|National Estimator Frequently Asked Questions
This page has answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions:
National Estimator will run on Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems.
Each purchased copy (i.e. license) of the software product is intended for exclusive use by a single, primary user. The primary user may install the software product on two personal computers; however a license for the software product may not be shared between individuals.
Yes. To see the procedure, press F1 in National Estimator. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on the topic of your choice.
Yes. But only QuickBooks Pro handles estimates. Use the program Job Cost Wizard to convert National Estimator estimates into a form either QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro can import. QuickBooks will import National Estimator invoices. QuickBooks Pro will import both invoices and estimates.
This depends on which costbook(s) you are using.
For the National Construction Estimator, National Home Improvement Estimator, National Concrete and Masonry Estimator, National Framing & Finish Carpentry Estimator, National Repair & Remodeling Estimator and National Renovation & Insurance Repair Estimator, simply click on Utilities, then Options when inside the National Estimator program. Then click on the Area Modification Factors tab. Enter the zip code of your job site and check off which modifications you want to apply: Material, Labor, or Equipment. Click OK and the costbook will be adjusted accordingly. Area modification factors change from time to time and will be installed automatically when you request the latest updates.
If you’re using the National Electrical Estimator, National Painting Cost Estimator or National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator, simply click on the percent button on the National Estimator toolbar. Enter the appropriate adjustment (either plus or minus percentage) to material, labor and equipment costs. Press Enter. This will globally modify all appropriate costs in the estimate by the percentage entered.
There are many ways. The disk comes with a 60-minute tutorial. Sit back and relax while Dan shows you everything your need to know. If you downloaded National Estimator (and don't have the disk), a tutorial is available here. You can also print 40 pages of detailed instructions from the help file by pressing F1, clicking Print All Topics, clicking File, and then clicking Print Topic.
No. The last version of National Estimator you install becomes your default costbook and opens automatically when you start National Estimator. For instance, if you have the National Painting Cost Estimator costbook on your computer and you install the National Electrical Estimator costbook, the National Electrical Estimator becomes the default. But National Painting Cost Estimator is still on your hard disk. To open a second costbook, select Open Costbook on the File menu. Then click on the name of the costbook to open. To see all costbooks open, click on Window. Then click to switch to another costbook. To change your default costbook, click on Utilities, Options, and Select Default Costbook.
Every costbook is updated Quarterly for the year of issue. These quarterly updates are free and automatic via
the Web. The National Estimator program will prompt you when it’s time for an update. All you need is Internet access. After updates
are complete, updated cost figures will appear in red.
No. The current version of National Estimator will open estimates that have been created in earlier versions of National Estimator, even the old DOS version of Estimate Writer. Also note that installing National Estimator changes the default directories if you used a 2000 or earlier version of the program.
National Estimator has a built-in auto save feature. By default it is set to save your estimate every 10
minutes. You can change the frequency at which National Estimator auto saves by clicking on Utilities, then Options, then the General
tab. Use the up/down arrows to change the number of minutes.
Yes. The procedure is explained in Help. In National Estimator, press F1. Click on Search. Type Add and double click on the topic of your choice, either adding costs or adding text.
Yes. Make sure the costbook you want to print is open and selected. Click on File. Click on Print Current Costbook. Type the page numbers you want to print. Click OK.
Not in the costbook. However, it's easy to adjust hourly wages in an estimate. Any time you copy and paste costs into an estimate, you see the labor rate. Change that rate once and it's changed throughout the estimate. But making that change doesn't affect the costbook and it doesn't change any other estimate you've already completed. For more on setting your own wage rates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Wage and double click on Custom.
This happens because the program has been instructed to only use the default wage rates. To modify this instruction, click on the menu choice Utilities then click on Options. Select the General Settings tab, and uncheck the box next to the phrase Always use costbook wage rates? then click on OK.
Not directly. But you can export any estimate as either a tab-delimited file, comma-delimited file or text file. Most accounting programs can import a file in one of those formats. Once imported, the only limitation is the accounting program you use. For more on exporting estimates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on one of the Export topics.
Yes. There are two ways. The first way is to export the estimate to your favorite word processing or spreadsheet program. Nearly all allow you to add graphics to a document. For more on exporting estimates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on one of the Export topics. The second (and best) way is to use Job Cost Wizard to export the estimate to QuickBooks Pro. To add a logo to all QuickBooks Pro estimates, open any estimate in QuickBooks or QuickBooks Pro. Click on the down arrow to the right of Template. Click on Custom. Click on the Options tab. Click on Use Logo. Click on File. Select the bitmap (BMP file) you want to appear on every estimate.
Yes. Click on the Markup button. Replace the word "Contingency" with "Depreciation" and insert the amount as a negative number, either a percentage or a lump sum. If you want to add a column for depreciation, export to a spreadsheet as a comma-delimited (Lotus) or tab-delimited (Excel) file. Then the only limit is your knowledge of Lotus or Excel.
No. National Estimator is a cost estimating program. It assumes you already know the quantity of material required.
No. But you can download most of Craftsman's National Estimator costbooks from this site for only $39.99 each.
Not all computers have the D drive set up as the CD-ROM drive. You don't have to guess. Windows will find the installation drive. Click Start. Click Settings. Click Control Panel. Double-click Add/Remove Programs. Click Install and follow instructions on the screen.
CD Estimator contains the National Estimator program, along with the following electronic costbooks in their
entirety: National Concrete & Masonry Estimator, National Construction Estimator, National Electrical Estimator, National Framing &
Finish Carpentry Estimator, National Home Improvement Estimator, National Painting Cost Estimator, National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator,
National Renovation & Insurance Repair Estimator and the National Repair & Remodeling Estimator.
Microsoft Vista users may encounter a Runtime Error when attempting to run National Estimator. This is caused
by Vista's User Account Control (UAC) function. Here are three things you can do to start the program without having to resort to right-clicking and run as administrator: