You can’t save paper if you don’t have the right tools. A Document Management System (“DMS”) is an important step towards running a paperless office. Watch free 20 minute webinar to learn how to maximize document management inside OfficeTools.

You can’t save paper if you don’t have the right tools. A Document Management System ("DMS") is an important step towards running a paperless office. Watch free 20 minute webinar to learn how to maximize document management inside OfficeTools .

About Free Training Thursday: Since the start of 2017, we have been holding these free 20 minute trainings hosted by our industry-leading experts and innovators who will teach you about AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, ResultsCRM, OfficeTools, Abacus Private Cloud, and more. If you would like to request a topic, please

[accordion-container] [accordion-trigger]View Transcript[/accordion-trigger] [accordion-content]

Hello everybody. Thank you for joining today. We're going to go ahead and give some stragglers a couple more minutes here to join our session. Then we'll get the webinar started.

Alright, well again, thank you so much for joining is today. I really appreciate it, and this is going to be one of our Free Training Thursdays and today the topic's going to be document management, so we're going to go over our OfficeTools DMS from some setup features to usage, and I'm actually going to throw in a couple things that even more experienced users may not be aware of when it comes to documents and how we can manage those within OfficeTools. Some of the big areas that we're going to hit are going to be again, under the hood stuff, we're going to do some interface things, and I will open up at the end of the webinar for some Q&A if anybody has any questions about OfficeTools in general or about what we've talked about today.

My name is Philip Phares. I'm the director of education for AbacusNext and the solutions architect for OfficeTools, so I know a little bit about the program so hopefully we can uncover some things again that maybe we're not aware of as we go through this, so what I'm going to focus on today is picking the right location for your documents to be stored. Now, I'm going to assume anybody who's listening to this is currently using OfficeTools DMS, but I am going to revisit some of these things and this is going to be one of those. Talk a little bit about the OfficeTools folder structure, including categories, then we're going to go into some of the functionalities that we'll be using to get documents into OfficeTools such as drag and drop, PDF print drivers, and the drop folder or the scan folder, and then obviously I'm going to talk a little bit about the interface itself and how to navigate it. Not that it's difficult to do, but there are some things that again, even more experienced OfficeTools users may not necessarily be aware of.

Okay, so let's start right with the first up there, which is picking a DMS location. Now again, I'm going to assume everybody's already using OfficeTools, but just as a best practice let's revisit this real quick. When you're setting up OfficeTools to handle your documents, all it's really doing is referencing a folder or a location on your network, so some important things that you have to consider when doing this is one, you want to make sure that wherever you're putting these documents there's enough actual storage on that system. Typically I'd obviously recommend your server. You want to make sure that it's a mapped drive, so whatever drive or whatever location you put this folder, you want to make sure that the other computers in your network have access to the same mapped drive. Now, in some cases, some offices through the years they add new computers. Maybe they change ITs. We can all see the same folders but they're actually mapped differently. It might be the K drive on my computer, but it's the L drive on yours.

If that's the case we need to make sure that we have the same drive on all the computers, otherwise there's going to be some miscommunication between the workstations and the server when it comes to locating and placing documents. So make sure you're mapping is correct, make sure you're networking is correct, and you'll be good to go.

Now, one thing that I would recommend, and I'll show you where that option is here real quick. You're going to want to go to setup here at the top, my company, information and settings, and right down here there's an area for documents and this is where you can choose that location. One thing I would recommend too is when you're using OfficeTools DMS is to not use both locations at the same time. What I mean is once we start going with OfficeTools we have to kind of stick with OfficeTools. It's not really a good idea to also go and fiddle around with the Windows folder structure, and there's reasons for that. The easiest one is just that OfficeTools is referencing it and building the folders and placing documents in locations based on your choices of categories and things of that sort, so if we go to the backend, if we go to the folder itself, the Windows folder and we begin moving things around in there, we then have to come back into OfficeTools and actually re-index or re-scan all of those folders.

Very often we forget to do that or it's a time consuming process and we just shouldn't have to go down that road, so leave any of the backend folder stuff for things that are really critical like you're moving servers, things of that sort. But for the everyday, common document needs, just do everything in OfficeTools and you'll be much better off for doing it that way.

Once you have all that set up, what's important to realize again is that OfficeTools is going to manage all that for you so if I actually go to the documents tab, which is where I am here, I can hover over one of these documents and it'll actually show me the path. K:OT Documents client name, so on and so forth. That's again where the file is stored. When you add a new document into OfficeTools it's going to go ahead and create everything it needs. It's going to create the client name, the folder for the client name. It's going to create the categories, the years, the project folders. Whatever's decided by you when you import that document, OfficeTools will create the appropriate folders and organize it in that folder structure, but you don't need to have all of them.

