Utilities to keep tabs on plotting costs
1 Mar, 2001
By: Michael Lennox
Plot tracking software has grown more sophisticated in data handling,
reporting, and tracking prints and plots since our review last year (February
2000). The four applications reviewed here range from those that work
only with AutoCAD to those that work with all applications. Each program
is solid and worth further investigation. The best application for you
depends on your specific needs and the accounting systems and processes
that you already have in place.
All of the applications comprise at least two components: a client interface
that captures data at plot time and an administrative interface that provides
access to the database. In general, the client interface prompts users
to enter or select information about the plot. They must provide the information
before they can plot. Users can't dismiss or circumvent the client interface,
which ensures that you capture every plot. The administrative interface
components configure the system to meet your company's specific needs.
You can enter your customers, jobs, media, and costs. All of the applications
let you print reports directly and export the data for use with a spreadsheet
or accounting software. Once you export the data, you can create custom
reports using Excel or reporting applications.
Most of the applications require creating and configuring a database
at installation. For use over a network, locate the database on a network
accessible by all users. If you want to track plots on only one computer,
you can install the database locally.
All of the tools provided help to get you up and running quickly. They
also all have fully functional, time-limited trial versions available
software pricing details