24
Mon, Jun
3 New Articles

TechTip: Soup Up iSeries Access, Part III

Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Learn more customizations for an improved iSeries Access experience.

 

In previous tips, I've walked you through improving the default iSeries Access installation by changing to a better font and enabling the Windows editing keys. Here are a few more customizations you can make for more-usable, friendlier sessions.

Use a Block Cursor That Blinks

The default installation gives you an underline cursor that doesn't blink. I find it much more useful to have a block cursor that blinks. Navigate from the Edit menu to Display Setup as in Figure 1.

 

041009LennonFigure1.png 

Figure 1: Follow this path to change the cursor. (Click images to enlarge.)

 

Click Display Setup, and customize your cursor by clicking Block and Blink, as in Figure 2: 

 

041009LennonFigure2.png 

Figure 2: Change how the cursor displays.

 

You can customize various other items in Display Setup, so take a minute to browse around and experiment. Some prefer a crosshair rule line (third down on the left in Figure 2) to a blinking cursor.

Create a "Go to End of Text" Key

When you use the paste functionality in iSeries Access, the cursor does not move. In most other applications, the cursor ends up at the end of the pasted text, and after I paste in iSeries Access, I usually want the cursor to be at the end of the pasted text. If iSeries Access won't put it there for me, I want something quicker than having to use the right-arrow key to get there. One keystroke would be preferable.

 

iSeries Access provides a function, [end field], that moves the cursor to the right of the last character in the screen field. Unfortunately, it is not assigned to any key, but that is easy to fix. In Part II of this series, I showed you how to remap the keys. Follow the instructions there and remap a key to [end field]. Which key to remap? That's up to you, but Alt+End and Ctrl+End are [dead] keys, and either is a reasonable choice.

Copy Only if Text Is Selected

By default, if you copy without having text selected, iSeries Access copies the whole screen into the clipboard. This can cause havoc if your fingers are ahead of your brain and you accidentally copy a whole screen and then paste it. In SEU, for example, you can wipe out a good chunk of code.

 

You can easily set Copy so that it works only if you have selected some text. Navigate from Edit > Preferences > Edit, as in Figure 3.

 

041009LennonFigure3.png

Figure 3: Edit the edit options.

 

Click Edit, and then click the Cut/Copy tab, and check "Only if a trim-rectangle is marked," as in Figure 4.

041009LennonFigure4.png 

Figure 4: Set to copy only if text is selected.

Now copy or cut won't put anything in the clipboard unless text is selected on the screen.

A Speedier Cursor

In response to Part II, someone mentioned that there are [fast left] and [fast right] functions that move the cursor three positions instead of just one, but they are not assigned to a key. You may want to map these to Control+left arrow and Control+right arrow to get around the screen faster.

 

Be aware, however, that you will be replacing the [move left] and [move right] functions on these keys, which move the selection box left or right one character, respectively. Already-available alternatives for moving around the screen faster are Alt+left arrow and Alt+right arrow, which move the cursor to the beginning of the prior or next word, respectively. Alt+up arrow and Alt+down arrow move three lines instead of one, so the combination of Alt and the arrow keys for fast movement should be easy to remember and get used to.

Dump the Tool Bar

If you are running your sessions in a window, then screen real estate is valuable. Don't display items you don't need.

 

The default installation displays a tool bar just below the menu line, as in Figure 5 below:

 

041009LennonFigure5.png 

Figure 5: This typical session shows the tool bar.

 

How often do you actually use the tool bar icons, other than perhaps cut and paste? In fact, do you know what all of them do? Most of the time, most of us don't need the tool bar. You can do cut and paste from the Edit menu, or enable and use Ctlr+C and Ctrl+V as I showed in a previous tip. In fact, you can accomplish every icon action on the tool bar from one of the menus.

 

One way to turn off the tool bar is un-checking it on the View menu, as in Figure 6.

 

041009LennonFigure6.png

Figure 6: Hide the tool bar by un-checking on the View menu.

 

Note that you can also hide the menu here. If you do accidentally hide the menu, don't panic! It is easy to get it back. Simply click on the little iSeries graphic in the very top left corner of the screen. You get a menu like Figure 7, where you can also hide or show the menu and tool bar.

 

041009LennonFigure7.png

Figure 7: Here's another way to show or hide the tool bar and menu.

 

If you choose to hide both the tool bar and the menu, note the Popup Menu-Bar entry in Figure 7. Click this and you will get access to all the menu items, as in Figure 8.

 

041009LennonFigure8.png

Figure 8: You have alternative ways to access the menu items.

Experiment

These tips are based on how I've customized iSeries Access for my personal work habits. There are many more customizations under Edit > Preferences that I haven't touched on, some of which may work for you. Experiment and see if you can make your green-screen more efficient and enjoyable.

Sam Lennon

Sam Lennon is an analyst, developer, consultant and IBM i geek. He started his programming career in 360 assembly language on IBM mainframes, but moved to the AS400 platform in 1991 and has been an AS400/iSeries/i5/IBM i advocate ever since.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: