TOC: When to Use a Filter | Creating and Saving a Filter | Running a Saved Filter
When to Use a Filter
Filters are appropriate to use when you want to work with a set of contact records that meet certain criteria. If all the contacts you want to work on have something in common, you can use a filter to quickly retrieve those contact records, and you can work on each contact individually before moving on to the next. Put another way, using a filter is a quick way to reduce the number of contact records Metrix presents to the user at any one time.
For instance, if you need to add some information to every contact who lives in Brooklyn, New York, it would be much faster to use a filter to retrieve those contact records than to flip through every contact in the database, manually determining which ones live in Brooklyn. Relatedly, Metrix also allows you to apply an interaction to a filtered set of contacts with just one click. (This feature is discussed below.)
Filters are very good for impromptu efforts to assemble a set of contacts with something in common, and so may not be incorporated into the initial build. However, before creating a build for an organization, make sure to learn about any batch processes it may run involving its contacts. Such processes could benefit from the use of a pre-designed filter. For example, you could create a filter that retrieves all board members, so that interactions (such as Board Meetings) can quickly be applied to the whole group.
Furthermore, filter results can be exported to Microsoft Excel, HTML, or other formats.
Finally, if you find that the Metrix's filtering capabilities do not give you sufficiently fine control over the records retrieved, use a query instead. See Creating New Queries with the Query Wizard and Creating a New Query with the Advanced Method for more information.
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Creating and Saving a Filter
In Metrix, a filter that you create and save is called an advanced filter. A basic filter is a simple, non-saveable "filter by name" tool that allows you to quickly find a contact by name. Advanced filters, by contrast, allow sophisticated criteria, and can be saved and re-applied at will. To create and save an advanced filter, follow these steps:
- Click Contacts in the Navigation Menu.
Figure: Accessing the Advanced Filter
- Press Filter... on the Contact Toolbar and select Advanced Filter.
Figure: Criteria Entry Tabs for an Advanced Filter
- Enter criteria for your filter.
For instance, if you want to find all contacts with an address in Brooklyn, enter "Brooklyn" in the City field. Use the tabs to access other fields associated with contacts, such as demographic information. Entering information into a field, City, for instance, and accessing another tab, Custom Interaction, for instance, doesn't cause the information you've entered to be erased. All criteria will be applied.
Note: You should consider all criteria entered into a filter as being joined together by "AND", not "OR". For example, if you enter "John" in the First Name field and "Smith" in the Last Name field, your filter will find all contacts named "John Smith", not contacts with the first name "John" OR the last name "Smith". If you need to use "OR"-based criteria, you should use a query instead of a filter.
If you want to find all contacts associated with a certain interaction, click the Interaction Type tab and select an Interaction Title from the drop-down list. This feature is useful for doing things like finding all contacts who attended a volunteer meeting.
Figure: Filtering an Interaction Based on Date Comparison
For many fields, filters also support comparison operators. Comparison operators (such as "equals", "less than" and "greater than") allow you to do things like filter contacts based on the date an interaction occurred. For example, this technique can be used to find all contacts who attended a volunteer event after a certain date or made a payment before a certain date.
To apply such criteria to a filter, click in a date-based field and look for a drop-down list that features choices such as "equals", "is greater than," and "is less than". (Such fields can be found on the "Interactions" and "Payment Info" tabs, among others.)
Figure: Adding Criteria from a Custom Table
If you need to filter based on custom interactions:
- Press the Custom Interaction tab and select the appropriate custom table from the Table drop-down list.
- Select the column you want to base your criteria on.
- Select a comparison operator. If you just want to return records that have any value, select "is not null". For example, if you want to find all volunteers who have provided fingerprints, select the "Fingerprints" column for the appropriate custom table, and then select "is not null" from the comparison operator drop-down list.
- Enter or select the value that you want to incorporate into your query.
- Press Add to Filter .
- Repeat steps a-e for any additional custom-table-based criteria you need to add to your filter. (For example, if you wanted to find all volunteers who filed fingerprints between two dates, you would repeat the steps above, entering a different date and comparison operator.
- When you have added all required criteria to your filter, press Apply Filter. Your filter will run, and (most likely) reduce the number of contact records displayed in your current "record set."
A dialog box will appear, asking you what you want to do with your filter.
- If you wish to save your filter, press Finish and Save Filter. If you want to go back and add more criteria to your filter, press Continue Building Filter, then repeat the steps above.
- If you choose to save your filter, you will be prompted to enter a name for your filter. Although you can choose any name for a filter, it is wise to use a descriptive name so that another user will not have to examine the filter in order to get a basic idea of what it does.
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Running a Saved Filter
Once a filter is saved, it can be run again, returning all the contacts that meet the criteria established by the filter. To run a saved filter:
- Click Contacts in the Navigation Menu.
- Press Filter... on the Contact Toolbar and select Saved Filters.
- In the form that appears, click the filter name you want to run.
Note: Saved filters are dynamic, so any information added to the database since the last time the filter ran will be included when the filter is run again.
- You can view the results of this filter in a grid format by clicking List View on the Contact Toolbar. In this view, the record set of contacts can be easily copy-and-pasted into another application such as Microsoft Excel.
- To remove the filter and once again view all contacts in the database, press Remove Filter on the Contact Toolbar. The filter will be removed, and your record set will contain all contacts.
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