Seattle Community

<span class="lite_member_name">Christine Ely</span>
Christine Ely
WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix
Seattle, Washington
Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 07, 2012

Subscribe to Business Advice vTiger CRM and Business Management System (and email client)

vTiger CRM is an open source Customer Relationship Management system offering a host of features that more than satisfies the requirements of most small to medium sized businesses. It compares favorably in features, ease of use, accessibility and rapid learning with industry leader, But where costs upwards of $65 per user per month for the professional edition, vTiger CRM is free. All you have to do is host it.

The vTiger feature list is more than extensive. It does everything a modern professional CRM system could be expected to do. It works ‘in the cloud’ so the user only requires a browser and an Internet connection. It is multi-user with a comprehensive security and role management system. It has plugins for Outlook, Thunderbird, MS Office as well as ‘Apps’ for Android and iPhone.

So how can systems like charge so much money every month to its users when a substantially the same product is available for free? The simple answer is support. Many companies just want easy access to data, easy setup and customer support constantly available. It is very easy to open a new account and start working; however as you add new users, you also add to the cost.

Before long you can be spending well over $500 per month to manage less than 10 users. vTiger CRM on the other hand is scalable and free (for the open source edition) or $12 per user per month if you choose the hosted edition from vTiger themselves.

Many web hosting companies now offer a free vTiger installation service and low cost hosting., and are just a few but you can also use a service like to install vTiger to your current plan. If you currently host your website with a major hosting company then you should be able to host vTiger too with no additional hosting fees. You can also download vTiger and install it yourself.

Once installed, vTiger offers a clean and intuitive interface that will be familiar to any CRM user. Once you have your vTiger system up and running, the follow tips should help in getting everything operating smoothly.

Tip 1. Outgoing Server:

vTiger offers a full email system that covers all aspects of email communication including Mass Email, Individual Emails. Email Notifications, Wordflow Emails, Email/PDF Invoices and more. To send email however, you must setup the Outgoing Server from the Settings/Other Settings menu. The most common settings are for Gmail:

You can also use your regular SMTP settings:

vTiger – Version 5.4 has an issue with some SMTP server configurations. If you find that your outgoing server settings are being rejected, you should make a small change to a PHP file. You will require FTP access to vTiger to make this change:

Using any text editor like Notepad (never use Word for editing HTML or PHP files), open the file:

  • /modules/Emails/class.phpmailer.php

Find the following line:

  • $this->Mailer = “smtp”;
  • Change “smtp” to “sendmail”

Note: This should be around line 247 if you’re using a PHP/HTML editor. Save the file and your Outgoing Server settings should now work.

Tip 2. How you view your data:

If you’re used to seeing related modules displayed in a single page, for example having Company/Organization record being displayed on same page a Contact Records, Potentials, Emails etc., then you may be frustrated with the default view presented by vTiger CRM; which has a ‘More Info’ tab for the related modules. However, with a single check box you can switch to the Single Pane View. Just go to: Settings/Other Settings/ Default Module View/ Enable Singlepane View.

Tips 3. Importing data to vTiger CRM:

vTiger features and excellent import facility for most modules. You can import directly into Leads, Organizations, Contacts, Opportunities and more. When doing so you should ensure that the data is saved in CSV format with dates formatted to yyyy-mm-dd. Microsoft Excel has a nasty habit of converting telephone numbers (and other large numbers) to scientific notation when saving to a CSV file. Open Office spreadsheet doesn’t do this so you might consider using Open Office for converting data. Most database and CRM systems feature an export facility that outputs to the CSV or Excel file format. Some systems export from the specific module (companies, contacts etc) whereas others (like SalesForce) require a custom report to be created and export directed to Excel or CSV format.

Tip 4. Workflows:

Workflows automate the scheduled tasks to streamline your business processes. You can assign a workflow to any module and to any record or field update. A workflow can be triggered when a record is created, updated, saved, reassigned or just about any update at a field level. Once a condition is set to trigger the workflow, a task is assigned. The task can send an email, create a todo or event, update a field, send a text message, invoke a custom function and more. So for automating regular processes, Workflows are key!

Once you have created your conditions and tasks, the automated processes will run quietly in the background. One of the key workflow tasks is to send email but you will notice when creating the email task that a note is displayed, ‘NOTE: You should have Workflow cron script configured’.

Cron definition from Wikipedia:

  • Cron is the time-based job scheduler in Unix-like computer operating systems. cron enables users to schedule jobs (commands or shell scripts) to run periodically at certain times or dates. It is commonly used to automate system maintenance or administration, though its general-purpose nature means that it can be used for other purposes, such as connecting to the Internet and downloading email.

Many vTiger systems are hosted on Linux based servers and the CronJobs feature is often disabled. Rather than getting involved in enabling the scripts which can be a very time consuming business for the non-programmer, you can subscribe (for next to nothing) to a CronJob service. I use which manages multiple sites and provides feedback and reporting all for just $10 per year.

Tip 5. Webforms:

One of the frustrations for many websites is the duplication of effort required to process a feedback/contact form. Most forms send an email which includes all the relevant data but that data has to then be manually entered into a database or just printed and filed. vTiger CRM features a webform facility which created a custom form directly linked to fields within the Leads module. Once you have selected the required fields, the form creator provides HTML code to embed into your website. At the time of writing, the webform is pretty basic in format but this can easily be enhanced simply by editing the code in an HTML editor like Dreamweaver or a free open source alternative like NVU (

Tip 6. New User Setup:

As previously mentioned, vTiger is a multi-user system. When a new user is added, vTiger automatically sends an email to that new user with their username, password and link to login. The email itself however is very basic and not particularly polite. You can however easily change the message by a simple edit to the PHP file. You will need FTP access to the file and a text based editor to edit it. Do not use Word as your editor!

The file is located at: Modules/Users/Save.php The relevant section starts with: // send email on Create user only if NOTIFY_OWNER_EMAILS is set to true

You’ll notice the detail subject heading:

  • ‘$subject = $mod_strings['User Login Details'];’ which could be changed to
  • $subject = “Your Company User Login Details”;

By default the new user message just addresses the new user by their last name: ‘Dear Smith’ but you can update the line by including their first name or firstname and lastname. The line in question is:

  • $email_body = $app_strings['MSG_DEAR'].” “. $focus->column_fields['last_name'] .”,


The whole message can be completely customized by editing this section but only attempt it if you know what you are doing; otherwise seek assistance.

Grow with it:

vTiger CRM is a huge product but highly effective immediately by using its basic features. As your experience grows, you can utilize more and more of its extensive features and integrate further with your other systems… and unlike many of its competitors, being ‘open source’ you can totally customize it to your own specification.


22 Bizniks have posted replies

  • Ignore the map, it doesn't work! 
Everett, Washington 
Dennis Dilday, D.C.
    Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington | Nov 07, 2012

    Wow, great article Christine. I will look into vTiger to see if it meets my needs. Thanks!

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 07, 2012

    Thanks Dennis, You might also like to check out my previous vTiger article at:

  • Ignore the map, it doesn't work! 
Everett, Washington 
Dennis Dilday, D.C.
    Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington | Nov 08, 2012

    I am on it! Thanks again.


  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 09, 2012

    I was speaking to a client yesterday who was concerned that, as vTiger is 'cloud based' they wouldn't have access to their client data if the Internet was down.

    There are several ways to continue to access data 'offline' with vTiger. It has an official phone app, Android and iPhone, which synchronizes all data directly to your phone. The app costs $20 which is a small price to pay considering vTiger CRM itself is free. Updating data on your phone will synchronize back to vTiger.

    vTiger also offers a free Outlook plugin which can synchronize all accounts, contacts, calendars, email etc with the 'cloud' data. You can also, if you are using Outlook as your main email client' attach email from Outlook directly to the vTiger contact, account, lead, vendor or trouble ticket. There is also a Thunderbird plugin which does the same.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 11, 2012

    The vTiger CRM Customer Portal module provides a self service facility to your customers allowing them a complete account review. From their record you simply check the Portal User checkbox which triggers an email to the customer advising of their portal account. It assigns a password and uses their email address as their username.

    You can update the automatic email notification from the Email Templates section. Your customer can see as much of their account as you wish them to see including projects, invoices, quotes etc., as well as knowledge base articles and trouble tickets. You can restrict access to certain fields within their record.

    The Customer Portal module allows the customer to raise and review Trouble Tickets directly from their account; which also generates email notifications to them (and you) advising of changes in the status of the trouble ticket. The system tracks the Trouble Ticket throughout the process allowing for updates and escalation/resolution triggers(workflows) to be set.

    Between the Customer Portal and Trouble Ticket/Knowledge Base modules, vTiger CRM provides a complete Customer Service/Support system.

    The vTiger CRM customer portal add-on module can be downloaded from:

    You will need to install the portal software into a folder off your main vTiger installation. So for example, if your vTiger CRM system was installed at say: you could create a folder called ‘portal’ and install the software into that folder.

    Your portal URL would therefore be: Prior to installing, you need to update the PortalConfig.php file to reflect the following:

    Where you see $Server_Path = you should add the vTiger installation URL. Eg. $Server_Path ="";

    Next you’ll see the line that begins: $Authenticate_Path = which should have the portal URL added: $Authenticate_Path = "";

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 12, 2012

    How to make your smart phone smarter.

    vtiger CRM Mobile for Android or iPhone gives you real time and offline access to all your vTiger CRM cloud data. This is much more than just an address book with phone numbers and email addresses. It taps into all of your key data such as Accounts and Contacts, Sales Pipeline, Projects and Support, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Trouble Tickets and more.

    Any updates you perform on your phone will be synchronized with the cloud system thus providing other users of the system with real-time updates. Your ToDos, Calendar Events and Appointments are also dynamically synchronized allowing for schedules to be updated remotely. A obvious benefit would be for travelling personnel whose appointments are ‘pushed’ to their phone with full associated data (company, address, contact, job description and schedule overview).

    The iPhone and Android phone apps cost $20 which is a small price to pay for access to such a vast resource.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 14, 2012

    Tip # 10: vTiger Custom Fields

    vTiger CRM features some 25 editable modules and each of these modules has a set of predefined fields; which are designed to accommodate most user requirements. For example, the Contacts module includes such fields as: First Name, Last Name, Phone and Fax Numbers, Email Address, Title and so on.

    However, vTiger also allows for adding custom fields to any of these modules. You might like to add a field for a license number, start and end date of a support contract or want to add a field that calculates the margin of profit based on the update of other fields. All of this is possible with vTiger.

    The types of field that can be included are:

    • Text
    • Number
    • Percent
    • Currency
    • Date
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Picklist
    • URL
    • Text Area
    • Multi Select Combo-Box
    • Skype
    • Time

    You can assign formulas and workflows to any compatible fields for auto updates and calculations.

    Custom fields can be added to existing module sections (Blocks), or you can create new sections. The field order is adjustable so you can place your new custom fields wherever you want to see them on screen.

    To update custom fields, you must have administrator rights. Custom fields are accessible from the Settings/Module Manager, then select required module.

    Several of my clients have tried to develop a database system using products like Access, Framemaker, Outlook and so on, thinking they need the flexibility of an open database without realizing that a product like vTiger has over 90% of everything they require already in the product… but then with a few tweaks and custom fields it can handle all of their requirements and easily surpass anything they could possible develop themselves.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 15, 2012

    Tip # 11, Change # of records displayed in vTiger Page View

    By default, vTiger CRM displays records in lists of 20 but there are occasions when it would be really useful to display many more per page. It may be that you want to do a mass edit or email, and selecting just 20 records at a time is time consuming. (Note: in version 5.4, vTiger does have the feature to select 'ALL' records for mass edits, emails etc., but if you have a lot of records, say in excess of 500 selected, this can cause timeout issues).

    vTiger sets the limit of number of records per page for each module in a file called ListView.php. Using an FTP client, download the ListView.php file for each module you wish to update (Leads, Contacts, Accounts etc) and look for the line:

    global $list_max_entries_per_page;

    Then 'after' that line add the following code.

