New finance features: estimates and the ledger view

Jeff Denton

Feb 12, 2015 by Jeff

63 comments
finances, ledger, estimates, news, Hints and Tips, Help

Last week we rolled out a whole bunch of updates to CreativePro Office.  Among them were things like updated jQuery UI controls, new messaging widget, drag and drop file uploads for tasks and messages, and a highly requested feature...estimates!

Now you can create and send estimates to your clients and then convert them to invoices with one click.  Estimates are created exactly the same way as invoices and they show up in the Finances area under the Invoices and Estimates tab.

The other big new feature is the ledger view.  Until now, there was no way to view income and expenses in a single view.  In the ledger view, you can select a date range and see all invoice payments and expenses within that range.  You can expand each item to see a little bit more detail. Invoice payments will show all payments made for that particular invoice, along with the date of payment and the method of payment.  Expenses will show any notes or comments associated with the expense.

In the right-hand column, you can see income and expense totals for the time period selected. You can also toggle between viewing only expenses or income.

We hope you like the new estimate and ledger features as we keep working to make CPO a more complete solution for your team!

Thanks for reading.

Changing timesheet entry dates

Jeff Denton

Aug 20, 2012 by Jeff

47 comments
Features, Help, Hints and Tips

Until now, there hasn't been an easy way to change the date of a timesheet entry. If you accidentally entered time on the wrong day, you had to delete the entry and enter it again on the correct date.  We added a little feature last week that lets you change the date on a timesheet entry with just a couple of clicks.  Watch the quick tutorial below to find out how.

Changing folder names in the file manager

Jeff Denton

Aug 1, 2012 by Jeff

34 comments
File Management, features, help

We made it really easy to change folder names in the file manager today.  Check out the quick video below to see how it's done.

Importing data into CreativePro Office

Jeff Denton

Feb 13, 2012 by Jeff

12 comments
Features, Help

Is it possible to import client data into CreativePro Office?  You bet! Here's how you do it...

1. Click Settings, then click the Data tab.

Click the panel labled Import data from other software. Then click the Begin importing data button.

Import data: Step 1

2. Select a CSV file with your data to import.

The data you wish to import must be in a CSV formatted file with or without column headers.  Using clear column headers will help a lot in step 3 when we map our columns.

Import: Step 2

3. Map the columns from the CSV file to the client or contact fields.

If your CSV file imports correctly, you will then map the columns in your CSV file to the Client or Contact fields for CreativePro Office.  The select menu next to each field should contain a list of available columns in your CSV file.  Select a corresponding column for each field and click the Import Data button.  NOTE: Don't forget the check the box labeled First row of data is column headers if this is indeed true.  Otherwise, your column headers will be imported as a client or contact.

Import: Step 3

4. Preview your imported data.

Next, you will have a chance to preview your data before it gets imported.  Make sure that all of the columns are matched with the appropriate field names and click Accept Import if everything looks ok.

Import: Step 4

5. Confirm your import. 

If everything went well, you should get a confirmation message like the one below.  That's it!

Import: Step 5

Add tasks and projects by email

Jeff Denton

Dec 9, 2011 by Jeff

10 comments
Features, Help

Now you can add tasks and projects to your CreativePro Office account by email! Here's how you do it...

Entering tasks by email (task@CreativeProOffice.com)

 

  1. Send an email to task@CreativeProOffice.com from the email address you use to login to your account.
  2. The email Subject will be the task title.
  3. You can assign team members to the task by adding them to the CC list.
  4. Edit the task parameters by using the codes below.  Make sure you add these BEFORE your task description and put a RETURN after each line.  All of these codes are optional.

 

  • P: or Project: = The name of the project to which to want the task assigned.
  • DS: or Date Start: = The start date for the task.
  • DE: or Date End: = The end date of the task.
  • T: or Tags: = Tags for this task.
  • PR: or Priority: Task priority (1, 2, 3, or 4).
  • H: or Hours: Number of hours allocated for the task.

 

Anything written after the task codes will be automatically included in the task description. A picture is worth...well, you know.  Check it out.

Task email formatting

Entering projects by email (project@CreativeProOffice.com)

 

Adding projects by email is about the same as adding tasks except you send your project email to project@CreativeProOffice.com. Project codes are slightly different from task codes

  • P: or Project: = The title of the project.
  • C: or Client: = Name of the client for this project.
  • DS: or Date Start: = The start date for the project.
  • DE: or Date End: = The end date of the project.
  • T: or Tags: = Tags for this project.
  • S: or Status: Project status. (0: not started, 1: in progress, 2: completed, 3: on hold, 4: overdue)
  • L: or Link: Website URL for this project.

