Thursday, August 12, 2010

ACT! is Cool

ACT! is Cool, and it's even cooler when a client tell us that! It's usually us trying to tell eveyone else :)

Thanks for the kind words Marc. We look forward to working with you again soon on the next cool project.

Click image to enlarge

(email printed with clients permission)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hoover your leads into ACT! 2011

One of the interesting new features with ACT! 2011 is Sage Business Info Services.

This is basically the ability of your database to reach out and connect with other sources of information or other applications on the Web. If you are familiar with Swiftpage/ACT! e-marketing then you are already aware of a 'connected service'.

Whilst these connected services or as Sage will be calling them, Sage Business Info Services, are a way for Sage to generate additional revenue, they are very useful and effective services to have at your disposal if you are an ACT! user.

One of the Sage Business Info Services that Sage are promoting with the release of ACT! 2011 is a connection with Hoovers. Many Australian businesses are probably not very familiar with Hoovers but they are essential a data or list broker.

By having a connection to Hoovers, you should be able to do a search for a list of businesses that you would like to add to your database and with a few clicks, import those contacts straight into ACT!. Having had to deal with List Brokers on behalf of clients in the past, this looks like a much faster, easier and hopefully more economical way of adding contacts to your database.

The good news for Australian ACT! users is that it seems that Hoovers has a large amount of Australian Company information available. According to Sage we can expect to see 650,000 records to choose from. Sounds promising.

To see a great explanation of how this concept of Hoovering leads into ACT! 2011 I'll leave it to our good friend Napkin Mike to demonstrate to you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ACT! 2011 - Coming soon

ACT! 2011 is now available in the U.S. and It won't be long before it's available here in Australia.

There are ome great new features to come and we look forward to bringing you some thoughts on that soon.

In the mean time, the great news is Napkin Mike is back with a great demo on what you can look forward to in the new version.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Getting GoToMeeting To Go Local

Like many companies we use GoToMeeting for doing remote demonstrations and training for clients and prospects.

One issue we have encountered a couple of times from attendees is the fact that they need to make a long distance call to join the conference call.

After talking with GoToMeeting support and liasing with their support team on twitter, it seems that the number provided for conference calls with GoToMeeting is provided randomnly and there isn't anything you can do to specify what numbers you would like associated to your meeting.

This seems to be a lazy feature that can cause problems. For example, if you are based in a city, like Brisbane, and all your attendees are based in Brisbane, it is likely that GoToMeeting will present a phone number for another state such as NSW. So all attendees and the presenter are making a long distance call.

This has come to the attention to some of our clients, who have then brought it to our attention with comments like: 'You mean we paid for the training and now each of my 10 staff are all on a long distance phone call for the next 2 hours - who's paying for that?!" Ouch & thanks GoToMeeting (not).

Now, as GoToMeeting rightly pointed out when I brought this to their attention, there is no charge for the VOIP option. Well, that is true, but we aren't always presenting to early adopters that have a speaker and microphone. And if they did, they've probably not used it before. The last thing we need to be doing with hot prospects or multiple attendeeds is troubleshooting audio issues. Having a convenient conference call they can join via their phone (not computer) is a feature many business like ourselves need.

If GoToMeeting want their platform to be more widely adopted they need to be thinking about functional improvements that will make it easier for the early majority to attend, and for the sake of GoToMeeting, possibly host webinars in the futre.

But since they don't appear to provide any channel for feature requests we need a work-around. I can't claim credit for figuring this out, but in the course of complaining about this problem to someone they told me this simple solution.

What is it?

Well, as it turns out, it doesn't matter what phone number GoToMeeting gives you when it creates your meeting, you can dial any of their numbers and it will allow attendees to join the conference call in your meeting.

This means you could provide the local number for your attendees and they can call in on that number at a local call rate. This should also work if you have attendees in different locales, you can still give them their local number.

At this stage, I only have 2 numbers, but please feel free to use the comments to provide the local numbers for your area.

Brisbane: 07 3123 6030
Sydney: 02 8014 4934

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NEW Features for Xact Link for ACT! and QuickBooks

Randy Iskandar at Xact Software looks after the QuickBooks link developments and he has wrapped up the next release with the following enhancements....

