Monday, April 11, 2016

Outlook default reminder for sent mails

Since most of the time, I need to follow up my mails send out to make sure the expected actions are taken, I do add a reminder on my send email. So I can verify in a couple of days if I did get a reaction or the expected action has been taken in the meantime.

In order to automate this, I added the outlook macro shown below. It’s based on the nice example provided by Diane Poremsky. I just improved it a bit to set the default reminder at 10am in 5 days (moving some days forward whenever the 5 days would end in the weekend). After sending an email, a little popup will show up indicating the reminder would be created for within 5 business days. The number of days can quickly be changed or the reminder can fully be discared using the ‘Cancel’ on the pop-up. After some days of usage, I’m very satisfied with the result. The popup will appear after sending the message, so the email will always be sent and won’t be blocked if the pop-up wouldn’t be noticed.

Of course this is only useful when you often need a follow-up on your sent mails…

'myT 04/2016,
  'Default reminder for sent mails: add a default reminder for every sent mail, default 5 working days with popup to cancel or confirm (and set number of days)
  'Open Outlook and press [ALT+F11] to open the VBS developer editor
  'Navigate to 'Project 1 VbaProject.OTM' > Microsoft Outlook Objects > ThisOutlookSession
  'Copy and Paste the macro below and close the VBS editor
  'Make sure the line 'Private WithEvents olSentItems as Items' is saved at the top of the file
  Private WithEvents olSentItems As Items
  Attribute olSentItems.VB_VarHelpID = -1
  Private Declare PtrSafe Function ShellExecute _
  Lib "shell32.dll" Alias "ShellExecuteA" ( _
  ByVal hWnd As Long, _
  ByVal Operation As String, _
  ByVal Filename As String, _
  Optional ByVal Parameters As String, _
  Optional ByVal Directory As String, _
  Optional ByVal WindowStyle As Long = vbMinimizedFocus _
  ) As Long
  'Original source:
  Private Sub Application_Startup()
  'MsgBox ("test startup")
  Dim objNS As NameSpace
  Set objNS = Application.Session
  ' instantiate objects declared WithEvents
  Set olSentItems = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderSentMail).Items
  Set objNS = Nothing
  End Sub
  Private Sub olSentItems_ItemAdd(ByVal Item As Object)
  'On Error Resume Next
  Dim prompt As String
  Dim dtmTemp As Date
  Dim businessDays As String
  Dim reminderTime As String
  Dim dueDateDays As Integer
  'MsgBox ("test item sent")
  If TypeName(Item) = "MailItem" Then
          businessDays = 5
      dueDateDays = 14
      reminderTime = "10:00:00 AM"
            'Reminder in 5 days, 10 AM
        dtmTemp = DateValue(Now + businessDays) & " " & TimeValue(reminderTime)
        'skip days if reminder would result in weekend
        Do While IsWeekend(dtmTemp)
            dtmTemp = dtmTemp + 1
                    'InputBox(prompt[, title] [, default] )
        businessDays = InputBox("Do you want to add a reminder for the email sent? " & vbCrLf & vbCrLf _
        & " Subject: " & Item.Subject & vbCrLf _
        & " To: " & Item.To & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & vbCrLf _
        & "Set # business days for the reminder" & vbCrLf _
        & " Default " & businessDays & " business days: " & WeekdayName(Weekday(dtmTemp), True, vbSunday) & " " & dtmTemp, _
        "Add a reminder for the email sent?", businessDays)
              'Exit sub if user press Cancel button or does not enter any text in the Input field.
        If businessDays = vbNullString Then Exit Sub
              dtmTemp = DateValue(Now + CInt(businessDays)) & " " & TimeValue(reminderTime)
        'skip days if reminder would result in weekend
        Do While IsWeekend(dtmTemp)
            dtmTemp = dtmTemp + 1
                           With Item
            .MarkAsTask olMarkThisWeek
              ' sets a due date in 14 days
            .TaskDueDate = Now + dueDateDays
            .ReminderSet = True
            .reminderTime = dtmTemp
        End With
    End If
  End Sub

Update 27/06/2016: added check on item type to make sure no error occur when responding to an meeting request.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Outlook warn when forgetting attachment

When an outlook message indicates an attachment is added, but the attachment is missing, the Outlook 2010 VBA macro below can warn you about this with a popup. This option became a standard option in Outlook 2013, as indicated on this site.

This version of the macro has been extended compared to many similar macro’s you could find online:

  • It allows to configure multiple words to scan for, currently scanning for attach, bijlage, bijgevoegd (see inline VBA comments)
  • It will only scan the new message body and the header. It will ignore the reply/forward message body content.
  • It has been improved for html/rich text/plain text emails formatting
  • It allows you to configure if attachments are part of your signature
  • Non-mail outlook item types will not result in VBA errors (eg. when responding a meeting request)

All feedback is welcome, since only tested on a English version of Outlook 2010.

Installation instructions:

  • Open Outlook and press [ALT+F11] to open the VBS developer editor
  • Navigate to 'Project 1 VbaProject.OTM' > Microsoft Outlook Objects > ThisOutlookSession
  • Copy and Paste the macro below and close the VBS editor or import the ‘ThisOutlookSession.cls’ file

Source Office VBA macro script:

