After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Rube Goldberg was famous for inventing intricate contraptions with hundreds of parts that made what should have been a simple device appear wildly complex. For example, his cat 'alarm clock' drops a ball into a bucket and the weight of the bucket lifts a lever that releases a spring that wakes up a cat. Milton Bradley has been successful for years with the Mousetrap game, which is based on a Rube Goldberg concept. Rube Goldberg contraptions are fun to look at. Boston's Logan International Airport has two massive, perpetually working Rube Goldberg contraptions in the lobby that entertain travelers for hours.
Entertainment is one thing. Getting your job done is another. Sometimes the steps you go through to get out a monthly report are as complicated as a Rube Goldberg invention. First you import the monthly order file and add new columns to it. Then you sort it and print it and sort it, a different way, and print it again. Then you paste it at the end of the cumulative order-history file, and so forth. Each step has to be completed just right before the next one is started. Pretty soon, you start scheduling your vacations around the project because you don't want to train someone else to do it all correctly. Right?
One good use for macros is putting together numerous steps and turning a cumbersome Rube Goldberg monthly report into a mouse click. This chapter will help you learn how to do that.
On the CD This chapter uses the practice files Orders.dbf and Nov2002.txt that you installed from the book's CD-ROM. For details about installing the practice files, see 'Using the Book's CD- ROM' at the beginning of this book.