tech-tip

We used to joke we had one form to change a client's address and another form to change her phone number. Unfortunately, this wasn't far from the truth – advisors have lots of forms to keep track of.

Luckily, you can use a program called 7stacks to access all your forms from the taskbar (read last week's tip).

I'm not simply talking about storing all your forms in a folder and dragging this folder to the taskbar.

While this method provides quick access to the folder, in many cases you still have to sift through hundreds of forms once you open it.

Read: Clean up your computer desktop

Grouping forms into categories and moving them into subfolders opens another menu that will display the contents of the subfolder when the main folder is used as a 7stack shortcut. (The below image is for example purposes only, and isn't meant to imply endorsement of any dealer.)

Here, the CRA forms are inside the GOVERNMENT subfolder. I changed the subfolder images to PDF icons.

This technique works well for quickly finding and opening forms, but it creates an extra step when you update those forms.

To avoid this, store shortcuts, instead of actual files, in the subfolders. The shortcuts point to the files. As long as you don't change file names when you update forms, you never have to open the subfolders. You can name the shortcuts whatever you want, and locate them anywhere.

Read: What do you want from your financial planning software?

Here's the process for organizing your forms using 7stacks.

  • Create category subfolders (e.g. Government, Dealer Forms) in the folder containing your forms.
  • Highlight a set of forms to be included in the first subfolder.
  • Right-click one of the highlighted forms and select Create Shortcut.
  • The newly created shortcuts should now be highlighted and identified as shortcuts by an arrow in the bottom left corner of the icons.

  • Drag the shortcuts into the subfolder.
  • Repeat for all forms.
  • Create a folder for the subfolders and name it something like Forms. This will be your master shortcut for the taskbar icon. Drag all the subfolders into the master shortcut folder.
  • Drag the master shortcut folder to the folder containing your other 7stacks shortcuts.
  • Open the 7stacks program.
  • Browse for your Forms folder.
  • Select menu as the stack type.
  • Select an icon.
  • Click Create Shortcut on Desktop.
  • Drag the newly created desktop shortcut to the taskbar.
  • Delete the desktop shortcut created in the previous step.

Use the menu stack when dealing with a large number of forms. The program will insert scroll bars at the top and bottom of the menu if necessary.

Next week, I'll outline how to create folders automatically from a spreadsheet.

David Dagley, CFP®, is a software developer and Adobe javascript expert, with 15 years of financial planning experience. He is the owner and president of Forms Doctor Inc., a company specializing in workflow automation solutions and financial planning calculators for investment dealers, financial advisors, and investment firms.
Originally published on Advisor.ca