12/22/2016

 

AaceSystems

 

User Manual

 

Spectacular for Android

 
Close-up image showing the leaf-sides of two oversized books side-by-side on a bookshelf, with additional books in soft focus background

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Application Screens. 1

Inspector Information. 1

Customer Screen. 1

Revised. 1

Agent Information. 1

Front of House Photo(s). 1

General Customer Notes. 1

Customer Appendices. 1

Inspection Screen & Sections. 1

Inspection Options. 1

Show/Hide Comment Details. 1

Show/Hide Section Details. 1

Hide Sections when Selected. 1

Always Show Sections. 1

Header Note. 1

Add Location (Add a bathroom). 1

Locations. 1

Changing Locations. 1

Hiding Floors/Positions. 1

Comment Details. 1

Pick Lists. 1

Comment Pictures. 1

Editing Photos. 1

Comment Videos. 1

Section Editing. 1

Section Notes. 1

Section Hiding/Deleting. 1

Copying Sections. 1

Editing Subsections. 1

Templates. 1

Applying a template. 1

Sub-Sections. 1

Custom Comments. 1

Fill-In Comments. 1

Audio Notes. 1

Important Items. 1

Comment Modifications. 1

Edit Mode. 1

Flags. 1

Emergency Control Switch. 1

Moving/Copying Items. 1

Comment Sorting. 1

Add New Comment. 1

Automatically flagged comments. 1

Permanent Photos. 1

Moving/Copying Comments. 1

Applying Severity Levels. 1

Comment Search. 1

Customer Options. 1

Customer Search. 1

Customer Editing. 1

Deleting Customers. 1

Generating the Report. 1

Removing the Watermark for one customer. 1

Sending the Report. 1

Emailing as Separate Documents. 1

Generating an Invoice/Receipt. 1

Generating a Pre-Inspection Agreement. 1

Report Options. 1

Modify Screens. 1

Report Tokens. 1

Severity Levels (setup). 1

Dropbox Cloud Service. 1

Backing up your comments & inspections. 1

Sharing your comments with the team.. 1

Sending your comments to another inspector. 1

Sending your database to AaceSystems Support. 1

Restoring a backup. 1

Updating a library that was shared with you. 1

Applying one of Spectacular’s Libraries. 1

Applying another inspector’s library. 1

Converting another inspection library to Spectacular. 1

Switching Libraries. 1

Inspection Teams. 1

Cloud Sharing & Merging. 1

Inspection Support Network (ISN) Cloud Service. 1

Subscriptions. 1

Thank You. 1

 

Introduction

The Spectacular Home Inspection System was created for professional home inspectors to simplify their daily task of creating home inspection reports for real estate agents and property owners. We feel home inspectors can truly benefit from a lightweight mobile computer that can run an application tailored to their specific inspecting needs, so we built Spectacular to run on all the major mobile devices plus a desktop version for those who like to look at their reports on a larger screen. This manual serves as detailed instructions for Spectacular on an Android device. We also have manuals for Windows and iPad/iPhone. Spectacular works on iPad, iPhone, Android, and Windows 10. All the screenshots in this manual will be from an Android Samsung Tab A. 

 

Spectacular was designed to be used offline with no internet connection, but still possesses some useful online features when the internet is available. Spectacular stores over 6000 ready-to-use comments which are available out-of-the-box, so the internet plays no part in the main functions. Whether the inspector’s style is to generate and submit the report all while on-site, or finalize and send the report from the office, Spectacular is capable of satisfying either scenario.

 

Operating Requirements

·         Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or higher

Spectacular can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App store, Google’s Play Store, or from the Windows App Store. Our app is fully-functional, but will include a ‘sample’ watermark on all generated reports until the inspector makes a purchase to remove the watermark. All of the main features are available while in sample mode, and you may test Spectacular for however long you need. There’s no trial period.  Once you’re ready to use Spectacular for real inspections, we have 3 pricing plan options that fit your inspection volume. For part-time inspectors who receive less than 4 jobs a month, it’s best to choose our per-report plan that allows you to unlock single reports as you go. For half-time inspectors, we have the monthly plan, and for full-time inspectors, it makes most financial sense to choose the Elite/yearly subscription. If you choose Spectacular for your long-term inspection reporting needs, the best value is the yearly subscription because the subsequent years after the first year are way cheaper.  Please email us with any questions you have at info@aacesystems.com.  We take feedback very serious at AaceSystems and we truly want to hear from you. If you download Spectacular and have drawn a conclusion, please rate us. We love 5 stars! If you feel compelled to rate us low, please email us instead with your concern.  We take the rating systems very serious, and we strive to make Spectacular the best home inspection application on the planet.

 

Application Screens

This manual assumes the reader has minimal to basic knowledge about general computers and their Android device. We understand you want to spend your time inspecting instead of time wasted learning the ins and outs of computers. Spectacular was built for the layman. Once you’ve successfully downloaded Spectacular from the play store, touch the Spectacular icon  to get started. You will be presented with the title screen. Notice on the bottom you can choose from 5 setup options: Library, Inspector Info, Report Options, Severity Levels, or Unlock. At the first sight of the title screen, resist the temptation to touch the ‘Start’ button in the upper right corner. Instead, open the ‘Inspector Info’ box by touching the icon at the bottom of the screen.

 

 

Inspector Information

Touch the place where you want to type, and the keyboard will automatically appear. Fill in your information like the sample info below. The signature you sign, and the company logo you choose will also appear on the report. You can also add a couple of association logos.  Once the inspector information is setup, it will be saved for use on the generated report. Adjust the size of your inspection logo if necessary. Multiple pages of the report depend on this setting, so make sure your logo looks ok here. You can press Done then Start and proceed to the Customer screen to get started quickly.

 


Customer Screen

Now let’s touch ‘Start’ to proceed.  Spectacular will take you to the ‘Customer’ screen. We’ve added a short help message on the left to get you started. Upon your first interaction with this screen, you’ll need to touch ‘New Customer’ at the bottom or the plus sign at the top/left. Once you’ve completed multiple inspections, you’ll tap the ‘3-line’ button in the upper left corner (in portrait direction) to show all the inspections you’ve done in portrait mode on a tablet or turn the tablet wide to keep the list on the left.  The ‘Title Screen’ button takes you back to the title screen, and the ‘Inspect’ button in the upper right activates once a customer has been selected.

 

               


Here’s where you’ll fill out information about the customer you’re going to inspect. This screen has no required fields. The inspection date is automatically set to the time you created the customer, but can be changed if necessary. The report number is a unique customer identifier that is time-based, and can also be changed if necessary. The ‘Customer Information’ section is fairly straightforward. The Send Report button on the right of the customer’s email line enables you to attach the generated report to an email message that will be sent to the client.  Separate each email address on the line with a space to add multiple email addresses. You can also enter agent information.  The buyer agent’s email address will be automatically added to the email recipient list when you send the generated report to your client via the Email icon on this screen.  Emailing reports out of Spectacular is only available when the watermark has been removed.

 

Revised

Notice the ‘Revised’ switch on the right of the Report Number line. This option is used whenever you need to resend a report you’ve already delivered. When this option is turned on, the subsequently generated report will have a ‘Revised’ mark on the title page, and all the pages of the body will show ‘Revised’ in the upper right margin. After you give the revised document to the agent, make sure you tell him/her the original generated report is void.  Another use for the ‘Revised’ switch is for re-inspections…

 

Agent Information

Spectacular allows you to save both the buyer agent’s and the seller agent’s information.  When the agent fields are filled in, you can tap the Add Contact icon (the lower contact icon with the arrow pointing outward) in the Agent Information section to add this information to your device’s contact list. If you have contacts stored in your contact list, tap the contact icon with the arrow pointing inward to populate the saved contact information you want to apply. This makes it easy to apply saved agent information for future inspections.  The agent’s contact information is pulled from your device’s contact list. Spectacular looks for all contacts with a job title of ‘Real Estate Agent’. Therefore if you have contacts in your address book that you’d like to appear here, add the ‘Real Estate Agent’ job title and they will show.  If you have lots of agents, you can filter them down by typing in the search box.

 


Front of House Photo(s)

You have the option of adding pictures to the title page of the report. Many inspectors like to include a picture of the home they’re inspecting and this is where it’s done.  You can either take the picture on-the-fly with the device’s built in camera, or you can choose a photo from the device’s list of saved pictures. Most inspectors only include one front photo, but you have the option of including 2 or 3 (or none) as well. Once you’re done setting up the customer’s information, tap the ‘Inspect’ button in the upper right.

 

               

General Customer Notes

The customer screen includes a place where you can write in notes about the customer that will not appear on the report. If you’d instead like for these notes to appear on the report, you can use the {GeneralNote} report token and place it in one of the comments. Most inspectors leave this field off the report though.

 

Customer Appendices

Spectacular allows you to attach particular appendices for the customers and it works via Dropbox. After the report is generated, all the appendices on the list are attached to the PDF. There’s also an appendix that can be attached to every report and that is set up in Report Options.


At the bottom of the customer screen, tap to add an appendix, place the PDF at the Dropbox location it specifies, then press the OK button to refresh. If you want to add more appendices later, simply add more PDF documents at that Dropbox location then press the ‘Add’ button again and OK to refresh the list. Press the red delete button to delete an appendix.
               


Inspection Screen & Sections

The inspection screen shows a list of inspection sections that can be included on the report. This is where the inspector will spend most of the time in the app. Spectacular works in both landscape (wide view) and portrait (tall view) modes and neither mode has any features the other does not have. The flow of the screen here is left to right then down:  select a section, select an item in the upper middle, then select a comment name on the right, and the inspected item appears at the middle/bottom. Tapping the inspected line shows a list of available options. The first is a note icon that will show the detailed comment that will appear on the report. The camera icon allows you to attach a list of pictures associated with the inspection comment. The flag icon marks the inspected item as important and will promote the comment to the Executive Summary section when the Executive Summary Definition in Report Options is set to Flag. Flagged comments appear in red. The severity level icon allows you to mark the comment with a color-coded symbol.  Finally, the trash icon deletes the inspection. We’ll go more into detail of each icon later.

 

               


Inspection Options

In the upper right corner of the inspection screen next to the search bar, there’s an Options button.

Show/Hide Comment Details

Observe the ‘Show/Hide Comment Details’ button. The details are the comment narratives that show underneath the comment name. Turn it off to show a cleaner screen as observed on the right-side screenshot below. Usually the newer Spectacular users will keep this option on to familiarize themselves with the library.  Seasoned Spectacular users already know what their comments say and don’t need to show the details on the screen. They turn this option off.

               

Show/Hide Section Details

Section details provide more information about the section on the left. Section details are the expanded subsection and locations view on the section list and the item count numbers next to each used item in the middle. Notice the differences in the Roofing, Bedrooms and Bathrooms sections in the screenshots below.

               

 

Hide Sections when Selected

This option controls how the screen is laid out. This option is not available on the phone. When a tablet is turned in landscape mode, there’s not much difference except the width of the section list on the left, but in portrait mode, the sections are hidden away once they are selected. Notice below how the sections are over the other screen. You can press the menu button in the upper left or swipe from the left edge to bring the section list back.
              

Always Show Sections

In this mode, the sections are always shown whether the tablet is turned in portrait or landscape. This setting is useful if you like to hold the tablet in portrait mode, but always want the section list available.

Header Note

The header note is the boilerplate text that shows on the report below every section name. Whichever section you currently have selected, tap this button to show the header note. For example, below we have the Air Conditioning section selected. Tapping ‘Air Conditioning Header Note’ will bring up the text that appears whenever we have air conditioning comments in the report.

 

Add Location (Add a bathroom)

Multiple instances of certain sections can be created. Take the bathroom as an example. Touch ‘Add Bathroom’ at the bottom left corner to add a new bathroom. You can also press and hold a section to bring up the ‘Add Location’ window. This feature works well in portrait orientation when the sections hide off to the left.

 



Locations
The screen below will appear. We call this the Locations screen. You can add all your section locations at once or inspect one then add others later. The floors and positions at the bottom make up a location. You can set just a floor, set just a position, or set both the floor and position to make up a location. For example, say you’re inspecting a duplex that each has 2 bedrooms. You’d setup a location with a floor called Unit A and a position of Master then setup another location with floor Unit A and position Hallway. You’d do the same for Unit B. Once you’ve made the floor/position selection, tap ‘Add Location’ in the middle of the screen, and the location will be set. In the example below, the inspector opted to just set a floor (Master) as a bathroom. Then s/he set another bathroom with just the position component as ‘Hallway’.  Finally, he set a bathroom with both components. Therefore this home has 3 bathrooms: Master, Hallway and Main/Powder.

 

Inspectors also use this screen to remove and sort locations in the inspection. Tap the red circle icon on the left of the location and you’ll be prompted to delete that line.  Locations can also be sorted. Press and hold the 3-lined icon on the right of the location and the line can be moved up or down and set in place when you lift your finger up. The order of locations that appear here will be the same order in which they appear on the generated report.

 

Spectacular also gives the inspector the ability to create temporary floors or position for the specific customer. Say for example you’re inspecting a home with a bathroom outside. Since this is a rare case, you could add a temporary position called ‘Outside’ for that particular customer by touching ‘Add Position’ then selecting ‘Temporary’. This ‘Outside’ position will not be available for other customers and is therefore called a temporary position. You can also add a permanent floor or position to the system that will be available for all future inspections.  Once you’ve used Spectacular for an extended amount of time, these Floor & Positions lists may get large, so we’ve given you the ability to sort them the way you like and hide them if you choose.  You’ll also see the ‘Sort’ button that will allow you to re-sort them back to alphabetical order. Tap the pencil icon for the floor or position name to rename it.  Inspectors can set a price for positions. More on that later when we describe the invoice system.

Also, notice the search button at the top. Type in search criteria to filter the list. Over time, the list can get fairly large, so the search option definitely comes in handy.

 


Once the locations have been setup, Spectacular returns to the inspection screen with the new locations. Notice when ‘Master’ is highlighted on the left, Spectacular will clearly display a label at the top/right showing you are inspecting the ‘Master Bathroom’. You may also notice a 1 on the same line as ‘Master’ on the left. This signifies the total number of inspected items for this location.  Similarly, you’ll see an incrementing value on the previous screen for sections that have been inspected. This value allows you to keep track of which areas need more inspecting vs. other areas. Notice the same inspection functions like the note and camera that are available for base sections are available for these location sections as well.

 

Changing Locations
Sometimes inspectors observing a location are accidentally entering comments for the wrong location. In Spectacular, locations can be changed without removing any comments. Say we’ve already entered comments for the ‘Main/Master’ location we have below, but don’t want to delete them out and start all over.

 

Tap on the location you want to change and the floors and positions of that location are automatically highlighted. Also notice a new button called Change Location appears. Next, select the correct floor and position for this location then press Change Location.

 

In this example, we want to remove the ‘Main’ portion of the location, so we select N/A for the floor. Now we press Change Location and our location is now correct.

 

Hiding Floors/Positions

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the floors and positions list may get fairly long. You have the ability to hide them and bring them back if you choose. To hide, press the red circle button next to the one you want to hide. An orange hide button appears and a red delete button appears. Deleting the floor or position will remove it and remove it from any customer that used it prior. Hide simply removes it from the list.

If you ever need to bring it back, tap on Add Floor/Position then tap Existing and the hidden ones will be on the list.
                  


Comment Details

To view the comment details, double tap on the line you want to observe, or tap the note icon. The detailed description will appear for editing. This is the actual comment that will appear on the generated report. You can modify it with any wording you like. You can use the microphone button at the left of the space bar to speak to text the comment.  Editing this screen then tapping ‘Done’ will save the comment for this inspection. If you want to modify the built-in comment permanently for this and all future inspections, tap the ‘Save for All’ button above the keyboard on the right. ‘Cancel’ will discard changes and return you to the inspection screen. The tools icons at the bottom allow you to flag, photo, or delete the comment from this screen. They are the same tools that are on the inspection lines of the main inspection screen.

 


The Blue Exclamation icon allows you to apply severity levels for this comment here. More on those later.