 

So that's it! We hope you find that adding tasks by email is simple and quick.  This feature makes it easy to turn any email sent to you into a task as well. Just forward the email to task@CreativeProOffice.com, add you task codes, and send. In the near future, we'll work on allowing tasks and projects to accept file attachments through email as well.

Thanks for reading!

Drag and drop task ordering

Jeff Denton

Nov 8, 2011 by Jeff

16 comments
Features, Help, News, Development Progress

Now you can reorder tasks simply by dragging them around and dropping them where you want.  You can reorder tasks within a milestone or move tasks from one milestone to another - it works the same either way.  We hope this makes organizing your tasks a little bit easier.

NOTE: Currently you cannot reorder milestones...we're still working on this feature.

Task ordering with drag and drop 

File sharing with clients

Jeff Denton

Apr 18, 2011 by Jeff

10 comments
File Management, Features, Help

Sharing files with your clients has been a glaring omision in the CreativePro Office feature set ... until now! Last week we rolled out some good stuff that allows you to share certain files with your clients and get their feedback messages. Let's check it out.

We'll assume that you already know how to attach files to a project.  Once you have some files attached to a project, you can click on a file to share it with the client.  Shared files will display the little   icon.

Clicking on the magnifier (view) button will display the file view panel for that file as shown below. The file view panel contains some information about the file, a download button, and an image if the file is a PNG, GIF, JPEG, etc.

There is also a message box so you can send messages about the file to your client and team members.

If you send your client a message concerning a file, they will be notifed the next time they log into their account. They will also receive an email containing the message. Clicking on the little disk icon to the right of the message will open up the file view panel for that file.

Clients now have a new tab on their dashboard for Files.  To view their files, they first select a project from the drop-down list.

Your clients can view and comment on a file the same way that account owners and team members can.

When a client comments on a file, you will receive an email message and also be notified when you log in as shown below.

Currently, clients cannot upload new files but this is a feature we would like to add very soon. We hope you find the file sharing feature useful and easy to use.

Thanks for reading!

Project templates are here at last

Jeff Denton

Apr 17, 2011 by Jeff

11 comments
Features, Help, Projects

Perhaps the most requested feature over the years for CPO has been project templates.  Well now you have the ability to copy milestones, tasks, notes, files, team members, and contacts from one project to another by creating a template from a project. 

Project templates are useful for quickly setting up projects that have similar assets and requirements. For example, if you build a lot of Wordpress websites, you will likely have very similar milestones and tasks from one project to the next. You might want to assign the same team members to the project and its tasks. Also, you might have the same contract documents or image asset files that are attached to each of these projects. 

Creating a template from one project and then using it to quickly copy assets to each of your new projects will save a lot of time. Here's how it all works.

First select a project that will serve as the template for future projects.  Go into the project detail view as shown below. Click the down arrow to the left of the project title and click the Create Template link.

A dialog window will show up that allows you to enter a Template name and Description and select which project items will be copied to a future project using this template. Click the Save button to save the template.

Now, when you create a new project you can select one of your templates and all of your project assets will be copied to the new project.

To manage your templates after they have been created, click on the Project templates tab. From there you can edit and delete any templates that you have created.

That's it! We hope this new feature will save you a lot of time setting up your projects from here on out.  Thanks for reading.

 

Timesheets get a great new look!

Jeff Denton

Feb 8, 2011 by Jeff

8 comments
Features, Help, Timesheets, News

CreativePro Office has been around, in one form or another, since 2003.  Back then the state-of-the-art for timesheet data entry was the typical week grid that looks something like this...

Old timesheet data entry

"Hey, that looks just like the timesheet I use on CPO version 2!" Yup, you're right.  The point is, as CPO has gone through numerous upgrades and revisions, the timesheet has remained pretty old school and it's time for a change.  Here's why.

The old timesheet user interface (UI) has 1 advantage ... it allows for quick data entry for 1 week IF it is the only place in the system to enter timesheet data AND hours are the only data you're entering.  Anthing more complex and the UI begins to fall apart.  For example, there's no place to view comments without clicking on a comment bubble and the design just looks cramped.

You also run into trouble when introducing other means of entering timesheet data such as the job timer or the up-and-coming mobile app and desktop app (more on these in another post - later).  It quickly becomes unclear how to render the timesheet rows with multiple entry points. If I enter hours and comments through the timesheet UI for a given project/task/day and then enter more hours/comments through the job timer for the same project/task/day, how should that be shown?  Two lines in the UI or combine the 2 entries into 1 line?  It gets confusing fast.

