Archive for : Blog

How to Apply Advanced Filters to Incoming Mail in ActiveCollab 3

@mtracey Asked on the activeCollab Forums, about using keywords and/or hashtags to filter tasks sent in via email to activecollab — here’s a quick video answer:
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P.S. — After creating the video, I started thinking about how changing the subject line to include #helpdesk will change the threading if you are using Google Apps / Gmail for instance. Another method might be to use +helpdesk in the email address if your email supports it (Google Apps does). I just tested the theory and you could do and have the filter setup to watch for this +helpdesk in the To address instead. See here for configuration:

Do you have questions? Let us know via the Contact page or point us to your question on the forums and we’ll do our best to help out!

How to Install 3rd Party or Custom Modules in activeCollab 3

Installing for activeCollab 3 Modules

Start by uploading the module files

Start by uploading the module files

You’ll be uploading a single folder to the new Custom / Modules folder in your activeCollab directory (shown here)

Go to Administration

Go to Administration

Find the Modules area in Admin

Find the Modules area in Admin

Click to install your module

Click to install your module

activeCollab will continue the install process

activeCollab will continue the install process

Your Module is installed and ready to go!

Your Module is installed and ready to go!

Now a couple steps to save you some headaches! Clear the AC3 cache and templates using Admin Tools

Now a couple steps to save you some headaches!  Clear the AC3 cache and templates using Admin Tools

And last but not least — Clear your browser cache.

And last but not least -- Clear your browser cache.

Each browser is different, if you aren’t familiar with the process — Google is your friend but here is a helpful resource:’s-Cache

Most browsers will also clear the page cache using CTRL + F5 a few times to force a refresh.

Your module is installed and ready to go! Enjoy — and if you need any help please let us know.

Your module is installed and ready to go!  Enjoy --- and if you need any help please let us know.

activeCollab 3: How to setup Scheduled Tasks using cPanel

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activeCollab 2 users, the Admin area access is a bit different — but these instructions can help you too!

More Productivity

ActiveLabs = Productivity

Don’t take our word for it, just ask our customers!

New & Improved

Hey Everyone!

I want to start out by apologizing that it’s been too long between updates — I promise you wont have to wait so long next time – And today’s update is all about making good on that promise!

But didn’t you just email me last week??

Some of you might be feeling like you just received something from us recently and wonder what I’m talking about…. And you’re right. We’ve had some great feedback on the most recent blog posts about Why we love activeCollab, Are you using it right? and What’s in a Name? … many of you took the time to also download our 7 tips for activeCollab Free PDF too!

But…. although we have been eager to share what’s going on… we’ve been biting our tongue about the improvements and updates we’ve been making behind the scenes on several of our most popular products!

Why the wait?

Why have we been keeping quiet? Well we’ve been working to improve things on several fronts at once and in the process, a few of the valuable updates to our products were delayed as we were aiming to announce the updates while unveiling our new Members area to make your life easier.

The New Members area — It’s finally here!

The day has arrived, long overdue — you can now login and download updates to any ActiveLabs products from our new Members area with your email address and password, existing customers will receive their login shortly, please login and checkout your updates!  We’d love to hear your feedback, and definitely let us know if you have any issues —

So what’s new?

Tabinator ProTabinator Pro

There are just so many improvements in this new version that we felt it needed to be called 2.0 — the most requested feature is now available Unlimited Filter and URL tabs! Other exciting features like Role Management to create base tab configurations for each role — for easy setup of all users. Custom color indicators, drag and drop re-ordering, choose your default tab, and the list goes on. See all the details | Buy Now

Team PrivacyTeam Privacy

We’ve fully revamped this module to provide a much more intuitive UI, along with both a new Quick Settings feature to get up and running easily and an even more powerful Role settings configuration. See all the detailsBuy Now


We’ve quietly added some new features to Quickify that we thought you should know about too… a new Menu Only version not shown in the previous Quickify videos, creates a faster and smaller footprint when you are accessing the features in the toolbar. Customizable Role Settings to only show the optimal features to each role. New iPad / Touch device support — touch and slide on any Ticket or Task link to use Quickify on your phone or tablet! See all the details | Buy Now

And more…

That’s not all, for other updates login to the new Members area and check Your Account for any relevant updates. With the release of our new Members area, you’ll now have access to all your purchases and updates during your 1 year license all in one place.

