Note regarding VPNs (virtual private networks): You should not access a 14Fathoms product across a VPN. There are numerous reasons why. The file may not work properly or may close unexpectedly if working over a VPN. Instead, connect to your VPN, copy or move the file to you local computer desktop, work from there, and, when complete, close the file and move it back to your network drive.

Note regarding Office365 and co-authoring/sharing functionality: There are known issues with Office365 and macros while trying to use the co-authoring/share functionality. This is NOT supported at the current time but we are working on the issue. This issue impacts all macro-enabled files, not just 14Fathoms, and we have been in contact with Microsoft to troubleshoot. With that said, 14Fathoms products work as designed with Office365, just the new co-authoring functionality added to Excel, does not.

Below are some common issues and solutions. If your issue isn’t shown, please contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

View the change log for a list of new functionality and improvements.

Frequently Asked Questions and Tutorials


Allow Macros to be Enabled with Notification (One time setup) Note: Depending on your Excel version, the screen images may differ slightly, but the steps are the same.
  1. Click “File” in the top left10-01
  2. Click “Options10-02
  3. Click “Trust Center” in the box on the left
  4. Click “Trust Center Settings…” on the right10-03
  5. Click “Macro Settings” in the box on the left
  6. Select “Disable all macros with notification
  7. Click “OK10-04
  8. Click “OK” again
  9. Completely close out of Excel and reopen the 14Fathoms macro-enabled file
Work with Macros (You’ll do this each time you open the file)
  1. Right above the formula bar you should see a Security Warning, Click “Enable Content” (10)10-05 Note: You might also see a security alert box opens. Click “Enable this content
  2. Click “OK”
If you have issues or questions, contact us.

A new user should only have to register one time and will have access to all subscribed 14Fathoms products. The registration process is as follows:

  1. The new user should open a 14Fathoms product (any Bid List or Scope Sheet) from their work computer and enable macros.
  2. When asked if trying to register as a new user, click “Yes”.newuserform_1
  3. The new user should enter their work email address and click “OK”.newuserform_2
  4. The new user should look for an email from 14Fathoms support within two minutes. If an email isn’t received check the spam folder. If the email still isn’t found, contact us.
  5. The received email will contain a link to download a registration file. Click the link to download and save the file.
  6. Open the registration file and enable editing and macros as necessary.
  7. The new user will fill in their details and double click the “Submit Form” button.newuserform_3
  8. A final confirmation email will be sent. The new user should open that email and click the link to activate their account.
  9. The user can close and discard the registration file and reopen the 14Fathoms product.

Contact us with any issues.

Register Additional Computer Form

When using 14Fathoms products you may notice Excel’s calculation mode is set to manual:

This is done on purpose by the 14Fathoms software to make the sheets more responsive and prevent a substantial delay if the calculation mode is set to Automatic.  When you make changes to your 14Fathoms worksheet the code will recalculate the sheet you are working on.

When you exit the 14Fathoms product (either by clicking to a different workbook or closing the 14Fathoms file altogether), or work on a Custom Sheet in a Scope Sheet file, the calculation mode should change to the default mode you have set in the About box.

To ensure your default is Automatic calculation mode, go to the About box (Click “Bid List Tools” or “Scope Sheet” in the toolbar and click “About”)

In the box that opens click “Advanced Settings…” at the bottom.

Make sure “Auto” is selected in the “Default Excel Calc Mode” and the “Don’t change calc” is NOT checked.

Click “Close” to save your setting.

You should NOT change the calculation mode in Excel’s Calculation Options while in a 14Fathoms product nor should you have to change the setting in the 14Fathoms “About” box more than once. You should set it and forget it. If you find that Excel is reverting back to Manual mode when you are not in a 14Fathoms product, please contact us.

If you are not in a 14Fathoms product there are two instances where the mode won’t be Automatic:

  1. When you copy a range from a 14Fathoms sheet to a different (non 14Fathoms) workbook (it will remain in Manual mode until you go back to the 14Fathoms sheet).
  2. If you get an error that causes the 14Fathoms program to close unexpectedly. When you reopen the 14Fathoms product and refresh macros, the settings should be fine.

If you have further questions, or your software is exhibiting different behavior than described above, contact us.

Backup and autosaved files are located in the user’s app directory which may not be visible by default. To access:

1. Press Windows Key + r to open the Run command (or click the Start button and type “run”).
2. Copy & paste this in the “Open:” field:


3. Click “OK”


Windows explorer will open and show folders with your file name which will contain the backup and autosaved files. The debug and change logs are also stored here.