What I mean by that is you can add a document. I pulled up the details of one that I already have here, and you can choose a specific year and a project, or not. Maybe you don't want a year. Maybe this is more of a permanent kind of file. There's no year association necessarily. You can omit certain things or add all of them if you like, and those folders again are being managed by OfficeTools in the backend. There's not much you need to do here.

Visually in OfficeTools, while you do see all of the files laid out, all we've done is removed the visual part of the folder trees, but those are still referenced in these dropdowns and search options, and we'll go through those when we get to the end here in a little bit and talk about the interface a little bit more.

Two of these fields … We have three total. Year, project, and category. Two of them there's not much we can really do from a customization point of view. Years are years, right? There's not much we can change about that. Projects, while the projects themselves are obviously customizable, when it comes to placing those documents with a project for a client, obviously that client must have that project so there's not much we can do there other than just associate the actual file to an actual project that the client may have.

The third option however, categories, we can customize and we got some choices there. The easiest way to add or modify those categories, we can see those over here on the right. We have all our category options in here. Is just to navigate up to the setup window up at the top, and then just go down to the documents section under categories. There's a list here. You can add to this list. You can remove from this list. But you cannot add documents to categories on the fly. Meaning you have to come into the categories section first, create the item on this list, and then it will be available in the future when you're adding new documents.

There's a reason we do this. I know it may seem like a couple extra steps, but the reality is that document management can become a mess very quickly. Everybody starts to put their own version of a filename or a folder name on things. We get the tax return folder but we also get the 1040 folder, then we also get the individual tax return folder, and it's all the same thing. It just kind of depends on who created the folder, right? We want to eliminate that, so what we've created here with the categories is the company or the firm version of all available options when it comes to categories. Keeps everything nice, consistent, clean, and efficient. So in the future when time comes to filter or to search for certain documents, you know if you choose to look for tax return documentation, you're going to get it all. There's no versions of tax returns. It's all under one specific category.

So we have these options. We have years and projects and categories, and we have this list of documents, so let's talk a little bit about getting files in here. Now I'm going to start with the easiest, most common and most practical version of getting documents in, and that is to simply drag them from whatever location they're currently at into OfficeTools directly. As an example I have a document right here on my desktop, so let me just move these things out of the way real quick here. I have a little file here on my desktop, and I just click on it, drag it over, release, and I now get my Create New Document form. From here, I can go ahead and choose my years. I can choose my projects, categories, and so on. Once I'm done I say, "Okay," and it will move that file from the desktop and place that in documents management. Very, very simple.

That is again probably the most common method of putting a document into OfficeTools. That functionality also works on individual tasks, especially projects, so what you're also able to do is actually go into for example a call or a to-do, whatever it may be, and when you create this task there's actually a drag and drop box located on the screen typically over in the right corners where you can drag a document to that specific item, and it will also add it over to document management. Especially important when it comes to projects. You can go directly to a project, add a document to your project. It'll put the year on it automatically, it'll put the project name on it automatically, and you can simply just add a category to the end if you like. The drag and drop directly into document management's an option, but you can also drag and drop to specific events like calls, to-dos, projects, and appointments.

Now, a little less common of a way but something that I find myself actually using more often than I would think is the ability to just right click on the document. If you right click on a file, whether it's on your desktop or in a folder, wherever it may be, you can send to. So if you just right click and then choose the send to option, you'll see OfficeTools workspace located right down here.

This can be helpful if you have a lot of programs open, there's a lot of things going on, on the screen. You're in a Windows folder real quick and dragging and dropping just is not going to work well for you in that situation. Just right click on it, choose OfficeTools. It'll give you your screen and you can move on.

Another option is to install PDF drivers and our Microsoft Office add-in or Adobe add-in drivers, so here's how you do that. I'm going to go back into document management here under the documents tab, and there's actually a button here labeled "install," so even if you're using OfficeTools document management, this is probably something that you may not be aware of.

It's a little obscure. It's again, if you're not using Adobe or you're not necessarily using the Microsoft stuff then there's not much reason to come in here, except for the PDF print driver but they're all located under this install button. From here simply choose the option you'd like to install, run the utility, and what that'll do is that will place in Adobe and in the Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, and Outlook an OfficeTools document import add-on, so if you were in an Excel file or you were in an email or a Word document, or you're working on a PDF, whatever it may be, you can actually just click the OfficeTools button within those programs and it will prompt you to import into OfficeTools. So you can save it and then bring it right into OfficeTools from within that program. You don't have to drag or drop anything.

