e-Newsletter, December 26, 2000

Roundtable Software E-Mail Newsletter Issue #7, December 26, 2000

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Three new patches for version 3.2 have been added to our website since the last newsletter. Patch 7 fixes a bunch of minor annoyances and problems in Purchase Orders, patch 8 fixes a problem in Accounts Receivable program 24 where in some cases the program would not clear all the details that you requested.

Patch 9 is our end of year patch for 1099s, W-2s, MMRS and tax tables. This big patch contains updates that you’ll need for correctly processing your 2000 forms.

Beyond the minor changes that were necessary, we’ve added some new features. You may recall that last year we revamped Payroll’s 1099/W2 printing so that you could more easily print on laser forms. This enhancement has now been applied to form printing in General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable as well.

Payroll tax tables updated for 2001 include Kentucky, New Mexico, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Idaho, California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Rhode Island, Vermont, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and federal tables.

To get the best results with printing laser forms, you are best off using the 60 line per page report formats - the 66 line per page formats are provided, but the output is not the greatest since these forms were not designed to be compatible with this setting. If you usually keep your laser printer in 66 lines per page mode, you should consider changing it temporarily for printing 1099s and W-2s. This is typically just a matter of making the change on your laser printer’s control panel.

The laser report formats have been tested for proper printing with HP Laserjets and generic W2 and 1099 laser forms (for our testing we used forms purchased from Office Depot). If you use non-standard forms your results may vary. If you do not use an HP Laserjet you should nevertheless get proper output, but some printers may not conform well to the Laserjet standard. In such cases you may need to use printer control codes to make small adjustments in the printing. While many inkjet printers should also print properly, some (especially low-end models) are completely incapable of printing these forms as their top and bottom margins are extremely large and cannot be adjusted through control code settings.

Patch 9 comes in two parts, PATCH9.ZIP and SYS9.ZIP. The PATCH9.ZIP file is applied exactly as previous patches. SYS9.ZIP, on the other hand, should be put in the SYS directory and unzipped. This ZIP file has no password and can be unzipped with the standard command line “PKUNZIP SYS9.ZIP”.

Once you have applied the two parts of the patch, you will also need to copy the new report formats if you use company-specific print layout files. If the new formats do not show up when you go to a W2 or 1099 printing program, then you have company-specific print layout files. In this case, use System Administrator program 11 to copy the formats from the 00 company PL file to your company’s PL file.

One additional note on MMRS reporting - the Social Security Administration has announced a new standard for W2 reporting called MMREF. While this new standard can be used this year, it is not required for 2000 submissions. It will be required for 2001, and we will be reprogramming the MMRS module to be in compliance for next year’s new requirements. For year 2000 submissions you may use the updated MMRS package included in patch 9 which uses the TIB-4 standard, which is in compliance for 2000 reporting.

Roundtable Software Advantage Accounting System and Laser Printers

We assumed that the old misunderstanding that laser printers don’t work with the product had long been cleared up, but we just recently got calls from two companies that were still under this misconception.

Laser printers do in fact work great with the Roundtable Software Advantage Accounting System. The problem people have with using laser printers with the product has to do with the number of lines per page. All report formats in the product assume 66 lines per page (the dot matrix printer standard), while most laser printers default to 60 lines per page. Printing these reports to a laser printer set up this way will create output that has page breaks in the wrong places.

To resolve this inconsistency you have three options. The option you choose will depend mostly on whether your office uses only laser printers or a combination of laser and dot matrix printers. Be sure to read all options, though.

Option 1 - Both Laser And Dot Matrix Printers Used

Because you have some printers that expect 60 lines per page and others that expect 66, the simplest solution is to make all the printers agree on a standard. On practically all laser printers you can easily change the default lines per page from 60 to 66. Typically this is handled through the settings on the control panel on the front of the printer, on low-end printers this may be set through a software control panel. On the very low-end, you may need to set the lines per page setting through control codes sent to the printer before print jobs.

In the vast majority of cases, you will find instructions for changing this setting via the control panel in your printer’s instruction manual. Once you change the setting, your reports will print correctly on both your dot matrix and laser printers.

If your printer cannot handle this function through a control panel (a relatively rare occurrence) you can still change the setting by setting up control codes for the printer. In the back of your printer manual you will find listings of control codes for changing various printer settings. Find the one that controls the default number of lines per page. Now go to System Administrator program 3, select Configure and choose the printer number assigned to the laser printer. Choose mode number 0 (default settings that get sent every time the printer is used), and answer Yes to Specify On/Off Codes.

