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Article ID: KB220
Keyword Name: Best Practices, best, workflow, voter, donor, contact, using, format, renaming, lock, reuse, open, effective
Created: August 30, 2013
Viewed: 10710

During the Day Best Practices




Are you looking to maximize your performance in Trail Blazer during the day?  Are you looking for advice on how to organize your work environment within Trail Blazer?

If the answer to any of the questions above is “yes”, then this is definitely an article you should read.  We present several tips and techniques how to be more efficient and organized in using Trail Blazer. 

This article heavily relies on the Open Windows list.  This is located on the left side of Trail Blazer, underneath the Application Menu list.  The picture below shows the Open Windows list highlighted by a red rectangle.  It lists all the Trail Blazer windows that you have open.

Whenever you open a window from a search window, it associates the newly opened window with the search window that it was opened from.





Renaming Windows


Have you ever found yourself with a bunch of open Trail Blazer windows and got confused which window you opened for a specific purpose?  Clicking through the Open Windows list one window at a time until you find the right one takes time. 

Wouldn’t it be simpler and quicker if you could look at the Open Windows list and find which one you want?  Well there is a way.  Trail Blazer allows you to rename search window(s) in the Open Windows list.  That way, you can look at your list of Open Windows and find the one you want.

For example, if I have the following windows open in Trail Blazer, how do I know what voter search window that I am working with that lists past donors?  What about which contribution window lists contributions from 2010?  As the Open Windows list shows, I would have to click each Voter or Contribution search until I find the right one.





Renaming the opened search windows in this example, we get:





Just by looking at the list of Open Windows, we can easily see which windows I was working with past donors and contributions from 2010.

To rename an open search window, first go to the search window.  Find the Trail Blazer assigned name for the search window to the far right on the same level as the Search and Reset buttons.  This is shown in the example below for the voter search window.





Click on that name.  A window will show up like the one below.





Enter in the new name and click the OK button.  That particular search window is renamed. 

Note that once Trail Blazer is closed, all the renamed windows go away.



Locking Windows


Perhaps you accidently closed a window you meant to leave open?   Trail Blazer has a way to lock search windows so that they cannot be closed until they are unlocked.





To do this, locate the padlock looking button to the far right of the Search Button.  That is shown in the picture above by the red box numbered as 1.  Click it once to lock the window.  Try to close it.  Click the lock again to unlock it.  Notice the button to the left of the padlock when you click on the padlock.  It is labeled as 2 in the picture above.  That is the Close Window button.  It is greyed out or disabled when the window is locked.  It looks normal or enabled when the window is unlocked.  This is how you can tell of a window is locked or unlocked.



Managing Your Open Windows


Before you read this section, please spend a minute to reflect on how many different windows inside Trail Blazer you may have had open at one time. 

One of the recommended goals in your daily Trail Blazer usage is effectively managing open windows inside Trail Blazer.  This will help minimize the number of open windows and therefore lower the amount of memory that Trail Blazer uses on your computer.

The following lists ways you can minimize the number of open windows in Trail Blazer.


· Re-use search windows.  Look in the open windows list for a search window that you could re-use.  Click on that search window and use it again.


· Rename windows.  This was previously discussed in this article. Specifying purposes (and names) for individual windows helps you to decide what you need to have open or not.


· Lock frequently reused windows.  For those windows you need frequent access to or are important enough they need to be kept around, lock the window.


· Close windows no longer needed.  Unneeded open windows not only use more memory on your computer but also clutter up your Open Windows list in Trail Blazer.  The less cluttered this list is, the easier it is for you to find an open window that may be relevant to the task at hand. 


· “Get in and Get Out” strategy for detail windows.  When entering or updating data for a specific voter (or donor or contact), we recommend a “get in and get out” type of strategy.  That is: get into (open) the voter details, change the data you need to change, save it, and get out (close the details window).  This way, you complete the work you need to do with that person without having their voter details window left open. 

To summarize the bulleted points above:

The less clutter in the Open Windows list, the better. 



Opening Voter Search Window with a Specific Format


When you open the Voters (or Donors or Contacts) search window, it presents a preset default list of columns for your search results. Of course, you can always click the Format button to load up a save format or change columns around in a format in an ad-hoc fashion.  That takes time and a lot of clicking to get your format in place.

Trail Blazer has a shortcut that will allow you to open a voter search window with a saved format.  The following steps instruct you how to accomplish this.


1. In the Application Menu, expand the Voter folder.


2. Find and expand the Voters, Other Formats folder.  Now you see a list of saved voter formats.


3. Click on the format you want.  The voter search window appears with that format loaded.







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