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Feature release: saved filters for easy database management

New Features

During one of our regular combs through Rex for anything inconvenient, we noticed that while Rex filters ARE comprehensive – they’re a bit of a pain to enter. Especially when you’re using the same one over and over again.

It’s one of those little things with big consequences; kind of like how termites produce methane. One tiny termite isn’t a problem – but put the entire planetary termite population of 250 trillion together and all of a sudden these smelly little insects are warming up the globe. Picture that, but with wasted time. Every re-entered filter is a lost minute. Minutes become hours. Hours become days.

Double data entry is never any fun – so we avoid it as much as possible. You wouldn’t drill new holes in a bowl every time you needed a colander, so we thought our filters should probably be reusable too.

Saved filters

Filters (in particular advanced filters that require you to add four or more criteria) take a fair bit of time to create. So now, once you’ve run a filter, you have the option to recycle it. All you need to do is click ‘Save as’, give it a name and it’ll be stored away for you to use again.

Simply click the ‘View Contacts’ (or Properties or Listings, depending on which module you’re in) and you’ll see a menu pop up with all your saved filters ready to go.

Though this looks simple, we’ve just shaved a huge amount of work off this process. What once took you six or more clicks now takes you two.

The whole purpose of a database is to be able to quickly and easily locate the data you want. If you can’t do that, you might as well be using a filing cabinet. Saving your filters, and using them again means you can create specific contact or property lists, drill down to specific sub-sets and mine for specialised data in no time at all.

It’s also worth noting that the order of your lists is saved as well. If you’ve organised your records from, shall we say, most to least recently contacted – this is the order they’ll appear in when you run your saved filter again.

Relative time and natural language search

To ensure your saved filters don’t have a use-by date – we’re also unveiling a ‘relative time’ search feature.

Today’s date is Friday, October 30, 2015 – so let’s say I want to find all the contacts I’ve created in the last week. Normally, I’d search for all contacts created since October 23, 2015 – a week ago today. But if I’m trying to save a filter to repeat this action – this isn’t going to work. Rather than running the filter and finding contacts created in the last week – the search would continue to return contacts created since the 23rd indefinitely. That’s where relative time searches come in.

We’ve made Rex a little smarter. You can simply search for all contacts created ‘~1 week ago’, and the system looks after all the pesky date math itself. ‘1 week ago’ is a function relative to the date the search is run, so these filters work again and again. They’ll continue returning the right results forever. It’s exactly what it says on the tin.

We have a massive range of intuitive new ‘normal language’ terms you can now use. You can search for events ‘last year’, ‘last month’, ‘yesterday’, ‘tomorrow’ – the list goes on. Quite frankly, there are far too many to mention – but you can find an exhaustive list here.

Note: for relative time searches to work, you must include a tilde (~) beforehand. You can find the tilde in the top left of almost all keyboards.

Make your saved filters public

So, now you’ve created and saved your first filter. If it benefits everyone – you don’t have to keep it all to yourself. You can share filters with the rest of your agency by ticking the Show publically checkbox before saving.

This is particularly helpful for Admins and Super Admins who want to give users in their account a helping hand by creating a few popular filters for quick access. This can help new or inexperienced users in Rex can now make full use of the filter functionality without needing to worry too much about the nitty-gritty. Your team just got better.

If you have grander plans for your filters, and you want to share them with your whole office group or franchise, you can do so through the template libraries feature. If you have any queries, please contact support at support@rexsoftware.com.au.

Current user search

Of course, now that you’re sharing filters, we needed to ensure that they work differently depending on who’s using them. Or rather, we needed to ensure that filters work the same relative to other users’ contacts, properties and listings. This meant building a ‘current user’ feature.

Any ‘user’ search where you would previously select your name (or the name of someone else in your office) now gives you the option to select ‘current user’. This means that your saved filters work properly across different Rex accounts regardless of who’s using them.

While we were at it, we also added the ability to find records belonging to users that have been deleted to make reassigning records when agents leave even easier.

‘Most recent’ and ‘favourite’ filters

If you and/or your agency are saving a lot of filters, you’re going to want to be able to mark the most important ones so you can find them easily in the crowd. You can ‘Favourite’ filters by clicking the little Rex flag icon.

We’ve separated your filters into ‘Recent’, ‘Favourites’ and ‘All’:

  • Recent: shows all your recently used features
  • Favourites: shows all the filters you have marked as ‘Favourite’
  • All: shows all the filters you have ever used and those other users in your account have made public

You should have no trouble quickly finding the one you need. If you have a lot of filters saved, you even have a search bar to make navigation easier.

Awesome efficiency

Let’s say everyone in your office runs ten filters a day – all of which take around a minute to create. That’s almost an hour a week per user. Add these up over the course of a year and you’ll notice a distinct similarity to our termite metaphor from before.

We guarantee this feature is going to save you a lot of time. Refining your searches once, rather than time and time again, is going to seriously add up. Plus, once you get the hang of it, the natural language search is also going to save you the hassle of searching around the calendar. Writing ‘~ 2 years ago’ is substantially easier than flicking back through two entire calendars to mark a date.

Plus, you can radically improve the efficiency of your entire agency, office group or franchise by spending ten minutes creating a specialised group of public filters for everyone to use.

Stay tuned for a few more related feature releases that we’re going to be unveiling over the coming weeks. Rex is going through quite a renovation.

Help documentation

For step-by-step instructions on using this feature, you can find our help documentation on saved filters here.

Related releases

Saved filters are the first of our new trinity of data manipulation functionality. Check out these other releases to find out more:

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