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FF&EZ-Design opening screen (note: some versions include log-in fields)

Welcome to FF&EZ, the program designed to give you greater control over the process of creating FF&E* specifications in a project-oriented environment. This help facility describes the features of the program as well as the many ways to use it.

Note: Help systems are like web browsers and you can reduce or enlarge the text size of the content:  Click in this content area to give it focus, then hold down the [Ctrl] key and roll your mouse wheel. The text and graphics will increase or decrease in size. If you don't have a wheel, this also works with [Ctrl][+] and [Ctrl][-] on numeric keypads. Also, the width of the "Contents" window can be widened by using your mouse to drag it, making subject names easier to read.

This system is a "relational" database program, which allows the user to input all basic information about the nature and location of furniture, fixtures and equipment in a project. A user-maintained library and the ability to create master projects are both available to store often-used or pre-defined data. Further, you can import rooms, objects and specifications from other projects, either fully specified or as templates. The system generates reports to summarize project and library information in a number of different formats. 

The purpose of the system is to:

  1. Reduce the man-hours required to produce the documentation of an interior design project or sales quote, while allowing you to begin documenting the functional contents of a design project — and if desired, the related budgets — at the very beginning, well before products are selected.
  2. Allow improved control of the FF&E budget from pre-design through documentation.
  3. Standardize the procedures for gathering FF&E information, increase the ease with which changes can be made and improve the quality of the resulting documentation.
  4. Reduce the technical data-processing knowledge needed to use computers effectively in design work.
  5. Accomplish the above with a software design that emphasizes the most results from the least money and time.

To the above, the FF&EZ-Design/Purchasing version adds: 

  1. "Disassemble" and convert approved designs or sales quotes into purchase orders according to the most logical timing — based on project phase, vendor requirements or lead time.
  2. Track the vendor shipping and invoicing of and, if applicable, your invoicing of those orders based on a fee or profit amount.

In particular, FF&EZ is designed to fill in the gaps found in incomplete "home-brew" computer methods, technically demanding CADD-based approaches and too-generic purchasing systems: 

  • In the case of the first, FF&EZ adds an advanced database design that minimizes repetitive work, maximizes the utility of the information you enter and makes easy certain functions that are simply not possible without programming expertise. It brings an approach similar to CAD's "build the rooms" approach that makes it easy to manage the FF&E requirements of each space.
  • Compared to CAD, FF&EZ avoids three major problems with using CAD for most interior design projects: 1) it minimizes the need for designers to understand data processing in addition to their design skills, 2) it does not require very large or highly repetitive design projects to be cost-effective and 3) it does not require that you actually draw every individual item you want to track.
  • Finally, FF&EZ brings the ability to generate purchasing information (and in the Design/Purchasing version, actual purchase orders and invoices) but with the project- and space-oriented organization that is often completely missing from generic purchasing systems.

This help document is divided into three sections. First, this Introduction, which covers basic concepts, the specific subject of objects and an overview of the basic forms you will use in all versions of FF&EZ. This is followed by the Design Module section, which includes a How To... overview of the basic procedures for using the system, and a Design Reference section that describes each module of the program, its screens and its menus. 

For those who have purchased a Design/Purchasing license, a similarly structured Purchasing Module help section can be found farther below. This section is only applicable to the Design/Purchasing version, but is provided for completeness.

You can move around this help system using the hyperlinks found within the text, or you can browse it sequentially using the arrow buttons. While using the program, context-sensitive help will be displayed if you press the [F1] key on the major screens and subforms.

Note: This documentation refers to FF&EZ Version 3.1 and later. Users of prior versions should refer to their built-in help system for an accurate description of system functions and capabilities.

*FF&E: Construction industry jargon from the expression "Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment" describing construction expenses that are 1) not the building itself and 2) not the services needed to design and construct the building. However, since any "product" or "service" that might have a unit cost can be entered into FF&EZ, it can track more than just "FF&E."