Frequently Asked Questions about CCDB

What is Caller's Companion?

Caller's Companion is a database for dance callers designed to make it easy to catalog large numbers of dances and to create, edit and save "Sets" of dances for specific events. CCDB was originally developed with contra dances in mind but includes options that accommodate squares and English Country Dance. (We encourage feedback from ECD and MWSD users on ways to improve CC for these users). CCDB is self-running and does not require any other software to run, though it may also be used with recent versions of FileMaker Pro (v.14+)

What are the System Requirements for Caller's Companion:

  • Macintosh OS X 10.10.x or higher
  • Windows 7 or higher
  • No other software required. CC is a FileMaker Pro "Runtime" application. You do not need FileMaker Pro to run it though you can use FileMaker Pro 14 or higher if you wish. A special bundle of Caller's Companion + FileMaker Pro is available on the Purchase page.

What are the limitations on an unregistered copy?

Caller's Companion comes with some sample dance records and an example Set from caller Linda Leslie. You are welcome to add more dances and create your own sets. The only limitation on an unregistered copy is that you can't enter more than 50 dances. To remove this block, register Caller's Companion for $70 USD.

Why to do I have to pay for this?

Caller's Companion has been in development for several years, involving many (200+) hours of work. We think you'll be really pleased with what you can do, including the abiltiy to search by phrase (such as dances with Petronella balance in B1), use the programming matrix to view an evening's program and find repetive dance elements, and the ability to export/import one or more dances with other users.

The feedback from our users - over 100 as of 1 January 2018 - is that it is a great tool for managing your dances and programming for events. We hope to make it even more useful in the future. Consider the cost as sort of equivalent to one evening's calling. And for anyone actually making enough income calling dances to report it on your taxes, it's most certainly a deductible business expense.

Can I import my dances from another database?

Maybe. If you are using Russell Owen's old FileMaker template or Colin Humes database, please contact me about importing. I have a partially automated import for data from Russel Owen's database and I may or may not be able to do something similar for Colin Humes. If you are importing from Word or some other text format, try out the "Enter Dance from Text" under the Special menu. If you like the results you can use that, however you might find it faster just to use the Insert Call buttons which have the added advantages of providing consistent phrasing and of populating the dance Elements field.

Can I use other role terms beside "Ladies/Gents"?

You can use any phrasing you wish. The examples use ladies/gents or women/men, but you are free to use whatever phrasing you prefer. If you have dances from multiple sources you can unify your existing dances using a special search and replace function to replace all instances of a phrase or word such as "Rubies chain" with "Ladies Chain" or with your preferred Gender-free phrasing.

Caller's Companion support and alternate set of terms and the ability to switch on the fly, so if your dances are entered as "Ladies/Gents" you can enter the Alternate Role Terms such as Maples/Oaks (my personal favorite), Rubies/Jets, Raven/Lark, Bares/Bands in the Admin section and switch on the fly.

For those interested in alternate role terms please consider the terms above or other suggestions available online in various forums. I would personally recommend NOT using Lead/Follow as these are terms borrowed from couples dancing where there is a strong leader/follower dynamic. They are not really appropriate for contra as there are only a couple of moves - courtesy turn and ending a swing - that have any degree of unilateral activity - and they definitely give new dancers the incorrect impression that contra is a lead/follow dance. Many flourishes are borrowed from couples dancing and are frequently initiated from the traditional "gents" role position, but these are flourishes and not part of the essential nature of contra dance.

How do I change the Insert Call buttons?

Go to the Admin area and the Insert Call Phrases tab. Or, just Control (Win) or Command (Mac) click on any button to edit both the label and inserted text.

When I format text as Bold or Italic in a dance or note, the formatting disappears...

To address this problem, take a look at the first checkbox in Admin -> Preferences tab: "Always strip formatting when pasting Phrase text". When this checkbox is ticked, it's strips any formatting after a Paste but also has the additional affect of removing ANY formatting that you attempt to apply even after a paste.

Stripping formatting is really useful if you are copying text from the web or elsewhere and want to remove font, color sizing, etc., so that entries have a uniform appearance. However, it can be quite annoying if you just want to make something Bold or Italic. If you uncheck this option, you will be able to apply local formatting and have it stick. (Note: a bug in versions prior to 1.00b85, caused formatting to be stripped regardless of the setting in this Admin checkbox).

I'm having trouble viewing the CCDB Introduction Movie...

  • The Intro Movie requires a recent version QuickTime to view. Quicktime is free and you can download the latest installer/update at You do NOT need to pay $29.95 for QuickTime Pro, the free version is fine.
  • The Intro Movie is a fairly large video file (45MB) and make take a little time to load. You do not have to wait until the download is complete. Once you see the starting screen you can begin watching.
  • The movie ends somewhat abruptly. Sorry...I know how to edit video but I'm still getting used to the limitations of the screen capture software.
  • If you are still having problems watching, let me know what operating system and browser you are using and I'll see what I can do. I've tested it on both Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 as well as Windows XP and had no problem as long as Quicktime is install.

More to come...




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