Quick Sentence Comments and Pick Lists
The yellow ‘Notes’ icon allows you to add quick saved sentences or pick lists to your comments. Many times inspectors tend to append the same sentence at the end of their comments. For example, “We recommend repair or replacement”. Instead of typing that in, we’ve added a function that enables you to save sentences and apply them when desired. In addition, you have the ability to setup placeholders for pick lists in the comments where you’d insert text from a list.  Also notice that you can search for global comments or pick lists if your lists get fairly large.

 

Tap the Edit button and you’ll see an expansion of the popup where you can edit the title and the sentence that would be applied.

 


The + plus button allows you to add a new sentence. Type the short name of the sentence first then tap Done on the keyboard. The cursor will jump to the Comment section.

 


Enter the comment that will be applied every time you select this line.


Here’s our new quick sentence. It’s automatically saved for us to apply anytime we need it.


We’ve applied it here to show you the results.

 

Pick Lists

Pick lists allow inspectors to build comments on the fly using a list of options that apply to the condition. You’d setup a pick list name then add all the choices you’d probably apply when you’re ready to use them. They are accessed from the same Notes button as above.

               

In this example, we’ve chosen pick list ‘Location’. When we press OK, that pick list signifier is applied to the comment at the cursor. When one taps on the signifier, a list of options appear.  We can edit the list by pressing the Edit button.  You can sort the pick lists and you can access the items in the list by pressing the black arrow button. To add a new pick list, press the plus button on the top.  When you add a pick list signifier to the comment, make sure you press Save for All to save the comment permanently so next time all you’ll need to do is choose the item to apply to the comment.

You can sort, remove or add items here.

Tapping on the signifier opens the list of items. Press OK to apply the selected item to the comment.

The text is replaced with our selection when you press OK.

You can select multiple items in the pick list and have Spectacular comma-separate them for you. The order that you select the items is the order they’ll appear in the comment.


Press OK and the comment is modified accordingly.

 


When you’re done editing the comment, you’ll return to the main screen. As we mentioned earlier, there are several options you can perform on a comment. Below is what the comment will look like if it were flagged.

 


Comment Pictures

Multiple pictures can be assigned to a comment, and this is done with the camera icon on the comment line. You can take a picture or video on-the-fly using the built-in camera or choose existing pictures/videos from the picture library. You can apply multiple pictures to one comment quickly using the ‘Choose Photo’ feature.  Due to the limited nature of Android’s storage system, photos taken on-the-fly are not automatically saved to the picture library, but if you’d like to save them anyway, there’s an option in Report Options that will allow you to do so. You can also save any single photo taken via Spectacular. Simply tap the photo, then tap ‘Save to Photos’ from the photo options menu in the upper right corner.  We’ll show you screenshots later. The ‘Choose Last Photo’ option applies the last photo in your Gallery. This option saves a couple steps when you know the photo you want to apply was the last one added. One neat shortcut to bring the camera up to take a photo is to press and hold the camera button for a second.

 

When taking photos with the device’s built-in camera, the screen below shows. There are several options here. The white camera rotate button switches between the front and back camera on the device. The plain green button snaps the photo then takes you directly to the photo edit screen. The Green arrowed button allows you to snap the pic then stays in the camera so you can snap more pics. As you’re snapping pics, you can press the picture button at the top to edit them on the fly. Once you’re done, press the green check button to save the pics. Also, you can press the red cancel button at the bottom to cancel the screen. On the devices with a flash, a light bulb button appears that allows you to turn off/on the flash for the pictures you’re about to take.


Once you’ve taken or chosen the picture you want to associate with the comment, a small thumbnail icon of the picture will appear next to the comment. You can associate up to 10 pictures to a comment.

If you add multiple pictures to the comment, you’ll have the ability to sort them. A new button will appear on the photo options list when there are two or more photos on the line.

               

Notice the switch at the bottom of the picture sorter. This setting is used with permanent photos and determines whether you want new photos taken with the device’s camera before or after the permanent photos for the comment.

 

Editing Photos

 

A larger appearance of the picture can be seen by opening the comment details with the note icon. If multiple pictures are associated, you have the ability to scroll through them horizontally.

 

To show an even larger view of the photo, tap the picture. Here, you can save the picture to the photos list, delete the picture from the inspection, hide the picture from the inspection, or edit the photo.  Many times inspectors want to take a photo that is kept with the inspection, but does not appear on the report. That’s done by pressing the Options button then pressing Hide from Report. To re-show the photo in the report, do the same thing and press Show in Report. Tap ‘Done’ in the upper right corner to return to the main screen.
               

Spectacular includes photo editing tools to easily pinpoint items within the photo you’ve taken. Basically choose the color and shape you want to apply to the photo and start drawing with your finger.  If you have multiple photos for one comment that you want to annotate, swipe the picture viewer in the area outside the photo to go to the next photo. Then you can start annotating that photo with the color and shape you selected.

 

 

               


Now go back to the section list. The photo has been marked up successfully.

 

Comment Videos

Spectacular also gives you the ability to shoot videos of the problems you encounter at a property. Sometimes you want to notate a sound or an action that’s hard to describe in words. Shoot a video of it. The video is saved on the device at the time you take it. When you generate the report, the video is sent to your Dropbox, therefore reports with video should have an internet connection when you generate the report. You can still generate the report, but the video will not be accessible. When the reader/home buyer taps the play button in the PDF, the video is shown on their machine. This method allows them the play the video on a phone, tablet or PC while keeping the PDF that you send them as small as possible.

 

 

Section Editing

Back on the main inspection screen, the middle option, Edit Sections, allows you to sort, add, hide, copy or describe sections.  The order of the sections sorted by you here will be the same order they’ll appear on the report.  To sort, press and hold the triple line on the right of the section name then drag it up or down to the desired location. To hide or delete a section, tap the red circle icon at the left of the section name. To copy a section, tap the blue plus sign icon, tap Copy and all the comments for that section will be copied to the bottom of the list into a new section. There’s also a Header Note button on that menu. Press it and a short description of the section will appear. This note appears right below the section title on the report italicized.  The flag icons mark the section or subsection as important. Therefore, if a section is marked as important and you forget to add inspection items for it, you’ll be warned about it when you generate the report if you have the ‘warn about items not inspected’ report option turned on.

 


Section Notes

Here is the section note example for the Pool section.  Modifying the section note modifies all reports.

 


Section Hiding/Deleting

Here’s where you’ll be prompted to hide or delete a section. Tap the red circle icon next to the section then the ‘Delete’ button to remove this section, or tap the ‘Hide’ button to hide the section for the main inspection list, or simply tap away to cancel.  We’ll talk about adding sections shortly.

 

If you press the triple line at the right of the section name, you’ll notice the row lift out of the table, and as you drag it, the other rows will shift so you can place the moving row wherever you decide to let go.

 

We also give the inspector the option of adding new sections to the list. Tap the + button at the top of the section list then tap ‘Add Section’.

 

This will create a new blank section.

 

Here we’ve created a new section called ‘Fireplace’ and moved it into place.

 


Copying Sections

Tapping the blue plus sign icon then Copy will allow you to copy sections. All the items, headers, comment names and comments and highlights are copied to the new section which is placed at the bottom of the section list. Rename the new section once the copy is complete.

 

Here we’ve copied the ‘Family Room’ section to a new section called ‘Game Room’. You can modify and apply the Game Room section to your report like any other section. Modifications made to the copied section do not affect the original section.

 

Tap ‘Edit Sections’ again or tap the ‘Done’ button to return to the main screen.

 


Editing Subsections

Also on the Edit Sections option, you have the ability to convert a section to a subsection. The Heat and Roofing sections have subsections and you can make other sections work like these. For example, we give you the Water Heater section. You can convert the Water Heater section into a subsection call Tank, and then add another subsection under Water Heater called Tankless. This allows you to provide separate comments for a tankless water heater vs. a basic tank model water heater.

 

Here we specified the new subsection name.


From here, we can tap the blue options button and copy all the comments in the Tank subsection to this subsection and modify the new comments.  You can also add an empty subsection and fill in all the comments and items manually. This might be more work though. We recommend copying the comments from an existing subsection then tweaking them for a new subsection.