  • Price Level Selection; allocate the pricing level globally for invoices direct from ACT! to apply discounts for customers or apply reseller pricing margins.

  • Quick Template Customisation; we have made it easier to make changes to the html invoice and estimate documents that get saved into ACT! and emailed to the customer. A layout editing tool allows for easier editing and alongside is a preview pane so that you can see the results of the changes.This lends itself to a template library to select a default template for the business in preferences.

  • Xact Link for ACT! and QuickBooks is now FULLY COMPATIBLE with ACT! Opportunities from ACT! 2007 through ACT! 2010; just like Xact Link for ACT! and MYOB, the only links that are fully compatible and fully featured for Opportunities integration. So you don't have to worry about which supported version of ACT! your customer runs, the Xact link products integrate completely and No Upgrade fees apply

  • ALL these new features delivered: 1 March 2010

More info about the ACT to Quickbooks Link

Click here to buy the ACT! to Quick books Link

Upate on NEW Features Coming Up for the ACT! to MYOB Link

The Xact Software link remains the only MYOB approved product for linking ACT! and MYOB. You are assured of accurate creation of invoices from our products.

Our next release features:

  • Very Fast Client /Server operation through .Net Remoting; MYOB can be sluggish to run across a network under certain conditions.. This can be experienced in linking to MYOB data files which have a mountain of accounts history being pulled across a network to run lookups etc. Remember ACT! 5/6 lookups? MYOB operates in a similar manner. With our April 28th release we will be the first link to include modern .Net client/server technology with no need to install the server component on the PC when running locally

  • Chart Controls, just like ACT! but better! Xact Software is bringing MYOB financial data charting direct into ACT! We have been working on charting for many months and we are finally able to provide this essential feature. Forget about importing financial data into ACT! Connect direct to the data source and draw the!

  • MYOB Search direct from the ACT! Lookup menu; lookup Products, Quotes, Invoices, Sales Orders etc...all within ACT!

  • Integration of Opportunites will just get better and better....Xact Link for ACT! and MYOB is the only fully integrated link to ACT! Opportunities...You can create quotes in MYOB from ACT! opportunities, email them, attach to contacts with MYOB Product list in ACT! and it's going to get better...

ALL these new features delivered: 28th April 2010

Click here for more information on the ACT! to MYOB Link. (including video demo)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Make a Dash for it!

Have just been attending a Webinar this morning with Pat Egen from Egen Consulting.

It's been very enlightening to learn how to query the ACT! database with SQL and then build custom dashboards to display the results.

If you are using ACT!, particularly the latest version ACT! 2010, you would be amazed at what information you can display in a dashboard.

Business owners and managers are especially interested in reports. If you are collecting the data you can, in theory, report on it.

With Dashboards, the reports are live data at the time you look at it. So that means no running the report and then knowing it's out of date the minute it's printed. You can have your dashboards display as the screen that you or your sales staff see when logging into ACT!.

We look forward to developing a range of standard dashboards for our clients that will help extract more meaning and understanding from their data.

If you have any requests on for a custom dashboard, let us know.

Follow Pat on twitter

Monday, February 8, 2010

ACT! Quick Tip - Using the Relationships Tab

The relationships tab is a new feature that came out with ACT! 11.0.1 and is also included in ACT! 12/2010.

It is an excellent way to record which contacts relate to each other in your database. ACT! is very good at associating contacts with companies and groups. These are helpful for 'many to one' type relationships. I.E Many contacts work for the one company, or many contacts are going to be the member of one group.

The relationships tab captures the 'one to one' contact relationships. IE. this contact is related to that one.

I use this a lot for relating contacts who refer me business to those they referred. This way I can see under a referers tab, all the people they have referred me to. I can also see the relationships they have with those contacts. E.g. I can see they have referred me to a friend, a relative, and a client.

All this information helps to recall the context of the relationship.

The best thing about this feature is that it is fast to connect two contacts together, and it is even faster to click between contacts that are connected in this Tab.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

5 Add-ons to pimp your ride with ACT! in 2010

Squeezed everything out of the Orange with ACT!'s built in functionality?

