Light Blue 2022.1.2 release notes

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2022.1.2, which is a minor update that adds new features and fixes bugs reported since we launched Light Blue 2022.1. It includes the following changes:

  • You can now import GotPhoto orders into Light Blue as sales, using the GotPhoto orders export CSV format. You’ll find the “Import GotPhoto Orders CSV” command in the Records menu and Light Blue will offer to set up one of your shoot custom text fields to store the GotPhoto job ID and automatically link all of the orders for a particular GotPhoto job to the correct Light Blue shoot.
  • Added an “Open URL In Browser” button to our HTML editor’s link dialog, to allow you to test the URL.
  • Made the member of staff linked to a mileage claim available in the query window.
  • Fixed a bug where the Preferences window could show a grey bar at the top on macOS 12.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the quick sale window to default to the wrong tax rate.
  • Fixed a bug that could show options that don’t apply to the selected type of report when changing the “basis” option.
  • Fixed a bug where converting a workflow message to a normal message for an appointment that’s also linked to a shoot could use the shoot’s details instead of the appointment’s details for %EventX% mail-merge tags.
  • Fixed a bug where Sale “next payment due date” and “next payment amount” values could be incorrect if the payment schedule due dates have been manually edited.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking the “Export Template” button in “Email Templates” section of Preferences window doesn’t save changes to the body of the email.
  • Fixed a bug where the cash basis version of the tax report can fail to show the tax amount for some individual payments.
  • Fixed a bug where importing sales from a CSV file and using the “Tax name” column would not save the that tax name and would instead show it as “Custom”.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when editing a form that has a contact roles control that doesn’t specify any roles.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when editing a quote with a percentage booking fee when using a space as your thousands separator.

Light Blue 2022.1 release notes

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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…

Continue reading “Light Blue 2022.1 release notes”

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 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.

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”

Light Blue 2021.1 release notes

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Light Blue 2021.1 is a major update that improves lots of the features that you use every day, including:

  • Adding a new shoot has been streamlined, with the “New Shoot” window efficiently guiding you through the process.
  • Dealing with contact form and API submissions has been made simpler, and it’s also much easier to use them to work with existing clients.
  • Mail-merge tags are easier to find and use in all of the places that they can be used from, making it even easier to personalise your messages to clients.
  • It’s easier than ever to compose emails and text messages, and use helpful new tools that make communicating with your clients faster.
  • Workflows are easier to set up and understand, which helps you to use this powerful tool to convert enquiries into bookings and deliver an excellent service to your clients.
  • We’ve made some of the most important parts of Preferences window easier to understand, to help you make the most of Light Blue’s powerful customisation options.
  • The Home screen now includes housekeeping tools that help you to manage a busy database by keeping on top of stale enquiries and overdue tasks.

Read on to find out more about the new features that we’ve added in Light Blue 2021.1!

Shoots

When you add a shoot to Light Blue, the “New Shoot” window efficiently guides you through the process. You can also add an enquiry workflow that helps you to convert a new enquiry into a booking. If you prefer the old process for adding a shoot, you can turn the “New Shoot” window off via the Preferences window.

We’ve also made the following changes to shoots:

  • The date field is now positioned above type and status fields in the Shoots section.
  • When Light Blue automatically sets a shoot title for you, it now includes the shoot type in the name for all shoot types (e.g. “Jack & Jill’s portrait” for a shoot type called “Portraits”). You can customise the phrase that it uses for each shoot type in the Preferences window, or turn this option off for individual shoot types if you prefer to not include its name in your shoot titles.
  • Added hint text to the “Role” column in the “Linked Records” panel.
  • The + menu in the “Schedule” and “Requests” tabs on a shoot now include options to use a template.

Workflows

Light Blue’s workflows are a powerful tool that help you to convert enquiries into bookings and deliver an excellent service to your clients. Light Blue 2021.1 makes them easier to set up and understand:

  • The new workflow visualiser shows how your default workflows will create tasks, appointments, emails, and text messages based on the key milestones for your shoots. You’ll find the workflow visualiser in the “Shoots” section of “General Preferences”, and in the “Shoot Types” section of the Preferences window you can set up different workflows for any types of job that need to be handled in their own unique way.
  • Workflows can now have a type assigned to them. If you use a lot of workflows, this makes it easier to apply them because only workflows of the appropriate type are shown.
  • When you’re in the “Workflows” section of the Preferences window, you can see where each workflow is being used and set it as a default without leaving the “Workflows” section.