    //* Shows more records per page in a list view according to 'Other Phone' field in user preferences global $adb; $result = $adb->query("SELECT vtiger_users.phone_other FROM vtiger_users WHERE = ".$current_user->id); $record = $adb->fetchByAssoc($result); if ($record['phone_other'] != '' && is_numeric($record['phone_other']) && $record['phone_other'] < 10000) { $list_max_entries_per_page = $record['phone_other']; }

    You can adjust the number of records per page by editing the ‘Other Phone’ field in My Preferences.

    I found this code on one of the vTiger forums so thank you to the person who wrote and shared it.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 17, 2012

    Tip # 12, vTiger CRM is Multi User and Multi Access... and Synchronizes when required

    One of the most serious flaws with a local server based CRM system is that when you are away, you don’t have the best access to the latest data. You might have data on your laptop but the moment you leave the office, that data is out of date.

    CRM Software traditionally has a variety of synchronization add-ons to allow you to synchronize either when you return to the local server or by complicated synchronization processes between a diverse set of users. It gets very complicated and many companies just give up on it.

    vTiger CRM is ‘cloud’ based which means that the data is always current. If you have a computer, iPad, netbook, ultrabook, iPhone, Android, or any other device that has a browser and an Internet connection, you can access real time data without complex synchronization.

    vTiger CRM is Multi-User and each user can be assigned different roles and access levels. This is of huge benefit to even the smallest of businesses as one person can update schedules, todos, project tasks, job descriptions and more from a central location while others are out in the field. They can login at anytime and everything will be up-to-date. They can of course update their data as the situation changes and those changes are immediately available to all users of the system across the Internet.

    Even though vTiger doesn’t directly require data synchronization, as data is always live in the cloud, it does allow synchronization with products such as Outlook, Thunderbird and phone apps. vTiger CRM gives you the best of both worlds and as an added bonus, it’s free.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 19, 2012

    Tip # 13, vTiger CRM Relationship Marketing

    Relationship marketing is crucial to the successful business. New business and repeat business is largely relationship driven; often coming from referrals and ‘word of mouth’ recommendation.

    While your business is small it’s easy enough to keep your customers happy and engaged with a few newsletters, phone calls and emails but as your business grows and you get busier, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid neglect; and neglecting customers is probably the number 1 reason for losing them. This is why Customer Relationship Management software is an essential component of the modern business.

    vTiger CRM manages every aspect of the relationship with your customers, from the initial lead to conversion to customer to the life long relationship.

    Managing the relationship with your growing customer base will be instrumental to the business’s future viability and profitability.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 21, 2012

    Tip #14, vTiger CRM Project Tasks and Workflow Updates

    vTiger CRM features a sophisticated Project Management System that creates Projects and associated Tasks. Very few full priced CRM systems feature a fully loaded Project Management System and yet vTiger CRM gives it to you for free.

    So let’s say you create a Project called Website Updates which will have a series of tasks which are assigned to different people.

    As you have seen from a previous tip, you can assign Workflows to any Module so let’s assign a Workflow to a Project Task.

    Go to Settings/Workflows. Click New Workflow. From the Dropdown: Create a workflow for [Project Tasks]. Click Create:

    You are presented with the choices of ‘When to run the workflow’. The choices are:

    • Only on the first save.
    • Until the first time the condition is true.
    • Every time the record is saved.
    • Every time a record is modified.

    For this tip let’s choose ‘Every time the record is saved’ so that it sends an email on initial Task creation and significant updates.

    You can then set the Condition of the Workflow. What is going to trigger the action?

