LDS MIS Report Program by Bill Pringle

Home Page for Bill Pringle

This program is no longer supported, due to the new MLS system. A new program - MLSRPT - has been written to handle the new MLS system. Click here to read more about that program.


This document describes the WardList program, which can help you keep your ward's MIS system up to date. The MIS system is a program for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints If you are not in a leadership position within this church, this program won't be of much use to you. :^)

The wardlist program is designed to read MIS Reports and reformat this information suitable for e-mail or Palm Pilots. The MIS reports are designed for printing on landscape paper using fixed width font. The printers are often slow, so printing a full report takes a long time, which means that it seldom happens. When viewed on a PC, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see the entire print line at one time. The wardlist program condenses the report so that it can easily be seen, as well as fit on a Palm Pilot.

In some cases, the wardlist program simply reformats MIS reports to make them more suitable for e-mail and Palm Pilot type PDAs. In other cases, it reorganizes the information, creating a new report that cannot be obtained from the MIS system directly.

Supported PDAs

The term "Palm Pilot", as used in this document, actually means and Palm Pilot based program. I originally wrote this program when I owned a Palm III, later upgraded to a Visor Prism, and most recently a Sony Clie (an excellent choice, IMHO :^). The program worked fine without any changes required, other than correcting the path information on some of the BAT files.

Theoretically, this program should work fine with one of those Microsoft based PDAs, or even a Linux one. You would have to supply a program that converts a text file into whatever it is your PDA requires, as well as modify the BAT files to use that program, as well as the installation application for your PDA.

What WardList Can be Used For

I am the executive secretary of my ward. The way I use wardlist is to extract the information from the MIS system and take it home. I then run the wardlist program to create a number of text files that I can then e-mail to the various leaders, as well as load onto my Palm Pilot. Leaders may also, if they desire, run wardlist on their home PCs to create their own reports whenever they want.

The advantage of the wardlist program over similar programs that are available is that no special permissions are required. You have access to only that data to which you have already been granted via your MIS password. The data you are working with is the same data that you can print yourself. Only more convenient. :^)

Database Support

The most recent enhancement of the WardList program is an interface to ThinkDB, which is a relational database program that runs on a Palm Pilot. The WardList program can create comma-separated files (CSV) which can be imported into ThinkDB, as well as other programs like Access if you prefer. It provides me with an easy way to find information, and group people based on their demographics. For example, when we were calling a new Relief Society President, I used ThinkDB to show me the names of all the adult women. This is something that really isn't available through the supported reports.

If you are interested in using ThinkDB with WardList, you should download an evaluation copy of ThinkDB and install it on your Palm Pilot. Then, you can install the empty databases and import your data. Read the section on Palm Pilot Considerations and Features for more detail. You can probably interface WardList with other database programs, but you would have to develop your own database schema, forms, etc. You can use

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Using the WardList Program


See the Installation Instructions for detailed instructions on how to install and set up the program. That section will explain how to modify the BAT files for your particular machine environment. You should only need to set up the program once.

When at church, run the MIS program on your Ward's computer. Place a floppy disk in the drive. Run any number of the supported reports, redirecting the output to the floppy disk. (Change the bottom option on the screen from "Printer" to "File".)

Specify the file name of the form: A:\MISXXXX.TXT , where 'XXXX' is the report number (e.g., A:\MIS231.TXT). After running all the desired reports, remove the floppy disk and take it home.

When you get home, copy the files on the floppy disk onto your home PC in the directory where you installed the wardlist program (e.g., C:\wardlist).

Run the wardlist program on your home PC (If you are using a Palm Pilot, use the command file wardpalm instead).

Use the menus to read the report files that you created. You should always read the MIS231 report file first, since it forms the basis of the internal ward list. All other reports add information to what is extracted from the MIS231 report. Once the files have been read, use the related menus to create whatever output files you desire. The easiest way to do this is to simply choose option 800, which will read all the supported input files and create all the standard output reports.

Obviously, it is important that you read the input report file before attempting to create any of the output files. Once you have read a input report file, you may create as many output reports as you wish. You do not have to read the input file again. Although you can read the input files in any order, you should always read MIS231 first.

When I originally wrote the WardList program, I read an input file and created a set of output files. The program has since been modified so that most of the information now shows up in the full or private lists. As a result, you can look at a report for specific information (e.g., HT reports) by opening up the appropriate report. However, if you want information on an individual, you can usually find it in the full or private reports.

If you have a Palm Pilot, you should modify the BAT files to specify the locations of the makedoc program and your Palm Install tool. This is explained in the Installation Instructions

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Package Contents

You should have received a .ZIP file containing the following files:

This is the executable program. You probably won't be calling this program directly, but rather by using the wardpalm.bat file instead.
This is a BAT file that is called for each report the program generates, providing you have run the wardpalm.bat file.
You will have to modify this file for your own use. You will have to supply information about where the various executable programs are installed on your computer.
This should be an exact copy of this file that you are reading. I'm not real good at remembering to update the .ZIP file, so it might be older.
This is the BAT file that you will probably use to run wardlist.
You should modify this file to reflect your unit's designation (or abbreviation). This will appear as part of the Document name so that you can use this program with several wards if you want.
This is a tinybyte (database) for ThinkDB.
If you have ThinkDB, you should install this on your Palm Pilot, and then import the CSV file wardfam.csv to this database.
This is a tinybyte (database) for ThinkDB.
If you have ThinkDB, you should install this on your Palm Pilot, and then import the CSV file wardmem.csv to this database.
This is a tinybyte (database) for ThinkDb.
If you have ThinkDb, you should install this on your Palm Pilot, and then import the CSV file wardhtvt.csv to this database.
This is a tinybyte (database) for ThinkDb.
If you have ThinkDb, you should install this on your Palm Pilot, and then import the CSV file wardpos.csv to this database.
This is a sample file that shows you how to set up this file for your situtation
This file defines what organizations you have, as defined in your MIS121 report, along with an abbreviation to be used within your output reports
Since the organization titles are often in all upper case, and often long, it is often desirable to use abbreviated names in upper and lower case for the output reports.
This is a sample file that shows you how to set up this file for your situtation.
The files lists all of the different units that are defined for your Stake, and is used when processing Stake (SMIS) position files.
This program is used by, but is not part of, the wardlist program.
This is a freeware program that will convert text files to Doc files for the Palm. If you already have a program that does this, then change the warddoc.bat file to call that program instead.
This program only works with PalmOS Doc files. If you have a Microsoft based device, then you will need to find a program that converts text files into whatever you use on your PDA. You will also have to change the warddoc.bat file to reflect this program, and call whatever program you need to send the output file to the PDA.
This program is not used by, nor is it part of, the wardlist program.
I use this program to manually convert text files to Palm Doc files. It does the same thing as the makedoc program, but it provides a GUI front end which makes it a little easier to use if you are not running it from a BAT file. If you are interested in reading books on your Palm PDA, then this program is very handy. See the section on "Reading Doc Files".

Supported MIS Reports

The wardlist program can parse the following reports:

In addition to the above reports, you can write any other MIS report to floppy disk. This file can then be e-mailed or displayed on your PC using a text or word processor (e.g., notepad, MS-Word).

For example, I also copy MIS241 (Bishopric Action List), and MIS262 (Temple Recommends by Expiration Date) to a floppy. I then copy and paste various parts of those reports to my Palm Pilot. You can read more about this on my Using Your Palm Pilot as a Ward Executive Secretary web page.

The reports that I run each week are:

MIS121 - Ward Positions
This is an input file for WardList
MIS123 - People without Callings
I copy these names onto my Palm Pilot
We define a ward organization called "Reserves", and assign inactive members the calling of "reserve" in that organization. This makes this report more useful
MIS231 - Main Ward List
This is the main report file for member information
MIS232 - Condensed Ward List
You may read this report after you have read MIS231, if you want
If read, it will add the "acode" information to the output report
MIS238 - Birthday List
I e-mail this file to the person who does the Sunday bulletin.
MIS239 - Ward Membership Record
This report contains baptism & confirmation dates, as well as the perferred name
MIS241 - Bishopric Action List
I copy & paste the names of youth that are to be interviewed.
For things like baptism and priesthood interviews, I just schedule them myself
MIS262 - Temple Recommends by Expiration Date
I copy this information to my Palm and keep a list of those whose recommends are about to expire.
MIS263 - Endowed Adults without Current Recommand
I use this to keep a list of active members whose recommends have expired, and try to get the Bishop to talk to them every so often to encourage them to get their recommend current.

MIS 231 - Directory of Members

The wardlist program can read the MIS231, MIS232, and MIS239 reports. The main report to be read is MIS231, which contains most of the information about the members of the ward. After reading MIS231, but before creating output reports, you can also read MIS232 and/or MIS239. Each of these reports contributes additional information to the output reports. If you don't use them, the program will still work fine, but the additional information won't show up. Furthermore, if you also read the MIS121, MIS1313 and/or MIS1413 reports before creating the Ward Full (or Private) report, then ward callings and HT & VT information will be present.

The MIS232 report will add the "acode", which is a three letter abbreviation to designate the area where a family is located. This can be an abbreviation for the town, or it could be anything else that the ward has devised.

The MIS239 report will add the "Preferred Name", and the dates for birth, baptism, and confirmation.

After reading the MIS231 and related reports, the wardlist program can create a number of reports.

When running the MIS231 report, select "Record Number" at the end of the line. (The program will work fine if you don't do this, but if you are using ThinkDB on your Palm Pilot, (or importing the CSV files into some other database program) it will work better if this is selected.) Set output to "FILE", and specify A:\MIS231.TXT as the output file name. (If running the MIS232 report, use A:\MIS232.TXT).

Once the input MIS231 report file (and any related files) has been read, you may create any of the following reports:

Remember, if you want any of the additional information to appear on these reports, you must read the MIS231 and all the related input reports (along with MIS1313 and MIS1413) before attempting to create any of the above reports.

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Ward Full List

This report contains the most complete information about ward members. In order to create this report, you should read at least the MIS 231 report. Any additional reports you read before generating this report will add additional information.

It contains the name, address, and phone number of the family. It also lists each family member along with their birthdays. It also contains the ages of any children under 21. If a child's last name is different than the family name, a cross-reference entry is created:

JONES (See Smith), John
John 25Jan
If the MIS121 report has been read, the full report will also include any callings the member may have. If the MIS1313 and/or MIS1413 reports have also been read, then HT/VT information will be present.

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MIS 231

Ward Private list

This report is the same as the Ward Full List, except that it includes sensitive fields. These fields are the birth year and age, membership status, and LDS record number. If the MIS239 report has been read, their baptism and confirmation dates will be shown. If the MIS1313 and MIS1413 reports were read, then the HT/VT information will include the percentage visited, along with the history of visits.

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MIS 231

Ward Phone List

This is a brief file containing simply the family name and phone number. Because it is much smaller than the Full Ward List, it is much easier to search quickly when all you need is a phone number. The family name appears on one line, and the phone number appears below indented slightly. This is a good format for the Palm Pilot. If you want to print out this list, or use it with a text editor for reference, you might want to create the Phone Directory instead.

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MIS 231

Phone Directory

This file is designed to create a Ward phone directory that can be printed and distributed. It can also be viewed on your PC using notepad, or your favorite text editor. It contains one line for each family, containing the family name and phone number, separated by a tab. If a children's name is different than the family name, a cross-reference record appears:


For a Palm Pilot, this report sometimes wraps around to the next line. For this reason, if you are using a Palm Pilot, you should consider the Phone List report instead.

