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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    6

    Red face how to compare different sets of data?

    Hi, I am a mac user.

    I am currently involved in online marketing. Every week I have access a list of say 100 people who might be interested in my product, who I approach with an online message. The list is in the format of names separated by commas.
    eg. John Smith, Adam Jones, Chris Brown, ...

    In this way, there are now 1000's of people I have approached in the past. I have recorded all their names in a word processing document separated by commas. [as above]

    When I get my list of 100 people next week, is there an easy way to automatically check whether the names on the list are people I have approached in the past?

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    hello, mac user

    according to the tv commercials, you know, the ones with that smarmy unshaven casual jeans mac guy and that cute chubby business suit pc guy, a mac is supposed to let you just be productive (whereas the pc is nothing but trouble)

    yes?

    what you should do is take those 1000 names out of the word processing document and store them in excel, in last name comma first name format

    that way, you can take each new list of names and look them up easily

    but alas, you mac guys don't use excel, right?
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    12,592
    Surely macs have a spreadsheet or database application?
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for your replies

    If excel can do the job can you tell me how? I can try it with excel at work and if I can do it, I will buy excel for my mac.

    I need to turn the following 2 text documents:

    1.Contacted people

    Lula-Vampiro,nh-last,elenith,Minocula,ey1000high,MissingLight,molo ni,sullivantpaul,devil_lynx

    2.New people
    mickeymouse, Lula-Vampiro,ey1000high,donaldduck,devil_lynx

    into the following text document

    3.New people I haven't contacted
    mickeymouse,donaldduck

    Please not that some of the names will have hyphens and underscores. Can I extract the 'new people I haven't contacted' into an text document with names separated by commas?

    Can I buy the excel home and student edition or do I need to buy the full version?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    FileMaker Pro is a good choice for this kind of task on a Mac.

    You could create a table that contained a line for each contact as they came in to your system, along with the date for this entry. You could then create a list of contacts that had only one entry which would give you a column of contacts. A quick pass through your text editor of choice, and voila!

    This would be easy to enter, easy to extract, and it would keep history so that in the future you could change your criteria to contact folks that hadn't been contacted for a time period like a year instead of "ever" to allow for the occasional reminder.

    -PatP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    yeah I'd agree thatr filemaker pro should be up on the lsit for Apple products. It seesm to be a bit more basic than Access, but should be perfectly capable of doing what you want. the potenial downside is that finding people who can hekp you with filemaker here are few and far between... but there are probably more apple orientated sites which may be better tasrgetted for you.

    if that doens't work you could try the db that comes with open office, but findign help fo that is going to be even harder....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for suggestions. I have downloaded trial version of filemaker pro. Will give it a go.

    A friend says that I could do the same thing with applescript. He is trying to write some code for me.

    Will let you know how I get on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    6

    sorted.

    Ok if anyone is interested I have found the solution. Someone has showed me it is possible using applescript to extract unique names from two sets of names on separate documents.

    However my preferred solution is using a spreadsheet. In excel:

    Put list one in column A in excel and then list 2 in column B in excel and then finally on the first cell of Column C put the following formula in.

    =IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(B1,A:A,1,FALSE)),B1,"")

    List C will give names in Column B which are not in Column A.

    I don't have excel. I have numbers which is part of iWork for the Mac. I converted an excel spreadsheet with the above formula to numbers giving the following formula. In numbers formula below the 'B1's are blue and the 'A' is red. Whether that is significant I have no idea but it works:

    =IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(B1,A,1,FALSE)),B1,"")

    Hope this is helpful to someone out there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
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    15,579
    I'm glad that you have found a solution for your problem.

    It sounds to me like you've done with a spreadsheet exactly the same process that I described in post #5.

    At some point I think you should investigate Bento or FileMaker Pro because it will reduce the amount of human intervention needed to produce your lists, but as long as you are happy with what Numbers can do for you then that's good enough!

    -PatP

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    6
    Can you specify exactly what you mean when you say that Bento and Filemaker can reduce the amount of human intervention?

    I did download the trial version of Filemaker, but I found it intimidatingly complex. I have no use for databases other than to accomplish the task outlined above, so I am reluctant to invest time in mastering a complex product.

    What is the equivalent formula in Filemaker and how do I apply it? I will need to output the results into a .txt file comprising of names separated by commas.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    For right now, what you're doing with Numbers is probably good enough for what you need so I wouldn't worry a lot about other options today. The point that I'm trying to make is that your solution deals with the problem you are having today and I see that problem as just the tip of the iceberg... The vast majority of the problem is still lurking just below the surface.

    At some point in time, you are going to need contact history. You'll need to know things like "How many times has this target (email address) appeared on my list?" and "When was the most recent time I contacted this target?". You'll start to think about more sophisticated issues than "Have I ever contacted this target" and will start to think about "When should I recontact a target?" and things like special mailings (maybe an annual sale or something like that). These are the kind of problems that FileMaker is much better at solving than Numbers is.

    For right now, you've got what you want and need. I'm just making sure that you realize that there are larger questions and relatively easy solutions once you need them. I don't think you need those solutions today.

    -PatP

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