Print out the user's manual. Go through the tutorial. Do a search on this forum for WinTotal to see if you can pick up some pointers. For ongoing "unofficial" support, go here:
Set up a dummy report and go through it line by line and when you run into a problem, go to the help file.
When WinTotal is open to the Appraisal Desktop, look on the left hand side and click on "Solution Center". Once there, click on the menu item "Tech-Doc Library". When that screen opens, click the + sign to the left of WinTotal and take a look at the subjects listed. Click on the area you want help with and there's a good selection of tech support stuff that might be able to help you.
Practice, practice, practice.
And last, but not least, feel free to email me if you run into a hurdle you can't find a way over or around. I am NOT an expert!! But will be glad to help or try to point you in the right direction.
Never have gone to a seminar, never taken an Alamode class. If you can work windows you can work Alamode. Don't listen to Ben unless you don't want to use its endless features. That is the key with Alamode. Integrated mapping, flood maps, EDI, the most current forms. Those who get on here and bash Wintotal are just trying to justify using something else. You will never here me bashing click forms, nova, ACI or any of the others. It is a software program for gooodness sake. It is what you make of it. I happen to love the features and I can complete a report much quicker because of the program and its features. Anybody who has a problem with Alamode is probably the source of the problem. The same goes for clickforms, ACI, etc. Alamode is a good program and you get constant updates with new forms, tweaks and minor fixes that come up from time to time. If you listen to Ben and others, then why is Alamode the best selling software? Every report I do is entirely digital and has been since 1998. Alamode stays ahead of the curve. The rest are usually scrambling to keep up. Just my opinion.
I used to bash wintotal and alamode every chance I could. Athena changed my way of thinking(flood maps, census tracks, etc, ets). Sure, it has it's problems and besides, what windows software is glitch free? but, tech support is generally awesome in finding solutions. My rec is 24/7 support for the first year. One call on a Sunday at 6am is worth the entire price of the package. good luck
Don't know about you but I've used Total since, I think, around 1989. If you read my post, you'll will notice I said that I have both: Wintotal and Clickforms. I don't "bash" as you say, unless I have experience with stuff. I do, as in all my posts, recommend to others based on my experience. They can take it or leave it.
I "sell" time. I complete reports much faster in Clickforms. I want fast and simple. I make more money using Clickforms. If George downloaded the Clickforms demo, he'd be up and running in no time because there's no learning curve to master.
I personally don't need all the stuff that Total has, and there I think is the downfall of WinTotal. To me, Total has moved from the small appraisal shop to the large shop and in the process, complicated and slowed things up. If I were Dave Biggers, I'd develop a stripped down version of Total for the one-man shop. But that's already here and it's Clickforms. Do I need internet mapping? No. Too slow. I take out my county map, put the Sony Mavica on close focus (the scanner is too slow so I don't use it for maps), shoot the map, drop it in as a jpg into Clickforms, use the freeform text feature to locate the subject and comps and I'm done in about 1 minute locating my subject and comps. Yep, the Sony Mavica is a damn fantastic scanner. That's why I use it-just like Clickforms. It's fast.
Why does a la mode have the largest base of appraisers?? Well, DOS Total was a great program and had lots of users. There was nothing faster to complete a URAR. See, I don't "bash" Total. In fact, I knew several VA appraisers that were still using it until last year when EDI became mandatory. My guess is the DOS base just migrated over to WinTotal. I sure did. Then, I shopped around for speed to complete reports. Clickforms has it.
If you are going to start "fresh" with a new program, I'd give Clickforms a look. I guess you didn't like my humor about using the WinTotal CD as a frisbee? Sorry about that.
As far as being " a source of the problem" with Total. I don't think so. I am computer literate, more so than most. All of the appraisers I network with use Clickforms and purchased it based on my experience with it and my recommendations. I helped 3 VA appraisers become EDI capable last year. Two bought Clickforms as I recommended. One upgraded to WinTotal from DOS-too cheap to spend the bucks for Clickforms. The Clickforms guys were off and running with very little help from me. One never called me for help at all-he's in his 60's. The other was 73 years old and most of his problems are learning how to use Windows, not Clickforms. The WinTotal guy, well he missed the VA EDI ready deadline and still calls for help every once in awhile.
As far as my experience with computers... Let's say I go way back to using a TRS-80 Model 3 with Scripsit wordprocessing and a Diablo Daisywheel printer to fill-out URAR's. When I got tired of doing the math by hand with Scripsit, and spreadsheet programs with word processing capabilities became availabe, I developed a template in BoxCalc to do the math on a URAR and fill it in. All before DOS Total and Clickforms were developed. At 48, I've been around and I've experienced lots of appraisal programs.
I think part of it is sticking with the dog you know. I am a rookie, as some know, but I like Wintotal. As far as the mapping goes, try doing it on DSL. By the time you get your Mavica out of your drawer (and the Mavica is my favorite Camera, point, shoot, load in computer, too nice),
the DSL maps are on line and done. That is nice.
Ben, I was tongue-in-cheek, too. It is a personal prefernce thing. I have used Wintotal since 1991, so the learning curve is easy. I don't understand the problem with getiing edi ready. I had to make no changes other than purchasing Adobe. Wintotal is fast and I can crank out a report as fast as you can on click forms, I bet. To each his own and seriously, EDI in alamode is easy. I don't think you are not computer literate, either.