When asked for the On codes, type in the codes you found for setting the number of lines per page to 66. Optionally, you can also put in the Off codes to change the printer back to the default 60 lines per page as well, but this is usually unnecessary.

Option 2 - Only Laser Printers Used

Rather than fuss with control panels, there is a simple solution if your office uses laser printers exclusively. Assuming that all your laser printers are still set to their default setting of 60 lines per page (and these may have been changed for previous compatibility with dot matrix printers), you can easily change all the 66 line per page report formats in the Roundtable Software Advantage Accounting System to 60 lines per page. Included on the Roundtable Software Advantage Accounting System CD is a folder called UTILS. In this folder is a utility program called RPTLEN. This program will change all reports with a given number of lines per page to a new setting of your choice. In this case, you would go to a DOS prompt, switch to the UTILS directory on the CD and type:

RPTLEN 66 60

The program will then go and review all your report formats (both in 00 and company-specific print layout files) and change all reports set to 66 lines per page to 60 lines per page. The reports will then print properly on laser printers set to assume 60 line per page reports.

Option 3 - Brute Force Method

If for some reason you cannot use option 1 or 2, your only other option would be to change report lengths manually by calling each report up in System Administrator program 11 and changing the formats’ page lengths to agree with your printer settings. If you have some printers that expect 60 lines per page and other that expect 66, you’ll need to make copies of each format, one for each page length setting. You should not need to use this method - if you are having trouble please call your dealer for assistance.

One additional note on printing with the Roundtable Software Advantage Accounting System - while most inkjet printers emulate the functionality of laser printers (and thus the preceding discussion applies to them as well), most very low-end inkjets have no setting for lines per page on their control panels, and some do not even have control codes available to set this. A few cheap inkjet printers (notably the latest series of ultra-low-end Canon Bubblejets) cannot print from DOS-based programs (or Unix character-based) at all. Before buying an inkjet printer in the under $200 range, be sure to verify that the printer specifications claim compatibility with DOS. If they do not make this claim, it is possible that you will not be able to print from your accounting software at all.

Marketing Literature

A few weeks ago we sent out a marketing brochure to all dealers and registered end-users. This brochure discusses the new features available in 3.2 (for those that have not yet updated to this current version), and a preview of some of the new features that will be in version 3.3, to be released sometime in the first quarter of 2001. If you did not receive this brochure in the mail and want to make sure that you get our mailings, please send in your registration card or change of address.

The other purpose of this mailing was to notify you of Roundtable Software’s new address. It is:

Roundtable Software
30831 Cove Rd
Tavares FL  32778
Voice: 352-253-9779
Fax: 352-253-2354

NOTICE TO DEALERS: All version 3.2 full product (not updates) shipped starting December 26 will include a certificate for a free version 3.3 upgrade ($3.75 shipping). The certificates may be redeemed once the new product is released. All certificates must be redeemed through dealers - please do not have your users send the coupons to us directly. No photocopies will be accepted, and lost certificates cannot be redeemed.

File Fixer Recreating FR Files

In the unlikely event that you should ever need to use the File Fixer module to recreate a corrupted FR file, be very sure to go to System Administrator program 6 afterward and type in the correct company address information (under the Info option). If you do not do this, the company name that will print on your reports (including invoices, statements, etc.) will be Roundtable Software - not your name. Needless to say, you don’t want your customers to send us their payments (and yes, it really has happened)!

In addition, recreating the FR destroys any Customized Sort Orders you might have established, so you’ll have to recreate these as well.

Windows ME

While we have not yet tested Windows ME in-house, we have a dealer (Helen Hart with Communication Solutions, hlhart@gulfstate.com) who has verified that the product does run on the latest incremental Windows release.

This version of Windows does have one new wrinkle in that it does not use the CONFIG.SYS file. This is the file where you specify your FILES and BUFFERS settings. On Windows ME, rather than putting these settings in the CONFIG.SYS file, you can add them through Windows System Tools. Here are step-by-step instructions:

1. Press the Start button.

2. Choose Programs.

3. Choose Access.

4. Choose System Tools.

5. Choose System Information.

6. Click on Tools.

7. Choose System Configuration Utility.

8. Select the Environment tab.

9. Click on New.

10. Add BUFFERS and an amount (less than 10 is preferred).

11. Add FILES and an amount of 65.

12. Select OK and then allow the computer to reboot.

13. Follow steps 1 - 8 and verify that the environment variables are now set (according to Helen Hart, occasionally the settings don’t ‘take’ the first time).

On an editorial note, we see no new features or corrections in Windows ME that materially benefit those using their computers for business purposes. The enhancements are primarily related to multimedia capabilities. We do not see any reason for users on other Windows versions to bother with this minor new product.

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