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SmartSuite Tips- by Chris Wenham

While working with SmartSuite for Warp 4 and surfing the web we discovered a few tips for use with the new office suite. We've compiled them here, along with a few other resources such as links and mailing lists that you may wish to pursue when learning more about SmartSuite.

Changing the default browser and sending URLs to the currently running Netscape

One of the most annoying problems we discovered with SmartSuite was that it was set up to use Netscape Navigator by default as the browser launched whenever you click on a web page SmartIcon or Internet link in any of the components (Organizer's Almanac page, for example). Even worse, it always launched a new session of the browser instead of sending the URL to the currently running session, if you had it open.

There are two solutions and at least one is surprisingly simple. The first is to use the REGRX.EXE program in the X:\LOTUSW4\COMPONENT directory which will allow you to switch back and forth between Netscape and Web Explorer as well as perform a few other registry repair options. Just go to the 'Services' menu of this program and select 'Set SmartSuite Web Browser'.

But if the browser you want to use is not Netscape or Web Explorer, or you want the URLs fed to the currently running session of Netscape, or you wish to use some specific command like arguments (-3 for Netscape, or to tell Web Explorer to use more than 4 connections etc.) then you'll need to go the slightly more complex route. FixPak 5 SE (or higher) required to use SmartSuite comes with an INI editor called RegEdit2 (set to mimic Windows 95's registry editor) that you'll find in the X:\OS2\System directory under the name REGEDIT2.EXE (where X is the drive letter you installed OS/2 to), it's this that you'll need to edit SmartSuite's registry more explicitly than REGRX can.

So to change the default browser, follow these directions:

  1. Open RegEdit2 (X:\OS2\System\RegEdit2.exe)
  2. Expand the tree called "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT" by clicking on the plus sign
  3. Scroll down until you find the key called "http" and expand it
  4. Keep expanding it all the way past "shell" and "open" until you reach "command". Clicking on this should display the command line that each SmartSuite component uses to launch the browser in the other half of the RegEdit window (.GIF, 9K).
  5. Right click on the "Data" portion of the key and pick "Modify" from the pop up menu
  6. Enter the new command line for starting the browser, including the full path and filename of the browser and "%1" for where the URL is to be passed. For example, to start Navigator in 3.0 mode you'd put "c:\Netscape\Netscape.exe -3 %1"
  7. Click on 'OK', then close the Registry editor.

If you want it to send the URL to the currently running copy of Netscape instead of launching a new session then you'll need the highly useful Netscape DDE interface written by Ulrich Moeller of XFolder fame, available here as a 20K download. Unzip this into a directory and put that as the default browser for SmartSuite to use, as per the same instructions given above.

But yet it doesn't stop there, for it seems Freelance Graphics is immune to the chances made in the registry this way. To make Freelance use the web browser you want you'll need to make a small change to your CONFIG.SYS file. Opening CONFIG.SYS in the OS/2 System Editor, add the line "SET LOTUS_BROWSER=X:\Path\Browser.exe" (where "X:\Path\Browser.exe" is the full path and filename for the browser). We don't know why Lotus couldn't have Freelance follow the settings in the registry like the rest of the components in the suite (or for that matter, why the rest of the suite components couldn't follow the LOTUS_BROWSER setting either). Perhaps this will be fixed in the next version.

Getting rid of the registration reminder

SmartSuite for Warp 4 came with a registration reminder program similar to Warp 4's own "Dancing Elephant". This reminder will pop up every week or so until you go through the registration process. But if you don't want to register, you can get rid of the reminder program by opening Warp's Startup folder, located in the OS/2 System folder, and delete the "Lotus Software Registration Reminder" object you find there.

Overcoming Printer Problems

If your printer is spewing out garbage whenever you go to print something in a SmartSuite application, check the printer's properties notebook and make sure it's set to "Printer Specific Format" (on the Queue Options tab). Also, if you're having problems printing something in Landscape mode (such as a spreadsheet in 1-2-3) check that the printer object's settings is also set to print in Landscape mode too. Better yet, create two printer objects and set one to print in Landscape mode and the other in Portrait mode. Then when you come to print in SmartSuite, simply choose the appropriate printer object from the print dialog's drop down list.

The Mysterious Vanishing Mouse

For some who use Organizer, you might have noticed that the mouse cursor tends to disappear and not come back after you close the application. This is a bug that was in the beta version, but never got fixed in the shipping version. Somehow Organizer increments the "hide" counter one too many and forgets to decrement it after its finished unloading itself from memory.

To get your cursor back, start the OS/2 System Editor (e.exe). The OS/2 System Editor seems to have code in it that will make the mouse cursor reappear again. To make this easy to launch you can either make a shadow of the System Editor's icon directly on the desktop so it's easy to "feel around" for (the mouse is still active even though invisible, as you will see if you hold down the left mouse button and see OS/2 drawing boxes on the desktop). But better yet is to use a utility such as Object Desktop's Keyboard Launchpad to assign the System Editor to a key combination (I use Ctrl-Shift-S)

Others have found they can put the OS/2 System Editor in the desktop menu (go to the 'Menu' tab of the Desktop Properties notebook) and use Shift-F10 or right-click to bring up this menu whenever the mouse disappears. Of course, it's been found that launching Organizer again will revive the mouse too, but we figured that you wouldn't have closed it in the first place unless you wanted it out of memory.

Plus, some users have also found that upgrading their video drivers (especially Matrox owners) fixes this problem for good.

Making Transparent Frames in Word Pro

While you can switch off the wrapping of text around a frame, the default properties are still set up so that the frame obscures the text underneath. If you want a transparent frame so the text under it shows through, right click on the frame, select 'Frame Properties' from the popup menu, click on the first tab (colors and patterns) and set the pattern type to "none". (Thanks to Kevin Yank from the OS/2 SmartSuite mailing list)

Getting More Help And Tips

If your 90 day free technical support has run out at Lotus and need some help fixing your problems with SmartSuite, you can sign up for the OS/2 SmartSuite mailing list by either visiting this site or by sending a blank message to smartsuite-os2-subscribe@MakeList.com. The web site is particularly useful as you can browse and search through the archives of threads without needing to subscribe to the list.

Got some of your own tips to share with our readers? Add them here in our Hypernews tips forum.

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Chris Wenham is the Senior Editor of OS/2 e-Zine! -- a promotion from Assistant Editor which means his parking spot will now be wide enough to keep his bicycle and a trailer.


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