 


Now we have 2 subsections under Water Heater with the original water heater comments in the Tank subsection, and the Tankless subsection comments copied from the Tank subsection.

 



To convert the subsection back to a regular section, delete all the subsections you no longer want. Then for the last subsection, the delete operation will turn into a ‘Convert to Section’ operation to put the comments back to the section definition.


 

Templates

Spectacular has the ability to setup and apply templates of commonly used inspection comments and inspection locations. Templates decrease inspection time by quickly applying a bunch of inspection comments for a new customer.  To get to this screen, tap the ‘Templates’ button at the bottom of the sections list.  There are two ways to setup a template. You can create a new customer with just the inspection comments you’d like to add to a template then tap the template option ‘Create Template from Inspection’, or you can create an empty template and add each inspection  comment to the template individually. See below.

 

We’ve setup a customer with a few selections we’d like to make into a template and pressed ‘Create Template from Inspection’.

 

We’ve named our template below and pressed the black info button at the right of the template name to get a list of inspections in our template. The plus (+) button in the upper right corner of the screen allows you to add individual inspections to the template. Conversely, you can remove an inspection from the template by pressing the red circle icon next to the inspection. Tap either ‘Done’ button when you’re finished setting up the template.

 


You can also add locations to the templates. On the template list screen on the right, tap the plus button in the upper right corner. This allows you to add inspections and locations to an existing template.  Traverse through the list to get to the inspection you’d like to add or tap the ‘Add <section>’ button in the upper right of the popup menu. In this example, we’ll add a bedroom to our template. Once we tap the ‘Add Bedroom’ button, you’ll see the same location list where we chose our floors and positions earlier. Once we select the locations we want to add to our template, they’ll appear like below. 

               



 


Applying a template

Apply templates to newly created customers.  We’ve created a new customer below, pressed the ‘Templates’ button at the bottom, and tapped our template named ‘Simple template’.  We are prompted to apply the template to this new customer.
 

 

Once applied, this new customer will quickly receive the inspection comments and locations we defined in the template.

 


Sub-Sections

Spectacular’s out-of-the-App-Store library includes two sub-sections: Roofing & Heat which include different types of these sections that can be inspected.  Take the Heat sub-section example below.  Each home may have a different heating system, so we’ve included the most common types that you’ll inspect, but you can modify these built in subsections if desired.  The sub-sections work the same as the regular sections. Notice in our example, we’ve inspected one item (determined the Garage location) for the ‘Forced Hot Air’ unit in this home. The ‘1’ on the ‘Forced Hot Air’ line signifies the count of inspection items for this subsection.

 


Custom Comments

Tapping the ‘Custom Comment’ pencil icon on the inspection screen in the middle/right gives you the ability to add your own comment for the section or sub-section that you’re currently inspecting.  We’ve tapped it here to enter our custom comment about the basic information of the forced hot air heat unit.

 

Notice we now have 2 inspected items, one for the heater location, and the other is our custom comment.  You can also add photos to custom comments like we’ve done here.  Severity levels can be added to custom comments as well.

 

As you might imagine, the custom comments work exactly the same as the built-in comments, and includes all the features as well.

 

If you’d like to convert a Custom Comment to a permanent comment, tap the Save for All button at the lower right corner. The comment will be added to the bottom of the list that is currently selected.

 

               

 

 

Fill-In Comments

On many of the comment names throughout Spectacular, you’ll notice a small pencil icon on the right side. This symbol tells the inspector more information is required for the comment to be complete.  As a result, tapping on the comment names with pencils will automatically open the comment detail popup so the comment can be edited appropriately.

Notice Spectacular has already highlighted the part of the comment that needs to be modified. Once the popup window appears, you just start typing. Press ‘Done’ like normal when finished. You’ll also see the pencil icon for comments with Pick Lists.

 

After pressing ‘Done’ from above, the modified comment has now been saved for this inspection.

 

Audio Notes

Spectacular includes the ability to voice record audio notes so they can be reviewed later. Sometimes you don’t want to type in a custom comment, so record an audio note and write the official comment later. Simply tap the Voice Notes button to the left of the Custom Comments button to start recording. Once you see the big red circle, start talking. Press Cancel to cancel recording or press Stop/Save to stop and save the voice note.

 

You can review the voice note by pressing the play button on the right side of that line. To delete a voice note, swipe the line from right to left or press the delete button.

 

Important Items

As you traverse through the thousands of comments within Spectacular, you’ll notice some are highlighted in blue. These are the items that most-likely should appear on the final report. They act as a guide or recommendation for items that you should add to the report. We’ll show you how to highlight your own items, and de-highlight the built in items. 

 

These are helpful when you want Spectacular to warn you if you missed certain items in a section. Turn on the ‘Warn about items not inspected’ option in Report Options. When you go to generate the report, Spectacular will warn you about items you marked as important, but did not inspect. With this option turned on, Spectacular will also warn you of Fill-Ins or Pick Lists that were not filled in or picked.  If you want to ignore the message and generate the report anyway, tap the Generate Anyway button.  To go straight to the item that you missed and now want to inspect, tap the line. Once you inspect that item, go back to the customer screen and the list will automatically refresh. Once all items are inspected, the report will generate.

On the inspect screen, there are red numbers below the blue inspection count number. These red numbers are the counts of important items that are marked in blue but missed. If you add a comment for these items, notice the red counter decrease.


Comment Modifications

The ‘Modify Items’ button in the middle toolbar allows you to perform certain actions on the list above it. You have the ability to highlight/de-highlight, rename, sort, hide, delete, move, copy, and add items.  Once you tap the ‘Modify Items’ button, you’ll enter the modify mode where you get to edit the top level or lower level of the list. In the screen below, the ‘Done’ button will exit the modify mode. The plus button gives the ability to add a new item or header. The edit button enters edit mode where you can rename, hide, move, copy, or sort the items. Compare the screenshot below with the one on the right. Notice on the left how ‘Basic Information’ and ‘Limitations’ are on the top level along with the ‘Electrical’ header. In modify mode, the ‘Electrical’ header is listed with an arrow. This means it has a lower level.  To access the lower level of ‘Electrical’, tap ‘Electrical’ in this modify mode.

 

               

Here we’ve accessed the lower level that we want to modify. Notice it has the same plus and edit options as the top level. Press the lower ‘Back’ button to go back to the top level. The uppermost ‘Back’ button will show the section list. No header can be created on the sub-list.

 

               

Here are the options available for the plus button. You can add a line and a header at the top level of modify mode, but at the lower level, you can only add a line item.

 

Edit Mode

Now let’s enter edit mode. Here we can sort, mark, hide, rename, move, copy, or add lines to the list. Any edits here will carry over to all inspected customers. In the example below, we’ve just added a new line to the list. Spectacular wants us to name the line we just added. The text is already highlighted and the keyboard is ready for us to type and name the line item. We could also tap on any existing line and rename it as well.  The blue circle plus icon reveals a menu that allows you to highlight, move or copy the line item.  The blue text color is controlled by the flag icon under this menu.  This signifies items as important or not. The report is not affected by the blue highlighting.  The triple line grip icon works just the same as the ordering of sections we explained.  Finally, the red circle icon enables you to delete or hide certain items from the main view.  Press the blue ‘Done’ button when you’re ready to exit edit mode and modify mode.

 

               

In the screenshot below, we’ve named our new line item and have opened the menu with more options.

 

Flags

The black and blue flags mark the item as important or not. Changing it here is the same as pressing and holding the item on the main screen to turn the important item on or off.

Emergency Control Switch

The emergency control switch in the middle of the item’s options menu allows you to turn on/off the designation of the item as an emergency control. The emergency controls are items that appear at the back of the report in the Emergency Controls sections. Emergency Controls usually list the locations of the shutoffs. For example, the electrical panel location, the water or gas shutoff locations.

