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Introducing Software Preferences and Settings

IMPORTANT NOTE: This topic is is going through an update process. The tab names are not correct. Other information should be correct.

This help topic covers the use of preferences and settings in Total Office Manager. There are some preferences that are shared with our mobile app called Aptora Mobile II. Those are covered in this help topic too.

Readers may find this help topic a bit confusing. Many preferences will not make sense unless the user has experience with the software. Many of the preferences and settings deal with a feature or software capability. Unless you understand that part of the software, you could have trouble understanding what the preference or setting does – or if you need it.

Video Training

Please check this video for additional help:

Recommended Preferences and Settings

Aptora does not provide a set of recommended setting for this form. We would like to, but we have found it impossible. Companies are too different.

Form Access

  • From the main menu, click Edit | Preferences.

  • From the toolbar, click the Preferences button.


Use the Preferences form to setup email, establish default selections, turn features on or off, create restrictions for users, set financial cutoff dates, require management approval for certain tasks, require certain data input, and much more. There are several hundred settings on this form.

Company Versus User Preferences

There are two tabs for each page on the Preferences form.

Company Preferences: These preferences apply to the entire Company File or to all users.

My Preferences: These apply only to the user that is logged in and setting the preferences.

Setting Other User Preferences

If you wish to set My Preferences for other users, you must be logged in as that user.

Preferences Applied to Mobile App Users

Total Office Manager has some preferences that are shared with the mobile app.

The following tabs contain preferences that also apply to mobile app users. Shared preferences use a blue font.

Company > Company Preferences
Customer:Jobs > Company Preferences
Items > Company Preferences
Purchase Orders > Company Preferences
Sales Opportunity Manager > Company Preferences
Sales/Invoices/Estimates > Company Preferences
Work Orders > Company Preferences

Invoice Items

There are shared preferences on various items. Check the Accounting tab in Inventory Part, Non-Inventory Part, and others. If the preference or option is shared between TOM and the app, the font color will be blue.

Field Definitions

These are brief definitions of what each preference does or how it is used.

General Tab

Enable Zip Code Database

Select this function if you want the city and state to auto populate when the zip code is entered.  (If the zip code is in the database).

Allow Duplicate Numbers

Select this function if you want to allow duplicate invoice, work order, fixed asset, service agreement numbers. Allowing duplicates is generally not recommended.

Display Hierarchy Lists as Flat (faster). Does Not Apply To COA.

When checked, lists will be displayed as flat and not in a parent child like manner (hierarchy). This action may make the loading and scrolling of your lists faster. Consider this if you have huge lists that are performing slowly. This feature does not apply to the Chart of Accounts lists. Most users would leave this UNCHECKED.

Auto-Generate Account Numbers

When checked, Total Office Manager will automatically assign account numbers when you add accounts to your chart of accounts. Most users would leave this CHECKED.

Increment By

You can select or enter a number to increment by. Example: Enter 20 and Total Office Manager will count up by 20.

Web Update Reminder

When checked, Total Office Manager will remind you to update the software on a regular basis; a time span of your choice. At least one user should leave this option CHECKED.

Remind Me Every XXX Days

Select the number of days between each reminder to update.

Last Date Reminded

The date that Total Office Manager last reminded you.

Default Appointment Duration in Minutes

Set the default duration for your appointments. When creating a new appointment, the duration will be set for you.

Automatically Refresh Schedule Board

When checked (generally recommended), the schedule board will automatically refresh if changes are made outside the schedule board (like another computer or another form you may be working in). Otherwise, you must click a button on the schedule board called “Refresh”. You may wish to uncheck this feature if you have a lot of users working in the schedule board at the same time and this work is making Total Office Manager run slow.

Auto Refresh Forms

When checked, open forms (that have focus) are automatically refreshed (info is reloaded or updated) when ever changes are made on another computer. You can also control how often Total Office Manager checks the database for changes. To do this, enter a number from 1-99 seconds. We generally recommend that this feature be turned on and that the time be about 15 to 20 seconds. If you have only 1 to 3 people in the database at one time, you may go ahead and turn this feature off if you find the refresh function bothersome. If this feature is turned off, forms will still refresh when you make changes to the form on your own computer.