A note about automatic updates…

We think it’s a great idea to have automatic notifications when new versions are released ala WordPress style plugin updates — that’s why we love what Apps Magnet are doing for the community with their new aC Garage Lite module. We’re thankful for the opportunity to help our customers stay up to date too, so we’ve accepted Nirav’s invite to add our product line to acGarage lite to keep you informed of any updates right where you need them! Get acGarage lite now, it’s free! While you are at it, check out the acGarage Pro service if you’d like to keep your system up to date the hands-free way.

Stay Tuned for More Updates

We’ve been busy with Rocking Your Workflows, Live Chatting with some great visitors, and tweeting advice too… even building out some complex custom development for some amazing clients! (Who else responds “I want to make out with this thing” when they are demoing the latest edition of your work for them! This made our day of course… you know who you are! Thanks!)… but with all that, we’ve still got some exciting new surprises on the way…

As always, happy collaborating and I’m heading back to the lab!



P.S. — Have a question about activeCollab that’s been bothering you?  I’m happy to answer questions on twitter anytime — tweet your question or frustrationlike David did, and we’ll have a mini Rock Your Workflow on twitter!

Why I Love activeCollab…

And other things to be thankful for… plus a chance to win a Rock Your Workflow session!

(note: It is was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada… hope you wont mind joining me in some Thanksgiving spirit)

Have you ever taken someone you love for granted?…
Or just for a while got so caught up with your life that you forgot all the things you love about them?

It never feels good to be on the receiving end of that lack of appreciation and as much as we are around our family, friends or even our team, it’s easy to start taking them for granted too. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which is this weekend here in Canada and next month with our friends in the US — as well as some feelings stirred up by Steve Jobs’ untimely passing — I felt like it would be a good time to show some appreciation…

I’ve been really fortunate to have such a great team, that starts with my wife (and business partner) and carries itself through to our admin and development teams — I really didn’t feel like I took them for granted, but in the past couple weeks it’s become a lot more obvious that the real answer is ‘I don’t mean to take them for granted.’

Sherice, my wife — I realize sometimes I’ve expected help from her without really valuing it the way I should.. she’s the best partner in the world.

The rest of the team — To build the products we have and meet the needs of our custom development clients….well, let’s just say, I put them through a lot of challenges and make demands on their abilities…I’m never happy just making something work, it’s got to be just right (logic, functionality, user-friendliness, aesthetics, etc)… so there’s a a lot of research, tweaking, talking and more tweaking! They don’t complain though, and often they are excited about the challenges that come from what we do together, just like me… what more could I ask for?

The Unsung Hero…

There’s also an important member of our team that never really gets the appreciation deserved and by now you probably see where I’m going with this… activeCollab… better known as The Dashboard in our day to day conversations or Dash for short (not quite as creative and original a name that I hope you’ve come up with).

Dash is in the office working , 24 hours a day , 7 days a week… always ready to jump into whatever project any one of our team wants her to focus on, oftentimes multiple projects at once… pulled in many different directions but never complaining. She’s got a great memory, so I can be sure that even if I forget something , I’ll be reminded or have access to her information on anything when I need it.

When Dash first joined our team, our workflow was quite different, very little was systematized (yes, that IS a word :)). Everything was in someone’s head, and not easily accessible at all and most things we did were done differently each time because of that… if they even got done because no one’s memory was as good as Dash’s.

Sure, Dash and I have had our differences, but I’ve come around to her way of thinking… and she’s learned some new things along the way, both from my instruction and from others who have invested the time in her, and for that I’m very thankful.

