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Heliotrope
May 31st, 2013, 02:01 PM
Hello, everyone!
My pen collection is ever growing, and I'm trying to find a database to keep me organized. I started using a free application that I found at FPN. But I haven't been able to make it print to paper without being truncated. I see from the posts that others have had the same problem, but I didn't see a solution. I' like to be able to print out a handbook of my collection, preferably with pictures, as well as keep notes about purchase, repairs, inks to avoid in certain pens, etc.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!

:help:

caribbean_skye
May 31st, 2013, 02:06 PM
I'm in the same boat as you, so I hope you get some information that can benefit us all.

carlos.q
May 31st, 2013, 02:55 PM
If you are a Macintosh user you can try Bento. :thumb:

peterpen53
May 31st, 2013, 03:07 PM
It would depend a bit on how computer-savvy you are. When I was using a Windows-PC, I built something in MS Access myself that worked quite well (for me). This was over when I changed to the Mac and I made do with first an Excel and later a Numbers spreadsheet (Numbers is Mac-only). Depending on your requirements, this can work very well, without some of the nice benefits of a real database.
The application you have is probably the FileMaker application available from FPN. This is a nice application but does not seem to be updated anymore and it does not play nice with the most recent operating systems, as you have discovered. You could of course get a new FileMaker version, which (correct me if I'm wrong) is available for both the Mac and Windows, but it is a professional application and therefore very expensive for home use, in my view.
Another solution for Windows could be the database application in the OpenOffice suite, which is open-source and free, but I very quickly gave up in my first try so I don't know how this works at all.
If you're on a Mac or an iPad, you could try Bento, which I'm planning to install very shortly. The Mac application is by no means free but much cheaper than FileMaker (it's made by the same developers) and is typically a database for home or home-office use. It looks great, is fairly simple to get your head around and it would allow to include pictures and so on if you want that. Should you have your data in an Excel spreadsheet, it will import from it. Bento's iPad app is again cheaper than the Mac app, but fairly compatible in functionality. For printing you would need an AirPrint compatible printer, though.
I probably confused you more than anything else, but still, HTH.

caribbean_skye
May 31st, 2013, 04:42 PM
It would depend a bit on how computer-savvy you are. <snip>
Another solution for Windows could be the database application in the OpenOffice suite, which is open-source and free, but I very quickly gave up in my first try so I don't know how this works at all.


I'm fairly computer savvy and lets just say that the OpenOffice suite (I use their word processor and spreadsheet a lot) database is quite unfriendly and I have yet to figure out why it keeps returning an error when it shouldn't. AFAIK an access database *should* be able to be opened with OO so I'm quite tempted to make use of the public library's computers and create my database there. Thanks for the suggestion of Bento, I may download a trial copy and go from there.

sloegin
May 31st, 2013, 04:47 PM
http://www.penventory.com/

I just found this today.

thagbert
May 31st, 2013, 06:34 PM
Spread sheets are way easier. Excel or Google Docs. With Google Docs, you have access to your data from any smart device or computer.

MadAmos
May 31st, 2013, 08:42 PM
I use Excel and keep the data file on Skydrive I can access it from anywhere. This has been quite convenient as I can check details on my collection from a show to make sure I remember what I have and what I paid. I have pictures stored in a folder on Skydrive as well that are hyperlinked from the Excel doc so I can quickly see the pens I have as well.

Frank
May 31st, 2013, 09:04 PM
I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
I have been using it for years!
I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

Regards,
Frank

Heliotrope
May 31st, 2013, 09:27 PM
Wow, thanks, everyone! You have all given me a lot to think about. :jaw: I made a list of your ideas as I was reading. Here it is in no particular order:

1) MS Access
2) Excel (can be paired with Skydrive)
3) FileMaker (upgrade or perhaps contact Jonro)
4) Open Office Database
5) Google Docs
6) Bento (for Mac & iPad)
7) Number (for Mac)
8) www.penventory.com

I wouldn't call myself computer-savvy, but I can generally figure things out. I have an iPad, and I run Windows 7 at home.

Peterpan, the application that I have is indeed FileMaker. I looked at upgrading, but I agree that the cost is too high, as least until I have eliminated other leads. Thanks for all of your ideas! I appreciate the variety of options.

Frank, I had not thought to contact Jonro, as I don't want to bother him. It looked like he was perhaps snowed under with requests and suggestions at one time, and I didn't want to inconvenience him any further for his generosity. It just seemed as if the free application wasn't designed for what I want to do.

It's going to be fun looking at these options more closely over the next several days! You are all the greatest! :hail:

peterpen53
June 1st, 2013, 04:12 AM
Just for the sake of completeness, there is also a Bento app for iPhone. It may not be working very well with large databases due to memory limitations on the device itself, and to be honest, I don't see myself toting around my pen database on a phone. But if it's your thing...
If you have Bento on a Mac and your iPhone/iPad, it will sync across all devices over your Wi-Fi (not through iCloud or Dropbox).

