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Choosing the right conversion service
The more critical your Q&A databases
are to your business, the more
fussy you should be when choosing the person
who will actually perform your conversion.
Interview them. Ask questions that only someone intimately
familiar with Q&A can confidently
Can they offer you a choice of migration options, or just
Will the person you're talking to personally do your conversion? Or will
it be handed off to someone else? If so,
interview that person. (Be wary of brokers.)
Proven technical expertise in Q&A
well as in the data manager you're migrating to are
Lack of it will certainly result in a problem-prone
conversion. Reports that aren't right,
programming issues, fields that lose data, data entry forms that
don't navigate properly or are difficult to work with.
Q&A databases can contain 100's of
custom features, sophisticated
programming, and a practically limitless variety of
user-created add-ins called Saved Specs for reports,
retrieves, sorts, printing, mass updating, posting,
importing, exporting, merge documents, mailing labels,
macros and so on.
databases are prone to corruption on post-1995 computers in ways that might not be
evident during everyday use. Design specs can corrupt,
reports can corrupt, records can corrupt. Q&A
might report that there are more or fewer records in a
database than there actually are.
Q&A databases can also
contain non-Y2K-compliant dates that might look like 21st
century dates but are actually 20th century dates (1916
instead of 2016).
Common issues like these, if not corrected in advance, can
result in a problematic
conversion. You might not notice the issues right away, but
they will come back to bite.
We know Q&A inside and out, top to
bottom and where it's most vulnerable. We wrote
The Q&A Bible (IDG Books) and published The
Quick Answer Q&A newsletter for 15 years. (We also
wrote the first Sesame Programming Guide.)
thoroughly inspect all aspects of every Q&A database
to ensure you receive a
guaranteed 100% clean, accurate and trouble-free conversion.
Database Export and Conversion
We can extract the data from any Q&A database to a format that's
importable into programs such as Microsoft Access, Excel or Outlook.
(1) You send us the database (the
.dtf and .idx files), (2) we perform the extraction according to
your needs, then (3) send you the export file, ready for you to import into your program
or use as a Microsoft Word or other word processor mail merge file.
Most companies we work with have us do a complete
Q&A system migration.
can perform an A-to-Z conversion forms, data, reports, macros, programming, merge documents migrating your
a database manager such as Microsoft Access,
FileMaker, Sesame, Alpha Five or other database
a comprehensive modern replacement system.
*Conversions to Sesame are typically less
costly because Sesame has certain key compatibilities with Q&A.
easier for Q&A users to become comfortable with Sesame because
it uses most of the common Q&A shortcut keys (F10, F9, F7, etc.) and because
it uses the
same search methods and search syntax as Q&A.
Things are going great! We are very
happy with our new system....
running flawlessly these past few months.
Matt Kroona, Orange County Dental XRays
Your conversion of our
old Q&A database system is working out very well.
much smoother than expected. We feel very lucky to have found you.
Rosebud Coffey, Los Compadres National Forest
Q&A for Windows databases
can contain multiple forms, such as a Master form, a Main Menu form,
a data entry form and one or more search forms. The database might also
contain scripts (macros) that link the
various forms into a kind of application. If
you have a Q&A for Windows application, we can
convert it for you and retain its capabilities.
other custom features
such as programming, macros, saved specs, batch posting,
restrict values, initial values,
and field templates may incur additional conversion charges.
Thank you for being so diligent in converting the [Q&A]
database [to Access]. I've viewed the database and
everything looks good.
Adam Wolf, Legal Web Design
It worked great. I imported it [the converted Q&A
database] directly into Outlook XP. I really appreciate both the quick
turn-around as well as the surprise discount. Again, many thanks!
You did a great job saving my old Q&A files in a useful
Excel format just as you promised. I am deeply indebted to
you. Thank you so much. I strongly recommend your service to
anyone who needs it.
Dr. Donald Rapp
Thanks very much for your work on this [converting two Q&A
databases to an MS Access database]. We installed the
database today and the user is extremely happy. I appreciate
your attention to detail, and desire to provide an excellent
for all your help. The database works great. It was the easiest conversion I've
ever done. Julie Gilroy
working out fine with our [new Access]
database [converted from Q&A]. Thanks for the good
work. Jim Schaefer
Basic conversion converts all Q&A
database fields to matching data types (Text, Number, Date,
Data entry forms are
converted to match both the look and flow of your familiar Q&A forms.
If you've been having
any problems with the
database such as data or records disappearing, reports that won't run,
recurring error messages when performing some
us in advance. (Please don't send us a
database you know is damaged, thinking
that it will all "work out okay" in the end.
will only delay the conversion process and
could result in costs
beyond what we
would normally charge to isolate and repair the damage in advance of conversion.)