Use Scheduling Conflict Checking

When checked (generally recommended), Total Office Manager will check appointments and work orders for time & date conflicts when created or edited. This makes Total Office Manager run a little slower. You may wish to uncheck this feature if you are having trouble with Total Office Manager running slow and you don’t need this feature. Some users purposely create conflicts and don’t wish to be reminded.

Automatically Backup Company File

With this option checked on, Total Office Manager will make one copy each time you close Total Office Manager, up to five closes, then starts over and replaces the first copy. This feature is highly recommended. If your database becomes lost or damaged, this may save your day!

Use Item Alias

Allows users to create additional item numbers to represent the same original item. Many item numbers can mean the same thing and refer to the same part. Example: You can enter a 30 amp 2 pole electrical breaker with a very popular manufacturer’s item number. You may then add several additional item number (like from other manufacturers) to represent the same part. This feature is not the same thing as an “Alternative Product” feature. This feature is still in testing and may not be available to all users.

Schedule Board Tab

General / Date Format Options

You have seven different day/date options to select from. Use this feature to select how you want your Day of the Week and the Current Date to appear in Total Office Manager. Example: Thursday 15 January 2004 or Thru Jan 15, 04 etc.

Day Start / End Time

Enter the time (hour) that your normal workday begins. Example: 6:00 AM. Enter how many hours your business operates in a day. Ex 8, 12, 14 hours. (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM = 12 hours.) Used for scheduling jobs/tasks, messages, appointments etc.

Day View

Select how you want the Schedule Board to look on a daily bases. Example: Scheduled times displayed at the top of column or times displayed at the left margin etc.

Week View / Week Starts On

Select how you want the Schedule Board to look weekly. Example: Scheduled times displayed at the top of column or times displayed at the left margin etc.

Week starts on. Enter the day of the week (Tuesday) and how many days in the week.  Example: 5 days, 4 days (may have a Holiday in a particular week). You would not want to schedule any appointments on that Monday.

Color Options

Select the color scheme for your Schedule Board.

Show Inactive Employees

If unchecked, inactive employees will NOT show up on schedule board.

Show Color Bar

If checked, displays the color bar on the left side of the schedule board.

Accounting Defaults Tab

These accounts come from your chart of accounts. The selections you make here are used as your default account selection in many forms in Total Office Manager. For example, when you create an inventory item, you will not be asked to select an expense, income, or asset account if you have made a default selection here.


COGS or Expense Account

Select expense, or cost of goods from the available accounts in the drop down menu. Remember you can always add an account if the one you need is not on the list , this applies to all Preference default accounts.

Income Account

Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu, income.

Asset Account

Select assets, other assets, or other current assets from the available accounts in the drop down menu.

Preferred Vendor

Select from the available vendors in the drop down menu.

Tax Code

Select from the available tax codes in the drop down menu.

Markup Method

Select from the available markup tables in the drop down menu.


Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.


Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.

Pay Bills

Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.

Pay Sales Tax

Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.

Pay Liabilities

Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.

Payroll Checks

Select from the available accounts in the drop down menu.


Select from the available warehouses in the drop down menu. This will be your default.

Limit PO Amount

When checked, you can enter a limit (maximum) on purchase orders. When a non administrator attempts to save the PO, they will be required to seek their administrator and have them enter a password. Administrators will be still be warned when the PO exceeds the limit but no password will be required. This feature only works when security is enabled.

Smart Filtering

This setting limits the selection of account types in drop down menus to only those account types that should or are most commonly used with that account selection field. This was done to help users from selecting improper account types as well as reduce the number of accounts displayed to help users locate the proper account faster

Auto Recall

When creating a bill, receiving and item, or writing a check, the last one you created (for that vendor) is copied onto the form. You can then make changes as needed. This is very handy for rent and other things you buy on a regular basis for a specific vendor.

Include Account Numbers with Account Names

When checked, Total Office Manager will display account numbers, along with the name of the account, in various lists.

