Data Entry Techniques

The techniques explained below make Herdly easier to use, especially for data entry. For the most part, these techniques are the same that are used in most other iOS, Mac, and Windows applications. Taking the time to learn them now will save you time later in Herdly and other apps you use.

Mobile Device Techniques

Date Fields

When you tap on a date field, it will expand to reveal the date picker. Swipe up or down on each part of the picker to choose a date. When you have the correct date, you can either tap on another field or tap on the top part of the field again to collapse the field.

Some date fields have the option to clear the date. To do this, tap the field to expand it. A clear button will appear to the left of the date and you can tap it to clear the date and collapse the field. Most date fields also give the ability to switch back and forth between editing the date and the time.

Other Pickers

Many fields have several pre-defined values you can choose from. When you tap one of these fields, it will expand to reveal the picker. Swipe to choose the correct value. The field will collapse when you tap the top of the field again or tap another field.


There are several types of keyboards that are used in Herdly when you are entering data. You are probably already familiar with the built in keyboards used in other apps to enter text or numbers. When the regular keyboard comes up, remember you can use the microphone button to speak to the phone and have it transcribe what you say into text which can be handy when it is cold or difficult to type (may require an internet connection for some phones).

All the keyboards can be dismissed by tapping the dismiss button at the top right of the keyboard.

There are also times when Herdly uses a custom keyboard to make entering a value simpler.

Tag Entry Keyboard

When you are entering a tag value, the tag entry keyboard will appear. It is similar to the regular numeric keyboard in that you can quickly enter numbers. You can also enter a letter by tapping and holding on the number with the desired letter below it. After a moment a popup will appear so you can tap the letter you want to enter. There is also a keyboard icon at the top left of this keyboard which you can use to switch to the regular keyboard. This is handy if you are entering a tag that has lots of letters in it.

RFID Entry Keyboard

When you tap an RFID entry field, you'll get the RFID entry keyboard which is designed to make entering RFID tags as simple as possible, given how long they are.

First, the keyboard remembers the last RFID tag entered on the device and will default to the next number when you start to enter a new tag. If you are pulling tags from a bag in the correct order, this mechanism means you often don't have to enter any digits as Herdly will default to the correct one each time.

Second, when you start entering a tag number, you will see the digits turn red from the right side of the tag. This can take a moment to get used to, but the idea is that the left most 6 digits are almost always the same (in Canada, they will almost always be "124000") so there is no need to enter those. So the most you would need to type in would be 9 digits. But if you are getting bags of tags that are close in number, you may only need to change the last few digits. Since the most likely digits to change are always on the right side, you only need to type in as many as need to change. Try it a time or two and you'll catch on, but it makes entering tags much faster.

Third, if you have a supported RFID reader, tap the RFID Reader button at the top left of the keyboard to switch to reader mode. It will connect to the reader and read the tag which will immediately be placed in the field.

Breed Entry

When entering a breed on a mobile device you have three options:

  1. You can tap in the field and enter a breed composition manually with the keyboard in the same way you would do this on a computer (see below for more details).
  2. Tap the ... button in the field and choose from one of the common breed compositions that were set up in the Ranch Settings window on the computer. This is the most common and fastest way to enter a breed on the mobile device.
  3. Tap the ... button in the field and then tap the + button at the top right of the Common Breeds screen. This takes you to the breed composition screen where you can create a new breed composition. Click the + button on the Compose Breed screen to choose a breed and then enter the percent of that breed. Continue this process until all the breeds are accounted for. Then click the Done button. This is the slowest way to enter a breed and is meant only for one-off entries. If you need to enter the same breed composition multiple times, it would be better to add it as a common breed in the Ranch Settings window on the computer first. Then you can use option 2 above for the fastest entry.

Note that when you enter a new calf, Herdly will automatically calculate the breed composition of the calf from the breed compositions of the dam and sire.


You can add pictures of animals in some places in Herdly. When looking at one of these fields, if no photo has been added you can click on the Add Photo button. You'll be given a choice to take a picture with the camera or choose an existing picture from the photo library. The picture will then be shown in the field.

Similarly, if you are looking at a field that already has a picture in it, you will have two button options:

  • Remove Photo. Removes the photo from the field.
  • Replace Photo. Gives you the choice to take a picture with a camera or choose an existing picture from the photo library.

Note that if you take a picture, it will be stored in Herdly but will not be added to your mobile device's camera roll.

Landscape Mode

Herdly can also be used in landscape mode in almost all of the screens. Sometimes this can be helpful when entering a lot of text.

Computer Techniques

Tabbing Between Fields

When you are entering data in a window, use the Tab key to move the cursor to the next field. This is faster than lifting your hand from the keyboard in order to use mouse to click in the next field. Tab moves the cursor to the next field while Shift-Tab moves the cursor back to the previous field.

Date Fields

It is easy to enter dates in Herdly when you know the following shortcuts. These work when the cursor is in a date field.

  • Type the + (or =) key to add one day to the date currently in the field.
  • Type the - key to subtract one day from the date currently in the field.
  • Type the T key ("T" for "Today") to change the date to today's date.
  • The D key ("D" for "Day") works similar to the + and - keys. Type D to move forward a day and Shift-D to go back a day.
  • The W key ("W" for "Week") can be used to move to the end of or beginning of the week. Type W to go to the next Saturday and Shift-W to go to the previous Sunday. Continually using these keys moves to subsequent weeks.
  • The M key ("M" for "Month") can be used to move to the end of or beginning of the month. Type M to go to the end of the month and Shift-M to go to the first of the month. Continually using these keys moves to subsequent months.
  • The Y key ("Y" for "Year") can be used to move to the end of or beginning of the year. Type Y to go to the end of the year and Shift-Y to go to the first of the year. Continually using these keys moves to subsequent years.

Herdly also makes it easy to enter dates directly. Although dates are usually displayed with forward slashes separating the month, day, and year (ex. 12/25/2014), you can actually use pretty much any character other than a number as a separator when typing a date. For example, some people find it easier to use the space bar or period (.) key (especially when using a keypad). As an example, if you entered 12.25.2014 Herdly would interpret that as 12/25/2014. (The order you enter the date parts depends on the date format set up in your operating system.)

Often when you enter dates, you are doing so for dates close to the current date. Herdly takes advantage of this to allow you to enter less of the date. For example, if you only enter a day (ex. 25) Herdly will assume the current month and year. If, in the example, it was December 2014, Herdly would change the typed in 25 to 12/25/2014. Similarly, if you enter the month and day, Herdly will assume the current year.

If you do enter all three parts of the date, you usually only need to enter two digits for the year.

Combo Boxes

Herdly often uses combo boxes for fields. These are useful because they allow both keyboard and mouse entry. If you know the value you want to enter, you can often just type the first two or three characters and then tab out of the field. But if you don't know what values are possible in the field, you can hit the down arrow or click the button part of the field to reveal a list of possible values to choose from.

In many cases, a combo box can also be cleared by deleting the text in the box.

Animal Chooser

When you need to choose an animal, the Animal Chooser window will appear. By default it will show current animals, perhaps filtered to a specific gender and classification, depending on the situation. You can use the search field at the top to find the animal by tag number or scroll until you find it. You can also change the Status filter to reveal more animals if needed. When you find the animal you want, either double-click it or select it and click OK to choose the animal.

In some cases you will want to remove the chosen animal from a field. When possible, the Animal Chooser window will have a Clear button which you can click to remove the animal from the field.

Contact Chooser

Most of the time you will need to enter a contact in a field, Herdly will use a combo box field as explained below. If you know the name of the contact, you will only need to type the first few characters of their name. If you can't remember the first few letters, you can use the Contact Chooser window by clicking the ... button next to the field. All your contacts will be listed and you can use the search field to quickly find the one you are after. Double-click the contact or select it and click the OK button to choose the contact.

Breed Fields and the Breed Composition Window

When entering a breed, you have three possibilities:

  1. Enter the breed composition directly. See below for more information on the syntax to use.
  2. Choose one of the common breed compositions from the list. The breed field will be a combo box, so you can start entering the breed composition or click the popup control to select from a list of common breeds.
  3. Click the ... button to use the Breed Composition window to visually create a breed. See below for more information.

When the Breed Composition window is open, click the + button to add a new breed to the composition. Then enter the percentage for this breed. Click the + button again to add another breed. Each time you do this, Herdly will pre-fill the percentage of the new breed with the remaining percentage, but you can change it. As you build the breed, the notation for the breed will be shown at the bottom left of the window. If you add a breed that shouldn't be there, select it and click the - button. When you are done, click the OK button.

The breed composition notation in Herdly consists of using a two letter designation for the breed followed by the percentage. If there are multiple breeds, the next two letter designation follows and then its percentage. If you are using this notation to manually enter a breed composition, you can enter it in any order you want, but Herdly will automatically reorder the breeds so the highest percentage breed is first. For example, if you entered AN25 HH75, Herdly would display it as HH75 AN25. You also don't have to enter 100% of the makeup if you don't know it and Herdly will show a question mark for the remaining percent. For example, if you entered AN50 SM25, Herdly would display AN50 SM25 ?25. If the animal is a purebred, Herdly will not show the percentage at all and you don't have to enter it. For example, you can enter AN and Herdly will simply display AN.

In the Ranch Settings window on the computer, you can set the Breed Composition Rounding preference to several values which indicate what kind of rounding should be applied before displaying a breed composition. For example, if you set it to the nearest tenth, it allows you to enter breed compositions like AN66.7 SM33.3.

Keep in mind that when you enter a new calf Herdly will automatically compute the breed composition based on the breed compositions of the dam and sire.

Lists and Selections

Herdly often uses lists to show information.


When you want to work with a row, you need to select it (some people call this highlighting) to create a selection. To select a row, click on it. When you click on another row, it will be selected and the previously selected row loses its selection. To select multiple rows (when allowed), click the first one to select it and then shift-click the last one. All rows between the two will also be selected. This is called a contiguous selection. A non-contiguous selection is one where multiple rows are selected, but they are not necessarily next to each other. To do this, Command-Click (Mac) or Control-click (Windows) rows and each will become part of the selection. If you do this to a row that is already selected, it will lose its selection. To select all the rows displayed in the list, make sure the list has the focus and type Command-A (Mac) or Control-A (Windows). Using combinations of the above rules makes it easy to create any kind of selection you want.


Where allowed, you can click on a column header in a list to sort the list by that column. Clicking it again will cause Herdly to sort the other direction.

Resizing and Moving Columns

You can click and drag the space between two columns headers to resize them (where allowed). Click and drag the column header itself to move it to another position (again, where allowed).


Most windows can be closed by clicking the close button. The keyboard shortcut for this is Command-W (Mac) or Control-W (Windows). For data entry windows, closing a window will save the information before closing it. If you don't want it saved, make sure you click the Cancel button. The Esc button is usually associated with the Cancel button.

The Clipboard

As with other applications, Herdly takes advantage of the system clipboard. The clipboard is an area of memory that the operating system uses to store information that can be transferred between applications. For example, if you select some text in Microsoft Word and choose Edit > Copy, the operating system will remember the text you have selected in its clipboard. You can then switch to another application (or stay in Microsoft Word) and choose Edit > Paste. The text in the clipboard will then be inserted into the document where the cursor is.

During normal text entry, Herdly works the same as other applications. Herdly can also place things in the clipboard at other times. For example, when you export data from the Animal List window, you can choose to copy the exported data to the clipboard. You could then switch to Microsoft Excel, for example, and choose Edit > Paste to paste the export contents into a spreadsheet. This is a quick way of getting data from Herdly into other applications for further analysis or reporting.

For normal text entry, Herdly supports the standard keyboard shortcuts: Command-C (Mac) or Control-C (Windows) to copy, Command-V (Mac) or Control-V (Windows) to paste, and Command-X (Mac) or Control-X (Windows) to cut. If you choose Edit > Show Clipboard, a window will open that shows the current clipboard contents (if they are textual in nature—it won't show pictures or other types of data that can be in clipboards).