National Estimator Frequently Asked Questions

This page has answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions:

What computers can use National Estimator (TNE-32)?
What is your software license policy, and how many computers can I install my National Estimator purchase on?
Can I transfer an estimate to my word processor or a spreadsheet?
Can I transfer an estimate to QuickBooks or QuickBooks Pro?
How do I adjust estimate prices to my city and state?
How am I supposed to learn to use this program?
When I installed a second costbook, my original costbook disappeared! Did I lose my first costbook?
How often do you update these costs?
Will I lose my estimates when I install a new version of National Estimator?
How can I prevent losing my work in the event of a power failure?
Can I add my own cost items or modify existing items in the costbooks?
Can I print pages from the costbook(s)?
Can I "globally" change the hourly wages in the costbook(s)?
The labor rate field does not appear in the Enter Cost Information box.
Does National Estimator interface with accounting programs other than QuickBooks?
Can I put my company logo on my estimate?
Can I add depreciation to my estimate?
Can I do take-offs with National Estimator?
The instructions say to type in D:\Setup to start the installation process. When I type that in an error message appears. What do I do now?
What is the difference between CD Estimator, Site License and the other National Estimator products?
In Vista, when I try to open the National Estimator program I get a 'Runtime Error!' and the program won't open. What should I do?



What computers can use National Estimator (TNE-32)?

National Estimator will run on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10 operating systems. Our data license partner at www.ConstructionCostEstimator.com offers an estimating app for iOS and Mac devices using Craftsman's cost data.



How many computers can I install my National Estimator purchase on?

Each purchased copy (i.e. license) of the software product is intended for exclusive use by a single, primary user. The primary user may install the software product on two personal computers; however a license for the software product may not be shared between individuals.



Can I transfer an estimate to my word processor or a spreadsheet?

Yes. To see the procedure, press F1 in National Estimator. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on the topic of your choice.



Can I transfer an estimate to QuickBooks or QuickBooks Pro?

Yes. But only QuickBooks Pro handles estimates. Use the program Job Cost Wizard to convert National Estimator estimates into a form either QuickBooks and QuickBooks Pro can import. QuickBooks will import National Estimator invoices. QuickBooks Pro will import both invoices and estimates.



How do I adjust estimate prices to my city and state?

This depends on which costbook(s) you are using:

For the National Construction Estimator, National Home Improvement Estimator, National Concrete and Masonry Estimator, National Framing & Finish Carpentry Estimator, National Repair & Remodeling Estimator and National Renovation & Insurance Repair Estimator, simply click on Utilities, then Options when inside the National Estimator program. Then click on the Area Modification Factors tab. Enter the zip code of your job site and check off which modifications you want to apply: Material, Labor, or Equipment. Click OK and the costbook will be adjusted accordingly. Area modification factors change from time to time and will be installed automatically when you request the latest updates.

If you’re using the National Electrical Estimator, National Painting Cost Estimator or National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator, simply click on the 'percent change' button on the National Estimator toolbar. Enter the appropriate adjustment (either plus or minus percentage) to material, labor and equipment costs. Press Enter. This will globally modify all appropriate costs in the estimate by the percentage entered.



How am I supposed to learn to use this program?

First, you can view the 60-minute tutorial. Sit back and relax while Dan shows you everything your need to know. You can also print 40 pages of detailed instructions from the program's help file by pressing F1, clicking Print All Topics, clicking File, and then clicking Print Topic. Finally, you can view or print the Quick Start user guide from this page.



When I installed a second costbook, my original costbook disappeared! Did I lose my first costbook?

No. The last version of National Estimator you install becomes your default costbook and opens automatically when you start National Estimator. For instance, if you have the National Painting Cost Estimator costbook on your computer and you install the National Electrical Estimator costbook, the National Electrical Estimator becomes the default. But National Painting Cost Estimator is still on your hard disk. To open a second costbook, select Open Costbook on the File menu. Then click on the name of the costbook to open. To see all costbooks open, click on Window. Then click to switch to another costbook. To change your default costbook, click on Utilities, Options, and Select Default Costbook.



How often do you update these costs?

Every costbook is updated quarterly for the year of issue. For example, a 2016 edition will receive updates through December 2016. These quarterly updates are free and automatic via the Web. The Craftsman Software Update program will prompt you when it’s time for an update. All you need is Internet access. After updates are complete, updated cost figures will appear in red.

The free quarterly updates are not available on Craftsman’s website.



Will I lose my estimates when I install a new version of National Estimator?

No. The current version of National Estimator will open estimates that have been created in earlier versions of National Estimator, even the old DOS version of Estimate Writer. Also note that installing National Estimator changes the default directories if you used a 2000 or earlier version of the program.



How can I prevent losing my work in the event of a power failure?

National Estimator has a built-in auto save feature. By default it is set to save your estimate every 10 minutes. You can change the frequency at which National Estimator auto saves by clicking on Utilities, then Options, then the General tab. Use the up/down arrows to change the number of minutes.

