No report software

I’m interested in hearing from people who use there own microsoft word based template or something similar. People who kicked reporting software to the curb:shock:. Did you start out this way, or did you decide you couldn’t quite customize the report the way you like? Anyone care to share there experience. I currently use Homegauge but would like to create something on the side. Don’t get me wrong Homegauge and Home Inspector Pro are great(I said it Bob, go easy on me).

Ha ha .

I tried many times before HIP.

Try uploading 300 pics to word ?

I made my own MS Word based document template several years ago and am very pleased with it. I am somewhat of a computer geek so I am very comfortable integrating photos and using features in MS Word. I download my cameras 100’s of photos to a directory in seconds and then using copy and paste putting the salient ones in the report. It is very efficient and allows me infinite flexibility because it is my document template and I can change it any time I please. I would say you need intermediate to advanced MS Word and computer skills to make it work.

Picture Drop by Devwave if you really want to go bonkers with pics and annotating them with word… easy peezy…

No doubt in my mind that you can create a better document with word… it’s just putting the report together with it that could be a bit overwhelming, at least for me. Word is a very powerful program, and I use it quite a bit. I do not write reports on a regular basis, but do use it for specialty type inspections and other uses, but having said that… I only know about 1/10th of it’s functions.

I use word for my commercial inspections. I have another program that I use for inspections. I have always thought about making a template in word for my home inspections but have never found the time.

I make my reports using templates created in FileMaker Pro. Have been using it for years and my clients and Realtors really like it.

I have been using MS Publisher since 97. Every year I try new versions or new inspection programs, and I always come back to Publisher. I have also done reports in Open Office as well as Excel.

The biggest problem I have had with “inspection software” is that like any other software program, you end up modifying it to the point where you totally rewrite the program.

Thanks for the responses. I’m going to check this stuff out.

Never hurts to try but have yet to see a guy create and then sell it which pretty much sums everything up for me.

My time is too valuable to waste it on writing an old book in a new way. The best programs already allow you to adapt the report to what you want. Why would you waste valuable time recreating some that already exists? I average a little over $100 per hour. What type of program could be written in 5 or 6 hours of my time (the cost of an existing program) that would be worth a darn?

Spend the down time with your wife, kids, motorcycle, gun, surfboard or brew some beer. Time much better well spent. JMHO. :wink:

So true.
In my case it was early on when that time could have been used for marketing.

Never saw homemade that impressed anyone other than the proud creater.
(seen many)

Exactly…I have been using Publisher for nearly 20 years…why change now? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

What type of modifying are you talking ? Just curious. If you are talking modifying the comments to your own liking you are going to be doing that no matter what you use.

The idea of using a Word template would only make sense if you are using it back at the office only. If you are trying to use Word to actually gather the data in the field it would be like trying to put a square peg in a round hole…MS Word is not a data collection application.

Tend to agree there.

I am talking about modifying each individual page to get the original to look the way you want it. Then, there is the issue, which Word has as well, of “rolling” text or images into the next page. Go to several inspectors sites and look at their reports. You almost always see parts of the plumbing section, as an example, split in two. Then, on some, you see a blank page in the middle of the report.

Word can be used as a data collection application. I have a template somewhere from back in 2000 that had drop down boxes, check boxes and a whole bunch of things. The issue was, you had to protect the document to use them. When you un-protected the document, everything went away. :frowning:

I am not knocking any of the inspection programs. What I will say, is that if you are proficient in a particular software program, design your reports in that. and, Word wouldn’t be my first choice. If Open Office were more stable, I would use that.

It takes me about an hour or an hour and a half to process my reports, start to finish uninterrupted.

The main issue I have, is that if I were to use a tablet onsite, I would have to wear reading glasses, then take them off to look at something, put them on to see something and that alone would probably add an hour to my inspection time! Then I am sure, that I would drop the tablet at least once a day,which would probably cause it to break.

I used to do the reports onsite with a printer. If I really wanted to, I could do the reports on my laptop and then e mail them, which I have done on days where I had two inspections, but for one inspection, what is an hours difference in delivery time?

Are you saying you don’t want the Plumbing Section to go over one page no matter what ? You are trying to replicate a checksheet form ?

Yes, Word can have some drop down boxes and check boxes but you have to do a lot of scrolling and there is no easy way of duplicating or renaming items or sections on the fly…software designed to be used during data collection is heads above any word processing app.

I disagree. Each section can have a style associated with it, therefore using the “Document Map” tab checked, will give you a list off all the sections to click on and take you to each section. No scrolling needed. As far as adding sections, easy. copy and past. Rename. All my narratives are in auto text, so there’s really very little typing.
I realize there are great inspection programs out there but my main drawback from them is they all seem to have too many menus-sub menus-tabs-click here, scroll here etc. I want each section readily available on 1-page.

In Publisher, if I run out of room for defects, all I have to do is select page, duplicate, and then continue typing.
I am not that well versed in Word, but can use it and did design an inspection program using it.

I agree with you about the menu, sub-menu issue.
It is just like drop down boxes. If you have more than five items, now you have to scroll for a while to find what you are looking for. The other option is to have each item have its own set of drop downs.
Front window for example. In a drop down list, you would have all of the things that can be wrong with a window. You would have to input those from memory at first, then as you run into different things wrong, add those.

There comes a point where it is just easier to write, front window in living room had a broken lock and damaged spring assembly.

100% agree on that.

The alternative is to make more generalized comment of hardware issue observed.

HIP has the drop downs ,and [note brackets] however prefer the search as you type feature (HIP Mobile) which has me considering getting a tablet .

How do you get all the sections available on 1-page on a smaller data collection device ? like a smart-phone ? The issue too is that you are limited then to what type of hardware you can use to collect data on. MS Word does not run on any of the devices that inspectors are moving towards to use in the field.

Duplicating data is not that easy … do you have the option of duplicating a section with or without the data already filled in ? Can you select a “Set defaults” button that will fill in default data on a per section or in the entire report ? Do you have reference data that is linked to each item in the inspection report so that you have reference data to help you ?