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Flower Show management software

Last post 22-09-2018 3:48 PM by Vernon. 5 replies.

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  • 13/10/2010 07:54 AM
    • bbh
    • Dorset
    • 31 Aug 2007
    • 4
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    If you are, or have been, a Flower Show Secretary you will know just how much paperwork is involved, rather like the unseen paddling of the apparently serenely gliding swan. The Schedules are prepared, entries received, cards for every entrant in each class appear on tables and stands, finally the prizes are calculated and a huge sigh of relief escapes the Show Secretary's lips. Much effort, and a great deal of help from all involved lies behind that simplified summary. In our Society, we have attempted to improve the process using software, with mixed results. The most successful has been the spreadsheet (in Open Office) used to calculate prizes from all the judges' results, saving about an hour off the process. Only partially successful though has been the attempt to computerise the receiving of entries and compilation of entries into every class. It is a classic candidate for a computer, with data to be entered once and thence able to output the various things required. Where we have failed is to get the database (Access) which works well recording entries, to output entrant cards in each class. We are still handwriting the double-sided cards. So, after that long-winded introduction .... the question. Is there anyone out there to have successfully used a computer and software to support the administration of your Flower, Vegetable, Homecraft, etc. show? We would love to learn of your success and be able to use software good enough that a show secretary doesn't have to be a computer boffin. All ideas gratefully received. Thank you, and happy gardening. (Not being sure how many readers would visit this section at this time of the year, I have also posted in the general chat area).

  • 13/10/2010 09:19 AM
    • EvaInNL
    • Holland
    • 25 Sep 2009
    • 1,764
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    Hi BBH,

    I've never helped with the admin of a flower show but do have a bit of experience with maintaining databases.

    If you've entered the data into a spreadsheet you should be able to do a so-called fast mail merge (enter FastMailMerge on the openoffice.org search box to find more info).

    First you'd need to have your spreadsheet in order and decide from which columns you want to pull the data.

    Then you'd create a template into which you'd import the data from the spreadsheet. In your case the cards you are now writing creating by hand. This is the trickiest bit really.

    Last is the step to click on the fast mail merge option. This would then pull the data from the spreadsheet and put them in the card template, creating card after card and putting them into  one big file. Then it's just a question of saving and printing the end result.

    Although I love open source software it isn't always the easiest to use for this kind of thing. MS Excel and Word have the same functionality and they guide you through the mail merge process step by step.

    Hope this helps!

    Eva

     

  • 13/10/2010 09:26 AM
    • EvaInNL
    • Holland
    • 25 Sep 2009
    • 1,764
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    PS: There's a mailmerge tutorial on Open Office. http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org/tutorial/Mail_Merge.html.

    Just remember that you can create your own fields and lables: where they use address information as an example, you could enter your own data, e.g. Participant Name - Category - Number of Entries - Plant Common Name - Plant Latin Name - etc.

  • 13/10/2010 09:56 AM
    • bbh
    • Dorset
    • 31 Aug 2007
    • 4
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    Thank you for your helpful response Eva. I did wonder about mail merge, so the tutorial link you posted will be helpful, so I shall have a look at that. My worry though (and as you say, it may be more straight forward with wizards in MS Office) is that even these steps may be off-putting to someone who is not very confident using a computer. I would hope to be able to end up with a system which anyone could type the entry forms into and the software does pretty much everything else - maybe I am being too ambitious!

  • 13/10/2010 01:38 PM
    • EvaInNL
    • Holland
    • 25 Sep 2009
    • 1,764
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    My pleasure BBH. Getting the template right is the hardest bit, but once you've managed that then the rest is really easy and you can recycle the database (spreadsheet) and template as often as you like. 

    You said you were writing up the cards at the moment. Try and find a standard address label that would fit on them. I assume OpenOffice has a list of standard label templates (size wise) that you can select. Buy the labels from your local office supply shop, put those in the printer and you're laughing. Well, apart from having to stick the labels on the cards of course... Wink

    This will make sense after you follow the tutorial. Smile

  • 22/09/2018 03:48 PM
    • Vernon
    • Middlesex
    • 22 Jan 2010
    • 16
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    Quite an old last post in here, but if anyone has an update on software I would be interested to hear. A local show I visited recently had a mix-up with the awards, and another was giving prize certificates to people who hadn't even entered the class! These were administered manually. I am at the moment looking a solution in Excel, using VBA code to manage the data entry of Exhibitors and Classes, then record the results for each class, as the judges completes each, then doing the necessary points calculations. So information from anyone with thoughts, ideas etc. or if they know of software which is already available, would be very welcome. Best wishes, Vernon