'myT 04/2015,    
'Open Outlook and press [ALT+F11] to open the VBS developer editor
'Navigate to 'Project 1 VbaProject.OTM' > Microsoft Outlook Objects > ThisOutlookSession
'Copy and Paste the macro below and close the VBS editor
Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
Dim m As Variant, t As Variant
Dim strBody As String
Dim intIn As Long
Dim intAttachCount As Integer, intStandardAttachCount As Integer, limitBody As Integer
On Error GoTo handleError
'Edit the following line if you have a signature on your email that includes images or other files. Make intStandardAttachCount equal the number of files in your signature.
intStandardAttachCount = 0
'If CheckProperty(Item, "HTMLBody") Then
'    strBody = LCase(Item.HTMLBody) & " " & LCase(Item.Subject)
'    strBody = LCase(Item.Body) & " " & LCase(Item.Subject)
'End If
On Error GoTo NoHtml
strBody = LCase(Item.HTMLBody) & " " & LCase(Item.Subject)
'Show Debug via View > Immediate Window (Ctrl+G)
'Debug.Print strBody
On Error GoTo handleError
'detect line break where previous messages (reply/forward) are starting, only scan the newly create message ignoring forwarded/replied text
'HTML original message splitter
limitBody = InStr(1, strBody, "<div style='border:none;border-top:solid #b5c4df 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'>")
'RichText has HTMLBody but no border separator
If limitBody = 0 Then GoTo RichText
GoTo commonHandling
    On Error GoTo handleError
    'could test on availability of 'text/rtf format' in body to make sure this is rich text case
    strBody = LCase(Item.Body) & " " & LCase(Item.Subject)
    'rich text original message splitter
    limitBody = InStr(1, strBody, "_____________________________________________")
GoTo commonHandling
    On Error GoTo handleError
    strBody = LCase(Item.Body) & " " & LCase(Item.Subject)
    'detect line break where previous messages (reply/forward) are starting, only scan the newly create message ignoring forwarded/replied text
    'Plain text message splitter
    limitBody = InStr(1, strBody, "-----")
GoTo commonHandling
    On Error GoTo handleError
    'Show Debug via View > Immediate Window (Ctrl+G)
    'Debug.Print strBody
    If limitBody = 0 Then limitBody = Len(strBody)
    intIn = InStr(1, Left(strBody, limitBody), "attach")
    intIn = intIn + InStr(1, Left(strBody, limitBody), "bijlage")
    intIn = intIn + InStr(1, Left(strBody, limitBody), "bijgevoegd")
    'Copy previous line to add extra keywords
    intAttachCount = Item.Attachments.Count
    If (intIn <> 0 And intAttachCount = intStandardAttachCount) Then
        m = MsgBox("It appears that you mean to send an attachment, " & vbCrLf & "but there is no attachment to this message." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "Do you still want to send without attachments?", vbQuestion + vbYesNo + vbMsgBoxSetForeground, "Missing attachment")
        If m = vbNo Then
            Cancel = True
        End If
    End If
    If (Err.Number <> 0) Then
        t = MsgBox("Outlook Attachment Reminder Error " & Err.Description & ", " & Err.Number & ", " & Err.Source, vbExclamation, "Outlook Attachment Reminder Error")
    End If
End Sub

Download the macro and instructions in a TXT file.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

iTop running on Windows portable PHP/MySQL MoWeS

Based on my previous topic informing about the nice functionalities of MoWeS to get easily and quickly a PHP/MySQL environment, I did set up an iTop environment in order to discover and play with the CMDB/ITIL ticketing service desk tool.

While doing so, I also discovered the MoWeS Mixer is not available any longer. Apparently the company Chsoftware behind this tools has stopped in 2012. But the MoWeS tool still works very well on Windows 7 x64 and new packages can easily be added by updating the mowes.ini and packages.ini files manually.

In order to get iTop running, some other parameters had to be updated as well: extra memory allocation is to be allowed in php.ini by changing the memory_limit from 32M to 64M. The php_soap.dll extension needs to be loaded as well by uncommenting it in the php.ini file. For mysql, the allowed packets needed to be extended by adding a parameter max_allowed_packet=500M within the [mysqld] section of the my.ini file.

I’ve created an archive containing a clean MoWeS environment with clean iTop. The iTop still needs to be configured using the web wizard upon first connection to the iTop site (localhost/itop) (mysql username: root, password: <empty>. I’ve also a MoWeS environment with base demo iTop installed (itop username: admin, password: itop).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

vCard contact export from Excel contact list

Recently I needed a way to easily convert a list with contact information into a vCard file, respecting the vCard syntax, in order to import this vCard contact information into a phone.

After some quick Google lookup I ended with this nice Excel created and shared by Savas Geivanidis.

After entering all the contact information into the sheet as instructed, the export macro started executing it’s work and I ended with a vCard file as I wanted. But the process took very long (more than 4 minutes), even if my contact list only contained 100 contacts.

Since Savas was so kind to keep his VBS macro unprotected, I analyzed it and optimized it. The main performance issues I detected was the multiple loops and the cell deletions used in the code. A loop was set up to run over the contact data, and copy all data it into a new sheet. Next a loop was used to run through the data and delete all cell containing the value ‘no data’. Next the new sheet was saved into a text .vcf file.

After rewriting the VBS macro I ended up with one loop, running through the data and saving the information immediately into a text file. The same list of 100 contacts now takes less than 1sec to export instead of more than 4 minutes. Some tests with 1000 contacts were positive as it took only 4sec or less to export. I ended up cleaning up the full sheet and creating a template of it to allow easy reuse. Feel free to use this version 1.0 of vCard Exporter for any purpose.

The optimized source code is shown below for illustration:

Sub Create_vCard() 


' This Macro creates a vCard from an existing phonebook Excel list


' Based on DesktopContacts v0.8 by Savas Geivanidis (

' Major performance improvements by myT in vCardExporter v1.0


    Application.ScreenUpdating = False

    ' turns off screen updating

    Application.DisplayStatusBar = True

    ' makes sure that the statusbar is visible

    'detect number of data contacts provided

    'mainsheet = ActiveSheet.Name

    mainsheet = "PhoneBook"



    nod = ActiveCell.Row



    nod1 = ActiveCell.Row

    If nod1 > nod Then

        nod = nod1

    End If

    'Check if data is provided

    If nod <= 2 Then

        popup = MsgBox("No contact data could be found. Fill in the contact data in the 'PhoneBook' sheet and provide at least a first or last name for each contact." & vbLf & "See the 'Information' sheet and for more information", vbExclamation + vbOKOnly + vbMsgBoxSetForeground, "vCard Exporter: No data found")

        Application.ScreenUpdating = True

        Exit Sub

    End If

    'request target filename

    vcardname = Application.GetSaveAsFilename("", "vCard Files (*.vcf), *.vcf", , "Please select the name of the vCard to export")

    If vcardname = False Then

        Application.ScreenUpdating = True

        Exit Sub

    End If

    start_time = Now()

    Application.StatusBar = "Preparing VCARD data"

    Set vcardFileSystemObject = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

    Set vcardFile = vcardFileSystemObject.CreateTextFile(vcardname, True)

    'copy formula for VCARD syntax to all rows with contact data

    Range(Cells(1, 61), Cells(1, 101)).Copy

    Range(Cells(3, 61), Cells(nod, 101)).PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteFormulas

    Application.CutCopyMode = False


    Application.StatusBar = "Processing contact data..."

    vcardFile.writeline ("")

    For iRow = 3 To nod

        For iColumn = 61 To 101

            currentValue = Worksheets(mainsheet).Cells(iRow, iColumn).Value

            Application.StatusBar = "Processing contact data " & Round(((iRow - 2) / (nod - 2)) * 100) & "%" '&" on row " & iRow & ", column " & iColumn & ", value: " & currentValue

            If (currentValue <> "no data") Then

                vcardFile.writeline (currentValue)