Enough with the story, you get it… activeCollab truly is the MVP on our team, not to undercut anyone else’s value… we all know we’d be lost without her. Tracking projects, tasks, time, people… it’s no small feat, and we all count on activeCollab day in and day out to be there for us.
What’s better than some appreciation? More of the same!

This weekend, I’m making you all honorary Canadians – eh!

I’d like you to take some time to think about how thankful you are and finish this sentence for me….

“I love activeCollab because… “

OR just tell me what you love about activeCollab in your own words… why not write your own blog post, tweet, or status update about it and post a link here in the comments below! For those of you in the US, you’ll be thankful ahead of schedule… 😉

BONUS — Post your “I love activeCollab” thoughts by October 31st (Extended) and you’ll be entered to win a free Rock Your Workflow session, we’ll choose a random winner by this time next week!
I’ll start things off….

I love activeCollab because… it’s given me the opportunity to find what I love to do and do it with a great team and meet some amazing clients from around the world using it to collaborate on interesting projects… and to help them do what they do even better and easier!

I love activeCollab because… it’s a great foundation to manage my projects, but I’m not limited to built in features… I can use 3rd party modules to expand the features or build my own. Thanks to Appsmagnet, USwebstyle, activeCollabmod and all my colleagues that are part of the developers program…. and to all of you who provide us with feedback and suggestions to improve our products.

I love activeCollab because… of the Modern theme — Thanks Leon! If it wasn’t for you… I’m not sure I could spend the whole day looking at my work, and I’m sure Dash appreciates it 😉

And last, but most certainly not least…

I love activeCollab because… ActiveLabs wouldn’t exist if we didn’t come across aC years ago and start to put it to work in our own business… so a BIG thanks to Ilija, Goran and the whole A51 team for building the foundation of such a great tool and for putting up with all of us who bombard you with support requests, ideas and questions in the forums and email everyday.

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving to everyone –I hope you have a great rest of your weekend!



— Don’t forget to share your own “I love activeCollab” stories in the comments! Our way of saying thanks for sharing…. we’ll randomly select two “I love activeCollab” commenters to win a free Rock Your Workflow session $250 Tweet your #iloveactivecollab thoughts and get two entries :)


– If you aren’t feeling the love for activeCollab right now, that’s ok… send us an email with why you hate activeCollab and you’ll be entered to win too! I am confident we can help you start loving activeCollab again too.


Don’t forget to tell your team, family and friends how much they mean to you too! :)

What’s in a name?

Last week we talked about the dreaded question, “Am I using it right? I suggested that as activeCollab users, we forget about the “right” way, and seek to find the way that works for us.

One major roadblock I often see when talking with people is that it’s easy to get hung up on the names of features — and miss out on the benefits of the function.

This week’s tip…

Forget about the names. Focus on what each “function” can do for you and your team!

Here’s what I mean: What comes to mind when you hear the word Ticket? It depends on who you ask. The concept of Tickets is a popular one in the Customer Support world, and because of this, a lot of activeCollab users can be confused about the value of, or even dismiss Tickets altogether. Most of us have some sort of experience with Tickets. The first thing that may come to mind is “Trouble Tickets”, but what if we removed the name of this feature for just a few minutes and reviewed the functions for what they bring to the table? Could you and your team, or clients approach these differently?

With each of our new nameless “mystery objects” we can….

1. Start with a main body area to post content, i.e. questions, copy, attachments, notes, links, images, etc.

2. Associate this mystery object to a category, milestone, due date.

3. Assign a person, or multiple persons…. one of them being ultimately responsible. And they will get an email notification when they are assigned.

4. Subscribe people for future updates and notifications even if they aren’t assigned to it – great for monitoring progress.

5. Reply to the email notifications to send in feedback, attachments, or give approval on the content of the notifications and it will be added to the running commentary on the thread.

6. Easily get back to the main content and review the history of work and comments related to this mystery object right from an email notification link.

