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A message indication, sometimes, but not always, a warning to a user, which appears when a certain event takes place. For example, an inventory monitoring program may well 'flag' certain products when stocks fall below a predetermined level, to alert the user to re-order.

An alternative use is to warn of an event which will take place in the future, but has not yet occurred, for example, a financial institution aware of large cheque-based transaction on a customer's account may 'flag' the account to avoid an unauthorised overdraft.

Flags may be generated manually or automatically, depending on circumstances. In the case of the stock monitoring this would be automatic, while the cheque transaction example would be processed manually.

Automatic flags serve a useful purpose in drawing users' attention to situations which otherwise may be overlooked.

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