ChemFinder 7.0.3 Features

updated 10 May 02

This page describes new features appearing in ChemFinder versions 7.0.1 through 7.0.3.

Subform Linking Subforms - Table View Upgrade Suppress Relative Stereochemistry
Print Selection Auto Frame Labels SQL Debugging Text Searching
Reaction Parsing Text Styling

Relative Stereochemistry

In ChemFinder 7.0.1, we added a feature to permit more precision in storing and searching stereoisomers: the ability to specify relative stereochemical relationships.  For details, see the attached documentation.

Subform Linking

In ChemFinder 7.0.3, the Subform Properties dialog has been simplified.  This dialog is presented when you right-click the header of a subform box and choose Properties.  Its purpose is to allow you to specify which columns link the main table with the selected subtable.

In ChemFinder 7.0.3:

Fixes and Improvements

Upgrade Dialog Suppress

In ChemFinder 7.0.3, you can suppress the alert asking if you wish to upgrade a database to the latest version.  You do this on a form-by-form basis, using a new checkbox on the Form Properties dialog:

For a form attached to an old-format database, check Do not ask to upgrade if you do not wish to be prompted about upgrading every time you open the form.

You must save the form after checking this box.  The feature takes effect the next time you open the form.

Print Selection

Prior to 7.0.3, when you chose File Print, the default action was to print the entire current list, which often meant the entire database.  In 7.0.3 there is a new option and a new default.  When you choose File Print, the Print dialog shows a new Selection radio button under Print range:

Print Selection means: print one page starting from the current record, taking into account the number of records per page as established in Page Setup.  This works in either form or table view.  It is the default option, chosen automatically every time you bring up the Print dialog.

Note: the default is All, not Selection, when printing from Table View.

Also changed in 7.0.3: if a subform is active when you choose Print or Print Preview, the program no longer prints just the contents of the subform.  The entire form is printed, regardless of which is active when the command is chosen.

SQL Debugging

ChemFinder 7.0.3 offers a new feature for diagnosing database problems.  You can choose to collect in a file all the SQL strings generated by ChemFinder.  These can then be submitted to Access or SQL*Plus for testing or verification.

To output SQL to file:

Under HKCU\Software\CambridgeSoft\ChemFinder\7.0\Pro\Debug, set the key DBG_SQL to 1.  (If you don't see this key in the Registry, start ChemFinder, exit, then look again.)

When the DBG_SQL key is on (set to 1), all generated SQL statements are written to the file c:\cf_sql.txt.  New statements are appended to the file, so it will continue to grow as long as the DBG_SQL switch is on.  Set the key back to zero when you are finished, or periodically erase the file contents, so the file doesn't balloon out of control.

Each execution of a statement opens the file, appends the statement, and closes the file.  This means you can inspect c:\cf_sql.txt after each search and see the new statements just executed.

Text Searching

ChemFinder 7.0.3 has a revamped mechanism for searching text.  Here is the documentation from ChemFinder 7 Help, with 7.0.3 modifications in color:

Text Search Examples

Given the following records in a database:

  1. abc
  2. abcx
  3. xabc
  4. xabcx
  5. abc x
  6. x abc
  7. x abc x

Here is the table of hits:

query type full-word hits does not hit comments
abc text off 1,2,5 3,4,6,7 anchored match
  text on 1,5 2,3,4,6,7 anchored match
  memo off 1-7   floating match
  memo on 1,5,6,7 2,3,4 floating match
abc* text off 1,2,5 3,4,6,7  
  memo off     no hits*
  text on 1,5 2,3,4,6,7  
  memo on     no hits*
*abc text off 1,3,6 2,4,5,7  
  memo off     no hits*
  text on 1,6 2,3,4,5,7  
  memo on     no hits*
*abc* text off 1-7    
  memo off 1-7    
  text on 1,5,6,7 2,3,4  
  memo on 1,5,6,7 2,3,4  
= abc text any 1 2-7  
= abc memo any     no hits*

*These memo searches found no hits because this particular entry is stored in rich-text format.  For example, "abc" is stored as:

{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f0\fnil\fprq2\fcharset0 MS Sans Serif;}}
\viewkind4\uc1\pard\f0\fs15 abc
\par }

Note: you can see the raw (rich-text) data by exporting records to SDFile and examining it in Notepad.

