Presstimator - FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
The Presstimator recommends Windows 7 or newer with Microsoft .NET 4.6 or newer. Some reports are sent to Microsoft Word® 97 or Excel 97® or later, which may be purchased separately if needed. Microsoft SQL Server Express is required in order to run, which requires 64-bit version of Windows with a minimum of 6GB of hard disk space and 1GB RAM.
The Presstimator is designed as a Windows® application. However, it has been tested on a Mac running Virtual PC and Parallels. Our testing has found that running through an emulator on a MAC runs faster than running direclty on a PC. You will need a copy of Windows and PC version of Microsoft Word and Excel for some reports to generate within the Windows emulator environment. For an inexpensive solution, you may want to consider investing in a low cost PC to handle your estimating needs.

Many of our users (along with many other software solutions) are now using Remote Desktop to run software.  This means, the IT department only has to install and configure software on a single, remote machine and then users simply log into that machine to run shared software.  This allows MAC and PC users to access the single instance of the Presstimator on the Remote Desktop machine.  Configuring and running software this way makes it so much easier on IT departments to maintain software and maintain administrator rights to protect user machines.  When an update for the Presstimator (or any other shared software) is released, the IT department only has to update the application on the remote machine.  Users log in as usual and the software is updated for everyone at once.  Running the software using Remote Desktop has resolved a need to develop a MAC version of the Presstimator since the local machine just becomes a terminal machine into the Remote Desktop machine.  There are other solutions other than Remote Desktop, but this seems to be the one most are using these days since it’s free through Microsoft.

Yes, the Presstimator can handle both US/English and/or Metric measurements. You can maintain your Shop Settings in one standard yet produce estimates in either format. For example, if your shop standards are entered in Metric units, you can create Quotes in either format by clicking on a checkbox within a Quote.
Yes. The Question/Answer format prompts the user for detailed job specifications with extensive error checking. In addition, the Auditor checks for missing information to help eliminate costly oversights before you calculate a final quote to make sure you're covering your costs.
Yes. You can make changes at any time while preparing a Quote. Each time you visit a Tab, the Presstimator automatically checks to see if changes have been made and recalculates the Quote, if needed. Even after a Quote has been saved, you can open it, make modifications and save your changes (or Save As to save a new copy of the Quote).
The Presstimator Quote History database contains a listing of all the Quotes that have been previously saved. The list can be sorted and/or filtered by various criteria (Name, Customer, Date, etc.) so it's easy to find any Quote you're looking for.
Summary screens break costs down into categories (Materials, Labor, Finishing, Misc.) and allow each of the over-30 line-items to be marked up separately. Sets of markup values (Markup Schemes) can be stored and recalled for future quotes, making "what-if" scenarios easy to create. The Profit Calculator in Shop Settings helps the user determine the correct markup needed to achieve a desired profit. This Profit Calculator can be used to quickly and easily create complete Markup Schemes such as "10% Profit" or "20% Profit".
Some reports are sent to Microsoft Word® or Excel® for editing, customizing, printing, faxing, e-mailing, and storage. Other reports can be generated directly into a Print Preview window based on a template you can design using the custom report print layout tool.
The Presstimator not only calculates costs and profits, but also the amount of materials needed and time required by department. The Analysis Tab allows the user to instantly compare cost of materials vs. selling cost (plus paper as % of cost). Break down each cost into one of four categories (Materials, Labor, Finishing, Misc.) to easily perform detailed cost studies. Once a job is completed, you can input the actual production counters and time information from the production department (this process can be automated from your data collection software). The Presstimator will then analyze the data within a customizable Excel spreadsheet so you can see how accurate your estimates are. You can also analyze total profits based on filtered estimates from the Quote History screens.
If a single copy of the Presstimator is purchased, it can be installed on a single machine with multiple users. Additional installation on a laptop (or other) computer is considered fair use, as long as there is only one user at any given time. However, you will need to contact Star*Key Software for a valid Registration Code each time you install the Presstimator on a new computer.
There are many ways to share data with other Presstimator users. If you have multiple Plants, the Presstimator can hold the Shop Settings (your shop's costs and standards) within a single database.

Import/Export capabilities allows estimators to share quotes, customers and Shop Settings. Shop Settings standards can be established and shared among all shop locations/estimators.

