31 October 2013

Report Hours And Expenses From Outlook

TimeCard for Outlook banner The Single version of TimeCard Single for Outlook will hopefully be released very soon, so new tutorials are created each day. Below is the new demo about the TimeCard Expenses feature.

Tag appointments
TimeCard lets users tag Outlook appointments with time reporting data and then report them directly from the Outlook calendar to a database. The QA team and a few dedicated users are now testing a Beta version of TimeCard Single V5, and we hope to release it for all next week.

The Single version is intended for one person who reports the time to a local Access database created by TimeCard. The Workgroup version have central reporting and configuration.

Report expenses with the hours
TimeCard may be customized in many ways, and one of the features that can be enabled is the Expenses feature. It adds a button for expense reporting to the TimeCard ribbon group in each appointment. The expenses data for each appointment will be reported automatically together with the hours.

Excel report
The hours and expenses for the selected report period can be exported to an Excel sheet, where both hours and expenses are summarized.

You can customize the sheet as you like using standard Excel features. Save it, and your personal sheet will be shown in the same way next time you generate a report - but with new data, of course.

TimeCard also provides several statistics Excel reports on all data in the database. The expenses can be summarized and analyzed there too, but it is not included in the current demo. Excel icon

Use for billing
If you use the TimeCard time reports for billing customers, tag your appointments with customer name and set TimeCard to group the hours by customer in the Excel report. Now you can quickly see how many hours you have worked for each customer and what expenses you have had. You will also have a record to show customers in case of a dispute.

Three versions
TimeCard V5 will come in three versions: the Single version and two Workgroup versions – one for Outlook and one for SharePoint. The website still shows version 4.4, but we have an update for TimeCard Single V5 ready for release.

I have written two earlier articles about the TimeCard Single update. Please refer to TimeCard Single In New Design and TimeCard Single V5 Slideshow – See The News if you want to know more about the time reporting tool for Outlook.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

24 October 2013

Swedish Grammar App Updated

Tallstugan iOS iconBefore I was fully engaged in the family business I was a teacher for immigrants in Sweden. It was an interesting and rewarding work, where I got to know some admirable people among my students but also learned a lot myself.

I often made my own teaching aids for the students, and that eventually led to the publishing of several books and to the website Svensk grammatik och ordbildning.

In June this year we also released an app with rules for Swedish grammar, pronunciation and word formation. Svensk grammatik. Unfortunately the version for iPhone, iPad and iPod did not support iOS7, but now this has been solved and our grammar app is compatible with the latest version of iOS too.

Svensk grammatik gives extensive guidelines for Swedish grammar, pronunciation and word formation, with examples and sound. It is a good complement to the website, and with a smartphone app you can always have the rules easy at hand.

If you want to know more about Svensk grammatik, please refer to the blog post I published when the app was released for Android smartphones.

By Kate Kalmström Business Solutions and Tallstugan Developer With A Passion For Dance

We have a new developer in the Indore team, Sandeep Soni. Sandeep is a good developer and dedicated his work, but even though he studies to extend his technical knowledge his real passion is dancing.

I think this is an interesting combination of interests, especially as I myself once was awarded first prize in a local breakdance competition! Sandeep has now been with us for three months, and I am happy to let him introduce himself:
Sandeep Soni photo
I am grateful to Peter Kalmstrom for welcoming me in the team and giving me valuable time for upgrading my knowledge.

During my first months here I have mostly worked with the version 5 of TimeCard together with the other developers. TimeCard is a fascinating project for me
as it has three different steps.

We started with TimeCard Single, an Outlook add-on for single users. Now we are in the last testing phase for the Single version, and we have begun updating the Workgroup version.

TimeCard for Outlook logotypeAfter that we will develop a new TimeCard version that will build on SharePoint. I have worked with SharePoint development in my earlier position, and I like that the managers have decided to invest so much in developing for this platform

I completed my Bachelor of Engineering in 2011. After that I joined one of the Indore IT companies and worked on various .NET technology and Sharepoint projects.

In my free time I study for an MBA in the system administrator and marketing fields. The sysadmin courses help me understand  the work of a technical administrator, and in the marketing field I get to know about how we sell our products.

In my family we are two brothers and one sister. My father is a businessman and my mother is a teacher. I have been dancing since I was six years old, both modern dances and traditional Indian dances. To dance is my passion, and I have participated in many shows.
Sandeep dancing
It was a proud moment for me when I was awarded by the famous Bollywood choreographer Remo Dsouza. It happened when all actors in the movie Faltu came to Indore to promote the film and I danced in their stage show.

So these four are the important parts of my life: my work, my studies, my family and my dance.
Sandeep Soni
Developer Business Solutions

22 October 2013

Outlook HelpDesk Updated To Meet User Requests

Folder HelpDesk logo Today Business Solutions has released an update of Folder HelpDesk for Outlook V13. The new version has enhancements requested by Community Members.

Ticket list inside Outlook
Folder HelpDesk converts incoming e-mails into tickets that are shown in a list in Outlook. There they can be managed in many different ways, so Folder HelpDesk is used for all kinds of issue tracking in companies and organizations all over the world.

Current users our first priority
Community iconFour years ago we tranferred from a purchase to a subscription model for most of the products. We have never regretted that step, because it is favourable to both the customers and the company. Subscribers become Members of the Community.

Member requests
If a Commynity Member suggests a product enhancement that we consider useful and possible to develop, we usually ask for a sponsorship. However, in some cases the development is quick and in those cases we can do it without any cost for the Member.

In the new version of Folder HelpDesk we have met two Member requests. One Member organization needs to convert automatic e-mail replies, like "Out of office" or "Delivery failed" messages. Even if those messages do not bring the case forward they find it important to include in the ticket.

Fax messages
Another Community Member uses a third party fax service to send and receive faxes in Outlook, and to them it will be very convenient to have also the faxes converted into Folder HelpDesk tickets. Unfortunately Folder HelpDesk could not convert those messages and their attachments.

PamFax banner 2The fax service we use within, PamFax, sends an e-mail with a link to the fax, and these e-mails have of course been converted also in earlier versions of Folder HelpDesk. But this customer used a different system.

Remote session
One of our developers, Jitu Patidar, looked at the problem via a remote session, and after some research he could understand how to make Folder HelpDesk convert these fax messages too.

A remote session with a good developer is very useful, and we often offer them to users who contact us. They help the developers to quickly understand what is wrong, and when they know that, they can solve the problem.

Outlook fax
Outlook faxes were converted in earlier versions of Folder HelpDesk, but attachments were not included. Now that issue has been solved also.

Multiple conversion options
Today's update means that Folder HelpDesk now can convert four kinds of Outlook items into tickets:
  • E-mails, now including auto-messages
  • Appointments
  • Tasks
  • Faxes
On top of that you can also create a blank ticket, for example if you get an incident report via telephone. When the helpdesk serves a known group of people you can add the caller details to the ticket from the Outlook Contacts/People or the Global Address Book. upgrade iconUpgrade or try
Community Members who are using an earlier version of Folder HelpDesk for Outlook are welcome to upgrade.

Have you not tried Folder HelpDesk yet? download icon Please download the solution and evaluate it for 30 days. Beside the manual there are various video demonstrations to help you get started.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

21 October 2013

TimeCard Single V5 Slideshow - See The News

TimeCard for Outlook logotypeTag appointments with the extra data you need to record to convert them into time reports. Then report the tagged appointments directly from your Outlook calendar to your own Access database. That is what TimeCard helps you to do.

Soon we will release version 5 of this time tracking tool for Outlook, and now we have the new TimeCard Single slideshow ready. Please watch it below.

13 years old
TimeCard for Outlook banner TimeCard is one of my oldest products, first developed for a Swedish town. That was the workgroup version, and employees in the town reported to a central database.

The Single version, where TimeCard creates a local Access database instead, came a bit later. Now we will soon release the fifth major update of TimeCard Single.

Adds two ribbon groups
Below are the two ribbon groups that TimeCard adds to the Outlook calendar. The left one is shown in the calendar when no appointment is selected.

The right one is shown in the appointments but also when an appointment is selected in the calendar view. Then the standard TimeCard ribbon group disappears and the appointment group is shown instead.
TimeCard for Outlook calendar toolbarTimeCard for Outlook appointment toolbar
Extensive rebuild
 I wrote about the rebuild of TimeCard Single a month ago, so I will not repeat myself here. Users will not see all that is changed in the background, but they will surely appreciate the new design.

Users can also feel sure TimeCard Single will work well for many years, because we performed this rebuild to make TimeCard easier to develop and adapt to changes in the Microsoft technologies.

