|Top Previous Next|
A powerful but sometimes confusing Time Logger feature is the ability to link descriptors. That is, you can set descriptors to depend on other descriptors. For example, you can have the hourly rate of $50 appear in the Hourly Rate combo box only when "Proofreading" is the selected Activity descriptor. In this case, we say the "$50" is "linked" to the Activity of "Proofreading." You could also say that the Activity "Proofreading is the parent and the Rate "$50" is the child in the link relationship.
Descriptors can only be linked to other descriptors that are above them in the hierarchy. For example, you can link Hourly Rate to Project, or Hourly Rate to Client, but you cannot link Client to Hourly Rate. Note that the parent descriptor is always higher in the descriptor hierarchy than the child descriptor.
WARNING: Descriptor linking is an advanced feature. The ability to create a chain of links is a powerful and flexible tool, but can lead to a confusingly complicated descriptor database. Be sure to also look at these two Help pages below for more important information.
How to Link Descriptors by Adding One
In the Descriptors window (choose Records/Edit Record Descriptors), select the button with the green plus sign on it for the desired descriptor field, say Hourly Rate. This will bring up the Add a Descriptor window. Type the new child descriptor into the Rate edit box, then select the parent descriptor you wish to link to from the appropriate combo box.
Remember: you always link Child to Parent.
How to Link Descriptors by Editing an Existing One
In the Descriptors window (choose Records/Edit Record Descriptors), select the button with the pencil sign on it for the desired descriptor field, say Hourly Rate. This will bring up the Edit a Descriptor window. Select the parent descriptor you wish to link to from the appropriate combo box.
Remember: you always link Child to Parent.
Here's how the Add a Descriptor window would look while adding an hourly rate of $120 and linking it to Mary Smith.
In this case, when working in the Stopwatch window, for example, the rate of $120 per hour would be available for selecting only if Mary Smith is the selected person.
IMPORTANT: For any descriptor, the list of descriptors in the combo box will include all unlinked descriptors as well as linked descriptors that are linked to a higher level descriptor that is showing. If you only want linked descriptors to show, you must be careful not to define any descriptors that are not linked. And remember that Time Logger will automatically add descriptors (as not linked) in some situations if changes to the descriptor database while editing are allowed (see the IMPORTANT note on Working with Descriptors.)
More Linking Features and Important Notes
Multiple Levels - Descriptors may be linked to descriptors that are themselves linked. For example, the Hourly Rate of "$80" may be linked to the Subproject "User Interface" which is itself linked to the Project "ZippyCalc" which is linked to "Zippy Corporation."
Multiple Parents - Also, you may link a child descriptor to two or more other parent descriptors. For example, lets say you work for "ABC Corp," "Zippy Corp," and "XYZ Corp." You charge $50 per hour to ABC and XYZ Corp, and $80 per hour to Zippy Corp. Thus, you will want to link the rate of $50 to both ABC Corp and XYZ Corp.
To accomplish this, you would add an Hourly Rate descriptor of $50 and link it to ABC Corp, then also add another Hourly Rate descriptor of $50 and link it to XYZ Corp.
When you attempt to edit or delete a descriptor that is linked to multiple parents (or unlinked), Time Logger will ask you which one you wish to edit or delete. For example, it will ask, "Do you want to edit the $50 hourly rate that is linked to ABC Corp, or the one that is linked to XYZ Corp?" See: Which Descriptor(s) Window.
Same Descriptor Linked and Unlinked - Time Logger version 4.x* will let you have a linked Descriptor with the same exact value (name) as an unlinked Descriptor. For example, you could have Activity "XYZ" that's unlinked and Activity "XYZ" that is linked to Project "ABC". Now, Activity "XYZ" will always appear once in the Activity drop-down list box, but if Project "ABC" is selected, then the linked copy of Activity "XYZ" (the one who's Parent is Project "ABC") will appear, while at all other times the unlinked copy of Activity "XYZ" will appear.
Changing Parent Descriptors That are Linked To by Children - Time Logger version 4.x* will not warn you if you are about to delete or change a Descriptor that is a Parent of other Child Descriptors, and thus break the Child to Parent linking. To change a Descriptor that is a Parent to a set of Child Descriptors, you should:
a) create the New Parent Descriptor (ie: Project ABC should be ABB - so create Project ABB);
b) change each Descriptor linked to the Old Parent Descriptor to link to the New Parent Descriptor (edit each Child Descriptor and change the link from Project ABC to the new Project ABB instead);
c) finally delete the old Parent Descriptor (Project ABC) when nothing is linked to it.
* = Later versions of Time Logger may change how one works with and manages Descriptors