    First, give the Condition a Description: ‘Send email to Project Task Assignee’

    The ‘Condition’ choices are numerous. Any aspect of the task can be used as the Condition choice but for now, let’s just trigger the workflow when a task is assigned to a specific user.

    Choose: Assigned to: (Users) User Name.

    You have a choice of your Condition… ‘is’, ‘contains’, ‘does not contains’, ‘starts with’, ‘ends with’.

    • (Note. These conditions can change depending on the type of Condition set)

    Choose: 'is'

    In the last box, enter the username of the person, eg. ChristineE

    So the Condition is: ‘Assigned to: (Users) User Name’ ‘is’ ‘ChristineE’

    • Note: You can set multiple conditions by adding a New Condition at this point.

    Click Save.

    You are now presented with a new option, so click [New Task].

    You have multiple choices but for this tip, choose [Send Email].

    Give the ‘Task Title’ and description: ‘Notify Assignee by Email of Project Task’

    Set Status as Active

    Now assign an email address to the ‘Recipient’.

    You can choose the email address (assigned to the task) from the dropdown menu. You can also type in the email address.

    If you want to receive a copy of emails automatically sent, you can enter your address in the CC or BCC boxes.

    Now give the email a Subject line: ‘You have been assigned a new Project task’

    Next you’ll see a dropdown ‘Select Option’ that provides a way to embed variables. See example email template below where I have chosen certain variables from the dropdown. Variables start with a $.

    Dear $(assigned_user_id : (Users) user_name)

    You have been assigned a task

    Take Name: $projecttaskname

    Task Description: $description

    Thank you,

    Your friendly task assignment webbot.

    • Note: to send automated emails you’ll need cronjobs enabled. See previous tip on cronjobs.
  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 23, 2012

    Tip #15, vTiger CRM Default Home Page

    By default, when you log in vTiger CRM it takes you to the Home Page Dashboard; which consists of a series of customizable information boxes / widgets. These boxes display lists and charts of key metrics.

    Many users however prefer going directly to a specific module when logging in and with one quick configuration change, this is easy to achieve.

    You will need to adjust one line in the file... you can find this in the vtigerCRM root folder.

    Search for: $default_module = 'Home';

    and replace with:

    $default_module = 'Leads'; // for leads


    $default_module = 'Contacts'; // for contacts


    $default_module = 'Accounts'; // for Accounts or Organizations.

    Or you can choose any other module.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 25, 2012

    Tip # 16, vTiger CRM Mail Merge and the MS Office Plugin

    vTiger CRM offers a free MS Office plugin which allows you to create mail-merge templates for form letters, labels, envelopes etc., from the main Leads, Accounts/Organization, Contacts and Trouble Ticket modules. The plugin requires you to use Microsoft Internet Explorer and Office 2003, 2007 or 2010. You cannot use this plugin with any other browser.

    You can download the plugin from the vTiger CRM Open Source Downloads page at:

    Once downloaded and installed, you’ll find a new vTiger menu on the Word [Add-Ins] tab.

    You’ll need to configure the plugin to access your vTiger CRM system. So from the vTiger menu in Word, click on [Configuration].

    You’ll be asked to enter your:

    Once logged in you’ll see an extra item on the vTiger CRM menu: [Insert Merge Field]

    Now you can create a document that will link directly with your vTiger database.

    When selecting your merge fields remember you can select multiple fields at the same time by holding SHIFT or CTRL key while selecting the required fields.

    The following shows what the merge fields look like:


    Once you have completed your merge document, save it as a .doc (note. Do not save in .docx format)

    Next step is to upload the merge document to vTiger CRM.

    From within vTiger click on Settings/Mail Merge then click [Add Template]

    Click on [Choose File] then browse to the file you created. Click [Open] to upload file. Give the file a description, then select which module you wish to link to (Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Trouble Tickets).

    Click [Save]

    Once the template is loaded into vTiger CRM it’s a simple process to merge individual or bulk documents.

    To merge an individual document, select a lead, account, contact or trouble ticket then from the dropdown just below the Actions list (right side of screen) select template to Mail Merge.