Documentation update
With such a massive change in architecture and design all the TimeCard Single documentation has to be updated. Documentation means website, FAQ, manual, slideshow and video demonstrations.
Kate Kalmstrom image
It has been a big task where several team members have taken part, but much of the work has fallen on my mother, Kate. She is a teacher who has also written several textbooks, so she knows how to present information in a good way. I hope that will make TimeCard Single easy to understand for new users.

Everything is not finished yet, but today you are welcome to have a look at the new slideshow. It is meant to be a first introduction to TimeCard Single. I hope to soon come back and tell you about the TimeCard Single V5 release!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

16 October 2013

Excel Lookup and Data Validation

Excel iconI made a break in my series of Excel tutorials, but now I am back with a new demo in the Tips section. This time I am demonstrating how to use the Excel lookup and data validation functions.

Shipping costs
cargo shipWhen you buy goods that should be sent to you by truck, boat or railway, you of course want to pay as little as possible for the freight. At the same time you probably want to received the cargo as soon as possible, but this factor differs from case to case.

Look up costs
To judge what shipping option is the best in each case you need to see what the shipping costs would be for a specific cargo sent in different ways. In my demo I show how to do that.

I make Excel look up the shipping cost per item for each option I select and multiply it with the number of items in the cargo. The calculated sum will be shown on the sheet where I select shipping option, so it is very quick to compare the costs of the different alternatives.

Excel sheet for lookup

Validate data
If I just write in the different shipping options in a column, someone will sooner or later write in something that is not present in the list of cost per shipping option. And then the calculation will crash!

It is safer and quicker to make Excel validate the data and let users select them instead of writing them in the cell. I achive this by using the data validation feature, which creates the dropdowns and gives an error message if someone still tries do write in a non-existing value instead of selecting from the existing ones.

Excel formulas

In this demo I use various Excel formulas, and if you are not familiar with them I advise you to have a look at my earlier tutorials on how to create Excel formulas for plus and minus, how to make Excel mulitpy and divide and how do create formulas with references between different Excel sheets.

Together they form a mini course in Excel calculations, but you can find several more Excel demos in the Tips section.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

15 October 2013

Change Laptop Screen Rotation Without Painful Movements

Kate Kalmstrom image Have you ever tried to use a laptop with the screen in the same position as in a tablet or smartphone with portrait orientation? Please don't!

You have to turn the computer on the side to see properly, but with a laptop the keyboard does not follow suit as it does in a phone. Not to mention how difficult it gets to manage the mouse!

However, an accidental key combination can make the screen rotate, so here is the solution – both the difficult one and the easy one.
Screen in portrait orientation
Sudden rotation
 The other day I was typing away very fast on my keyboard when the screen on my laptop suddenly rotated 90 degrees. I was in the middle of an important chat conversation and did not know what do to.

This had never happened to me before, and I realized I must have hit some keys that together had the effect of turing my screen. But what combination had I typed, and how could I get the screen back to normal?

There was nobody around who could help me. It was painful to continue chatting with my head turned as much as possible to the right, so that I could read the text. Slightly panic-stricken I opened the Control panel to find a solution.

Move the mouse the other way around
Now came the next problem: the mouse pointer did not move as usual. Instead I had to move the mouse in the opposite direction to get the pointer where I wanted it. I tried to keep the chat conversation going the best I could, while I searched for a solution in the Appearance and Personalization category.

It was not easy, so when I found the setting I was looking for and managed to set the orientation back from Portrait to Landscape I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Now the screen turned normal again, and I could finish my chat.
Screen orientation setting
The easy solution
After this experience I asked the technicians two questions. "Can you understand what I did that made my screen rotate?" and "Is there an easier way to set it right than opening the Control panel and navigate the mouse reversed?"

I got answers to both my questions.  What I had done was hitting Ctrl +Alt + Right Arrow at the same time. And the solution was so easy I had to laugh: Press Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow.

All combinations
Thus, the Ctrl and Alt keys in combination with the four arrow keys can play havoc with your screen, but they can also help you get it correct again. Here are all combinations:
  • Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow = the screen rotates upwards
  • Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow = the screen rotates to the right
  • Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow = the screen rotates downwards
  • Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow  = the screen rotates to the left
After the nervous experience I had, I will never forget the easy solution! I use Windows 8, but these combinations should work on earlier versions too. Any comments about these shortcuts are welcome!