7. On top of all this, add a related task for ourselves or someone else, and set a due date with the same great email notifications and automated reminders x days from the due date.

8. Mark it as completed and it will be automatically be available in an archive for future reference.

9. Not only this, but you could have an unlimited number of these objects as part of a larger object called a Project!

10. Ok I may have gotten carried away…. but there’s more… and I’m sure you could come up with some of your own too.

Sooo… do you think you could put a feature like this to use?

Now are we seeing the the same limitations as we did when we just thought of these as Tickets?

Are your team or clients seeing limitations based on the names of features like Tickets, Milestones, Tasks…. even Projects? Did you know that getting past this could be as easy as renaming it with a Localization file?

What’s a Localization file? Here’s another great example…the Localization file’s purpose is to support multiple languages i.e. German, Spanish, Dutch, etc…. But if we don’t get hung up on the original purpose, we can leverage the value of the feature! After all, aren’t we really talking about “language” anyway? It’s about getting your activeCollab installation speaking your “language” that makes it most usable.

Take some time to think if naming alone may be holding you back. Could “Requests” be a better name for Tickets in your environment? It was for one of our clients. What about any of these… Subprojects, Articles, Missions, Campaigns, or [insert your ideas here]? How about you? Do you need to find a new name for Tickets? OR just a new perspective so you can jump in and use it differently? Apply the same principles to Projects, Milestones, Pages, and Tasks too!

I hope this inspires you to ignore the “names” of features and focus on the “function”! With activeCollab there are so many possibilities to create a system that is perfect for the way you want to work, these suggestions are just the beginning. If you need help with a new perspective or optimizing for your needs — I’d be happy to help you more in a Rock Your Workflow session or three :)

BACK TO SCHOOL BONUS: For all my fellow students of life and perpetual learners… We’re offering a Rock Your Workflow special right now in the spirit of Back to School. Just enter the promo code BACK2WORKFLOWSCHOOL — and you’ll get 20% off on Rock Your Workflows (and anything else in your cart too!)

Am I Using it Right?

Let’s face it … we’ve all asked ourselves this question at some point in time in any activity, especially when it’s seeming harder than we thought…

Maybe it’s because we thought it should be easier. Maybe it’s just a remnant feeling from growing up in a school system that taught us there was really only one “right way” to do something. Whatever the source, it’s looming there in the back of our minds, nagging us like the buy now screen in some trial software.

This is often one of the key questions I get during our Rock Your Workflow sessions, and I’m not surprised at all… because this question itself inspires everyone in different ways. There seem to be two categories of people who respond to this question quite differently:

1. The push-harder group: For some of us, this question becomes a quest to continue to improve our workflow and seek out anything that will potentially help on that quest. We might own every single 3rd party module we can get our hands on, or we’ve personally customized our activeCollab installation until it’s almost unrecognizable from its original form! I’d say for this group, that burning question helps to fuel our improvement. We have turned this question into a positive for ourselves — and that’s a great feeling!

2. The walking on eggshells group: There’s another group of us out there too: those who can be held back by this confidence shaking question… Am “I” using it right? This group is walking on eggshells with every step of using activeCollab or anything we use because MAYBE the way we are using it… is not the “best” way. We’re paralyzed by the thought that there is only one way to get it right. But for this group, I believe that activeCollab can help liberate us from the “only one way to do things” mindset that we may have been taught. Sure, you’ll find better ways to do things than others, and maybe it was intended to be used differently than you are using it… but that’s not what matters right now.

The truth is… we all probably have a bit of both approaches in us.  So Regardless of how you react to, “Am I using it right?”, the most important question is…

What works for you and your team?

The raw unadulterated value of activeCollab, and why I feel that it’s often a popular choice for those moving from a more rigid system (yes, I’ll say it… Basecamp), is because the reality is one size (or shape) doesn’t fit all. Many get to a point where working around the system they are using, or with someone else’s mindset, becomes unproductive—and they now want to begin to shape things to fit their needs more. (Sure, they also often make the change because they are paying $150 per month, and having those limitations starts to eat at them.)