14Fathoms products are built within Microsoft Excel so it is important to understand how to best use Microsoft Excel.  Too many sheets or heavy formatting in any Excel workbook can make the Excel file seem sluggish or freeze. A few things to try to make an Excel file run faster:

    1. Disable hardware graphics acceleration in Excel. This should make substantial improvement:
      1. Open Excel
      2. Click “File”
      3. Click “Options”
      4. Click “Advanced”
      5. Scroll down to the “Display” section
      6. Tick “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”disablehardwareaccelerations
      7. Click OK to save
    2. Move the file to your computer’s desktop. Running from a network drive can cause A LOT of latency. Once you are finished working on the Excel file, move it back to the network drive. NOTE: Do not use a file over VPN. Always move the file to a local drive then move it back to your network drive using VPN. The products are not supported over VPN connections.
    3. Use the file in “Offline” mode. Click the “About” box in the Scope Sheet toolbar > Use Offline Mode:offlineMode
    4. Close all unnecessary programs and files. Like any software, Excel is competing for finite resources (processing power and RAM) on your computer. Closing extraneous programs frees resources for Excel to use. Specifically:
      • Close unnecessary tabs in all web browsers.
      • Do not stream music or videos while working within Excel.
      • Check that all the programs in your Windows system tray are necessary. If they do not need to be running, right-click to close them. If you are not sure what the programs are for, you should contact your IT department.  Any programs that you close should restart when you reboot your computer.
    5. Make sure your 14Fathoms’ calculation mode is set to Auto in the 14Fathoms’ About box (not in the built-in Excel calculation settings). See this FAQ for details.
    6. Turn off conditional formatting: Click Home in the toolbar > Conditional Formatting Options > Select your formatting options > click Save.
    7. Change your default printer to “Microsoft XPS Writer” or a PDF printer. This sounds odd, but Windows and print drivers in Excel are known to slow things down.
    8. Restart your computer and only open the Excel files you need to work with at the moment.

    If the above doesn’t help, please contact us, and we can provide more information to improve your use of Microsoft Excel.

Because the 14Fathoms Bid List and Scope Sheet are built using Excel, there are some changes we recommend to optimize the user-experience. Please follow the steps below, which should take less than 5 minutes to complete, and let us know if you run into any issues.

Important Note: These settings are computer-specific, so if you get, or are working from, a different computer, you should verify these settings. Once they are made they will remain constant for that computer.

  1. Disable Hardware Acceleration (5 steps):

  2. Disable ALL COM add-ins (6 steps):

    Note: Disabling the add-ins doesn’t uninstall them from your computer or prevent you from using the PDF printer or cloud storage. It just removes the toolbar from the Excel menu. Add-ins can always be re-enabled if you find that you need them.

  3. Adjust these Advanced Settings in the 14Fathoms Product:
    1. Bid List: Nothing is needed.
    2. Scope Sheet:
      1. From the Scope Sheet toolbar (A) click “About” (B)
      2. Scope Sheet About Menu
      3. Click “Advanced Settings…” text (C)
      4. Make sure the default calc mode is set to “Auto” and “Don’t change calc…” is NOT checked (D)
      5. Match the checked items in the yellow box
      6. If saving doesn’t take too long, you can opt to save a backup copy of your file every save (E). Otherwise, just check “Save backup version on file close only”
      7. Choose your default PDF printer (F)
      8. When complete, click “Save Changes & Close” (G)
Scope Sheet Advanced Settings
Scope Sheet Advanced Settings

How to Disable Add-ins

Note: Disabling add-ins doesn’t uninstall the program from your computer or prevent you from using the program (be it a PDF printer, cloud storage, takeoff software, etc). It just removes the toolbar from the Excel menu. Add-ins can always be re-enabled if you find that you need them. Most of the time, you don’t need them and they can make Excel faster and more stable.

    1. Open Excel.
    2. Click “File” then “Options”.
    3. In the Excel Options panel click “Add-Ins” (A).
    4. Go down to the “Manage” drop down (B), select “COM Add-ins” (C), and click “Go…”.
    5. Uncheck all the add-ins to disable them and click “OK”.
    6. Important: After clicking “OK” close Excel completely and reopen it.
    7. Reopen the 14Fathoms product, enable macros, and use the file.

There are numerous reports of the graphic driver hardware acceleration causing random crashing or the “white screen of death” in Excel. 14Fathoms recommends disabling hardware graphics acceleration to minimize these issues from impacting you. You shouldn’t see any difference while using Excel by turning off this option. Contact us with questions.

To disable hardware graphic acceleration please follow these steps:
Note: screen images may differ slightly in older versions of Excel but the menu choices should be the same.

