Review: Estimator enumerates the costs of contracting jobs in two ways | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Estimator enumerates the costs of contracting jobs in two ways

Inform clients of the potential cost of work in both spreadsheet and document form, using Estimator.

Estimator allows subcontractors, contractors, and business owners to keep track of work that is requested from a client. This program is a combination of a spreadsheet and word processing program with special emphasis on the calculations needed for contractors.

This program downloads as an executable file so no installation is needed. Upon startup, the user can choose notation settings and choose to view the program in either English or Dutch. Estimator might not be intuitive for novice users or users who never had any experience with this type of software. The interface is quite basic and lacks graphics. There is a Help file available within the program that explains each function briefly, but a tutorial available on the Web site is fairly comprehensive. The main links are clear but options under these don't seem to be available at all times. Under System the user can create, edit, and delete projects. Import, export, and print functions only seem to work if the user is under the Estimator tab. This seems to be an early version of the program and there is some work that needs to be done before it is as useful as most modern contractors demand.

The non-intuitive nature of this program lends itself to a relatively steep learning curve. While the tutorial is good, the program needs more clearly labeled and documented functions. Estimator is probably not for the novice user at this point in time, but could be helpful for the more savvy user.

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