This month’s case study, with WJIE’s Calvin Bader, mentions an under-used feature of FundRaiser Software, called the “Custom Page”, and this article will help familiarize you with it’s intended design and purpose. First of all, let me point out that, originally, the Custom Page was created in order to allow you to put all of the data fields YOU consider important to view at a single glance on a single page. This, as Calvin points out, prevents you from having to switch from tab to tab looking for the information you consider pertinent. Calvin has taken it a step further, by using it as a single page into which WJIE volunteers can INPUT information, rather than simply viewing it, but this can have certain difficulties, as I will explain.
Let me start by pointing out that you can have any number of separate Custom Pages, and that you can easily switch from one to another at any time. In the Multi-User versions of FundRaiser, one user could be using one page while another uses a completely different page. This allows each person to view the information that is important for her/his purposes.
Custom Pages are created in the Options menu, under Custom Page > New, which, when selected, will switch your screen to a blank Custom Page tab, with the following window popping up:
This window pretty much says it all. In order to create a Custom Page, you will begin a process of locating the field or field label on some other tabbed page that you want to appear on the Custom Page, copying the item, and then arranging it on the Custom Page. When you say “OK” to this window, it closes and you can then find the first item you want to copy. You’ll notice that, as your mouse pointer moves over an item, a label or field will take on a “highlight” to indicate that it can be copied. In some cases, such as the Giving History page, or the Category Code list, you may be highlighting multiple items (called a “table”). When you click on any highlighted item (or table), a small “COPY” window will appear, and when you click that, the item will be dropped onto the Custom Page. Before finding another item, you’ll want to go to the Custom Page and place the dropped item as near to where you want it as possible. You’ll repeat this process item-by-item until you have all the fields and labels and tables that you want to view.
As you do this, you’ll notice a “Properties” window that floats over all windows, and you can move it out of the way, as needed. This window shows the properties for the most recently selected item you’ve dropped, and you will normally not need to make any adjustments in the window itself. Notice, too, that each individual element, or item, that you place will have moveable “borders” that allow you to change the shape of the item, so that you can shorten or lengthen a field as needed, or make a table fit within a certain space, etc.
You can always edit a Custom Page, to add or delete items, or move them around, so just create a simple one at first, and progress as you become more comfortable with the process. When you are satisfied with your layout, use the “Save as” button to save your layout with a name of your choice. As with other names (groupings, letter templates, etc.), try to avoid special characters, using numbers and letters only (spaces and dashes are okay).
And now let me caution you about using the Custom Page for data input. It was not originally designed for that purpose, but it can be done, if you are very careful about one thing in particular: Add and Save buttons are NOT CREATED EQUAL. There are many different areas in FundRaiser, as you’ve noticed, and many of them have their own, unique, individual (get the idea?) add and save buttons. If you want to use the Custom Page to input information about a gift, for instance, then you’ll need to make certain you also place the GIFT page Add/Save buttons on the Custom Page. You can use the Properties window to change the “caption” from simply “add” or “save” to “Gift add” or “Gift save”, if you like, but the important thing is these buttons are not the same as the buttons used for Adding or Saving a Name in the Name Details section of the program.
If you have the Pledge Module, as WJIE does, and want to enter Pledge information on the Custom Page, then make sure you also copy the Pledge area’s Add/Save buttons. The same is true for other areas of the program, too, so the best rule of thumb is that, before you rely on your Custom Page for data input, you MAKE SURE to TEST the functionality so you don’t have unwelcome surprise results later on. Of course, if you are using the Custom Page strictly for viewing information, you’ll not need any Add or Save buttons, and you’ll have more room for data, too.