Open Excel (any new or existing file. It doesn’t have to be a 14Fathoms file).

1. Click “Options” (If you don’t see Options you may have to click the “File” menu first.)

Excel Options

2. Click “Advanced”.

3. Scroll down to the “Display” section.

4. Put a check mark in the “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” option.

5. Click “OK”. That’s it.

Sometimes the time stamp of the last update in your Excel file and the time stamp of the changes made in the database get out of sync. You can manually change the last update time and sync all changes from that time forward. If the changes still do not sync as you would expect, please contact 14Fathoms.

To manually change the last update time (this applies to both the Bid List and Scope Sheet):

    1. Click the “Bid List Tools” or “Scope Sheet” toolbar.
    2. Click the “About” button on the far right.


    1. Click the little pencil next to the “Last Updated” time stamp. Read the description that pops up and click “Yes”.


    1. Edit the time stamp. If you know the changes were made in the last few hours just update the time (for example, edit the 14:28 to read 12:28 to sync changes made in the past 2 hours). If the changes were made days ago, update the date.
    2. When complete, click the “ReSync” button. Any updates from that time stamp on will be brought into your file. It will not duplicate changes.

You might find the right click menu options specific to a 14Fathoms file show up in non-14Fathoms’ Excel sheets. This can can occur if the Scope Sheet or Bid List closes unexpectedly. When the file force closes it doesn’t have a chance to run the code to remove the right click menus.


To remove the right click menus (they will still show up when using 14Fathoms products):

  1. Close all Excel files
  2. Open a 14Fathoms project file (any Scope Sheet or Bid List, but not a master template). Enable macros and let the file load completely.
  3. Click the “Refresh Macros” button in the toolbar.
  4. Close the 14Fathoms file completely.

Assuming the 14Fathoms’ file opens and closes without issue the right click menus should go away when you reopen Excel.

If the options don’t go away, download this file, unzip it, open the file, enable macros, and following the instructions. It will reset all the right click menu options.

If you find the products force closing often, contact us to help troubleshoot.

You can add basic HTML formatting tags in your custom emails sent through 14Fathoms. You need to add the tag at the beginning of the text and a closing tag with a at the end.

You can combine tags. For example to bold and italicize the words “Friday at 3pm” your email body would look like this:

Your bid is due Friday at 3pm.

This is a short list of basic tags and the resulting format:

bold text

italic text

smaller text

subscript text

superscript text

deleted text

inserted text

computer code

highlighted text. Close with

Bid List

1. Open your company’s Master Bid List and enable macros.

Important Note: Never copy and paste an existing bid list and use it for a different project, always start from your company’s Master Bid List file.

2. Enter a project name (A) and choose a folder to save the project bid list (B).

Note: You can change the project name at any time.

3. Optional but recommended: Input the project specifics in the project details screen. Click Save.

4. On the “CSI Codes” tab choose the CSI trade divisions that you will invite to bid. Trades with a “Y” in the “Include in Sublist” column (A) will be included (blanks and Ns will not be included).

There are a few ways to select the trades (you can combine these):

  • Manually put a “y”, for yes.
  • Click the “Add Common Trades” button in the Bid List Tools toolbar (B) to put a “Y” in all your company’s common trades.
  • Use the “Select All” button in the Bid List Tools toolbar.
  • Import the selections from a previous 14Fathoms bid list. If this new project is similar to a project used in the past, double click the “Import” button (C) and select the old project to begin the import.

Optional: After selecting the trades you can assign team members at your company to those trades. Use the drop down in the “Bid Taker” column (D).

Note: You can select more trades to include on a bid or remove them if you realize that trade isn’t needed at any time.

5. Once complete click “Company List” in the Bid List Tool toolbar or click the Companies tab.

Optional: Choose the companies you want to invite by including a Y in the first column (A). You can filter on any criteria and click the “Include Filtered Companies Only” button (B).
There are other shortcut buttons as well in the Bid List Tools toolbar, including a zip code radius filter, to help filter the list to the companies you want to invite (C).

6. Click the “Contact List” button in the toolbar or click the Contacts tab. Only the contacts at the company’s that work in the CSI division you chose are shown.

Tip: Click the “Primary Contacts” button to only show the primary contacts as those are the individuals who typically receive the invitation to bid email (A).
Optional: you can further refine your invite list by using the “Invite Filter” column (B). If you put an “N” in that column then click the “Bid List Invite Filter Toggle” button (C) it will hide those specific contacts (D).

7. Select the contacts you want to send the invitation to bid email.

Tip: To send to all visible contacts, click the entire Email column (A).

