Advanced Forms Designer

Advanced Forms Designer

So the other day i was sitting and was asked, “I have multiple bank accounts and don’t want multiple layouts for my Invoices. How can you sort this out?” I immediately went into my work draw, slipped on my Superman….slippers…and got cracking. It was during the PJ Masks movie, with my kids, that it struck me with a fist pump how to do it, and I am about to Save the Day with you…

So step one was to create some user defined fields for the document. In this drop down version of user defined fields, I created the list of banks that was needed.

Advanced Forms Designer Bank UDF

Opening up the forms designer now, i went and inserted the fields where i needed them. now bearing in mind only one of the banks will print, i overlapped these on the actual layout.

Advanced Forms Designer Layout

I then used some coding, sorry I said Advanced Forms designer, not Advanced Advanced. But now comes the true test, i opened an Invoice and tested. First using the option of FNB as my bank. When the document printed this is the result (have included a snip of bank chosen too).

Advanced Forms Designer FNB

But the question now, will it work on Standard bank so here goes…

Advanced Forms Designer Standard Bank


Now you think what would happen if you added say Nedbank. Call me and I will do it for you.

Increase size of User Defined Fields

UDF (User Defined Fields) are fields you need to create to hold data or information not available in Sage. Example would be a hairdresser wanting to on customer account, holding information of their preferred hair styles. This feature in Sage Evolution makes customizing data to suit business needs more flexible. Th feature itself is also available to transactions. This is available to both transaction lines and headers.

Setup User Defined Fields

When creating an UDF and making it a String (Free hand text field),  you are actually limited to 250 characters. Depending on requirement you need more space. in many instances you have to type information in that just won’t fit into 250 characters. in this set of 250, user defined fields count spaces, comma’s, full stops, apostrophe’s etc. as characters. by having the flexibility to now increase the user defined fields with more characters will allow you to accommodate these needs.

Did you know that the maximum number of characters allowed in a UDF of type String, is actually 1024?

  1. Open the new UDF field setup screen (via Administration | System Configuration | User Defined Fields)
  2. Capture all the required fields. Data Type must be = String
  3. On the Field Size, enter your required value, not exceeding 1024 and Enter on the keyboard (DON’T TAB)


Sage Evolution ERP: Manufacturing in a Job Costing Environment

Do you have the Job Costing module or want to start manufacturing? Or, do you have a manufacturing company but can’t quite seem to get the normal Manufacturing module to work for you? Then you’ll be happy to know that the Sage Evolution Job Costing module can process manufacturing for you as well as whole lot more. Here’s a look at a few of the Evolution ERP Job Costing Module’s functions:

1. Templates

The first feature in the module is of course the templates, you can indeed create your “recipe” using the template feature of job costing. These can be edited at any point and when used, can be changed to accommodate the environment of the process.

Sage Evolution ERP: Manufacturing in a Job Costing Environment Templates

2. Workers

In Job Costing you can create your staff/labourers as Workers and assign them to the job. With this feature, you can add a cost to them and a billable rate. In doing so, you can factor some margin into the time.

Workers Sage Pastel Evolution ERP Manufacturing Job Costing Workers

3. Accounts Payable

On a job, you can also assign a supplier, thus allowing for those sub contracting components. This eliminates the need for unnecessary service stock codes. Also, when a supplier is used, it will automatically post a journal to the supplier so no need for PO’s or any other unnecessary processing.

Job AP Sage Pastel Evolution ERP Manufacturing Job Costing

4. Job Card processing

a) In job costing processing, the first thing I want to demonstrate is that you can easily load your templates in the actual process, thus saving you that extra time.


b) When on a Job Card, you may want to see what your profits are based on revenue and costs. You would have noticed that you had a tab on job cards for Inventory, Payables and General Ledger. This feature will show you per module and “All” will put all together inclusive of workers, giving you an overall result. One thing to bear in mind here is if for example, Accounts Payable is showing a loss that doesn’t mean overall you have a loss. It simply means that, that module is a loss because costs exceed revenue, but under “All” you may still have a profit. This profit is of course less than the loss so as you decrease your losses, so too will you increase your profits at a later stage.

Job Module Forcast Sage Evolution ERP: Manufacturing in a Job Costing Environment

5. Manufacturing

Once you have added all components of the process on a job card, you need to ensure the job and lines status is set to Active and then save the job card.

Where you see your List of Job Cards you will get an Option Make Inventory Item.

Once you select this, this will allow you to change your Job Card and all components into a finished product.