Should you have a power failure, you can retrieve your estimate by clicking on File then Open. Change the Files of type to Estimate Backups. Locate the estimate you were working on and open it. This will contain the entire estimate up to the last auto save. We recommend that you immediately save your estimate before proceeding with further changes to it.



Can I add my own cost items or modify existing items in the costbooks?

Yes. The procedure is explained in Help. In National Estimator, press F1. Click on Search. Type Add and double click on the topic of your choice, either adding costs or adding text.



Can I print pages from the costbook(s)?

Yes. Make sure the costbook you want to print is open and selected. Click on File. Click on Print Current Costbook. Type the page numbers you want to print. Click OK.



Can I "globally" change the hourly wages in the costbook(s)?

Not in the costbook. However, it's easy to adjust hourly wages in an estimate. Any time you copy and paste costs into an estimate, you see the labor rate. Change that rate once and it's changed throughout the estimate. But making that change doesn't affect the costbook and it doesn't change any other estimate you've already completed. For more on setting your own wage rates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Wage and double click on Custom.



The labor rate field does not appear in the Enter Cost Information box.

This happens because the program has been instructed to only use the default wage rates. To modify this instruction, click on the menu choice Utilities then click on Options. Select the General Settings tab, and uncheck the box next to the phrase Always use costbook wage rates? then click on OK.



Does National Estimator interface with accounting programs other than QuickBooks?

Not directly. But you can export any estimate as either a tab-delimited file, comma-delimited file or text file. Most accounting programs can import a file in one of those formats. Once imported, the only limitation is the accounting program you use. For more on exporting estimates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on one of the Export topics.



Can I put my company logo on my estimate?

Yes. There are two ways. The first way is to export the estimate to your favorite word processing or spreadsheet program. Nearly all allow you to add graphics to a document. For more on exporting estimates, press F1. Click on Search. Type Export and double click on one of the Export topics. The second (and best) way is to use Job Cost Wizard to export the estimate to QuickBooks Pro. To add a logo to all QuickBooks Pro estimates, open any estimate in QuickBooks or QuickBooks Pro. Click on the down arrow to the right of Template. Click on Custom. Click on the Options tab. Click on Use Logo. Click on File. Select the bitmap (BMP file) you want to appear on every estimate.



Can I add depreciation to my estimate?

Yes. Click on the Markup button. Replace the word "Contingency" with "Depreciation" and insert the amount as a negative number, either a percentage or a lump sum. If you want to add a column for depreciation, export to a spreadsheet as a comma-delimited (Lotus) or tab-delimited (Excel) file. Then the only limit is your knowledge of Lotus or Excel.



Can I do take-offs with National Estimator?

No. National Estimator is a cost estimating program. It assumes you already know the quantity of material required.



The instructions say to type in D:\Setup to start the installation process. When I type that in an error message appears. What do I do now?

Not all computers have the D drive set up as the CD-ROM drive. You don't have to guess. Windows will find the installation drive. Click Start. Click Settings. Click Control Panel. Double-click Add/Remove Programs. Click Install and follow instructions on the screen.



What is the difference between CD Estimator and the other National Estimator products?

CD Estimator contains the National Estimator program, along with the following electronic costbooks in their entirety: National Concrete & Masonry Estimator, National Construction Estimator, National Electrical Estimator, National Framing & Finish Carpentry Estimator, National Home Improvement Estimator, National Painting Cost Estimator, National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator, National Renovation & Insurance Repair Estimator and the National Repair & Remodeling Estimator.

CD Estimator does not include the print edition of the costbooks.

Craftsman Site License is nearly the same product as CD Estimator, but includes one additional cost database - National Heavy Construction Estimator. Site License is a download product, but backup CD's are available.



In Windows Vista, when I try to open the National Estimator program I get a 'Runtime Error!' and the program won't open. What should I do?

Microsoft Vista users may encounter a Runtime Error when attempting to run National Estimator. This is caused by Vista's User Account Control (UAC) function. Here are two things you can do to start the program without having to resort to right-clicking and run as administrator:

Set Default to 'Run as Administrator'
Right-click on the 'National Estimator' icon Click on 'Properties'
Click on the 'Compatibility' tab
Check the box for 'Run this program as an Administrator'
Click 'OK'

You can now launch the program using the normal method. You will encounter the User Account Control each time.

OR

Turn off 'User Account Control'
Click 'Start'
Click 'Control Panel'
Switch to 'Classic View' (if necessary)
Open 'User Accounts'
Click 'Turn User Account Control on or off'
If the 'User Account Control' "Permissions" window appears, click 'Continue'
Uncheck the box for 'Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer'
Click 'OK'

The computer will inform you that it needs to reboot, please go ahead and do so.
Note: You will have disabled a level of additional security that Vista provides, but it will stop the constant 'nagging' that some users find annoying.