errorThe reality of using software is that you may encounter errors from time to time.  The proper reporting of an error can significantly increase the turnaround time for a resolution.  The intent of this article is to demonstrate how to effectively report errors to the D-Tools Support team,

Simply emailing “my d-tools is broke” is not very useful to us.  While “I’m getting an error logging in to SI5.5” is better, it still is very vague information.  Always include the exact error message you that are receiving.   If you don’t feel like typing out the entire error (who would do that?) there are many options available to you to capture a screen shot or the content of an error message.

error message

If the error message looks like the one above, you can easily copy the text directly from the error message window using standard keyboard shortcuts.  To do this, click on the error message window and then click [Ctrl] + [C] and this will copy the text from the window.  Then use [Ctrl] + [V] to paste the text into the body of any email or into a document that you can attach to your email.  You also have the option of using standard keyboard shortcuts to capture an image of the error.

The most commonly used screen capture function is either [Ctrl] + [Print Screen] or [Alt] + [Print Screen] (depending on your keyboard, the Print Screen button may be abbreviated as PRTSC or PRT SCR).  The difference between the two is using [Ctrl] will capture an image of your entire screen while using [Alt] captures just the currently selected window (like the error message window).  I encourage you to send both captures.  While the [Alt] + [Print Screen] makes it easier to read the actual message, the [Ctrl] + [Print Screen] capture can reveal a lot of detail that you may not think to mention such as your operating system, other programs running, what SI5.5 interface you were working in, etc.

When you use the either the [Ctrl] + [Print Screen] or [Alt] + [Print Screen] commands, it will appear as if nothing happens.  What does happen is that the image is placed on your Clipboard and is available to paste into many different applications.  You can paste the screen capture into a Word document, the body of an email (works in Outlook when using Word as your editor), or even Microsoft Paint.  If using Word or Paint, save the file and attach it to an email to D-Tools Support.

If you want more control over your screen shots, an excellent screen capture software that you can purchase for around $50 is SnagIt by TechSmith.  This program can capture just about anything you want, exactly as you want it.  In addition to capturing images you can also markup the image with notes and helpful symbols.  This tool is great for capturing images of the UIs you create for touch panels for use in documentation for your systems.

Aside from including the exact error message you are receiving, here are some suggestions on what else to include in your email to D-Tools Support:

–          When exactly does the error occur?

–          Does this happen on all machines using SI5.5 or just yours?

–          Has the function/action you were attempting ever worked on your machine?

–          What version of SI5.5 you are using? (from SI5.5. Navigator, Help->About)

–          What operating system are you using?

-Seth Enos