Kate Kalmstrom
Sales Manager Business Solutions

10 October 2013

Outlook Meeting Requests

Outlook icon Use the Outlook calendar when you want to arrange a meeting. It is efficient, and you will get everything in writing in the meeting appointment. In an article about Outlook invitations in the Tips section I am showing how to do it.

Many can handle Outlook requests
You can send an invitation from your Outlook calendar to anyone. If the recipients don't use Outlook, they might not get it as an invite but rather as an ordinary email, but that is rare. Most modern e-mail clients on computers, phones and tablets can handle an Outlook meeting request.

Scheduling Assistant
Outlook New Meeting buttonMost of what I show in the demo can be done with all meeting requests if the recipeint has a fairly modern e-mail client, but one feature requires something more: the Scheduling Assistant. To see if the other person is occupied or not, so called free-busy information, there are two requirements:
  • You must both be connected to the same Exchange server farm
  • The other person must have shared his/her calendar information with you
There is one more thing to remember about the free-busy information: it is only shared two months into the future. Therefore the meeting you are trying to schedule should fall within this range if you want the information to be shown in the Scheduling Assistant.

Invitations with add-ons
Two of the Outlook add-ons build on the Outlook calendar: TimeCard and Calendar Browser. Meeting requests can be sent when using both of them, and they even enhance the standard Outlook features. I will give some examples.

TimeCard for Outlook logotypeWhen a company uses TimeCard for reporting of hours and expenses the staff have one, two or three dropdowns in each appointment in their Outlook calendars. These are used to tag appointments with time reporting data, which are then reported from the Outlook calendar to a central database.

If one employee requests a meeting with a group of colleagues, they will all get the appointment for the meeting tagged with the correct TimeCard values when they accept the invitation.

Calendar Browser
Calendar Browser logo With the resource booking tool each resource has its own Outlook calendar, and to book a resource is as easy as making an appointment. Calendar Browser works with both public folder calendars and direct booking mailbox calendars.

Public folders cannot send invitations, but when the calendar is a mailbox calendar the booking and invitation can be made in one process, so that users can book a resource for the meeting at the same time as they invite the other attendees.

You can for example book a room for the meeting and send meeting requests in one flow from the room's calendar. Even extras like refreshments or equipment, may be booked at the same time.

More tips
Should you not already use Outlook for arranging meetings I suggest you take a look at the demo and read the article about it in the Tips section. There you can also find an article about 6 ways to add info to the Outlook calendar and many tutorials on SharePoint and Excel. Please share if you find something useful!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

07 October 2013

SharePoint Tasks Ordering Within Phases In Kanban Task Manager V2

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeToday I am happy to announce the release of a new version of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint . Earlier you could drag and drop the tasks between different phases, but in version 2 you may also order the tasks in each phase with the same convenient method.

Project and task management in SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager combines the simplicity and clearness of the traditional kanban board with today's most modern technologies. With Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint you can show tasks for multiple projects in one kanban board, filter tasks by project, responsible and/or priority and search both subjects and body texts of the tasks.

Managers can easily supervise several workgroups when each group have their own Kanban Task Manager subsite. And you can drag and drop tasks between and now also within phases.

Member request
Several users have asked for a possibility to drag and drop tasks within phases, for example to put the most important tasks on top. Community iconThis feature has been in our future plans for some time, but as current Community Members are our first priority I decided to implement it sooner than we had first intended.

Tricky development
The development of the tasks order feature was not easy. To make it possible to drag and drop the tasks within a phase was no problem. The tricky part was to make the tasks keep their position in the ordering even if tasks were moved or new ones were inserted, but we managed to solve that in a smooth way.

When the task ordering maitenance was solved the remaining development and testing was so quick that the documentation update was left behind. As Community Members were waiting, we still wanted to release version 2 as soon as possible, and the manual will be updated this week.

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint task sizes To pin or not to pin?
When we first designed Kanban Task Manager we added a pin to each visualized task on the virtual kanban board. We thought it was a nice reminder of the pins used to fix the cards in the traditional kanban board.

However, users complained that the pin made the text difficult to read, so when we introduced the possibility to use smaller tasks we made not pin on those. But people who used the bigger tasks still wanted to get rid of the pin, so in this version there are no pins on any tasks.

