Estimating is a critical component of any successful woodworking business. Developing bids that allow a company to be profitable as well as competitive can be challenging but now there are several software programs on the market that aid woodworkers in creating accurate assessments of the total project cost, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Also important is putting together bids in a timely manner. Material takeoff software can aid in that by analyzing project blueprints to create a materials list. One such software is On-Screen Takeoff launched in 1995 by The Woodlands, TX-based On Center Software.

According to the company, On-Screen Takeoff is an easy-to-learn construction estimating and takeoff program that cuts normal takeoff time in half, enabling woodworkers to bid two to three times more work than they currently do. The software program saves time through the use of electronic plans, allowing the user to quickly measure areas and lengths on-screen by pointing and clicking the mouse.
Estimators can perform takeoffs on their computer screens without paper plans, but a digitizer functionality is also included for users with paper plans. Additional software features include the ability to calculate linear, area and volume measurements and quantify individual condition objects directly on the computer screen as well as navigate through drawings, zoom in and out on any area of any drawing, and to print those drawings.

Recent updates to On-Screen Takoff software include an improved Overlay tool. Estimators have used this particular tool to compare plan revisions and to spot unmarked changes, with deleted items marked in red and newly added items marked in blue. Items that remained the same are grayed out. The recent software upgrade adds the following additional features to the Overlay tool:

• Automatic resizing and aligning for overlay images
• Ability to rotate overlay images independent of base image
• Enhanced PDF handling
• Sorting capabilities in Open Database dialog box
On Center Software also recently partnered with Wacom Technology Corp. to offer the release of the Digital Takeoff Table 2 solution, which integrates with the latest version of On-Screen Takeoff to generate digital construction takeoffs.

Digital Takeoff Table 2 is a hands-on digital takeoff program that is designed to increase takeoff speed and accuracy. It includes a 21.3-inch write-on monitor, a patented cordless grip pen, 16 customizable ExpressKeys that give users access to On-Screen Takeoff-specific shortcuts and grip pen calibration to better simulate writing with a pencil on paper plans.

On Center also announced a partnership with WinEstimator, which allows for a takeoff software integration giving WinEst users direct access to On-Screen Takeoff for a faster and more efficient estimating tool.

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