Moving/Copying Items

Let’s move an item and its comments to another section. For these items, you can move or copy the item to a section or subsection or to a header within the section or subsection. The black circle right arrow icon signifies the destination section has headers that you can move/copy the item to. Notice some lines don’t have black circle right arrow icons. This means this line does not have any headers to move/copy the item to.  The gray right arrow means there are subsections available. Here we’ve attempted to move the ‘Basic Information’ item in the ‘Air Conditioning’ section to the ‘Interior’ section. This example is for moving, but copying works the same way and the same destination options are available.

 

Comment Sorting

By grabbing and dragging the grip icon on the right side of the line item, we can move it up or down to a desired location. Note that the items and comments will appear on the report in the order they are shown here. Therefore, if you want to customize the report to show the comments in a different order, here’s where the order can be changed.

 

Back on the main view, notice our new item is exactly where we placed it in edit mode: below ‘Limitations’ and above the ‘Electrical’ header.  The right side of the screen is blank because we don’t have any comments for the new item. Let’s add some new comments.

 

Add New Comment

Press Modify Conditions to enter into the comment modification mode. Here you’ll add new comments.

 

We add a line item just like we did for the left side.  The same principles and options from the left-side also apply here plus more. After entering the name for the new comment, you are immediately asked to enter the body text for the new comment. That is the text that will appear on the generated report.

 

After you enter the comment name, Spectacular instantly takes you to a screen where you can enter the actual comment that will appear on the generated report.

 

We’ve just added 2 comments and a header.  We just used general names, but you would name these something meaningful.

 

Immediately after you name the new header, Spectacular will create a new comment under that header as well. Name the comment then provide the comment text.

 

This time we called it ‘Comment under header’, but again, you would name it something meaningful. Notice also we have the same editing options as the other screens.  Note that you cannot add a header under a header though.

 

Back to the main view, our new item information looks like this. 

 

Automatically flagged comments

In many instances, you’ll want to setup a comment so that it always appears as a flagged item that is included in the Executive Summary for every customer. This feature is done in the right-side Modify Conditions functions via the Highlighting flag under the blue circle plus menu. The blue flag highlights the comment blue. This blue flag here does not mean much. It’s basically there for your own highlighting purposes. This blue flag on the right side list does not work with the ‘Important Items’ feature described above.  The red flag will turn the comment name red and will promote this comment to the Executive Summary whenever the comment is added to the inspection. A shortcut to highlighting a comment red is to press and hold the flag button on the inspection options line that’s next to the camera button.

 

 


Permanent Photos

The comment options menu also includes a button called ‘Permanent Photos’.  This allows the inspector to tag photos to comments so the photos are automatically applied to the inspection when that comment is applied. This is useful when you want to apply diagrams or illustrations to comments and show the diagram every time you inspect that item and apply that comment. 

 

 

Moving/Copying Comments

Moving and copying comments works basically the same as moving and copying items. You’d press the move or copy button then choose the item you want to move/copy it to. Press the black arrow button to move the comment into an item’s header.


Applying Severity Levels

In the Severity Levels (setup). 10 section, we explain how to setup the Severity Levels that can be used. Here we explain how to apply these severity levels. Notice the Severity Levels button between the Permanent Photos button and the Move/Copy buttons.  Tap that button and the available severity levels will show.  Any number of severity levels can be applied to any comment. Above each severity level button is a green or black light. If the light is lit green, then the severity level is turned on for that comment. If the light is not lit (black), the severity level is not active for that comment. In the example below, the ‘WARN’ severity level is active for the ‘Cracked, not leaking; monitor’ comment. Press the ‘Done’ button when you’re finished modifying severity levels.

Adding the comment with the severity level to your inspections will show the severity level on the lower portion of the screen. The severity levels are also shown in the upper right pane. This is helpful when you heavily use severity levels and you’ll easily be able to see which comments have severity levels and which do not.

 

When the report is generated, this same severity level symbol will appear on the report before the comment. Here is an excerpt from this example’s generated report that shows the severity level on the report.

 

Comment Search

The ‘Search’ box in the upper right hand corner of the inspection screen enables the inspector to search for comments in the system. Spectacular searches its items, comment names, and comment details with your search criteria. Let’s take a search for ‘air filter’ for example. It located the item named ‘air filter’ and listed the comments in the order they appear in the app.  Notice the text under the main search result. This is a preview of the comment details. Many times the search result may not show what you typed in the search box, but tapping on the line will reveal the full comment which does include your search text.

 

Let’s tap the 6th line as an example. Spectacular reveals the comment related to that selection. Pressing the ‘Cancel’ button will take you back to the search results. Pressing ‘Done’ will apply the selection to your inspection.

 

We’ve done so here.  Pressing ‘Done’ from the previous screen has now applied the ‘No filter’ comment to our inspection. 

 

 

Customer Options


Customer Search

Back on the customer screen, you can search for customers within Spectacular using the Customer Search bar on the left above all the customers. Search by customer name, customer address, buyer or seller real estate agent, report number, previous address, or order status. Spectacular will filter the list with matches. This is the best way to search for say Real Estate Agents that gave you the most business or pull up a customer record when they call.

Customer Editing

Tap the ‘Edit’ button above the customer list and Spectacular will enter the customer edit mode. Here you can make copies of other customers for re-inspections, testing, or other needs. Note that if you select more than one customer, the Copy button will disable. You can only copy one customer at a time.  Edit mode also allows you to selected multiple customers and delete them.
 

Deleting Customers

You can also delete a customer from the main customer screen by swiping the customer line from right to left then press the Delete button.

 

Generating the Report

Once you’re done adding all the comments and modifications to the app, you’ll need to generate the report. This is done on the ‘Customer’ screen with the ‘Generate Report’ button at the bottom.  From the ‘Inspection’ screen, press the ‘Back’ button in the upper left corner to get back to the ‘Customer’ screen.  With the inspection done and our ‘Customer’ screen filled out, here’s what we have.  Tap the ‘Generate Report’ button to start the process. You can generate multiple combinations of the report parts. For example, you can generate all parts of the report into one. You can generate just the summary. You can generate just the summary without photos. You can generate the pre-inspection agreement or an invoice.  You can generate the main report without the summary and without photos. The ‘Summary Only’ report is the report of just the flagged comments or other Executive Summary definition. Remember that this option obeys all the Executive Summary report options.

 


In Sample/Trial mode, you’re presented with a message asking if you want to remove the watermark for this customer, or just view the sample report. Removing the watermark at this stage removes the watermark for this selected customer only and no other customers. Visit our website to remove the report watermarks for a month or for a year. If the watermark has already been removed via a subscription, or for this customer already, you will not receive this message.

 

 


After a few seconds, the report will appear. Swipe up with your finger to scroll through the report.  Here’s what the report looks like in sample mode. The sample mode previewer is limited to viewing the pages only. When the report is unlocked, you’ll be able to email it, print it, and choose any Android PDF Viewer you’d like to save the PDF wherever you’d like.

 


Removing the Watermark for one customer

Choosing the ‘Remove Watermark’ button from above, you’ll be prompted with this message confirming your choice. Similar to removing the watermark by subscription, Spectacular will use your Google account to make the purchase.  Using the Google account that has your credit card on file is the most convenient way to unlock one report, but if you want to save a little money, you can buy individual reports from our website. After the single report purchase is successful, you’ll notice a padlock icon on the right-side of the customer name on the customer list. This means the report has been unlocked individually.

 


When the transaction is successful, you’ll receive a message thanking you for your purchase, and the report will be generated without the watermark to the default PDF reader on your device. From there, you can print, email, mark up or anything you’d like to do with the PDF.

 When emailing the report, we recommend using our Send Report button on the Customer screen at the customer’s email line, and not the PDF reader’s share button.

 


Sending the Report

Spectacular gives you the ability to directly email the generated PDF report to the client, email the client a link to the report stored on your Dropbox, or send it to ISN.  Sending a report is only available when you’ve chosen a subscription plan or have unlocked the individual customer. On the Email line of the Customer screen, you’ll see a Send Report button. Tapping this button then choosing the desired report to send will open your default mail app and a new email message with the generated report attached.  If the Dropbox switch is turned on in Inspector Info, you’ll have the option of sending a web link to the report on Dropbox.  The Dropbox option is most useful when the report is large in size and includes lots of pictures and cannot be sent via attachment because the file is too large.  The ‘To’ field is pre-filled with the customer’s email address and the buyer agent’s email address, but you can remove these or add other email addresses, so the report can be sent to multiple people.  The ‘Subject’ line is pre-filled with the address of the inspected property.  The body of the email can be modified as well. In fact, the email body is one of the modifiable sections on the ‘Report Sections’ screen. Set the body text there, and it will always appear here.

