SpecWriter Manual  
 HOME SITE INDEX SpecWriter Manual Introduction by PowerTools Software, Inc. 
 Table of Contents
 Executive Summary
 Program Features
 Spec Categories
 Screen Images
 Demo Manual

 Table of Contents
 Setup Guide
 Users Guide
 Main Manual
 Document List

 File Menu
 Checklist Menu
 Specifications Menu
 Takeoff Menu
 Estimate Menu
 Values Menu
 Notes Menu
 Settings Menu
 Help Menu

Introduction to SpecWriter

General Information

SpecWriter is a fully automated Excel program that writes the Scope-of-Work, Specifications, Estimates and Schedule-of-Values for residential and light commercial projects.

This introduction will provide a quick overview of the program and it's features so you'll know what to expect it to do, and a summary of the various manuals, guides and references that comprise the program manual, so you'll know where to start and where to find additional information.


You may install SpecWriter by downloading it from our website at www.PowerToolsSoftware.com.  If you've never downloaded a file before, a concise Download Guide is also available on the website.  You may also install SpecWriter from our Installation CD.  With either method, our professional installation program will install the program for you in less than 60 seconds.


Setting up SpecWriter involves entering your company name and making a couple of display settings to match the program to your computer monitor.  A concise 6-step Installation & Setup Guide is available on our website.

Basic Procedure

The program works by a simple process of selecting the specifications you want to use to describe the project from the Checklist of over 4,000 pre-written specifications.  These specifications are logically grouped in categories (demolition, concrete, drywall, flooring, etc.) and the selection process includes the ability to exclude or include a specific category, and to further describe the materials to be used within that category.  You can also specify Unit Cost allowances, Fixed Cost allowances, Options, Exclusions, and Owner's Responsibilities.

After you have made your selections, use Specifications | Generate Specifications generate perfect specifications for you to view, edit, print and save.  Other menu commands will generate the Estimate or the Schedule-of-Values.

Previewing & Printing

You may preview and print any document using the menu commands under that document's menu.  Preview, change the Checklist selections, generate new Specifications, and preview again until you are satisfied, then print picture-perfect specifications.

Program Features

A comprehensive list and descriptions of the program's major features is available on the Program Features page.

SpecWriter is fully automated and completely menu controlled, with all the commands you need to perform every task like Insert New Specification, Add Allowance Section, and Save to Hard Disc.

SpecWriter is completely customizable and allows you to edit our existing specifications, or add your own unique specifications, including adding entire new categories of specifications as easily as typing them in or using your mouse.

More than 4,000 specifications already written, ready for you to select for inclusion in your project's specifications.  Of course, you can add or edit these specifications, but there's a lot you'll be able to use from the 1st day.

A Comprehensive Checklist that reduces accidental omissions by making sure you remember everything.  One pass through the Checklist writes the Specifications, the Estimate, and the Schedule of Values.

An Intelligent Estimating strategy where your project's Specifications also become the Estimate Worksheet.  If it's not in the estimate, it's also not in the specifications.

A GoTo feature that allows you to jump to any section of the Checklist by selecting it from a pull-down window.  Great for editing!

The Customer Type feature allows you to change the reference to your customer throughout the entire specifications.  Your choices are Owner, Buyer, Customer, Lease Holder, Property Manager or Client.  This allows you to better tailor your specifications to suit the nature of your relationship with the customer.

A Memorized Template feature allows you to name and save Checklist configurations.  This allows you to specify a standard model or project, save it and then recall it at any time.  This is a great time saver when specifying the same or similar projects.

The Red Lettering feature on the Checklist allows you to color code your most-used specifications for speeder recognition when selecting specifications.

A Text HighLite feature allows you to "highlite" in yellow any line of any of the documents.  This can be helpful, for example, when reviewing revised specifications with your customer.

The Takeoff feature provides a separate worksheet that automatically calculates a number of linear and square footages as you enter the basic building dimensions.

A Lookup function that allows you to find measurements on the Takeoff sheet from the Estimate and copy them into your estimate.

A Cost Carryover feature will copy the unit cost prices you maintain in the Checklist into the Estimate whenever that specification is selected.  Of course, you can override the cost at any time.

The Dual Estimate feature allows you to calculate the project's price both vertically (total the costs and add markups) and horizontally (mark up each line item, then add together).  In fact, you can see the raw numbers done both ways and pick the one you like.

The Presentation Options allows you to hide all the estimate columns and display or print only the totals in each category, thus keeping the unit costs and markup hidden.

The Documentation

SpecWriter is EASY to LEARN, but to ensure that all your questions are answered, we put together several items to help you.

The Manual's Table of Contents provides an easy-to-review list with descriptions and links to all the documents that comprise the SpecWriter Manual.  You may also download all the manual's documents in PDF format from the Download Page.

The 1 page Installation & Setup Guide will steer you through the simple process of downloading the program and setting it up for your business.

The User Guide is a concise, 4 page "mini" manual of the programs features and functions.

The Reference section of the Manual includes separate webpages for each of the main menu commands   Each of the separate pages lists every menu command under that menu, with an explanation of it's purpose, and describes every dialog box and the purpose of every function, control or data entry field on them.

The Document Reference is a catalog of every document in the program and description of it's purpose.

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