Hover and see more
To further increase the visibility we have added tooltips to the tasks on the kanban board, also this after a suggestion from a Community Member. Hover over the subject or the description, and you will see more of the text.
Kanban Task Manager tooltip

Upgrade or try upgrade iconCommunity Members who are already using Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint are welcome to upgrade their installations. Upgrades are always included in the subscription, just like the support, and the quick upgrade process is described on the Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint upgrade page, where you can also download the latest version. download iconHave you not tried Kanban Task Manager yet? Please download Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint and try it for 30 days. The support services are for evaluators too, so you are welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

03 October 2013

6 Ways To Add Info To The Outlook Calendar

Outlook icon Two of the products – TimeCard and Calendar Browser – build on the Outlook calendar. These add-ons are easy to learn for people who are already using Outlook to plan their time, but I have understood that some new users on our products have never worked with the Outlook calendar before.

They need some basic information, and I have therefore recorded a few video demonstrations on how to use the Outlook calendar. These tutorials will be good for new users of TimeCard and Calendar Browser, but I hope they will be useful for others too.

Create new appointments
In my demo I show six ways to add an appointment to the Outlook calendar. You can see a list of them in the Tips article about Outlook appointments. The last method in the list is dragging an e-mail to the calendar, and the same can be done with tasks and notes.

Outlook New Appointment buttonThe New Appointment button is perhaps most used, but I actually think there are several better ways to create an appointment. It is more convenient to work directly in the calendar, without pressing a button first. I show how to do it in the demo.

Change and copy appointments
When you want to change the time span for an appointment, or move it to another day, you can also do it directly in the calendar, without opening the appointment first.

To copy an appointment, use the Crtl + C (= copy) and Ctrl + V (= paste) commands. These commands are very useful for copy and paste, and just like Ctrl + X for "cut" they can be used in many different contexts. When it comes to copying or cutting appointments, using these keys is actually the only way, as Microsoft has not given a button or a right click command for these functions.

Excel Functions button
Color code appointments
My own calendar is full of different kinds of appointments, and to get a better overview I like to color code them. I code my appointments after content, so that I have one color for journeys, one color for private events, one for teaching and so on. That way I can quickly find the appointment I am looking for.

Do the same with software
TimeCard for Outlook logotypeWhen you use TimeCard for time reporting or Calendar Browser for resource booking you basically do just like I show in the video.

With TimeCard the only difference is that you select a few tags from dropdowns in the appointments to convert them in into time reporting sheets.

Calendar Browser logo And when you want to book a resource with Calendar Browser you make an appointment in the calendar of that resource, instead of creating it in your personal calendar.

After this I will record a demo about how to send, accept and change invitations in the Outlook calendar. If you liked this demo, you are welcome back!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

02 October 2013

Indian Christmas For The Kalmstrom Kids

I guess my nearly grown up sons are not happy about being called kids, but to me they will always be "my kids". I am so happy to have them and their younger sister, and I am delighted that all three will come with me to Indore in the second half of December.

Yearly visits
My aim is to visit the office in Indore, India, once a year, but for various reason I had to cancel the trip I booked last year. Now I cannot see that anything will stop me from going – except serious illness of course, but I am a very healthy person!

New and old team members
It will be a great pleasure to meet my old friends at the Indore office again, those who have been with us for several years and who I have met at earlier visits.

But after I was in Indore two years ago we have hired more people, and I am looking forward to getting to know these new employees, that I have never met in person before. It will also be interesting to see the new office the team moved into in August this year.
The Kalmstorm kids
Used to travelling
My children have made many earlier journeys outside Sweden, so they are very used to travelling. The photo above was taken in Greece a few years ago.

Both the boys, Oliver 19 years old and Joakim 17, have been with me to India before, but for 11 year old Elsa it will be the first visit to the country that has become so important for the family business.

All three children are fluent in English, and I hope that will help them get a lot out of this journey. The team members will help me arrange some activities for them, like visit to schools, which will surely widen their horizon.

SharePoint lectures
As the team both use and build on SharePoint the Indore technichians are already quite knowledgeable when it comes to SharePoint. When I am visiting them I will take the opportunity to raise their knowledge level further by giving lectures on various aspects of SharePoint.

Development plans
We will also discuss future development plans. This last year all the products have been modernized, and now when we use the latest and best technologies the door is wide open to further enhancements.

Of course there will not only be work. Everyone will also have some fun together, like on previous visits. I will tell you more about it from India!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions