Knowledge Base

PowerChurch Software Newsletter - Fall 2010

Welcome to the second issue of the PowerChurch Software Newsletter

We have gotten a lot of great feedback from the first issue of this new format of the newsletter; notice we made the green font darker? That's not all, though, we have another surprise for you... the upcoming release of PowerChurch Plus Version 11.1. It will be a free update for Version 11 users and for those who have not yet purchased the update, a few new features to help entice you to do so!

There were some new features planned that we couldn't finish in time for the initial release of Version 11 and didn't want you to have to wait for Version 12 to take advantage of:

  • Print 941 forms
  • Export all PowerChurch Plus data to an Access database for external reporting
  • Integration with Constant Contact

There isn't a specific release date yet, but we are expecting this update to go out in a Maintenance Release in the next couple of weeks.


Locate and Lookup Lists

Most any screen that you open in PowerChurch Plus will have a lookup function of some sort. It is a database application, after all! When you see this or this in the program, you know it's going to open something that looks like this:

What you might not know is that you don't necessarily have to use those annoying little arrow buttons at the top and bottom of the scroll bar to move through the list. First off, it would take all day, but more importantly, those things seem to have a mind of their own! When you are scrolling through a few hundred rows, your clicks start getting backed up and when you take your finger off the mouse, it keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until you are way too far down the list.

If your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use it to slowly scroll through the list without clicking the arrows on the scroll bar. However, this will still take a long time to get through the list. Pressing the Page Down button on the keyboard allows you to skip through the list one screen height at a time. This still isn't ideal, though.

If you know the name of the person, vendor, contribution fund, or whatever it is that you are looking for, you can type the name on the keyboard and the cursor will jump down through the list, "seeking" out what you are typing. So, if you type "J" into the Family Mailing List Locate window, the cursor will jump past all the families whose last names start with A through I and the first family whose last name starts with J is selected. If you type "J O N" then you're probably getting close to the person you are looking for, if they aren't selected already.

But, let's say you only know the first name of the person that you are looking for. Seeking through the last names won't help. Another under-utilized feature in PowerChurch Plus is that these lookup lists are re-sortable. Just click on the First Name column header at the top and now the list is in first name order. If you're looking for someone named Melody, you just start typing "M E L" and the cursor jumps to the first name it finds that starts with those letters, like Melanie. At this point, the Melody that you are looking for is probably in view now and you can select them without typing anything else.

You can also look up families or profiles by their street address right from the Locate list. Just sort on the Current Address column, then start typing the address.

Some Locate buttons have a little arrow on the side, like this: . If you click on this arrow instead of the main part of the button, you will get extra options to choose from. On the Personal Profiles screen, clicking the arrow on the Locate button allows you to locate by e-mail address or envelope number. These two fields of information aren't normally shown in the Locate list, but if you are trying to find someone by their e-mail address, this is a slick way to do it.

One more keyboard shortcut to be aware of is the F2 key along the top row of keys on your keyboard. Any time you are in a field that has a magnifying glass icon next to it, like the Envelope Number or Fund Number field on the Enter Contributions screen, press the F2 key instead of clicking the magnifying glass button to open the Lookup List. This shortcut also works with date fields. Pressing the F2 key opens up the little calendar date picker control.


Contribution Designations

Version 11 of PowerChurch Plus added Designated Contributions tracking, which is great for memorials, missions, or other designations. This allows you to set up a single contribution fund, like Memorials, then record the designation of whose memorial each contribution was for. Previously, you would have to set up a new Contribution Fund for each memorial. Over the years, this would add up to a lot of Contribution Funds that you no longer use.

This new functionality can also be used to track separate missionaries or mission agencies within a single Missions Fund. Another interesting twist on the functionality would be in a Youth Fund, tracking separate collections such as sponsoring youth camp tuitions, fund raisers, or other special offerings.

The video below shows a quick run-down of the Contribution Designation tools:


Easing E-mail Communications With Constant Contact

E-mail setup has become one of the most common questions we receive in Technical Support. Over the years, more and more of our customers have been migrating their e-mail communications to Constant Contact. Integration with their services was one of the things that has been frequently requested in the last couple of years. We will be adding this integration later this year in the Version 11.1 update.

These days, e-mail providers must take very strict precautions to keep their servers safe and services available to everyone. The e-mail setup process in PowerChurch Plus is very simple, but there are many outside factors that can cause the e-mail functionality to fail. Mail servers can be very, very picky!

Constant Contact empowers associations and nonprofits by helping them connect with their members easily and affordably. More than 350,000 organizations worldwide use Constant Contact. They create professional looking email communications to inform their audience and get feedback that ultimately result in closer relationships.

Constant Contact supports customers every step of the way with award-winning, unlimited, free customer service. Plus, Constant Contact provides high email deliverability rates due to its strong ISP partnerships, no-tolerance spam policy, and participation in anti-spam industry groups.


Forum Q & A

The Support Forum on our web site is a very active online community of our users and Tech Support staff members. There you can browse through thousands of questions and answers, or post your own. Below are some recent examples:

Q. Is there a way to change the smtp port to 465 in the e-mail settings for Google?
A. You should be able to access the Google SMTP server by using the following entry in the SMTP server line:

Q. How can I delete a user in PowerChurch? I can't seem to find the users list for maintaining.
A. Login as System Admin and then go to File > Passwords > User Profiles. You can then delete users as needed.

Q. I would like for PowerChurch Online to see and use my resident Adobe PDF printer and allow me to print to PDF.
A. Everything you print through PowerChurch Online creates a PDF on your local machine. You have the ability of generating a "print preview" instead of sending it directly to the printer. This allows you to change the PDF settings or save the document before printing. There are instructions in the following article for accessing the advanced options mode, where you can enable the "print preview" in the IDS Client: PowerChurch Online - Printing Problems

Created: 09/01/2010
Last updated: 07/25/2021