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CS Dental Employee
CS Dental Employee

Printing Changes Coming in the Next Release

Work is underway to enhance the existing print dialog in PracticeWorks! Well, that is to say, there currently isn't much of one and there will soon be one in v8.0!

Let me paint the picture for you.  Imagine a morning when you are arriving in the office slightly early and you want to print out a report to review while you sip your coffee.  You are sitting at a workstation Emily normally sits at, not only because the view of the front door is great, but it is also close to the printer.  Making all the right clicks to get to the Accounts Receivable report, you select your criteria and click OK.

The printer starts to come to life, moving paper inside it across the toner cartridge, and then out into the top tray.  And that's when you realize this workstation doesn't have the right paper source selected for the default document! Out pops expensive letterhead that Emily was using to send letters to specialists in the area, now wasted with today's AR report printed all over it.

We will be able to help you with this in the future!  No, we aren't going to replace your letterhead when you make a mistake, but we will give you a new print window that will give you all your printing options right before you click Print.  This will make it much easier for you to send a report to a different tray or different printer on the fly, as you need it.

Hope this helps!  Coming soon in PracticeWorks v8.0!

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Good morningsonyap‌ and nateinmaine

As promised I posted a lengthier than normal discussion post here. Thank you for your feedback on this post. I'll be reaching out to you as we work on Version 9 (multiple users in an clipboard/chart) for feedback. 

Canine III

Today we started using v8.1, upgraded from 7.something.  The new print dialog is a nice addition, but I think the report printing process could use some improvement.

I think clicking on a report from the menu should show that report to view on the screen immediately with no print dialog.  From there, clicking the print icon would bring up the print dialog window.  With few exceptions, we view reports on screen before printing, and many times never print at all.  Accidentally pressing Print or Enter instead of Preview has wasted more paper than I'd like to think about, and I think is more likely to waste that expensive letterhead you're talking about.  Show us the report, then let us decide if we want to print it once we've taken a peek at it.

The one major exception I can think of is a statement run, and that already has its own separate process and dialog boxes, so leave that one alone.

Additionally, for more simple reports like lists or time sheets, it would be nice to be able to export that data to a .csv file instead of having to print to file or some other hoop jumping.  The reporting function has access to lots of information could be useful in spreadsheet form, and the Analysis Expert doesn't quite cut the mustard in many of these cases.

Does anyone else have ideas for ways this could be improved?

I just encountered a situation that's a great example of how PracticeWorks reporting could become far more powerful and useful.  I thought I'd share it here to provide some insight into why we need improved reporting, which is currently inherently tied to the "Print" menu.

We were lucky enough to be selected by the US Dept of Commerce to participate in the 2017 Economic Survey.  We formed an LLC in mid-2017, and both the new LLC and the previous sole proprietorship were selected to participate, so I get to complete the census twice!

Here's the form that I need to complete:

The best way I see to do this is to run a production summary, then total each category of services.  The dentist and hygienists all perform diagnostic, preventative, and periodontic services, so I need to total their collective production within each category.  We're less than perfect with assigning the correct treatment class to appointments, so that report isn't reliable and would still take me time to sum. I don't know that an analysis expert would fit here, because I want to classify codes on the fly as I go through the list as I look at them.

What I really want is to get a production report in .csv format.  It would be immensely valuable and powerful!  I've had limited success with print to text, then creating a .csv from that and attempting to make columns out of spaces.  It would be far easier if print to .csv were built in.  If I could get this production report into Excel (or similar), I'd write a flag for each of the above categories in next to each treatment code, then do a SUMIF to get my totals.  I'd be done already!

Additionally, I ran the report using print preview on my desktop inkjet.  The report took about 5 minutes to run, then I realized I should have tried to print to file.  Too late to change now!  I'd need to close it and re-run the report with a different printer selected.  Why doesn't the menu say "Reports" instead of "Print", then just show me the report and let me decide if I want to print it?

I'm begging - we a way to get all of these useful reports into a spreadsheet!  Maybe a PracticeWorks created "Print to File" is the best path forward, given the way the program is set up.

Update: In my laziness I went with a workaround, if anyone is interested in this type of stuff.

Some wizard has developed a Snipping-OCR tool that works quite well: Capture2Text download | 

I snip a screenshot of the report, then paste each column into a spreadsheet.

This beats the heck out of typing, but it doesn't beat the heck out of built in .csv reporting!

We are encountering the same problem here.  Waste of paper.  And I am utterly confused why checking to "save" that printer to that kind of job doesn't actually save that setting.  It is a giant nuisance to have to keep clicking the same thing over and over, when I previously had it pre-formatted to where I wanted it to go and didn't have to confirm it every time.

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This is a great discussion and instructive for me. The print changes warrant an entire post. I don't think I can do it justice in the comments alone. 

Suffice it to say, when the Analysis and Design team (which I'm a member of) begins working on a project, we always ask ourselves this question - "What problem are we solving?". Once I've written a post about the printer settings I'll comment here with a link. It will put the changes in context and allow us to see what I and the team can do better next time. 

I did a little more experimenting with trying to get PracticeWorks to default to Print Preview and so far haven't had any luck.

From the print selection window, I clicked Advanced and deselected "Display this screen when printing."  I thought doing this and choosing Preview would make it Preview and not show that window next time.  It actually made it default to printing the report and not bringing up the print selection box - there's a way to make it default to printing, but not to previewing.  This seems odd, and I had to re-check that box by going into configuration.

I also tried checking the Save box and clicking Preview, and all that does is keep the same printer highlighted for next time.  That seems to be a shortcut for changing the computer's default printer for that report, not previewing vs printing.

Would it make sense to add a "Default to Print Preview" button within each report's document configuration window, right below "Display this screen when printing"?  That would give users the flexibility to set reporting up for how they usually use it.

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Some great ideas, many of which I would love to implement. Exporting reports would be fantastic. 

As you discovered, there's no way to automatically preview the report. The two options are:

1. See the print dialog box.

2. Send the report directly to the assigned printer. 

If we investigate further changes to printing I'll reach out to you. 

Canine III

Love it!

Have them keep in mind we would probably want to still be able to set defaults at the document level so the letterhead is defaulting to the letterhead tray every time (with the option to change it on the fly)... or the prescription paper will assume the prescription paper tray... It will be handy if you want to print to a pdf printer one time to send electronically though!

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I reviewed the requirements for this yesterday. You will still have the ability to set the defaults at the document level.

For instance, if you are printing your Appointment page and the default printer is broken. You will be able to change the printer "on the fly" and set it as the default without going to the Configuration screen. Or you can change it for just one print job and leave the defaults as are. 

Thanks for the feedback. This is exactly what we're looking for!

Canine II

That's great!