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New Features in FF&EZ 4.2

Posted by henrythe5th on February 10, 2020

FF&EZ 4.2 includes major upgrades to several functions and features. This includes a final version of the new Illustration Sheet (project book) format added in version 4.1.029 that consolidates all earlier layouts and adds a "large image" option for including detail drawings or smaller shop drawings. We describe the most important new features here, but full details are available under "Version Changes" within the program's Help system (press [F1] on the keyboard) or in the on-line instance of Help.

 
 

Wider IDs

Both the object Tag and the Specification ID fields now allow up to 20 characters for more elaborate tagging systems.

Improved Shipping Address Control

Incremental improvements have removed the automatic requirement to assign a shipping address. This allows you to assign an address once it makes sense without accidentally leaving it set to "Project site." To help eliminate unassigned shipping addresses, the Specification screen now has a column for address status as either "Site," a specific vendor ID, "Multiple" (for split shipments to different vendors) or "???" in red to flag specs that do not have a shipping destination chosen.

Enhanced Commands

New Shortcuts

For people who enjoy the productivity of using keyboard shortcuts, all the major screens can be called by pressing a function key. The tool tips for each screen button display the matching function key.

Function Key Assignments
F1 Help (always) F4 Areas F9 Purchase Orders
F2  Projects (or Open
highlighted project)
F5  Rooms F10  Expediting
F3 Vendors F6 FF&E Worksheet F11 Invoices
    F7 Objects F12 Check Requests
    F8 Specifications    

 

Note that the keys for project content screens (F4 through F8) are enabled once a project is opened.

More Powerful FF&E Worksheet Commands

The Clone command on the FF&E Worksheet now defaults to a pop-up that allows you to place the currently highlighted object usage into multiple rooms:

 

To select a room, enter the room quantity needed in that room or (if you don't know the quantity yet) simply put a check in the "Select" column. Cloning a finish object also duplicates the location specified in the original room. If you wish you use the older "single action" version of this command, it is available by right-clicking this button.

A new Worksheet Replace command allows you to replace some or all usages of an object with a different object:

 

To use it, highlight the first Worksheet object you wish to replace. When you launch the command,  you will see a list of all rooms in which that object currently appears.

When you select a replacement object, the system will flag rooms that already contain that object. If you select those rooms the original usage will only be deleted.

An option on this command also lets you delete all existing usages of the object without deleting the object from the Object List itself (that is, you can replace the object with "nothing").

Enhanced "Illustration Sheet" layouts

The consolidated formats were introduced in version 4.1.029 and completed in 4.2.009. Although the format is visually compatible with the previous versions, there are several major improvements.

The three primary
  • There are now three possible basic layouts, including an option to place up to seven component images at the top instead of embedded with each component's section.
  • There are major enhancements to how much detail you can show, including the new "medium" description that includes the shorter descriptive fields but not the "Additional Description" field. You can see this option in use on the supporting component images in the "large image" examples below (click image to enlarge).
  • Wasted white space has been reduced by improvement to the logic used to include or exclude optional elements.
  • Some features only work properly when used with the advanced print engine introduced in version 4.01 (however, this is the default mode of operation).
  • A specification marked as a "large image" on the Specifications List screen and attached as an object's primary component will print as large as possible on the first sheet.
  • Submittal requirements selected on the Specifications List screen (see next section) are printed automatically.

The Design module's "How to" section now has an entry that describes all the options, including the differences in the three basic layouts

Large Image Option

 The image layout options 1 and 2 of this report format now support large images (that is, images that print as large as possible on the page, moving other content to a second page).

Large image

 

To use this option:

  1. On the Specifications screen mark the image with the new "Large image" checkbox (immediately below the image). In addition to this new option, the Attach command to attach an image includes the same option on its pop-up screen.
  2. Make sure the specification with the large image option is used as the primary component on the object.

If both prequisites are true, it will be printed at a size that fills the print area of the first page of the illustration sheet for that object. Landscape images will expand to fit the width, while portrait images will expand the fill the full page height, except for page headers and footers.

Submittal Tracking System

The older and simpler submittal status fields have been replaced with a full set of standard submittal types, including two user-defined types that can be set differently on each specification. A new "Notes" field has been added to track internal notes about submittals.

Specification submittal tracking

 

Like the "Specification Status" fields, you can display the submittal tracking section using a checkbox at the bottom of the Specifications List screen. Once this screen is visible, you can use [Alt-B] to toggle the submittal display on and off.

The Submittals area on the Specification Status fields now shows the total submittals required and how many have been approved.

Individual submittal fields have been added to the Query tool's list of fields, plus a "Submittal pending" test that returns all specs for which any required submittal is still pending.

A new entry for Submittal Tracking has been added to Specifications Help section.

More control over purchase order descriptions

When FF&E Worksheet content is converted to orders, you now have three levels of detail that can be sent to the resulting order items (required fields like the model number are always included):

  1. Full detail (the previous default option)
  2. "Medium" description (consisting of the short "Product/Type" field plus the short descriptive fields like "Color," "Size," etc.)
  3. "Short" description—that is, just the short "Product/Type" field.

Other content options, like locations and the cross-references to supporting components are still controlled separately by other options on the same screen.

More control over how taxes are applied

Previous versions did not offer enough flexibility for complex tax situations, especially for purchasing management projects where the tax paid to the vendor might be very different from one vendor and/or project to the next. Starting with version 4.1.029 and then intermediate (unofficial) version 4.1.035 through the current version, there is a simpler logic to how taxes are handled. In all cases, taxes on freight and purchasing fees are handled with the same logic if they are enabled on the project screen.

For-profit projects (billing type 1)

  1. A tax rate entered on the project screen (or individual specifications is normally applied only to your own invoices in projects where a markup or margin is used to calculate a "sell" price. 
  2. Exception: If the "Apply tax as a VAT type" option is also enabled, an expected tax is also applied to orders .
  3. If the "Apply as VAT type" is enabled on a billing type 1 project, a flat rate tax will be calculated for both the order and for the sell price. You can calculate a deduction for VAT tax paid based on actual vendor billings.
  4. If the project tax rate is zero (with "Apply as VAT" enabled), you can still enter a tax rate on individual orders (or order items) that will apply to both the order and the sell price. However, if you leave the tax rate on the order as zero, you can enter a "Tax quote" that will only apply to the order cost, not the billing.

Purchasing management projects (billing type 2 or 3)

  1. For purchasing management projects, the tax rate on the project screen is applied to each specification so that a tax estimate can be calculated on quotes. However...
  2. When orders are created on the FF&E Worksheet, you have the option of not passing the tax rate to the resulting order items, using the "Copy tax rate to orders?" option that appears on the order conversion setup screen. A default value for this choice can be set using the Setup command on the opening screen.
  3. If purchasing management orders have a non-zero tax rate set (either manually or by inheriting it from the specs), an "estimated tax" on the vendor cost is calculated. You can change the tax rate on individual items if you have non-taxable items in an otherwise taxable order.
  4. If orders have a zero tax rate (either because none was set on the project screen or because you disabled the "Copy tax rate" option described above, you can enter a "Tax quote" value to cover any possible tax situation.
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