Lastly, as many of our users have noticed, the code is just buggy. Comment popups don't close when you think they should, timesheet rows don't always delete, etc.  This is due to a cludgy and ugly codebase that has not changed a whole lot in about 7 years. 

It's Time for a Change

This coming Friday we'll be rolling out the new-and-improved timesheet UI.  It may take a bit of getting used to, but ultimately I think it will be more intuitive, relatively bug free, and simpler to maintain.  Let's take a look...

The new timesheet UI

Hopefully, the first thing you notice is a cleaner look and more 'breathing room' in the design.  Other than that, the most fundamental change is the shift from project/task focused entry to day focused entry.  In other words, instead of selecting a Project/Task and entering all your weekly hours for that combination, you select a Day and enter whatever project/task/hours you worked for that day. 

I don't know about you but for me, this shift just fits better with my daily routine. The clutter reduction and increase in visible data helps me see what I've done day-to-day with a lot more clarity.

Data Entry

Data entry for this new UI look like this...

Entering timesheet hours

Weekly Summary Views

We understand that a whole-week view is essential as well so we have kept the weekly grid view - it's available when you click the Grid view button.

Weekly grid view

Also, along the right-hand column you will see a bar chart of hours worked, giving a kind of at-a-glance understanding of the week.  Down the road we will include charts to show hours worked per project/task/client as well.

Weekly charts

We believe the new timesheet user interface will be a lot more friendly, informative, and stable.  Look for this to be rolled out by Friday, Feb. 11th and we hope you like it!

Receive alerts for overdue or upcoming tasks

Jeff Denton

Jan 5, 2011 by Jeff

11 comments
Features, Help, Tasks

Task notifications by email are now available within CreativePro Office.  To activate, simply click on the Settings icon in the upper-right, then click the Email tab.  Now look for the checkbox labelled 'Receive email notifications when ... My tasks are overdue or coming due.' Check that box, click the Save button, and you'll begin receiving email reminders.

Two different notifications are sent out for overdue tasks and tasks with approaching deadlines. You'll begin receiving overdue notifications once per week for overdue tasks (more frequently if you have many overdue tasks). You'll receive upcoming notifications once a day if you have any tasks that are due within about 1 week or less.

Task overdue email setting

Exporting your CreativePro Office account data

Jeff Denton

Jan 5, 2011 by Jeff

2 comments
Features, Help, Account

If you've ever felt a little uneasy keeping all of your office data "in the cloud", we rolled out a feature last night that should help set your mind at ease.

Now you can easily export all of your CreativePro Office data to Excel files! If you ever need a data backup for peace of mind or - heaven forbid - you ever need to move on from CPO and find another project management solution, this tool should help a lot. 

Exporting data is simple. First, click the Settings icon in the upper-right . Then click the Data tab. Now, click the Panel labelled Export your data from CreativePro Office as shown below.

Account data export

After a few moments, you'll be prompted to download a ZIP file.  Go ahead and save the ZIP file somewhere and open it up.  You should see a list of Excel files like the list below.  Each data type will be in its own Excel file (e.g. Clients, Projects, Messages, Invoices, etc.).

Account data export

Opening up the Project Excel file as an example, you see that each file includes descriptive column headings.  From here, you can save the file as a CSV or XML document and import into many other project management applications.

Account data export

Thanks for reading.

Syncing your CPO calendar with your Google calendar

Jeff Denton

Dec 10, 2010 by Jeff

21 comments
Hints and Tips, Help

Did you know ... you can sync your CreativePro Office calendar to any calendar application that can read an iCalendar feed.  As an example, I'll show you how to sync your CPO calendar to your Google calendar.

First, go to your calendar page inside of CreativePro Office. In the right-hand column, look for the Export Options header and click the iCal link. You should see a popup like the one below containing your iCalendar feed URL.

iCal Feed URL

Copy the link shown in the popup window.  Now login to your Google calendar account.  In the left-hand column, look for the Other Calendars header and click the Add link at the bottom.

Google Add Calendar

Next, click the Add by URL link. This will allow you to enter the iCal feed URL you copied from your CPO calendar. A dialog window like the one below will pop up.

Add feed URL

Once you've pasted the feed URL into the box provided and clicked the Add Calendar button, Google will parse your iCal feed and display your CPO events in the calendar.

NOTE: Google will often take several minutes to parse the iCal feed and display the events. Also, Google waits about 6 hours before attempting to read the iCal feed again. So if you post an event in CPO, don't be surprised if it takes quite awhile to appear in your Google calendar.

Thanks for reading.

