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QuickBase: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner

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It’s two a.m., and suddenly you sit bolt upright in bed, wondering whether you remembered to email everyone the agenda for your eight-o’clock meeting. Or you’ve been working for three days now trying to merge a dozen versions of the same spreadsheet. You’re at the point where you have to sit on your hands to keep from strangling the next unfortunate soul who wanders past your desk. Or you can’t get the IT brainiacs to see why their self-described “brilliant” solution doesn’t fit so well with your workflow—and your forehead is getting sore from pounding it against the wall.

There’s got to be a better way—and thanks to QuickBase, there is. QuickBase is a Web-based, workgroup-friendly, data-sharing program that puts you in control of your work. No more trying to coordinate your team via a blizzard of emails, or playing frustrating games of “guess which document is the right one.” QuickBase lets you capture, modify, share, and manage data and documents—quickly and easily.

What You Can Do with QuickBase

QuickBase saves your organization time and money, letting you manage and share the information that makes your business tick: sales figures, project timelines, drafts of documents, purchase or work requests—whatever information you need to keep business flowing smoothly. Use QuickBase to perform any of these chores:

  • Capture and modify data. Whatever kind of data you need to store—sales leads, catalog listings, project milestones, workflow checklists, or whatever—you can use QuickBase’s forms to record and organize that data in a way that makes sense to you. And changing records is a cinch—whether one at a time or en masse.

  • Filter, sort, and group data. Just because you capture a ton of information doesn’t mean you want to see it all at once. Easily find the records that match your criteria, and then sort those records into groups that make their relationships clear.

  • Display your data online. QuickBase uses reports (Chapter 2) to let you display and summarize data. Choose from six main report styles: Table, Grid Edit, Summary/Crosstab, Calendar, Chart, and Timeline. And switching between reports is easy—you can take the tasks listed in a table, for example, and display them as a timeline with just a couple of mouse clicks.

  • Create printed reports. Print out a hard copy, embed QuickBase charts in the annual report, or email this month’s sales numbers.

QuickBase comes packed with some particularly cool features, making it a great cure for your worst business headaches:

  • Prebuilt applications. You don’t have to go back to school to learn how to design a QuickBase application (QuickBase’s term for the mini-databases you use to work on each project). QuickBase supplies dozens of ready-made applications for a wide range of purposes—sales and customer management, back-office tasks, project management, issue tracking, and many more. Within minutes, you can create and start using a new application. (Of course, if you’ve got just a bit of gumption, you can build your own app from scratch; see the bullet point on customization, below.)

  • User access controls. In QuickBase, you can assign people different roles within your application; each role has a different level of access built in. For example, most applications come with three predefined roles: viewer, participant, and administrator. Viewers can look at the application’s data but can’t change it; participants can work with the data in various ways (such as adding records); and administrators have full control of the database. These built-in roles are a handy starting place for defining levels of access, but you’re not stuck with them; you can customize any role or create a new one to meet your application’s precise needs.

  • Email notifications. You can tell QuickBase to send out automatic notifications to a list of users you select whenever an important record changes. So when someone uploads the latest version of a document or when the boss assigns you a new task, you’re never in the dark.

  • Customization. Gertrude Stein wrote, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” But QuickBase is not QuickBase is not QuickBase. The QuickBase applications your team uses probably look very different from the ones they’re using in another company, because you can tweak—or overhaul—QuickBase applications to get them just so. Customize any application—even prebuilt ones—to meet your organization’s exact needs. Add or remove fields, shuffle their order, change a text box to a multiple-choice drop-down menu, even add your own text or logo to an application. Does your company talk about “tickets” or “work requests” instead of “work orders?” No problem. You don’t have to change company lingo—you can change the name of the records in QuickBase. It’s so flexible, you’ll think the program was custom designed just for you.

  • Accessibility. Because it’s Web-based, you can access QuickBase anytime, from anywhere you have an Internet connection (for browser requirements, see Browser Requirements). Time zones and business travel will never again interfere with your team’s ability to work together.

  • Reliability. QuickBase is a product of Intuit, the same folks who make TurboTax, Quicken, and QuickBooks. With more than 20 years’ experience focusing on business and financial management, Intuit offers the experience and dependability your firm needs when sharing the data that powers your business.

  • Flexibility. Ever wait through one or two presidential administrations for Microsoft to release a new version of its software? QuickBase won’t leave you wondering who’ll be in the Oval Office by the time the next upgrade comes out. Because QuickBase is a Web-based program, Intuit can (and does) frequently roll out new features. So you get the benefits of the latest technology, user suggestions, and ways to make your life easier—all on a regular basis. And here’s more good news: This Missing Manual is continuously updated to reflect any major QuickBase changes that Intuit releases.

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