It saves it in whatever the format is. Again, if it's a PDF it'll save it as a PDF. If it's an Excel file it'll save as an Excel file. Very, very handy. If you're not using those products obviously you don't need them, but the PDF print driver however I would recommend for really everybody, and what this is is just that. It will install a print driver on the computer that you run it on and any document from any program that you would like to have in OfficeTools, I'm assuming that program has a print capability, you can choose to print the file and simply select OfficeTools PDF as the printer, and it will go through the process of actually creating a PDF based on your document and bring that right in.

And you can see that. It's actually very easy to see. I'm just going to go to this file right here, this blank text document I have, and I'm going to go ahead and print it. Now I'm going to get my list of printers, and one of these you can see here is OfficeTools PDF. So if I choose to print to that, I'll have my copy and my PDF copy also located within OfficeTools. Very, very handy.

The last option when it comes to bringing documents into OfficeTools is through our drop folder or scan folder. If you're using scanners, this is very, very handy. This will allow you to point your scanners to a specific location on your computer, and in doing so whenever you scan files and they're deposited into that scanned folder, OfficeTools will recognize that and actually bring those into OfficeTools, and it'll give you all the prompts you'll be able to choose again. Categories and years and all those details. Now the setup's a little different, so I'm going to walk everybody through that right now.

The first thing that you want to do is actually create the folder on your desktop. I would recommend your desktop but it can be on your local machine. It can be on your network, but you need to have a location that you're either scanning to or that you just want to use as a drop. I mean you can just drag from your desktop and place it in here if you'd like. If you have your scanner pointing here also, again that's where the real value's going to come from. And we're going to emulate that here right now.

I have my folder. Once you have your folder you're going to go back into OfficeTools. You're going to navigate up to the setup option at the top, documents, and there's an area here specifically called "drop folder." Now once you do that the system is going to prompt you to choose a path, so you need to find that folder and you can use the little navigation ellipsis button here to do that. Now once OfficeTools is pointing at that folder, it's going to monitor it. It's going to have a look in there, and anytime a new document appears it's going to ask you to import that file, and again you can use your scanners or you can simply drop files in there.

Obviously I don't have a scanner hooked up to this computer, so all I'm going to do is take my test document right here and I'm going to drag it in there, which would be the same thing as scanning it in. Drag it in there and then OfficeTools is going to prompt me to import the document, so I can go ahead and choose my year, choose a category or a project. Let's just call it invoice, sure. Say, "Okay," and I'm done. The scanned folder is now empty. It has moved the document, and if we peek back into OfficeTools we can see our file is right here.

Again, these are all ways of bringing in documents into OfficeTools, and I will have people ask me quite often, "What's the best way? What's the best way to get documents into OfficeTools?" That's very situational. It really depends. I think the best practice is to use all of these tools and get comfortable enough with them to where no matter what the situation is you have the quickest possible way of getting a document in. If somebody sends you an email, you drag the email in. If you're working on an Excel file, you hit the add-in button. If it's something that is already on your firm's drive or on your network, you drag and drop it in there. Again, it just varies but you will find yourself probably doing the drag and drop more than anything else.

Okay, so now let's talk a little bit about, and by the way if anybody has any questions please feel free to type those in even during the webinar here. I'll try to address them as I'm going through, but if not obviously I'll leave some time at the end for any questions.

Let's talk a little bit about the interface. The document management interface. It is pretty straightforward and pretty basic but again there's some things here that may not be clear to even experienced users. When you come into the documents tab, obviously we're looking at all the files specific to this contact. Whether it's an individual or a business, whomever it may be. It's just for this contact.

Now, the most common navigation that people will do is to just use the filters located over here on the right, year, project, and category. Now I don't have any projects associated to these, but I do have the years and the categories so I could very easily say, "Well, I want to see any emails that were sent a couple years ago."

So when you hit these dropdown menus here at the top it'll show you a list of only the available options, so for example when I hit the year dropdown, notice that there's no 2017. It goes from '16 to '18, meaning I don't have any documents in the 2017 folder, or I don't have anything prior to 2009. So it's only going to show me the options that I actually have available so I'm not having to fish around, so I can go ahead and choose a particular year and it's now going to filter all my documents for that year. Obviously if I have projects I can use that, and I can also come over to category and simply throw the category on there, so there's all of the files related to the 2015 tax return. And if the client wants a copy, boom, there we go. It's that quick.

Those are some options again to just get real quick, and those are the most common. I think the filters there really become the go-to. Let me move this out of the way real quick. The question, I actually got a question here, is that, "Can you set up the document folder to a Dropbox folder?" You can, however there are some complications there just because OfficeTools when it comes to re-indexing and adding new documents it needs certain levels of permissions. That's something that our training department or our technical team would be more than happy to talk with you about and figure out. It varies enough to where I can't give you a solid yes answer, but we do have offices and some clients who do use that, do have that functionality connected. So reach out to us in the training department. You can just email and we'll be more than happy to talk to you about how your system is set up and those things, and we can figure out the best way of doing it. Very good question.

The filters are a great go-to. Something that I think is overlooked and not used maybe enough is the actual search capability. Now this is not going to search through the contents of the document, just the filename, but it's nonetheless very helpful. If I wanted to find a certain file I could just come to the search bar and begin typing things in. Really it's that simple. I used to just use the dropdowns and that was in most cases enough, but I've recently got a little bit more handy with the searches. I know what I'm looking for. Makes it a little quicker for me to just come in and just type in the word "email." Boom, there we go. There's all the emails. Or all the files with the word "email" in it in this subject.

There's one more filter that almost nobody that I've run into actually is aware of. It's one of those little hidden gems, and that's being able to filter out by file type. Over on the left side of the screen here we can actually see the icons that represents the different types of files. We have PDFs, we have PowerPoint, we Excel, we have email, so on and so forth. If you click on any one of these. Don't click on the name of the file, but click on the actual icon, it will then limit that to only that file type. So I click on PDF, I can only now see PDFs. If I click on the email type, I can see all of the emails, and so on and so forth. Very cool. Very handy.

If you know you're looking for … You know, we all have that, right? We're looking for a file. We don't know what it's called necessarily or we're not sure. We don't know where it might be in a category. We just, we know it's an email, as an example. This makes it very handy to filter that down, only look at the emails, and now I only have to scroll through maybe a dozen or two dozen files very quickly and find what we're looking for. That's very, very handy. I really like that option. There's also a search button here at the top which gives you a lot of the same options just in one screen.

The last thing about the interface that I want to point out before we dig just a little bit deeper is that you can actually assign documents to other people for review purposes. This caught my eye and I want to mention it real quick. It wasn't part of my original plan but I think it's important nonetheless. You can choose a particular document like an Excel file or an invoice that you need to have reviewed or whatever it may be. You can select a document and actually hit the review button here at the top, and just like to-dos you can then assign this to somebody. You can put a note in here. You can even put budgets and reminders, and then when you say okay it'll actually show up on their list on their to-do list here on the bottom as a file. Let me go to Brandon's list here and we're pull it up here.

Right here from admin where when they click on it it'll actually take them to that specific document which they can then review. When they complete their task they can put notes about changes they'd like to make or what they think about it, and send it back to whoever originally created the review in the first place. All of this is recorded under this button for the future so you can always open it up and see who looked at it, who said what, what was the replies, the responses to it and so on. So the document review again is a little less known but I think it's a very powerful tool, so if you have a lot of documents that are flying back and forth between people, this might be a good tool to set up reminders and track those details a little bit better.

Okay, so now as far as the interface goes, there's only a couple more things and that has to do with the files themselves. When you have the list here in front of you, some options that you're able to do you have in the toolbar. Edit, delete, copy, so on and so forth. But you can also right click on the file itself, and when you do that you'll get a whole menu of options and we don't have time to go through every single one of these, but a couple ones that I want to point out that are really important are the details.

The details are the main screen that you see when you drag a document in for the first time or when you import a document for the first time, so if you've made a mistake or you want to move a file simply right click on it, go to details, or you can go to the edit button here at the top. It's the same thing. Open this up, and now I can say, "Well, I didn't mean to put this in 2018 invoices. This actually should've gone to 2018 payroll reports." And it will update the categories or the projects or the years as needed.

Some other options in here that are very handy are open file location. This will actually take you to the Windows folder structure where that file is located, but again, do that with the caveat that I mentioned earlier that if you start fiddling around back in there you'll have to come into OfficeTools and re-index. I also like the ability to actually view the document history. This is the audit trail. Who added it? Who had access to it? Who modified it? Very, very handy. If you're using the client portal or e-signatures you can also send those documents for signature or upload them to the portal simply by right clicking on them and choosing those options here.

