Throughout the Administrator, a similar screen is used when presenting information on products, categories, attributes, orders, customers, and other types of items. This screen, which we call the "Control Screen," consists of various forms to manipulate what is being displayed and help you maintain the information. A good share of learning how to manage your store through the Administrator is simply learning how to use the features of the Control Screen.
Here is a summary of each of the forms on the Control Screen:
"Displayed Columns..." link and form: This feature consists of the "Displayed Columns..."
link at the top of the screen, and the checkboxes that appear after the link is clicked.
It allows you to control which columns are displayed on the screen. For
example, on the
Product Catalog -> Products screen, by default each
product's code, name, active status, price, and order are displayed. You can
change it so every column of information is presented, or only just a few.
Filter form: This consists of the box on the left hand side of the screen next to
the "Filter" and "Clear" buttons. The form allows you to filter the items that are
displayed to just those that match a given search string. For example, to filter
products on the
Product Catalog -> Products
screen to just those with the word
"Jupiter" in the short description, name, or code, type "Jupiter" into the
filter form and click the "Filter" button. This can be extremely useful when
grappling with a large number of records.
Power Edit buttons: Turning on the Power Edit button allows you to edit every piece of information that's currently being displayed at once. For example, if you needed to update the prices of all your products at once, you could increase the page size to equal the number of products in the system. (Perhaps you would also want to limit the number of columns being displayed using the Displayed Columns form, to just the Price and Name of the products.) Then click the Power Edit button. Each of the prices (and any other fields being displayed) are now editable.
Add New Record link: On each of the screens, you can add a new record to the system--be it a product, order, state, etc.--by clicking the Add New Record link. That will take you to a form where you can add the item, whatever it is.
Per Page input / Jump drop down / Next and Previous buttons: The per page form is self-explanatory. It controls the number of items currently being displayed on the screen. Similarly, the Next and Previous buttons help you navigate through the pages. The Jump drop down allows you to jump to any page number.
One of the ways the control screen features can save a dramatic amount of time is in the case of updating product prices, particularly if your store has a large number of products. The following example shows how to review and update a large group of products all at once. It uses the products from the demo store to demonstrate what to do.
Example 4.1. Updating Prices for a Group of Products at Once
Product Catalog -> Productscontrol screen.
At this point, the control screen should look like this:
As you can see, it's very easy to scan through the list of products and review their prices, changing them when necessary. If you need to, use the sorting arrows next to the column names to organize the products further.
You can use this same technique in the Administrator to make many other sorts of updates or to generate ad hoc reports. For example, it can help you:
In several areas of the Administrator, you need to make "assignments"; for example, assigning products to categories, and assigning attributes to products. In either of these cases, the process is essentially the same. The following steps describe how to create an attribute and assign it to a product. (The process of assigning products to categories is specifically covered in the Adding Your First Product section.)
Example 4.2. Creating an Attribute and Options, and Assigning it to a Product
Product Catalog -> Attributesscreen.
Product Catalog -> Attributesscreen. You should see your new attribute in the table in the center of the screen.