When used to print a phone directory, load the text file into a word processor, such as MS-Word. Set tab stops to contain a right justified tab. You might want to use dots for a leader. What I usually do is experiment with the location of that tab, as well as how many columns to print. You can probably get your entire ward on a single page (possibly two sided).

Keeping Names off the Phone Directory

The Phone Directory report only contains families that have phone numbers. (For the Ward Phone List, an entry will appear, but no phone number.) Cross-reference entries are not printed. Also, if any first names contain square brackets [] they will not be displayed. We use square brackets to indicate that the member has requested not to be contacted:

Jones, John []

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MIS 231

Zipcode List

This report is sorted by zipcode. It contains the zipcode and family names. This is useful when you want to find a ride for someone, or get a list of those families that are in a certain area.

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MIS 231

Non-Member Spouse List

This report will list all families that contain a non-member as a spouse. Of course, the MIS system must have records for these spouses in order for this report to work. The format of the family entries is identical to that of the Full Ward List.

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MIS 231

Error Report

This report will list any parsing errors that the wardlist program encountered when parsing the ward list. This would include such things as missing zipcodes, poorly formatted fields, etc. When you are first cleaning up your MIS system, use this report often to see what progress you are making. Once your MIS sytems is clean, run it every so often to detect any typos that might have been introduced. Of course, this report can only detect formatting errors. It can't detect misspelled words, missing family members, etc.

I have tried to catch most of the formatting errors that our ward clerks tend to introduce. When this happens, I report an error, but also parse the fields the way they should be. There is considerable logic trying to find poorly formatted fields. I think I have it right, but if you notice any complaints on what should be valid data, please let me know. It would help if you could include the entries from MIS231 for the errors. You can change the last name to XXXX or something to protect sensitive data. If you do that, however, make sure you insert the exact same number of characters, since the fields are based on where it starts in the line. The best way to do that is to put the editor into overwrite mode.

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MIS 231

MIS 121 - Ward Positions

The MIS 121 report contains a list of all the ward positions and the person in that calling. The date that the person was originally called is included.

If you read this file before creating the ward full (or private) list, then calling information will appear in those reports. In order to format them for a Palm Pilot, you should set up the wardorgs.txt file, which contains the organization names as they appear in the MIS 121 report, along with abbreviations that are to appear in the full report. For example, we have an organization title of "AARONIC PRIESTHOOD/YOUNG MEN", which might look nice on a piece of paper, but when inserted in the full report, it will no doubt wrap the line and mess up the report. What I do is abbreviate it as "YM", so the report line will contain: "(YM Teachers Qrm President)", which is much more reasonable.

Here is a sample wardorgs.txt file:

# wardorgs.txt
# This file contains the organization names as they appear in MIS121 (usually all caps)
# along with the way the name should appear in reports,
# and the abbreviation that is used for file names (e.g., web pages)
# The format is the header, a vertical bar, the name, a vertical bar, and the abbreviation
WARD STAFF|Ward Staff|Ward
YOUNG SINGLE ADULTS (18 - 30)|Young Singles|YSA
SINGLE ADULTS (OVER 30)|Single Adults|SA
# Any organization name whose abbreviation is "RESERVES"
# will not show up on any reports
# We use this "organization" to filter hard core inactives
# Each inactive is given a position within the RESERVES organization
# That way, MIS123 is useful for leaders who are looking for available people
# It also allows the Bishopric to list the inactives,
# and hopefully determine how best to re-activate them
# If the abbreviation is empty, then no files will be created for that organization

The wardlist program can read the MIS121 report and re-format it for use with e-mail or a Palm Pilot. I periodically e-mail this report to the various leaders and ask them to proof read their section. This helps keep the organization charts up to date. Once the MIS system is up to date, you may run MIS report 123 to get a list of all the adults without callings.

There are options that will create web pages listing this information (but without phone numbers), but since the Church has instructed wards to take down their web sites, these options aren't much use.

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MIS 1313 - Home Teaching Report

The wardlist program can read the MIS 1313 report, which is a list of families, their home teachers, and visiting history for up to the last year. Once read, the wardlist program can then produce a number of reports:

Visitation history contains the following symbols:

V Visit to the Home
x No Visit that Month
- Not in Ward that Month

A future release of the wardlist program will provide additional reports, including one that lists districts in reverse order of percentage. Suggestions are welcome.

Home Teaching Report by Families

This report lists the families in alphabetical order, along with their home teachers and visiting history. It is a reformatting of the MIS1313 report, but with the additional information of the percentage of visits.

At the bottom of this report is a summary containing percentages for last month and this month. The summary contains entries for Unassigned, Elders, High Priests, and Ward Total Home Teaching visits and percentages.

MIS 1313
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Home Teaching Report by Districts

This program lists home teaching by districts, similar to the MIS 1311 report. The report is sorted by group, supervisors, and then districts. The first group is the Unassigned, followed by Elders, then High Priests.

Each district entry contains the Home Teaching percentage for that district, followed by the families in that district. For each family, the visit history and percentage of visits is listed.

MIS 1313
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Visiting Teaching Report

The MIS Visiting Teaching Reports are in the same format as the Home Teaching Reports. However, the Visiting Teaching Reports have additional values in the visitation history:

V Visit to the Home
T Telephone Contact
L Letter
x No Contact that Month
- Not in Ward that Month

The wardlist program will create the following reports:

Visiting Teaching Report by Families

This report is essentially a reformatting of the MIS 1413 report, but with some additional information. For each family, their phone number, visiting teaching history, and visiting teachers are given. The visiting history also includes the percentage of the time that this family has been visited.