Notification Sage Pastel Evolution ERP Manufacturing Job Costing Job Complete


In the Item you choose, the costs from your forecast become the cost of this item, and the revenue becomes the selling price. If you manufacture, say, 20 units, this module will divide costs by 20 to calculate Cost per unit and divide revenue by 20 to calculate Selling per unit.

This module really is powerful in assisting you with manufacturing so call me today if you require a demo or any further details of the module.


Ransomware Poses a Serious Risk

Google describes Ransomware as a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. These kinds of threats are not going to go away and new strains are being written all the time.

The only way to regain access to the encrypted data is to pay a ransom to the hackers – and even then it is not guaranteed that you will get your data files back.  After all, you are dealing with a criminal! There is very little that any IT expert can do to get your files back. Once encrypted, your data cannot be recovered.

The only way to mitigate the risk is to ensure that you regularly take backups so that you can quickly return to a pre-infected state.

6 Tips to Staying Safe from Ransomware

  1. Backup your data regularly.  If you choose to back up to an external hard drive, disconnect the backup device as soon as the backup is complete. This will prevent any potential infection from being passed along to your backup device.
  2. Ensure that your machine is patched to the latest version and that your antivirus software is up to date.
  3. Do not click on links in emails from unfamiliar sources
  4. Do not open unidentified attachments (pdf’s, etc)
  5. Don’t download “free offers” on websites or follow links to win prizes, etc. Hackers are successful because they bank on you wanting what they offer as an enticement.
  6. Become more vigilant. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

What to do if you suspect that your machine is infected with Ransomware

  1. Don’t try to open any files or folders on the machine.
  2. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
  3. Immediately switch off your computer and take to IT

More About Ransomware

Stay safe,


Protected View on Reports Exported to MS Excel

Are you struggling with editing documents exported from Sage Evolution to MS Excel because they are in ‘protected mode’? By default, documents that fail validation in MS Office 2010 will open in ‘protected mode’. This means one cannot edit and work on these documents while they’re in a Protected View display.

This can be extremely frustrating when exporting reports or grids from Sage Evolution to MS Excel documents.

Sage Evolution, Protected View, MS Excel

So, how does one get rid of the Protected View on reports or grids exported from Sage Evolution?

Procedure to remove Protected View on Reports Exported to MS Excel:

1. Close Sage Evolution on the local PC

2. Open MS Excel

3. Click File | Options | Trust Center

4. Click Trust Center Settings | File Block Settings

The option ‘Open selected file types in Protected View’ will be selected by default

How to Edit or Remove Protected View on Sage Evolution Reports Exported to MS Excel Post 2

5. Select the ‘Open selected file types in protected view and allow editing’ option

How to Edit or Remove Protected View on Sage Evolution Reports Exported to MS Excel Post 3

6. Remain on the File Block Settings and uncheck all options as displayed in the below screenshot

How to Edit or Remove Protected View on Sage Evolution Reports Exported to MS Excel Post4

7. Click OK

8. Close and reopen MS Excel

I hope the above helps users who might be a bit annoyed by the Protected View!

Should you have any queries please comment below.

Violet Van Niekerk

Sage Evolution Financial Year End

Sage Evolution ERP is continually being updated to ensure more user friendly features are made available. Such as Financial Year End. Version 7 contains updates inspired by suggestions from existing users as well as updates in security and functionality.

The latest new feature is that Sage Evolution version 7 caters for unlimited financial periods so running a first year purge is no longer a requirement after five financial years.

Setup of Financial Year End

Financial Year End

Click Image To View


Prior to version 7, Sage Evolution retained transaction history for five financial years and a first year purge had to be performed to create the new financial year. Doesn’t the above seem better already?

In Sage Evolution version 7 however, financial years can be added to allow processing without running a purge after 5 years.

On Accounting Periods under Company Details there’s now an option to ‘Add Financial Year’. Once this Option to ‘Add Financial Year’ is selected, a new financial year will be added incrementing the periods from the last financial year.

Should you have any queries please comment below.  I will be happy to do upgrades and training if required. Why not consider an Upgrade now too.

Violet Van Niekerk


Sage Evolution Shortcut Keystrokes

There is nothing more satisfying than finding a quicker, more efficient way of doing something.  It’s little things like simplifying daily tasks that go a long way in making working life more enjoyable.  To make your processing easier, here are some Sage Evolution shortcut keystrokes that will radically improve your productivity.

General system Evolution shortcut keystrokes:

<F1> – This key will launch the built in Sage Evolution Help Function, you can press this key anywhere in the Sage Evolution system and receive help information on the screen you have open.