Emails

  • We’ve added buttons that make it easier to create emails and text messages from a shoot or contact.
  • You can now create emails and text messages from the “Activity” panel as well as the “Linked Records” panel on shoots and contacts.
  • When you’re composing an email or template, a button in the toolbar makes it quick and easy to insert one of Light Blue’s powerful mail-merge tags. Mail-merge tags are a fantastic time-saver because they pull information into your emails from the record that you’re sending a message from, and having them available within the app saves you from having to look up the available tags from our knowledgebase.
  • You can now insert an email template into an email that you’re composing. This allows you to set up templates that you can use as snippets and drop into emails as you’re composing them.
  • When you realise that you’re composing the perfect response to a client’s query, you can now save that email as a template. This makes it easy to reuse whenever you find yourself dealing with a similar query or situation.
  • You can now set your own default text size and line spacing for your emails.
  • Each member of staff can now be assigned their own default email signature that will be applied when they create a new email.
  • We’ve added a “Resend” button to emails that have been sent from Light Blue, which allows you to quickly create a copy of that email to send to the same or a different recipient.
  • We’ve made the “Insert Image” command in the email editor easier to understand.
  • When you insert an image into an email but don’t supply an alt tag, we now give it a blank alt tag to give your emails better compatibility with screen readers.
  • When you’re switching between different email signatures or saving an email as a template, the logic that removes the current signature from the email is now more tolerant of invisible characters that could make it harder to compare the HTML.
  • We’ve added a contextual menu to the Outbox to change the status of the selected messages to “draft”.

Text Messages

  • You can now create emails and text messages from the “Activity” panel as well as the “Linked Records” panel on shoots and contacts.
  • When you’re composing an email or template, a new button makes it quick and easy to insert one of Light Blue’s powerful mail-merge tags. Mail-merge tags are a fantastic time-saver because they pull information into your emails from the record that you’re sending a message from, and having them available within the app saves you from having to look up the available tags from our knowledgebase.
  • You can now insert a text message template into a message that you’re composing. This allows you to set up templates that you can use as snippets and drop into messages as you’re composing them.

Mail-merge

  • When you’re composing an email or template, a new button makes it quick and easy to insert one of Light Blue’s powerful mail-merge tags. Mail-merge tags are a fantastic time-saver because they pull information into your emails from the record that you’re sending a message from, and having them available within the app saves you from having to look up the available tags from our knowledgebase.
  • When you’re doing a mail-merge from a shoot, you can now pick out a contact with a specific role in a tag by using the format %ContactRole:RoleGoesHere:ContactTagName%. e.g. %ContactRole:Mother:ContactFirstName% would give you the first name of the first contact labelled as “Mother” on that shoot.
  • Added new mail-merge format options for date tags: you can append “Day”, “Month”, or “Year” to a tag to get the day of the month, month name, or year. e.g. %ShootStartDateMonth% would return “January” for a shoot that starts on 01/01/2021.
  • Added whole address versions of the “next appointment” mail-merge tags. e.g. %ShootNextAppointmentAddress%.
  • Added a %SaleNextPaymentDueAmount% mail-merge tag.

Appointments

  • We’ve reorganised the appointment dialog to make it easier to understand.
  • Added phone number and URL fields to appointments, to make them easier to use for phone or online meetings.
  • Added a “Duplicate Appointment” command to the “Activity” panel contextual menu.
  • Double-clicking an appointment from the Home or Calendar screens now opens the appointment editing dialog, as well as taking you to the record the appointment is linked to.
  • When you delete an appointment, any tasks linked to it are now deleted as well.

Inbox

  • When you’re dealing with form or API submissions, we’ve simplified the old “Import as a New Record” and “Update an Existing Record” buttons to a simple “Import” button that works out what you probably want to do with that incoming data.
  • We’ve made it much easier to use contact form and API submissions from existing clients. When you click the “Import” button, Light Blue shows you a list of existing contacts that match the details you’ve received and makes it easy for you to use or update an existing client’s details.
  • You can use a contact form or API submission that contains only contact parameters to create just a contact record, rather than a contact and a linked shoot.
  • Added an “Import” button to the incoming data preview dialog.
  • Added a contextual menu command to incoming data entries in the Inbox that allows you to unlink them from a record you’ve already linked them to, so that you can reimport them and link them to a different record.
  • The Inbox search field now includes the email “From” field in its searches.
  • When you accept an incoming payment, you’re now taken to the relevant sale.
  • Fixed a bug where the current value of the mailing list opt-in field was shown as 1/0 instead of yes/no when importing incoming data.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause the linked record description in the Inbox to include duplicates.

Home Screen

  • The Home screen now includes housekeeping tools that help you to manage a busy database by keeping on top of stale enquiries and overdue tasks.
  • You can now adjust the range of dates covered by the “Current Events” list directly from the Home screen.

Contacts

  • The “Websites” group of contact methods is now called “Links” and the list of default labels has been updated.
  • The contact “Status” field is now hidden by default, but can be shown again in the Preferences window.
  • Changed the “Maiden Name” field on contacts to “Previous Last Name”.
  • Added a confirmation dialog when you convert a contact to a company.
  • You can now import a full Name when you’re importing contacts from a CSV file, and Light Blue will automatically split it into the first name and last name fields.