At the end of this report is a list of all the unassigned sisters, followed by some summary statistics for this month and the previous month. (Usually the statistics for the current month is empty, since the visits are often recorded only at the end of the month.) These statistics contain the number and percentages for a variety of categories:

V Actual Visits
T Telephone Contacts
L Letters Written
RS Relief Society Contacts for Assigned Sisters
UN Unassigned Sisters
Total Contacts, including Unassigned Sisters

MIS 1413
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Visiting Teaching Report by Districts

This report is sorted by Visiting Teaching Districts. The first group is Unassigned Sisters, followed by the assigned districts. For each district, the average Visiting Teaching percentage is given. For each sister being visited, the visit history is displayed, along with the percentage of times she has been visited.

MIS 1413
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SMIS Reports (Stake)

This options allows you to read SMIS (Stake MIS) reports. The only report that is supported is the Ward Organization Report, which contains the same basic information as the MIS121 reports, but for each ward in the Stake.

If you will be processing SMIS reports, then you should set up a wardunits.txt file in your installation directory. This is a text file with three fields separated by vertical bars (|): (1) the full name of the ward, as it appears in the reports, (2) the abbreviation for that ward, and (3) the name of the ward as it should appear in output reports.

For example, for my Stake, wardunits.txt looks like this:

BROOMALL 1ST|B1|Broomall 1st
BROOMALL 2ND|B2|Broomall 2nd
MARSHALLTON 1ST|M1|Marshallton 1st
MARSHALLTON 2ND|M2|Marshallton 2nd
PHILADELPHIA 1ST|P1|Philadelphia 1st
PHILADELPHIA 3RD|P3|Philadelphia 3rd
VALLEY FORGE 1ST|V1|Valley Forge 1st
VALLEY FORGE 2ND|V2|Valley Forge 2nd
Notice that the SMIS (and MIS) reports have the unit names in all caps, while the output reports will use mixed case titles.

MIS 1413
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CSV Files

If you are using most of the features or WardList, then you probably want to use option 800 instead of the individual options to read and create files.

This option will process all of the input files at one time, create all the Palm documents, as well as comma separated value (CSV) files.

The CSV files can be used to load into Excel, or import into a database. The first line of each file contains the field names.

If you have ThinkDB installed on your Palm Pilot, you can use the tinybytes WardFamily and WardMember to store ward membership information in a relational database on your Palm. This has some distinct advantages over Doc files.

This option can be used to process all the files with only one menu option. As a result, this is the only option I use anymore. :^)

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Do-Not-Contact, Non-Member

There are two special situations that can arise in the MIS system: (a) people who don't want contacted by the Church, and (b) Non-members that are in MIS that don't want to appear on the phone list. By adding [DNC] or [NM] after the first name, the WardList won't include that name in the phone list.

The WardList program keys in on the open square bracket, not the text within the brackets. If you have non-members who want to be included in the phone list, you can add (NM) after the first name. You could also spell out non-member if you want, but that might mess up the format of the phone list,since it is so long.

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Input and Output Files

Here is a list of the files that are read or created by the wardlist program:

File I/O Description
htdist Out Home Teaching District Report (from MIS 1313)
mis121.txt In MIS 121 Report (Ward Positions)
mis1313.txt In MIS 1313 Report (Home Teaching by Families)
[I should have used 1311 instead. Maybe in a future release]
mis1413.txt In MIS 1413 Report (Visiting Teaching by Sisters)
[I should have used 1411 instead. Maybe in a future release]
mis231.txt In MIS 231 Report (Full List)
mis232.txt In MIS 232 Report (Abbreviated List)
mis239.txt In MIS 239 Report (Membership Records)
warddir Out Ward Phone Directory (to print out using a word processor)
warderr.txt Out Ward Error Messages (from MIS231)
wardfull Out Ward Full List (from MIS 231)
wardht Out Home Teaching List by families (from MIS 1313)
wardnonm Out Non-Member Spouse Report (from MIS 231)
wardphone Out Ward Phone List (for Palm Pilot or E-Mail)
wardpos Out Ward Positions (from MIS 121)
wardvt Out Visiting Teaching List (from MIS 1413)
wardunits.txt In List of Wards in your Stake (Only used if running SMIS Reports)
wardzip Out Ward Zipcode List (from MIS 231)
vtdist Out Visiting Teaching District (from MIS 1413)
wardfam.csv Out This CSV file contains family information, including additional information obtained from other MIS input files (e.g., HT/VT, etc.). It can be imported into the WardFamily tinybyte if you have ThinkDb, or other applications (e.g., MS-Access)
wardmem.csv Out This CSV file contains membership information. It can be imported into the WardMember tinybyte if you have ThinkDb, or other applications (e.g., MS-Access)
wardhtvt.csv Out This CSV file contains Home and Visiting Teaching information. It can be imported into the WardHTVT tinybyte if you have ThinkDb, or other applications (e.g., MS-Access)
wardpos.csv Out This CSV file contains Ward Positions information. It can be imported into the WardPositions tinybyte if you have ThinkDb, or other applications (e.g., MS-Access)

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Installation Instructions

How to Install

You will need a program that will unzip the file, such as winzip or pkzip. If you aren't sure if you have such a program, use "Windows Explorer" or "My Computer" to locate the .zip file, and double click on it. If you have an unzip program, it will run at this time. If it asks you what program you want to use to open the file, then you don't have such a program. You can get any of a number of these kinds of programs on the internet. Download a copy and install it.

Create a directory on your PC and unzip all the files there. For example, if you create a directory called C:\WardList, you can unzip the package into that directory.

The wardlist program is a console based program. This means that it can be run from a Command Line prompt (e.g., a DOS window), or can be executed by double clicking on the program icon. When running, a DOS window appears with a menu of options. The main menu allows you to access any of the sub-menus, which are grouped by functionality or input report. For example, if you want to print out a ward list, you would select the Ward List option of the main menu. This would display the Ward List sub-menu.