 

Emailing as Separate Documents

The inspector has the option to email the main report, the summary and the invoice/receipt as separate documents. This switch works in conjunction with the switches to select the reports. For Dropbox, you’ll receive 3 separate links within one email. With ‘Email Attachment’, you’ll receive the email popup with 3 separate attachments.

               

Here is the email message with the report attached and here is the email message with the Dropbox link respectively.  This is how the email looks with the Separate Docs switch turned off.
               

 

Here’s what the email looks like with the Separate Docs switch turned on.  Notice how the Email Attachment option has 3 thumbnails that look like attachments. As for the Dropbox option, the inspector will just see all 3 links.

 

               

Generating an Invoice/Receipt

Many inspectors like to provide an invoice that itemizes the work they’ve performed for the client. Spectacular includes an invoicing platform that allows you to set a price for the base inspection amount, a price for a section, a price for a position location, and custom prices or discounts. Invoice prices start on the Customer screen on the Invoice Information section. Here you include an Order Status, a base amount for this customer, and itemized charges or discounts with their quantities. When the Order Status field is set to ‘Paid’, the Invoice essentially turns into a receipt and will display as such. Payment method fields also appear when the Order Status is set to ‘Paid’. Here we’ve filled in some examples of what you may put here. Tap the green button to add more line invoice items. Notice that you may give your customer a discount and can type in any description desired. Start the number with a minus (-) sign to make it a discount item.  Press the (.-) button twice for the minus sign. Also notice the 3rd item on the line for quantity. This will multiply the amount you’ve entered for this line item.

 


You may also set a price for the sections. Say for instance you normally charge $100 to inspect a pool or spa. Go to Edit Sections then tap the options for Pool and set a price. This will keep the price of the pool for every customer, so every time you add a pool comment to the inspection, Spectacular will include the $100 on the invoice. For every location of pools you inspect, Spectacular will adjust the quantity. So if the property has 2 pools, one outside, and the other in the pool house for instance, Spectacular will see this as 2 pools, set the quantity on the invoice to 2 and the amount to $100 giving a total amount of $200.

 



In addition to setting prices for sections, you can set a price for a location position. For example, some inspectors may charge extra for inspecting a cottage. Tap the dollar sign icon in the position table on the locations screen to set a price. If you set a position price and include inspections for this position, Spectacular will add the charge automatically to the invoice. If multiple sections include this position, Spectacular will still only add this charge once on the invoice with a quantity of 1.

 

               


To generate an invoice, tap the Generate Report button on the Customer screen then choose Invoice.  Here’s what our example invoice looks like when we generate.  You can customize the layout of the invoice by taping ‘Modify Invoice Body’ in Report Options from the first screen. Change the colors or the layout of the text.  If you need assistance modifying the invoice to your liking, please contact us.

 

Here’s what the Receipt looks like when the order status is marked as ‘Paid’.

 

Generating a Pre-Inspection Agreement

Spectacular includes an amazing Inspection Agreement to show and have signed by your clients. Spectacular includes 3 agreements for you to choose from, but you can still modify the verbiage to your liking from Report Options on the first screen. After the desired agreement has been selected, on the Customer Screen, tap Generate Report then turn on the Pre-Inspection agreement then tap Generate.

               

You’ll be presented with the form.

 

Have your customers read the agreement you’ve outlined and they can sign at the bottom, there’s a place for 2 customer signatures. The Inspector’s Signature is applied already with the signature from Inspector Info.

 

Tap the Sign Here button to bring up the signature pad.

 

Have your customer sign and tap Done in the upper right corner when finished. They can press Clear in the bottom right corner to try again.

 

Notice the signature has been applied along with the date. If the customer still does not like this signature, touch and hold the signature again, and the same signature pad will appear to replace the original signature. The second ‘Sign Here’ button is used when there are more than one party that needs to sign.

 

Report Options

The Report Options screen is accessed from the bottom of the title screen. The first section in the ‘Report Options’ popup is the Appendix choice. Usually, the appendix is the Standard of Practice, but you can attach any document you’d like if you choose the ‘(Custom)’ option.  The custom option works off of Dropbox so the Dropbox switch in Inspector Info must be turned on. When a choice is made, the chosen appendix will be automatically appended to every generated report. Choose ‘None’ if you don’t want to append anything. Note that some appendices are quite long, so you may use a significant amount of paper when printed or increase the page count. Once you’ve finished choosing the appendix, touch ‘OK’ to save. This is different from the Customer Appendices. This appendix option always appends the same document to every report whereas the customer appendix only appends particular documents for the selected customer.

 

 

The ‘Start each section on a new page’ option will make sure each section begins on a brand new page.

 

The ‘Show pictures in executive summary’ option will show the pictures in the executive summary as well as the main body of the report when both ‘Main Report’ and ‘Summary’ switches are turned on. If only one of these are turned on, the ‘Photos’ switch takes precedence over this setting.

 

Executive Summary Location’ allows you to choose where you’d like the executive summary in the main full report. Some inspectors like to have the Summary at the back of the report because this will make their clients read (or skim) through the main report before they get to the Summary.  These inspectors don’t want their clients to stop reading the full report at the summary.

Picture Aspect’ allows you to switch between all pictures being in landscape mode or keeping the original landscape, square, or portrait orientation of the photo. All pictures shown in landscape mode lays the photos out much nicer on the report, but portrait photos stretch to a landscape size may add some distortion to the photo. If you experience too much distortion in some of your photos, try switching to the ‘Original’ picture aspect setting and see if that works out better.

Picture Quality’ allows you to adjust the quality of photos printed on the PDF report. From the eye on the device, you may not see a major difference between the highest setting and the lowest setting, but if you were to zoom into a picture, you can definitely tell. Also, the lowest setting significantly decreases the file size of the PDF report that’s sent to the client. Conversely, setting the photo quality to the highest setting makes the PDF report file size very large which may make it difficult to send via email. 

 

 

The ‘Picture Size’ option lets you adjust the size of the photos that appear in the summary and main report. If you set the picture size to the lowest setting, 3 pictures will appear on the same line when you apply 3 or more pictures to a single comment.  The highest setting will show a maximum of 2 photos on the same line.

 

The ‘Font Size’ setting allows you to adjust the font in the summary and main report from 8pt to 14pt. 

Autosave Photos to Gallery’ automatically saves photos taken in Spectacular to the Android device’s photo gallery.  Be aware that this setting may use up large amounts of the device’s memory capacity if left on for long periods of time. Make sure you temporarily delete photos out of the device you no longer need or else you’ll eventually start to receive ‘Out of Space’ errors.

Time Stamp Photos taken w/ Android Camera’ adds a small date & time stamp in orange to the bottom of every photo taken with the device’s camera.  The time stamp also appears on the photos on the generated reports.

Show Logo Watermark’ will display your logo on the back of every report page giving it a very professional looking style.

 

 

The ‘Number comments in Main Body’ options will number the inspections throughout the main body. 

‘Report Organized By’ allows you to choose between a section-by-section style report vs. a room-by-room style report. The most used selection is the default section-by-section style. In this style, the report is organized in sections so the section names appear as headers in the report and the table of contents lists the section names. On the other hand, the room-by-room style is for chimney inspectors, multi-unit inspectors, or anyone else who wants to provide a room-by-room or unit-by-unit style report. In this mode, the headers of the report are locations like ‘Living Room’ or ‘Master’ and then the sections are listed under these headers. For apartment buildings, this style works when you want to organize the report by units, so the unit names, Unit 101, Unit 102, etc. are now the headers and the findings are listed underneath each unit header, and the table of contents lists the unit numbers instead of the sections.