            End If

            If currentValue = "END:VCARD" Then

                vcardFile.writeline ("")

            End If

        Next iColumn

    Next iRow


    Application.StatusBar = "All " & nod - 2 & " contact data processed"

    Worksheets(mainsheet).Range(Cells(2, 61), Cells(nod, 101)).ClearContents


    end_time = Now()

    'DateDiff("s", start_time, end_time)

    Application.StatusBar = "vCard export in " & PrintHrMinSec(DateDiff("s", start_time, end_time)) & "sec done into file: " & vcardname

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True

    If (nod - 2 = 1) Then

        popup = MsgBox(nod - 2 & " contact is exported to:" & vbLf & "'" & vcardname & "'" & vbLf & vbLf & "Please send this file to your phone and run it in order to add this contact into it." & vbLf & vbLf & "Original development 'Desktop Contacts v0.8' by Savas Geivanidis (" & vbLf & vbLf & "Major layout and performance improvements myT in 'vCard Exporter v1.0' -", vbInformation + vbOKOnly + vbMsgBoxSetForeground, "vCard Exporter: data exported")


        popup = MsgBox(nod - 2 & " contacts were exported to:" & vbLf & "'" & vcardname & "'" & vbLf & vbLf & "Please send this file to your phone and run it in order to add these contacts into it." & vbLf & vbLf & "Original development 'Desktop Contacts v0.8' by Savas Geivanidis (" & vbLf & vbLf & "Major layout and performance improvements myT in 'vCard Exporter v1.0' -"", vbInformation + vbOKOnly + vbMsgBoxSetForeground, "vCard Exporter: data exported")

    End If

    Application.DisplayStatusBar = True

End Sub


'* This function calculates hours, minutes

'* and seconds based on how many seconds

'* are passed in and returns a nice format

Public Function PrintHrMinSec(elap)

  Dim hr

  Dim min

  Dim sec

  Dim remainder

  elap = Int(elap) 'Just use the INTeger portion of the variable

  'Using "\" returns just the integer portion of a quotient

  hr = elap \ 3600 '1 hour = 3600 seconds

  remainder = elap - hr * 3600

  min = remainder \ 60

  remainder = remainder - min * 60

  sec = remainder

  'Prepend leading zeroes if necessary

  If Len(sec) = 1 Then sec = "0" & sec

  If Len(min) = 1 Then min = "0" & min

  'Only show the Hours field if it's non-zero

  If hr = 0 Then

     PrintHrMinSec = min & ":" & sec


     PrintHrMinSec = hr & ":" & min & ":" & sec

  End If

End Function

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Google Apps Script demo – Send SMS on new important mail in GMail

Google Drive allows you to easily create and edit Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms and Drawings. But not everyone might be familiar with the Google App Script integration functionalities similar to the Visual Basic scripting integration within Microsoft Office macro’s.

Recently, I found this tutorial to link GMail to Google Calendar written by Romain Vialard.

Based on this tutorial, I made the custom script below in order to get a free SMS’s from Google on every new unread e-mail marked as ‘Important’ within GMail. Setting up this little script will give you a brief indication of the power and possibilities of the Google App Script integration.

  1. In Google Calendar, register your mobile phone within the ‘Settings’ > ‘Mobile Setup’, to enable SMS notifications. Sending SMS’s from within Google is free of charges, but it might be limited to 50 messages per day.
  2. In Gmail, create a new label named 'NbSMS' (Notified by SMS). Once a new mail has been notified by SMS, this label will be assigned to the mail in order to make sure the notification is send out only once and the mail will be ignored by the script once this label is assigned.
  3. In Google Drive, create a new Spreadsheet, give it any name.
  4. Choose the menu ‘Tools’ > ‘Script Editor’.
  5. Choose ‘Create script for: Blank Project’.
  6. Copy and paste the following script:
    function sendText() {
    Logger.log('Start of sendText script');
    var today = new Date();
    var nowHour = today.getHours();
    var startTime = 8;
    var endTime = 24;

    Logger.log('The SMS notification will only run between: ' + startTime + ' and ' + endTime + ', current hour: ' + nowHour);
    if (nowHour <= startTime || nowHour >= endTime) {
    Logger.log('Quite time, no SMS notification will be sent between: ' + startTime + ' and ' + endTime + ', current hour: ' + nowHour);
    } else {
    // var events = cal.getEvents(new Date(startDateAndTime), new Date(endDateAndTime));
    //based on
    var notifiedBySmsLabel = 'NbSMS';
    var unreadPriority = GmailApp.getPriorityInboxUnreadCount();
    var unreadsFound = 0;
    Logger.log("Number of unread emails in your Priority Inbox : " +
    if (unreadPriority > 0) {
    var threads = GmailApp.getPriorityInboxThreads();
    var now = new Date().getTime();
    var alreadyNotified = false;
    for(i in threads){
    if (!threads[i].isUnread()) {
    alreadyNotified = true;
    if(unreadsFound >= unreadPriority) {
    } else {
    } else {
    var threadLabels = threads[i].getLabels();
    for(y in threadLabels) {
    if(threadLabels[y].getName() == notifiedBySmsLabel) {
    alreadyNotified = true;
    if (!alreadyNotified) {
    var smsText = 'Mail: '+threads[i].getFirstMessageSubject() + ', from: ' + threads[i].getMessages()[0].getFrom();
    smsText = smsText + ' ' + threads[i].getMessages()[0].getPlainBody();
    Logger.log('Event with SMS will be created with content: ' + smsText);
    var event = CalendarApp.createEvent(smsText,
    new Date(now+60000),
    new Date(now+60000));
    var label = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName(notifiedBySmsLabel);
    Logger.log('All important messages treated and label ' + notifiedBySmsLabel + ' applied.');

  7. Choose the menu ‘Resources’ > ‘Current project’s triggers…’ and add a new trigger.

  8. Select the function ‘sendText()’ > Events: ‘Time-driven’ > ‘Minutes timer’ > ‘Every 5 minutes’, and save the trigger.

  9. Save the script.

  10. Click the Run ► icon. A pop-up opens asking you for your authorization to access the Gmail and Google Calendar services.

  11. Click the Authorize button.

  12. Click the Run ► icon again.

  13. Choose the menu ‘View’ > ‘Logs’ to see the log output.

  14. Debugging is possible using the bug icon. Set some breakpoints by clicking on the line number next to the script.

  15. After one minute, you should receive a text on your mobile device, containing the subject of the important unread emails within GMail.

  16. To see what other functionalities are available within GMail, Google Calendar en other Google services, see the Google App Script reference guide.

