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SharpeSoft Estimator Fast Trax 4/7: Easy Steps for Creating and Using Item Masters

Updated: Jul 12, 2023


Scroll down for 2 helpful videos!

An Item Master is a frequently used bid item that can be saved for use in future jobs. You create the item in the Bid Items window and then save it to the Item Masters table (along with its underlying sub items, detail, production, and company cost codes). Later, it can be selected for entry into another estimate, eliminating redundant data entry on your part. The Item Masters table acts as a library, allowing you to sort and save the items in your own group format, making it easy to retrieve and load into a job bid.


Set Up Grouping Structure

Go to: Tables menu > Item Masters


Before you can save your most frequently used bid items to the Item Masters table, you will need to create a grouping structure. Because this window will grow in size as bid items are saved to it, you should give serious thought to how you want to organize this window. Once set up, all users should adhere to the system.



Adding Top-Level Groups

To add a top-level group to the Item Masters table, (cities, counties, owner/agencies, DOT, etc.) click insert in the window's lower left corner. The Insert Item Master Group window will open.


Enter a Group code and Description for your new group. Click OK and the new group will appear in the Item Masters table. Continue in this manner until you have entered all of the top-level groups you want.


Adding Sub-Groups

To add a sub group, right click on the group under which you want your new sub group to appear and click Insert . The Insert Item Master Group window will open. Enter the Group code and Description for your sub group and click OK.

Your group level hierarchy is determined by right clicking on the level under which you want a new group to appear.

  • To create a top-level group, click Insert in the lower left corner. To create sub groups, right click on a group and then click insert in the context menu.


Continue inserting your various groups and subgroups to set up the desired group structure for your Item Masters table. If you want to make changes, use the right-click context menu to change or delete an existing group. You can also drag and drop groups to move them.

Once your grouping structure has been set up, you are ready to save bid items to the Item Masters table.


Save a Bid Item as an Item Master

Go to: Job menu > Bid Items


Note: For this exercise, it is assumed that you have selected and activated a job that contains bid items that you want to save as item masters. If you have not done so, select a job in the Setup menu > Jobs window and activate it. Then return to the Bid Items window when you are ready.



To save a bid item (along with all its sub items, detail, and other information) as an item master, select the item in the Bid Items window then go to the Actions menu and click Save Item Master. This opens the Save to Item Master Table window.


Enter the Group Code of the item master group under which you want the bid item to be saved (or click search to choose the group from the Select Group window). Assign the item a code that uniquely identifies it. (Note that although you can always search for codes, it is best to assign codes that are intuitive and easy for you to remember.) Click OK.

  • All bid items that might be used again in other jobs should be saved to the Item Masters table. If you do not save them, you will have to re-create them every time you need them. It is generally better to have too many saved items than not enough.

Insert Item Masters into the Bid Items window

To load an item master from the Item Masters table into your current job you must be at the bid item or sub item level in the Bid Items window (NOT in detail).


There are two ways to load an item master into your current job:

  1. Drag and drop individual items from the Item Masters table; or

  2. Open the Select Item Master window and mark items to copy into your job.


While the first method is generally faster for searching for items, the second method allows you to overwrite an existing item and/or to select multiple items. In addition, it gives you the option to copy items directly from an existing job.


Drag and Drop method

To drag and drop an item master into the Bid Items window, go to the toolbar and click Open Item Masters tree or press F11. The Item Masters window will open.

In the Item Masters window, click the node icons to expand the item tree as needed. Click on the item you want and then drag it from the Item Masters table into the Bid Items window.


The item you selected will be displayed at the bottom of your bid item list and given the next available item number. If you are using item groups, you can drop the item master into the appropriate group.


Mark and Copy method


Inserting an Item Master as a new item…

To copy items from the Select Item Master window right click inside the right panel and click Insert Item Master. When the select window opens, click the node icons to expand the item trees until you find the item you want. Double click on the item and it will be copied to the bid items window and assigned the next available item number.


To copy multiple item masters, hold down the Ctrl key and click on each item you want. This marks and highlights them on your screen. Mark as many items as you want and then press Enter or click Select. Each item will be copied to the Bid Items window and given the next available item numbers.


Replacing an existing item with an Item Master…

You can replace an existing bid item with an Item Master by clicking on the existing item in the right side of the bid items window and then clicking Search in the toolbar, or right click inside the panel and clicking Load Item Master (Overwrite).


When the select window opens, click the node icons to open the item tree until you find the item you want. Double click on the item and a window will open giving you the option to keep the item’s original Description, Quantity, and/or What-If status (if applicable). Make your choice and click OK. The system will overwrite the existing bid item with the new Item Master you selected.

  • Make sure that your cursor is not in the UM or Workers' Comp columns when initiating this search. Clicking Search while in one of these columns opens the select window pertaining to that field.

Copy Items from a Previous Job

To copy bid items from a previous job, click the Select Items from Job button at the top left of the Select Item Master window. This opens the Select Job window. This window displays all jobs listed under the company you are currently working in.

In the Select Job window, double click on a job. Then, in the Select Bid Items window, mark the items you want, and then click Select. Double click on the job and the Select Bid Items window will open displaying its bid items. From there you can select items at the sub item or detail level. Mark the items you want by holding down the ctrl key and clicking on each one. When ready, copy the marked items into your job by clicking Select at the bottom right of the window.


Update Item Costs and Other Details

Make sure that after loading items from the Item Masters table or from a previous job, you update the production rates, quantities, vendors, and/or costs at the Detail level to fit the job you are currently working on.


When loading selected item masters, the system will attempt to update the costs in the copied items to the current costs in your system. If it is unable to find the current price for an item, a message will appear on the screen displaying the item code. This will happen if the equipment and/or labor being loaded do not exist in your current system or do not have a matching area. When this happens, the system will load the item, but the pricing may be out of date. Make note of these items, as you may need to modify or change the equipment/labor areas or costs for these individual items to insure that your bid is correctly priced.


Conclusion


Getting started with SharpeSoft is a breeze. Whether you are looking to create a new job or add one, SharpeSoft has got your back. We have the tools and expertise necessary to help you make it happen without breaking a sweat.


You can continue on to other helpful Fast Trax articles below. To learn more about this particular subject, consult your system Help manual, or just give us a call and we’ll be glad to walk you through it.


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