Timeslips is a highly customizable program. The more you can tailor it to your needs, the more value you will get from using the software. Sure, you can use it “as-is”, but most likely there are a bunch of features you don’t ever use, making your screens extra busy and causing you to click in extra places, slowing down your workflow. Here are some tips on how to customize Timeslips so that it is “tailored” to your specific needs.
We’ll start with the first thing you see when opening the program for the first time – the Navigator. The current Timeslips version defaults to an “Enhanced” Navigator, which includes several reports and lists surrounding the navigation buttons. There are four “Enhanced” Navigator templates that you can choose from: Timekeeper, Office Manager, Business Owner, and Tutorial. You should choose the template that best suits your role, so that your buttons and reports will correspond to the functions that you typically perform. You can customize each of the panes to a considerable extent, but we’ll save that discussion for another day. To choose an alternate template, click the “Change Template” button in the lower left corner of the screen.
If you have upgraded from an earlier version of Timeslips, you may want to see the “Classic” Navigator that you’re used to. When you click the “Change Template” button you can choose “Classic”, and then choose from the list of classic navigators: Basic, Advanced, Tutorial, and Custom. Some of the Enhanced Navigator features have been known to slow down Timeslips when it first opens, so that may be a reason to opt for the “Classic” Navigator.
There are other tricks you can perform if you like the Enhanced Navigator, but are unhappy with the performance hit it sometimes causes. We’ll address that another time….
The “Change Template” button actually takes you into the Preferences screen for your login, so while we’re there, let’s look at some other Preferences settings. On the Startup/Exit tab you can control what screens automatically open up when you open and close the program. We typically recommend unchecking the majority of the boxes on this section of the Preferences screen. If you are a solo practitioner, or the last one who usually leaves the office, it’s not a bad idea to be reminded to make a backup, but if you have the automatic backup enabled it’s unnecessary.
The “Open Window” dropdown on this screen will allow you to choose a screen that automatically opens as soon as you start Timeslips. For example, if you are just entering time you may want to have it open to either the slip entry screen, the slip list screen or the timesheet entry screen.
We’ll briefly review a few of the other preferences that we typically customize when performing a new install. On the “Interface” page in the Preferences area there is a dropdown menu that says “Save when closing or switching reports.” We typically set this to “No”, since many users find it confusing, or annoying, or both.
On the Slips page of the Preferences area you can choose which slip entry fields copy from the previous slip as you are performing data entry. If you enter slips for multiple people, and have a data entry backlog dating back a few days, you’ll definitely want to check “Copy dates.” Unless this is checked, Timeslips defaults all new slips entered to the computer’s system date, and you’ll have to change the date on every new slip entered.
Another great way to tailor Timeslips is to disable features that you don’t need. Click the Setup menu at the top of the screen and choose Features Enabled. We typically disable “unused” fields on the slip entry screen, including Custom Fields on slips (the so-called “Extra” field), the End Date field on slips, the Time Estimated field on slips and the Reference field (unless of course you are using references). This will make your screen look cleaner and speed up the slip entry process.
Unless you use the Timeslips-Outlook link, which we find very few people do, you should disable that feature as well. This prevents Timeslips from spending extra time during startup trying to initiate a link for something that isn’t there.
For most features listed in the Features Enabled list, there is a Usage column, which tells you how often you use a feature. If it says Never, then it’s a safe bet that you can disable it.
These are just a few examples of how you can tailor Timeslips to suit your needs. If you’d like to learn more about Timeslips customization, please contact one of the experts at TriStar Data Systems.
Timeslips 2010 begins shipping at the end of June. Pre-order from TriStar now to take advantage of significant discounts.