The Setup form lets you customize the application for your company. Name each of four Phases to customize estimates for construction, auto repair or even software development using the same application. Choose a custom tracking Unit like head, page, form or mile that will appear on reports as hours per page or dollars per mile. You can set the Tax Rate and Labor Rates for each phase of the job.

By setting default Regular Risk Percentage and Low Risk Percentage, you can mark up your costs. Burden for Material, Labor and Low Risk work let you add indirect costs associated with direct labor. GAPct covers sales, general and administrative expenses. You can adjust these default values for each job or estimate.

Estimate details contain Parts which each have a cost, weight and may have a number of hours per unit to install the part. Parts are grouped into categories, which are further grouped into major categories (MC) like Pipe, Fittings, Hangers, Devices, Underground, Low Risk or Rentals. Click EditMC to edit the major category or EditCat to edit the category. Enter -1 in the Sort column if the Category is tax free. Parts are also grouped into sub categories like Taps/Permits, Materials, Bonds, Sales Tax, Subcontracts or Rentals. Click EditSC to see the list of sub categories. Each part must have a MC and may have a SC. The first letter of the PartNo must also match the letter of the Category within the MC. You can edit Cat, MC and SC in the Combo form.

TIP: As you type the PartNo on the Detail form, the pointer will move within the list if the next character is in the list. If it is not, you can still select the part, but it can be time consuming if you have thousands of parts. Enter a PartNo like B-- or C-- for each letter. If you type C-- in the PartNo combo, it will move the pointer to the top of the list of parts in category C to make selection easier.

Parts can be combined into an Assembly to simplify data entry. Cost of the assembly is updated if any of the part costs or labor changes. Add the Assembly to the Part form with a PartNo beginning with A, check Sel for it and the parts you want to include in the assembly, and click Make Assembly on the Part form. On the Part form, if the PartNo begins with A, you'll see a blue link like nn Assembly Components that you can click to see the Assembly form for that part.

Default Control and Factor percentages are added to set the percentages of total labor allocated to each phase of the job. You can further adjust them on the Job and estimate forms.

You can View the raw data read-only in each table in the system. Click Export to export the table to Excel XLS, Comma Separated Values CSV, HTM, TXT or Access MDB. Enter the path of the file you want to save, for example C:\Work\Job.xls. By default, files are put into the Import Folder you set in the line above. If you click Edit for a table, you can edit or search all the values in the table. For example, the Estimate form opened from the Job form shows only estimates for that job. If you Edit Estimate from the Table combo, the form shows all estimates in the entire system.

You can Import XLS files to Assembly, Part, Job, Estimate and Detail tables. Use Export to create a template of the .XLS file. Field names for import must match the exported field names exactly, although the order of fields isn't important. Select the Spec and filename in the Import Folder. You can view the files in the Import Folder by clicking on the blue ImportFolder link or clicking the blue From link. When you are ready to import the file, click Import.

NOTE: Job, Estimate and Detail are related tables and must be imported in that sequence because key values will be changed in all three tables when Detail is imported.

TblDoc creates an HTML data dictionary that shows data type and description of each field and primary key and number of records in each table.

Set up users on the User form. Enter contact info and and check Super if you want the user to see and edit all features of the database and have the ability to add or delete other users. Leave the Super box unchecked for normal users. Enter and confirm a password for the user. The user can change his or her password on this form. Passwords are encrypted into a hash table for security. The user's password is not the same as the database password.

Click Link to set the location of the shared data tables. Each user normally has a copy of the front end database, c:\work\Est.accdb, where forms, reports and queries are stored. The back end database, z:\EstDat.accdb, where shared tables are stored is on a network shared folder unless only one person will be using the database. You can have a separate set of data tables for training, archives, or other sites. The developer can set the location of data tables for you to simplify installing updates.

Click Backup to save the shared data tables to a flash drive or other network location. The current date is part of the name. See http?// for more info on backups.

Click Quit to force users out of the database within two minutes so you can compact or restore the database or change table structure. Users will see all forms turn red and normal users will not be able to log in until a super user clicks Cancel. Super users can Ignore the quit to do maintenance.

Compact the shared data tables monthly. This rebuilds indexes and copies undeleted records to a new copy of the database, making it more compact and reliable. This process also lets you recover from corrupted records that can occur if you have a power or network failure while saving a record to disk.

Click Combo to edit values for major category, category or sub category. Select MC, Cat or SCthe Combo in the combo at the top of the form to edit the values. On the Cat combo, put -1 in the Sort field if the category is not taxable. Leave Sort set to 0 if the category is taxable. Contact the developer if you are not sure if it is safe to change or delete a combo value.

The Data Integrity form lets you store queries that show problems with data that may affect reports or clutter the data. Click Calc to count the number of problems exist for each query. Each query has a description, a note and a suggested way to fix the problem. The blue Calc1 link recalculates the current query, where Calc recalculates the problems in all queries. The SQL link shows the precise SQL for those who want that level of detail.

Click View to see the problem records for that highlighted query read only. You cab right-click and sort A-Z or Z-A on any column. Click Export to export the viewed records to Excel XLS. Click Sel to check the Sel checkbox on each problem record and open the appropriate form to show the selected records. This lets you quickly correct the problems. Use Calc or Calc1 after making corrections.

The Color form lets you select the form color for normal users or super users. Click GetColor and note the 8 digit Access Color value. Use the + and - buttons for red, green and blue to adjust the color values in the color box. When you are satisfied with the color, click Test to see how forms look temporarily or Save to save the color for all normal users. Check Super before clicking Save to save a color for super users. The Web link provides more color samples and Color2 gives you another way to set the color value.