Help: Installing the self-hosted version of CreativePro Office 2

Jeff Denton

Sep 13, 2010 by Jeff

4 comments
Help, Self Hosted

Introduction

Thanks for purchasing CreativePro Office! These instructions should help you get started and give you some tips in case something goes wrong with the installation.  Remember, you have 1 hour of free installation help with your purchase.

Installing CreativePro Office: To install, simply unzip the ZIP file onto your server, open your browser and go to http://your-install-url/install/install.php.  You will be asked to complete a brief form and the installation will begin.  If all goes well, this should only take about 3-5 minutes.

System Requirements

  • Linux or Windows environment
  • Apache web server preferably with mod_rewrite module
  • PHP version 5.2 or greater with the GD graphics library
  • MySQL database server version 4+
  • Optional: The ability to edit .htaccess file. This should only be necessary if you intend to install CreativePro Office into a sub-directory.

 

CreativePro Office 2 has only been tested on the Apache server at this point so support for other web servers will be spotty.

Required Information

When you begin your installation, you will be asked for the following information:

Company Information: Company name, email address, website, timezone, currency, and language. This information can be changed later if desired.

Order Number and Installation Key: These are required to verify a legitimate installation. These values can be found in the email you received after placing your order along with the download instructions.

Administrator Information: This will be the account information for the primary system administrator. Required information is First/Last name, email address (user name), password.

Database Information: Database host name, user name, password, database name. If you do not have this information, your ISP, hosting provider, or network administrator should be able to help.

Application Settings:

  • Installation sub-directory: If you are installing CreativePro Office into a sub-directory under your primary domain, enter the sub-directory here. For example, if you will access CPO at http://www.mycompany.com/cpo then enter 'cpo' into this field.
  • Support Email Address: This is the email address that your clients and team members will use to request help with the application or account data. 

Installing CreativePro Office Into a Sub-Directory

If you wish to install CreativePro Office into a sub-directory under your primary domain, you'll need to edit the .htaccess file found in the root CPO folder. Open the .htaccess file and look for the following line:

RewriteBase /

Enter the sub-directory name after the / - include a trailing slash as well. For example, if you want to install CPO at http://www.mycompany.com/cpoinstall, you would edit this line to be:

Rewrite Base /cpoinstall/

Save your .htaccess file and upload it to the server.

Error Messages

CreativePro Office 2 performs a quick system check before the installation process begins to make sure it can do a proper install.  Some of the errors you might encounter before or during the install process are below.

PHP cannot access remote URL's. Please set allow_url_fopen = 1 in your php.ini file.

CreativePro Office 2 must be allowed to read remote data from other websites to check for updates, verify a legitimate installation, and import data from existing hosted accounts. Please make sure that the settings allow_url_fopen is set to 1 in your php.ini file. If your hosting provider does not allow this setting due to security reasons, contact us and we'll see if we can help.

Files and folders that must be writable.

During installation, some files must be altered by PHP and so must be writable.

  • /cpo_application/config/constants.php
  • /cpo_application/config/database.php
  • /user_files

After a successful installation, it's recommended that you make the constants.php and database.php files NOT writable for security reasons.

The GD graphics library could not be loaded.

Most PHP installations come with the GD graphics library. However, if yours does not, you will need to recompile PHP with the GD library or certain features withing CreativePro Office will not work like thumbnail creation for avatars and other image uploads.

PHP's maximum file upload size is set to ...

In order to upload large files to CreativePro Office, 2 settings in the php.ini file must be changed:

  • upload_max_filesize = 50M
  • post_max_size = 50M

Your hosting provider may have this these settings locked at a certain amount. If that's the case then your file upload size will be limited to whatever your hosting provider allows.

PHP's maximum POST size is less than the maximum file upload size, therefore your file uploads will be limited to ...

The post_max_size value should be greater than or equal to the upload_max_filesize value.

File uploads are disabled in PHP.

Your PHP installation or hosting provider does not allow file uploads.  You will not be able to upload files to your CreativePro Office installation.

We cannot determine if your installation is valid.

You can receive this error message for 2 reasons:

  1. You did not enter a valid Order Number / Installation Key combination, or
  2. You are trying to install another copy of CreativePro Office with only 1 license.

We understand that sometimes it's necessary to reinstall CreativePro Office due to a server crash or changing hosting providers.  When this happens, just send us an email explaining why you need to perform another installation and we'll make sure everything goes smoothly.

There is a problem with your database connection or the database does not exist.

This error is most likely due to improperly entered database information. Perhaps your host name is www.somehost.com instead of localhost or you entered the password incorrectly. 

Also, you could have forgotted to create a database for CreativePro Office before attempting to install. 

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