    Click [Merge]

    Your copy of Word will now open the Merge document and all fields will display the field information from vTiger.

    To merge a number of records, select desired module in ‘List View’, then select the desired records. You can do this by checking the boxes of a number of individual records or filtering a set of records and selecting All Records.

    At the bottom of the List View page you’ll see a dropdown ‘Select template to Mail Merge:’ where you can select your Merge Template. Once selected, click [Merge]. This will create the merge document in Word with as many merged pages as the number of selected records.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Nov 30, 2012

    vTiger CRM free live workshop on January 30 at Mosaic Den in Seattle:

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 02, 2012

    Tip # 17, vTiger CRM and WordPress

    vTiger incorporates a webforms module which allows you to create forms and embed them into your website. However, if you have a WordPress website, you can quickly and easily create elegant forms using the cformsII plugin.

    In order to use the cformsII plugin, you will have to make some small changes the Webforms.config.php file which is located in the modules/Webforms folder.

    The first few lines look something like this:

    $enableAppKeyValidation = false;

    $defaultUserName = 'admin';

    $defaultUserAccessKey = 'a23xTkju7F7vTepD';

    $defaultOwner = 'admin';

    $successURL = ' ';

    $failureURL = ' ';

    From the My Preferences in vTiger, you should copy your Access Key from the User Advanced Options and update the $defaultUserAccessKey in the Webforms.config.php with your Access Key. You should also change the $defaultUserName to your user name.

    You should also update the success and failure URLs so that the form redirects your visitors to the correct result pages.

    Your new file should look something like:

    $enableAppKeyValidation = false;

    $defaultUserName = 'chrisely';

    $defaultUserAccessKey = 'p98nYide6Q4sKgmI';

    $defaultOwner = 'chrisely';

    $successURL = '';

    $failureURL = '';

    From WordPress you should install the cformsII plugin and create the form. Then open the

    ‘Core Form Admin / Email Options’ section of the form and:

    • check the ‘Disable multipart/form-data enctype , e.g. to enable’ check box
    • check the ‘Use custom input field NAMES & ID's’ checkbox

    From the Send Form Data section, check the ‘Enable alternative form action!’ and then enter the URL for the ‘post.php’ file in the Webforms folder, for example:

    On the form itself, you can label the fields however you like but you will need to follow the label with the vTiger field ID, eg.:

    • Last Name[id:lastname].

    You will also need to specify the Leads module name in the form with a hidden field eg.:

    • moduleName|Leads|

    Using the cformsII plugin in WordPress and linking to vTiger CRM you can create a variety of great looking forms and avoid ever having to re-enter lead information.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 05, 2012

    Tip # 18, vTiger CRM Profile and Role Management

    vTiger CRM incorporates a sophisticated role management and security system. Each user is assigned a user name with an associated ‘role’. The role determines the hierarchy of personnel within the organization and each ‘role’ is assigned to a ‘profile’.

    The profile controls what a user can see or do within vTiger. It control whether a user can edit or create, view or delete. I can do this at both module and record level.

    To access and update a ‘Profile’, go to Settings/Profiles; from where you can create a New Profile or edit an existing profile. You’ll see that it presents a table listing all of the available Modules. From here you can Rename a Profile or Edit a Profile.

    Editing a Profile presents all of the Modules with options, by checking or unchecking the checkboxes, to make the module available and content editable, viewable or deletable. By clicking on the individual module Expand/Collapse buttons, you can make Fields available or unavailable. So for example, if you were including personal information such as Social Security Numbers that should only be available to certain personnel, you can remove the SSN field from all other Profiles by simple unchecking that field. Editing the Module also allows or disallows certain tools such as importing and exporting records to and from that Module as well as merging and deduplicating.

    The vTiger CRM roles and profiles management options insure that every user of the system only sees what they are supposed to see and do what they are supposed to do.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 05, 2012

    Tip # 19, vTiger CRM Restoring from the Recycle Bin

    Have you ever deleted a record then realized that you deleted the wrong record or just wished you hadn’t deleted it in the first place? With vTiger CRM you don’t need to worry because every record that gets deleted actually goes to the Recycle Bin. All modules are attached to the Recycle Bin so whether you deleted a Contact, Product or Sales Order, the deleted record is just sitting in the Recycle Bin

    The Recycle Bin can be accessed from the Tools menu. It allows you to select the desired module then displays any or all records that have been ‘deleted’. From there you can Restore records individually or en-masse.

    If you truly did mean to delete the record ‘permanently’ you can Empty the Recycle Bin.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 08, 2012

    Tip # 20, vTiger CRM Account/Organization Hierarchy

    vTiger features the ability to create relationships between accounts/organizations. Let’s say you deal with a company or organization that has a number of locations and/or subsidiaries. You can tie these together using the ‘Member Of’ field. So let’s say XYZ Corp Phoenix is the head office of a number of companies. You would create the Master record for XYZ Corp, and then when adding the subsidiaries, you would click the ‘Member Of’ lookup field; and search for XYZ Corp. Selecting XYZ Corp then places the new company in a ‘child relationship’ with the head office.

    You are given the option to pull the address details from the ‘parent’ company or enter new details. This hierarchy can continue through multiple levels so that subsidiary or child records can include subsidiary records themselves.

    Once a hierarchy is in place, you can quickly view the hierarchy from any of the records by clicking the ‘Show Account Hierarchy’ link in the actions box to the right of the page. This will display links to those companies higher and lower in the chain.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 14, 2012

    Tip # 21, vTiger CRM Customized Record Numbering

    Just about every module in vTiger CRM can create records that feature a number sequence.

    Accounts/Organizations get ‘account numbers’; Contacts get ‘contact numbers’ and Quotes, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders etc., get unique sequenced numbers too.

    By default, vTiger will assign an alphanumeric number sequence beginning with the first 3 letters of the module name followed by a number starting with ‘1’. This sequence can however be changed to accommodate your own numbering system. To do this you should visit the vTigerCRM ‘ Settings’.

    Note: to access settings, you must be logged in with ‘Administrator’ privileges.

    Scroll down to the ‘Other Settings’ section where you’ll find:

    Customize Record Numbering

    Module Entity Number customization

    Once in the Customize Record Numbering section, click the ‘Select Module’ dropdown and:

    • Select the desired module (eg. Invoice).
    • Enter the User Prefix (eg. My Company) .
    • Enter the Start Sequence (eg. 1001).

    Click Save and your invoices will feature an invoice numbering sequence commencing:

    • ‘My Company 1001’.

    You can follow the exact same process to create numbering sequences for all other modules.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Dec 18, 2012

    Tip # 22, vTiger CRM Mass Edit

    vTiger features an excellent Mass Edit facility where you can make updates across a number of records and within those records, a number of fields… all at the same time.

    Mass Edit is available in all modules.

    A typical example of where you might like to use Mass Edit would be where a representative or support person moves on and you wish to reassign the accounts/customers to your new person.

    To do this you would run a search for your old rep/support person. This would present you with a list of all those records assigned to them. You would then select all records (click in top selection checkbox, and then if the number if records exceeds a page full, click on ‘Select All xxx records in Contacts (or Accounts/Organizations)’).

    Once selected, click on the Mass Edit button. You’ll notice that vTiger separates the fields by the section blocks, so that in Contacts for example, you have the main sections as follows:

    • Contact Information
    • Custom Information (plus any addition Custom Blocks you may have added)
    • Customer Portal Information
    • Address Information
    • Description Information

    You can select the fields you wish to update by clicking the field checkbox, then entering the new information. In the case of reassigning a record to a new User or Group, you will select the name from the dropdown list.

    Once you have all of the changes in place, click the Save button and all the relevant fields will be updated.

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Jan 20, 2013

    Tip # 23, vTiger CRM PDFMaker

    There are several reports and forms that can export to PDF already in vTiger but they are, for the most part, hard coded and therefore difficult to customize. It may be that you need to create your own format forms that contain different data or additional data to what is available in the existing system, such as warranties, job sheets, customized invoice, sales or purchase order forms. There is a vTiger extension that can do all of this and much more.

