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Well, I've got the trial version of IE right here, right now and I don't see such a thing.

The template editor goes only as far as changing 'report order','form order', etc. Doesn't have any way to set the font, columns, etc so that all reports come out that way. You have to do it on each and every report.

That search function Mike speaks of; I'd love that, if I could find it.

Marc

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Just what Fabry & Kurt said,its usually just as quick to type it. If I need a boilerplate comment for FBE panels or other items I just hit window start program like Mike does with the phrase I would use and all my documents with that comment appear. Usually takes me seconds to fine what I need and do a copy and paste and any quick modification I need to do to fit that particular inspection. By the way I use to think long detailed reports are great but lately I think less is more, just get to the point-you gotta smell the salt air sometimes.

John Callan

I just think of something I would have written about such a topic, type those few words into the search box that pops up when I click on the windows start program and it pulls up a long list of reports where I've used those words. Click on one of the reports, scroll to the section in question - in this case electrical - find the comment, copy it, close the report and then paste that comment into the report I'm working on and tweak it a little to fit that report. Don't need to categorize a thing; just be consistent about words and phrases I use in my reports.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Window logo left corner-when you click on it programs appear and at the bottom a blank search tab appears type in a word-example- no drip edge on rakes and doc appears with past reports that uses that word phrase-

John Callan

'Window start program'

Someone want to tell me what that is? And where? [:-dunce]

Marc

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Sounds like a pain in the ass to open and close different documents to get your comments out but whatever works for you is what's best for you.

HomeGauge stores your comments for that inspection item in a pop up window and uses SmartText to fill in the changeable parts of the comment.

Though, on the shorter comments, I agree it might be faster to just type it in, depending on your typing skills.

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Sounds like a pain in the ass to open and close different documents to get your comments out but whatever works for you is what's best for you.

HomeGauge stores your comments for that inspection item in a pop up window and uses SmartText to fill in the changeable parts of the comment.

Though, on the shorter comments, I agree it might be faster to just type it in, depending on your typing skills.

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I'm with Erby.

I'm pretty happy with HG, also. It's fast and easy to learn. It also has a search filter in case you can't remember where you put something.

Just type a word, and it pulls every comment that has that particular word in it.

If you're a camera guy and you follow the same routine, your pictures load in in a strip on the right side, and are there for the choosing as you go. You can even drop your comments into the pictures.

In the time it takes to click, you can switch the pics to a strip of their illustrations and add your own to that library. Like a cartoon of an ice dam.

Seems like less work than trying to set it all up on your own.

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Another way I think I could really speed up reporting time is to stay more organized at the inspection. For some reason I find it hard to do that. The pictures relative to category are scattered all over in my folder. Then when report writing I have to jump all around the folder to put things together.

How can I break this habit of not taking pictures in categorical order? Is there other ideas that could help?

Thanks.

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Ya know, John, you can't, reasonably. You're on the roof taking pictures and then you go do something else and then you're in the attic with pictures of roof problems from the underside.

Or you're at the electrical panel and then something else and then you're outside at the service entrance

I've always (at least the last several years {once I gave up on handwritten notes I couldn't read & voice recordings I had to listen to for a minute to describe a problem the pictures and hand signs tell me about in 3 seconds}) taken a picture of everything I wanted to comment on in the report. Those pictures are my on site notes and reminders, etc. I don't make many onsite notes other than the small amount of stuff I put right into the HomeGauge software (the report) itself.

I had that same problem when I first started using HomeGauge. I'd have the picture strip on the right side of the screen and be going down through the report and running that picture strip up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down JUST trying to find the picture that went with that category or comment. Wasn't the breeze I thought it should be to write the report.

AND THEN REVELATION: In the HomeGauge report writing screen, it's easy and simple to jump from one section and category to another. Now I just go down the picture strip on the right side, select the category or section I want to comment in and pop in the boilerplate for that comment and, if I'm going to put that picture in the report, insert it. I don't use every picture in the report. Some are just notes for me.