Here's a list of 5 add-ons to pimp your ride with ACT! in 2010

1. ACT! E-Marketing (formerly known as Swiftpage). Yes, like Puff Daddy changing his name to P-Diddy, Swiftpage is now ACT! E-Marketing for users of ACT! 2010. It's the same great program though will all the same great features for marketing your business.

Sure, it can broadcast an email to thousands of people on your email subscribers list and tell you who clicked on what - all email marketing service providers do that. The cool thing with ACT! E-Marketing is that it downloads that info back into ACT!. Want to know who un-subscribed, look 'em up and delete 'em (nah, don't do that but you could do it easy if you wanted). Want to know who clicked on the links the most so you can schedule some calls for your sales team to ring the hot leads? Look 'em up - easy as. Getting the data from these email broadcasts back into ACT! will save you a lot of time in managing your lists but also create a lot of opportunity to take advantage of the information the reports provide.

There are a heap of other features to sink your teeth into too. I'd especially recommend that you set your website enquiry form to automatically download enquiries into ACT! - no more double entry - yay! Also, and this is the big one, drip marketing. Just broadcasting an email to a list is a bit 2009. With drip marketing, you can build a series of emails into a campaign and have them delivered automatically over time. Great for event promotion, new product releases, client education and lead nurturing campaigns.

2. The Durkin Toolkit. If you have ACT! and you are using another spreadsheet or database to manage information that relates to your contacts, this is for you. This isn't just any old add-on that adds a bit of functionality to ACT!, this is a development platform that will allow you to customise ACT! to the needs of your business. If you want to track Jobs, Items, Machinery, Investments, Support tickets, Products, just about anything you can think of, it's all possible.

3. QwikQuote. If you've tried the 'Create Quote' feature that is in ACT! and found it a bit limiting, then this ones for you. If you or your sales team find it time consuming to generate quotes then this is for you too. In a nutshell QwikQuote will create a quote at the click of a button, auto number it. You select the items to add and at the click of the next button, it will save it, attach it to your history, create an opportunity, schedule a follow up for the opportunity, convert your quote to a PDF and attach it to an email.

Now every quote that's done in your business has an opportunity in ACT, those dashboards will start coming in handy now! Every one of your opportunities will have a follow up call scheduled against it, that's got to lead to more business in 2010.

4. Handheld Contact (HHC). You have a mobile phone and you want it to sync to your ACT! database and you want it to happen automatically and you don't want to come back to the office and connect a cable? OK, if you have a blackberry or Windows mobile device, HHC is the ticket. If you have an iPhone though it's coming soon(ish).

5. ACT! to MYOB Accounting Link. In Oz, there is only one accounting program. Well there are quite a few, but for most it's MYOB. After many, many years of waiting, we have an accounting link between ACT! and MYOB we are happy to support. If you are tired of having to enter every new client into MYOB you can save time and do it at the click of a button. Also, if you'd like to see a clients sales history from inside of ACT, it can do that too. If you are using Quickbooks here in Australia, there are 2 links from 2 different vendors due for release in 2010. Stay tuned for more on this.

So there you have it. 5 ways you can improve the value that ACT! brings to your business in 2010.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Check out the new ACT! to MYOB Link demo on Youtube.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sage eSummit details for ACT! by Sage

This will be a free one-day virtual customer and prospect event that Sage Business Solutions will be running on Tuesday 5 May.

As well as highlighting the vision and future roadmaps of ACT! by Sage, eSummit will demonstrate how end-users can expand the scope and functionality of their existing ACT! by Sage solution. We are confident that Sage eSummit will add significant value to your customers' businesses.

On the day, a series of three 30-minute sessions will be presented via our Go-to-Meeting Webinar facilities. The conference will demonstrate how Sage and the Sage partner community are committed to our existing customers and are looking to add value to their businesses while times are tough.

