Overlaying the Ugly with Beauty

Spotlight Profile

Product: KeyesOverlay and KeyesPDF
Company: Computer Keyes
Version: 2.3/3.2
Overall Rating: 3.640

You're heard the saying before: "Beauty is only skin deep - but ugly goes clear to the bone." Not too long ago, we functioned in terms of reports on green bar. There was a lot of green bar. We lived and breathed the stuff. Green bar was part of our vocabulary. However, to impress management these days and keep a competitive edge, we need to present reports and forms from our IBM* System i* platforms that have the look and feel of professional desktop publishing. The days of the ugly-to-the-bone green bar are coming to an end.

One way to smarten up your output presentation format is with overlays. Overlays help format your reports with graphics, nice borders and more. Now, we all know that overlays have been around for a while, but sometimes they can be a bit tedious to put together from scratch. Some vendors provide tools that might make your life easier. This month I look at KeyesOverlay from Computer Keyes (


Installing the product was rather simple and painless. I just did a download from the Web, expanded the ZIP file and followed the read-me file instructions to FTP it to my System i platform. From there, it's a Restore Library (RSTLIB) command and some minor setup configuration steps and you're in.

Because I needed to view the overlays and reports being generated, I also downloaded and installed the KeyesPDF utility, which turned out to be a fairly nice little piece of software in its own right.

If you're loading more than one Computer Keyes product at once and using its Web site download, keep in mind that each time you unzip one of Computer Keyes' files, you overwrite the previous read-me file with the current one. So if you think you're going to download several products (KeyesPDF and KeyesOverlay in my case), unzip and then upload them all, and make sure you rename the read-me files between each unzip. I hope in the future Computer Keyes will rename each read-me to be product specific. This would save customers from erroneous overwrites.

There are some post-install setup steps you should run through with tech support the first time you use the product. They're painless and more for making sure you understand where things go once they're created. Also, Computer Keyes includes some nice, simple samples to use as examples in a short walkthrough. I recommend you take them up on that.

Ease of Use

This product isn't overly complex in either its delivery or methods. After a walkthrough tutorial you should be able to pick things up fairly quickly.


The manual covers the product fairly well. But it does so without any pictures to show you what you're working with. If you're a visual person, you're going to find yourself looking for pictures to compare with what's on your screen at any given time and not finding them.


Everything I tried worked as I expected it to.

Don Rima has more than 20 years of experience with IBM midrange systems. Don can be reached at

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