As mentioned there are several ways you can make it easy to run the WardList program. You can open a DOS command window, CD into the directory, and then run wardpalm. You can also use the Windows Explorer to navigate to the wardlist directory, and then double click on wardpalm.bat. Or, you can create a shortcut to the wardpalm.bat file, and put that shortcut on your desktop or on your task bar. What I do, is I have a shortcut in my Start Menu, so I select Start/Gospel/wardpalm to run it. Pick the method that suits you best.

Configure for Your Ward

Use a text editor (such as notepad) to configure the wardorgs.txt file for your ward. There should be a sample file in the package, but if not, you need the full name of the organization, followed by a vertical bar (|), and then the abbreviation the way you want it in your output reports.

The easiest way to do this is to run the MIS121 report to a floppy disk, and then copy and paste the organization names into a file, add a vertical bar and the name you want.

If you don't create a wardorgs.txt file, then the names in the outupt reports will appear as they appear in the MIS121 reports.

If you will be processing Stake Reports (SMIS), then you should set up the wardunits.txt file for your Stake.

Set Up for Palm Pilot

Assuming you are using a Palm Pilot, follow the instructions in the Palm Pilot Considerations section to configure the installation for your computer.

After Setup Is Complete

You should only have to go through the above stuff once, unless you get a different PDA and/or install new software into new directories.

From now on, whenever you create MIS report files on a floppy, copy those report files into the above installation directory, replacing any old copies. Then, run the wardpalm.bat program to create your report files.

If you did everything correctly, when you are done, the reports you created should appear on your Palm the next time you HotSync.

Option 800

The easiest way to run wardlist is to select option 800, which will process all the files and create all the Doc files, as well as the CSV files, and then terminate. You probably want to run each option separately the first few times so that you see if any problems show up. Once you are comfortable that the system is configured correctly, then you can switch to option 800. I have a shortcut to the wardpalm.bat command in my Start Menu, so I don't even have to open up a console window.

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Palm Pilot Considerations and Features

Using Doc files instead of Memo Files

I wrote the wardlist program so that I could have information on my Palm Pilot, although I also e-mail the files to various people. I convert the text files produced by the wardlist program to DOC files, and then use a Document reader to look at them. I use SmartDoc and/or its successor QuickWord. You can read more about this in the Reading Documents On Your PalmPilot section.

The reason for the Doc files is that some reports are too big to fit into a single Memo file. Another advantage of Doc files is the bookmark feature. Throughout the reports, you will see lines that start with an asterisk, and then the last line of the file is: <*>.

When you read these files with a Document Reader that supports bookmarks, it produces a table of contents based on those lines. For example, in the reports sorted by families, there is a bookmark for each letter of the alphabet. To find Smith, for example, you could use the bookmark to get to the start of the "S" entries (or go to the "T" bookmark and page backwards.)

Some people have taken the CSV files and used them to import them into the Palm Phonebook application. They create a separate group for their ward, and then import the records each time, replacing what was in there before. I've never done that, and I'm not really that interested in doing it, because between the Doc file and the database on my Palm, I don't see how that would help me.

Database Program

If you have a database program on your Palm Pilot, you can import the CSV files into it. I use ThinkDB from ThinkingBytes. The WardList package should contain two tinybytes (empty databases) called WardFamily and WardMembers. It is important to realize that these files contain all the information from the MIS231 report, including adult's birthdays and ages if they were requested. These files contain more information than normally contained in the Doc files, so make sure you distribute these files to only those people who are authorized to see the information.

If you look at the last line of the wardpalm.bat file, you will see where it calls ThinkDB. What I do is an import of the two tinybytes WardFamily and WardMember from the CSV files that the wardlist program created. You can't do an import from the command line at this point (they are thinking about adding that feature, I'm told), so I bring up the application and then do the import. You have to go through some setup the first time, but from then on, it is merely checking the two checkboxes and hitting "Run" a few times.

For more detail on the various tinybytes that are available with WardList, see the documentation page.

Palm Pilot Setup

If you have a Palm Pilot, use the BAT file wardpalm.bat instead of running wardlist.exe directly. But first, modify the BAT files wardpalm.bat and warddoc.bat using a text editor, such as notepad. Both files are commented to help you understand how you need to modify them to suit your environment. Remember that these are BAT jobs, so you may have to use the old 8.3 format (eight characters, followed by a three character suffix), depending on what O/S you use. If a path element is more than eight characters, or contains a special character, use the first six characters, followed by a tilde (~) and a number (usually 1).

The wordpalm.bat file calls the wardlist program thusly:

wardlist.exe -i warddoc -u Ward
Warddoc is the name of the command to execute whenever output reports are created. Ward is the unit abbreviation, which you should change to suit your individual ward (e.g., B1, B2, P1, etc.).

Change the warddoc.bat file so that it works correctly for your machine. This means that you have to specify where you installed your PalmPilot desktop software (the location of the install program), and where you put the makedoc program, which converts text files to Doc files.

The last line of this file is:

c:\Clie\Instapp.exe %1.pdb
The first part of this line is the location of the Palm Install Tool. Modify this line to reflect where you installed your Palm Pilot desktop software. For example, if you installed the software into C:\Palm then you would change c:\Clie to C:\Palm.

If you are having problems getting the paths configured correctly, you can take the easy way out, either add the Palm installation directory to your path variable, or copy the Palm InstallApp.exe program into the wardlist directory. The same thing can be done with ThinkDB. Then, you won't need to use any paths, just call the command name directly.

After Setup

Once you have made the above changes, whenever you create an output report file, the report will automatically get converted to a Document file and installed on your Palm Pilot during your next Hot Synch.

If something goes wrong, check the Troubleshooting section.

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If you are experiencing problems, try to following steps in order.

Check the MIS Reports

Use a text editor, such as notepad, to examine the MIS reports that you copied onto your PC. Make sure they look like they should. You should have run the standard report, not the condensed. Make sure you used the same file names as the program expects (mis231.txt, mis1313.txt, etc.) Also, check the options you used when you ran the reports. For example, when running MIS231, you should request the ages of adults, and ask for the record number in the last column.

