If you find that you need to estimate something that is not covered by standard workbooks why not create your own?

One way to do this is to modify one of the blank template Workbooks and save it for future use.  In the following example, we are going to use the ‘Area’ template as our starting point and add materials and labour to the Workbook.

The best place to start is within the first estimate you intend to use your customised Workbook in.  If your estimate doesn’t already include the Area Workbook click on the Add Workbook button on the Summary page of the Estimate.

Type 'area' in the keyword search and wait one moment. You should see the Area Workbook listed, tick the Area Workbook and click Select.

Next we need to open the Area Workbook and give the Worksheet a name and a location.  We are going to create a Workbook for 'Laminate flooring' and we'll set the location as 'House'.

Next we need to select which dimensional template we want to use.  For this example, we are going to use the Rectangle template. This will give us a Worksheet with a simple area calculator already in place. This simple template allows you to change the dimensions of ‘Length’ and ‘Breadth’ each time you use the Workbook in a different estimate.

To start adding materials and labour to our Worksheet, we need to click on the View Resources Output button.

After clicking on the View Resources Output button, you will see the Resources Output screen below.  As you can see we don’t have any resources in our Worksheet yet, so let us add one in.

To start with we will add a material resource to our Worksheet; we can then keep repeating the process to add further resources of any type.  Click on the asterisk below the heading 'Item used for:' so that we are adding a resource to be multiplied by the total area calculated by the dimensions entered, rather than a sundry resource that you can set the quantity to manually.

Clicking Add Material from the Add Resources drop-down menu will bring up the Materials section of the price book.

Click on New Resource, you will see an empty New Resource window appear.

Enter a Description and Unit Cost, select an appropriate unit from Units of Purchase. The Code is automatically generated so you do not have to worry about changing it.

You can select a supplier from the drop-down box or click the small blue plus sign next to the drop-down to add a new supplier, for now, you can select Provisional.

Click the small blue cross next to the Type drop-down and enter a new material type of 'Laminate Flooring'.

Set the Delivery (Weeks), Payment (Weeks), VAT and Wastage (%). Your completed New Resource window should look like the one below, click OK to add the resource to your price book.

You should see that the material you have just added is now shown in the materials section of the price book, click on the material and then click the Select Resource button.

After selecting the resource, the Edit Resource window will pop up.

Type a description of what the item is used for in the Item used for: text box.

Select an appropriate build from the Build Phase drop-down box.

Click the calculator icon to enter a usage factor for the material

The Usage Factor Calculator allows you to tell EstimatorXpress how much of this material is going to be used per metre squared or alternatively how many metres squared we can get out of a pack. In this example we can see from the product description we got from our merchant that the pack contains 1.48m² so enter that into the second box.

Click OK to close the Usage Factor Calculator.

Click OK in the Edit Resource window to confirm that the resource is to be added to the Worksheet as specified.

Repeat this process to add in all of the material and labour resources required, setting the usage factors so that it allows for a price for each resource per m².


On the Resources Output screen you should see that the Total Cost of Groups at the top of the screen increases with each resource that you are adding; this total cost is directly related to the area calculated from the dimensions section of the Worksheet.  

If you click the Back button to go back to the dimensions screen you can see this for yourself by changing the length and breadth dimensions.


After you have completed adding all the required materials and labour to the Worksheet, you can now save it for use in other estimates.  To do this click on Save as Template from the toolbar in the Workbook summary screen.


Enter a name for your new Workbook and select a template type.


Once you have clicked OK your Workbook will be added to EstimatorXpress permanently. You can see this by deleting the Workbook from the estimate and adding it back in the same way you would add any of the standard Workbooks.

After you have saved the Workbook, click the Summary tab to return to the job summary.


The workbook will be available to add to all other estimates and can also be added to your groups of Workbooks. For more information on using Grouped Workbooks see the Creating your own group of workbooks for new estimates tutorial.

John Rees