When working with activeCollab, keep in mind that YOU are in control – how do YOU want things used? Even if it’s not the initial purpose of the feature, does a work around help YOU and YOUR team? Make that part of your workflow and teach your team to use the system that way. In the next few weeks, I’ll share some more on this topic… Up Next, how a simple language feature can help your thinking and your workflow! Stay tuned for more.

Also if you haven’t already checked out the free article 7 Tips to make them love activeCollab, why not download it now

Here’s what some others are saying about the tips…

“Keep up the good work! I’m looking forward to reading about new stuff for activeCollab from you…!” Steven via email

“I hadn’t even looked at themes…  Installed the Modern theme – it makes a big difference!” @drewm via Twitter

I hope this inspires you to break through the question of, “Am I doing this right?” and find your own “right” way of using it. And then just keep making it more “right” for you as you go. If you need help with a new perspective or optimizing for your needs — we’re happy to help you in a Rock Your Workflow session or three icon smile Am I Using it Right?


P.S. — Are you following us on Facebook or Twitter? If not, we’d love to hear from you — ask a question, start a discussion, or just say hi! If you’ve invested in our products or if you are just keeping up to date on what we are doing… we’d love to hear from you!

7 Tips to Getting the Thumbs Up from your Clients and Team in activeCollab

A.K.A. —  Silence the Haters  & Get Everyone else Excited

It seems like everyday we’re talking with someone who’s getting started with activeCollab or asking about how they can get their team interested in using it more.

To help you with this goal, we’ve put together this list of tips inspired by our personal experience and conversations with other activeCollab users around the world who have shared their challenges…

First step, get yourself ready…

Before we get started, take a few seconds and open up your mind to some new possibilities — if you are trying AC for the first time, forget your past experience with other systems and if you’ve been at this for a while already… don’t let the past challenges cloud your mind while you read. Open up to the possibilities and see how you can look at these tips with fresh eyes!  Also keep your users in mind, they may not all be just like you… (OMG I hope not, that would be quite the one dimensional team)…. so what do they need? how would these tips help them? and which tips apply to the different users in your sphere?

1.  Name that Puppy….

How sad is it when you call your new puppy “puppy”? Give your activeCollab a new friendly name that everyone can use to refer to it…. so they know what to call it and they can feel a part of something great, instead of just having some productivity tool forced on them! (Added bonus, now the focus is on this great tool you have called ______ and not some great tool someone else created )

Keep in mind this name needs to work for Team, Clients and Vendors — or whoever you may include in the future. A name ensures everyone is talking about the same thing and it also relays that this is something more permanent not just “another thing we are trying”.

Examples:  HQ, Projects, Dashboard… these might be a bit too generic on their own but add your company name or get creative!  The best fit depends on your organization — give it some personality if that works with your brand….  we might call ours The Lab :)

Added bonus, setup a subdomain or custom domain — i.e., so users aren’t always trying to remember how to get there.

2. Timing is everything….

Choose the right time to introduce them to your project management system (insert your name here).  Mentioning you use a project management tool to responsibly track the progress of projects and allow customers to oversee the process and provide input is great but don’t send them their logins at the first client meeting (probably obvious).

When should you get them started?  That’s a great question… I’d say it’s different for every situation, it depends on the client, type of project, how you use activeCollab (or any system) and how prepared you are for that team member or client to be involved.  Adding them at the wrong time adds to the confusion and they are less likely to use it again…. remember the sayings about first impressions… give your system a good first impression.

3. Video is your friend —

We highly recommend using video screencasts to show your team, clients, vendors or anyone the proverbial ropes of the system. (Actually using screencasts can be an amazing tool in your day to day work too).  It doesn’t take long to create a quick screencast of the whole experience from each role’s perspective.  Any time you invest here will save you a TON of time when it comes to getting new users oriented, fixing things they’ve done incorrectly and/or processing information they have sent from outside the system because they didn’t understand it :)   Not to mention, you will hear things like “wow, that was so easy to follow” and “these guys have it all together”.  Those bonus points will come in handy  :)!  Users being comfortable is the top priority mission — it allows them to be productive and confident when clicking submit on that new ticket or comment.

