Light Blue 2022.1 is a major update that introduces an online scheduling tool that allows your clients to book shoots and appointments directly into your diary. You no longer need to send messages back and forth to find the perfect time, or rely on complicated integrations with third-party tools.
Setting up our online scheduling tool is quick and easy, and you can choose which types of shoot or appointment are available online. Your availability is updated in real-time as you (and your clients!) schedule events in your diary, and it’s easy for you to set up regular availability as well as ad-hoc availability for specific types of event.
Our new online scheduling features also give you options to include a customised booking form, contract, and booking fee when a client is scheduling a shoot, making the online booking process easier than ever. It’s also tightly integrated with Light Blue’s automation tools, so the reminder emails, text messages, and tasks from your workflows help you to deliver great a great service for your clients.
Read on for a summary of the other new features and changes included in Light Blue 2022.1…
Operating system changes
- Added a 64-bit version of our Windows app. From 2022.1 onwards, using the “check for updates” command from the 32-bit version of our Windows app on a 64-bit version of Windows will offer to download either the 64-bit or 32-bit versions. Once you’ve upgraded to the 64-bit version, you’ll always be given the 64-bit version.
- The macOS version of Light Blue is now a Universal binary, adding native support for Apple Silicon-based Macs.
- The Windows version of our desktop app now reports its bitness and the macOS version reports its CPU architecture in the About dialog.
- Worked around a change in macOS 12 Monterey that could cause a grey stripe to appear at the top of the main window.
- On macOS, changed the ID that the app uses to identify itself to our servers to allow it to be more easily used from multiple macOS user accounts.
Deduplication & merging records
- Potential duplicate contacts are now highlighted on contact records and in the “Linked Records” tab on shoots. Clicking on the warning brings up a shortcut to merge that contact with one of the potential duplicates.
- When reviewing an online booking, you’re now warned if the main contact for the booking looks like a duplicate of an existing contact in your database.
- The “Merge Records” command now lists contacts with the same name or email address when you invoke it from a contact record.
- When merging records, the contact, shoot, quote, sale, purchase, and payment notes fields are now combined rather than asking you to select one version or the other to keep.
- When you view an online booking from the Inbox, its now kept as part of the selection if you’re using the “pending items & unread messages” filter.
- Added a “Mark As Read” contextual menu command for incoming data in the Inbox, so you can mark it as dealt with and remove it from your list of pending items without importing it.
- Double-clicking a linked record from the email dialog now navigates to that linked record in the main window.
- Invalid fields in forms are now highlighted more prominently, and clicking the submit button when it’s not activated triggers validation to show you which fields need to be filled in correctly before it can be submitted.
- Added an option to form templates to not include a CAPTCHA when they’re being used as a contact form. If you choose not to include a CAPTCHA on a contact form, the form will not send an email to the supplied email address when it’s filled in because that prevents it being of any use to spammers.
- The “Activity” tab’s contextual menus now include “Extend Expiry Date…”, “Cancel Contract…”, and “Open Contract PDF” commands for contracts. These commands are the same as the matching commands that are available in the contract dialog.
- The shoot detail panel and appointment dialog now show when the record was created by an online booking, and include an options menu that allow you to open or copy the URL for the booking confirmation and management page.
- Added an option to require at least one contact in “contact roles” and “other contacts” sections on forms.
- Added an option to customise the “add person” and “add another person” button labels in the “contact roles” and “other contacts” sections on forms.
- Fixed a bug where paragraph text fields in online forms would add extra line breaks to the content sent to Light Blue.
- Added %EventTypeName% and %BookingManagementURL% mail-merge tags.
- You can now add a “:URLOnly” suffix to a URL mail-merge tag, which when used in an HTML email will be converted into the URL without the surrounding <a> element necessary to make it a clickable link. e.g. %BookingManagementURL:URLOnly%.
- You can now merge price lists and shoot types in the Preferences window.
- Reorganised the “External Programs” section of the Preferences window and added help links.
- Added links to help for creating and using workflows to the places where workflows are set up and used.
- Email and text message templates that have been used in scheduled workflow messages now include a button that you can use to update those scheduled messages to use the latest version of the template. This allows you to make changes to your message templates and easily apply those changes to all of the messages that have already been scheduled as part of your workflows.
- The “Appointment Types” section of the Preferences window now includes a workflow visualiser, just like the one included in the “Shoot Types” section.
- Added a “before/after key date” popup menu when editing workflow steps, to make the offsets easier to understand
- Added a “Warn When Moving Events Via Calendar” setting to the Preferences window. This will make the desktop app show a confirmation dialog whenever you move events by dragging and dropping in Light Blue’s built-in calendar.
- Shoot types and appointment types now show which scheduling calendars they’re used in, and also contain a button to create a new scheduling calendar for them.
- Improved performance of editing long contracts on Windows.
- Reduced the minimum height of the Preferences window by 40px.
- Added an “Import Sales From CSV” command to the Records menu.
- Added an “Issue Refund” button to Payment records that have an unallocated amount of more than zero. This creates a negative payment that represents the refund and a zero-value invoice that both the original and refund payments are allocated to so that they end up with an unallocated amount of zero.
- When selecting a text message template, the record selection dialog now shows a preview of the message template as well as its name.
- You can now hide your custom quick queries from Light Blue’s main sections. This allows you to create quick queries for use in Home screen widgets without cluttering up your list of quick queries in the main sections.
- You can now build queries that use the email status field (e.g. you can query for records that are scheduled to send an email).
- The desktop app no longer automatically scans all of the document files and templates that it manages for changes when you launch the app. If you want it to do this (i.e. because you regularly edit Light Blue documents while the app is closed) then there’s an option for this in the Preferences window.
- When the “Prices Include Tax” preference is not ticked, the “Linked Records” tab now shows both the net and tax inclusive totals for linked quotes, sales, and purchases.
- When you edit the date or time of a cancelled appointment, you’re now warned that the appointment has been cancelled and asked if you want to change it back to “confirmed”.
- Housekeeping commands are now restricted to full access users, apart from the ones used for marking sales and purchases as paid or cash & cheques as paid in.
- Added the shoot contact Role field to the “Tidy Popup Menus” housekeeping command.
- Added a “Primary Contact Notes” field to the Shoots section, which can be used in queries, reports, and data exports.
- You can now build queries for purchases using their linked shoots in the query criteria.
- Shortened the title of appointments published to third-party calendars: removed the “Appt: ” prefix and no longer appending the appointment type if it’s already included in the title.
- “County” fields in forms are now labelled as “Province” if your localisation is set to Canadian English.
- Fixed a bug that could cause the shoot detail view event clashing loader thread to not be closed properly.
- Fixed a bug where linking an appointment to a different record wouldn’t move any scheduled emails for that appointment to the new record.
- Fixed a database error that occurs when trying to use the “on a Sunday” option for date fields in the query dialog.
- Fixed a bug where the “Create Sale” popup menu on quotes could show the undiscounted net sum instead of the discounted net sum.
- Fixed a bug where deleting an appointment didn’t delete the emails and text messages from its workflows.
- Fixed a bug on macOS where a text area could appear to include some content from the last record selected.
- Fixed a bug where workflow types could be blank when downloading data onto a new device.
- Fixed a bug when creating a credit note for an invoice with more than 1,000.00 outstanding when using European currency formatting.
- Fixed a bug that caused schedule steps with a start time of 00:00 to not show the time in the “Schedule” tab of a shoot.