The following agenda provides a general overview of the sessions and the respective timings:

  • Opening Introduction: Start Finish Time: 09:45 - 10:00 (AEST)

  • Session 1 - Taking your business 5 years into the future with ACT! by SageStart Finish Time: 10:00 - 10:30 (AEST)

  • Session 2 - Driving business performance and revenue with ACT! by SageStart Finish Time: 10:40 - 11:10 (AEST)

  • Session 3 - How to save money with ACT! by SageStart Finish Time: 11:20 - 11:50 (AEST)

  • Closing Address:Start Finish Time: 11:50 - 12:00 (AEST)

More information coming soon...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Transfer contacts in ACT! from one group to another [video]

Below is a Youtube video on how to transfer contacts from one group to another. This is question that I get from clients from time to time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's New in ACT! 11.1

From time to time we get new patches for the current ACT! release. Usually they are designed to fix some technical issues. On occasions they introduce a key piece of functionality that Sage didn't quite have ready for the previous release. 

New functionality is always more interesting than 'bug fixes'. Below is a summary of what's included in 11.1. The one I have highlighted is the new feature of note. It's called the Relationships Tab. There is a link down below to the Knowledge Base that explains how to use it too. I've made a few other comments on the noteworthy enhancements and fixes

To see a video of what is available in ACT! 11 generally check out this video.

ACT! 2009 (11.1) and ACT! by Sage Premium 2009 (11.1) are new releases in the ACT!
product line and are referred to collectively as ACT! 2009 (11.1) in this document. 

The ACT! 2009 (11.1) release is focused on improving usability of top task areas and allowing users to be more productive. 

This list is provided to improve your installation and overall use experience of ACT! 2009 (11.1).

New Features in the Release

New and Improved features in the 2009 Product Family are focused in the areas of
Improving Usability and User Productivity in Top Task Areas as well as further
Automating and Simplifying Installation.


Relationships Tab - Allow users to "link" or create relationships between contacts
Related Contacts allows users to document existing influential relationships between
contact in their database. For example, if Client A has an influential relationship with
Client B, then I can store that information in the database to use in future sales of
marketing campaigns, or be able to browse the information when I am looking up a
particular contact. 

Enhanced Usability - New "Import Date" field
To complement the "Is Imported" field on the contact, group or company records, a new
"Import Date" field had been added to provide users visibility into last import event date
for reporting purposes. The field is available for lookups, reports and can easily be added
to the layout using Tools > Design Layouts.

Enhanced Usability - Last Import Location
During database import, the last location where users searched for their imported file is
set at the default location to make it easier to locate the source database.

Enhanced Usability - F6 toggles to previous layout Pressing F6 on the keyboard will
toggle between the current and the previously used layout.


Enhanced Usability - Drilldown for specific bar and pie slice rather than the entire
This option allows users to drilldown the bar and pie slice by displaying the activities or
opportunities associated with that slice. A new menu item has been added to the
component's right-click menu - "View All Data in List" to show all activities or
opportunities in a list view similar to the original drilldown behavior.


Enhanced Usability - Activity Association with Companies - This is a great new enhancement. It used to really bug me that it wouldn't do this previously.
You now have the option to remove the existing company association from an activity if
you decide to reschedule it with a different contact. This feature enables you to keep
your associated company information consistent with the contact's company name.

Filter Activity/Opportunity by Yesterday
This feature enables you to filter your task list and opportunity list by selecting Yesterday
as your filter. On this task list it will show all activities that have a start date of
yesterday and opportunity list will show all opportunities that have yesterday as their
expected close date.

Enhanced Usability - Pop-ups on calendar items
Calendar item tool will shoe multiple contacts if more than one contact is associated with
the activity.

Enhanced Usability - Company names in Alarm dialog
Alarm pop-ups will display the company information for each activity contact in the list
giving you a consistent calendar-like view of all activities. This feature used to exist in
ACT! 2000 (5.0) and has been reinstated in the current release.

Enhanced Usability - Go To multiple selected alarms
As part of the standard ACT! workflow for performing a lookup and working within the
list, the Go To button on the alarms dialog will take you to the list of contacts associated
with all selected activities. The alarms dialog will remain open while your list view
changes in the background.


Enhanced Usability - Mouse-over on Attachments and Documents shows physical
In order to improve discoverability of attachments, the tooltip for selected attachments
will now show the complete physical path to the actual file.


Enhanced Usability - Edit "Regarding" list when recording new history
Users can now edit the "Regarding" dropdown from within the new history dialog the
same way as when scheduling a new activity.

Enhanced Usability - History icon on Toolbar
To give further accessibility into history creation, a new History icon has been added to
the standard toolbar so users can quickly create histories regardless of what view or
layout they are currently using. The history dialog pops up with the history automatically
associated to the last contact that was viewed on the contact detail view. Users have the
option to change history association any time prior to clicking OK.


Enhanced Usability - Improved installation experience
Significant changes have been made to enhance the overall installation experience.
Users are given two options to perform installation - "Typical" and "Custom". It takes
fewer clicks to complete a typical install providing a consistent and friendly feedback to
users during the install process. Custom installation provides much more accessibility
into install options for customized settings.


Activation behind proxy - This is particularly handy on sites where there are strict I.T. security policies.
If a proxy server is detected during the registration process, a dialog is displayed to
enter user name and password in order to connect and activate through the proxy

Mail Merge

Enhanced Usability - Sticky options settings
All mail merge wizard options are "sticky" when the user clicks the finish button. This
reduces the time required to do subsequent mail merges if the options are same as the
first time.


Default Backup location preference
A new preference is available for users to specify the default backup location in the
preferences dialog.

Fixed Issues

Microsoft® Outlook® Integration

  • ACT! to Outlook calendar copy did not update the free/busy calendar in Outlook at the end of calendar-copy for recurring activity day instances until the appointment is opened and re-saved inside Outlook.
  • Previously, Outlook e-mail attach to contacts feature (including Outlook rules) matched contacts using the contact name instead of the e-mail address. This has been addressed to follow a consistent contact matching standard for both "Quick Attach" and "Attach to ACT! Contacts options. For "Quick Attach", if multiple contacts consist of the same e-mail address on any e-mail type field, the e-mail will be attached to all matching contacts. If no matching contacts exist with the same e-mail address a new contact will be created. For "Attach to ACT! Contacts", the contact picker dialog will be pre-populated and pre-selected with all matching contacts in the database.
  • Items in the "Not Attached Messages" tab in the Quick Attach Progress UI were incorrectly displayed by duplicating the information in the "To:" or From:" fields.
  • Images embedded inside and ACT! e-mail template appeared as attachments when sent via Outlook with Word as the e-mail editor.
  • Last e-mail field did not update when e-mail history was set to "Attach to Contact"
  • History was not recorded if a user performed a mail merge immediately after installing ACT! by Sage 2008 until ACT! was restarted at least once.
  • E-mail Attach to Contact behaved differently when e-mail was attached to contact from within Outlook Inbox vs. opened e-mail window. In the latter case, only history was created with subject but the e-mail was not attached.
  • Outlook Add-in failed to load when SQL service was disabled because it was trying to access the database engine and timing out.
Mail Merge
  • When creating a new Mail Merge template or editing and existing Mail Merge template, the Mail Merge UI was not present for the following configuration: Windows Vista® 64-bit with Microsoft Word 2003.
  • Calendar Quick-print did not include the calendar title bar to clarify the day, week, or month that the calendar belonged to, for example "October 2008" or "Monday, October 13, 2008."
Synchronisation/Remote Databases
  • Only a few controls inside the Sync Panel accepted keyboard typing as input.
  • Users used to get message "ACT! Network Sync Service is unavailable. Please install the service to run sync server" when the Domain/Workgroup for the machine hosting the Network Sync Services was changed.
  •  In some cases, Address and Phone fields did not synchronize between main and remote databases.
  • No message existed to warn users that private contacts belonging to a user will be lost when that user is deleted. The message has been added in this release.
  • Updated Company-Contact Linked Fields did not function when spillover table fields are linked to a company.
  • Tabbing into Data field on Contact layout changed the date value back one day if edited in a later time zone.
  • Activity and History Records could not be deleted if they had a read-only file attached.
  • Incorrect activity count was displayed on the calendar's statues bar due to timeless and recurring activities.
  • Group and Company activities tab did not apply the correct user filter based on the selected user.
  • Last attempt field did not update when manually creating a call history with "Call Left Message" status.
  • History type filter did not display all histories with e-mail history types in the history grid view.

