iData Pro Services

The Services Submenu

Most applications running under OS X have an application menu. This is the menu that has the same name as the application, itself. For example, the application menu in iData Pro is named iData Pro. This menu is normally at the far left of the  menu bar, following themenu.

Most applications that deal with text and/or images contain a Services submenu under the application menu. The Services submenu contains the names of all the applications on your computer that offer services. If an application offers more than one service, its name will appear as a submenu, and that submenu will list the various services offered by that application.

What Are Services?

System Services ("Services" for short) are a way for the user to transfer selected (highlighted) data directly from one application to another, and to have the receiving application perform one or more functions using that data. This is done by simply selecting text and/or images in an application, and then selecting the desired service from the Services submenu. The selected data is then passed to the application that provides that service. (In some cases, modified data may be passed back to the sending application, but this is not the case with the services provided by iData Pro.)

NOTE: In order for the Macintosh Operating System to know about the services provided by an application, that application must be placed in the Applications folder, or in another folder within the Applications folder. After iData Pro has been placed in the Applications folder, you will have to either restart or log out and then log back in, so that the Operating System will add iData Pro to the Services menu.

Services Provided by iData Pro

iData Pro provides two services. Both work by opening an iData Pro datafile, adding a new record, and adding selected data to that record. (Note that the iData Pro submenu starts with an uppercase letter. This is required in order to avoid having this submenu appear at the end of the Services submenu, as lowercase letters are sorted after uppercase letters.)

NOTE: You must first select (highlight) some text and/or images in an application in order for the items Services submenu to become available.

1. Grab URL and Selection - This service is designed to work with Web browsers. Any selected text and images will be added to the Freeform Text Area of the new record, and the title and URL (link address) of the current Web page will be added to the fields that you have selected for that datafile. (See Datafile Settings - Web Address to learn how to select the title and URL fields for any datafile.)

If you select this option in an application other than a Web browser, the default browser will open, and the page address and page title will be taken from that, but the selected text will be taken from the application from which the service was invoked.

2. Send Selection to iData - This service works with any application in which text and images can be selected. The selected data will be added to the Freeform Text Area of the new record.

NOTE: iData Pro will not come forward after adding the new record.

To see a practical example of the use of a Service to add a record to a datafile, click here.

Setting Services Preferences in iData Pro

The Grab URL and Selection and Send Selection to iData services send their data to different datafiles. (See Services Preferences to learn how to specify the target datafiles for each of these services.) Since iData Pro does not come forward after adding a new record to a target datafile, you will also be able to set a sound to be played after a new record is added, and another to be played in case the service request fails for any reason. (These sounds are optional.)

NOTE: If you have not set target datafiles for these services before trying to use them, iData Pro will bring up the Services preference dialog. You will have to select target datafiles, return to the calling application, and try again.

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