Installation. 1

Recipient window Introduction. 1

Running News of the Past Professional for the first time. 4

Personal Message. 4

PDF Printing Setup. 4

Graph Setup. 5

Email Setup. 5

Setting Up Web Mail 6

Email a Greeting step-by-step. 7

Save Greetings PDF to files. 7

Printing. 8

Saving names to the built-in customer database. 9

Building a customer database. 9

Working with names in the list 9

Future Dates. 9

Greetings without a year. 10

On This Day Greetings. 10

Milestone Setting Option. 10

Certificate Templates. 11

Card Insert Introduction. 12

Card Inserts. 12

Card Inserts Templates. 13

Saving a Modified Card Insert 14

Locating SAVED INSERTS. 14

Previewing a saved Card Insert Template. 15

Customer database. 16

Import Contacts. 17

Mapping Window Instructions. 17

Locating Names after saving. 18

Importing names from Excel 19

Import names and dates saved in a previous version. 20

Import reports from previous version. 21

Backing up the Name List 23

customer Search. 24

Printing. 26

Print Preview.. 28

Customize Your Greetings. 28

Editing Content 29

Step-by-Step guide to editing Card Insert Content 29

Customize Date Titles. 30

codes for Including date and milestone in Date Description. 31

Editing Databases. 32

Graph Feature. 33

Modifying Certificate Graphs. 33

Utilities. 35

Import reports from previous version. 36

Design  -  Desktop Publishing. 37

Editing a template in the Designer. 38

Text – font size and Font color. 38

Graph field in the Report designer. 40

Pictures. 40

Greeting Templates Examples. 44

Trouble Shooting. 50



The installation procedure is simple. From Windows Explorer or My Computer, browse to the News of the Past Professional CD and double-click on the setup icon to start the installation. Some users may have downloaded News of the Past Professional from the Internet. Replacement downloads are available. To request a replacement, gather details about the original purchase, such as the name in which the order was placed, the name of the program you need to replace, the purchase date, and the purchase location. Email this information along with a request for a download to



Recipient window Introduction


On startup, you will see the Recipient window. This is where it all happens. Creating a greeting is easy. The four steps you take to print your first greeting appear in the yellow labels:

1.       Enter a name.

2.       Enter a date.

3.       Select a Birthday Print Template.

4.       Click on Print Options.

You'll quickly learn how to print attractive birthday greetings—but News of the Past Professional is capable of doing much more. This instructional guide will show you how to utilize the program to its fullest potential.


Running News of the Past Professional for the first time

You can do almost everything you need to in News of the Past from a single functional window: the Recipient window, where you can select all your greeting options.

You can send greetings in two ways: The first method is to create a list of contacts by entering the desired names and birth dates, then clicking on the Add Name to List button. Then select (double-click on) the names in the list, and finally click on Print Options to generate the greetings. The second method is to simply enter one name and birth date, and click on Print Options to print a single greeting.


Personal Message

Sometimes you may want to include a custom message in a group of greetings without having to change each greeting individually. In such cases, click on the Message button in the Recipient window and enter text in the box that appears. Your custom message will be printed on your greetings, usually at the bottom. The font and position will vary from design to design.






PDF Printing Setup

News of the Past Professional has an option to print greetings to a local PDF file that you can later send as an email attachment or email directly from News of the Past Professional. To facilitate this feature, you need to install a PDF printer driver named BullZip. The BullZip installer ships on the installation CD, or you can download it from To do so, double-click on the PDF Setup icon.


Graph Setup

The graphing feature uses the Microsoft Excel graphing engine. However, note that the graph feature functions only if you have Microsoft Excel version 2000 or higher installed on your system. If you do not have such a version of Microsoft Excel installed on your system, News of the Past Professional prints a replacement database (shared birthdays) in the graph’s place.


Email Setup

News of the Past offers several ways to generate greetings for email delivery. Two methods create a PDF file. One saves the PDF to the hard drive; the other automatically sends it to the recipient. Both email options require a program named BullZip, which is included on the installation CD. If you don’t have BullZip installed when you run either email option, a window opens asking you to download and install BullZip.

Once both installations, News of the Past Professional and BullZip, have completed, you are ready to experience the power of News of the Past Professional.

If you are not interested in using BullZip, we offer you another way to send emails through a Web-based system. Web emails are sent through a web-based service on or The Web-based email system has some limitations. It lets you upload the name, date, and email address, but the print templates are not identical to those in the desktop application. When sending greetings locally through BullZip, you are sending an exact replica of the greeting chosen in News of the Past.

Email PDF Greetings

There are three ways to email News of the Past Professional greetings..

1.       You can email the PDF-generated greetings directly from News of the Past Professional. This allows you to batch-select names and send messages to an entire group of recipients simultaneously. However, to use this feature, you must have a MAPI-compliant email client such as Microsoft Outlook Express or Outlook, or Mozilla Firefox or Thunderbird, installed and configured as your email client. The messages will pass through your email client, and you can also store a copy of the messages in your Sent Items folder.

2.       Use your Web Mail email account. This requires setting up properties so the software can communicate with your webmail account.