  17. Some other interesting tutorial to work with Google Calendar events is available in this blog post.

Update 09/04/2014: optimized the labeling to only apply the label to messages which were not yet labeled, instead of all messages in priority inbox.

Update 21/10/2015: Google no longer supports to get notified by SMS for a calendar item. So the approach above won’t work any longer (calendar item will be created, but no sms will be received).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Svn file full history

If you’d need to search in the full history of a file stored in SVN, the script below can make an export of all changes ever applied into a file, starting for the first revision (full file) and adding each time an overview of all changes applied.

If you remember you ever applied some changes in a file, but removed it afterwards, this can help to search in the full history. Only tested on text based files.

For each revision, the revision number, author, timestamp and svn comments will be listed, followed by an overview of the removed lines, added lines, update lines etc. The initial revision will be a full extract of the original file.

Usage: save the SvnFileFullHistory.bat script in an SVN folder next to the file for which you’d need a full history extract. Drop the svn file onto the bat script to start the script and retrieve the full history of the dropped svn file. The full svn file history will be saved in a txt file in the same folder and with the same base name as the file to extract, but adding “-FullSvnHistory.txt” behind the file name. The extract can take a while, depending on the number of revisions and the size of the svn file. But while the extract is ongoing, the “…-FullSvnHistory.txt” can be read already, reloading it to get future updates.

A similar linux shell script has been created as well (not fully tested).

Based on information found on stackoverflow by user ladenedge.

Full script content:

@echo off   
TITLE SVN - Full file history
REM Original source: and
echo Copy this bat script next to the checked out svn file on which to get full svn history. Drag and drop the svn file onto the bat script to start fetching the info (or a open command window and provide the name of the svn file as first parameter to the bat script execution)
if "%1%"=="" pause
set file=%1
set report=%file%-FullSvnHistory.txt
if [%file%] == [] (
  echo Usage: "%0 <file>"
  exit /b
echo Retrieving svn history of file, please wait...
echo The report will be saved in the file: %report%.
echo To stop the process press Ctrl+c.
rem first revision as full text
for /F "tokens=1 delims=-r " %%R in ('"svn log -q %file%"') do (
  svn log -r %%R %file% > %report%
  svn cat -r %%R %file% >> %report%
  goto :diffs
rem remaining revisions as differences to previous revision
for /F "skip=2 tokens=1 delims=-r " %%R in ('"svn log -q %file%"') do (
  svn log -r %%R %file% >> %report%
  svn diff -c %%R %file% >> %report%

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Excel macro selection

Some easy to use Excel macro’s. All explained below are available in one Excel Macro Example.

All macro’s are combined in one example Excel sheet template to test the usage of it.

Password Generation

Function RndPassword(vLength)
'This function will generate a random strong password of variable
'This script is provided under the Creative Commons license located
'at . It may not
'be used for commercial purposes with out the expressed written consent

For x = 1 To vLength
vChar = Int(89 * Rnd) + 33
If vChar = 34 Then 'this is quote character, replace it with a single quote
vChar = 39
End If
RndPassword = RndPassword & Chr(vChar)
End Function

An example usage of this Password generation function: I have a list with on each row a button to generate a password in the cell next to the button. Each button is linked to the same macro (for easy copy paste of the row). The cell to fill with the new password is automatically detected based on the cell in which the button is drawn. Before setting the new generated password, a warning is shown in a message box.


Sub Process_GenNewPassword()
Dim LRange As String
Dim RowOffset As Integer
Dim ColumnOffset As Integer
Dim newGenPassword As String
'Find cell that button resides in
LName = Application.Caller
Set bBox = ActiveSheet.Buttons(LName)
LRange = bBox.TopLeftCell.Address
RowOffset = 0 ' relative location of the row in which to work, same row used
FirstNameColumnOffset = -5 ' relative location of firstname column in row to show in warning message box
LastNameColumnOffset = -4 ' relative location of lastname column in row to show in warning message box
PasswordColumnOffset = 2 ' relative location of column in row where the generated password should be set
sResult = MsgBox("The password for user '" & Range(LRange).Offset(RowOffset, FirstNameColumnOffset).Value & " " & Range(LRange).Offset(RowOffset, LastNameColumnOffset).Value & "' will be replaced with a new random password!", vbExclamation + vbOKCancel, "New password generation")
If (sResult <> 1) Then
Exit Sub
End If
newGenPassword = RndPassword(10)
Range(LRange).Offset(RowOffset, PasswordColumnOffset).Value = newGenPassword
End Sub


Checkbox LinkedCell

Whenever you need many checkboxes in your sheet, you'll probably need each checkbox to be linked to the cell it is residing on.

When copy-pasting rows or columns, the checkboxes will be copied as well, but they will still be linked to the same cell as the checkbox you started to copy-paste. The little macro shown below, will update each Checkbox on the active sheet and set it's linked cell to the cell on which the Checkbox is drawn.

Sub setCheckBoxLinkedCell()
'Loop through all Checkboxes in the active sheet
'Set for each Checkbox it's "LinkedCell" value to the cell on which the Checkbox is drawn
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
' turns off screen updating
Application.DisplayStatusBar = True
' makes sure that the statusbar is visible
Application.StatusBar = "Updating linked cells of all Checkboxes in this sheet."
For Each chk In ActiveSheet.Checkboxes
LRow = ActiveSheet.Checkboxes(chk.Name).TopLeftCell.Row
LColumn = ActiveSheet.Checkboxes(chk.Name).TopLeftCell.Column
cA1 = Application.ConvertFormula("R" & LRow & "C" & LColumn, xlR1C1, xlA1)

With Selection
.Value = xlOff
.LinkedCell = cA1
.Display3DShading = False
End With
Next chk
Application.StatusBar = "Linked cells of all Checkboxes in this sheet are updated."
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

Save date on Checkbox check

The macro below will set the date in the cell next to the Checkbox whenever the checkbox is checked. All checkboxes are linked to the same macro, for easy copy-pasting. The cell in which to save the date will be detected based on the checkbox location.


Sub Process_CheckBox()
Dim cBox As CheckBox
Dim LRow As Integer
Dim LRange As String

LName = Application.Caller
Set cBox = ActiveSheet.Checkboxes(LName)

'Find address that checkbox resides in
LRange = cBox.TopLeftCell.Address
DateRowOffset = 0 ' row offset (relative to the checkbox location) in which the date should be set
DateColumnOffset = 1 ' column offset (relative to the checkbox location) in which the date should be set

'Change date if checkbox is checked
If cBox.Value > 0 Then
Range(LRange).Offset(DateRowOffset, DateColumnOffset).Value = Date

'Clear date if checkbox is unchecked
Range(LRange).Offset(DateRowOffset, DateColumnOffset).Value = Null
End If
End Sub

Create Folder Structure

I copied my previously explained 'Create Folder Structure' in this Excel Macros Example. For all details, see my previous blog post. An import of an existing system folder structure is now added in there as well.