During our post-conversion check, we
compare before-and-after record counts as well as
the records in the converted database and compare them with the same records in the
database to ensure that the conversion process correctly transferred
all the data. We
guarantee that all of your data will be 100% faithfully converted.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY FILES TO US
ATTACHMENT WITHOUT OUR PRIOR OK
The conversion process
We work with you to ensure that you don't experience any down time or learning issues.
We convert copies of your
databases while your people continue working in your
At key milestones, we demonstrate progress to you over
a remote connection. You'll be able to give us your input, make
changes, request additional features and so on.
When we're done, you arrange for your people to take a week or
so to become familiar with ("play with") the new system before going live
When your people are comfortable with the new system,
on a Friday afternoon of your
choice, you send us fresh copies of your Q&A databases. We
migrate all your current data into the new system and send you the new
up-to-date files that weekend.
You begin working
in your new system first thing on Monday morning.
Minimum charge of $125 for
services. Minimum charge of $300 for conversion services on
a single small database with little or no customization. Larger jobs are quoted at a
evaluated the database(s). Payments
on large conversion projects (multiple databases in a system) are normally arranged on an installment
basis. Turnaround time can be from two to
days longer on a large
Q&A system. Rush jobs may incur additional charges.
An advance will be required to begin work. The balance
will be due when the job is
(as demonstrated to you over a remote connection) and ready to
send to you. Payment can
be made by company check or major
credit card. (Credit card payments require a
formal purchase order and incur a 3% processing fee.)
For a sight unseen ballpark estimate. . .
For each database, tell us (1) which version of Q&A it is, (2) how many fields are in it,
(3) how many of those fields are memo or
notes fields with extensive text,
number of records in the database, (5) the
number of reports, (6) if you use Q&A macros, mailing labels or
merge documents with your system,
and (7) whether you have experienced any problems with the database,
such as Q&A error messages appearing routinely or occasionally.
Also, describe any new
features you'd be interested in, such
as additional fields, special field formatting, field validation, initial values, reports, programming,
lookups, pop-up picklists, dropdowns, buttons,
read-only fields, date pop-ups, color-coding and the like. Our conversion estimates
can include existing reports, macros, saved specs (Print, Mass Update,
Posting, etc.), Q&A merge documents, mailing labels and the
like if requested.
For advanced conversion jobs that may
include re-creating the Q&A programming, field restrictions, reports and the like, we
will have to
evaluate the Q&A database
before giving you a firm quote. If the
database system is extensive and complex, there may be an
evaluation charge. If you
have us perform the work, this charge will be deducted from our conversion charge.
Don't hesitate to email or call us if you have any questions about any
of the above. Someone is normally here even on weekends to answer
questions about database or document conversions.
We can convert
your Q&A for DOS Write documents to Microsoft Word for Windows
(.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) documents.
Our conversions retain the general formatting
of your original Q&A documents and preserve the following document elements:
- All text
- Relative Linespacing*
- Relative Font Sizes*
- Enhancements such as bold, italics,
- Page Margins
- Page Numbering (Q&A's "#" page number
symbol is converted to page number)
- Justification (full, left, center, or right)
- Headers / Footers (plus alignment and
page number, if used)
- Temporary Margins
* For Q&A DOS documents, fonts, font sizes,
and line spacing are relative. Fonts used in DOS programs and fonts used in Windows
programs are not cross-compatible.
(Windows does not recognize DOS fonts.) Conversion can't convert fonts in your
Q&A documents to
"equivalent" Windows fonts because there
are no exact equivalents. If your Q&A document contains several font sizes
and/or font enhancements, however, conversion preserves
those sizes and enhancements. For an additional
charge (see below) we can apply fonts and font sizes to converted documents so they
closely match the output you get when printing them in Q&A for DOS.
In this case, you must supply us with a printed example of
the document (a PDF would suffice) since we might not have the same fonts as in your
Document elements that will appear in the
converted document as plain text:
- Document Programming statements (Q&A 4.0
- Document *JOIN* and *QUEUE* commands
- Embedded printer control codes
- Other "exotic" embedded elements
Line Draw (graphic lines and boxes)
convert as these are comprised of DOS ASCII extended graphics characters that aren't
supported by today's word processors. They normally appear in the converted document as
"foreign accented" characters. (However,
if you have us convert to RTF Rich Text Format which is compatible
with today's major word processors, including Microsoft Word, OpenOffice,
LibreOffice and WordPerfect, chances are that most of your line
draw can be preserved.) We can remove any line draw from your pre-converted
documents (or convert lines to a line of dashes or asterisks) for an additional charge,
though we prefer that you do this.
