Light Blue 2021.2.3 release notes

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2021.2.3, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2021.2. It includes the following changes:

  • Added an “Import Custom Translations” button to the “Template Translations” section of the Preferences window, to allow you to import a set of translations that another Light Blue user has exported and sent to you.
  • Added more mail-merge tags to the “Insert Mail-Merge Tag/Value” feature.
  • Updated the links in the Help menu to match our new online help resources.
  • Fixes a bug that could prevent the “Prices Include Tax” checkbox in the Preferences window from saving properly.

Light Blue 2021.2.2 release notes

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2021.2.2, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2021.2. It includes the following changes:

  • Added an Undo command to the Edit menu that can undo changes you’ve made in the field that you’re currently editing.
  • The %ContactFullName% mail-merge tag when used with weddings will now use a bride/groom/partner contact’s name even if either their first or last name is missing.
  • If you open an email window and the screen you’re opening it on isn’t big enough to fit the previous size you opened an email at (e.g. because you’ve unplugged a bigger screen), the position of the email window is now reset.
  • Clicking on an HTML editor now sets the position of the insertion point.
  • Removed unconfirmed and cancelled appointments from the “Today’s Information” report.
  • Fixed a bug where using the macOS emoji picker popup would always place emoji at the end of a TextArea control, instead of at the insertion point.
  • Fixed a bug where using the macOS emoji picker popup could fail to work with our HTML editor.
  • Fixed an error message that could appear when building a query for contacts with linked contacts of a particular age.
  • Fixed a minor positioning glitch for custom text fields that are formatted as comboboxes on Windows.

Light Blue is compatible with major iOS, macOS, and Windows updates that are coming soon

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We’re entering a bumper season for major OS updates: iOS 15 is due to be released next week, Windows 11 is coming in October, and macOS 12 will probably be arriving in October or November.

We’ve been testing the current version of Light Blue with the beta versions of these major OS updates and it seems to be working well. However, please read on for our usual health warning about the dangers of installing a major operating system update as soon as it’s available!

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating your computers or mobile devices until Apple and Microsoft have had a chance to fix some of the bugs that will inevitably be present in the next versions of iOS, macOS, and Windows. Although our testing with their betas has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple or Microsoft could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as the new versions of macOS or Windows are available. At the very least, if you really really want to update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest version of our desktop app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 2021.2, and if you’re using older version of our desktop then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows).

Light Blue 2021.2.1 release notes

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2021.2.1, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2021.2. It includes the following changes:

  • Added “Reload Base URL” and “Open in Default Web Browser” commands to web viewer widget options menu.
  • Changed the name of the “Default” Home screen layout to “General Overview”.
  • When creating enquiry from email, if From address belongs to a member of staff or is in the “Other Email Addresses To Filter” list, the app now uses the first recipient as the “sender”. This improves the way that the app works with emails where you reply to an enquiry and CC or BCC it to your unique email address so that it’s available to import as a new enquiry.
  • Added a “Reset Window Size & Position” command to the Window menu.
  • Made using one-time passwords in the “account” section of Preferences more obvious.
  • Added a link to a help article to the Query dialog.
  • On Windows, the Activity panel is no longer loaded asynchronously because slow redraw could make this appear to load more slowly than using synchronous loading.
  • Fixed missing year labels from profit series in charts.
  • Fixed a bug where the “promote attachment to Activity panel” button was visible for emails viewed from the Inbox: it should only be visible for emails opened from an Activity panel.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Query Totals” widget “Quote/Sale Net Total” option shows the undiscounted net total of the sale, rather than the discounted net total.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the “Add Link” button in our HTML editor to open two copies of the link editing dialog.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the “Import Shoots & Contacts From CSV” command from importing contact full names.
  • Fixed a bug where importing incoming data via the “Preview” function in the Inbox didn’t take you to the imported record upon completion.
  • Fixed a rare bug that could cause the app to hang after the initial data download.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when loading the details of a sale item on Windows.
  • Fixed a bug that could make a form template item look like it’s set to be required when it isn’t.

New features for emails sent to your Light Blue account

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Light Blue subscribers are given a unique email address, and any emails sent to your unique email address are automatically imported into your Light Blue account. They appear in the Inbox, and from there you can use them to create a new enquiry or link them to an exist shoot or client. This makes it easy to keep all of your correspondence in one place, so that you can see the full history of your dealings with your clients.

We’re constantly updating Light Blue’s email import features to add new features and support changes in the way that major email clients format their emails, but we wanted to highlight a couple of big changes that have gone live recently.

Attachments are now automatically imported

When an email containing attachments is sent to your Light Blue email address, we now automatically import them for you. Emails up to 10MB in size are supported, and attachments with the following extensions will be imported:

  • .pdf
  • .txt
  • .rtf
  • .docx
  • .doc
  • .xlsx
  • .xls
  • .csv
  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .heic
  • .png

Once you’ve created an enquiry from an incoming email, or linked it to an existing record, you can “promote” any particularly important attachments so that they show up on the Activity panel instead of only being displayed when you view the email. To do that, open the email from the linked record’s Activity panel, select the attachment, and click the “promote” button that appears next to it.

