This blog will discuss some of the features in the version 3.14.46 release, and how you can use them to increase productivity in your office. Changes have been made to the main program, and two of the most frequently used major features, Document Manager and the ACORD® form program.
Before we get into the specifics of these changes, there is one change that everyone should know about. The program has notified you when a new release has been made available for you to download. That notification happens when the version number posted on our website is newer than the program you are using. In the past, the comparison has included the build number (the last group of numbers). From this release forward, changes to the build number will not trigger a notification. Just so you understand what the version numbers mean, the entire version number consists of four groups of numbers separated by periods. The first number is the major version. The second is the minor version, the third is the release number, and the last is the build. The first three are changed whenever there is a change to the operation of the program, or when a new feature is added. Changes to the build number are made when something is changed that doesn’t alter the operation or when no new features are added.
Changes to the build number are made for minor bug fixes, or simple things like correcting a spelling error. A good example happened within a day of the latest release. Someone reported that, in the Document Manager, they couldn’t add or change the Document Date. We immediately fixed that, and posted the fix. The only change was the build number because no new features were added, and the change made the program behave exactly as it had before the update.
We made this notification change so that we could fix very minor things without bugging you to download a new version. However, now you will need to check to see if there is a newer build available yourself. ABS won’t tell you that anymore. It’s a double edged sword: you won’t be bugged as often, but you’ll need to check to see if a fix has been made to something minor, like a typo or a spelling error. To help with that, we’ve added a Help menu item named Software Change History. That gets the most recent changes from our website. They are listed by build number. You can see your current build number several places: the lower right of the main ABS window, the login window, or by clicking Help » About ABS Agency Builder. By the way, if you haven’t read about the most recent changes, you should look at the Software Change History right now. We are not going to get into that level of detail in this blog.
While there have been several enhancements to the Main and ACORD® Form programs, the biggest change to this release is in the Document Manager. After the update had been out for only a few days, we received calls thanking us for the ability to paste a document into DocMan. Just find the document in Windows File Explorer, right click and select Copy. Then simply paste it into DocMan. You can’t paste raw text, but you can copy and paste PDF, PNG, JPG, and several other types of image files. Users say this is a huge time saver.
The other big change to DocMan is with scanning. You now have the ability to load pages into the document feeder of your scanner, and scan them directly into DocMan. No more scanning to a file and importing. Another huge productivity improvement.
We’ve also moved the Notes and general document information from the left side to the right. We did that to allow more room for the document list. Having a longer document list should really help with those accounts where you have stored lots of documents.
Another big change to DocMan is actually a part the ACORD® form program. You now have the ability to send a completed form directly to DocMan. There is a button at the top of the ACORD® window labeled DocMan. Click that button, and a copy of the form will be saved in the Document Manager in the blink of an eye. For those who have been putting completed forms into DocMan, this is faster than printing and scanning. Lots faster. The resulting form in DocMan is also a beautifully accurate copy.
Another change to ACORD® forms is in the Contact field. You’ll notice that it is now yellow. As you know, all yellow fields indicate that a double-click does something automatically. In this case, it pops up a list of office employees. Select the one you want, and it will be inserted for you. If the email address has been entered in the Admin program for that person, that email address will also be inserted. If you’ve selected a default contact under personal preferences, all you’ll need to do is click the yellow email field because the default contact will already have been inserted into that field.
We’ve made it really easy to find saved ACORD® forms, especially for those accounts with lots of saved forms. In addition to the expected columns, the list of saved forms now includes columns for policy number, line of bus, and date created. You can filter and sort any of those columns. Suffice it to say, you can filter so you are looking at only one form number (say a form 25), created for a specific policy number, created between any date range you wish. You can even use wildcards in your search. Check the ACORD® Form section of the manual for detailed instructions with illustrations.
This blog is getting long, so we’ll just touch on a few small changes to the main program. The one you’ll probably notice before anything else has to do with the Pending Task Reminders. Over the years, we have connected to lots of people’s computers for training or tech support. In some cases, one reminder after another pops up while we are connected. In a surprising number of those cases, the reminder is for a task that has already been completed, or is so far past due as to be worthless. These continual popups really interfere with productivity, so we have done something to help. Something that should encourage people to deal with reminders as they should. The popups now tell when a task is overdue. It’s an obvious message. They also let you know how many times the same reminder has popped up, even if the date has been advanced. After too many times, it assumes the task is being ignored. At that point, it will automatically cancel the reminder. The task remains on the To Do list, but it will no longer pop up a reminder. We believe this will help with office productivity. As a reminder, the Stop Reminders button does just that, it doesn’t mark the task as being completed. Only the checkbox can do that.
We hope you enjoy the new update. Oh, by the way. the user manual has been updated. You can view it by clicking User Manual in the main program.