The ‘Executive Summary Definition’ option allows the inspector to choose the method that defines what should go in the summary.  The default is ‘Flag’ which will show all the flagged items throughout the inspection in the Executive Summary. The second item ‘SvrLvl’ will include only the inspections that have been marked with a Severity Level in the Executive Summary. Choose this option and generate the Summary Only report when you want a report of Severity Level marked inspections. With the definition set to ‘SvrLvl’, an extra option will appear on the Severity Level Setup screen that allows you to hide certain severity levels from the summary. More on Severity Level Setup later.

 

The ‘Executive Summary Sort Order’ option sorts the summary by the normal comment order flow or by severity level first then the normal comment order flow. Use the severity level (SvrLvl) option when you want the topmost severe comments at the top of the summary.

The ‘Prepend Header Name to Item’ option prepends the header name to the item name that appears on the generated report.

The ‘Prepend Header Name to Comment’ option prepends the header name to the comment that appears on the generated report.

 

 Use Inline Executive Summary Sections’ makes the Executive Summary more legible. The sections, subsections, and location definitions for the comments in the summary are included on one line above the comment instead of separated out by section. This also makes the summary a little shorter because spacing from the section headers is elimitated.

Color Executive Summary Comments in Main Body’ colors the text of the flagged comments red, blue, orange or green in the main body. The summary item is not colored. Choose black to turn off this feature.

 

 

 Show Table of Contents’ will show/hide the table of contents in the report.

 

The ‘Warn about items not inspected’ option may require some setup time. Within the library, you can mark certain items as ‘important’. Visit the ‘Important Items’ section for more info. Once your items are setup and you perform the inspection, you’ll notice a counter on the last screen of the app which counts the items you marked as important but missed. In the screenshot below, we are in the Pool section. The pool inspection has begun and the Basic Information has been provided. We marked the Heater item as ‘important’, but it has yet to be inspected. This Heater item is in the count of missed important items and shows up in red next to the section name.

 



Modify Screens

The other options on the ‘Report Options’ screen allow you to change the boilerplate text that appears on the generated reports. For example, touching ‘Modify Title Page’ will prompt you to modify the report’s title page text that appears on every generated report.  Tapping the icon on the right of some of these lines will allow you to change the actual header that appears on the report for these sections. For example, you can change ‘Executive Summary’ to ‘Inspection Summary’, or ‘Introduction’ to ‘Intro’. The ‘Reset Report Modifications’ button resets all the changes made in this area back to the factory defaults.

 

Below is the title page.  You’ll notice some quite cryptic text in some of these options. The way the title page is setup enables you to customize it to your liking. It may look a little scary at first, but if you look at it long enough, it starts to make sense.  Print out the title page of a generated report then come back here and compare the printed out title page and this screen. You should see the resemblance.  The items between the < and > symbols are customizations of the text that it wraps. Notice on the first line below, ‘text-align=center’.  If you changed ‘center’ to ‘left’ or ‘right’, you’ll see the Confidential Inspection Report title adjust accordingly on the generated report. Here you can also change that title as well.

 

Report Tokens

You’ll also notice ‘tokens’ like {InspectionAddress} or {Inspector} on this screen. These tokens pull information you set on the Inspector Info screen or the Customer screen and place it in the report.  Here are some of the tokens you can add to the report:

 

{InspectionAddress}                       the address of the customer or property you’re inspecting
{InspectionAddressInline}           same as {InspectionAddress} but all on one line
{CurrentAddress}                            the current address of the customer
{CurrentAddressInline}                 same as {CurrentAddress} but all on one line
{Inspectee}                                        the first and last name of the customer you’re inspecting
{InspecteeSalutation}                    the salutation of the customer you’re inspecting
{InspecteeFirstName}                   the first name of the customer you’re inspecting
{InspecteeLastName}                    the last name of the customer you’re inspecting
{InspectionDate}                              the date of the inspection
{InspectionTime}                             the time of the inspection
{InspectionDateWithTime}          the date and time of the inspection together
{CustomerNote}                              the general notes section for the customer you’re inspecting
{Inspector}                                         your name you setup on the Inspector Info screen
{InspectorCompany}                      your company name you setup on the Inspector Info screen
{InspectorEmail}                               your email address you setup on the Inspector Info screen
{InspectorPhone}                            your phone number you setup on the Inspector Info screen
{AgentName}                                    the first and last name of the agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{AgentOffice}                                    the company of the agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{AgentPhone}                                   the phone number of the agent you inputted on the Customer Screen
{AgentEmail}                                      the email address of the agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{SellerAgentName}                         the first and last name of the seller agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{SellerAgentOffice}                         the company of the seller agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{SellerAgentPhone}                        the phone number of the seller agent you inputted on the Customer Screen
{SellerAgentEmail}                          the email address of the seller agent you inputted on the Customer screen
{ReportNumber}                              the report number field from the Customer screen
{SeverityLevelDefinitions}           these are the definitions that usually appear on the Letter Body page that describe the severity levels that were added to the report.
{TotalAmount}                                  The total amount the customer paid for the inspection.
{PaidWith}                                          The payment method the customer used to pay.

These tokens can also be used in your inspection comments.  We understand this area of Spectacular may be fairly challenging, so if you have any questions or ideas on how you’d like to setup your inspection title page, please send us an email at info@aacesystems.com and we’ll be happy to format this screen for you to achieve the desired look. Also, if you just want to put it all back to the factory/out-of-the-box settings, you have the option by pressing the red ‘Reset Report Modifications’ button. This button will only reset changes made here, and nowhere else in Spectacular is affected.

Severity Levels (setup)

Severity Levels empower the inspector and inspection report by adding colored symbols to comments so they stand out better for the reader. Each severity level needs a short name, color, and description. Out-of-the-box, we include 3 useful severity levels, but you can remove these or add more.  The description appears on the letter section of the generated report.  In a later section, we’ll show you how to apply the severity levels to comments. Here, you setup the severity levels that can be applied. You may also sort the severity levels by touching the 3-line grip icon on the right then moving your finger up or down. The order they appear here is the order they’ll appear when two or more are added to a single comment. This is also the order they’ll appear when described in the generated report letter. Tap the plus (+) button in the upper left corner to add a new severity level. Tap the red circle button next to each severity level to remove them.

 



Dropbox Cloud Service

The Dropbox services are accessed from the Inspector Info screen at the bottom of the title screen. Dropbox is a free cloud service provider that allows people to store files, photos, documents, and data in their own special place on the internet. The ‘cloud’ simply means the internet. You setup an account with Dropbox which gives you your own special, secure place on the internet to store your files. Anywhere you have internet access, you’ll be able to store files there or retrieve files you’ve already stored. This is why technologists used the term ‘cloud’ to describe this. Anywhere there are literally clouds, you can access your files. Spectacular uses the Dropbox cloud in many ways. We’ve separated the cloud functions into 2 parts: functions that allow you to send data to the cloud/internet/Dropbox, and functions that allow you to retrieve data from the cloud/internet/Dropbox. Remember, cloud/internet/Dropbox are all the same thing. 
                  

 

Backing up your comments & inspections
The first cloud icon (upload to Dropbox) allows you to backup and send your comment library and all your inspections to Dropbox. You’ll want to do this on occasion just in case your device gets lost, stolen or broken. Spectacular automatically sets the current date and time of the file and stores the backup in a folder called Backup in your Dropbox. You can always access your Dropbox and rename the backup file to something more meaningful to you.  Once the backup is complete, you can access your Dropbox to see the stored backup(s). Once you tap Backup from the option menu, Spectacular will ask you if you’d like to delete the customers after the successful backup. Choosing yes on this option essentially cleans out Spectacular. If you ever need to access these customers again, simply restore the backup.

 

Sharing your comments with the team

The ‘Share Comments w/ Team’ option sends your comments without the customers to your Dropbox so they can be retrieved by other users connected to your Dropbox. This is useful when working with other inspectors on the same property or when you need to update multiple devices used by others on your team with new comment library narratives.

 

Sending your comments to another inspector

Sometimes you may feel generous and want to send your comment library to another fellow inspector to use. This is done through the Dropbox cloud services. Tap ‘Another Inspector’ and your comment library, modifications, and sorting order will be sent to the recipient. Note that the recipient does not receive your inspections and customers. Only the comments are sent. Once your comments are sent to Dropbox, Spectacular will fill out an email message to be sent by you that includes the web link to your library. When the recipient receives the email, he/she will apply that link in Spectacular under the Download cloud option ‘Other Inspector Library’. More on that later.