If the reports don't look right, then you might want to use notepad on your ward computer to see if they are being created correctly there. You might be having problems with one of the floppy drives (yours or the ward's).

Check the Text Output Files

Use a text editor, such as notepad, to open the text files of the reports you created. These are the files such as wardfull.txt, wardht.txt, etc. Make sure that they look like they should. They should have all the same information that is on the MIS reports.

If the reports don't look right, go back and make sure your input files were correct. Also, you might want to check to see if you have the BAT files set up correctly.

Check the Output Doc Files

Look at the properties of the output Doc files. This would be files such as wardfull.pdb, wardht.pdb, etc. Make sure they are not zero in length. Make sure they were created about the time you ran the wardlist program.

If the files aren't there, or have a file size of zero, then you probably have your BAT files set up wrong, or there is something wrong with your makedoc program. Try running the makedoc program to convert a text file to a document file, and see if the program is working correctly.

If the Doc files are there, and have some size, try using the Palm Install application (click on the Install icon at the bottom left of the Palm Desktop). Manually install one or more of the Doc files, then HotSync and see if you can read the files on your Palm. If you can, then you probably have your BAT files set up wrong, or you are probably running the wardlist.exe program directly, rather than using the wardpalm.bat file.

Check the BAT files

Examine the wardpalm.bat file on your system. This file is set up with the assumption that you installed the program and BAT files into the same directory as you copied the MIS report files. If that isn't the case, then you will need to add a path for the wardlist.exe program. If you are using ThinkDB, then make sure the path is set up correctly to point to wherever you installed ThinkDB. Make sure you changed the unit name (the argument after -u) in the command line for the wardlist.exe program.

Examine the warddoc.bat file on your system. Make sure the correct paths are used for the makedoc and InstApp programs. Try running the bat file from a command window, and if it doesn't seem to work, try running the two commands from the command window. (Remember, you may have to conform to the 8.3 naming conventions of DOS.)

If All Else Fails

If you have gone through all the above steps, and still can't figure out what is wrong, or if you are getting a problem that isn't covered in the above list, then send e-mail to me at [email protected]

Please include a complete, detailed description of the problem you are experiencing. Messages like: "It doesn't work. What am I doing wrong?" aren't particularly helpful. Tell me what you are trying to do, how you went about doing it, and what the results were. If possible, include a small excerpt from a file that is messed up, a list of the error messages you are getting, etc.

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Any and all comments are welcome. You can e-mail me at [email protected]

There is no registration for this program, but I would like an idea of how many people are using this program, what they think of it, etc. If you are using this program regularly, I would love to hear from you.

If you have any questions about how to do something with the program, feel free to ask. Also, if you have any features that you would like to see added, please contact me. I can't promise that I will add everything people ask for, but I have been able to add several features that people have wanted, and/or provide alternative ways for people to do what they were trying to do.

If you have used it to do anything different, that might be of use to others, (like some people have told me they import the CSV files to spreadsheets, Palm Address Book, etc.) let me know. I might add your comment to this page someplace.

I will try to be responsive to all requests, but it depends on how much free time I have at the moment.

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Disclaimer & Legal Stuff

Copyright 1999-2002 by Bill Pringle. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for use of this program for activities for which they have received permission from their Bishop or Branch President. The information within the MIS system is sensitive, and should only be used for approved church purposes.

As with all software, it is provided without any warranty, expressed or implied. No liability will be accepted for any damanges that may occur through the use of this program.

For comments, suggestions, bug reports, etc. contact me at [email protected]. I will attempt to be of assistance, but it depends entirely on my schedule at the time.

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Reading Doc Files on Your PalmPilot

This section doesn't really have anything to do with the wardlist program, other than discussing some of the document readers that you can use to read the MIS reports on your PalmPilot. Actually, what I use my Palm Pilot for the most is DiddleBug, which allows me to set all kinds of alarms and reminders, and QuickWord, the document reader I use.

Pick a Document Reader

There are a number of document readers available for the PalmOS. Some of them only read Doc files, but some will read other formats as well. There are some free ones (e.g., CSpotRun), and some very expensive ones as well, if you insist on paying a lot for your software. There are some readers (e.g. TomeRaider) that use a better form of compression, but use a proprietary file format. Look around, try out the various readers, and find one that suits your style and/or budget.

There are two packages that will read Doc files, as well as Microsoft Word documents: Quickoffice, and Docs-to-Go. I started off using SmartDoc, and then upgraded to QuickWord, which is part of QuickOffice. I was very happy with that, but when I got my Sony Clie, it came with Docs to Go already installed, so I tried to switch. After a few days, I got rid of Docs to Go, and installed QuickOffice. I think it is a much better package, and synchronizes with Microsoft Word (or OpenOffice) much better.

Be careful of one thing, however, the "Reader" program you can download from the LDS website is not a Palm Doc reader. It only works with the LDS proprietary format. You can't use it to read any other Doc files. You want to have that application, because it is the only thing you can use to read Conference Reports, the Hymnal, etc. But you need another one to read regular Palm Doc files. Unfortunately, they don't publish the document format, so you are stuck with their Reader program if you want to read their files.

While I'm complaining about the LDS reader application, let me also mention scriptures. You don't want to use the scriptures you can download from the LDS web site. The reader is horrible, and it will take you forever to look up scriptures (plus you keep losing your place, and the bookmarks are horrible). I'm sorry, but it seems to me that there is an unwritten rule someplace that LDS software has to be hard to use.

Anyway, if you want to read scriptures on your Palm, then go to www.skimware.com and download their package. You can try it out, and compare it with the LDS reader version. Who knows, maybe you will be the first person who tried it and didn't agree with me that it is a much better package!

By the way, if you use GospelLink (another LDS program that is horrible), if you use the option to export to a Palm device, you will have to use the LDS Reader application to read that. Later on, I will explain how to get around that restriction.