  • When scheduling a new activity from Task List, the "Schedule With" was set to the Contact associated with the arbitrarily selected task as opposed to contact in the detail view.
  • The Opportunity by User component incorrectly showed the custom sales cycle stages in the legend when the ACT! Sales Cycle was selected as the filter.
  • When designing a new dashboard, an error message "Value cannot be null" was displayed if custom date range was chosen for default dashboard filters.
  • •RTF formatting in opportunity details did not save correctly when opportunity was closed and reopened.
  • Default history creation preference was not retained when using ACT! E-mail as client.
  • Newly created custom activity types did not show up in the scheduling preferences dialog.
Excel® Integration
  • Map to Excel on the documents tab did not work with group and company fields and displayed an ambiguous error message.
  • Spillover fields were not listed in the destination fields dropdown on the Import Wizard mapping page.
  • In some cases, customizing columns in list views and tabs did not retain settings. Losing column views is a pain. Glad to see they have further addressed this issue.

  • Schema update from ACT! by Sage 2007 (9.0) to ACT! 2009 (11.0) caused exceptions.
  • In some cases, check and repair within ACT! caused database error. Now, users will get an option to perform a more extensive repair with potential data loss, or call tech support for further assistance.
  • Custom defined multi-select dropdown lists sometimes added additional values if several items were selected by default, causing the list to show more than what was available.


ACT! for Palm OS
  • • ACT! for Palm OS® 3.0 is not compatible with ACT! 2009 (11.1). ACT! 2009
(11.1) will not install on a machine that has ACT! for Palm OS 3.0 installed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What the heck is Twitter?

Since late last year I decided to find out what Twitter was all about. It's been quite a learning experience in that time. Since developing a degree of understanding on what it is & how to use it I have become increasingly enthusiastic about it's benefits. Futhermore, I think it is going to be one of those technologies that will come to effect us all in the future. There have been a few technologies in the last 10 or so years that have changed the way we work. You could site the emergence of Email and quality search results with Google as two examples. I think Twitter (or micro-blogging as it is technically termed) will be one of those technologies.

There are a lot of criticisms about Twitter. Such as it wastes a lot of time or it is a poor substitute for developing real relationships face to face. There is merit to both these points but like most technologies, it's how you use it. My personal experience has been that it has been a fantastic way to meet new contacts with similar interests, get news and promote yourself and your business. 

I could write a dozen blog posts on what I have learned about Twitter, what makes it so useful and how I think it can best be utilised by small and medium sized businesses, but first you need to understand 'What the heck is it'. The video below is probably the best way to have it explained.

Once you've watched it why not sign up for a free account at

Next you can follow Ben and I at and 

I'd also recommend downloading a free desktop program to use Twitter with. I recommend trying Twhirl or Tweetdeck.

I plan to keep writing about Twitter and other Social Media platforms such as Youtube, LinkedIN, Facebook etc. as there is a real convergance between these places where web based conversations take place and your Customer and Contact database where you manage your business relationships. 

In the past we have mail merged letters and stuffed envelopes, in the future I think we all may be using Twitter as part of a communications suite.

Enjoy the video and feel free to post a comment.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Outlook & ACT! integration

Helped a client this morning where the integration between Microsoft Outlook and ACT! kept being lost. I would fix it and it would work that day, then drop the next day. VERY frustrating for both client and I.

With the help of this ACT! KB article: ACT! icons & tabs not appearing in Outlook, we overcame part 1 of the issue, and then with a little scripting I've setup that workstation to keep a known good copy of the ACT! preferences and use that to overwrite the current preferences on each start-up of the workstation - that solved part 2 of the issue.

The ACT! preferences are kept in %appdata%\ACT\Act for Windows\ directory.

Another possible solution is found here: Preference Settings for Word Processor, E-mail, and Customization is Not Retained after Restarting Your Computer - although not helpful for time for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Custom layouts with Durkin Toolkit

I've been deploying an ACT! database with custom tables using the Durkin Toolkit.

