Thursday, January 3, 2013

New feature: Templates

Templates are a great tool that make it easier to add a new contact or project. Using templates you can customize the add and edit person, company and project pages. A template is a set of ordered fields that you specify. Each field has a type (i.e. email, phone, address, text, number, list, etc.), a label, a help text, a regex validation rule and a default value. You can create a template for every type of contact or project you need to track. For example, for people, you could have a news reporter template, a politician template, a lawyer template, a real estate broker template, a movie producer template, etc. When you then create a new contact, a news reporter for example, you just select the "News reporter" template on the add person page and fill in the template fields.

Create a new template

To create a new template:
  1. Click on "Settings" in the Timetonote left navigation panel
  2. Select the "Templates" tab
  3. Select the "Person Templates", "Company Templates" or "Project Templates" tab to determine the type of template you want to add
  4. Click on "Add a new template" button and input the template name and define the template fields
  5. Click on "Save template" to save the template
For example, here is how you could define a person template and it's fields for a news reporter:

There are three types of templates: person templates, company templates and project templates. A person template is used to add or edit a person. A company or project template is used to add or edit a company or project respectively. After you save the template all users in your Timetonote account will be able to see the template under the "Use template" drop down list on the add and edit person, company or project pages, depending on the template type.

Template fields

Use template fields to capture information about contacts or projects. For example, email, phone, media market, employees, election year, etc. whatever is relevant to your business. Each template is basically a collection of ordered fields. You can reorder template fields at any time by clicking on the up and down arrows next to the field on the add or edit template page. The type of fields that you can add to a template depend on the the template type. For example, these are the fields that you can add to a person template:

The available standard fields are: Email, Phone, Address, Web site, Birthday, Instant Messaging, Date and Background info. The available custom fields are:
  • Text: plain text
  • Number: a numeric value (either float or integer)
  • Choose from a list: a drop down selection list
  • Text area: plain text on multiple lines
You can also add section headers if you'd like to divide your template in sections to make it easier to read and fill out.
Each field has these properties that define how the field displays and collects data from the user when the template is selected to be used:
  • Label: the text displayed to the user
  • Help Text: additional help text to help the user fill in the field. The help text is displayed when the user hovers the mouser over [?].
  • Default Value: a default value that will automatically be used to fill this field. You can use a default value when a field has often times the same value. This will help the user input data faster as the field will already be set.
  • Regex validation rule: you can validate user input for this field using any arbitrary regular expression. For example, to validate double-digit numbers 10 to 99 you could use this rule: [1-9][0-9], or to validate an email address you could use this rule: ^[a-zA-Z0-9._%+-]+@[a-zA-Z0-9.-]+\.[a-zA-Z]{2,4}$.
  • Make this a required field: the user will be required to input a value for this field.

Edit and delete templates

On the templates page you can view all the templates in your Timetonote account and you can edit or delete any template by clicking on the "edit" or "delete" links next to the template:

Note: When you edit a template and rename or delete a template field the data collected in contacts or projects using that template is not updated. Also, when you delete a template, the data collected in contacts or projects using that template is not deleted.

Using templates

After you've created your templates, you can use them on the add and edit person, company and project pages. For example, to add a news reporter person, select the "News reporter" template on the add person page:

Using a custom template of fields, instead of the more generic default template, enables you to quickly add fields. Fields that are required are marked with a red * and users will have to input a value for this field before they can save the entity. Also, if the field has a regex validation rule, users will have to input a valid value, otherwise they will be presented with a "Invalid value" message for that field.
When you create a contact or project using a template, the same template will automatically be used when you edit that contact or project. However, you can select another template or the default generic template to edit a contact or project.

User permissions

Only the Timetonote account owner has access to the templates management page to add, edit or delete templates. To give another user access to the templates management page, enable the "Can manage templates" permission for that user on the "Users" page.

1 comment:

  1. Great feature! Have just tried using it and it definitely makes adding people/companies/projects quicker and more focussed.