Tricks for faster data entry

By Nick Anich June 17, 2015
Green Heron Butorides virescens

Wish you could spend a little less time on data entry?

You can use the Jump to Species box and Keyboard Shortcuts which allow for lightning-fast checklist entry!

For this tutorial, we’ll skip to the third page where you enter your species checklist. If you need assistance on the first 2 pages where you enter your location and effort information, check out our other tutorials.

The “Jump to Species” box lives on the top right of the main page where you enter your checklist:

Typing a species into the box automatically brings you to that species on the checklist, so you spend less time looking for species. Let’s try it with Green Heron.

As you type the word “Green” into the box, the box matches that text, in this case it’s pulled up Green Heron as our first choice, but it also pulls up Black-throated Green Warbler. (These settings might be different for the county or date you are using, since the default checklist is customized by location and date.) You can click the mouse on your selected species, or use the Enter/Return key and it will take you right to that entry on the checklist.

The Jump to Species box also accepts 4-letter codes. These are codes primarily used by bird banders, but many birders use them as helpful shorthand for their own lists. In general the code takes the first two letters of a two-part bird name, so Green Heron becomes GRHE, Blue Jay becomes BLJA, and American Robin becomes AMRO. There are a handful of exceptions and more complicated bird names can get confusing, but if you want to start learning these codes, you can find a link to them here, and they also appear on the Breeding Guideline Bar Chart.

If you scroll down beneath the Jump to Species box, you’ll find a little keyboard icon. Clicking that provides a list of all of the keyboard shortcuts you can use to move around the checklist.

By using the keyboard shortcuts and the Jump to Species box, you can submit an entire checklist using the keyboard — and it can be done much faster than switching back and forth between keyboard and a mouse!

Let’s enter a short list of species and breeding codes using the keyboard. You can follow along as we enter a short practice list:

1 Green Heron in suitable Habitat
2 Blue Jay Carrying Nest Material
5 Common Yellowthroat Singing

For this example, we’ll use the 4-letter codes for species, but if you don’t know them, you can just start typing the species name and that will work also.

The following keyboard sequence should enter this list:

J (jumps to the “Jump to species” box)
GRHE (finds Green Heron)
Enter/Return (selects Green Heron and jumps to that species)
1 (enters the number of Green Herons you saw)
Spacebar (opens the breeding code box)
H (selects H — Possible [in appropriate habitat] as your breeding code)
Tab Tab J (gets you out of the breeding code and descriptions box and J jumps back to the Jump to Species box)

C C (for several breeding codes that start with the same letter, you can hit the initial letter repeatedly to scroll through the list)
Tab Tab J

Tab Tab J

It may take a little practice with this, but in time, you can enter each species and breeding code in a matter of seconds!