Product Update

September 9, 2004

1. Workspaces: Full text search of documents; bulk deletion of workspace documents.

OpenAir now offers full text search of documents stored in our Workspaces module. With this month's release, the search feature includes a full content search of stored files, as well as file names. Documents are searchable by content across all workspaces, within a particular workspace, or from the Documents tab in the Workspaces module. To enable this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Workspace options. Check the box to "Enable document content searching" and save. File types that are searchable currently include .doc, .txt, .rtf, .pdf, .html, and .xls. To search, enter keyword(s) of at least 4 characters and select the items to be searched. In addition to document file names, the search will now also look for matches in the content of files of the above types. If there is a match in the body of the document, the search result list will display a small [content] hint next to the document..

We have also added the ability to delete workspace documents in bulk. This is an extension of a feature we added in our June release, permitting the download of workspace documents in bulk. To enable the bulk delete feature, please contact OpenAir support. Once enabled, users with the role privilege to download documents in bulk can navigate to the workspace dashboard and select the “Download all documents” link. The download dialog now offers a checkbox to delete the downloaded documents from the workspace.


2. Expenses: Import receipts from American Express credit card bill; itemize hotel bills; copy, move or delete receipts in bulk; expense report policies; line item rejection of receipts.

OpenAir has enhanced the Expenses module this month with many new features to make expense–tracking easier and more effective for both administrators and users of the system. First, we have added the ability to import receipts from an American Express credit card bill. The administrator can perform an import for multiple users from a company credit card. To access this feature, the user must be an administrator, or have a role that includes the privilege “American Express receipt import” in the “My Account” section of the role settings. To perform the import, the user navigates to the OpenAir dashboard. In the “Wizards” section, click the link “American Express receipt import wizard”. Specify the file to import (it must be in .csv format), map the cardholder name(s) to the OpenAir user name(s), enter a name and date for the envelopes the receipts will be imported into, and click “Import”. A new envelope with the imported receipts will be created for each user, who can then submit the envelope for approval.

Another new feature facilitates recording and itemization of lodging expenses. From the receipts list within an envelope, click the “New entries > Create” dropdown and select “Hotel bill wizard”. Follow the prompts to enter the total amount of the hotel bill and to specify the currency, if it’s a foreign hotel bill. The wizard then guides you through creation of a series of receipts to itemize the hotel bill. As receipts are created, a ticker tape displays the receipts, the value of receipts entered so far, and the amount remaining on the hotel bill. The user can edit the receipts from the ticker tape display or from the receipts list in the envelope, and submit the envelope in the usual fashion.

Also this month, we have added the ability to delete receipts, or copy or move them from one envelope to another, in bulk. To activate this feature, the user clicks on an open or submitted envelope and goes to the receipts list. Click the “customize” link at the bottom of the list. Move “Run an action” to the list of selected items on the right, and click OK. This displays a column of checkboxes in the receipts list. Check the boxes for the receipts to be deleted, copied or moved. To toggle the entire column of checkboxes on and off, click the checkbox icon at the top of the column. Click the circling arrows icon to run the action. Select the radio button for the action desired, whether delete, copy or move. If you select “Copy the receipts” or “Move the receipts”, select the target envelope from the dropdown list of open envelopes.

With this month’s release, OpenAir administrators are enabled to create expense report rules or policies governing expenses. There are four types of rules available, two at the expense item level and two at the company settings level. A brief description follows below; for more details on expense item policies, please see the online help in the Expenses module (Envelopes tab > Expense report rules).

On the expense item level, the administrator can:

(a) require the user to enter notes on the receipt form if the receipt price or receipt total exceeds a particular amount.
(b) require approval of the specific receipt, if the receipt price or total exceeds a particular amount.
The above rules (a) and (b) are enabled on a per-expense item basis in My Account > Account > Expenses > Expense items > [select expense item].

On the company settings level, the administrator can:
(c) require notes if a paper receipt is missing for a particular expense. If this feature is enabled, a checkbox for "missing paper receipt" will appear on each receipt. There is an internal company switch to require notes if a receipt exceeds a specified amount and has a missing paper receipt. Please contact OpenAir support if you would like to enable the notes requirement for missing paper receipts.
(d) specify a minimum amount required to submit an expense envelope.
The above rules (c) and (d) are enabled in My Account > Company > Settings > Expenses options.

A final expenses enhancement this month is line item rejection of receipts. This setting is also enabled in My Account > Company > Setting > Expenses options. To reject particular receipts, the approver navigates to the expense report. In the left hand column is a “reject” link for each receipt. If the approver rejects a receipt, s/he is prompted (and required) to enter a reason for the rejection. The user who created the envelope receives an email with notification of rejection and the reason. The rejected receipt is removed from the submitted envelope and transferred to a new open envelope, with a name of “Rejected receipts from [original envelope name]”. When the approver has rejected any individual receipts, s/he can then click the Submit/Approve link to approve the remainder of the envelope.


