How to Use Help
When we originally designed the Aspect Property Manager a major objective was to enable users to be as self reliant as they wanted to be and still get the job done with minimum effort. As a consequence the Help is probably more extensive than most other similar software and may sometimes insult your intelligence because it is written with inexperienced users and property managers with limited experience in mind, especially in the area of accounting. If you think the system or the Help is deficient or you find an error somewhere please contact Aspect Systems Ltd using the information in the "Assistance and how to get it" topic. Don't mutter into your beard and be irritated by something that may be easily fixed. We can not fix something we don't know about, nor are we perfect, close, but not 100%.
Help is being updated
The Aspect Property Manager Help is web-based help which as you can see opens in your browser. The huge job of rewriting Help has been underway for a while and this version has a mixture of old and new content and some partly changed topics. Topics which have been changed or re-written have a larger text (this size) than the original Help so you can assume it is more up to date.
The order of topics has been re-arranged and they now basically follow the order of the menus and the selections within them. There is still a group of discussion topics which gathers together help which embraces items common to diverse functions and items which don't have associated menu entries.
Other temporary oddities
Individual topics which are in the process of being re-written may have a row, or rows, of capital "ZZZZ"s separating new content from the old within the new topic.
You will find "XXXX", in various places which are "locating" tags indicating further changes or links are required. There may even be an accompanying comment too.
There are several methods to initiate help:-
Go to the Menu Bar > Help menu > Help Introduction .... which opens the full Help where you can make further selections
Click ScreenHelp on the menu bar, or press [F1], on virtually every screen in the system and a "context sensitive help", (that's a fancy way of saying "help about the screen you are looking at"), help topic on the screen will open
On any main screen menu select Help on this menu which displays all the menu items in the same order as the menu layout. Sometimes the entire help topic for an item is dealt with directly and sometimes a link is provided to another Help topic.
If you have arrived at a help topic by some other route and wish to display the screen the help topic is about use the "Screen Location... " text found at the top of most topics.
The ability to search the entire Help is presently not available so you will need to locate items using the Contents or Index panel. When Help is displayed in your browser press Ctl+F > enter the search word in the browser Find box > then use Previous and Next buttons. The find highlights the search text in both the Contents or Index list and the topic itself. Chose another topic then click in the find box and the new topic search text will be highlighted. Alternatively use search in the PDF version, see Printing Help Topics below.
When displaying Help it may be worthwhile resizing the browser and the Aspect Property Manager windows so they are both visible. To quickly reset any Aspect Property Manager screen to the default (factory) settings press Ctl+Alt+d on the keyboard (Note the lowercase "d") or click DefaultSize on the menu bar.
The links within any topic transfer you quickly to other help topics which will open in the same browser window. Use the browser "Back" button to return to previous topics or select from the entries in the Contents / Index panel.
At the top of most topics you will see a string of links like those shown below.
First Prev Next Last
They are used to follow a sequence of related topics such as the landlord screen topics and will generally correspond with the Content subdivisions.
The syntax used within the help text to identify buttons to click (or press), menu entries to select, a sequence of actions to take and so on is described below.
Buttons to be clicked, or tabbed pages to be selected are shown in the text in two ways. The first and most common has the button or tab name enclosed in square brackets, the text is bold face and navy blue. The second and less common is a graphic of the actual button. Examples of both are:-
"... press [Notes]", "... select (the) [Contents] tab", "... press ", "... click ".
Labels, that is those titles or captions associated with menu choices, data entry prompts, display fields, screen titles, directory paths and other "quoted" names will appear in the same manner but minus the brackets. Examples are Setup menu, First Name, Last Name, "... the ...\PropMan\Export directory", "... the Save As screen", "... read the Dire Warning before proceeding".
When a sequence of selections or actions is required each step in the sequence is shown, separated by a > symbol, often starting from a menu or one of the four main screens. The sequence will also be in navy blue and boldface. Thus the Setup menu > Getting Started > Clean Up sequence means - on the main screen Menu Bar select Setup, then select Getting Started, followed by Clean Up.
Where a button is encountered in a sequence it may not have the surrounding brackets. Where a link to another topic occurs in a sequence the link may be coloured text, not navy blue, and occasionally some of these syntax rules may not be applied so as to avoid confusion. The difference between underlined text and a link to another topic, apart from links being coloured text, is virtually indistinguishable but you will quickly know the difference.
Emphasis on words or sentences has been achieved by the use of bolding or underlining. Text which requires particular attention, such as a warning, is in red, and a larger font is used for super-emphasis.
Help does not constantly tell you to do things which should be obvious such as, selecting the record to be changed, "press [OK]" or "press [Continue]" unless it is required in the interest of clarity or preciseness. It assumes that having completed entering, say, the landlord's name and address details it should be apparent which button to press to continue.
Similarly you will have by now noticed various message boxes popping up some of which may be "turned off". Others will only appear when conditions occur which should not happen or a decision by you is required. They are intended to draw your attention to things which are unusual or which should not be done by accident. Help will generally assume that you will be able to work out what to do to continue.
What Help is not going to do
Help does not provide you with a set of instructions that, keystroke by keystroke, leads you through every function in the system. Rather it provides you with guidance about a task or function.
Nor does it replace your brains. We can not foresee every possible situation and you need to interpret the use of fields and examples given to meet your particular circumstances. We don't guarantee that the screen images you see in the help exactly matches the operational version. There will be discrepancies that may possibly be simply a result of options you have taken.
Help is not provided on every field or button etc. in the system. If you can't work out that a field with Amount as a prompt expects you to enter a dollar amount not a date or invoice number then stop using the system now and buy one from someone else then drive them mad.
There are messages that can appear on your screen over which we have little or no control. They may even not be related to the Aspect Property Manager itself. When a message appears read it and preferably copy it down, or copy the screen image to a Wordpad document, see Capturing Screen Images. Then look for things missing or wrong with what you are doing as a first step.
When unusual or error situations occur which we may be able to do something about the Aspect Property Manager will display a "Bug Report" screen. Reading the error message may tell you what went wrong and you may be able to fix or work around the problem. But please follow the prompts and send the Bug Report telling us when or how the problem arose so we can investigate the cause.
Finally, I repeat the earlier statement. Talk to us about any problems you have. We can fix it or tell you how to. Your mate's computer-whizz son or daughter may be a real hot shot but how often do you let him/her run your business while you're out fishing/skiing/riding/running....
Printing Help Topics
Use the browser [Print] function to print individual help topics or all topics within a selected heading.
The complete help is available in a PDF version XXXX New link required if you want a "telephone book", however, it seems more usual these days to use the on-screen help and print only individual help topics when you need to.