Run macro upon opening a workbook

To run a macro whenever the workbook Excel sheet is opened, the Sub Workbook_Open in 'ThisWorkbook' can be used. This is needed if you want to link some keyboard keys to specific macro's.

Link keys to macro

To link a keyboard key to a specific macro action, the Application.OnKey "..." can be used in the auto startup macro. The keys must be unlinked before closing the workbook. I used this functionality in my Exam Point Counter workbook, described in this previous blog post. In 'ThisWorkbook':

'startup macro
Private Sub Workbook_Open()
Application.OnKey "t", "tKeyPressed"
Application.OnKey "e", "eKeyPressed"
Application.OnKey "s", "sKeyPressed"
Application.OnKey "t", "tKeyPressed"
End Sub
Private Sub Workbook_BeforeClose()
Application.OnKey "t"
Application.OnKey "e"
Application.OnKey "s"
Application.OnKey "t"
End Sub

In any module, for example KeyboardAction:

Sub tKeyPressed()
Application.DisplayStatusBar = True
Application.StatusBar = "t key linked to special action in KeyboardAction module"
End Sub
Sub eKeyPressed()
Application.DisplayStatusBar = True
Application.StatusBar = "e key linked to special action in KeyboardAction module"
End Sub
Sub sKeyPressed()
Application.DisplayStatusBar = True
Application.StatusBar = "s key linked to special action in KeyboardAction module"
End Sub

Search Lookup

The search lookup functionality has also been described in details in this previous blog post. The macro is included in this Excel Macro Example as well.

The formula for E9 below looks like:



Open Save

A button with linked macro to navigate to a folder is shown in the module 'OpenSave'.

A basic example of the resource exporter I showed in a previous post, is included as well. It will export the example data set into a text file, and while doing so, all special characters will be converted (eg &#233). For rows in the list of AlternativeEncoding, an alternative encoding for special characters will be used (eg \u00E9). To make the sheet readable, the special characters can be converted back into readable special characters. The conversion is based on a hex2ascii converter, unicode encoding, html encoding and decoding.

When you would reuse this code, please note, in order to support FileSystemObject, you’ll need to add reference to Microsoft scripting runtime in your Excel workbook VBA. In order to do so, open the Visual Basic environment in Excel (ALT+F11) > Menu ‘Tools’ > ‘Reference’ > Enable ‘Microsoft Scripting Runtime’. If this isn’t done in the workbook, the error ‘User defined type not defined’ will appear when writing an export file on ‘Dim fso As New FileSystemObject’.


When the special characters are encoded using the macro, they will look like this:


PhoneBook vCard export

A sheet in which all phonebook data can be added (can be exported from any other application) is now available. Once all contact information is set, it can be exported into a vCard format which is supported by many address and contact management applications. More details can be found in this specific blog post.


All code is available in the Excel Macro Example.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Android selection

I recently moved to Android. Starting with a cheap but excellent Archos A80s G9 Turbo 16GB TI OMAP4430 dual core 1,2GHz with 3G usb stick. It was one of the first tablets to get official ICS support and it has a very good XDA support for rooting and custom roms. Last week I replaced my old Samsung B7610 Pro Windows Mobile 6.5 phone for a Sony Xperia Sola MT27i Android 2.3.7 rooted and custom rom SSpeed. The ICS update should become available soon.

A list of my favorite applications I found very useful:

  • TeamViewer: free easy VNC with no firewall configuration
  • Google Reader: RSS reader
  • AirDroid: manage your Android device via browser in local network
  • Roboform: manage all your passwords securely and automated login/saving. Synchronized in cloud for full desktop synchronization and making sure you’ve your passwords everywhere in sync.
  • PhoneAlarm: never miss a new reminder/sms/mail/call by repeating the notification
  • IM+: connect all chat accounts at once (Google Talk, Facebook, MSN, Skype, Yahoo, etc)
  • TriCount: easy track and calculate group expenses
  • GoldenDict: offline dictionary compatible with the enormous Babylon dictionaries and custom Babylon dicts
  • myShopi: grocery list to remember what to buy in which shop, integrated list of shops and their opening hours, coupons and recipes
  • Smart Tools: use compass, gyro, accelerometer, flashlight, camera to measure etc
  • Opera mobile: browser
  • Business Calendar: many calendar look and feel options
  • Weather Service Pro: weather info and widget, still able to show cached info while offline (unlike many others)
  • Shazam Encore: record short music to get full info on artist, offline record possible to get full info later while online
  • TVGids 2.0: TV schedule overview compatible with Belgian tv
  • Mixologist: good looking bar and mix info
  • Knots3D: info on how to tie knots, with full usage info and 3D details
  • Car Locator: locate your car, automatically save car location when disconnection Bluetooth car headset
  • Sygic drive: offline GSP navigation, download maps
  • FolderSync: file manager and synchronization of all cloud storage service (Amazon S3,, dropbox, ftp, google docs, google drive, netdocuments, sftp, SkyDrive, SMB, SugarSync, Ubuntu One, WebDAV)
  • FileExpert: filemanager with integrated zip and rar archive support
  • AutomateIt: automate tasks, alternative for Tasker
  • Find My Phone: retrieve phone GPS location by sending special SMSs with password or make your phone ring on max volume level by sending specific sms (even when phone is muted and offline)
  • Ultra Keyboard: keyboard with many customization options and multi clipboard
  • Camera Zoom FX: camera app with special effects and optimized quality
  • Gallery Excluder: exclude some folder to be shown in Android default image gallery
  • OneNote: MS Office OneNote synchronized notes
  • Evernote: notes saved in cloud
  • Call Log Calendar: keep track of each call and SMSs in specific calendars
  • Convertor Pro: convert any kind of sizes, currencies, dates, time, etc
  • Mantano Reader: ebook and pdf reader with good options and compatible with most formats
  • Google translate: translate text
  • Kingsoft Office: excellent MS Office document viewer and editor , free!
  • NeverLate: traffic information

Besides those, some other standard well know applications known by everyone (eg facebook, gmail, whatsapp, youtube, etc).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

USB drive daily usage: encrypt & sync

As I described in a previous post, I advise the Rohos Mini Drive to be used on a USB Stick for daily usage. It does everything you can expect from an encryption tool, but has the benefit to have a unique non-admin account support with Rohos Disk Browser. But for a user friendly daily usage of a USB drive, an automated synchronization process is required on top of a safe encryption mechanism: you always want the latest version of your files to be available on your own pc and USB stick. If you change anything on any location, all files should get updated immediately.

