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Advise when using memo fields...

Last updated: 10 Nov 2002

You cannot enter a tab into a memo field like you can into a word processor document. If you want things to "align" in a column, you use spaces and a fixed-width font like Courier.

All fields in dBase records are stored in .dbf files with the exception of Memo fields. For Memo fields the .dbf contains a pointer that indicates the location of the memo field data in a corresponding .dbt file of the same name. It is possible for the pointers in the .dbf and the actual data in the .dbt to get out of sync. In this situation the memo box displayed on a view may display the incorrect information or none at all. There is no automatic way of recovering from this, except of course by restoring the files from yesterdays backup you made...

However, there is a way that you can protect yourself against this problem: When creating a record, insert the primary key (i.e. a piece of data that uniquely identifies the record) into the memo field in such a way that it can be extracted if needed. This is best done by having a macro insert the primary key at the beginning of the memo field when the field is created. If the memo field ever gets out of sync, then you can then set up some looping macros to extract the primary key from the memo fields and link it back up to the original record.

Personally I've used memo fields for years in v2.1 and v97 in order to create this FAQ and store posts to the mailing list, and I have never had a problem. However, others have had a lot of problems. I have no idea why this is!

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