Using Bookmarks

Anyway, getting back to reading documents on your Palm Pilot. The output files that the wardlist program creates have embedded bookmarks. If your reader supports these, then that means when you open up, say the ward full list, you can skip quickly to the beginning of the names starting in "S" or any other letter, an then page forwards to find the name you are looking for. If the name you are looking for is towards the end of the list (like Tyler), consider jumping to the next letter and the paging backward. This is very handy, and I use that feature a lot. In fact, I have both SmartDoc and QuickWord loaded on my Palm, because SmartDoc handles bookmarks better than the more recent QuickWord.

Some readers support bookmarks, others don't. Personally, if you are going to be using a document reader to reference the wardlist report files, you probably want to use a reader that supports bookmarks. The choice is yours, however.

Download Palm Doc Files

There are a lot of Palm Doc files available on the Internet. My favorite site is www.memoware.com. It has an extensive collection, organized into various topics, and you can search by author or title.

Depending on the size of the original document, the document might be divided up into pieces, such as chapters or sections. If you have lots of memory, then you probably don't care, but if you have a memory-challenged PDA, or you are a memory hog like me, you might prefer to be able to load a few chapters on your PDA, and then install more as you finish them. I usually make sure I have a couple of chapters at any one time. If I read three chapters, then I install three more.

When you download document files, they are either in the .pdb format, or in .zip format. If they are .pdb files, you can install them directly on your Palm. If, however, they are in a .zip file, you will have to unzip the contents. What I usually do with zip files is create a directory for the individual pieces, and then I can install the pieces as I need them.

Make Your Own Doc Files

As I mentioned, I use the document reader a lot. I am always reading books on my Palm. Some of them I can get from MemoWare, but sometimes I want to read other things. There are several ways you can create your own documents on your Palm Pilot.

Microsoft Word Documents

If you are using QuickWord and/or Docs2Go, you have the option of creating a MS-Word (or OpenOffice) document, and then installing that on your Palm. This had the advantage of preserving formats. You can have bold and italicized type, different size fonts, etc. If you are using QuickWord, you can also have different colors. Both QuickOffice and Docs2Go have desktop versions that will allow you to add Word documents to your Palm. Follow the instructions for whatever package you use.

Incidentally, there is a free word processor that supports just about everything that Microsoft Word does (and certainly more than most of us need). Actually, there are a couple, but they are variations of the same program. Sun took their free MS-Office clone, StarOffice, and made it open source. That is now available from OpenOffice.org. Sun added some additional features and now charges for their version of StarOffice. So, you can get a cheap version of Microsoft Office by purchasing StarOffice, or a free version by downloading it from OpenOffice.org. The choice is yours.

BTW if your ward computer is a Pentium, then you can install OpenOffice on your ward computer, and have something more modern than the old version of WordPerfect that is probably on your machine right now.

Converting Text documents to Palm Doc Files

If you don't want to use a Microsoft Word document, then you want to create (or get) a text file. In the sections below, you will see several ways you can capture existing documents, and then convert them to either text or Word documents. If you create a text document, you can then use MakeDocW to convert that text file to a Palm Doc file.

Converting HTML Documents

Many documents can be found on the Internet in HTML or PDF format. You can get these onto your Palm any of a number of ways.

Some document readers will accept HTML files directly. Others, like QuickOffice, and maybe Docs2Go, will allow you to import an HTML document. If you have something that accepts HTML documents, then use it.

The next easiest way to get HTML files onto your Palm is to copy and paste them into either a Word document or a text editor. If you have QuickOffice or Docs2Go, then paste them into a Word document; if not, then paste them into a text editor (like notepad).

If it is a really complicated page, sometimes MsWord will hang forever. If this happens, then paste the file into a text editor instead. If you do this, you will lose whatever formatting you had before. What I've done sometimes is to paste it into a text editor, and then copy & paste from the text editor to a Word document.

Then save the file someplace, and run QuickOffice (for Word documents) or MakeDocW (for text files) to convert it and install it on your Palm. It's a good habit to pick a standard directory where you put all your documents. That will make it easier to clean up your hard disk later. Documents can use up a lot of disk space.

There are two ways to copy a web page. The easiest is to click your mouse inside the browser window (making sure you avoid any hyper links), and then type Ctrl-A. This will select all the text within the browser.

If there is a lot of garbage (I mean ads) surrounding the text you want, you might prefer to click the mouse at the start of the text you want, and then, while holding down the left mouse button, drag the mouse to the bottom of the text. You should see the text become highlighted as you drag the mouse.

Once you have selected the text you want, type Ctrl-C. This will copy the highlighted text to the clipboard.

Next you want to go to your word processor or text editor, and create a new, blank, document. Click your mouse inside the text editor, and then type Ctrl-V. This will paste all the text you selected and copied into the text editor. In almost every case, you probably want to go through and clean up the text document before you save it. It helps if you know HTML, but just look for the start of the text, and delete all the stuff above that. Then, look for the end of the text you wanted, and delete everything after that. This procedure will usually work.

If you are using notepad, you may run into problems if the file is too big. There are tons of text editors out there, and many of them are free. If you plan to do a lot of reading on your Palm Pilot, it might save you a lot of time in the long run to download and install one of them now. Actually, I haven't run notepad in years. The free text editor that I use is NoteTab Light, which is what I'm using right now to type this.

You can also use your browser to save the page as a text document. However, depending on what browser you are using, you might get strange results. I almost always copy and paste instead of saving as a text file.

Converting PDF Files

The PDF file was developed by Adobe, and uses a form of PostScript to describe the layout of the pages. Most people will use the Adobe Acrobat viewer to read this files. Adobe provides a free PDF viewer that runs on Palm devices. You can download this program from www.adobe.com, or any of a number of palm download sites. Install the software and follow the directions.