3.       You can save the greeting to the computer as a PDF file, attach it to an email, and send it to the recipient.

When you’re sending email greetings, a window opens in which you can enter a subject line and message. We recommend that you use this feature so your recipients recognize the sender and so anti-spam applications are less likely to screen your greetings out.



Setting Up Web Mail

Located in the Recipient window, in the Edit drop-down menu, followed by clicking Utilities you will find the Email Settings. Here is where you define how News of the Past attempts to deliver email greetings using a webmail account.

Because of possible network restrictions, not all users will have success emailing greetings without the assistance of a system administrator for setup and for applying the permissions necessary for delivering email greetings through News of the Past Professional.

To complete the setup you will need the following information. This requires research. You will need to contact your email provider, or research using the Internet for the following information.

User ID - Normally your personal webmail email address.

Password – Normally your webmail email address.

SMTP – Webmail hosts have unique information for this field requiring you to research the email provider for instructions. Example, if you use Yahoo for your email, in this field you would enter

SMTP Port – The normal entry for this field is 465.


Email a Greeting step-by-step


  1. Type a name and date plus an email address into the Recipient window. If you have names saved to the built-in customer database, perform a search to populate the name list. Mark (select) one or more names in the recipient name list. A selected name will need to include a saved email address.
  2. Click the Print Options button, and then click on the Send Email button.
  3. The Send Mail window opens; here you can enter a subject line and message.
  4. Click on the Send button.


Save Greetings PDF to files

This email option uses the BullZip software installed with News of the Past to save each greeting as a PDF file on your hard drive. In your email program, you will need to locate the PDF files and attach them for email delivery.

Check out Time Traveler—News of the Past at Here you can email or print News of the Past greetings online. Sample greetings are free.



To generate a single greeting, take a look at the data entry section of the Recipient window, shown below:


Entering a name is optional when printing a single greeting, but a name is required when saving a greeting to the internal customer database (cust.dbf). Enter a date in one of the three date fields—Birth Date, Anniversary Date, or On This Day—in MM/DD/YYYY format. With a date entered, click the Print Options button to print a greeting, or click the Save Recipient’s Data button.

If your choice is to save the name that will save the information to the internal customer database making it easy the next time you choose to make a greeting for that person. In the future you will simply click the Search button to recall saved names. It also gives you the opportunity to use the programs Birthday Reminder feature. Clicking on Add Name to List button saves names to the customer database. You can restore a name to the name list for printing by searching for it (click on Search).

With names appearing in the name list weather by performing a search or by clicking the Save Recipient Data button,  double-click on the names to select for printing, or you can click the Mark All button. Either process places an “X” next to the name showing it is chosen for printing, or editing with the Address button.

Note: In Date Selection, you will see radio buttons to the left of the date titles. When you click on these, you are selecting the date of focus (Birthday, Anniversary, or On This Day). You can verify if marked names contain data for the date field you have selected by clicking the Address button then scrolling through each record. In the Address function you can edit each name.


Saving names to the built-in customer database


News of the Past Professional includes a customer database. The database file is named Cust.dbf. This file is stored in the programs install directory, in a folder named Dbfs. The complete path to the programs files can be seen by checking the programs desktop shortcut properties.


Building a customer database

As you use the software you have the option to type a name and date then print. You also have the option to save the name and date to the customer database. The advantage to storing client names is that you will be able to use the birthday reminder feature, perform batch printing, and eliminate the need to re-type names and dates in future years when resending to the same clients again. Users search to recall names after names are saved. Search results display in the recipient windows name list.


Working with names in the list

Names appear in the name list one of two ways, clicking the Save Recipients Data button or performing a search for names already saved in the software.

Assuming names are in the name list; choose names individually by double-clicking the mouse pointer on names. Alternatively clicking the Mark-All button selects all names. Chosen names are identified with an “X” and these names can be printed together as a batch, opened in the content editor for preview, made available for address label printing, edited in the Address window, delivered by email, or saved to PDF files.


Future Dates

 News of the Past Professional has a method for handling a present or future date. Because the software will not contain database content for today or a future date the software prompts the user for additional instructions.

Example: Your friend is celebrating his 20th birthday tomorrow so naturally you enter tomorrow’s date. The program will ask: Do you know the age; this is the age your friend will be turning. You enter 20. The program calculates back 20 years from tomorrow’s date to coming up with a greeting date. The result is a greeting highlighting what happened 20 years ago tomorrow. A better solution is to enter the actual date of birth including your friend’s year of birth.

Birth dates and Anniversary dates are handled in the same way.

Note: The Milestone setting is reset to the occasion date automatically when a current or future date is used.


Greetings without a year

In the case of a birthday greeting, you can omit the year (but you must enter a month and day). If you don’t enter the year, the program will ask you to select a milestone other than Day of Birth; for example, (4th Birthday). This feature is useful if you know the month and day of a recipient’s birthday, but not the year. For Anniversary Date or On This Day, you must provide a complete date, including the year. Also, you can use the Milestone feature to generate a birthday greeting when you do not know the year of birth. For example, you could enter a day and month for Birthday Date. When you click on Print Options or Print Preview, you can select a Milestone, such as 20th Birthday. The resulting greeting will be titled “On Your Birthday 20 Years Ago.”