One picture at a time, all the way down the film strip. And, as Gary said, it's easy to flip from the inspection picture film strip to my example photos and illustrations film strip and back to my inspection picture film strip.

When the film strip is done, all the important things are in the report. Then it's just a matter of using the "Find next unanswered" button to finish off all the little last minute checks, spell check and then done.

Were I using your Word document writing reports, I'd resize Word and and put the photo folder up on the right side of the screen and just go down the film strip, flipping through the different report sections and inserting the photos and comments. You could even open up another session of Windows Explorer (I presume your "film strip") and resize it to the same size as the inspection photo film strip and put it in the same place. Then just use the task bar to switch between the two versions of Explorer, one showing your inspection photos and one showing your illustrations and example photos folder (or folders). As in the photos below (with Explorer up beside HomeGauge instead of the HomeGauge Film Strip.) I'd bet it's easier to jump around your report sections than the photo folder.

I try to inspect in the same order every time, but it doesn't always work. I normally do the inside first so I don't track up the house with yard dirt after doing the outside. However, yesterday, I knew rain was coming so we did the outside first. Pictures were out of whack with my normal order but running down the HomeGauge filmstrip on the right of the screen, I didn't really feel out of whack. One picture at a time through the film strip and I'm pretty much done, no matter the order I took pictures.

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I had that same problem when I first started using HomeGauge. I'd have the picture strip on the right side of the screen and be going down through the report and running that picture strip up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down JUST trying to find the picture that went with that category or comment. Wasn't the breeze I thought it should be to write the report.

AND THEN REVELATION: In the HomeGauge report writing screen, it's easy and simple to jump from one section and category to another. Now I just go down the picture strip on the right side, select the category or section I want to comment in and pop in the boilerplate for that comment and, if I'm going to put that picture in the report, insert it. I don't use every picture in the report. Some are just notes for me.

I just learned that trick, myself.

I also leave the picture file open, so I can pop it up to find them faster, look for the picture number if need one I know is out of sequence, or to just open it to look at detail in a larger size. Like the serial number on a water heater.

Erby, I'm getting a little tired of this snow. Are you hiring?

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I do pretty much the same as Erby and I use Home Inspector Pro. No written notes, photos of the house and problems are used as my notes and I input the majority of them details onsite in my iPad that sits in the kitchen. Back at the office I load the photos and the as I view each photo I just select where it goes in the report from a drop drop down menu of the problems and I'm pretty much done. HG and HIP are similar in this aspect.

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Erby's approach is exactly how I designed my interface.

It's about interface design. We figured out all those extra 10 and 15 second motions required in so many off the shelf packages added a few hours to the day. Get rid of all the unnecessary moving parts.

Most of the package system's interface are ridiculously bad. And people still buy them and use them.

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I'm with Erby, Scott and Kurt. The taking of photos in sequence plays second fiddle as I walk and read the house. Same for the notes on my clipboard and any checkbox I may have, written or memorized.

Photos are inserted last, during the report writing session because it's easier to navigate and edit the text with the photos out of the way.

Marc

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I've used IE, IF, and HG. One complaint I have is that I can't insert a page break. I prefer a cleaner look by using page breaks to eliminate headings being separated from paragraphs, and paragraphs being split. I emailed all the respective companies with no reply other than their robo-responses. I think that some of the editing features are not available because of their licensing deals with MS and Adobe. I also do comments in the order of the picture file like Erby, but find it faster to type each one than to scan libraries.

I learned to type on a Selectric in HS. Was one of only 2 guys in the class and got a lot of ribbing, but looking back it was one of the best investments of my time.

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Do any of the experienced Homegauge user sell their template? I recently began using homegauage, and while the stock one is alright, I want better.

You don't need to buy anything. Just keep digging into it and create your own. It teaches you the tricks in the tutorial.