3. Administrative: Multiple company schedules; option to require hierarchy selection; specify order of custom fields.

OpenAir now permits you to create multiple company schedules and select the applicable schedule for each user. This feature was designed for multinational companies whose work force may be based in different countries with different work schedules and holidays. It allows more accurate calculation of project task durations, utilization, and realization for companies with an international work force. The current company schedule becomes the default schedule, to which all existing and new users are assigned. To create a new company schedule, administrators and users with the requisite privileges navigate to My Account > Account > Account data > Schedules. From the “New entries > Create” dropdown, select to create a new schedule. Enter workdays and hours, and any schedule exceptions that may apply. For example, a company with both United States and Canadian employees could create a separate schedule for the Canadian workers. While the default company schedule would have a schedule exception for Independence Day on July 4, the alternate schedule would have a Canada day exception for July 1. Both schedules would have schedule exceptions for New Year’s Day on January 1. Once the new schedule has been configured, it can be assigned to a single user by going to Account > Users > [select user ID] > Schedule. The bulk user change wizard can then be used to assign multiple users to the alternate schedule. Navigate to Dashboard > Wizards > Bulk user change wizard. Select the user to copy from, and “Schedule settings” as the information to copy. Select whether the information is to be copied to particular users or by department, and select the users/departments to be updated. Click “Run” to update the selected users or departments with the alternate schedule settings.

In another administrative enhancement, we now offer the ability to require hierarchy selection when creating new users, clients or projects. The "Hierarchies" account entity is used in summary and advanced reporting on users, clients and projects. It allows you to create hierarchical classification trees, assign users, clients and projects to various nodes at each level of a tree, and then use the structure in your reports. With this month’s release, administrators can require a hierarchy selection for items within specific hierarchies. To enable this option, navigate to Account > Hierarchies > [select a hierarchy] > Edit. Check the boxes to “Show this hierarchy when editing objects of this type” and to “Require a hierarchy selection when editing objects of this type”. When creating or editing a user, project or client, a dropdown is presented at the bottom of the form for the required hierarchy, permitting assignment of the item to the appropriate node in the hierarchy.

We have also enhanced the custom field feature, so that administrators can change the order of custom fields as they appear on the “Edit” form for the associated item. To take advantage of this improvement, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Custom fields > [select a custom field]. The "Position" dropdown shows the current position of the custom field on the "Edit" form. To change the position, make a selection from the "Position" dropdown, either "[First custom field]", or "After [one of the other existing custom fields]". The custom fields will be listed on the edit form for the associated item, in the order specified. You can also view all custom fields with their positions from the custom field list. Filter the list by “Association”. Click the “customize” link at the bottom of the list to add the “Position” field. Sort the list by position, if desired.


4. Projects: Deactivate/activate projects in bulk; improved baseline reporting and visibility.

It’s now possible to deactivate (or activate) OpenAir projects in bulk. To access this feature, administrators (and those users with role privileges to edit projects) can simply click the “customize” link at the bottom of the project list. Move “Run an action” to the list of selected items on the right, and click OK. This displays a column of checkboxes in the project list. Check the boxes for the projects whose status is to be changed. To toggle the entire column of checkboxes on and off, click the icon at the top of the column. Click the circling arrows icon to run the action (the options presented may vary depending on your account settings). Select the radio button to activate or deactivate the selected projects and click “OK”.

For project managers who use the baseline feature, this month’s release offers enhanced visibility and reporting options for baseline data. Baselines allow the project manager to record the status of a project at a particular point in time, and later to compare the current status to the baseline, identifying changes in items such as start and finish dates, planned hours, duration, percent complete, revenue, cost and budget. Until now, a baseline comparison report could be accessed either from the baseline link within a particular project, or from a link at the bottom of the task screen on a particular task. This month, we have added the ability to display the baseline variance on the “Edit tasks/phases” and “Outline” views for a particular project. Variance is the difference in planned hours between the reporting baseline and the current values. To display the variance, click the “customize” link at the bottom of the page and add “Variance” to the list of selected items. For each baseline created, the manager can specify whether it is the “reporting” baseline, by checking a box on the baseline edit form. If no baseline is checked, the last baseline created is used to measure the variance. The project and project task detail reports can also be configured to include the reporting baseline name, the planned hours for project or project task and the variance from the reporting baseline.


5. Timesheets: Override task requirement based on time type; email alerts to selected departments.

For timesheets administrators, we have added an option to override requirement of a task on time entries or schedule requests, based on the time type selected. This feature can be beneficial if users are normally required to track time to the task level, but not in the case of time requested for or logged to the vacation time type, for example. To override the task requirement, administrators navigate to Account > Timesheets > Time types > [select a time type]. Check the box to disable the task selection requirement for that time type and save. Users who select this time type will not be required to select a task on timesheets or schedule requests.

We have enhanced the timesheet alert functionality so that an administrator can send alert emails to users in a particular department. In Timesheets > Alerts, create a new timesheet alert or select an existing timesheet alert to edit. Configure the alert to be sent at the desired time, and select the number of days that determine whether the timesheet submission is overdue. In the section “Apply the alert rule to these users”, there is a new option to select departments as well as individual users.


6. Resources: Weekly utilization view.

We have implemented a weekly utilization view for resource schedules. In Resources > Resources > [select a resource] > Utilization, OpenAir provides a graphical representation of the hours or percentage of time an individual user is assigned to tasks (in the projects module), booked to projects (in resources module) or available. Until now, we offered a daily and monthly view of the data; this month, we added an option to display the data by week as well.

7. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.


8. Suggestions, problems, or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we can improve your experience with OpenAir.


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