On This Day Greetings

To increase date flexibility you will find a date and memo field titled On This Day date.  Here you can enter a date from the past and in the memo field write a description that you want to include on the greeting. For example, you could enter “A Year since Your Last Appointment” to remind a patient that it’s time for a dental exam.


Milestone Setting Option


When you send greetings annually to your clients, you want to avoid repeating the content. You want them to receive something fresh and interesting every year. That’s why we include the Birthday Milestone feature. It allows your News of the Past Professional software to generate an almost endless variety of new greetings.

The yellow text box says “Day of Birth,” which means that the greeting will contain the events for the date of birth, but you can select other years as well.

In subsequent years you can focus the birthday greetings on different dates. Simply enter the date of birth and set the program to print by highlighting when the client turned 4 years old, or 16, or any age you like.

Once you set the Birthday Milestone, the software retains that setting and automatically uses the appropriate content for each greeting you print.

Example: The first year that you are sending a News of the Past greeting, focus on what happened when the client was born. In following years, select a birthday milestone button: 4th Birthday, for example.

Selecting the Birthday Milestone 4th Birthday button adjusts the content for the appropriate date, and then prints the following heading: Turning back the clock to your 4th birthday

In this example you enter the client’s date of birth, and the program advances the date of the birthday greeting four years and prints the events and cost of living for the date on which your client celebrated his or her 4th birthday.

Once you have selected a print template and entered a birthday or anniversary date, click on the Milestone Setting button.

Next, select a milestone in the window that appears.

You can select a milestone preset by clicking on the appropriate button, or you can enter a number of years in the text box (showing 0 in this picture). When you have made your selection, click on the OK button to return to the Recipient window.


Certificate Templates

News of the Past Professional has over 35 different bundled print templates, and you can design your own. Templates are formatted to 8.5 x 11 inch. Template selection is done in the recipient window.

In the following picture, the Birthday folder is selected. You can open the appropriate category by double-clicking on the folder’s icon. With the folder open, select a greeting by clicking on its number. 

As soon as you select a template, its picture appears in the left window. This is not a print preview of the date you have entered; it is simply a preview of the template with generic data.


Note: Saved designs go into the Custom folder. Previews do not exist for designs in the Custom folder, so when selecting a custom design, do not expect to see it in the preview window.


Card Insert Introduction

News of the Past Professional offers the option to print on a greeting card. Buy any standard greeting card and insert News of the Past data into that card. Although you may be able to print directly on a greeting card, depending on your printer’s capabilities, we recommend using our greeting card insert paper, available from Spectrum Unlimited LLC’s web site,


Card Inserts

To choose a greeting card template, click on the Select button under Card Insert Templates, as shown below (located in the bottom right corner of the Recipient window). A new window will open containing several tabs, each with a predesigned insert. These inserts offer various combinations of data, which you can modify by first selecting an insert, then clicking on the Content Editor Button on the left side of the Recipient window.



Card Inserts Templates

Select the template best suited to your card. You will also find four text-alignment options and nine unique template tabs. Though you cannot change the layout of the card, you can edit the content before printing. Once you have selected a card design, click on the Content Editor Button to modify the content before printing. Upon exiting the Content Editor window, you have the option to save the modified template in the Custom folder for later use.

Card template data replacement example

A typical insert template is open in the Content Editor window. Click on the Entertainment field. Note that the heading is selected in both the heading and the left side panel (it appears in black instead of gray).


Saving a Modified Card Insert

When you exit the Content Editor Window, the program checks to see if you modified the card insert, and if you did, a save window opens, giving you the option to save or cancel. If you are saving the modified card insert template for later use, give the insert a name. The renamed insert will appear in the Custom folder.



Click on the Content Editor’s Close button when you're done modifying the card insert template. In the Save Design window, you can enter a name, and then click on OK to save the design. Otherwise click on Cancel to exit the Content Editor without saving.


Modified card insert templates and certificate templates are stored in the Custom folder.


Previewing a saved Card Insert Template

When you select a saved design from the Custom folder, the design does not display in the Recipient window like the default News of the Past greetings. To preview a saved design, open the Custom folder and click on a design in the list, then click on the Print Preview button.

Note: The name of a chosen design appears in the yellow print template setting field. See sample above.

Preview a custom design by entering a date of birth in the Recipient window, then clicking on the Print Preview button.

To print from within the Print Preview window, click on the Print icon in the upper left corner. Or you can close the preview window and click on the Print Options button in the Recipient window.




Customer database

Above we discussed ways to print greetings and card inserts for a single person.

But you may want to maintain a database of your contacts. When you have created a database, instead of entering names and dates one at a time, you just select the names in the database that you want to print.

In the following paragraphs we will discuss how to create a database of contacts and use the search facility to select the group of contacts to whom you would like to send greetings.

In the left panel of the Recipient window, you will see a set of buttons. Click on the Address button to open the Client Date and Address Information window, shown below:

As you can see in the above picture, you enter the first and last name on one line. After you press the enter key, the first and last name get placed automatically in the correct fields. You must enter a name to make the entry valid. Apart from the name, you need to enter one of the dates to save the entry. Any one of the three will work—Birthday, Anniversary, or On This Day. In the address window you can navigate between the entries by clicking on Previous, First, Next, and Last the navigation buttons. Once you have completed an entry, click on Save, then click on the Close button to return to the Recipient window.