Another great thing about video, post it where they can go back and watch it again if they haven’t used your system for a month (no they don’t log in everyday to just see your sexy avatar and browse the progress).

Again saving you another phone call about, “I can’t remember how to login” or “where do I go when I get in there again?”.

This same principle has worked great for us with our activeCollab products, but not everyone thinks to use it for their own systems  — here’s an example



Looking for more tips?

Find out how to improve the look and feel of your dashboard, save more time, learn easy ways to customize your dashboard and more.

Click on the Download button below:


What’s cooking at ActiveLabs? Summer Update!

Sizzling savings, new modules for activeCollab & more.

With burgers, dogs and sausages on the grill, there’s summery hotness outside.  It’s hot in here at ActiveLabs too!

We’ve got a buzz (from all this barbecue sauce), and we want to fill you in on July’s goods for your activeCollab needs.  Exciting things are happening, new Labs are being released, and hot sales are melting like the ice cubes in our iced teas:

20% off site-wide savings with Quickify

Lots of people took advantage of the Quickify site-wide 20% off deal.  They scooped up Tabinator, Private Milestones, Cloud Backup, and the newbie-Quickify-on which we’re getting great feedback! Some even used this opportunity to take advantage of some Rock Your Workflow sessions! If you missed the deal we’re likely to make an exception (email us).

Rock Your Workflow IconGet Tabinator’s updates for free.

We are just about to release a brand new version and if you bought Tabinator Pro in the last year — you’ll get the updates for free (new features include – unlimited filter and url tabs, a new advanced admin area to set up tabs for roles across the board, default tab options, custom colors on tab indicators and  and more!)  Don’t have Tabinator Pro yet?  On Friday, the price is going up (like the temperature) but if you buy before Midnight on Friday, July 22nd you’ll get it at the current price with all the updates when they release!  Buy Tabinator Pro now.

Rock Your Workflow IconBuy 2 get 1 Free – Workflow Sessions

We’ve been enjoying the last couple of months working on new products, doing custom development, and meeting some of you in Rock Your Workflow sessions…  We’d like to meet and help more of you so we’re offering a Summer deal: Get 3 Rock Your Workflow sessions for the price of 2 in July. Offer ends July 31st.

Asking yourself… What is a Rock Your Workflow? Learn more

Drumroll please… (You can use your chicken drumstick!)

Rock Your Workflow IconQuick Fix Bundle available NOW!

Sometimes it’s the small improvements that make a big difference.  Do you wish external sites and attachments opened in new tabs?  Dream of downloading all attachments at once? These and a couple more “quick fixes” are going to bring a refreshing breeze to your workflow.  Plus, anyone that sinks their teeth into the first Quick Fix bundle will have the opportunity to influence the next Quick Fix Bundle. (Yes, we plan to make this a new series… if you like the idea, buy the bundle and send us your ideas for next volume soon!)

P.S. — We are throwing in a previously unreleased module called Bulk Mover (we use it everyday) as a bonus for anyone buying the QuickFix bundle this week ($29 Value for FREE).


Buy Quick Fix Bundle now  $ 47

Price: $47.00


Our ideas and new products are cooking up even faster than our barbecue.  There’s more in store!  After this email we head back into The Labs! And thanks, as always, to our rockin’ clients.

We’d love for you to share your comments below about the Quick Fix Bundle and other updates!

Thanks again for all the great feedback we’ve received from everyone!

P.S. — Are you following us on Facebook or Twitter?  If not, we’d love to to have you follow us — ask a question, start a discussion, or just say hi! If you’ve invested in our products or if you are just keeping up to date on what we are doing…  follow us and join the conversation!