Xactimate Lowdown is a blog about Xactimate news, classes,
helpful hints and any news that affects its users.
helpful hints and any news that affects its users.
Two things – Knowledge & Practice. Practice without knowledge prolongs the learning curve and develops bad habits. Knowledge without practice only ends in lost knowledge, but the 2 combined will make you a powerhouse with no limitations except for any software limitations. When it comes to sketch it’s all muscle memory. No level of intelligence is required. And the more you practice, the easier it gets and faster you become. And speed and efficiency equal more money. A lot of bad habits are formed when someone is self-taught and it is hard to break those habits. Even when they are taught to do it correctly, if they don’t practice it until it replaces the bad habit, the correct method is forgotten & the bad habit returns. I tell my students to practice sketching correctly every day until they master it. I don’t care if it is only 5-10 minutes a night drawing a part or all of their house. Then delete it and do it again & again & again until it is so easy, they can draw it in their sleep. Then move on to new challenges.
Changes in Xactimate
These are some changes to Xactimate (Click on picture to enlarge). Probably the most important one is the removal of Master Bath for Primary Bath. You can still type in "Master Bath" but it won't prepopulate. But it also won't correctly automatically change the room type. So the room type stays "Living Room" instead of changing to "Full Bath". This could affect your electrical macros as it drops in items based on the room type.
New YouTube channel
We've started a new YouTube Channel! Although it is not intended to replace the Level 1 & Level 2 Class, it does include 2 beginner videos which are taken from the Level 1 & Level 2 Self-Paced Training Class. They show how to navigate the Sketch tab and begin drawing a room. These videos are not created by someone who taught himself (correctly or incorrectly), but are taught the way Xactware wants you to learn because they are created by an Xactimate Certified Trainer. As is with the classes I teach, it is what they call the "Preferred Method".
The other videos are for Intermediate to experienced Xactimate users who want to expand their knowledge and have a place to go to learn new methods and shortcuts. As I tell my students, this is not a hard program but a very large program and not many know all that it is capable of. Hopefully it will encourage inexperienced or self taught users who want to learn the most efficient way to use this program to enroll in the Level 1 & Level 2 class. I have classroom trainings throughout Florida and expanding to Tennessee and also live Virtual classes for those that can't travel or prefer taking the class from the comfort of their home or office. My other hope is that it gives people that have taken training can expand their knowledge by having a place to go.
If you like the videos, you can hit the Thumbs Up and/or Subscribe if you want to see new videos as they are shared. Hopefully we'll see you in class (which will also give you access to that class' Self-Paced Training videos for 1 year) and you can continue your education here.
the new Xactimate online
Faster and easier to navigate, the new version of Xactimate online is now available. To access it, simply visit Xactimate.com/xor in any modern Windows internet browser, like Chrome, Edge, or Firefox.
Note that after July 30, 2021, your Xactimate online experience will vary depending on your browser. Visiting Xactimate.com in a modern browser like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox will lead to the new version of Xactimate online, while visiting Xactimate.com in Internet Explorer will lead to the legacy Silverlight version.
Xactimate online users can log in with their existing credentials. Migration is not required, but users should check with their management before using the new Xactimate online.
How can you start your Xactimate training without paying the recommended 3 day class fee, especially if you don’t know if the class will give you the knowledge or training you need? Just about every class you see advertised says how great they are and many of those classes will disappoint. The answer is easy because we try to give as many options as possible.
If you are unsure about whose class to take and our testimonials haven’t convinced you (I didn’t put any bad ones on there because I haven’t received any yet), we have an option for you. Our self-paced training videos are taught just like the classroom. The online self-paced training allows students to see how to perform functions one step at a time & follow along one step at a time. The videos were created with the same information as provided in the classroom and are timed so that students have time to follow along (although the videos can be paused, re-winded and replayed as many times as needed).
You can purchase our level 1 (Fundamentals) self-paced training for $250.00 (a small investment into a powerful program) and have access to those videos for 1 year! When you see how great the videos and training are, you can then decide if you are ready for the level 2. Not sure about the $250.00? Try one for free. Go to https://www.crestllc.com/xactimate_self-paced.html and video #7 and see a video from level 1 which introduces you to sketching and try it out.
What does it take to excel at Xactimate?
