Listing Subsets of Your Documents

by Kendall Callas

You've probably seen that curious *.* pattern and wondered what it means. You'll bump into that funny but powerful phrase sooner or later whether you're using DOS, Windows, or UNIX.

In DOS and UNIX versions of WordPerfect, you'll see it when you first press the List Files key (F5): a message appears at the bottom left corner of your screen ­ "Dir C:\DOCS\*.*" or something similar. In WordPerfect For Windows, that "*.*" pattern also appears on the File Open screen (F4 or Ctrl+O).

First of all, remember the general form of a filename: FILENAME.EXT ­ the first part is limited to 8 characters, joined by a period to an optional extension of up to 3 characters.

Each asterisk in the *.* patter is a wildcard like you're playing poker, deuces wild. The first asterisk means anything left of the period; the second asterisk means anything right of the period. So *.* matches the general "8.3" pattern and corresponds to any filename. When you press Enter (the normal response), you are agreeing to see *.* ­ a list of all the files.

If you're smart, you've named your files with extensions indicating the document type, such as .LTR, .FAX, .MMO, .PLD, .ROG, .LST, .POS, .P&A, etc. For example, the second letter to Mr. Smith might be named SMITH02.LTR.

When you want to see a list of just certain types of documents, save your eyes (and your sanity) and avoid the errors that can occur when scanning long lists. Type over or edit the *.* with a more specific phrase: *.FAX to list all your faxes, *.LTR to list your letters. Then press Enter for a convenient listing of just the files you need.

(This concept applies to all DOS, Windows, and UNIX versions of WordPerfect.)

Copyright (C) 1995 by microCounsel, (415) 921-6850. All rights reserved.

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