SmartSuite SmartMasters

By: John W. Edwards
Date: 03/29/00

What is a SmartMaster?

It is difficult to define exactly what a SmartMaster is. This is because it depends upon which module of the Lotus SmartSuite for OS/2 Warp 4 that you are using. Generally, a SmartMaster is a template that has been specially prepared to speed you through the setup process to meet a specific need. It can also be a set of macros to assist in entering information, a structured layout for the information and may even be an application.

Why use SmartMasters?

SmartMasters have been professionally prepared and have been developed through a process of attempting to meet a specific need of business and this development will ensure that all necessary items are included. SmartMasters provide you with a method to quickly and efficiently provide for standardization or at the very least consistency in the documents produced. Thus allowing you to put forth a consistent image in any documents produced. The use of SmartMasters can significantly reduce the time needed to learn or create your own documents. Because they are at times a matter of "fill in the blanks" or answer a prompt, they are easy to use. Although the SmartMasters can be used as you received them, they are modifiable to allow you to meet your specific needs. You can even create your own SmartMaster for anything that you want that is not already supplied the program.

How to use SmartMasters

When starting one of the four applications, you can select from either a saved document or from a SmartMaster. Choosing a Smartmaster will often all you two choices: first to select the content type and second to select the look of the document.

When you first start one of the modules, you will see a window that will allow you the choice of opening an existing document or a SmartMaster. To work on an existing document, you should select to open the existing document. To create a new document, you can either select to open a blank document or a SmartMaster. To get going quickly, it is best to choose the appropriate SmartMaster. Some modules will also offer you the choice to use a recently used SmartMaster or choose a new SmartMaster. This can be a timesaver if you use the same SmartMasters repeatedly, such as if you use a particular format for a letter then you do not have to search for it each time from the full list of SmartMasters.

WordPro SmartMasters

For the WordPro SmartMasters to work effectively it is necessary to enter your personal information first. This is done by selecting 'File --> User Setup --> WordPro Preferences --> Personal' and filling in the information that you wish to be included in your documents, such as name, address, telephone, fax, e-mail, etc.

(Click on any image to enlarge it and then use "Back" to return to this document.)

To use a SmartMaster, either select the 'Create from a recently used SmartMaster' or 'Create from any SmartMaster' tabs and selecting New Document from the file menu. If you choose the 'Create from any SmartMaster' tab, then you must make two selections. First, you must select the purpose of the document and when you have done this, you must select the look of the document. A sample image is shown to the right of the list that will allow you to make a selection.

Once the selection is made you will see a document that contains any pertinent personal information and in another colour tells you the type of information to enter to complete the document.

The SmartMaster contains all of the styles, page layouts, paragraph properties, character properties, etc. needed to prepare a quality document without a lot of setup on your part.

1-2-3 SmartMasters

The SmartMasters contain templates to create workbooks for many business and financial concerns. In this case the SmartMaster will contain sample information and instructions to speed you through the learning process and get you up and running. When you are comfortable with the formation, you can simply enter your own data and then use the charting and printing features built in to the SmartMaster.

As with the WordPro SmartMasters, you will be asked to choose to a SmartMaster when you create a new document.

Approach SmartMasters

The Approach SmartMasters will either provide you with a complete database application that will include sample data that you can learn from and then delete the sample information and enter your own data or will provide templates to meet various situations.

To use a SmartMaster, simply select either an application or a template from the list provided and follow the instructions given.

Freelance Graphics SmartMasters

These SmartMasters allow you to create presentations by choosing a content topic from a list and choosing the look of the presentation. The content provides the layout of various types of pages to meet the needs of various parts of your presentation. You will be provided both with actual content and with 'click here' locations to input your specific information in the form of words, diagrams, charts, pictures, logos, animations, sound and more. The look provides the background and overall appearance of each page by including the design elements such as fonts and colours. You must choose both the content and the look when choosing a SmartMaster.

The look can be changed at any time to change the overall impression given by your presentation. Changing the look will not change the content or layout of each page. There may be some change in the location on the page of the content to meet the new look but the actual content does not change.

Each content SmartMaster will have various page layouts for titles, lists, charts, diagrams, and tables and will also provide a blank page for you to express your own creativity. Although each SmartMaster may have a large number of different page layouts available, you need only use those pages that fit your needs.

The page contains enough information in "Click Here" items to allow you to add your information to the page.


The use of SmartMasters in the Lotus SmartSuite for OS/2 Warp 4 has both advantages and disadvantages.

  • Advantages
    • ease of learning
    • speed of creating documents
    • consistency of documents
    • professional appearance of documents
    • includes style, layouts, properties, etc.
    • provides samples for a look at final document
    • provides a head start on preparing a document
  • Disadvantages
    • may not meet your specific needs
    • may not include all the information you wish
    • limits the choices available and cannot meet every need
    • may not reflect your personal style
    • "one size does not fit all"

The disadvantages can usually be overcome by modifying the existing SmartMasters to customize them for your own purposes or by creating a new SmartMaster that meets your needs. This is still a disadvantage at first because of the additional time needed to modify or create your SmartMaster, however, this is overcome by the future savings in time and effort when you reuse it. If this is a one time effort that cannot be met using a SmartMaster then do not use the SmartMaster concept but rather just create the document.

The bottom line is that SmartMasters can make your job easier and faster by allowing you to spend your time and effort on the content without having to worry also about the appearance and the many properties settings.

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