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Use a Text List to Enter Special Symbols


The information in this article applies to LIMS 2.3 or newer.

LIMS’ Text Lists feature offers a convenient method to enter frequently used text in any LIMS text field. This article shows how you can create your own text list of special symbols, such as the degree or micro sign, so that any LIMS user can quickly enter such symbols.

More Information

To enter special symbols in an LIMS field, the user must be aware of Windows’ Character Map program and understand how to use it. For example, to enter the degree symbol in a field, you must first open the Character Map program, which will normally be accessed by using Start | Programs | Accessories and locating the program on the Accessories menu or one of its submenus.

Within the Character Map program you must select the font used by all LIMS text fields (MS Sans Serif in LIMS 2.x or Tahoma in LIMS 3.x) and locate and click the degree symbol to select, then click [Select] followed by [Copy] to copy the symbol to the Windows clipboard. You can now return to LIMS and use Edit | Paste or Ctrl+V to paste the degree symbol into the current field.

This process is tedious and requires special knowledge of an obscure Windows application. One alternative is to find the symbol in an existing LIMS field and copy and paste when necessary. But there is a better solution.

A simple solution for convenient entry of special symbols uses LIMS’ Text Lists feature. The LIMS administrator simply defines a new Symbols list and adds all the special symbols. Users can then enter special symbols using the text builder popup.

To create the new text list, start LIMS and log on as a member of the Admins security role. Note that only Admins can create new text lists. Now use the Text Lists option on the Setup menu to open the Text Lists setup screen shown below. Enter “Symbols” in the New List field and click the [Create List] button to create the empty Symbols list.

Adding the Symbols text list

Open the Character Map program as described above and select the first special character to be added to your Symbols list. Click the [Select] button then the [Copy] button to copy the character to the Windows clipboard. The example below shows the degree symbol selected and copied.

The Windows Character Map program

Return to the Text Lists setup screen and add an appropriate name for the symbol then paste the character copied from the Character Map program to the screen’s Text field. Repeat this process to add additional symbols to the list then close the Text Lists screen when your list is complete.

The new Symbols text list

With your new Symbols text list added, any LIMS user can conveniently add a symbol to a LIMS text field using the Text Builder popup shown below:

Inserting symbols with the Text Builder

Use Ctrl+T to open the Text Builder popup from any text field, select the Symbols list and double-click the appropriate symbol then use the Enter key or click the [Insert] button to insert the symbol in the text field.

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