Cutoff Date

Transactions with a date equal to or prior to this date can not be added, deleted, or changed. Check the Do Not Allow Add/Modify Accounting Records on or Before box to turn this feature on.

Warning: Certain operations in Total Office Manager (like changing historical balances or transactions) will get around this safety.

Call Identifier Tab

Activate Call Identifier System (Caller ID)

If you have purchased and installed caller identifier, you will need to check the box to make it activate, or uncheck to inactivate it.

Always Listen

Click the radio button if you want the call identifier on at all times.

Listen Only When Call Identifier Window Open

Click the radio button if you only want to listen when you have the Call ID window open.

Your IP Address

Your IP Address ( Internet Provider Address) automatically populates. Note: An IPAddress is a 32-bit number that identifies each sender or receiver of information that is sent in packets across the Internet.

Server TCP /IPAddress

Enter your TCP/IP Address (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). When you are set up with direct access to the Internet, your computer is provided with a copy of theTCP/IP program just as every other computer that you may send messages to or get information from also has a copy of TCP/IP.

Server Port

Enter your port number. Also known as a Listen Port.

Reset Connection / Disconnected

Select to turn on or disconnect from call identifier.

Security Tab

Enable Security

Check this box if you want security enabled for the company you are logged into. (You may have two companies A & B). This provides security for each from the other.

Number of Days Until Password Expiration

This password is for the company you are logged into.  Again, you may have two companies set up.

Use Advanced Security

When checked, Total Office Manager will utilize more advanced security settings and require a lot more setup for each user. Otherwise, Total Office Manager will use the original simple security settings. The “simple” security is being phased out but is offered to give users time to convert.

Maximum Number of entries into the Error Log

Enter the number of entries that you want logged into the Error Log. When this number is reached the oldest entries will be removed. If you keep an error log, you may find that Total Office Manager works a little more slowly, and your data will take up more disk space.


Note: In version 3.5, the Audit Trail is always “on” and can’t be turned off. It will log the last 10,000 entries. Entries can’t be deleted.

Appearance Tab

Show Status Bar

Check this box if you want the Status Bar to show across the bottom of your screen. The Status Bar displays the logged in users name, the time/date the user logged in, if your CAP and NUM keys are on or off, and the current date and time.

Show InformationCenter

Check this box if you want the Information Center to be displayed. You may click and drag the Information Center anywhere you would like to have it, by default it will show on the left hand side of your screen. The Information Center displays all or any windowsyou have open at one time, all appointments for the current day and any unread messages.  Under Users, it will display who is logged onto the computer you are at. System Resources part of the Information Center gives you information about your computer system. (Avail. RAM : (( Random Access Memory ) CPU Load: (Central Processing Unit) indicates in percentages, how hard your processor is working.

Show Tool Bar

Check this box to display all the available icons on the Tool Bar. Unchecking this box will hide all the Icons.

Tool Button Bar Style

Clicking the radio button for Standard (3D) will display each icon as a separate button with a raised look.  Clicking the radio button for Flat will display the Icons flat with no separation.

Border Style

Clicking the radio button for None will display the Tool Bar icons not separated from the Menu Bar.  Clicking the radio button for Fixed Single displays the Tool Bar separated from the Menu Bar.

Tool Bar Appearance

Clicking the radio button for 3D will give the entire Tool Bar the appearance of being raised forward. Clicking the Flat will give the appearance of the entire Tool Bar as being flat against the screen.

Tool Bar Text

Clicking the radio button for Show Toolbar Text will display a brief name under each icon. Clicking the radio button for Hide Toolbar Text will display the Icon only.


Click this button to open a form allowing you to change which icons will be displayed on your tool bar. Note: The Show Tool Bar must be checked for this button to be enabled.

Customer Defaults

When creating a customer, Total Office Manager can automatically enter certain data for you. These selected are not required but when made, will allow Total Office Manager to speed up the creation of customers. Select the most common options.


Customer AR Account


The accounts receivable accounts used to track money the customer owes you.
Customer Tax Code


The default tax code used on sales related forms.
Customer Tax Item The default tax item used on sales related forms.