Data can also be shared by putting the Presstimator database on a network so it can be shared by multiple users at the same time. With the Multi-User Add-On, multiple estimators can work on quotes at the same time within the same database. Each user can also be assigned permissions to modify Shop Settings and Quotes and access the BHR module.
In Shop Settings, users can specify their Plant name(s) and printing Location(s) within those Plants. This was designed for those users with multiple plants or multiple printing locations within a single plant, and it allows users to have multiple 'Defaults' within Shop Settings that will apply to jobs produced in different plants or on different presses. Consider the following examples:

Multiple Plants: You own two different plants, and each plant has its own unique set of Shop Settings. In prior versions, users would typically have two different databases to keep each plant's Shop Settings separate, since they would have two different sets of 'Default' costs and values for each plant. In this version, users can enter both Plants into a single database and keep these values separated by assigning unique defaults to each plant. Also, if plants share some common settings, you can share a single entry across multiple plants instead of having a duplicate set of Shop Settings. Therefore, if Plant A and Plant B have two different costs for newsprint, you can create two entries in Stocks in Shop Settings, and you can designate each of these entries as the 'Default' for the specified Plant. However, if those two plants have the same cost for a Color Ink, you can create a single Color Ink entry in Shop Settings and specify that the single ink entry 'Default' applies to all plants. When creating a Quote, simply specify the Plant for the job on the Customer tab and when you click on "Load Defaults,' the defaults for the corresponding Plant/Location will be loaded.

Single Plant, Two Different Presses: You own a single plant, but have different paper, ink and press costs associated with your Location A (coldset press) vs. your Location B (heatset press). In this case, you can specify that your single plant has two printing locations by creating two locations in Shop Settings. This enables you to enter a 'Default' process color ink for Location A (coldset) and a separate 'Default' process color ink for Location B (heatset). When creating a Quote, simply specify the Location for each Section and when you click on "Load Defaults' the defaults for the corresponding Location will be loaded. However, if both locations within the plant both share a particular default cost, you can indicate that the single entry in Shop Settings is to be applied to all locations within the plant.

Single Plant, Two Different Shifts: Another creative use of this new feature is to consider variations to a given press as unique "locations." For example, you can create a location for third-shift printing, a different manning configuration, or even for a rush job. With this approach, you can more accurately determine your costs and you can count on reliable, reproducible estimating for every situation.
Before upgrading, be sure to back up your current data! If you are using a prior version of the Presstimator and wish to upgrade, just insert the new installation disk. The install program will detect the existing version on your machine and install the necessary components. Be sure to read the Upgrade Instructions, which indicate that the new version must be installed in the same location as the prior version. When you go to run the new version of the Presstimator for the first time, the program will complete the upgrade process and your data will be preserved.
For version 6.5 and above, the database is a SQL Server database. If you are using SQL Server LocalDB, your data is located in the file Presstimator_Data in the Data folder under the Presstimator folder (most likely, c:\Presstimator\Data). Just copy these files to your backup destination media. If you are using SQL Server Express or higher, use SQL Server backup to maintain routine backups.
For version 1.3 - 6.2, your data is contatined in the files PW.PWD and DATA.PDB. which are located in your Presstimator folder (most likely, c:\program files\presstimator). Just copy these two files to your backup destination media.
For Version 1.3 (and above), your data is contatined in the files PW.PWD and DATA.PDB. which are located in your Presstimator folder (most likely, c:\program files\presstimator). Just copy these two files to your backup destination media.
If you have the Multi-User Add-On for Version 1.3 (and above), your data (DATA.PDB) can be renamed and located in any drive on your network. Locate that file and copy it to your backup destination media. In addition, the file PW.PWD will be located in in your Presstimator folder (most likely, c:\program files\presstimator). Be sure to copy this file to your backup destination media along with your DATA.PDB data file.
For Version 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 , your data is contained in the files PW.MDB and WQ.MDB which are located in your Presstimator folder (most likely, c:\program files\presstimator). Just copy these two files to your backup destination media.
If you are getting an error message (internal error 2715.F7056_BrowseVS.exe) in McAfee VirusScan when viewing any of the Delivery or Customer Information screens in the Presstimator, you will need to get the latest version of McAfee VirusScan (at least 7.03). There is an error in VirusScan which conflicts with Microsoft's Masked Edit control msmask32.ocx which is included in the Presstimator for displaying text fields with phone numbers.
We have compiled templates for you to use to help gather information needed to enter Shop Settings. Download the file and print out the included pdf files for each Tab in Shop Settings. Use these printouts to gather the necessary information from each department in your shop. Once you have the information, enter it in Shop Settings in the Presstimator and you're all set to start estimating with your costs and standards.