How to Update the BidSmart Estimator

The BidSmart Estimator is not like a “regular” computer application. It is a highly customized workbook that only runs under Microsoft Excel©. This being the case each existing workbook can be updated to the new version by importing it into an updated version workbook. While, this sounds like a lot of work you only need to update Estimates that are still active, or that you “want” to update. The Estimator’s Import tool makes it easy to import everything or just a few items. The process has cues that ask questions to ensure that you only move the data that you need. You are asked to back up your Estimate twice, because we believe in “safety first” and always back up!

Updating by Importing

It’s simple enough to get started importing. First, open the old version which you want to update (the Source) and the new version (the Target.) The Target doesn’t have to be a pristine new version copy, it can be one that you have used before. With the import tool, you can choose what you want to keep, such as the company or client’s name and address and selected line items. To start the Import, from the Target Estimate select the Import Data menu item from the Estimator’s Ribbon menu.

Estimator’s Ribbon menu

The process starts off with a question asking to save the current estimate, but it also tells you that there will be another prompt to back up your existing Estimate later. You could do it both times, only at the first prompt, or wait for later to do the backup.

Estimator Import tool backup cue
The Estimator’s Import dialog

The Import dialog box (shown above) has a lot of information and may look daunting, however, there are essentially only 3 choices to make.

  • At the top – Select the open Estimate that will be the source (Estimate from which the data is imported.) Only open, compatible Estimates are listed in the window.
  • In the middle – Select what you want to import such as line items and contract information (Markup, Profit Margin, Labor Rate, etc.) The Import ALL option is the best for a version upgrade and saves time in deciding what to import.
  • At the bottom – Only if you checked the Line Items checkbox are the Line item import options relevant. There are four different line item import methods:
  • Delete all of the current line items and replace them with the line items from the Source Estimate (Use this one if you want to import subtotals since they require the same line item structure.)
  • Import ALL of the Source line items After the existing ones on the Target Estimate.
  • Import a selected range of line items from the source Estimate and DELETE the existing lines.
  • Clear ALL of the current line items of text and data. Create an Estimate with NO line items.
The Import dialog and one of its several cues

After making your selections click the Import button and the rest is automated. There may be a question or two, but your further input is minimal. The only other options available on the form are to open an estimate (you can do it from the form) and to Refresh the Listing of open and compatible Estimates (only BS Estimates are shown.)

In Progress and Done…

The red Import in PROGRESS label is shown when the data is being imported. There may be times when it appears that nothing is going on. The Import process not only moves the data it runs several checks to ensure that everything looks good and will work fine. Unless Excel quits Responding, then it is still working. If Excel does quit responding shown by the “Not Responding” notice at the very top of the Excel window you can wait or close the program down. Many times waiting is a good choice because not responding sometimes means that Excel is “overwhelmed” and will soon return to good working order on its own. However, you may have to use the WindowsTask Manager to shut down Excel. In any case, you should feel confident since your backups ensure that your data is safe.

That’s it. The import process has been run thousands of times in testing and in real-life usage. New features and updates may cause issues, but it is constantly being tested. If you have a problem please send me a note or leave a comment here.