In addition to the templates included with the software, on the Bento website there is a catalogue of user-developed templates that can be downloaded. You should be able to find something there, suitable for a collector, and that you could modify.

Heliotrope
June 1st, 2013, 05:36 AM
Thanks, peterpan!

Here's the complete list as of 6/1/13:

1) MS Access
2) Excel (can be paired with Skydrive)
3) FileMaker (upgrade or perhaps contact Jonro)
4) Open Office Database
5) Google Docs
6) Bento (for Mac, iPad, iPhone)
7) Numbers (for Mac)
8) www.penventory.com

cedargirl
June 1st, 2013, 07:13 AM
I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
I have been using it for years!
I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

Regards,
Frank

Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.

Heliotrope
June 1st, 2013, 08:45 AM
I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
I have been using it for years!
I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

Regards,
Frank

Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.

I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something. :)

tenney
June 1st, 2013, 12:10 PM
Jonro did a great job with his database, and I thank him for that.

But, for me, I really want to tweak it -- e.g. it's a FileMaker database and FileMaker has an iPad (and iPhone) app that will work, but Jonro's database won't work completely without tweaking it... and Jonro won't unlock his database to let people tweak it (because he doesn't want people to get access to his source code).

cedargirl
June 1st, 2013, 09:22 PM
I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
I have been using it for years!
I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

Regards,
Frank

Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.

I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something. :)

I have never printed it direct from the display screen, but it is possible to export the data to various spreadsheets and database formats. That's the only way I have printed it. Doing this, you can select the fields to print and you can format it however you want.

Heliotrope
June 2nd, 2013, 06:15 PM
I am quite happy with jonro's Fountain Pen Inventory Program!
I have been using it for years!
I would suggest contacting him directly if you need any specific help/advice.

Regards,
Frank

Same here. It works well for using Windows 7.

I also think that it works great, but I can't print to paper without most of the information getting cut off or truncated. I see on the forum that others have the same problem. It seems to be intended for electronic use primarily. Of course, it is entirely possible that I'm missing something. :)

I have never printed it direct from the display screen, but it is possible to export the data to various spreadsheets and database formats. That's the only way I have printed it. Doing this, you can select the fields to print and you can format it however you want.

Thanks, cedargirl!
I'll have to try that next time I have some time at my home computer.

KrazyIvan
June 2nd, 2013, 07:41 PM
Check with your homeowners insurance company. Some have home inventory apps that are designed to keep track of stuff like this plus make it easy to enter info like reciepts and pictures.

tandaina
June 2nd, 2013, 08:11 PM
I do something a little different. I use Evernote.

I have an evernote folder for my collection and my want list. When I get a pen it moves from want to collection. Each pen has its own evernote document (clipped from websites, or wherever I find the pen) with pictures/information/price/name/etc. Great way to keep lots of information about a pen, amend as needed.

Jon Szanto
June 2nd, 2013, 08:26 PM
I do something a little different. I use Evernote.
That's a clever use of the site/app. The Achille's heel, of course, is if Evernote ever evaporates. It's been know to happen in the Internet age...

tandaina
June 2nd, 2013, 08:55 PM
If it evaporates I've got bigger problems. Though the data IS stored locally, so even if the service went away I'd still have the most recent local copy, it isn't all cloud.

cedargirl
June 2nd, 2013, 10:46 PM
For those who have never seen the FPI program, here are a couple of screen shots. It has some very useful features.

3238
3239

Many of the fields have cutomisable pull down menus.
And note the tabs across the top which lead to additional pages.

Susan3141
June 7th, 2013, 01:02 PM
I've tried the FPN Database but on my Mac it somehow disconnects the application from the data, so if I close the application and reopen it, it says it can't find the file. I simply don't trust it.

I have Bento and find it cumbersome. I tried Home Inventory (a Mac App) but can't customize the fields like I'd like. I really do need something now, because after I buy a pen, I often lose access to the original listing and I need the information in case I want to sell it someday.

I hate Evernote. I wish I didn't, but I do. Maybe I'll have to try it again just for this purpose I can use the FPN Database fields as a guide for a template and go from there.

We need a decent pen collecting app!

cedargirl
June 7th, 2013, 04:35 PM
I do recall having some issues like that when I first installed it. The trick is to make sure all the files are saved into a single folder, then if you want to move it around, you can just move the entire folder. I also remember that it wasn't clear to me which file to use to open the program with data in it, but I must have sorted that because my shortcut works every time.

