer. The alarm will be displayed regardless of whether ListPro is running or not.

Alarms are always based on the predefined Date column in each list. If you enable Alarms for a list, each item in the list that has a date entered into the Date column can cause an alarm to go off when that date arrives. For example, if the item represents a task and the Date column holds the Due Date, the alarm will go off on the date the task is due.

Setting up Alarms

Here's how to set up an alarm for one of your lists:

  1. Make sure alarms are enabled for your ListPro File. To do this select Preferences from the Tools menu and make sure Enable alarms for this file on this computer is checked.

  2. Open the List Properties window for your list and select the Columns Tab. Find the predefined Date column and make sure its checkbox is checked so you can use the column. The predefined Date column will have an asterisk at the end of its entry in the type column ("Date*"). It's OK to rename this column to something other than "Date" if you want to.

  3. Select the Date column and push the Modify button to open the Column Properties window for this column. Alarms will work if the column's Form is set to Date only or Date and time, but not Time only. If the Form is Date and time, the item's current value will determine both the date and the time of day that the alarm goes off. If the Form is Date only, the current value will determine the date, but the time of day will depend on the setting in the Alarms Tab (see step 4 below). Close Column Properties.

  4. Select the Alarms Tab of the List Properties window. The name of the column that will be used for Alarms is noted at the top, so make sure it is the column you plan to use. Then make sure the Enable alarms for this list option is checked. If your Date column is using the Form Date only, make sure to check Time of day to display alarms and enter the time of day you want the alarms to go off. If you don't enable this option the alarm will go off by default at 8:00 AM. If your Date column is using the Form Date and time, the Time of day to display alarms option is not used since the alarm will activate at the time chosen for the item in the Date column.

  5. Make sure that there is a value in the Date column for each item in your list that needs an alarm.

When an alarm goes off, a window appears up on your computer to telling you the item name, list name and file name for the alarm. If you push the Close button on the window, it will simply go away. If you push the Open button, the list is opened (launching ListPro, if necessary), with the alarm item selected.

Things to Keep in Mind

ListPro can keep track of the alarms in your ListPro files as long as it knows where they are. When you first enable alarms for a list in a given file, ListPro will ask you to enable alarms for the file. If you move or rename your file, however, ListPro will no longer know where it is. For this reason, anytime you move or rename a ListPro file with alarms in it you must re-enable alarms for the file by selecting Preferences from the Tools menu and checking the Enable alarms for this file on this computer option.

You must also manually enable alarms for a ListPro file in the following cases:

  • You received a ListPro file via email.

  • You downloaded a ListPro file.

  • You created the ListPro file using ListPro on a Pocket PC or other mobile device and then File Synced it to your Windows PC computer. When you enabled alarms for the file on the mobile device, it was enabled on that computer, but not on your Windows PC computer; you still have to enable alarms manually there..

  • You are using a ListPro file that is on a File Server on your LAN, and it was created on a computer other than your Windows PC. If the file on the File Server becomes inaccessible for a long period of time, you may have to re-enable it again. Also, when a ListPro file is shared on a LAN, alarms that were not set by you are not guaranteed to go off on your computer. Most alarms set at least a day in the future will go off, however.

Of course, you can also disable alarms for certain ListPro files if you do not want to receive alarms for them. For example, you may want to receive the alarms on your mobile device, but not on your Windows PC.

Alarm Tips

The Date column you use for alarms is not required to use the Manual Behavior. The AutoDate/Time Behavior would not be useful, but you might want to use Calculations. For example, if you have a list of meeting date/times you might want an alarm to go off a short time before the meeting rather than right when the meeting starts. You could accomplish this by having an additional date column called Meeting Time that holds the actual meeting time and a Number column called Warning Time that holds the Amount of time before the meeting that you want the alarm to go off. You then set the Date column for alarms to be a calculation of Meeting Time minus Warning Time. The alarm will then go off a short time before the meeting. The Date column would not have to be showing in the list in this case. One thing to be aware of is that Warning Time is interpreted as a number of days, so you would enter 0.01 for a 15 minute warning, 0.02 for a half hour warning, and so on.

You may have noticed that ListPro installs a program called ListProAlarms in your Startup menu. This program is required to be running in order for ListPro to display alarms. This program uses few resources, so it should not be noticeable even if you're not using alarms. If you wish to remove this program from your Startup menu so it's not always running, doing so will not effect the normal operation of ListPro, except that alarms will never go off.

Alarms are only accurate to about a minute, so they will not necessarily go off the moment your computer's clock reaches the appointed time. They should go off within a minute of that time, however.