<F5> – This key will refresh the current node that you have open in Sage Evolution.

<Ctrl> + <F5> – These keys will refresh the System Tree within Sage Evolution.

<F7> – This key will open the NOTES function in the module in which you have open.

<Alt> + <X> – These keys Exit Sage Evolution and close the program.

<Ctrl> + <Shift> + <E> – By pushing this combination on the log in screen you will be able to see the version of database you have and the version of the Sage Evolution software you have installed. The version of the database and software should be the same version in order for you to log into the company.

Journal and cashbook batch Evolution shortcut keystrokes:

<Ctrl> + <L> – These keys validates your batch. You should always validate your batch before processing.

<F9> – This key allows you to process your batch.

<Ctrl> + <P> – These keys Print your batch for you.

<Shift> + <Ctrl> + <Del> – These keys clear your batch of all the lines in your batch.

<Ctrl> + <N> – These keys adds a new line to your batch.

<Ctrl> + <Del> – These keys Delete a line.

<Alt> + <S> – These keys Split the line you are currently on.

Processing Evolution shortcut keystrokes:

 <Alt> + <N> – Add a line note to the line you are on

<Alt> + <Ins> – Insert a new line into the transaction

<Shift> + <Ctrl> + <C> – Use this combination to Copy a line

<Shift> + <Ctrl> + <X> – Use this combination to Cut a line

<Shift> + <Ctrl> + <V> – Use this combination to Paste a line

<Ctrl> + <F5> – Toggle between Inclusive/Exclusive VAT

<Ctrl> + <B> – Explode the BOM item to show all components

<F8> – Show the unit of measures for the line items

<Alt> + <S> – This combination will show all the serial numbers for this item.

<Shift> + <Ctrl> + <M> – This combination will confirm the maximum amount of qty for each line in the transaction.

These shortcuts makes processing and navigating through Sage Evolution much quicker, therefore making Sage Evolution even more user friendly. I hope these shortcuts will help you save time during the busier months so you can focus on running your business or department.

If you know of any other Sage Evolution shortcut keystrokes that are not mentioned here, add them in a comment below.



Speed Up Your Excel Workbook

Are your Excel Spreadsheets so big and slow that you could literally go and make a cup of coffee while the workbook updates?  Good news, there is a simple and quick solution to Speed Up Your Excel.

I recently had a request from a client to assist them with improving the speed of their Excel Workbooks.  While working on their data it was taking so long for their workbooks to update that it was seriously affecting their ability to deliver their financial reports.  Running the initial report took nearly 6 hours (they would run it overnight).  Each time new data was entered, it would take a couple of minutes for Excel to recalculate, equaling hours per workbook!  It doesn’t take an expert to see that this is not good for business.

It didn’t take me long to find the problem, there were far too many worksheets in a formula heavy design.  The formula used were old look-ups (e.g: Index & Match combination resolves quicker and uses less system overheads with more flexibility than the traditional VLookup formula) and too many nested IF statement variables.  They weren’t using List referencing, Named Ranges and there were hardly any Pivot Tables (a great way to quickly summarise and analyse data, again, using less resources).

Newer Business Intelligence report writing methodology using newer software functionality greatly assists with the ever increasing volume of business data sources that need analysing and help to Speed Up Your Excel

That being said, you don’t have to rewrite all your reports just because they’re ‘old school’.  Sometimes we just have to make do with what we’ve got.  Luckily for you there is another easy way that one can use to speed up your Excel Workbook even if you really have to make use of a nested formula-heavy design.

Speed Up Your Excel by setting your Excel Workbook formula calculation to manual. 

What that means is that Excel won’t update your formula until you tell it to.  This leaves you free to open your Spreadsheet, edit your information, and, when you’re ready, calculate your formula.

By changing this setting I brought the report run time at my client down from over 6 hours to just over 15 minutes.  They are now able to run the report, make edits, and, update their information multiple times in a day, something they previously couldn’t do.

Here’s how to set your Excel Workbook Formula Calculations to Manual:

Step 1:
Go to the Formulas Tab in your Excel Workbook Ribbon, then select ‘Calculations Options’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 1

Step 2:
Set to ‘Manual’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 2

NB: Don’t forget, now that Excel calculates your formula manually, every time you’re finished updating your spreadsheet or want to update your workbook, you will need to come back here and tell Excel to ‘Calculate Now’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 3

Hopefully this tip helps to Speed Up Your Excel and make your life using Excel a bit easier 🙂