8. Click the “Personalized Mass Email button in the Bid List Tools toolbar (B).

9. Enter a subject and message (A & B).

10. Double click the fields to add them to the message (C). Similar to a mail merge, the fields inserted will be replaced with the actual contact’s information, personalizing the email for each contact. Be sure to include the ITB Reply Link (D) to include a unique link for the subcontractor to use to respond to the invite.

11. Click the Create & Send Email button (E)

Tip: If sending a large number of emails, send them before going on a break as you shouldn’t use your computer while the emails are being created and sent.

The invitations to bid will be in your Sent email folder and you can track subcontractor’s bid status manually and/or wait for the subcontractors to respond using the invitation to bid link which will automatically update the Bid Status column.

There are two main ways to create emails to contacts in your Bid List

  1. Create Message to Selected Contacts
    • More traditional way of creating email messages.
    • Recommended method if you need to send an attachment.
    • If you select multiple recipients, only one email is created.
    • You need to manually send the message after it is created.
  2. Personalized Mass Email
    • Creates and sends individualized email messages to selected contacts.
    • Similar to a mail merge where you can insert fields that will be customized for each recipient.
    • Recommended method for sending out Invitations to Bid or messages where a personal touch is required.
    • Emails are both created and sent.

      Create email message. Insert merge (ie First Name) field to customize each message.

      Emails customized and sent.

The email sent date and time, from, and subject are logged using either email method.

Email logging

With either method, emails are created for whichever contacts are both visible on the sheet AND selected.


  • To email all visible contacts you can select an entire column (just click any column header which will highlight all the contact rows)


  • To email just the Unit Masonry and Cast Stone Masonry subcontractors you just select the first set, hold the Control keyboard key, and select the next set of recipients. You can do this as many times as you like. Again, the emails will be created for whichever contacts are both visible and have a selection anywhere in the row.

  • To send an email to just those contacts who have not replied to the invitation to bid, filter on the Bid Status column to the desired status(es) and then click any column to highlight all the visible contact row:


If you are starting a new project and know you bid a similar job in the past, you can import that older bid list’s selected CSI Codes, included companies, and invited contacts into the new bid list to save time. You can still make project-specific changes for the new bid list.

Here is how to use the Import Past Bid List function:

  1. Create a new project bid list as you normally would, starting from your company’s Master Bid List. create a new project bid list
  2. While on the CSI Codes tab, select the “Bid List Tools” toolbar and click “Import Past Bid List” button.Import Bid List Button
  3. Navigate to the old bid list with the data you want to import. Select the bid list and click “Open”.Select bid list to import
  4. There are two ways to import the previous bid list: import bid list options
    1. Click “Yes” to make the new project bid list exactly match the old bid list. This is the typical option if you haven’t already made any selections in the new bid list.
    2. Click “No” if you’ve already customized CSI, companies, or contacts you plan to invite. Choosing this option will just add the old bid list data to the new bid list.

After the import is complete you will see CSI Trades have Ys in the “Include in Sublist” column from the old bid list. The company tab’s “Included” column and the “Invite Filter” on the Contacts tab will match the old bid’s data.Imported bid list results

Tip: If you didn’t use the “Invite Filter” column on the Contacts tab in the old bid list, those contacts will not be included on the new bid list.

To rectify:

  1. Open the old bid list
  2. In the “Bid Status Filter” column, choose the bid status options you want to include (in this example, just Blanks were excluded)update old bid list to import
  3. Put a “Y” in the “Invite Filter” column and drag it down.update invited column before import
  4. Save and close the old bid list.
  5. Redo the import from your new bid list following the import steps above.

Note: Currently, the import does not carry over bid taker names or custom CSI descriptions on the CSI tab. Adding this functionality will be included in a future release.

As always, contact us with any questions or concerns.

If non-registered 14Fathoms users (including individuals outside your organization like owners, architects, or consultants) need to view your bid list you can export it as a macro-free file.

  1. Click “Bid List” in the toolbar
  2. Click “Print/Export Bid List”
  3. Select the columns to export (Tip: Click the “All” button)
  4. Click “Export Bid List to macro-free file”

This creates a macro-free file that will be saved in the same folder as you bid list that can be sent to others or kept for archival purposes.

Your company should have one Master Bid List template. Changes made on this Master template will be the basis for all projects created going forward. There are also some global company settings that can only be changed while in the Master template.

If you have questions, please contact us.