One problem, however, is that if the document was created using certain options (e.g., some copy protection options), the software will refuse to send the file to your Palm Pilot. Unfortunately, the last time I checked, the monthly Ensign was created that way. There may be ways to get around this problem, but if you try, you will be branded a criminal by the DMCA. There was a Russian programmer who gave a talk about some of his research into this matter, and he was immediately arrested. So, I suggest that you complain to your congresspeople and get the law changed before we continue this conversation. (Your Tax Dollars at Work)

Converting GospelLink Documents

As mentioned before, if you use the GospelLink option to export a document to your Palm Device, it will save the file in a format that only the LDS Reader program will read. This is almost never what you want, since the Reader application is such a pain to use.

What I do when I want to read a document in GospelLink on my Palm, is I run GospelLink and display the file. The way that GospelLink is usually configured, There is a contents frame along the left side of the window, a Scriptures Window in the upper right, and a Library Window in the lower right. What you have to do is Explore Books, and then expand the particular book you want to read. When you click on an entry in the contents frame (say, Chapter 1), the actual text can be seen in the lower right window.

Now, what you do next depends on the size of the individual chapters, and how much memory you have on your Palm Pilot.

What you are going to do is copy each chapter of your book and paste it into either a Word or a Text document. You can create one big file that has everything, or you can create a bunch of smaller files, each section containing one or more chapters. Most times, I will create a separate Doc file for each chapter. However, if they are very short chapters, then I might put several chapters in each section.

How you do the copy and paste is fairly simple. Click inside the lower right window (Library Window), then type Ctrl-A, followed by Ctrl-C. That will select all the text of that chapter, and copy it to the clipboard. Next, click on your text editor or Word Document, and type Ctrl-V, which will paste the text into your document. If you are putting more than one chapter into one document, make sure you go to the bottom of the document before you do the paste.

Once you are done, then save the document(s) and run MakeDocW or QuickOffice to convert the document and install it on your Palm.

Converting Other Documents

You should be able to use the above principles to transfer documents from your PC to your Palm Pilot. As long as you can select & copy the text, you can get it onto your Palm. Just remember, with the DMCA, you have to be careful that you don't become a criminal trying to copy information you paid for to your Palm Pilot. As long as the program allows you to copy and paste the text, there should be no problem. Just don't try to do anything else (like writing a program) unless you are sure you have the right to the information.

For an excellent explanation of the problems with digital copyright laws, see Lawrence Lessig at OSCON 2002. It is a Flash presentation, and takes a while to load, but it is well worth it, if you are concerned about protecting your rights.

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Power Users

This section is intended for people who like to get the most out of their software. Anyone is welcome to read this section, however.

All Options Available

All options are available at any time. For example, if you want to read the MIS231 file, you don't have to type "200" and then "201", you can just type "201" directly.

There are also some options that don't show up in any of the menus. They are not supported, so use at your own risk. Most of these options can be seen by using option "1" - debug menu.

Automatically Run Option 800

If you run the wardpalm or wardlist programs with a command argument of "-c", it will automatically run option 800, and then terminate the program. This can be useful if set up a shortcut to run. By setting the command argument in the shortcut, you can simply execute the command and not have to enter anything.

Importing the CSV Files

You can use the CSV files created by the WardList program into a number of programs. The package you received should have two empty databases that can be used with ThinkDB. You can also import them into Excel, although I have no idea why anyone would want to do that.

You can import the CSV files into Access, or any other database. The first line of each CSV file contains the field names. If your particular import routine doesn't support that, then go into a text editor and delete the first line.

I have a friend who imports the files into the Palm Address book. He prefers it that way, but personally I don't see it.

Family Position

The family position field (FamPos) in the membership CSV files is the same as that used in the MIS program. It has three values: 1 - head of household, 2 - spouse, and 3 - child. Knowing this can be useful if you are doing any sophisticated queries.

For example, if you want all the young adults that are staying at home, look for all entries where FamPos = 3 and Age > 18.

Know of any other things that might be of use? Let me know!

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What's New

Some of the more recent enhancements to WardList include:

Support for more than one Unit
Release 3.0.5 introduced support for more than one unit.
I am currently administering web sites for two units: my ward and a small branch where my wife and I have been called to serve for two years. I had to modify the program to support the different set of organizations when generating web pages for positions.
The wardorgs.txt file was modified and is now used by all modules dealing with organizations. The program originally had organization names hard coded for the web pages. This has been corrected.
Also, the format of the wardorgs.txt file has been changed. You can now specifiy a mixed-case title for the reports. (The MIS headers are usually all caps). Also, if the abbreviation is omitted, no web page is created. This is particularly useful for the "Reserves" organization, which is what we use to designate hard-core inactives.
Full and Private Reports
The Full Report contains only information that can be given out freely. It does not contain sensitive information, such as membership status, age of adults, etc., whereas the Private Report includes this sensitive information. If you read MIS231 first, followed by MIS1313 and MIS1413, HT/VT names will appear in the Full Report, and HT/VT statistics (including Visit History) will also appear in the Private Report.
Please be careful and give the Private Report to only those leaders who are authorized to see the sensitive information. This is normally limited to the Bishopric (including Ward Clerk and Executive Secretary) and maybe the HP Group Leader and EQ President. Check with your Bishop before making the Private Report available to others.
Information from other reports merged with Ward Full and Private List
In the older versions, each output file contained only information from a specific input file. For example, the Ward Full report only contained information read from MIS231. Home Teaching information was only available from the output reports for MIS 121.
In the new version, these output reports are still created, but all of this information is merged into the Ward Full and Private reports. This information is organized alphabetically by families.
CSV Files
The WardList file now creates CSV files that can be imported into other applications These files contain field names in the first line of each file.
Sample TinyByte files are included that can be used with ThinkDB, a database program that runs on Palm Pilots.
Stake Positions
The WardList program now supports stake position reports (SMIS)
To use this option, you should set up the wardunits.txt file

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