What is a filter, and how do I use one in Neoserra?
In Neoserra, a filter is used when you want to isolate certain record types based upon criteria set forth by you. For example, you could create a filter to look for all active clients that are woman owned in a particular county or congressional district.
There is no limit to the number of criteria you can specify when creating a filter; the more criteria you string together, the more specific and narrow the results of your filter will be.
Filters are created per record type, however, you can use a saved filter from one record type in another record type. For example, you could first create a filter of all veteran-owned clients, and then use that filter to identify all the counseling session conducted with these clients.
How do I create a filter?
There are a few built-in filters provided in the Neoserra application but most of the time you will want to create your own custom filter based upon the type of records you want to look at as described in detail below.
- You can create a new filter by clicking on the "blue ribbon" show at the top of all record type listings, or you can access existing filters by clicking on the filter menu option:
If there currently is no filter applied then instead of the blue ribbon, you can click on the magnifying glass to open the filter interface.
- Once you click on the blue ribbon or the magnifying glass you will see the filter interface, which consists of a series of fields that you want to search on.
- You will want to decide what field you would like to include in your filter. You can choose from any field normally available within that record type. For example, when you are filtering your clients, you can choose any of the client fields in your filter; when you are filtering your training events, you can choose any of the training event fields in your filter. Simply click on the No selection drop down and pick the field that will be part of your filter:
- You can type the first few letters of a field that you want to filter on and all applicable options will appear:
- For each field selected you will want to specify the filter criteria as discussed in the next section.
- Adjacent to all fields you will see the (not) checkbox. When selected, this option indicates that the filter should return all records that do NOT match the criteria specified.
- To remove a filter you can click the red minus circle.
How do I specify my filter criteria?
After you have selected the fields that you would like to filter on, you must specify values for those fields. For example, if you decide to filter counseling session records based on the topic of counseling that was provided, you need to specify which counseling topic(s) you want to restrict your filter to. Or, if you want to filter counseling session records based on a word or phrase entered into the session's notes, you need to specify the word or phrase you're searching for. Both of these are easy enough to do, but because counseling session topic is specified using a drop-down field in a counseling session record and notes are entered into a free-form text field, the way you would filter on these two fields is slightly different. In fact, there are four different field types that you can filter on, as described below.
Drop Down Fields
When drop down fields are included in your filter, you can select as many selections as you wish. Simply click your mouse in the field and all choices will be presented, choose one and put your mouse back in the field and choose your next choice. For example, if you want to filter counseling session records based on the Counseling Area field, all counseling area types are presented in the drop down, choose as many as you want to include as shown in the following graphic:
Selecting multiple choices creates an "or" statement. For example, if you were to select "Business Plan" and "Start-up Assistance," Neoserra would return counseling session records of either type.
When date fields are included in your filter, Neoserra presents you with some preset date ranges, or you can choose Custom and enter your own date range.
Using your own custom date range, you can specify an open-ended date range (i.e. consider all records in the system entered before or after a particular date) by clearing either the start or end date.
Free-form Text Fields
When free-form text fields such as city or name are included in your filter, you'll need to use the asterisk as a wildcard at the front and at the end of your search term to ensure a match.
You can place commas (,) between your keywords to create an "or" statement for that particular filter text field. For example, as shown in the next graphic, you could enter something like *james*,*jim* in the text field criteria. This would return all client records with either or both of these words in the first name field.
But what if you actually want to search for a comma? Then you can use the [COMMA] substitution variable as a search term.
Yes/No Check Box Fields
When yes/no check box fields such as a conference record's Is SBA888? or Sponsored/Participated Event? field are included in your filter, then just by virtue of including them, it is assumed you want all records for which the check box is checked. If you want the opposite, and you want all record where the check box is NOT checked then you would mark the (not) box:
How do I filter across multiple Centers?
There are two ways to search across multiple centers:
- You can select the "Center" field as part of your filter critera as shown below and either select the individual centers or click on the plus sign (+) to select all:
You must have the appropriate permissions for each of the centers selected.
- Alternatively, you can use the built-in "Center Filters" which offer a choice of "All permitted centers":
How do I use a filter within a filter?
This is where the filter logic gets interesting. Lets say you created a filter of all your woman-owned businesses in a particular congressional district and you want to see all the counseling sessions conducted with these clients. You would first want to create the client filter; save the filter; and then apply that saved filter within your counseling session filter.
To apply a saved filter within another filter you will need to scroll to the bottom of the filter fields to see the saved filter types:
In the case of this example, you would choose "Client Filters" which would then let you choose which client filter you want to apply:
How do I save my filter?
If you are creating a filter of client records, client activity records, or conference records, you can save your filter criteria for future use by selecting the Save button and entering a descriptive name into the adjacent Name field. In fact, we recommend that your naming convention reflect every selected criteria of the filter so that you and others always know exactly what data you're looking at.
Note: When you save a filter, you are not saving the listing of records that was produced as a result of generating the filter. Rather, you are saving the filter criteria. In other words, each time you run a saved filter, you could see slightly different results depending upon rolling time frames or newly-added records.
To learn more about managing and sharing saved filters, view the FAQ titled Can I save my filter for future use or to share it with other Neoserra users?.
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