ACL tip: Rerun a Join Easily

Rerunning an ACL join command is much easier than most people realize.  And everyone using ACL screws up joining two tables more often than he’ll admit.

It goes like this: You painfully select the primary keys, the secondary keys, the primary fields, and the secondary fields, enter the output table name, and run the join. The join ran successfully, but you forgot to add one primary field or to adjust the options on the More tab. Now you have to do it all again. Or do you?

Try this instead when you’ve done a complicated join and need to tweak it:

NOTE: To see a larger image, double-click the image.

1) In the Project Navigator window (left side of the screen), click the project log icon.  It looks like a piece of paper with a pencil on it  (see the icon below).

2) The log opens in the display area (right side). Find the last JOIN command, and double-click it. Since you just ran the join, the command will be near the bottom of the log (see the highlighted portion of the truncated example below).

3) Then you will see the Command appear at the top of the display area, so double-click it (see the highlighted portion of the truncated example below).


4) When your original Join dialog box appears with all your previous settings, fix the issue. You won’t need to reselect all the keys or fields, just tweak what you need–a big time saver!

Sometimes when you use this method, you’ll get one (or both!) of the following messages, but don’t panic, just follow the instructions below…

Message 1: You must first OPEN a table before you can execute this command

a) Click OK to close the message.

b) Double-click your Primary table, which opens it.

c) Follow steps 1-4 above.

Message 2:  First OPEN a SECONDARY table.

a) Click OK to close the message. The Join dialog box opens.

b) Drop the Secondary Table box down and reselect your secondary table. If you open the Secondary Keys or Secondary Fields box, none of the fields you selected originally will appear (that’s OK because when you reopen the Join dialog box a little later, your secondary fields will all be there–trust me).

c) Click Cancel and close the Join dialog box (do NOT click OK, click Cancel!)

d) Follow steps 1-4 above.

It seems like a lot of work, but trust me, on complicated joins, it saves a lot of time!  It will soon become second nature.

Please note: This method only works AFTER you ran a successful join. If you receive an error during a join and close the Join dialog box, you cannot use this method.

Extra tip: You can use steps 1-3 to rerun any command, not just Joins! Instead of selecting the Join command as described above, select the command you want to rerun (like an Extract or Set Filter command).

If you find this method helpful, or have a question or suggestion, leave me a comment.

See also in this blog:

Teach Yourself ACL

ACL tip: “Unfreezing ACL”

All ACL-related posts

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