  1.  Open your company’s Master Bid List template.
  2.  On the “Create a Project Specific Bid List” screen, click “Enter Master Mode” at the bottom:
  3. Type in your company’s master password. If you don’t know this, contact the person listed. If they don’t know it, contact 14Fathoms.
  4. Click “Open Master”. You are now in the Master Scope Sheet for your company.MBLMode
  5. Make the edits to the Master file, save, and close the file as you normally would.
While in Master Mode the following can be done:
Batch Editing:
Changes can be made directly to the spreadsheet. It is still recommended to double click an entries to edit them. Multiple contacts cannot be added in this mode yet, please contact 14Fathoms if a lot of companies or contacts need to be added.
Companies tab: 
Customize the headers and options. Double click headers in the first row that are underlined to edit. The green background rows can have the list of available options edited by clicking “Edit Options”. Changing the header in Master Template Mode will update all existing and new bid lists.

Company Tab Edit bid list headers



  1. Click the “Other Settings” button in the “Bid List” toolbar.
  2. Click “Master Bid List Setup” button if the pane isn’t visible.
  3. Make the desired changes:
    1. Set the Mater Bid List File Location to prevent multiple Masters from being created at your company. Click the “Assign Location” button to save the current files location. If a user moves the Master and attempts to use it, they will be notified that they are using the wrong file.
    2. Edit the Master Bid List super user contact information or the password to open the Master Template.
    3. Check Add/Edit CSI Codes in Master Mode only if your company wants to limit who can edit the list of trades. If checked, changes can only be made while in Master Bid List Template mode. If unchecked anyone can add, edit, or delete trade divisions from their project bid list.
    4. Make users read-only, meaning they can’t add or edit CSI codes, companies, or contacts. They can still track bidding status and project communications. Select the registered users who should be read-only. There is a setting to make new users read-only by default:

When opening your company’s Master Bid List there is a “Quick Edit” button in the lower left corner:


This mode creates a temporary bid list file which can be used to make quick updates to CSI codes, company details, and/or contact information. Changes made in Quick Edit mode are synced across all the bid lists at your company.

Use this mode instead of creating “temp” project or “abcdefg” project or whatever else you might use to make a quick change.

Also, any updates made from project bid lists also sync to the other lists at your company, so no need to make the same update in multiple files.

As always, contact us with any questions.

While your team uses the bid list on a daily basis, it can build up some extra information that increases the size of your Master Bid List and makes it less efficient. There are a few routine maintenance tasks that should be performed to the Master Bid List to keep it operating at peak performance. These include removing deleted contacts from the Master Bid List and making sure a Primary contact exists for each company in each trade division. See details below.

To perform this maintenance you need to be in Master Bid List mode (show me how). Note: be cautious in Master Bid List mode as the cells are not locked and you can overwrite information.

Permanently delete or undelete contacts:

When contacts are deleted or moved on Project Bid Lists they are removed from those bid lists and just marked for deletion on the Master Bid List with a red background and struck text. This allows your company super user to review contacts and companies that have been deleted and either permanently delete them or undelete them in case someone accidentally deleted a contact on their Project Bid List.


Contact marked for deletion in the Master Bid List

Contacts can be deleted or undeleted on a case-by-case basis by double clicking the contact and clicking the “Delete/Undelete” button in the lower left. When the button is clicked it shows who and why the contact was deleted and asks what should be done with the contact:


Delete/Undelete button


Prompt after clicking Delete/Undelete button. Show who and why the contact was deleted.

To see all the contacts marked for deletion click the “Other Filters” dropdown on the Bid List Tool toolbar and select “Filter on contacts marked for deletion”. Scroll over to the “Last Modified” column and hover over the cell to see the comment which show who deleted the contact and why the contact was deleted. Filter on deleted contacts
View Delete Comment

Save time and use the batch Delete Contacts function if all the contacts marked for deletion should be removed:

Click “Bid List Setup” in the Bid List tools toolbar, then click the “Master Bid List Setup” button. Lastly, click the “Delete Contacts” button in the batch operations section. This removes all the contacts marked for deletion very quickly.  BatchDeleteContacts

Deleting unused contacts keeps the bid list smaller and is quicker when creating a new Project Bid List.

Note: If you permanently delete a contact from your Master Bid List and later realize it was a mistake, contact 14Fathoms to get the contact added back.

Check for missing or duplicate primary contacts:

After deleting contacts there is a possibility that a company could be left without a Primary contact. Primary contacts are those that typically receive the invitation to bid. Everyone else at the company is a secondary contact. If you filter on Primary contacts only before sending an ITB and the company doesn’t have a designated Primary contact, that company may not get an ITB and leave a gap in scope coverage.