Have you ever googled how to do something in Word or Excel and found out it was very simple, but the next time you attempted it you could not remember because you had not done it in a while? That is essentially Xactimate. It is actually a very easy, large program. So why is it so daunting. First, you don’t know what the program is capable of. If you did, you would know what to search for. This is why you take an Xactimate class; to learn as much as you can but more importantly, to experience what the program is capable of. If you know it is possible, you know what to search for if you can’t retain it. For example, how do you change the manner of calculating so that Xactimate calculates waste on a 15-foot-wide carpet instead of 12-foot-wide carpet? If you don’t know it can be changed, you won’t look for it. Even though we concentrate on retention by repetition in class and the information is easy, there is only so much your mind can retain especially with 3 days of information. At some point the hard drive (your mind) gets full for that period of time.
What does it take to excel at Xactimate? In one word…practice, especially when it comes to sketch. It’s all muscle memory. No level of intelligence is required. And the more you practice, the easier it gets and faster you become. And speed and efficiency equal more money. A lot of bad habits are formed when someone is self-taught and it is hard to break those habits. Even when they are taught to do it correctly, if they don’t practice it until it replaces the bad habit, the correct method is forgotten & the bad habit returns. I tell my students to practice sketching correctly everyday until they master it. I don’t care if it is only 5-10 minutes a night drawing a part or all of their house. Then delete it and do it again & again & again until it is so easy, they can draw it in their sleep. Then move on to new challenges.
I don’t worry so much about my Public Adjusters or Contractors, because they have work waiting for them so their practice is back at their office. I do worry about the IAs because unless they have a deployment right after class & if they don’t have the discipline to practice, they will be lost and leaving tons of money on the table when that deployment does arrive. A deployment is the absolute worst time to try and learn Xactimate.
That is why we give unparalleled support on all of our classes & products. Anyone who registers for any class with us will receive a free 1-year membership which gives you access to the online self-paced training videos for the class you select. What this means is that you can keep retaking the class information or refer back to any part of it for a year! We wanted to make sure that any part that you missed, didn’t understand or forgot was still available for you.
Be careful using skt macros
include the subgroup. If you drop it into the sketch, it will include the subgroup. This is only on the SKT macros as I have seen it happen in the electrical and hvac SKT macros.
XM MOBILE PROGRAMING ERROR - Carpet
room is selected including the subgroups (closet & stairs), it only puts the carpet on the landing on the first attempt. On the second attempt, it arbitrarily put it only on the upper stairs only. When the stairs are removed and the closet is left as a subgroup, it places it correctly, so the issue is with the stairs. This issue has been forwarded to Xactware but until it is corrected, be careful. Just goes to show, you should always check your work.
XM Mobile Programing Error
In case you haven’t noticed, if you try to arch a wall in Xactimate mobile, you will get a ghost circle over the drawing instead of the arched wall. The smaller you make the arch the larger the circle. Xactware was unaware, but not anymore. They are “looking into it”. On the sketch to the right (click on sketch to enlarge), the left wall of the 2 left rooms are arched.
Changes to Latest Update
Some new things appeared after the latest update. Here are some of the answers to the questions you are asking.
Question: What is the Skybox option in sketch under View?
Answer: This is part of Photorealism. You won’t see much in regards to Photorealism in this release as the assets are not available yet. The Xactimate Team is looking at having assets ready to release in the Dec. update. This will basically give you the ability in 3D view to view the rooms with textures etc. on in the rooms.
Question: What is the Split Screens in Sketch:
Answer: Split screen Horizontally and Split Screen Vertically are options that show up under View in Sketch when you have more than one Sketch Tab. This allows you to split your screen either horizontally or vertically to view both sketch tabs.
Question: What are the Wireframe Roof options that show up under the Roofing Tool in Sketch?
Answer: These options have shown up from the last couple of updates. They can be utilized when an Exterior Level is created. They can provide a certain advantage over the traditional Sketch or Block Roofs. Imported property packages - including from third party providers - will import as wireframe roofs. Wireframe roofs will also be required for a new tool that will be released first part of next year. The Sketch team will be giving Shane Howarth and myself some in-depth training by the end of the year on this. We will make sure to include training on wireframe roofs in an upcoming XCT Quarterly Training.
Highlight Video - This a shortcut you should definitely know and use
I became a Certified Trainer because it was the part of industry I loved the most. I've come to really love it because of the distance a new student goes in those 3 days.