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Frequently Asked Questions


The following are questions frequently seen in email support requests:


Why does the Online Application Status Check take so much longer than it used to?

The NSSAR originally stored the Application Status check data online in html format on their web site.  Each state had it's own html file, or series of files, in which only data from that state was stored.  When SARApAid needed to compare data, it would download only those files necessary for the comparison.  For example, if your application was filed in the state of Texas, only the Texas file(s) had to be downloaded in order to check the status of your application.  Once the file(s) were downloaded, the html code could be parsed (searched) directly for the data needed to compare with your application file.  Downloads and searches were fast because no extraneous data had to be handled at any time.

The NSSAR has since changed to a pdf format for the file containing Application status information, and the data for all states, countries, etc. is stored in a single file.  Although this is probably more convenient for someone who is manually checking their application status by browsing the NSSAR web site, it means longer waits for users of SARApAid.  Downloads will be longer because the application status data set for the entire society must be downloaded instead of just the pertinent state(s).  The pdf format used also precludes a direct parsing of the file to extract the necessary data.  Data in pdf files is both compressed and encoded to reduce the size of the file and to restrict some operations by the reader if desired by the creator of the file.  This means that the pdf file must first be decoded and all text streams must be inflated (decompressed) before the data can be read.  Again, because one file contains all, it takes a considerable amount of time (in computer terms) because the entire data set must be decoded and inflated before the pertinent data can be found for comparison. 

This decoding and inflating of the pdf file is what causes the majority of the increased time required to check your application status.  Even with a 3MHz computer, it can take approximately 20 seconds to process the Application Status file and another 8 seconds to process the Pended Application Status file, as opposed to less than a second for processing with the old method.

Bottom line, your application status can still be checked automatically and accurately, but I can no longer say "fast" with any real meaning.

The Auto-Update and/or License Wizard routine(s) don't work any more.  What's wrong?

A change in the Cox SoftWare web server resulted in the invalidation of existing FTP routine code within the software with all versions prior to 3.35 inclusive.  Version 3.35 has corrected the problem caused by the server change, but you will have to manually upgrade to this version before your can resume Auto-Updating and License Wizard activities.

Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 systems require an upgrade to version 3.45+ for these features to work due to UAC issues with writing files to the program directory.

I get an error message when I call the Help file in Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10.  How can I restore the Help file functionality?

Upgrade to version 4.15 or later!

When I start a new application, it opens with information already in it. How can I get a "clean" application?

To get a clean copy you can do one of the following:

  1.  If you use the ToolBar icons to open a new application, right-clicking on the respective icon will suppress the Use Head Start File setting and produce a "clean" application.

  2.  If you want a more permanent change to consistently produce "clean" applications:

  • Open the Preferences window (File menu:  Preferences)

  • In the Use Head Start frame, select No.

  • Click OK to change this setting only for the current session, or Save to change this setting forever (until you change it again in this window).

  • Read the Help topic on Head Start files for complete information on this feature.

I am a licensed user, but when I downloaded and installed an upgrade, it starts in DEMO mode.

This usually means that different (multiple) versions of SARApAid have been installed in different locations (folders/directories) on your computer. 

If you are familiar with copying files on your system, proceed as follows:

  • Use the Find/Search feature on your computer to find all copies of "sarapaid.exe" (the program file).

  • Determine which program file is the most current one (you can double-click on them to start them and see what version number shows on the Startup screen) and then decide which location you want your active program file to be in.

  • Copy the SARApAid.exe and SARAPAID.HLP files with the latest dates to the desired location.

  • Find the location of your license file (sarapaid.lic - use Search or Find feature to find it if you have problems) and move (Cut/Paste) it to that same program location.

  • Make sure the shortcuts on your Start menu point to this location.

That should be all that's needed.

When you install and then upgrade using non-default locations, you have to ensure that the non-default program installation directory and any non-default menu shortcut locations are exactly the same as have been previously used.  This is why it's a lot easier to use the don't have to remember all this stuff when you upgrade.

How can I print a blank application form for a prospective member?

If you are using version 3.xx or later and want to print a blank Universal application, start SARApAid and load a new Universal application.  Even though the application may be partially filled-in onscreen, you can then select the File:  Print Worksheet menu item and it will print a blank application form (in versions 3.31 and later you can print a worksheet without having to load a Universal application).

If you are not working with version 3.xx, go to the Preferences window, select the Function tab, and in the Use Head Start frame, select No.  After doing this, start a new application of the type you want to print and it will be completely blank.  Print as usual.

When I upgrade SARApAid, do I have to install all of the upgrades in sequence?

No.  If you have version 3.51 or later installed, use the Upgrade Wizard and it will automatically determine which upgrade file you need and automatically install it.  If your installed version number is less than 3.51, you can completely upgrade in one step by downloading and installing the "full" version of the current upgrade file.

Not all of the form data prints on the same page.  Some of the lines/squares/form data prints on a separate page.

You need to print a Printer Test page (found on the File menu with no documents loaded) and follow the instructions given in paragraph 3 on that page as they apply to your situation.  In short, you need to enter a Height Reduction setting for your printer in the Preferences window to cure this.  Make sure you have selected the correct sub-tab under the Printer tab...there is one for the Universal form and one for all other forms.

Full details can be found in the SARApAid Printer Adjustments Help topic.

If you have entered the maximum setting for the Height Reduction (10) and data from a single page is still printing on multiple pages, you  have a printer driver problem which I have only seen happen with certain HP printers.

The reason this happens is that HP is not writing the printer driver to Windows specifications, which happens occasionally.  Printers/printer drivers are not supposed to begin printing on an additional page until they receive an "End-of-Page" code from the software (i.e. SARApAid).  Unfortunately, some printer drivers attempt to outsmart this process by looking at where the printing is occurring on the page, and if it is at a place at the bottom of the page where the printer calculater that the next print instruction will be too low to be inside the "printable area" the driver will automatically command the page eject and begin printing (erroneously in our case) on the next page.

First, check to see if your printer driver is the latest version for your printer.  You'll have to do that online with HP.  If there is an updated driver, install it and see if that helps.  If not, look in your printer driver settings (right-click on the respective printer and select Properties) and see if there is a setting having to do with page feeds.  If there is, try different selections to see if anything works so that everything on the Printer Test Page prints on a single page.

If you can't find an adjustment that works, your only option is to contact HP support.  Hopefully you printer is new enough that it is still under warranty, as that is usually the only way you can get any kind of live help from them.  Contact support and tell them that they have a non-Windows compliant driver problem in that the printer is ejecting pages before an end-of-page code is being received.  Sometimes you have to be firm with them to get them to admit there is a problem.  They will ask you to print from other software, and if it works OK, then "there must be a problem with the SARApAid software."  Let me assure you that this is not the case.  Although I hear this complaint infrequently, it has always been traced to an incorrectly written printer driver.

If they cannot successfully recommend a fix that will work with your printer and driver, ask them if there is an alternate printer driver that you can install that will work with your printer.  They usually always have an alternate driver that will work.  If so, then you merely need to select this alternate driver whenever you want to print a SARApAid document.  If you/they can get it to work with an alternate printer driver, this is additional proof that there is a problem with the driver that was provided with the printer.

SARApAid will not allow me to enter any data in the Sponsor and/or Co-Sponsor fields.

This will occur when you are preparing a supplemental using the Combined form (now obsolete).  In the past, the society neither desired nor required the respective sponsor information on these applications.  Hence, when these forms are indicated by the check mark in the respective check box on page 1, the sponsor fields are inhibited.  Sponsor/Co-sponsor date can be freely entered on all categories of applications using the Universal (2012) form.

How can I pull up an application that I have already done?

Assuming that you did not ignore all the warnings you would have seen otherwise, I will assume that you saved these previous applications.  For a quick list of the 4 most previous applications you worked on, click on the File menu item and these applications will be listed at the bottom of the File menu list.  Clicking on any of them will load that particular file.

If you don't see the file you need to load in this list, click on the Load File ToolBar button (or select File:  Load File from the menu bar) and a list of all your files should appear for you to choose from.  Click on the desired file and click Open to load it.

After upgrading several times, are there extra files on my computer that I need to delete?

Each time you upgrade, newer files replace older files (instead of being added to them), so you end up with the same number of files after an upgrade as you had before the upgrade. 

Bottom line, there are no extra SARApAid files on your machine which you can delete (even though you may see multiple instances of SARApAid in your Add or Remove Programs list) UNLESS you may have installed any upgrade in a different directory from your original installation location.  The way you can check for this is to do a search of your C: drive for "sarapaid.exe".  If you get only one instance returned, then you have no extra files.  If you get more than one instance returned, you need to figure out which directory contains the latest version, make sure that the latest version is started when you select SAR Application Aid from your start menu (and doesn't start as a DEMO), and then you can safely delete any other directories containing "sarapaid.exe" files provided you have copied any data files which may also be there into the directory where the latest version resides.

The dotted lines on my application appear extremely heavy, much unlike the lines as they appear on the screen. How can I adjust this?

You need to print a Printer Test page (select File: Printer Test with no applications loaded).  Read paragraph 4 on the sheet that prints, select the line that looks like you want your dotted lines to look, and set the Printer Line Dot Size as instructed.  If you can't get the lines to look like you want them to, then it's due to a limitation of your printer, not the SARApAid program.

Is there a way to shift generations for a father/son pair of applications?  Otherwise I have to retype everything in again with possibilities of errors.

SARApAid will do this automatically for you.  Select Edit:  Application Conversion (or Tools:  Application Conversion for versions 3.31 and later) to activate this feature.  Check out the In-House Conversions topic in the Help file for full details.

I have a Mac.  Can you provide me with the software I need to fill out an application in SAR?

SARApAid is for Windows compatible machines only.  You have 3 options with a Mac:

1.  You can use the PDF filer application by Bill Segraves which is available via link from the national site.  It is an Adobe Reader application, and although it has some limitations, it will allow you to fill out and print an application using that program.

2.  There are several Mac users who are using SARApAid by virtue of Intel emulation software.  If you already have this software, I suggest you download and try the program before you purchase, as I can't guarantee anything that happens when emulation software is used.  If you don't already have emulation software, it will probably be too expensive for you to go this route just to run SARApAid, as the emulation software is around $100, then you have to purchase Windows to install on top of the emulation software, and then you have to purchase SARApAid for use.

3.  Newer Mac's can run Windows software.  If you have one of these machines and you have Windows software available on it, then you can install and run SARApAid using your Windows system.