To prevent this from happening you can run a filter that shows companies missing a designated Primary contact and also companies with multiple Primary contacts (which may or may not be desired.)

To use the filter, click the down arrow on “Contact Tools” on the Bid List Tool toolbar and click “Primary Contacts: Show companies with multiple or without any”:


A “Primary Check” column is added next to the Contact Type column. Use the symbol legend that opens to determine if a company is missing a Primary contact. If so, double click to open the contact and make them primary. Every a company should have at least one Primary contact per trade division. Once you make the change, the Primary Check symbol is removed. When complete click the “Close” button on the Symbol Legend box to remove the Primary Check column.

In this example Linda was originally designated as a S (secondary) contact and was the only contact from Adkan Engineers in the Infection Control trade.  After editing her information and and making her a primary the missing primary symbol was removed. For Casper company there were numerous P (Primary) contacts. After determining who should receive the invitation to bid, that contact was assigned a P (Primary) and the rest were changed to S (secondary). The Primary check column clears when there aren’t any issues:



As always, contact us with questions.


If trying to use your Outlook signature while creating a Personalized Mass Email you may get an error message if the signature file you want to use has a space in it (it’s a limitation with Excel). Follow these steps to rename your existing signature and remove the space in the file name. These steps will not change your email signature, just the file name. If you have trouble, contact us.

Step 1: In Outlook, click the New E-mail button on the Home tab.

Step 2: In the new email window, click the Insert tab and then Signature.

Step 3: Click Signatures

Step 4: While in the “Signatures and Stationery” dialog box, select the signature name with the space that you want to use.

Step 5: Click the Rename button. In the box that opens, remove the space and click OK to all the open dialog boxes.

Step 6: Close and reopen the Bid List and then create your customized email.

  1. Open the 14Fathoms file (Scope Sheet or Bid List).
  2. In the Scope Sheet or Bid List toolbar, click “About”.
  3. In the “About” box click the pencil icon next to the “Last Updated:” date/time stamp.
  4. Read and click “Yes” to the informational box that opens.
  5. Edit the “Last Updated” date/time stamp to a date/time in the past. The file will sync all updates from the date/time entered until now.
  6. Click the “ReSync” button.

If there are a lot of updates, please be patient.

Contact us with questions.

Scope Sheet

If non-registered 14Fathoms users (including individuals outside your organization like owners, architects, or consultants) need to view your scope sheet you can export it as a macro-free file.

  1. Click “Scope Sheet” in the toolbar
  2. Click “Scope Sheet Functions”
  3. Click “Archive/Create Macro-Free File”

This creates a macro-free file that will be saved in the same folder as you scope sheet that can be sent to others or saved for archival purposes.


Video how-to:

Import from a different scope sheet file (0:00)
Import from a text file (1:03)
Copy/Paste from one trade sheet to another (2:15)

If you are working on a project with more than one person you will want to create separate Scope Sheet Excel files for each estimator. There are two ways to create a file for your coworkers, an extract method and duplicate method. The extract method is easier and recommended.

Extract Trade Sheets to New Scope Sheet File

Add all the trade sheets you think you will need for the project. Don’t worry if you added a trade that isn’t needed or if you forgot a trade, trade sheets can be removed or added later.

  1. Go to the Setup tab.
  2. In the Scope Sheet toolbar click “Extract/Duplicate SS for Coworker”.
  3. Select the trade sheet(s) you want to extract for your coworker’s Excel Scope Sheet file.
  4. Select the estimator and save-to folder.
  5. Click “Extract Sheets”.
  6. The file will be extracted to the file location you chose. 
  7. The selected trade sheet(s) will be removed from the current scope sheet file and moved to the other estimator’s file.

7. Optional: Repeat the extract process for each estimator on your project.

Duplicate File to a New Scope Sheet File

This creates an exact duplicate of the existing file.

Optional: Add trade sheets to the file, however, with this method it is better to just edit the template and not have trade sheets in the file.  If you do have trade sheets in the file and duplicate it for a coworker the trade sheet should be deleted from one of the files. The same trade sheet should not be in multiple files.

  1. Click the Setup tab.
  2. Click the Scope Sheet toolbar.
  3. Click “Extract/Duplicate SS for Coworker” button.
  4. Choose the estimator and save-to file location.
  5. Click the “Click to duplicate entire file” text button.

The Top Sheet summarizes the bid data of the trade sheets in your Scope Sheet file and the trade sheets in your coworker’s files so you can see the entire bid in one place. See this FAQ on how to send data from Trade Sheets to the Top Sheet: Top Sheet: How do I get Trade Sheet data to my Top Sheet?