For this I combine the strength of Rohos Mini Drive with GoodSync. GoodSync can be configured to monitor if a USB stick is attached to your system. If it detects the encrypted disk, it needs to launch the Rohos Mini Drive to give access to the encrypted files. Once the encrypted files are accessible by your PC, the files should be synchronized automatically. Since Rohos Mini Drive provides access to the files as a new virtual disk, GoodSynch can be configured to be launched as soon as this virtual disk becomes available. And at that moment, the full synchronization features of GoodSync can be started to make sure all latest versions of your files are available on your PC and on your USB stick.

So the only missing part in this process, was the need to launch Rohos Mini Drive and mount the virtual disk automatically. I solved this using the little batch script below. It will find the correct drive, launch Rohos Mini Drive to mount the encrypted disk. The user will need to provide the password. Once the correct password is provided, the encrypted drive will be mounted (become available in Windows Explorer).

GoodSync is configured to launch the batch script as soon as the USB stick is connected. The batch script will mount the encrypted disk and another GoodSync job will detect this virtual encrypted disk to become available. In this GoodSync job, the synchronisation of the local folder and encrypted USB Stick folder is configured.

Some screenshots of the different configurations:

@echo off
set PROCESS_NAME=Rohos Mini.exe
tasklist /FI "IMAGENAME eq %PROCESS_NAME%" 2>NUL | find /I /N "%PROCESS_NAME%">NUL


set _Target=NotFound

for /f usebackq %%a in (`Drives.exe -f %USB_STICK_NAME%`) do set _Target=%%a
if "%_Target%" == "NotFound" (
echo Unable to find target drive named "%USB_STICK_NAME%"
goto :EOF
start "Rohos" "%_Target%\%PROCESS_NAME%"

Update 06/11/2012: I moved to using EncFS to encrypt my files on Windows/Cloud/Android instead of using Rohos Mini Drive. Rohos had some compatibility issues with Windows 7. This good blogpost describes all tools needed to get started with EncFS on different environments. I’m only missing a decent portable solution that could work without admin rights.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Batch parameter modifier

In batch script, one can use the following modifier to expand to full path etc.

%1 first parameter provided to the script.
%~1 Expands %1 and removes any surrounding quotation marks ("").
%~f1 Expands %1 to a fully qualified path name.
%~d1 Expands %1 to a drive letter.
%~p1 Expands %1 to a path.
%~n1 Expands %1 to a file name.
%~x1 Expands %1 to a file extension.
%~s1 Expanded path contains short names only.
%~a1 Expands %1 to file attributes.
%~t1 Expands %1 to date and time of file.
%~z1 Expands %1 to size of file.
%~$PATH:1 Searches the directories listed in the PATH environment variable and expands %1 to the fully qualified name of the first one found. If the environment variable name is not defined or the file is not found, this modifier expands to the empty string.
%~dp1 Expands %1 to a drive letter and path.
%~nx1 Expands %1 to a file name and extension.
%~dp$PATH:1 Searches the directories listed in the PATH environment variable for %1 and expands to the drive letter and path of the first one found.
%~ftza1 Expands %1 to a dir-like output line.
%cd% current working direcotry.
%~dp0 script directory.
%~dp0..\ parent of script direcotry.

SET Today=%Date: =0%
SET TodayYYYYMMDD=%Today:~-4%%Date:~-7,2%%Date:~-10,2%
SET Now=%Time: =0%

In the previous examples, you can replace %1 and PATH with other batch parameter values.

The %* modifier is a unique modifier that represents all arguments passed in a batch file. You cannot use this modifier in combination with the %~ modifier. The %~ syntax must be terminated by a valid argument value.

You cannot manipulate batch parameters in the same manner that you can manipulate environment variables. You cannot search and replace values or examine substrings. However, you can assign the parameter to an environment variable, and then manipulate the environment variable.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Salling Clicker - Windows Mobile

Salling Clicker is a remote control software. It lets you control popular applications from a mobile phone or handheld computer through a user interface similar to a portable media player.
You can choose to have the computer take action when you make or receive a phone call or get close to your pc. For instance, Salling Clicker can automatically mute the system volume while you're on the phone or automatically lock the pc while your gone.

  • Control PowerPoint, iTunes, Windows Media Player, and more with your mobile device.
  • Works with all major Bluetooth stacks (no configuration required).
  • Amazingly easy-to-use WiFi connectivity for long-range control.
  • Works with over 300 devices.
  • Easily extend support for other applications using JavaScript or VBScript


Salling Clicker is installed with a set of default scripts (JavaScript for Windows) to support many different applications (PowerPoint, iTunes, MediaPlayer, etc.). On the forums of Salling Clicker many other custom scripts can be found, created and shared by the community.
I've created a set of personal scripts, some are base on the official scripts, some are based on the scripts found in the forums and some are completely new. I just list all the scripts I use:
  • De Slimste Mens: as explain in this separate blog post, I've created a complete interface to control the Flemish game "De Slimste Mens".
  • myT Mouse Keyboard: full control for mouse and keyboard. Specially made for Windows Mobile devices with hardware keyboard (tested on Samsung Omnia B7310 and HTC Wizard (Qtek9100)). Use the screen to move mouse, use 'Menu' button to get context menu (mouse right click), use 'Help' button for extra options. To get a good overview of all options, I’ve put some screenshot online.
    Use hardware keyboard to send all keys. The used keys will be displayed on the main screen for easy action tracking.
    The extra option are:
    • switching of Shift/Ctrl/Alt/Win keys
    • sending special characters
    • sending function keys (eg F1-F12, pause, insert, delete, etc)
    • sending media keys (play next song, webbrowser control, etc)
    • sending long text: text input on device
    • open a file on pc: navigate to folder and open a file, recent file history, easy access to favorite locations (eg start menu, 'my documents', etc)
    • Zoom screen using freeware ZoomIt application, all ZoomIt options supported (pen, break, etc)
    • Show a screenshot of the pc on the main screen.
    • Exchange data from pc clipboard to device and/or put text into the pc clipboard
  • PowerPoint: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • MediaPlayer: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • MediaPortal: from forum
  • MediaCenter: from forum
  • iTunes: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • BSPlayer: from forum
  • VLC: from forum
  • WinDVD: from forum
  • MSN Online status: from forum
  • uTorrent: from forum
  • ShutdownControls: shutodown/hibernate/standby/screen on-off/lock
  • Device Info: distiribuated by Salling Clicker
  • Disconnect: distiribuated by Salling Clicker
  • System volume: control pc volume
  • MuteWhileOnPhone: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • CallNotifier: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • LockComputer: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • MonitorAway: distribuated by Salling Clicker
  • Show Message: show message on pc

Monday, January 17, 2011

Toshiba Tecra S11

We recently replaced our old portable Lenovo ThinkPad T61 by the Toshiba Tecra S11, Intel® Core™ i5 M520, 2,40GHz, 4GB Ram.
Although this new one is certainly not the best device available, as can be read in this technical review, it has some nice new features like a finger print reader, SmartCard reader, webcam, DisplayPort and a larger HDD (320GB).