Although having done this before, I once again found that I'd forgotten to copy the customised forms.

Here is how you get the customised forms (layouts) onto the workstations and laptops using RDB's (Remote Databases) - you need to copy the files from

DatabaseLocation\DatabaseName-database files\Layouts\_Toolkit\

on the server hosting the ACT! database to the same location on the workstation.

Thus if your ACT! database on the server is at D:\Data\ACT\Yourdatabase.pad,

the location would be D:\Data\ACT\Yourdatabase-database files\Layouts\_Toolkit\

and you would copy it to the workstation with the RDB to, for example: C:\ACT\Yourdatabase-database files\Layouts\_Toolkit\

Hoping that helps some of you trying to find where those layouts went...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scheduling tasks for others

When you schedule a task for others in ACT!, you get a drop-down list of people you have permission to schedule for. No problem, but what about when staff leave?

There are a couple of things to do here but deleting their user record is NOT one of them. Make the user 'inactive' - do not delete them, the reasons why are the subject for another post another time.

However, this means that they are still in the above mentioned list, you can still see them in the list of people you can schedule for.

I've seen some people rename the user from "USERNAME" to "zzUSERNAME" so that the appear at the end of the list, but it's nice to be neater, right? Yes, I'm glad you agree ;-)

In fact it is a really simple solution that works perfectly (thanks to KR for the pointer). You simply edit the user and change their security role from "Standard" (or whatever it was) to "Browse".

They now no longer appear in the list. Now that's neat.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Security on crackberries

Just reading this article at CSO on the dangers of using mobile devices and it specifically mentions the John McCain incident:

...officials with John McCain's campaign mistakenly sold a Blackberry to a Fox television reporter for US$20 in a fire sale...

News like this makes me glad that the most of our clients that use either Blackberries or Windows Mobile devices are using Handheld Contact (aka HHC) to sync their data to their handheld.

HHC_Erase_Date I AM GLAD because Handheld Contact has an option on the server side to "Erase data from handheld" which will erase all data sent to the handheld by HHC which is all the contact info for all the contacts.

If a client loses their Blackberry, all it takes is a phone call to their system admin (or me), a couple of mouse clicks and a large chunk of sensitive information is removed from the Blackberry.

[cross-posted to here]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ACT! 11 Google Plugin

Here is a link to the ACT! 11 Google Plug in. It allows you to have a tab in ACT! that shows the google map location based on the information in the address fields for the contact you are on.

Click here to download

The file is actually called a Contact Context Web Browser. Much easier to call it the Google plug in as that is it's most useful incarnation. However, it can be used for taking any field of data from with in ACT! and parsing (merge) it into a URL and then having the results come back into a tab.

An example of this is where we have a client that has a web based system for managing their orders. We have been able to display the clients orders from this system on each contact in ACT!. I should do a video of this so you can see what I mean. If someone requests it in the comments I'll do that for you.

One last point, there are some other templates in the Contact Context Browser. The only other one I use other than Google Maps is the Linked In one. Very handy for those that are Linked In!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wildcard searching Lookups

I often find I want to find someone or a company in ACT!, however I can only remember part of their name - wildcard searching to the rescue.

If I do a company lookup for "outback", I only get returned a list of companies that begin with "outback".

However, if I do a company lookup for "%outback" - note the percent sign prefixing the search term, I get a list of all companies that contain the word "outback".

This is quite useful and can be used on any of the fields, not just the company field.

Friday, December 5, 2008

ACT! Reports published to Excel

At the recent ACT! by Sage conference at Coolum. Ben Lederer showed us how to add Microsoft Excel as an output option for reports.  It involves a small registry change. The knowledge base article #14690. See it here

It also adds output as Tiff and HTML as other options.

You will find though that the standard reports in ACT! are not particularly useful as it embeds all the content of the report into excel. This includes images and other text and formatting that you probably don't want if your purpose is to perform calculations in the spreadsheets that you create. You'll see what I mean.

If you want to perform calculations on report data I'd recommend making very simple purpose built reports with no formatting