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To create a project, please click "Create project" to start a new project, or "Create an event" for a multiday event. You can then enter the project name, select a bid date and time from the drop down menu, and assign the project to a user (for multi-user accounts only). You can select the bid status, and optionally list the site address.

You can easily switch to Metric by accessing the company settings from the dropdown in top navigation, or from the takeoff settings next to the takeoff library button.

To upload plans select the "Choose a local file" button

You can choose files from your computer or in cloud storage, such as Drop Box or Google Drive. We do support zip files.

The plans appear in a list view under the plans folder and as a list of thumbnails. To open a plan click on the plan name in the list, or the thumbnail on the plans tab. Each additional plan you open will open into a new tab. You can then click the tabs or the arrow buttons to toggle back and forth between the different plans.

You can use our software to auto-name the plans by plan page number and title. Click the Edit pencil to the right of Plan name to choose the auto-name function. The system will prompt you to zoom into a page and draw a box around the page number (and page title, if desired).

Click on Start takeoff and fill in the fields similar to the example below. Basically you will type in what you are going to measure, chose the measurement type, and then add an optional description. After you've selected your measurement type you will be ready to either begin your takeoff or edit the appearance. Click the Start Takeoff button to start measuring.

How To Create A Takeoff

This is an optional step that would allow you to group your data in the reports section. You would first create a general label group name, such as building. You could then create different labels such as Unit One, Unit Two, etc. and assign these labels to the takeoff.

Software Creating Labels

At this point, you are ready to start your takeoff. Your available drawing tools are determined by the measurement type you selected, and they will be accessible through the right navigation. Your drawing tool should already be selected and ready for use. You will use one click to start, one click for every turn, and then double click to complete the drawing. When you are finished, simply click End. Then click "Takeoff" in the Takeoff list to begin your next drawing.

If you're currently drawing go to the navigation on the right, hover over "Edit", select "Edit" in the dropdown, and click the figure. If you're not currently doing a takeoff all you need to do is click on the figure to select it. You will notice green bars appear around the drawing. To edit the drawing, click on any of the green bars and resize your drawing. To delete the drawing and start over, press the delete key on your keyboard.

The software will automatically choose a color or count symbol for you. If you wish to modify the color, click on your takeoff to expand your options and select "Edit". Choose the color and line width and your changes will save automatically. This will change the color on all the drawings for that particular takeoff.

Select "Print" on the right side toolbar. This will populate a screen where you can select which plans you wish to export to PDF, or export all plans with Takeoffs. A notification will appear on the left side that will let you know when your PDF export is complete. You can then click that link to download. You may need to disable your pop-up blocker to allow for the download.

You may need to hide some of your drawings to conduct a takeoff on the areas underneath the drawings. To do this, click on the eye icon to hide your takeoff. This will easily allow you to continue with your takeoff.

Construction Takeoff

You can create a new folder within your plans tree, items, or assemblies. These folders can be top level folders by selecting the gear icons(shown left) or subfolders by selecting the pencil icons on your target folder(shown right).

Construction Estimating Plan Folders
Construction Takeoff Plan Folders

Creating an item is quick and effective. Type in your first item and then click the "Create and add another" button. You can them modify the item name and coverage. Then click "Create and add another" and work through your list. You will be surprised how quickly you will be able to create your item list.

If you have STACK Pro you also have the option to include pricing, which is found at the bottom of the form when you create an item.

Construction Estimating Software Items
Construction Estimating Software Assemblies

Items are created first, and then added to an assembly by making it a required item or an option in an item group. Think of an assembly as a package of items. It would be similar to adding multiple items to you takeoff, but more powerful. You can conduct your takeoff, and then add an assembly for a complete dynamic of your materials needed. Simply choose the items you want to add to your assembly. Required items are items that you would use for every project, such as labor.

The picture on the right below illustrates a completed assembly. Assemblies are very flexible for varying projects. Assembly creation takes time, and may not be for the average user. We have assembly packages for individual industries available for subscription. These will come pre-built with roughly a thousand items along with the formulas. At this point, you would only need to choose the items from the drop down list (pictured above), and complete your takeoff. It’s simple and extremely powerful.

Item groups are used to make a dropdown list of items to choose from. For example, you might make a group called drywall and list drywall in several thicknesses; like 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 5/8". The item groups will become a dropdown menu you can choose for the particular items for that project.

If you have STACK Pro you also have the option to include pricing, which is found at the bottom of the form when you create an item.

Non Software Related Questions

If you wish to start a trial you can do so by clicking the "Upgrade" button on the top navigation. Our commitment free trial gives you full access to the STACK Pro version and lasts 7 days. The trial ends automatically so there's no need to call to cancel. Once your trial ends your access will revert back to STACK Basic.

A free trial includes access to all features included in STACK Pro. Some of these features include: unlimited plan uploading, advanced takeoff and markup tools, unlimited detailed reports, exporting to Excel and PDF, and pricing.

CPU Intel Core i7 or equivalent
OS Latest Windows or OS
Download/Upload Speed 10MB + / 5MB +
Browsers Latest Chrome or Firefox
CPU Intel Core i3 or equivalent
OS Windows 7 / OS X Mountain Lion
Download/Upload Speed 5MB / 5MB
Browsers Latest Chrome, Firefox, IE 10