Instant Data make repetitive data entry a snap in drawing windows or in drawing layers in map windows. This is a mode command. It is either checked or not checked in the Edit menu. When checked, all subsequent object creation commands, like Insert Point, will call up the Instant Data dialog.
When an object is created, the Instant Data dialog allows us to enter a value into a specified field. The field box will be loaded with all write-enabled fields available in the drawing's table. Choose a desired field and enter the value. Thereafter, when Instant Data opens it will show that field and value by default. The Instant Data dialog remembers the last field used and opens with the field name pre-loaded and the cursor positioned in the value box. Type in the value desired and hit Enter or click on OK.
To use Instant Data
1. Open a drawing window or click on a drawing layer in a map to make it active.
2. Click Instant Data in the Edit menu to check it ON.
3. Choose a tool to insert the objects you want, for example, Insert Point.
4. Click the location where you wish to insert a point. The Instant Data dialog will open.
5. In the Column box, choose the field for which you want to add data.
6. In the Value box, enter a value for that field.
7. Press OK.
8. Continue adding objects. Each time the Instant Data dialog will appear preloaded with the name of the field and the last value added. Change the values as desired. If for some objects you wish to add a value in a different field, choose the new field in the Column box.
9. When finished using Instant Data, click it off in the Edit menu.
Use Instant Data when you must create many objects and wish to add a value for each. For example, suppose we need to add many points to a map and we wish to enter a name for each in a field called Name. Check Edit - Instant Data and then we can use Insert Point to click where we want each point. Enter the name, hit Enter and click on the next point.
Instant Data thus allows a very rapid repetitive data-entry rhythm: click a point - enter a value, click a point - enter a value, and so on. Please note that because Instant Data is used to load values into a database field for newly-created objects the Instant Data dialog only appears when there are fields defined in the drawing's table. If we create a new, blank drawing the Instant Data dialog will not be available until we add some fields to the drawing's table.
Instant Data remembers the last value used for each drawing. If we turn on Instant Data and then add points to different drawing (say, by clicking into different drawing windows or by changing the active layer in a map), the Instant Data dialog will be loaded with the last field used and last value used for each drawing.
Using Instant Data when Several Objects are Created
Manifold commands can be used to create many objects at once. For example, if the Insert Areas tool is used with Create Areas, Create Lines, and Create Points modes on the area with a line object at the boundary and point objects at the coordinates that define the area.
When several objects at once are created, the instant data dialog tries to identify the "main" object for which a data field value is to be assigned, using the order of precedence: areas, lines and finally points. For example, when creating an area with a boundary line and points at the defining coordinates the area will be taken as the "main" object and the instant data dialog will set a data field value for the area.
If no object can be obviously identified as the "main" object the instant data dialog will not launch even if Edit - Instant Data is checked. For example, we can use the Insert Box tool with Insert Points mode set ON to create four points at the corners of a box. There is nothing to distinguish any of the four points as being more "main" than any of the other points, so the instant data dialog will not launch in this case.
Suppose we have a map that shows various regions in a drawing. In another drawing we would like to show the location of sampling stations as points. Each station has a name.
1. Create a new drawing and drag it into the map.
2. Click open the table for the new drawing.
3. Add a text field called Name to the table.
4. Click on the map and click on the new drawing's tab to make it the active layer.
5. Check Edit - Instant Data
6. Choose Insert Point
7. Click at a location where a sampling station is to be located. A point will be created and the Instant Data dialog will appear.
8. Choose the Name field in the Field box and then enter the text for the name of this sampling station in the Value box. Press Enter or click OK.
9. Click at the location of the next sampling station. The Instant Data dialog will appear once more with the Name field already loaded and the most-recently entered text in the Value box (this facilitates entering the same value over and over). Enter the name for this next sampling station.
10. Repeat the cycle above until all the sampling station points have been created.
When finished using Instant Data, take a moment to uncheck Edit - Instant Data
See the Add Points with Instant Data example topic for an example of adding points, using Instant Data and moving points by editing intrinsic fields.