Customer Type The default customer type (like residential or commercial).


Customer Terms The billing or collection terms used most often.


Customer Payment Method


The most common payment method for your customers (like COD).

Warn When Saving Customers With Duplicate Contact Information

When checked, warns you when you are saving another customer or job that has the same Address 1 contents as another customer or job. Total Office Manager only checks Address 1.

Auto-Populate ‘Work Address’ with ‘Bill to Address’

Copies whatever you type from Bill To into Work Address. Check this box if most of the time the two are the same.

Warn if Over Credit Limit

When checked, Total Office Manager will present a message box warning you that a customer has exceeded their credit limit. The credit limit is set in the Cust:Job form and must be greater than zero. This message box is presented when entering work orders, sales, and invoices.

Warn When Passed Due

When checked, Total Office Manager will present a message box warning you that a customer is passed due. Meaning they are late on their payments. This message box is presented when entering work orders, sales, and invoices.

Use Automatic Notes Popup

When checked, the Automatic Notes Popup feature will be activated.

Warn if Excess Time Off Usage

When creating a paycheck that includes time off that the employee is NOT eligible for, you will receive a warning when this box is checked.

Auto Populate Customer Name and Contact Field

Adds the Company Name or Name of Person to the Display Name and Contact Name fields. This saves you from retyping and you can always change it.

Customer Name Format

This field is only available when you check the Auto Populate Customer Name and Contact Field option above. Select the format you wish for the personal name to copy into other fields and display as on the Cust:Job and other lists. This is handy if you would like to see the customer’s last name appear first followed by the last name. There are other display options too.

IMPORTANT: Making a selection here does not change how existing names (info you have already entered) appear on your lists. It affects how names are copied to the Customer Name and Contact fields. The way a name is entered is the way it is displayed. Existing names are NOT changed.

Allocate Payroll Taxes to Job Costing

When “Inactive” is NOT selected, this feature allocates payroll taxes, medicare, FICA, etc. (liabilities and taxes), to Job Costing. You may treat these ‘expenses’ as overhead or COGS; depending on your selection.

How This Feature Works

Total Office Manager allocates payroll taxes to jobs. Total Office Manager does this by examining the employee’s hours, total wages, and total taxes to calculate the correct amount appropriate for each job.

For this feature to work, you must not only use the time sheet but you must also create a payroll check.


Default Ship Via

If applicable to your business, enter your most common shipping method.


Default Attention

This is the first line in the mailing address.


Default Line 1 This is the second line in the mailing address.


Default Customer Message Enter your most common Customer Message. See Customer List.
Mark ‘To Be Printed’ Marks your forms as To Be Printed for batch printing. You can always change it.



Do Not Include Vendors in Sales Rep Selection


When checked, Vendors will not be a possible selection in Sales Rep lists.
Allow More Than One Serialized Item Per Row When checked, you can have two or more serialized items on one row (usually not recommended). It is best to have one serialized item per row. You will be able to see the direct cost of the item on the sales form and the printed copy is usually easier to understand and looks better.



  • If you have entered different users in Total Office Manager (recommended), most preferences and options are saved by user. You can log in using any computer and your options will be in force. A small number of options are saved globally (same for all users).
  • If two or more people sign in as Administrator, their preferences will over-write each other every time they are set. It is best to setup users and activate security.

Related Content

Preferences – Appearance
Preferences – Appointments
Preferences – Auto-Recall
Preferences – Caller ID
Preferences – Chart of Accounts
Preferences – Customer:Jobs
Preferences – Cutoff Date
Preferences – Deposits
Preferences – Items
Preferences – Login
Preferences – Pay Bills
Preferences – Payroll
Preferences – Purchase Orders
Preferences – Refresh
Preferences – Reports
Preferences – Sales Tax
Preferences – Sales/Invoices/Estimates
Preferences – Security
Preferences – Service Agreements
Preferences – Vendors
Preferences – Web Updates
Preferences – Work Orders
Preferences – Zip Codes