Commit and Linked Rows (yellow arrows)

Rows 6, 8, 10, & 12 are the “Committed” rows. Data in these rows are summed up in the subtotal row (row 15).

Rows 7, 9, 11, & 13 are the “Linked” data rows. This is the information direct from the trade sheets.

Why have two separate rows (committed and linked) per trade?

The data in the commit rows is what is used to determine your bid total. The chief estimator may want to overwrite what is on a trade sheet and use a different subcontractor and/or bid amount on the top sheet (for example if she receives a verbal number from a sub that is lower than the current bid that is on a trade sheet.)

The two rows allows the estimator to put in the information she wants while still showing the data that is on the trade sheet. When the data differs, the linked data will be shaded blue. When the data in the commit row and linked row are the same the cell will be shaded grey. This two row format also prevents the macros in the Scope Sheet from overwriting data that is used to determine the total bid amount.

Other Areas (yellow circles)

A. Status column:  Provides information on the status of the trade sheet data. If green, there is a difference between the data in the commit row and linked row. The comment in the cell has the last updated time for that trade.

B. Edit buttons: Double click the arrows to move the trade in the top sheet. Double click the “X” to delete that trade (deleting cannot be undone). The “Use All” button is for copying the linked data up to the commit row. You can right click on a row to add a trade line somewhere in the middle.

C. Source Sheet: Shows where the data is coming from. Yellow shaded cells are trade sheets in the same file as the top sheet. Those with grey shading are external trade sheets linked to a coworker’s file. Tip: you can double click the trade in this column to jump to that trade sheet or to open and view the external file.

D. Leveled Bid Column: Used to get the project subtotal before any discounts are applied. The number in the white (commit) row is what sums to the bottom.

In the screenshot above, you can see the subtotal of $323,500 is the sum of the $5,000 from the Demolition trade and the $318,500 for the Plumber. The low bidder on the Demolition trade sheet is $10,000 but the chief estimator overwrote that number with the $5,000 which is why the $10,000 is shaded blue (they don’t match). The plumbing line does match so the $318,500 is shaded grey. Nothing is committed in the Unit Masonry or Electrical line.

To include the Electrician’s bid of $424,250 in the project bid you can manually type it into cell K12 OR double click the blue shaded cell with the dollar amount and it will copy it up to the commit line OR, if you want to copy all the data (including the Package/Trade title, bid taker initials, bids expected, etc.), double click the “Use All” button in cell B13 OR, if you want to commit all data for all trades on the entire Top Sheet, double click the “Use All Data for ALL Trades” button in cell E15.

Everything below the subtotal row (row 15) can be customized for your business. You can use this to capture indirect costs and capture specific costs for each project. If you edit the Top Sheet in your company template, all Top Sheets will be consistent across your business.

See this Top Sheet FAQ for details on syncing Trade Sheet data to the Top Sheet.

You can get data from multiple trade sheets (demolition, electrical, drywall, etc.) to one Top Sheet. This aggregates all the bid data into one place. Data is pulled into the Top Sheet using the trade sheets in the same file as the Top Sheet AND/OR from external trade sheets in your coworker’s Scope Sheet file(s).

Note: To use Trade Sheet data from external scope sheets you first need to create separate scope sheet files for each team member. Say, for example, the chief estimator is handling the site work trades, another team member is doing the architectural trades, and a third estimator is focused on the MEP trades. Each person needs their own Scope Sheet file which is easy to do using the “Extract SS for Coworker” button on the “Setup” tab.  If you haven’t created the files for each estimator, see the “Create Scope Sheet for a Coworker” FAQ first. If you have already created the files for your coworkers or if you don’t have any external Scope Sheets (one estimator is doing all the trades) please continue.

Send data from Trade Sheets to the Top Sheet:

To send data to the Top Sheet the estimator has to use one of the two “Send to Top Sheet” buttons found in the “Scope Sheet” toolbar while on a trade sheet:

Note: Use the “ALL Trade Sheets” to send the data from all Trade Sheets in that file.

Sync data to the Top Sheet:

Once data has been sent to the Top Sheet using the method above, navigate to the Top Sheet in the “Scope Sheet” toolbar or click the “TopSheet” sheet tab:ssNavigateTopSheet

While on the Top Sheet tab, click the “Check For Updates” button in the toolbar:ssCheckForTopSheetUpdates

Data will be brought into the Top Sheet. If a trade is synced that does not exist the row will be added. If the trade row already exists, the data will be updated.

You can manually resort the trade rows by double clicking the up and down arrows or using the “Sort Trade Rows” option in the “Row” drop down menu:ssTopSheetSortTrades

Please read the Top Sheet: How do I use the Top Sheet (an overview)? FAQ for information on how the data is used and organized on the Top Sheet.