When we received the laptop, not all drivers were installed correctly. Additional drivers can be download and should be installed in the provided order:

Toshiba official software download site:, 64 bit drivers


  • The build-in SmartCard reader can be used to read the Belgian eID cards, and thus also to login on the Tax-On-Web pages. After installation of the SmartCard driver (see above) and a reboot, install the eID software and reboot again.

  • AutoSensitivity allows you to define different mouse sensitivities (speeds) for your touchpad and mouse and automatically switch between them (based on mouse connect / disconnect). This can be useful since the touchpad on this Toshiba is rather slow.

  • Windows Explorer extentions

Update 22/05/2012: As I moved to Windows 64 bit, I added the link to download 64 bit drivers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

De Slimste Mens Ter Wereld

(Nederlandse versie: zie onder)

Jonathan Huyghe has made a nice little flash tool to let you play the popular Flemish TV show ‘De slimste mens ter wereld’ (The smartest person of the world) at home.
Because I found it quite complicated to prepare the game, I made a little Excel template that should make it more straightforward to make all preparations for it. It can easily generate the required ‘antwoorden.txt’ file with the correct syntax and it can print out cards with instructions to be used by the host during the game play.

Update 01/2016: An alternative version (independent of the version discussed below) is now available with full online management of the quiz. It works very well and very easy to create your own quiz's! See:

User Manual

  1. Download this package containing the original sources of Jonathan Huyghe + Excel template ‘DSM-Voorbereiding.xlt’
  2. Open the file ‘DSM-Voorbereiding’ with Excel and allow macros to run.EnableMacros
  3. Fill in all grey marked fields (names of players, questions, answers). The other fields are protected so no mistakes can be made by accident.
  4. Some questions require .jpg images or .flv flash movies. The names and resolution of the files are put next to the questions. These files should be saved in the same folder next to the DSM .swf flash file manually.
  5. Save the Excel sheet, it is advised to save it in the same folder as the DSM .swf file
  6. Click on the top button ‘Exporteer antwoorden.txt’ to generate (or overwrite) the ‘antwoorden.txt’ file (in the same folder as the Excel file) based on the data provided in the sheet. This file is required by the DSM .swf flash tool.
  7. Click on the top button ‘Print steekkaarten’ to get a print preview of the instruction cards that can be used by the game host. All instructions, questions and answers are clearly put together to print out and use during the play. The cards can be printed out 2 or 4 per page to make it easier to hold them during the game.


I've made two quizzes using the Excel file with questions, images and movies:


  • If some changes are required to customize the layout etc, the sheets can be unprotected (no password is used) using the Excel menus.
  • To convert movie files the freeware tools Format Factory and / or Riva FLV encoder can be used.
  • To convert / edit the picture files, the freeware tool Paint.NET can be used.
  • While exporting the 'antwoorden.txt' file, another file 'DSMData.txt' will be created (since v2.0). This 'DSMData.txt' file can be imported on a Windows Mobile pocket pc to get a very user friendly interface to control the flash quiz on a pc. For this, it will be required to install Salling Clicker on the PC and Windows Mobile device. Next this Salling Clicker 'De Slimste Mens' script needs to be added in Salling Clicker. A new item will be available in Salling Clicker on the Windows Mobile device. I've put some screenshots online.

(Dutch – Nederlands)

Jonathan Huyghe heeft een mooi flash programmaatje gemaakt om je thuis het populaire Vlaamse TV spel ‘De slimste mens ter wereld’ te laten spelen.
Omdat ik het nogal omslachtig vond om het spel op te zetten, heb ik een Excel template gemaakt om alle voorbereidingen te vergemakkelijken en wat duidelijker te maken. Deze Excel laat toe om het bestand ‘antwoorden.txt’ te genereren met de juiste syntax. Ook kunnen steekkaarten afgeprint worden met alle instructies, vragen en antwoorden die nodig zijn tijdens het spelen van het spel.

Update 01/2016: Een alternatieve versie voor het opzetten en spelen van eigen 'De Slimste Mens' (volledig losstaand van deze hierboven beschreven) is nu beschikbaar. Deze is volledig online beschikbaar. Deze kan volledig via de website opgesteld en gespeeld worden. Dit werkt zeer vlot en hiervoor dienen dus ook de onderstaande instructies en Excel bewerkingen niet langer voor opgezet worden, volg gewoon de eenvoudige instructies op de website.


  1. Download dit zip bestand met alle nodige bestanden van Jonathan Huyghe en de Excel template ‘DSM-Voorbereiding.xlt’.
  2. Open het bestand ‘DSM-Voorbereiding.xlt’ met Excel en sta het uitvoeren van macro’s toe.EnableMacros
  3. Vul al de grijze velden in (namen spelers, vragen, antwoorden). De andere velden zijn normaal beschermd zodat deze niet per ongeluk kunnen gewijzigd worden.
  4. Voor sommige vragen is het nodig om .jpg afbeeldingen en .flv flash filmpjes beschikbaar te maken. De namen en de resoluties die hiervoor moeten gebruikt worden, staan aangegeven naast de vragen. Deze bestanden moeten manueel in de zelfde map als het DSM .swf bestand geplaatst worden.
  5. Sla het Excel bestand op. Belangrijk hierbij: sla het bestand op als een Excel Macro-enabled bestand .xlsm, en niet als een standaard Excel .xlsx bestand, anders zullen de macro’s voor het exporteren verloren gaan. Het is aangeraden om het bestand in dezelfde map als het DSM .swf bestand op te slaan.
  6. Klik op de bovenste knop ‘Exporteer antwoorden.txt’ om het bestand ‘antwoorden.txt’ automatisch aan te maken (of te overschrijven). Dit bestand zal in dezelfde map als het Excel bestand geplaatst worden. Het bestand ‘antwoorden.txt’ is nodig voor de werking van het .swf programma DSM.
  7. Klik op de bovenste knop ‘Print steekkaarten’ om een print voorbeeld te krijgen van de steekkaarten. Deze steekkaarten kunnen tijdens het spel gebruikt worden en geven duidelijk de instructies, vragen en antwoorden aan. De steekkaarten kunnen per 2 of per 4 per blad afgedrukt worden om ze gemakkelijker vast te houden tijdens het spel. Eventueel kan hiervoor de gratis CutePDF printer gebruikt worden om naar PDF te printen met 2 of 4 per blad.
  8. Open het bestand ‘DSM3x4.swf’ met Internet Explorer om het spel te starten, volg vervolgens de instructies op de steekkaarten.