Improved formatting for emails forwarded from macOS or iOS Mail

To get that initial email enquiry into Light Blue, forwarding the email to your Light Blue email address is usually the quickest way to get it into your Inbox so that you can create an enquiry from it. We’ve recently improved the formatting of emails forwarded from the macOS or iOS Mail app, removing the first level of quote marks and making them easier to read.

Sunshine online proofing gallery starts sending orders to Light Blue

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WordPress e-commerce plugin Sunshine has added a direct link to Light Blue’s API, allowing photographers who are using Sunshine’s online proofing and ordering galleries to have their client orders sent directly to their Light Blue account.

The Light Blue API allows our subscribers to send information straight to their Inbox from a variety of sources, including online forms, booking systems, and online galleries. Orders sent from Sunshine to your Light Blue account will appear in the Inbox, and from there you can import them into Light Blue as a new order, saving you from needing to manually re-enter print orders while keeping all of your sales and invoicing information together in Light Blue.

Sunshine’s Light Blue API link add-on is available from their website. Light Blue users will need an active subscription to be able to use it, and you can find more information about our API in our knowledgebase.

Light Blue 2021.2 release notes

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Welcome to your new Home screen

Light Blue’s new Home screen lets you see your business in a completely new way. You can now customise the Home screen by choosing a selection of widgets that give you unique and powerful ways of looking at your business as well as customising the look of Light Blue.

Widgets include the classic “Current Events”, “Enquiries”, and “Task Manager” widgets from previous versions of Light Blue, plus exciting new options including customisable charts, inbox, lists, stats, or embedded web pages.

Sets of widgets are grouped together as Home screen layouts and you can customise their appearance with colour themes. We’ve provided a set of example layouts and colour themes that you can choose from by clicking the options button in the top right corner of the Home screen, and you can use any of these samples as a starting point to create your own!

Continue reading “Light Blue 2021.2 release notes”

Public beta for new Home screen features

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We’re really excited to announce that we’ve given all of our beta testers access to a major update that brings some big improvements to Light Blue’s Home screen.

Light Blue’s new Home screen lets you see your business in a completely new way. You can now customise the Home screen by choosing a selection of widgets that give you unique and powerful ways of looking at your business as well as customising the look of Light Blue.

We’ll be sharing more information about Light Blue 2021.2’s new features when it becomes generally available. If you’re a Light Blue subscriber and would like to join the beta so that you can start using the new features, please send us an email!

Continuing support for photographers affected by the pandemic

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Continuing to help photographers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Today marks the first anniversary of the UK entering lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we wanted to mark the occasion by reiterating the support that we’ve been offering our customers. Although the situation is starting to improve in the UK now and many of our subscribers are going to be getting back to work over the next few months, we know that many photography businesses throughout the world are still facing enormous challenges and we will continue to do all that we can to help you.

We’re here to help people run a successful business, and one of the ways that we can do that is to reduce the cost of Light Blue for any of our customers who are in difficulty. Since 18 March 2020, we’ve been offering all of our existing and new subscribers 50% off their Light Blue subscriptions. If you need assistance but haven’t applied for our offer yet, you can do so by clicking here to log into your account. We’re happy to extend this assistance until the pandemic is under control, so if you’re not yet able to afford your full Light Blue subscription then send us an email and we’ll extend your 50% discount for another three months. We want you to be able to use our tools to bounce back from this!

We’re still here to help

This has been a challenging time for all of us in the photography industry, so we wanted to remind you that we’re here to help you make the most out of Light Blue so that it can support and aid your business. Now that things are starting to improve, we’re also here to help you bounce back and rebuild your business.

We’ve been helping business owners to make the most of the opportunities that come along, whether that’s nurturing your existing clients with automated messages, helping postponed shoots to reschedule with our online contract signing service, working out which clients you want to market to when things get back to normal, or using our contact forms and workflows to handle new enquiries. If there’s anything that we can do to help you use Light Blue to its full potential, please get in touch to let us know.

Spreading the word

We’re a tiny company, so we always appreciate it when customers ask us whether there’s anything that they can do to help us, too.

Telling other photographers about Light Blue and how we’ve helped your business always means a lot to us! If you know anyone who would benefit from using Light Blue, you can use our referral scheme to give them a discount and earn credit towards your own subscription too.

Scheduled website maintenance

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We’re going to be carrying out some scheduled maintenance on our website servers this weekend, which is going to lead to some unavoidable downtime for our account management pages and support resources such as our knowledgebase.

However, Light Blue’s online services will be unaffected and you will be able to carry on using all of Light Blue’s features while this takes place.

We’ll be carrying out these updates early on Saturday morning (UK time) to minimise any disruption.