I've changed mine to the point where it's mine. I also have separate templates for multi family and commercial. You can transfer your boiler to any of them with a click. Once they're part of that template, they stay there.

And, if you need more help, go to the HG forum, or just call them. They're real good about walking you through things until you get it.

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Erby,

I use Palmtech and I already do the report writing very similar to you. I'm just looking for a way to reduce all the jumping around in the template.

Perhaps I should explore ways of efficiently sorting the pictures in the folder before running through the process of putting the report together.

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Sorry, thought I remember a bunch of comments from you about your own Word Templates.

Reduce jumping around in the template by increasing jumping around in the house to get pictures in category order as you take them??

Palm-Tech - I'm sorry. They got a couple thousand bucks from me before I switched to HomeGauge. Haven't looked back but just now reviewing their usage video about adding pictures is kind of similar to what I described above for Word. http://www.palm-tech.com/support/tutori ... pector.php at about 7:12 into it.

Still only lets you see one partial line of your comment. Still clunky with pictures.

But, you know, one of the nice things about this thing we do is we can pretty much do it "our way". Sometimes we make bad choices - sometimes we make good choices. Then we deal with the result. I know I've made a few bad choices.

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As for Palmtech not showing much of the comments, the template can be changed to suit needs. I ditched the description features in most lines except where SOP requires me to identify something. This layout lets me see enough of the comments to identify them.

Here's a screenshot for example.

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Erby,

I use Palmtech and I already do the report writing very similar to you. I'm just looking for a way to reduce all the jumping around in the template.

Perhaps I should explore ways of efficiently sorting the pictures in the folder before running through the process of putting the report together.

That would work. Sort your pics to match the sequence in your report. Not what I'd do, tho. [:)]
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Another way I think I could really speed up reporting time is to stay more organized at the inspection. For some reason I find it hard to do that. The pictures relative to category are scattered all over in my folder. Then when report writing I have to jump all around the folder to put things together.

How can I break this habit of not taking pictures in categorical order? Is there other ideas that could help?

Thanks.

All my exterior pics are in a group as a rule, but the deck is an interruption as I circle around. So I might finish the siding if there are problems or items that I know will need report pics, then return to inspect and photograph the whole deck. Then all the roof. Then all the garage. I try to take a pic of each component in the garage report while there in the garage. Skip the pic of the E panel until I'm done the garage components, then get about 4 pics of the E panel, cover on and off.

At the end of my roof pics, I like a pic of the garden shed and maybe the backyard. I like that eagle's eye view. So near the end, if I fell inclined I might toss that pic into the report, and I know where it is, end of the shingle pics.

If I want the bath exhaust hose, it is in the end of the attic pics.

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I'm going to give pic sorting a chance. I made a file folder which includes category sub folders. I'll save it for copy and rename as needed. I'll scroll through the main pic folder on the right and drag drop to the category folders on the left. In the process I'll also be deleting any bad pics.

Then, when I go to write the report. I'll do it one sub category at a time to eliminate all the jumping around in the report template.

Here's a screen shot of what Ill do.

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John,

Do you have to go back and forth between the file and the report template to drop pictures into the strip on the right?

I don't understand the steps needed to include a picture.

With HG you load the pics into a regular file from the camera. When you start a report, you load that file to the report. Every picture you took, is on the side strip whether you plan to use it or not. If you inspect the house in the same order as you set up the report template, the strip follows the order as you go down through it. It's a simple matter of opening the chosen picture, adding arrows or whatever, and dropping it.

There's always a stray here and there that you might have added and have to fish for but, for the most part you really don't have to chase after them.

When I'm done, I drop the report PDF in the picture file with a scan of the paperwork and it's done. Saved in one file.

Erby, I tried to run one this morning by dropping the pictures first. It slowed me down. I've been doing it within sections for a while, and that works for me. Trying to drop them through the whole report first, doesn't for me. Did I misunderstand what you meant?

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