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"Ghosting Date" Issue - Date fields persisting between contact records in 2009.

Tuned Listener
Posts: 3
Country: United States

"Ghosting Date" Issue - Date fields persisting between contact records in 2009.

[ Edited ]

I have encountentered an issue in ACT! 2009 where, under very specific circumstances, the entry in a date field will persist onto another contact record after a lookup.  For example, I am on the record for John Smith whose Birthday is "1/1/1950".  I run a lookup, which meets these specific criteria that I will detail later, and pull up the record for John Doe whose birthday should be "12/12/1960", but instead the birthday field still reads "1/1/1950".  I had found a few older posts referencing something similar and the only resolutoin to them was that "ghosting date" fields, as this issue was called, is caused by environmental issues, such as graphics, memory, drivers, etc.


I am certainly open to the possibility that this is an environmental issue, but I have tried a number of fixes and contacted Sage's support to have them try fixes, as well but to no avail.  I have installed a trial version of ACT! 2009 on a number of different PCs, and I can reproduce the issue on every single one of them.  I can see workarounds for the issue, but at this point, would just like to know if it might just be a bug in the application or not.


I will detail the specific steps that I take to have this issue occur and ask that someone with ACT! 2009 try to reproduce these steps and let me know if the issue occurs for you or not.


The basic process for this issue to occur is to start on a record where a date field is displayed on the layout.  Run a lookup that will return more than one result so that the Contact List is displayed, but before running the lookup, ensure that the lookup dialog box completely covers the date field in question.  Now, select the first name in the Contact List and check to see if the date updated or if it is still the same as the original record.


Using the ACT! 11 Demo database as an example, here are the exact steps that I take: 
  • Starting on Chris Huffman’s contact record (the My Record of the database), with the demo layout, Ensure that the Personal Info tab is showing.
  • Go to Lookup>Last Name.  
  • Move the lookup dialog box so that it completely covers the Birthday field.  **The entire field must be covered by the lookup box 
  • Lookup a Last Name that will have more than one result.  For my tests, I use Lookup Starts With ‘s’. 
  • The Contact List will appear with the results.  Double-click the first name in the list to return to the Contact screen. **It must be the first record in the list. 
  • Check the entry in Birthday, it will still be the same as from the Chris Huffman record. 
 Some Notes:
  • Occasionally this issue will not happen on the first attempt after opening ACT!.  If it does not happen on the first try, please try a second time.  It happens consistently for me, except on the first lookup after opening. 
  • You can Refresh ACT! to load the correct date, but if you put the cursor into the date field before refreshing, it will actually store that value. 
  • This can happen on any date field, not just Birthday, or starting from any contact record.  Again, the basic criteria for this are that the lookup dialog box must completely cover the date field in question when the lookup is run, the lookup must return more than one result so that the Contact List is loaded, and the first record in the Contact List must be selected (any other records selected will cause ACT! to refresh the contact screen, but the first record was preloaded before switching to the list view).

Please let me know if this issue occurs for anyone else out there or not.  I have tried the latest updates and hotfixes, disabling hardware acceleration, reinstalling, ensuring adequate virtual memory, and tested on a number of different PCs.  Thank You

Message Edited by jonrj on 11-16-2009 12:53 PM
Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,170
Country: USA

Re: "Ghosting Date" Issue - Date fields persisting between contact records in 2009.

We ran into this at one client location (only one machine of 13 and not other clients have mentioned this behavior) and the workaround was that the contact list had to be left on the defualt layout.


In other words, if you have used the 'customize columns' feature, revert to default and see what happens.


It worked for them...

New Member
Posts: 3
Country: Australia

Re: "Ghosting Date" Issue - Date fields persisting between contact records in 2009.

Hi - we have ACT 11.1 and also have "ghosting" issues wih regard to dates.  If the current contact ghosts from the previous contact, then we move to any other contact, it doesn't just ghost it duplicates the date and holds it!  When we go back to the contact list view, the "stolen" data shows on the list too.  We have also had the contact screen showing a "ghosted" dated, but the contact list showing the original data.  We have screen dumps showing this.  We now have a situation where we don't know which contact has "stolen" data from another contact!.  As we use the database for critical date information, that is licence expiry dates etc. which affect our funding and compliance, we are now in a precarious position.  We don't know how many contact records have been affected, and which dates have been affected.  Each of 200 records of a particular contact group have 23 applicable dates, therefore we potentially have 4,200 entries that we don't know which are correct and which are not.  Very concerned that this issue hasn't received more recognition and support from SAGE.


Platinum Super Contributor
Posts: 5,275
Country: USA

Re: "Ghosting Date" Issue - Date fields persisting between contact records in 2009.

As work-arounds for the date field ghosting issue:

- as you go from contact record to contact record, before you update any fields or go to the next record > go to the View menu and select Refresh.  This will refresh the screen and present the correct data.


To help implement this, you can add the Refresh button to the main toolbar.  For instructions on customizing toolbars, visit this link:


- For data verification (from this point on) you can create an additional field, create it as a 'Character' field, and place it next to the date field.  Once in place, you can use the Edit > Copy Data option to copy the dates from the original date field to the new character field.  Since character fields are unaffected by the ghosting issue, this data will remain intact and will be a way to verify the actual date field information.



Greg Martin