Reaction Parsing

When you draw a reaction, you typically draw two or more molecules, at least one arrow, maybe some plus signs, and you expect the program to figure out which molecules are reactants and which are products.  ChemDraw and ChemFinder have different mechanisms for doing this, and the two methods can give different results.  For example:

The correct interpretation of this reaction has three reactants and one product.  Until recently ChemDraw thought it had two of each, and so did ChemFinder, and they both got it wrong in different ways. This has been a problem for E-Notebook, which uses the ChemFinder interpretation (via MolServer).

In ChemOffice 7.0.3, both programs still have their own mechanisms for doing the interpretation (we hope to correct this in 8.0) but both have been improved.  ChemDraw 7.0.3 considers any molecule under the arrow to be a reactant.  Here is how ChemDraw interprets reactions:

Draw a line perpendicular to the arrow passing through the tip of the arrowhead. Every fragment whose center is on one side of the line is a reactant; every fragment whose center is on the other side is a product. This works appropriately for non-horizontal arrows, too.

ChemFinder 7.0.3 now uses ChemDraw's interpretation for one-step reactions.  If you draw a reaction with exactly one arrow, then ChemFinder takes the reactant and product info from the ChemDraw structure delivered to it.  In other cases (multiple arrows, inability to interpret), ChemFinder uses its own interpretation scheme as usual.

Note sneaky trick: if you are curious, you can compare how the two programs interpret the same reaction.  Draw it with a single arrow and bring it into ChemFinder.  If you are using ChemFinder-style display, you will see how ChemDraw interpreted the reaction -- it becomes a linear sequence, A + B + C -> D.  If you want to see how ChemFinder would have interpreted it, go back and add a second arrow.

Note: If you are using ChemDraw-style display, you will see the reaction exactly as you drew it.  The same is true if you double-click to edit in ChemDraw --- the original is what you edit, regardless of your display choice in ChemFinder.

Text Styling

In ChemFinder 7.0.3, we haveaddressed a major inconvenience for form builder, the inability to set text properties over multiple form boxes.  Previously, the Text menu and Text Format toolbar were available only when editing a memo field in a rich text box.  To set the font for a regular data box, you had to bring up Box Properties and click the Font button, and this had to be done individually for every box.  

In 7.0.3, the Text menu and toolbar are now available:

Text format applied to selected boxes

In all these situations, the toolbar shows the current font(s) of the selection, and any changes you make apply to the entire selection.  Most changes are multi-level undoable (the exception is when you are working in a rich text box, undo is only one level deep).

Subforms in Table View

In ChemFinder 7, we added the ability to display subform data in Table View, but the feature was controlled by an unintuitive general preference called "Export subform data."  In 7.0.3, we no longer consult this preference; instead, we have added a checkbox to the Subform Properties tab, "Show in table view."   Check this box to have a given subform displayed (in condensed format), as shown here:

Each subform can be marked independently, and the settings are saved in the formfile.

Automatic Frame Labelling

Form builders have requested that framed data boxes be easier to create.  This is fixed in 7.0.3 as follows:  when you right-click on a databox and choose a fieldname from the drop-down list, then if the box has a frame, the frame label is automatically changed to display the fieldname.

To create a new framed box showing a given data type:

  1. Activate the Framed Box tool.

  2. Draw a framed box on the form.

  3. When prompted to add "label" to the frame, just click OK or press Enter.

  4. Right-click in the center of the data box, and select a field from the drop-down list.  (This assumes you have already opened a database.)

  5. The label changes from "label" to the chosen fieldname.  (To change it to something else, right-click on it and choose Label or Properties.)

Note: changing the field in any other way, such as in Box Properties, does not automatically update the label.  This works only when you choose a fieldname from the drop-down list.