Susan3141
June 8th, 2013, 06:55 AM
I wound up buying Tapforms Database for Mac (I already have the iPad version). I used the FPN Database as a reference for fields and created my own form. The nice thing about this is I can add fields if I want to and the database can be backed up to Dropbox and synced with my iPad. Plus, it's aesthetically much more pleasing to the eye. Of course, it wasn't free, but I can use it for other databases as well, and I know it won't wonk out on me. I can export it, so that's another safety feature.

Heliotrope
June 8th, 2013, 07:05 AM
Here's the complete list as of 6/8/13 (read the posts for tips/criticism):

1) MS Access
2) Excel (can be paired with Skydrive)
3) FileMaker (upgrade or perhaps contact Jonro; export for printing)
4) Open Office Database
5) Google Docs
6) Bento (for Mac, iPad, iPhone)
7) Numbers (for Mac)
8) www.penventory.com
9) Evernote
10) Home Inventory (application for Mac)
11) other home inventory applications
12) Tapforms Database (for Mac)

Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions! I have been traveling, so I'll try some of these ideas when I get back to my home computer. I'll update the list if more suggestions are posted.

:clap2:

Cake
June 8th, 2013, 07:19 AM
Nothing fancy, but I created an Excel spreadsheet and assigned ratings to nibs, inks, and pens. I find it's easiest for me to use.

AndyT
June 8th, 2013, 07:22 AM
I've just installed the GCstar package for Linux and will have a play about with it when time permits. If it works out all right I'll report back, and happily supply a pen inventory template file if anyone's interested. Seems to be suitable for Mac and Windows too, but it might be less than straightforward: "GCstar ... can be used on any operating systems on which gtk2-perl is available. It has primarily been tested on GNU/Linux systems (used to develop it) but also on Microsoft Windows". Website:

http://www.gcstar.org/

peterpen53
June 10th, 2013, 03:31 AM
I wound up buying Tapforms Database for Mac (I already have the iPad version). I used the FPN Database as a reference for fields and created my own form. The nice thing about this is I can add fields if I want to and the database can be backed up to Dropbox and synced with my iPad. Plus, it's aesthetically much more pleasing to the eye. Of course, it wasn't free, but I can use it for other databases as well, and I know it won't wonk out on me. I can export it, so that's another safety feature.

Big fat thank you for this tip, Suzy. This might be the one I've been looking for (not just for my pen collection). I had a look at their website and it shows great promise. If it lives up to that I even consider it a bargain.

tannie
June 10th, 2013, 06:48 AM
I wound up buying Tapforms Database for Mac (I already have the iPad version). I used the FPN Database as a reference for fields and created my own form. The nice thing about this is I can add fields if I want to and the database can be backed up to Dropbox and synced with my iPad. Plus, it's aesthetically much more pleasing to the eye. Of course, it wasn't free, but I can use it for other databases as well, and I know it won't wonk out on me. I can export it, so that's another safety feature.

Would you share your templates?
I've fiddled around with it myself, and am curious what you have made. And how you 'did it'.

AndyT
June 10th, 2013, 11:48 AM
Well it seems like I now have pen and ink databases (and a good deal of data entry to be getting on with). GCstar turned out to be straightforward to use and rock solid stable, so it's definitely an option for Linux and probably worth investigating for other platforms. Oh, and it's free, naturally. Screenshots:

3371

3370

I've saved blank templates in case they might be useful to somebody, they're a breeze to modify.

cedargirl
June 10th, 2013, 05:24 PM
Well done AndyT. That looks very useful. Who's going to try it on Windows??

AndyT
June 10th, 2013, 06:03 PM
Actually, it looks like a Windows installation ought to be straightforward because the developers have treated it like a Linux package and included all the dependencies. Plug 'n' play, almost. Mac users might will have more fun and games! Here's the Windows installation page:

http://wiki.gcstar.org/en/install_windows

Jon Szanto
June 10th, 2013, 06:06 PM
I just downloaded and installed the Windows version in under 5 minutes. Andy, I'd love to try the templates if possible, I'll send you a PM...

cwent2
June 10th, 2013, 06:06 PM
I can try it my collection is still rather on the small side. Meaning it probably won't take me too long to set it up - input some data and try my hand at a review.

That is of course if that is ok.

Also have a new computer coming so if program blows up my mother board - I won't be lost for too long

Cw

Heliotrope
June 10th, 2013, 06:33 PM
Actually, it looks like a Windows installation ought to be straightforward because the developers have treated it like a Linux package and included all the dependencies. Plug 'n' play, almost. Mac users might will have more fun and games! Here's the Windows installation page:

http://wiki.gcstar.org/en/install_windows


This looks very promising. Thanks, AndyT! I can't wait to take a look at this when I have a moment. Hopefully tonight.

Heliotrope
June 17th, 2013, 12:48 PM
Actually, it looks like a Windows installation ought to be straightforward because the developers have treated it like a Linux package and included all the dependencies. Plug 'n' play, almost. Mac users might will have more fun and games! Here's the Windows installation page:

http://wiki.gcstar.org/en/install_windows


Thanks again, everyone for all of your great ideas. I've experimented with various options and like several of them.

