We like to write great reports, and we like to do it quickly. We use a two-step strategy with Horizon Laptop. Let me show you with the inspection for 18 Maple Lane.
We start with Descriptions and Limitations. We select a Template that best matches the house. You can build as many Templates as you want on the web. You can have Templates for whole houses and/or different Templates for each system. It takes just a few minutes to build each Template.
In this case it is a post-1980 house. Applying the template takes less than 10 seconds. We’ve applied 60 items here, covering the Description and Limitations Items that help us satisfy the Standards – Foundation type, electrical service and wire details, how we inspected the roof, etc.
When we are finished, we should proofread the report to make sure we did not apply something inappropriate. You can use either Report so Far or Preview to proofread.
Some things don’t fit into Templates – like the age and capacity of the furnace. But we don’t want to forget them. That’s why we use Required Items. You set up which items are required once on the web. Then they’re available in every report. Required Items shows key headings that still need an entry.
We use the Quick View/Edit tool to move through Required Items. Let’s click on the icon to the left of the first item. We get the selections for that heading! We can make our entry here. We built this for speed, so when you make your entry, it goes on to the next screen.
Don’t want to make an entry? Just hit the Next arrow. Want to make a second entry? Just hit the Back arrow. (On the pop-up or on your keyboard!)
If you don’t want to go to the next screen when you make an entry, turn off Auto-advance to next screen. This helps if you want to make multiple entries in one heading.
Now that Descriptions and Limitations are done, let’s look at Recommendations. Here’s a shortcut. I take photos instead of writing notes to capture most things I want to report. Whether it’s the data plate from a furnace or air conditioner or a defect, it’s at my fingertips. Taking a picture takes about as long as writing a note. (I still use notes for water hammer and other things I can’t photograph.) Cameras have become good, compact and inexpensive, and memory is very cheap. With Horizon, uploading the photos is fast and easy. And the photos are always at my fingertips!
I use the photos to guide my recommendations. First I load the photos. Just click Photos on any report writing screen.
I usually select the folder, although I can load individual photos as well. When I click Load Photos, Horizon takes me straight to the right folder in my computer. (Horizon learns fast!) Another little timesaver!
Horizon resizes and loads the photos in the order they were taken. I can look at large or small previews. I can delete any I don’t want. They’ll still be on my computer.
When I’m writing reports, I can see my photos anytime by mousing over the Photos button!
The first photo is a heat lamp poorly positioned over a bathroom door. That will be my first recommendation. I can’t remember whether this is in Electrical or Interior, so I’ll use Find. I type in heat lamp and hit Go. Find looks thru all Recommendations when I am in the Recommendations section, etc. I can click on the result that fits. In this case, there is only one.
When I click the link, I go to the right place. The heading is highlighted and the item is bolded for me!
I click on Heat lamps and I can select the Location, Task, Time and Cost range if I want. Any heading you ignore won’t show up in your report. You can see what I selected:
I can also click to add this to the Bottom Line summary.
If I’m done, I click Save and Close. To add a photo or a note, I click Next. Here’s what it looks like.
I can add edits in a flash. Click on the photo and add your edits. Save and Close the edit tool. Select this photo and add your caption. Then Save and Close the Notes screen.
The next photo guides me to my next recommendation. And so on. I follow my photos like they are field notes. That way I don’t miss any recommendations and I add my photos where I want them as I am going. And I can always click on Photos on any Reporting screen to see all the photos.
So writing reports using this strategy is a two-step process. I use Templates to create the Descriptions and Limitations. I use the photos to guide me on Recommendations. Great reports – done quickly and easily.
Thanks for joining me.