PRODUCT   :  R:BASE, PRB             VERSION      :  2.11,3.1 or Higher
   From Joe Howard, Microrim Technical Support Specialist
   R:BASE 3.x made printing labels easy with its built-in ability to 
   compress out blank lines. Nevertheless, as a technical support veteran 
   I am repeatedly asked how to do the exact same thing for the header 
   information in a form letter.
   Past issues of the R:BASE EXCHANGE have discussed a technique for 
   compressing out blank lines in a report that prints 4-across labels, but 
   these articles did not mention form letters in particular. The concept is 
   the same, but the routine has been changed to work with form letters.
   To begin, you must determine what data you want to display in the header. 
   To illustrate, let's use a fictitious database with a table called client. 
   These are the pertinent columns in client:
     Colname              Type            Size
     --------             -------         ----
     clnumber             INTEGER
     clname               TEXT            25
     company              TEXT            40
     address1             TEXT            35
     address2             TEXT            35
     city                 TEXT            20
     state                TEXT             2
     zipcode              TEXT            10
   After you have identified the columns that will appear in the header 
   section of the form letter, identify the length of the longest item. 
   In this example, company is a TEXT column of length 40. We also know 
   that the header will contain six lines. On the basis of that information, 
   we will build a long, 240-character (6 * 40) text variable with the 
   client's name in the first 40 characters, the company name in the second 
   40 characters, and so on. When we locate this variable on the report, we 
   will wrap it at 40 characters and mark it down six lines.
   What causes the compression of blank lines?  In the process of putting 
   these values into the long text string we use a function called Left 
   Justify (LJS). This function compresses out null values.
   That's the concept behind this process. Now let's put it to work.
   In designing the report that will print your form letter, you will 
   probably want to print one client per page. To do this you will need 
   to establish a break point on the column named clnumber (client number, 
   a unique identification for each client). On the Reports menu under 
   Layout, choose the Create Breakpoints option. Also add a form feed 
   after the break.
   The expressions (or variables) are vital in this process. Following 
   are the expressions used in this example:
   vcsz   text = (city + ',' & state & zipcode) 
   vline1 text = ((ljs(clname,40))+company) 
   vline2 text = ((ljs(.vline1,80))+address1) 
   vline3 text = ((ljs(.vline2,120))+address2) 
   vline4 text = ((ljs(.vline3,160))+.vcsz) 
   vline5 text = ((ljs(.vline4,200))+(ctxt(clnumber)))
   The first line in the expression list combines the city, state, and ZIP 
   code. The following lines use the LJS function to build the long variable
   vline5 . The second parameter in the LJS function increases by 40 each 
   time. This is because our largest field is 40 characters wide and as we 
   build the long variable, the size increases by 40. The last expression 
   uses the CTXT function to convert the integer value, clnumber, into a 
   text value so that it can be concatenated to the variable.
   The variable vline5 is the variable that contains the final results and 
   is located on the report. Because we have a breakpoint, we want the 
   information to be printed on either break header lines (H1...H10) or 
   break footer lines (F1...F10). To locate the variable, place the cursor 
   on the line you want to start the header information and press F6. 
   Then enter vline5 into the dialog box that requests the column or 
   variable name to locate. 
   Now press S to start the location, then move over exactly 40 characters 
   by using the right arrow key. Press W to denote a wrapping text field, 
   then move down six lines by using the down arrow key. Press T to stop 
   (or truncate) the field at this point, and press Escape when prompted 
   to press I for indentation. In effect, you are creating a box that has 
   a width of 40 and a height of 6.