I really like GCstar, but I'm not entirely convinced yet. It loaded quickly and easily on my Windows 7 machine. I was putting together my own templates within a few minutes. AndyT provided some nice templates (Thanks again, Andy!), but making new templates is so simple that I also made one of my own. Layout options on screen are limited but sufficient. There is no direct print function, but it's simple to export. I couldn't get all of the export functions to work (probably due to my technical limitations), but I was able to export to HTML and get an acceptable result. Not elegant, but good enough for now. The honeymoon was over fairly quickly when my first pen library crashed. And since that was the last library that I had open, the application would not start up after that because it kept trying to load the broken library. I uninstalled/trashed everything and reinstalled. No problems for a couple of days now. I have entered minimal information for about 80 pens as a test. (It really is that quick and easy to use.) I'll start adding photos and run through some of the same things I did before to see if it crashes again.

Still looking at a few of the other options. Just wanted to post some feedback for anyone with a Windows machine interested in GCstar. Please PM me if you see something that I may have missed.

cedargirl
June 17th, 2013, 02:58 PM
Thanks for keeping us up to date on your trials.

Frank
June 19th, 2013, 07:32 AM
Thanks for the info and link, Andy T!
This database looks pretty good!

Regards,
Frank

AndyT
June 19th, 2013, 07:51 AM
You're very welcome, and I'm pleased to see that it's worked out well for for a few people.

whych
June 26th, 2013, 03:34 AM
You're very welcome, and I'm pleased to see that it's worked out well for for a few people.
Any chance of getting a copy of your templates?
If they won't go on the forum, I can post them on my web server so others can also get them.
Don't do winblows, but will give it a go on Linux and can help the non-tech Linux and Mac users to install GStar.

AndyT
June 26th, 2013, 05:17 AM
Certainly - if you drop me a PM with your email I'll send them on. Linux installation is a breeze (of course) and the same goes for Windows surprisingly enough, but I don't think there's a non-tech way to get this onto a Mac, unfortunately.

Chi Town
June 29th, 2014, 01:46 PM
I have All my pens and stuff on JonRo's program for years, BUT I am currently working on Benito with my iPad to load that up as I use my IPad quite a bit!

DrChumley
June 29th, 2014, 07:56 PM
I do something a little different. I use Evernote.

I have an evernote folder for my collection and my want list. When I get a pen it moves from want to collection. Each pen has its own evernote document (clipped from websites, or wherever I find the pen) with pictures/information/price/name/etc. Great way to keep lots of information about a pen, amend as needed.

Brilliant idea. I keep track of all of my incoming and outgoing letters in Evernote (Divided by individual into folders.) I don't know why this never occurred to me to do the same thing. I keep a list of pens on my blog site, and each links off to the review page for that pen, but something like this would be great for tracking original purchase prices, particular parts numbers or specs along with the photos. I'm totally going to steal that and start working on my database tonight!

RayCornett
July 5th, 2014, 03:33 AM
I love me some Evernote. Been a premium user for about 2 years. Use it for so many things which is funny considering it is to help you sort of remain paperless but I love using fountain pens so much,lol. I have the database I downloaded a while back from FPN and just recently started using it. I also keep an list of which pens are inked and with what. I keep that on Evernote in case I ever forget while out and about with my daily carry's.

GING GING
August 20th, 2014, 09:13 PM
I sure need to come up with something

carlos.q
October 5th, 2019, 03:18 PM
Ok I need to drag out this old thread. During years I have been using the FP Inventory database I downloaded from FPN to keep track of my pens. I just bought a new Mac that runs Mojave 10.14.6 and the DB just quit on me. The screenshot shows this dialog:

49945

So who has an alternative app for a FP inventory database on a Mac?


PS. If you're wondering why I still have the older Yosemite screen it's because I find the Mojave screen unappealing. And it also makes me thirsty!

FredRydr
October 5th, 2019, 03:46 PM
Itís preparing you for even worse when Catalina comes out.

carlos.q
October 5th, 2019, 04:23 PM
Itís preparing you for even worse when Catalina comes out.

It can't get any worse. With Mac OS 10.14.4 there would simply be a pop-up warning that the FP Inventory app was not compatible... but it still worked. Now with this last update (10.14.6) it will not open.... and all my pen info is on that app! :shocked:

AlohaPens
November 24th, 2020, 02:20 AM
Hmmm just found this recently dragged-up thread.... A short while back, i made a mySQL database for my personal use, but I think it may have broad applicability for others as well. As I've got it setup now, I can keep track of my inks, pens including buy and sales prices, ink usage, discount codes, and my pen wishlist. I'm willing to share it, make a video or screenshots demonstrating it, if there's interest.