The list of CSI Trade Divisions is custom to your company. You can add, edit, or remove CSI trade divisions within the Scope Sheet file. NOTE: If your company only allows editing CSIs while in Master Scope Sheet template mode, please enter that mode and then return to this FAQ.

After opening the file do the following:


  1. Click “Add Trade Sheet” from the Scope Sheet toolbar.
  2. Click the down arrow at the bottom.
  3. Click “Edit the trade list” button.
  4. Select an existing CSI to edit it. Please read the important note about editing an exiting CSI trade.
  5. Create a completely new CSI or delete an existing one by clicking the appropriate button.
  6. When complete, click Save.

The edits made will be reflected on all existing and new scope sheets. If your company uses the bid list, the changes will be reflected there as well.

Contact us with any questions.

You can re-use an existing Scope Sheet for another iteration of the same project bid (e.g. 50% drawings to 100% drawings) or to bid a new project that is similar to a past project. Do NOT use Excel’s built-in Save-As button nor copy and paste and rename the file. Instead use the 14Fathoms “Save as different project scope sheet” function in the Scope Sheet Function drop down menu: SaveAsDifferentScopeSheetRibbon
Click the button and add the new project and file name. Select the data you want carried over from the old project scope sheet file to the new file and click the Create & Open New Scope Sheet File button.

SaveAsOptionsIn the example above, the due dates will NOT be carried over to the new file. The bidder names and contacts will be carried over, but the subs’ responses, amounts bid, and other bid specific data will not be copied.

As always, contact us with questions.

Your company should have one Master Scope Sheet template. Changes made on this Master template will be the basis for all projects created going forward. There are also some global company settings that can only be changed while in the Master template. Here are the steps to enter the Master Scope Sheet template.
If you have questions, please contact us.

  1.  Open your company’s Master Scope Sheet template.
  2.  On the “Create a new scope sheet” screen, click “Edit Master Scope Sheet Template” at the bottom:
  3. Type in your company’s master password. If you don’t know this, contact the person listed. If they don’t know it, contact 14Fathoms.
  4. Click “Open Master”. You are now in the Master Scope Sheet for your company.Open Master Template
  5. Make the edits to the Master file, save, and close the file as you normally would.
Edit the Template tab:
Best practice is just to edit scope items to the General scope of work area. However you can add items to the Trade Specific, Exclusions and/or Alternates/Unit price sections. Just keep in mind that those items will show up on all new Scope Sheet files created.
Edit the Top Sheet tab:
If the TopSheet tab isn’t showing, click “Show/Hide Top Sheet” in the Scope Sheet toolbar. Customize the indirect section below the project Subtotal to capture your company’s costs. Update percentages to stay consistent across all jobs.
Insert/edit a custom sheet:
If you company has a an Excel sheet that is commonly used on project (for example a sheet to calculate General Conditions), just click “Add a Custom Sheet” from the Add Trade Sheet drop down. You can import a macro-free sheet and/or create a blank sheet. You can also edit an existing custom sheet so the change is reflected on all new projects.
At the bottom of the Setup sheet are some Master Scope Sheet Options. If they aren’t visible, double click the Show/Hide button.

Scope sheet master options

Set the Master Scope Sheet file location to prevent multiple Masters from being created at your company. Double click the Set Location button to save the current files location. If a user moves the Master and attempts to use it, they will be notified that they are using the wrong Master.

Allow editing of trade CSI code list in master mode only: If CSI codes should only be added, edited, or removed in Master Scope Sheet mode, change this to true. If false, anyone at your company can make changes to your company’s list of CSI trade divisions from within their scope sheet file. See this FAQ on how to add, edit, or delete a CSI.

Allow editing of boilerplate scope in master mode only: If boilerplate items should only be added, edited, or removed while in Master Scope Sheet Template mode, select True. If anyone at your company can edit boilerplate scope, set to False.

Double Click to Edit Super User & PW: Edit your company’s Super User contact information or Master Password.

  1. Open the 14Fathoms file (Scope Sheet or Bid List).
  2. In the Scope Sheet or Bid List toolbar, click “About”.
  3. In the “About” box click the pencil icon next to the “Last Updated:” date/time stamp.
  4. Read and click “Yes” to the informational box that opens.
  5. Edit the “Last Updated” date/time stamp to a date/time in the past. The file will sync all updates from the date/time entered until now.
  6. Click the “ReSync” button.

If there are a lot of updates, please be patient.

Contact us with questions.

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