Tips & Tricks

There are several standards to keep in mind which will make using Project Ally easier:

• To find this help menu from any file, click on “HELP” at the top of the window in the gray menu bar.  To exit help, close the help window.

• Use the gray bar at the top of the window to create “NEW” records, “DELETE” records, “FIND” records, , “PRINT” records, “SHOW ALL” records.

• Use the light gray tabs to move from sections such as Projects, Contacts, Staff, etc.

• Click on items in the blue bar to find information within sections.

• Click on items in the light gray bar at the top of lists to sort columns alphabetically or by date.

• To print, click on “PRINT” at the top of the window. From Preview Mode, use FileMaker menu item “File”, go to Print and use the dialog box that appears.

• Project Ally does not make use of most Filemaker pull down menus at the top of the screen. Most of the features are grayed out and can not be used.

• Fields that are grayed instead of white represent a calculated field that gets its information elsewhere and can not be changed in that location.

• Do not leave your cursor blinking in a field because then others can not access the information. To exit a field, either click a button or click in blank space such as the blank light blue area to the right of this window.

• To protect yourself from Year 2000 problems, always use four digit years.

• To paste text from the Clipboard without formatting (like font, size, bold or italics), click the field you want to hold the text, then press Ctrl+Shift+V (Windows) or Command+Option+V (Mac OS).  Make sure the field is empty before you paste (you may need to exit the field briefly if you just “cut” the contents), otherwise it may pick up the remaining text’s formatting.

• Hold the “shift” button to unmark a radio button.

• To “save” your work, simply click outside of the field you are working in and then click back in the field and continue working.

• As a suggestion, you may want to always leave Project Ally open on your desktop, but minimized (Windows) or hidden (Mac OS) when not in use.  If you use a password that accesses sensitive information, you may want to log out before leaving your desk. Use a lower security-level password  if you wish to leave Project Ally open on your desktop for easy access to commonly accessed information.

• Each individual who uses Project Ally should make the habit of quitting Project Ally every night before leaving for the day because a backup should be run every night.

• As a suggestion, assign a staff member to check time sheets and expense reports for accuracy and duplicates, and then lock them, for each pay period. Additionally, assign a staff member to mark and date expense reports as paid.

• As a suggestion, encourage staff members to make sure project information and project data are entered in Project Ally while the information is “fresh” in their minds. Print a blank Project Information form for architects to fill out if they don’t want to do it in the program.

• When entering a project name, keep in mind that it is also used for correspondence and marketing purposes and, therefore, should not be abbreviated. Additionally, when assigning project numbers, if there is a group of related projects, think through how project should be billed: each project with own invoice or projects lumped under one project number with different phases.

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