Zelf heb ik 2 quizzen gemaakt, met de Excel met vragen, afbeeldingen en filmpjes:


  • Als er wijzigen nodig zijn in de layout enz. kan het nodig zijn om de bescherming van de Excel tabbladen te verwijderen. Dit kan eenvoudig via de Excel menu’s (er is geen wachtwoord gebruikt in de beveiliging).
  • Voor het omzetten van de filmpjes kunnen de gratis applicaties Format Factory en / of Riva FLV encoder gebruikt worden.
  • Voor het omzetten / bewerken van afbeeldingen, kan de gratis applicatie Paint.NET gebruikt worden.
  • Bij het exporteren van het bestand 'antwoorden.txt', zal nu ook een bijkomend bestand 'DSMData.txt' aangemaakt worden. Dit bestand kan geïmporteerd worden op een Windows Mobile toestel om zo een zeer eenvoudige bediening van het volledige spel toe te laten. Hiervoor moet op de computer en de Windows Mobile PDA wel Salling Clicker geïnstalleerd worden en vervolgens moet dit Salling Clicker 'De Slimste Mens' script toegevoegd worden. Een nieuw item zal beschikbaar zijn in Salling Clicker op het Windows Mobile toestel. Enkele schermafbeeldingen.

Update 2/12/2010 v1.4: Extra validation added for field lengths. Status bar message for export added. Added import functionality.

Update 6/12/2010 v1.5: Added example quiz questions.

Update 17/01/2011 v2.0: Added export for Salling Clicker

Monday, November 29, 2010

Personal expense sheet

With the formula I presented in my previous blogpost on Excel look-ups I created an Excel sheet to monitor my personal expenses.
It is based on the data I extract from my different online banking systems (currently for the Belgian banks Argenta, Landbouwkrediet and KBC).

In the 'Categories' sheet, different keywords linked to the category name need to be filled in, this could be the name of a company or the account number. The keyword will be looked up in the account and comment of each transaction. And this will make it possible to automatically categorize each bank transaction and automate some analysis/summary overview on the transactions.

Every now and then, I copy the data from the online banking system into the 'data' Excel sheets. All expenses are categorized automatically with my formula in the column 'Auto Type', but if some exceptional category needs to be assigned, a 'Manual Type' column can be set to override the 'Auto Type'. Based on these categories, I created some sheets with an summary overview for each month and some averages per month and per year. This way, I can get a clean overview on our expenses and incomes and keep a copy of our banking data offline as well (since many banks only keep last 2 years online).

Based on my personal sheet I created this empty (dutch) template sheet, but it will still need some custom changes to be usable for someone else. But it could be a nice starting point.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

GIT usage (for an SVN user)

I put together some stuff about git I found interesting.


To get started with git on Windows, you'll probably want to download TortoiseGIT (and this requires msysgit)


To use git, a username and email need to be configured. This can be done in of TortoiseSVN -> Settings -> Git -> Config.

Migration from SVN

A very good manual to migrate your existing SVN repository to GIT can be found in this blog post of Jon Maddox.

Good to know

Git tracks content not files
Many revision control systems provide an 'add' command that tells the system to start tracking changes to a new file. Git's 'add' command does something simpler and more powerful: git add is used both for new and newly modified files, and in both cases it takes a snapshot of the given files and stages that content in the index, ready for inclusion in the next commit.

Most SCM systems use Delta Storage systems - they store the differences between one commit and the next. Git does not do this - it stores a snapshot of what all the files in your project look like in this tree structure each time you commit. This is a very important concept to understand when using Git.

There is only one Git Directory per project (as opposed to one per subdirectory like with SVN or CVS), and that directory is (by default, though not necessarily) '.git' in the root of your project.

Git is much faster than SVN.

In SVN, each file & folder can come from a different revision or branch. At first, it sounds nice to have this freedom. But what this actually means is that there is a million different ways for your local checkout to be completely screwed up.

You have to tell SVN whenever you move or delete something. Git will just figure it out.

Branches are cheap and easy to merge, so this is a good way to try something out.

A single git repository can maintain multiple branches of development. The 'master' branch is a default branch that was created for you automatically. The 'git checkout branchname' command will switch between branches. The command 'git merge branchname' will merge changes from another branch in the current active branch.

The 'pull' command performs two operations: it fetches changes from a remote branch, then merges them into the current branch.

'git commit' commits locally, whereas 'git push origin master' pushes the master branch to the remote named 'origin').

Git adds complexity. Two modes of creating repositories, checkout vs. clone, commit vs. push... You have to know which commands work locally and which work with "the server" (I'm assuming most people still like a central "master-repository").

Git is MUCH better suited if some developers are not always connected to the master repository.

Even if you don't have commit rights for a project, you can still have your own repository online, and publish 'push requests' for your patches. Everybody who likes your patches can pull them into their project, including the official maintainers.

Drawbacks of Git:

  • it's much harder to learn, because Git has more concepts and more commands.
    • many Git commands are cryptic, and error messages are very user-unfriendly
  • revisions don't have version numbers like in subversion
  • you have to have a full copy of the repository, you can't work on partials

Git branching model

A very good post on git branching model
Pdf model overview
  • Central repo with 'origin/master' and 'origin/development' branches (infinte lifetime)
    • 'origin/master' branch reflects the production release
  • Supporting branches
    • feature branch: branches from development and merges into development, branch name different from master, develop, release-* or hotfix-*, exist in developers repos only, not in central origin
    • release branch: branches from development and merges into development and master, branch name release-*, all feature branches must be merged in development before release branch is branched off
    • hotfix branch: branches from development and merges into development, master and release, branch name hotfix-*

Central Repo

If you like to setup a git central repository on Windows (for example to replace your VisualSVN environment), you can follow this manual.

Update 23/04/2015: A good tutorial and Git related info can be found on this Atlassian site.