The last thing I want to talk about before we jump into the Q&A and wrap up our document management webinar here. Again, it wasn't on my list. I'm throwing this in as an added bonus, and it's about linking existing folders or files to OfficeTools DMS without having to import those folders or files themselves. So here's a scenario that you have a particular folder on your server that you keep all of your QuickBooks files in for your clients. Now, QuickBooks company files have a lot of supporting files, a lot of other things that come along with them, and if we add those into OfficeTools then it kind of creates a mess a little bit.

So then how do we have access to those QuickBooks files from within OfficeTools without actually importing them? We're going to create links to those locations, so that's one example. Here's another example. We have a Windows folder structure that we cannot import into OfficeTools, for various reasons. There's too many files. The folder names are all wrong. Or Joe just doesn't want to use OfficeTools. Let's be honest. For some reason Joe, or Bob, or Sarah. Whoever it may be, their needs aren't necessarily in line with what OfficeTools provides and they want their Windows folder structure, so instead of moving all of those files into OfficeTools and then forcing them to go down this road, we just want to reference those files within OfficeTools to make it easier for everybody else, but still maintain the previous model, the previous process, and there's a way that we can do that.

What we're going to do, I'm going to go ahead and go into my Windows folder structure here and we'll just use a file here as an example. Here's my folder. There's all kinds of stuff in here and for one reason or another perhaps I don't want this information in OfficeTools. Again, maybe they're QuickBooks things. Maybe it's just a folder system that's not going to line up. So what you can do is go into the actual Windows folder and simply right click on whatever folder or file you would like to have referenced or linked to OfficeTools.

Now once you do that, you can right click on that folder. You're going to choose to create a shortcut. So the system's going to do just that. It's going to give you a shortcut for the folder that you just clicked on, so now I have my 2018 folder as a 2018 shortcut, but the location, the original location is still there. We're not moving anything. We're not risking any kind of cutting or pasting or transferring. Everything remains the way it's always been, but now I have a shortcut to that location. I simply take that shortcut and drag that into OfficeTools. Let me close out of this window here. So now I can bring in this 2018 shortcut into OfficeTools. Let me choose my category. We'll just call it "source documents." Okay, great. Now I can close this Windows folder and I'm done.

So my original location, my original client folders, my QuickBooks files, whatever it may be remain the same. There's no changes to that folder system. However, I now have a shortcut in OfficeTools so if I need to get there very quickly, instead of having to do the old open Windows, drill through folders, and so on and so forth. Instead of having to do that I simply come into OfficeTools and I click on the shortcut link and it will bring that up with the path exactly where I created that shortcut to. Very handy. Very convenient. Yes, you don't have maybe the granular detail and filter options that you would otherwise have by importing documents directly into OfficeTools, however it does give you the flexibility to leave files and folders in their previous way, whether it's an old system or a different process that you need, but still have them referenced within OfficeTools. So it's kind of the best of both worlds in some ways.

Okay, well that wraps up everything that I want to cover and talk about in this webinar. If there's any more questions that are coming up please take this time to go ahead and ask them. I'll be more than happy to spend the next couple minutes here answering any questions that you guys may have. Okay, and there are some questions here about the portal so I'll try to wrap all of the portal questions up into one little deal here.

The portal is an add-on so you do have to purchase the portal. You can contact your sales rep if you'd like to do that. The e-signatures are part of that, so again you can go into all that process, and it's built right into OfficeTools so your client will have a portal they can log into that is created from within OfficeTools. You can highlight a document or multiple documents and actually send those up to the portal by just clicking the button right here on the main screen. If you have any more questions please type those in. I'll be more than happy to answer those and address them. After the webinar I'll send you guys some information

At this point we're finished up. Thank you all so much for attending. I really, really appreciate it. The last thing I want to leave with everybody is about our conference, the AbacusMAXIMUS Users Conference that we're having at the beginning of July in Las Vegas, so please visit the site, It's going to be two days. We're going to have OfficeTools training on every kind of subject. If you've ever been to an OfficeTools conference by the way or an Accelerate conference, this is going to be all of that and more. We're going to have more speakers, more topics, more vendors and exhibitors. Sessions again are going to cover everything. We're going to have trainers on staff and on hand to answer any questions you have. A lot of networking opportunities. The food is going to be incredible. We're having a really cool setup when it comes to food and things of that sort, so please visit and check out the OfficeTools section there for all the sessions, and please join us. We'd really like to have you there.

[/accordion-content] [/accordion-container]

Find more Free Training at