Note: When you are creating the database, you must enter the full birthday date. This is not the case in the main window, where you can just enter the day and month and print the card.

Note: You should always back up your client database (cust.dbf) to avoid losing your data. To back up from the Recipient window, look for the Backup button on the left side and click on it. This backs up all customer data to a file named Backup.txt.



Import Contacts

You can import contacts if you already have them in some format and would like to use the existing records rather than reentering them. Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool for preparing the file for import into News of the Past Professional.

When you click on the Import button, the application asks you to select a text file. This text file should be a comma-delimited text file; typically you can export in this format from an existing contact list in Microsoft Excel, a mail client, or a contact management program.




Once you successfully save a text file containing the client content for import, click on the Import button in News of the Past Professional’s Recipient window.


  1. Save a comma-delimited text file from your contact management program.
  2. Click on the Import button in the Recipient window. The Find window opens.
  3. Navigate to find the newly created text file containing your names, exported from your contact management program.
  4. Select the text file. The Mapping window opens.


Mapping Window Instructions

  1. You selected the file and the Mapping window is open (see “Step-by-Step Text Import Procedure”).
  2. In the Mapping window, your data appears in the center column. Sometimes the first record is blank or contains column headers. In that case, click on the Next Record button until you come to a complete record containing a name and date (the minimum required data).
  3. If the name appears on two lines, as in the following example, in the left column click on First Name Alone. Then in the center column click on the stand-alone first name, and click on the Add button. Do the same for the last name and date.
  4. When you are finished pairing up data and fields, click on the Add button. The right column should resemble the example below. Your column may have fewer or more entries depending on how much data you are importing.
  5. When you are satisfied that the right column is complete, click on the Import Now button.


Locating Names after saving

When the program is finished importing, a small window pops up telling you the count (the number of names imported). If the count looks correct, you can assume the import went through without a problem. To verify the validity of your import, click on the Recipient window’s Search button. There you can do a date range or name search to find the records imported.

Because the import function appends records to an already existing cust.dbf file, it is possible to duplicate names already in the software, so you need to verify whether any records are duplicates. In the Search window, select Search for Duplicate Names, and then click on the Search button.







Importing names from Excel


In Excel, open the file containing the names and birth dates you want to export to a text file for importing into News of the Past Professional.

Excel option Save As

Save the file for import in CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv)

Excel drop-down Save As showing comma-delimited option. Saving a client name file in this format ensures that it will be compatible for import.

 Step 1 – File Creation

  1. In Excel click on File, then click on Save As. For the format, select CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv). This option automatically adds the extension .csv to the end of the file name.
  2. Enter a file name of six or fewer letters, without any spaces or numbers. An example of a compatible name is export.txt.
  3. The location where you save the file is very important. You must save it to the root directory of your C: drive. You cannot save it in a folder on your C: drive or on the desktop. An example of a compatible file name and location is c:\export.csv.
  4. Close Excel. On your desktop, click on the My Computer icon, or open My Computer from the Start menu. In My Computer, open Local Disk (C:), locate the file you exported from Excel, and right-click on the file name. In the menu, select Rename and change the extension to.txt. After you have changed the file extension, go to “Step 2—Importing.”


Step 2—Importing

After saving the file to the root directory of your C: drive, open your News of the Past program, and click on Name List Options, and select Import Names and Dates.

  1. Navigate to your C: drive and locate the file you exported from Excel, and then renamed with the extension .txt. Double-click on the file to open it in the Mapping window.
  2. Three columns display. On the left is the names field. In the middle is your file. If your file list is blank, you may have blank records saved in the database. Click on the Next Record button until your first record appears.
  3. If the first and last names are on the same row in your record, set up the file like this: In the left column, click on First & Last Name. In your record column, click on the first and last name. This will highlight both the field name and your data. Click on the Add button.
  4. If the first and last names are on separate rows in your record, set up the file like this: In the left column, click on First Name. In your record column, click on the first name, and click on Add. Repeat this process for the last name.
  5. Match up the Birth Date in the left column with the birth date in your record, and click on Add.
  6. When you are done matching the name and date fields, click on the Import Now button to import all records in your text file.


Step 3—After Importing

 Once you’ve imported the names into News of the Past, you will need to do searches to bring the group you intend to print into the name list.

  1. To search, click on the Search button. This opens the Client Date and Name search window.
  2. Click on Birth Date.
  3. You can see all the names in the list by searching for birth dates ranging from 01/01 (no year) to 12/31 (no year). Click on the Search button. This will bring up every record saved in the database.
  4. If you have a large number of names and dates, narrow your search results to just a couple of days or weeks. If you run out of paper while printing, or if your computer crashes in the middle of the print job, this could corrupt your database. To minimize this risk, work with lists containing 20 or fewer names at a time. And remember—always back up your software. It’s easy to do with the provided Backup button.


Import names and dates saved in a previous version

News of the Past Professional allows you to import names and date information saved in an earlier version of News of the Past or CardWare.


Import reports from previous version

News of the Past Professional allows you to import reports from earlier versions of the software, so you can retain your custom layouts. Please note that you will find all reports imported in this version in the Custom folder, and after importing the reports, you will need to edit the list to complete the import process.

Step 1 – Report Import

To access the import utility, go to the Edit menu and select Utilities, then Import Print Templates from an Earlier Version. The following image shows the menu layout.

The program stores reports in the rpts folder, so you need to either enter the name of the folder with its full path, or navigate to it by clicking on the browse button (labeled with three dots) beside the Select Report (rpts) Folder field. Clicking on the browse button takes you to the Select Directory window, where you can find and select the rpts folder inside the directory of the old program. Note: You need to locate the rpts folder of the earlier version, not the current News of the Past Professional rpts folder in the vnewspro folder. Click on the c:\ folder to go to the root directory, and then navigate to the folder containing the earlier version of the program. If you are not sure of the folder’s name or path, find the desktop icon that launches the old program. Right-click once on the icon, and click on Properties. The Properties option will give you the path to the old program, the root folder name, and the drive letter.


Once you have found the rpts folder, click on the Select button to select it. In the next window, click on the Import Now button to import the previous version’s designs to the current version.

Step 2

After importing the templates, open the Custom folder to see the group of imported templates. The first thing you will notice is that they are identified only by an icon and don’t have a name. Every template in the rpts folder is imported to the Custom folder. Most are not needed because they duplicate designs that came with your program. To determine which designs you want to keep and which ones you should delete, click on the template; its name appears in the yellow field above Print Template Setting. If you want to delete it, click on the Delete Print Template button below the Print Templates list. If you want to keep the design, click on the Design button in the left panel to open the Report Designer window, where you can name the template.

Renaming print templates

The following picture displays the sample template named ANNIV opened in the design window. To rename this template, select the Report Designer window’s File menu; in the drop-down menu, choose Save As. We named the design ANNIV2.

After renaming the report, close the Report Designer window. Back in the Recipient window, the renamed template will appear listed by name in the Custom folder.


Backing up the Name List

In the main News of the Past Recipient window, you can access the backup feature in two places. Choose Edit from the top menu; in the drop-down menu you will find the Back up Name and Birth Date Information option. Or click on the Backup button in the lower left corner of the Recipient window. You should click on backup every day to keep your name list backup up to date. In the event that you need to uninstall and reinstall the software, if you have a current backup, you can simply click on the Restore button to restore all your saved names.

Backup Process

When you click on Backup or choose the backup option from the Edit menu, the customer database (cust.dbf) is backed up to an ASCII comma-delimited text file named backup.txt, located in the Dbfs folder. This file contains the entire database file, regardless of what names happen to appear in the name list box at the time you back up.

Moving Saved Names

There may be times when you need to move your saved News of the Past names and dates from one computer to another. To do so, simply copy the backup file, backup.txt, to the same location on the new computer. Here’s how:

  1. Install News of the Past on the new computer.
  2. On the original computer, click on Backup (or choose the backup option from the Edit menu). The window tells you where it is putting the file backup.txt.
  3. Locate and copy the backup.txt file onto any media you are using to transfer files to the new computer.
  4. Go to the new computer and paste the backup.txt file to the same location as on the old computer (the Dbfs folder).
  5. Run News of the Past on the new computer and click on the Restore button, located in the left panel of the Recipient window.


customer Search

Finding and bringing names saved in the software to the name list requires performing a search.

How to search:

Click on the Recipient window’s Search button to open search:

Search Category

The left column has categories you can use during your search to bring names into the name list for printing or for previewing, for editing with the Address button or for email greeting delivery.

The Save Recipient’s Data button saves information to a file named cust.dbf. This search recalls data from that file. If you open News of the Past Professional and you are expecting to see names in the name list, this search feature is used to bring the names back to the name list.

Search Range

After you have selected a category, you enter a search range.

As you can see from the above picture, you can base your search on many options. In the right part of the window you can enter the range for which you want to search the data. The range input field changes depending on what kind of search you are doing. On the left side of the window are various radio buttons. When you select the birth date radio button, for example, you will see an input field for a date range, and a Search for Email Address checkbox. If you want to search for a range of contacts that have email addresses, select this checkbox.

You can perform a global search that finds all records for a particular birth-date range, regardless of the year of birth. To do a global search, do not enter the year when searching on the birth date.

You can look for incomplete records by selecting the Records with Missing Data checkbox.

You can look for duplicate records. Select the Search for Duplicate Names, and then filter out unwanted entries from the results by deleting them from the Recipient window’s name list. To delete a name from the list, simply double-click on it, and then click on the Delete button.


Note: When searching on date of birth, do not enter the year unless your goal is to focus the search on people born in a certain year range—for example, everyone born between 1960 and 1965. If you want to see everyone born in the month of June, then omit the year in both date fields.

Birthday Reminder Setup

News of the Past Professional includes an automatic birthday reminder feature. This function only works with dates of birth and not with Anniversary or On This Day dates.

Setting a birthday reminder requires a simple setup routine. If you select this checkbox, then—depending on the number of days entered just above it—whenever you open News of the Past, it will show a message box with the number of contacts for whom a birthday greeting is due.

The calculation of the birth date is always from today to the number of days in the Days before Birth Date field, as shown in the setup above. Note that this calculation does not take the year into consideration, because birth dates are recurring events.

After you process greetings a list opens with names giving you a chance to re-print if necessary. Printed greetings are indicated with a checkmark in the left column. If you need to reprint greetings in that list, uncheck those greetings. When the program restarts, the reminder feature will populate the name list with the unchecked items.

The birthday reminder assumes that you only need to print one birthday greeting per year for a selected recipient. It will not remind you to print the same records again until the following year. You can still reprint greetings at any time; use the search feature to find a single name or a group of individuals you want to print.



News of the Past provides options not only to print greetings but also to print labels, generate PDF files of greetings, and email those PDF files to your contacts.

Print options window lets you choose the following options:

·         Print a greeting

·         Print mailing labels

·         Print a report for tracking

·         Email greeting

·         Save greeting to a PDF file


Print Greeting

The Print Greeting button allows you to print one copy of a greeting or card insert for each selected name. When you click this button, the Print window opens, giving you the opportunity to select a printer and modify printer driver properties. If you need to print multiple copies of one greeting, use the Print window to set the print count.

Print Labels

This option lets you print the selected names and addresses to the standard Avery mailing label. To take advantage of this option, you must purchase labels with the correct dimensions. The Avery part number is 5160. The size is 1 by 2 5/8 inches, and each sheet contains 30 labels.

Print List

The Print List button gives you the option to print a data report consisting of names selected in the Recipient Database list. The report generated lists the data for each selected name to aid in editing the customer file, including the name, dates, email address, mailing address, and notes. If you need to modify a customer record, simply click on the Search button, and then search for the record. When it appears in the list, double-click on that record, and then click on the Address button to edit it.

Email Greetings

The software email delivery attempts to deliver greetings as PDF attachments. The software uses two email methods and one work around is provided.

·         SMTP or Webmail. This requires that you have a webmail account with an online service like gmail or yahoo mail. Information about your online webmail account will need to be entered into the software to make email delivery through your webmail account possible.

·         Default Email Client. This can be a very easy option-or-next to impossible depending you different factors. Security is the primary concern. Using this option you are asking the software to send with the cooperation of your local email client. There are many instances when your systems will have security protocols in place disallowing a third party program like your birthday program from having access to the email delivery process.

There is not one standard protocol for email security. Not all users will be able to send email greetings directly using News of the Past Professional. We provide the following option.

·         Save to PDF. Greetings can be saved locally to your hard drive in PDF format. These are the same files the email processes delivers as attachments. With this option you simply save the client greeting to a file, open your email program, enter the clients email address then select the greeting PDF file as your attachment and send.

Print Preview

The software includes a print preview option location in the Recipient window. Print Preview lets you see exactly what will print. In the pre view window you will find a print icon. This is designed to let the viewer print a greeting if everything looks good.

Only 1 greeting can be printed in the Print Preview window. If your goal is to print a batch of greetings you will want to use Recipient windows Print Options button.


Customize Your Greetings


You have learned how to print a basic greeting or card insert. In this section you will find out how to customize each greeting by changing the design and content, giving it a personal touch.

News of the Past Professional has everything you need to modify the program’s databases, as well as a built-in desktop publisher that enables you to change the layout and look of your greetings. First we will discuss the database editor functions, and then later in this section we will introduce you to the powerful Design button (the desktop publisher).


News of the Past has a huge database of past events dating back to the year 1880. Sometimes you may want to add to or edit an existing event entry in the database to give it a more personal touch.

Note: Modifying and saving database content permanently overwrites the default data.


Editing Content


Note: You cannot open designs saved in the Custom folder in the Content Editor. This function is reserved for default designs.


  1. Select a certificate design from one of the folders under Print Templates.
  2. Select a name from your contact list, or enter a name in the text box in the Recipient window, with the date and category of greeting that you want.
  3. Click on the Content Editor Button in the Recipient window. This will open a window in which you can edit the contents for the selected month and year.
  4. The first half of the report appears in the window. To access the lower half of the report, click on the Page button.
  5. The gray fields are your data fields. Left-click on a gray field and the grayed-out Edit Data button in the left toolbar turns from gray to black. Click on Edit Data to open the selected record in the editor.
  6. Edit the text, then click on the Save button. When you’re finished, click on the Close button.


Because we aspire to make good-looking prints, certificate greetings have inherent text-alignment limitation that card inserts do not have. Although most people tend to print certificate-style greetings, we encourage you to explore card inserts and their flexible abilities.


Step-by-Step guide to editing Card Insert Content

1.       Click on the Select Card Insert button under the Print Templates panel. Select a card insert design by clicking on one of the tabs.

2.       Select a name from your contact list or enter a name in the text box in the Recipient window with the date and category of greeting that you want.

3.       Click on the Content Editor Button in the Recipient window. This will open the Card Information window, in which you can edit the contents for the selected month and year.

4.       Gray fields are data fields. Left-click on a gray field. Each field is a different size; the buttons for those data categories whose content will fit within the field turn from gray to black.

5.       Click on a black replacement data button and the selected content field is refreshed with different data.

6.       To edit data, click on the Edit menu (in the upper left corner) and select the database from the drop-down list.

  1. Save your modifications by clicking on the Close button.


Customize Date Titles

Edit how greeting dates and milestones are described on greetings with custom date titles. This is a function of the Recipient Window button labeled Customize Title.

The Customize Title button opens the Date Customization window.







Date Descriptions




In this window you find default titles in three fields, plus a button labeled Restore Title Defaults. Alter the default date descriptions by simply replacing the text in the fields. Click the OK button to save.

Preview changes made to the titles by making a Print or Print Preview.  To return the descriptions back to their defaults, click the button labeled Restore Title Defaults.   


codes for Including date and milestone in Date Description

Data for insertion in the date titles are date and milestone. Using the following codes you can insert where in the description you want the associated date to insert. Codes must be used as show, within brackets.  

{d} = date

{n} = milestone

 Instructions for the use of codes located in the Date Description window:


Placement codes used within the Date Description window



Code Placement Examples

Birthday date inserted in date description

Within the description text, insert {d} where you want the birth date to appear.

Example:  blah blah  {d}  blah blah



Milestone inserted in milestone description

Within the description text, insert {n} where you want the milestone title to appear.

Example: blah blah {n} blah blah





Editing Databases


In the Edit Information window, you can edit the content for whatever year, month, and day you want. Please note that depending upon the event you are editing, the options will vary. For example, if you select Birthdays, then you will have option to go to a particular day and month but no year. If you select Cost Of Living, you can go to a particular year but no month, and so on.

For example, say you would like to edit the cost of living data. Click on Cost Of Living from the Edit drop-down menu. In the Edit Information window, enter the year you want to edit. If you want to append a new year to the database, do not click on Search, because the year has not yet been added. Simply enter the year and some data, and click on Save. Click on the previous button to view the previous date, and then click on the Next button to view the newly added year. Going between the previous and new dates helps you verify that you’ve successfully added the new record. When you are satisfied that you have saved the new year, enter the content for that year and click on the Save button.


Graph Feature


News of the Past Professional includes graphs for greeting certificates (card insert templates do not include graphs). These graphs represent historical price changes in various measures of the cost-of-living index, such as the Dow, the price of milk, the cost of a gallon of gas, average income.

Apart from six standard cost-of-living items that you can select for any given certificate template (except the News template); you can define your own data, provided you have a complete set from a particular starting year to the current year. Please note that you cannot have any gaps in data (missing years). You can also change the color scheme.


Modifying Certificate Graphs

To customize a graph, click on Edit on the main menu, then Utilities, and then Set Graph. You will get the following window.

The first column (Report) shows you the name of the report that you are graphing. The second column (Measure to Graph) shows you the item on which the graph is based; you can choose one of seven measures from the drop-down menu, including User Graph Data.


By default each certificate template is assigned a Measure to Graph, but you can assign a different one for any certificate template. Looking at the Report column, identify the template you want to modify. Then, in the Measure to Graph column, click on the cell to the right of the target report to open the Measure to Graph drop-down menu. The User Defined graph option is the last one on the list; you must scroll down to it if that is your choice. To set a new Measure to Graph for that template, click on the data title row next to it in the Header column. Next, replace the data title in the Header column to reflect the template’s new Measure to Graph; the new data title you enter will print above the graph.

Graph Colors

 Build-A-Graph (user-defined graph)

As stated earlier, you can define your own series of data apart from the six predefined categories provided. Click on the Add User Graph Data button to get the following screen.

Here you can save your own data to a graphing database and use it to create a user-defined graph. You will see that the Year column is prefilled from 1900 to the current year. You only need to enter one number per year, starting with any year after 1900 and ending with the current year. So if you want to go back 20 years and the current year is 2008, you can start with 1988 and fill in the values up to the current year.

Please make sure that you have all the values from the start year to the current year, because the values will not save if there are any gaps in the data.

To map this data to a report, select User Graph Data from the Measure to Graph drop-down menu in the Set Graph window.

Missing Graph Data

If there is no graph data for a particular date, News of the Past replaces the graph with the database category Shared Birthdays.



News of the Past has some built-in utilities to help you maintain your work and to make certain jobs easier.




Import reports from previous version

The drop-down Edit menu gives you tools to edit the program’s database. It also has tools to re-index databases, import and export data, and restore default print templates.

News of the Past Professional allows you to import templates from earlier versions of News of the Past or CardWare, so you can keep your old layouts.

Please note that you will find all imported reports in the Recipient windows’ Custom folder.

Restore Default templates: If at any time you find that your standard templates have become corrupt or you have deleted some files by mistake, you can restore them using this option. It is available from Edit: Utilities: Restore Default Reports.

import names and print templates from prior versions: If you want to import names saved in a prior version of the application, you can do it from here. It is available from Edit: Utilities: Import Data from News of the Past or Cardware. The same is true for customized print templates. It is available from Edit: Utilities: Import Print Templates from an Earlier Version.

Import Print Templates

The following window appears once you select Import Print Templates from an Earlier Version.