 

Sending your database to AaceSystems Support

Sometimes (but rarely) unfortunate situations occur and you’ll need to send your database of comments and inspections to us to take a closer look. This is only necessary when problems with Spectacular happen. We hope you never need to use this support function, but if necessary, it’s available. We would want you to get back up and running as soon as possible and the database would most likely give us the information to correct your problem quickly. Note that we would never misuse your data if you ever needed to send it to us. Your database would be used to only correct the problem at hand.

 

Restoring a backup

It’s always good to back up your data, but what if you ever needed to apply that backup? Here’s how you would do that. Tap the Restore option from the 2nd cloud option and Spectacular will look in the location in your Dropbox that has all the backups you previously made. After the restore is complete, the restored library will become the active library. Use the library button on the first screen to switch between libraries. See Switching Libraries below for more information.

Updating a library that was shared with you

When a team leader shares his/her library with the team using the ‘Share comments w/ team’ options, here’s where recipients would download and apply the library that was shared. This ‘Update Shared Libraries’ option will pull and refresh all the libraries that was shared with you. Note that you must be connected to the same Dropbox account that the team lead is connected to.

 

Applying one of Spectacular’s Libraries

This is a list of libraries that we provide to you for free to download and use for your inspections. All inspectors are not home inspectors. Many inspectors want to use Spectacular, but with their own custom library of other inspection types like Mold, Wind, Termite, etc. Spectacular provides a home inspection library out-of-the-box, but this option allows you to download a completely blank library to add in your own comments.  We also provide our out-of-the-box library for download here if the home inspector completely wants to start over.  Another library we provide here is our Texas TREC 7-5 format for the Texas based home inspectors. Again, all these libraries are free of charge.  After the library is applied, the library will become the active library. Use the library button on the first screen to switch between libraries. See Switching Libraries below for more information.

 

Applying another inspector’s library

Here is where the recipient of a library would apply the web link they were given from another inspector. Note that when applying another inspector’s library, you will not see that inspectors’ customers and inspections. Only the comment library will be applied. To switch back to your library, tap ‘Library’ on the first screen in Spectacular.  The ‘Library’ option only shows up when there is more than one library available.

 

Converting another inspection library to Spectacular

We understand when you’ve been on an inspection program for 10+ years or so, it’s difficult to switch to a new inspection program. We make it extremely easy to copy your comments from your existing program to Spectacular. You no longer have to stay with a company that doesn’t treat you like a valuable customer or stay with a program that has too many glitches. Convert your library to Spectacular and we’ll show you how an inspection software company and inspection app is supposed to work. Tap the ‘Other Program Library’ option to get started. A new folder called ‘Other Program’ will be created in your Dropbox where you would upload your old library. You’ll need to use www.dropbox.com to send your old library files from your computer to the new folder we created in your Dropbox. Don’t forget, you can always contact us at info@aacesystems.com for assistance. Once Spectacular sees your old library in that ‘Other Program’ folder, tap this Other Program Library option again and the conversion will start. After the library is applied, the library will become the active library. Use the library button on the first screen to switch between libraries. See Switching Libraries below for more information.

 

Switching Libraries

A library in Spectacular is defined as a set of comments, customers and report sections. You’d organize your different inspection types into different libraries. For example, you’d have a separate library for your home inspection comments, your mold inspection comments, and your termite inspection comments, etc. This means when you select the mold library for example and go to the Report Options screen, you’d set the Title Page to say ‘Mold Inspection Report’ and design it the way you way. Then you can switch back to the home inspection library and that title page will still be for home inspections.  Each library knows nothing about the other libraries in the system. You organize the libraries from the Library button on the first screen. The below library examples are not included with Spectacular.  

                              

 

Inspection Teams

When inspecting the same property with 2 or more inspectors, Spectacular makes it easy to send comments and inspection conditions to other devices on the team.

Cloud Sharing & Merging

Spectacular includes the ability to share comments and customers across multiple devices whether iOS, Android or Windows. In order for the multiple devices with Spectacular on a team to ‘talk’ to each other using the Cloud Sharing & Merging method, all the devices must have separate subscriptions, they all must be connected to the same Dropbox account, and the library names must match.  One example scenario would be an inspector’s assistant who sets up the customer information, sends the Pre-Inspection agreement and invoice to the customer with Spectacular from one device then sends that information via the team system to the inspector to perform the inspection on a different device. Once the inspection is done, the inspector sends the inspection information via the team system back to the assistant. The assistant generates the report on his/her device, proofreads, makes corrections in Spectacular, re-generates and sends the report to the customer. Another team system usage would be 2 or more inspectors inspecting the same property with 2 or more different devices and merge all inspections into one report once the inspection is complete.

The first step is to share the customer with other members of the team. This is done using the ‘Share Customer with Team’ button on the customer screen. When this button is pressed, Spectacular will send the library of comments and the customer to a special location in your Dropbox. The location is /Apps/Spectacular Home Inspection System/Library/<Library Name>/Customers/<Report Number>/.  You shouldn’t need to worry about the details of the location. Spectacular takes care of that for you, but it was mentioned here for your information. All you’ll usually need to do is simply press the ‘Share Customer with Team’ button.

For the other devices to retrieve that customer, they’d press the ‘download new customers’ button on the Customer Select screen. Spectacular knows which customers to add to the list and which customers to merge instead by way of the report number. If two devices connected to the same Dropbox have the same library name, and one sends a customer to a device that has the same report number as the customer sent, Spectacular will merge that report into the destination device instead of adding the customer to the list.

 

Inspection Support Network (ISN) Cloud Service

The Inspection Support Network is an outstanding office management service for home inspectors and Spectacular proudly integrates with their features. If you have an ISN account and you’ve registered it with Spectacular, Spectacular will download your new clients that were entered into your ISN account. Once the inspection is complete, you also have the ability to upload the generated report to your ISN account. Here’s how to link your ISN account to Spectacular. On Inspector Info on the first screen, scroll down and enter your ISN account username, password and company key.

 

Once your ISN account information has been entered, tap Done to exit.  If you have customers waiting on your ISN to be inspected, they will be automatically downloaded into Spectacular. Notice the ‘New’ icon next to the customer address on the left. This signifies new customers that were downloaded from the ISN that have not been inspected yet. Looking at one of the new customers, notice the different report number style and the ISN number next to the report.  This report number style is the style that ISN uses and is transferred here. The report number can still be edited, but the ISN Order number cannot be edited.

 

 

 

Once the inspection is complete and you’re ready to send the report, you’ll notice a new send option called ISN that will upload the chosen report to the ISN.

 

When the upload is complete, you’ll get a message that it’s done. At this point, you’ll want to go to your ISN account and handle the report accordingly.

 

If you ever need to refresh the customer list because you know there are new ISN customers, tap the Download icon on the customer select screen.

 

 


Subscriptions

Once you’ve decided that Spectacular is the right home inspection application for you, visit our website and subscribe to remove the watermark that appears on the generated report. There are 3 ways you can remove the watermark: 365-Day subscription, 30-Day subscription, or for each individual customer. We explained removing the watermark for a single customer earlier via the app, but the price for a single report is cheaper on our website.  Once the purchase is made, we’ll immediately send you a key that unlocks Spectacular. You’ll see a counter in the upper left corner of this screen which tells you how many days you have left on the subscription. Once the subscription period expires, the watermark will be shown on the generated reports again. You can purchase more than one subscription at a time. For example, if you want to purchase 2 years worth of Spectacular reporting, simply buy a year subscription then renew immediately at the cheaper price. The counter will keep track of your days for you.

 




Thank You

Thanks for your interest in Spectacular. For more information, please visit www.spectacularhis.com or email us at info@aacesystems.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @SpectacularHIS for notifications about Spectacular.  We’re always looking to improve our app and business, so please send us whatever’s on your mind, positive, negative or constructive feedback. It’s all welcomed. Thanks for your time.