    PDFMaker is an add on module to Vtiger available from IT Solutions 4 You ( The module is available in 3 versions:

    1. Free
    2. Basic (30 Euros)
    3. Professional (70 Euros)

    The Free version allows you to create customized Quotes, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders and Invoices but only allows for 1 template. Although still very useful and powerful, the free version is limited but does give a feel for what it possible with paid versions.

    The Basic version unlocks many more features but also allows for unlimited templates, duplication of templates and much more configuration within the templates. Although it allows for multiple templates, these templates can only be created within the Quotes, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders and Invoice modules. However, all related modules are accessible to the templates (such as Contacts and Organizations) from within those templates.

    The Professional version opens up access to all modules and relationships between those modules, so instead of being restricted to the Quotes, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders and Invoice modules, you can create templates, forms, brochures or whatever else may appeal to you in all of the 20 plus modules.

    Possible uses are:

    • Multiple invoice formats
    • Job Sheets
    • Warranties and Guarantees
    • Personalized Product Profiles
    • Personalized Biographies
    • Auto Completing Inquiry Forms

    There really is no limit to what can be achieved with PDFMaker for vTigerCRM.

    All versions of PDFMaker allow you to create and save PDF files or create and email PDF files. You can compare features between the versions at the following address:

  • WordPress and vTiger CRM Developer and Consultant working in Seattle and Phoenix 
Seattle, Washington 
Christine Ely
    Posted by Christine Ely, Seattle, Washington | Feb 15, 2013


    One of the most under-utilized areas of vTiger is its Report Writer.

    The Report Writer can be found on the Analytics menu and comes with a series of preset reports across many of the modules. The report writer can generate reports from almost every module and can pull information from all related modules. The reports can also filter information and present it in Tabular or Summary formats. To demonstrate how a report can be constructed, let’s create a simple single module report utilizing the Contacts module.

    From the Reports module, click on the + icon to create a new report.

    • Select module Contacts and click Create

    • Enter a Report Name: Contact Report Washington

    • Enter a Description: all contacts in Washington State, Assigned to Northwest Group

    Click Next

    • You are then presented with the opportunity to select a Related Module. This allows you to pull data from any modules associated with your primary report module. For the purposes of this exercise, we won’t select a Related Module.

    Click Next

    • You are now given the option of Tabular or Summary Report. As we want to summarize by City, choose Summary Report

    Click Next

    • From the Available Fields select the fields you wish to include in your report. (Note: you can select multiple fields at the same time by holding down the CTRL or SHIFT keys while selecting) Once you have the fields selected, click the [Add>] button between the columns. (Note: You can change the order of the fields by selecting a field then clicking the up or down arrow icons.

    Click Next

    • As this is a Summary Report, we now select the fields we wish to Summarize by. On this report I’ll Summarize by Mailing City, then by Assigned to. If you have numeric fields in your report, you can now choose which fields you wish to Calculate on. You can choose Sum, Average, Lowest Value, Largest Value.

    Click Next

    • Now we choose filters to streamline our report; to include only the information we require. From the Advanced Filters let’s choose Mailing State – Equals – WA

    We can then add New Conditions utilizing the Boolean operators AND /OR

    • Next Condition will be Assigned to – Equals – Northwest (Note: assigned to can be an User or a Group)

    • Select the 'AND' operator. So your report will only include data where State = WA ‘AND’ Records are Assigned to ‘Northwest’ Group.

    Click Next

    • The next option allows you to share the report publically, with selected groups or users, or to keep the report private. Select Public

    Click Next

    • You can schedule to report to run automatically at preset intervals. These reports can be emailed directly to users or groups in PDF or Excel formats (or both). For this exercise we’ll skip scheduling the report.

    Click Finish

    The completed reports displays but can also be saved as a PDF or Excel file, or printed.