Financial

  • Added a contextual menu command that allows you to save a payment schedule from a sale as a new payment schedule template, which allows you to reuse that schedule on more sales in future.
  • Added a button to make it easier to reload a contact’s current details into a Sale, Quote, Purchase, or Payment record.
  • Added a “Cancel Sale” button to uninvoiced sales. Cancelling an uninvoiced sale gives you a choice between deleting it, or invoicing it and automatically creating a credit note that offsets it. The “invoice & credit” option means that you keep a paper trail that shows that you were going to charge your client but decided to write it off.
  • Added a shoot type override for the online invoice published and payment email templates.
  • When duplicating a purchase, you’re asked whether you’d like to use the current date or the original purchase’s invoice date.
  • Added a “Payment Method” field when importing purchases from a CSV file.
  • The “Please pay X on or before Y” text that appears on invoices now uses the unpaid amount of the invoice, rather than the gross total.

Preferences

  • Added a “Preferences” button to the main window’s toolbar, to make it easier to find the Preferences window.
  • Renamed and reorganised various preferences, to make them easier to understand.
  • We’ve made the margin settings for printing and creating PDFs using Light Blue’s built-in templates easier to understand and customise.
  • Added separate top and bottom margin preferences for unbranded templates.
  • Added a search box to the “Template Translations” preferences section.
  • Any custom translations that you’ve set up are now more obviously highlighted in the “Template Translations” section.
  • Email and text message templates now list the places that they’re used (i.e. where they’re set as defaults) to make it easier for you to see how changes you make will affect the workflows, payment schedules, etc, that you’ve already set up.
  • When you’re composing a text message template, if it contains any Unicode characters we’re now listing those characters to make it easier for you to remove them from your template. Using Unicode characters in a text message reduces the number of characters that you get for each credit, so avoiding them helps you to send longer messages without spending more credits.
  • Changed the label of custom amount fields to “Custom Currency Amount”, to make their purpose clearer.
  • Document templates now display a warning if they’re larger than Light Blue’s 50MB document syncing limit.
  • Updated the list of Price List fields that can be imported or exported.
  • Reinstated the “Website URL” field in the Preferences window.
  • Contract and form template export and import features now include the “send email” checkboxes, so your decision about whether to send a notification email at each stage can be exported with the template content.
  • Fixed a bug where changing the colour of a shoot type, tag, etc, wouldn’t update the colour displayed in the Preferences window until you force a reload.

Querying & Reporting

  • The quick search field in the main window’s toolbar now includes the contents of “Notes” field from all of the main sections.
  • Added contextual menu commands for hiding or deleting a quick query.
  • Added a new quick query for sales that don’t have a linked shoot.
  • Added “Shoot Day” and “Date Completed” fields to the shoots section, for use in the list view, queries, and data exports.
  • Added primary contact role, age, and date of birth fields to the shoots section, for use in the list view, queries, and data exports.
  • The “Stale Enquiries” quick query in the shoots section now includes any enquiries that have a shoot date before today.
  • Added a “Next Payment Amount” field to the sales section.
  • Reinstated the “Is Group Head” and “Group Head X” fields in the shoots section, for use in the list view, queries, and data exports.
  • Fixed a bug that hid the brackets in the advanced mode of the query dialog.

Other changes

  • Updated macOS system requirements to macOS 10.12 Sierra.
  • On upgrading, Light Blue checks whether its window size can be optimised for your main screen.
  • If a custom text field contains a URL, an “Open” button is shown next to the field so that you can easily open it in your browser.
  • Added an option to the record linking dialog that allows you to include cancelled shoots when you’re searching for a shoot.
  • The “Submit Button Text” option for form templates is now applied to forms that you publish from a shoot or include in a contract, as well as contact forms.
  • The “Thank You Page URL” option for form templates is now applied to forms that you publish from a shoot, as well as contact forms.
  • The autocomplete menu for link fields now shows more information about matching records.
  • Text labels throughout Light Blue are now selectable, so they can be copied and pasted into other apps.
  • Added an optional field that shows which member of staff created a task.
  • You can now reschedule a selection of tasks at once from the “Activity” panel.
  • Renamed the “Add Document From Disk” command to “Add Document From Your Computer”.
  • Fixed a bug that caused spellchecking to not be enabled for some fields.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Add Task To Found Set” command could fail to link the tasks to a record.
  • Fixed a bug where a shoot in the “Unconfirmed Events” section of the Home screen could have its clash status overridden by the out of hours status.
  • Fixed a bug where marking an email or text message as read in the Inbox could immediately remove it if you’re using the “unread messages” filter.

Light Blue 2020.1.4

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We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.4, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.4 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • The macOS auto-updater no longer includes an “automatically download and install updates” option and will always display the release notes. This applies to checking for updates from this version onwards: you need to install this update before you’ll see the change.
  • Removed currency symbols from CSV exports for our predefined reports.
  • The “Export Email Addreses” command now includes the contact’s company name in the export.
  • Shoot session descriptions that contain ampersands now display properly in their collapsed state.
  • Fixed a bug where using the “Export Email Addresses” command from the Shoots section could fail to use the shoot’s primary contact and instead use a different contact from the same shoot.
  • Fixed a database error that could occur when using “shoot next appointment X” fields for linked shoots in the query dialog.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur on Macs running versions of macOS older than macOS 10.12 Sierra.