Reports are stored in the rpts folder, so you need to either manually enter the name of the folder with its full path or navigate to the same by clicking on the browse button (three dots) beside the Select Folder text box. When you click on the browse button, you can navigate to the folder as follows.

Then click on Import to import the previous version’s designs. All these imported reports will appear in the Custom folder. Graphs will not print on imported templates.


Design  -  Desktop Publishing

Apart from the content, you can change a print template’s fonts, colors, pictures, and so forth. To modify a print template, select it, then choose a name from the Recipient Database list or enter a name and date.

Opening the Designer

After you have selected a name, click on the Design button in the left panel of the Recipient window. This will take you to the Report Designer. For this example we have selected the B-4 design in the Birthday category.


Many of News of the Past’s greetings use pictures and fonts to impart a colorful look. You can edit these elements. Left-click once on an object to select it, and then select an option from the menu bar to edit it. The drop-down menu will give you a host of options to customize the selected object. Format is one of the most commonly used options.

The most common reasons for making design changes are that you want to:

·         Replace or alter fonts.

·         Move or rearrange elements.

·         Delete pictures or text fields or insert graphics.

Editing a template in the Designer


Text – font size and Font color



1.       Place the mouse pointer on the words Specially Prepared For and left-click once. (If you double-click, a properties window opens. Simply close the properties window without making changes, then single-click on the words again.)

2.       Select the Format menu and then select Font from the drop-down menu.


In the above example, we selected the words Specially Prepared For, chose the Format menu, and selected Font from the drop-down menu.


News of the Past print templates has two styles of text, background text and data field text. You can edit both types to give them a different font, font size, and color. You can also move the font elements after selecting them, either using the keyboard’s arrow buttons or dragging with the mouse. In some cases text appears in an image file, and in this case you cannot modify it, only move or delete it. Once you have selected text, black squares display in each corner of the text block, indicating that it is ready to be moved, deleted, or modified.




You can delete text fields from the template to make room for graphic files or background text, depending on your objective, but you can’t copy and paste text fields between templates. That is because the underlying database matches the text field to a database, and you can break that link (deleting the field) but you can’t add a new link.


Graph field in the Report designer

You will also find a graph area in some reports, defining the place where a graph prints. You can’t modify the graph itself from here, although you can change some of its properties from elsewhere in the software. See Designer - Desktop Publishing




You can edit a picture by clicking on it once. Selection dots appear around the picture, and you can move it around on the template, resize it, or delete it. All pictures used in the program must be bitmap (.bmp) files.

If you want to change an existing picture on the report and replace it with one of yours, double-click on it. You will see the Report Picture window, where you can select and link to a replacement picture. To find a picture, click on the open button (with three dots) to the right of the File text field, navigate to your picture file, and select it. If after you have changed the picture, your new image is overlapping existing objects, that means it is bigger or smaller than the area in which you’re placing it. In this case, you need to select an option from the area labeled If Picture and Frame Are Different Sizes. You can choose to clip the image, scale it and retain its shape, or scale it to fill the frame.

When placing graphics you will want to use the send to back option because in most cases you will want text to print on top if the inserted pictures. Send front and send to back option is in the Format drop down menu.

Scale Picture, Retain Shape maintains the aspect ratio. If, however, you want to change the width and height of the picture, select Scale Picture, Fill the Frame. This will allow you to resize the picture as you want, but it will also distort the image.

You can change the size by selecting the picture and then dragging it using the border handles. When you click on the border marks, your cursor will change automatically, letting you know that you are in resize mode.

If you want to move the picture to a different location, select it and drag and drop it in the desired location.

If you want to delete any picture in the greeting, select it and press the delete button on your keyboard. The picture will be removed from your report but not from the physical disk.

Adding a New Picture

In the designer is the OLE object linking tool. With this tool you can select a picture in .BMP format and place that picture in the print template. To insert a picture, click the OLE picture tool located in the designer on the top menu bar, Drag a box on the certificate in the designer to open the picture import dialogue box. For additional information about picture formats and dialogue box instruction, please review the section named Report Pictures above.


When you change the picture or add a picture, we strongly recommend that you copy your own picture file into the rpts\graphics folder. Please note that the pictures are never embedded into the report file, they are only linked. So if you link the picture file from any other folder and if that folder is not available when you are running the report, the application will generate an error.

If you copy the picture into the rpts\graphics folder, it will be always available (unless you remove it manually) and you will not have any issues when printing.


Note: If you double-click on a text field by mistake, the Report Expression or Text dialog boxes will appear. Do not make any changes in these boxes; just click on Cancel. They are triggered by the underlying FoxPro application and are not intended for the end user.

Saving Custom  report

Once you are done with the changes on the report, you need to save it. If you are modifying existing News of the Past template, then we suggest that you save it as a new file and retain the original template. If you are modifying a template you have previously customized, it’s up to you whether you want to overwrite the existing file or save the redesign as a new file.

Save As Location

In the Save Report field, enter the file’s new name. The name should be eight characters or fewer, and should contain only alphanumeric characters without any spaces.












Greeting Templates Examples

The following is a list of greeting templates packaged with News of the Past Professional.