The Q&A for DOS word processor is a monospace screen (as opposed to
proportional in Windows word processors). Columns, boxes and the like
that were aligned by
"hand-spacing" when the document was created will lose that alignment when converted and viewed in
your Windows word processor. You can correct for this by applying a monospace font such as
to those documents (after
receiving them back from us) to get the columns to properly align once
Hand-spacing in the Q&A documents may also cause irregular line
wrapping in the converted documents. This cannot be fixed except by
manually editing the converted documents. We can do this for you for
an additional charge. Again, this is normally fixed by
opening the document in your Windows word processor and applying a monospace font to it.
Conversion does not convert
Q&A merge fields to valid
merge fields for the target word processor because merge field codes
are unique to the word processor you'll be using. Windows word
processors will require you to specify a valid data source (merge
file) before you can place merge fields in a document.
When we convert
Q&A merge documents in
conjunction with a Q&A
database conversion, we take care of all this for you.
Many thanks for your help and the speedy
service [Q&A document conversions to MS Word for Windows]. We
were not looking forward to having to rekey this whole job!
If I get further Q&A files I'll certainly contact you again.
--Ann Joshua, Joshua Associates
For an additional charge (see below), we can
replace Q&A merge field codes with text placeholders (field names inside brackets) for the data source you'll be using in the converted
document's word processor. This will make it easier for you to turn
the document into a merge document for the word processor you'll be
For conversions to Microsoft Word for
Windows, the converted documents are compatible with all versions of Word for Windows from
version 6.0 on, including Word 2000, 2003, 2010 and later versions (as of this writing). For
conversions to WordPerfect for Windows, we convert to WordPerfect for Windows 6.0 format.
The optimum conversion format is often Rich Text Format (RTF) as it
best job of retaining document characteristics. All modern word
processors (including OpenOffice and LibreOffice) open
RTF documents where they can optionally be saved to the word
processor's own native format or a different format.
cannot guarantee perfect conversion of Q&A
documents in terms of pagination and spacing. Some converted docs
may require a bit of manual editing to make them print out looking
just like the original Q&A documents.
How It Works
We understand the importance of your documents
to your business or profession and that they might
contain private, proprietary, and sensitive
information. We use a "blind" conversion process. We do not open or otherwise view your
documents at all. The only time we might need to open a document is to troubleshoot a
conversion problem. Should such a problem occur, we will contact you for instructions.
We will be happy to convert a
representative* Q&A Write document or
two for you at no charge so you can see the
results. You can email the document to us (as a file attachment) at
*Sample document for free
conversion must be of the same type and approximate length
and complexity as the documents you
plan on having converted. This is the only way we can quote you an estimated
conversion price for the job.
The easiest way to get your documents to us
is to zip them into one or more zip files, then send the file(s) to us
by zipped file via email attachment
(if under 20MB). If you want a new blanket filename extension
assigned to the converted documents (such as .doc), that extension
will be the same for all converted documents.
Write document files for conversion must conform to the DOS "8.3" file
naming convention. File names cannot exceed 8 characters not counting
the file extension. (The file extension is optional.) All file
names must be unique through the first 8 or fewer characters
unless the files are provided in separate folders/directories.
For example, if you have a
file named ccminv.001, you cannot also have a file named ccminv.002
because in this case the file names are not unique. Conversion
replaces the file extension with the target program's file extension
.doc or .rtf, for example so the file names must be unique up through the period.
File names that do not meet the unique criterion must be
renamed beforehand so that they are unique. Or you can provided
separate directories. If you have us do this, there will be an
additional charge for the service.
When we've finished converting your
documents, we'll zip them into one or more files and send them to you by whatever means
you prefer. Turnaround time is normally just a few days. Your original documents are
permanently deleted from our computers after 30 days unless you specify otherwise.
$80.00 minimum charge.
Document conversion jobs
are usually quoted at a flat rate once we
know the approximate number and size of the documents involved. Turnaround
time is normally a few days. Rush
work may incur additional charges.
Document conversion jobs are payable in advance
unless other arrangements are made.
For document conversion jobs that include multiple directories of
documents, there is an additional $5.00 per directory change charge.
For a sight unseen estimate. . .
Q&A Documents tell us how many documents
you have, about how many pages they are on average, what they
contain (general correspondence, plain text, merge fields, aligned columns of
text or data, if they
contain box or line draw, etc.). For large conversion jobs (50 or more
documents), we will gladly convert one or two representative documents in advance at
no charge so you can see the result.