Act! version 20

Whats new in Act! version 20?

Swiftpage has recently released Act! Version 20. Here is quick run down on the new features so you can determine if an upgrade is beneficial for  your company.

1. New LookExperience a fresh, new look with visually stunning design updates consistent across Windows® and Web. Enjoy a modern navbar, new big button menu design, new Web login screen, and contemporary icons. 

2. Optimized Emarketing Workflow: Manage Act! emarketing campaigns through an intuitive, optimized workflow in Act!. Everything you need to create, send, and track campaigns is available in five newly designed views—Overview, Options, Create, Send, and Track with full-screen Call List.

3.Interactive, Graphical Act! Insight Dashboards: Guide decision-making with rich insights from interactive, graphical Act! Insight dashboards. See dynamic, visual snapshots of real-time metrics for sales productivity and performance, sales pipeline health, top performing products, and more with 12 out-of-the-box dashboards. Gain insight no matter where you are with a new Act! Insight view in Act! Companion mobile app.

4. Compatibility & Usability Improvements: Benefit from compatibility and usability improvements that make Act! even better! Now you can work with Act! on Chrome for Mac, quickly identify opportunities that need attention with the new opportunity field ‘Days in Stage.

5. Ask Act! With Amazon Alexa:Interact with Act! through simple, verbal requests to Amazon Alexa1 via Ask Act!™—a leading edge voice integration available to active Act! Premium subscribers. Ask for key Act! contact and calendar details, then sit back as Amazon Alexa tells you what you want to know. No need to search your laptop or mobile device to stay informed! 

System Requirements:See what what software and operating systems Act 20 is compatible with. Please click here for a complete list.


For a more comprehensive/technical list on updated features see below:

Meet the modern, new Act! v20 complete with interactive, graphical Act! Insight dashboards, visually stunning design updates, integrated emarketing with optimized workflow, and numerous compatibility and usability 

Compatibility (requires Act! Premium (access via web) or Act! Premium Cloud)

  • New compatibility added for Chrome™ for Mac browser
    Extends our supported web client platforms out to Mac users, by providing support for one of the most popular web browsers.
    • Chrome™ for Mac has completed certification for use with Act! v20, and now features on our System Requirements.
    • Note that the native Office integration functionality in the web client is not supported with Chrome™ (for Windows or Mac).
    • Integration with Office for Mac is however supported using the Act! Premium Contact Link.

Act! emarketing

  • New embedded Act! emarketing with optimized workflow
    Provides a deeply integrated set of new, intuitive Act! emarketing views, to help customers maximize the functionality and value of their emarketing account.
    • Brings 100% of Act! emarketing functionality inside of Act!. No more redirects out to the online emarketing web site in your browser.
    • New Overview page gives quick access to support and education resources, and key account information.
    • New Create, Send and Track views provide an improved and intuitive workflow.
    • Full-screen Call List view makes it easier to follow up on sent campaigns.

Usability Improvements

  • Close opportunities from the List View
    Increases list view usability by adding frequently used functions.
    • New right-click/context menu option on the Opportunity List view for ‘Edit Opportunity Status’
    • Allows opportunities to quickly be re-opened, closed, or marked inactive directly from the list view.
  • New opportunity field – Days in Stage
    Provides additional insight into how opportunities are being managed, allowing you make process improvements or to quickly see deals needing attention.
    • New field ‘Days in Stage’ is available on opportunity layouts for new databases.
    • Shows the number of days a specific opportunity has been in its current stage.
    • The field can be manually added to opportunity layouts and list views for upgraded databases.
    • Use the field in conjunctions with lookups and sorts to identify opportunities of interest.
  • Freeze columns functionality (Windows client only)
    Increases the usability of list views and tabs throughout Act!, making it easier for customers to work with larger lists of data.
    • New option added to the existing Customize Columns dialog to freeze columns.
    • User can specify how many columns they would like to be frozen.
    • Frozen columns are preserved after restarting Act!.
    • Functionality is only available via the Windows client, due to limitations with the current web client controls for these areas.
  • Updated Act! demo database
    Update demo database provides more rich content, improving the Act! trial and demo experience, and giving a great educational tool for new users.
    • New ACT2018Demo database is installed with Act! v20.
    • Includes additional contact records, and a wide variety of note, history, activity and opportunity data.
  • ‘Share With’ and ‘Contact’ columns removed from Notes and History tabs
    Ensures the most relevant data is displayed by default for users.
    • The ‘Share With’ and ‘Contacts’ columns no longer appear by default on the Notes or Histories tabs.
    • These columns were found to be confusing for new Act! users, and were commonly manually removed from views due to the low value.
  • Updated Delete Database messaging
    Updated messaging helps to prevent accidentally deletion of Act! databases.
    • The two-phase confirmation messages when attempting to delete an Act! database now give more stern warnings that the deletion is permanent.

Integrations and Act! API (requires Act! Premium)

  • On-going improvements to the Act! API
    Continued improvements to the performance, stability and functionality of the Act! API, enhancing the power of both Swiftpage and partner driven integrations.
    • An updated API version will be available alongside Act! v20.0.
    • API access is now available to all trial users.
    • Details of the specific improvements will be published closer to launch.
  • Act! API installed by default
    Ensures the functionality of the API is readily available to all active subscribers.
    • The core components of the API are now installed by default with all Act! Premium and Premium Web installations.
    • These components are a requirement of the new Act! Insight functionality.
    • External (outside of the network) access to the API is not required for Act! Insight.
    • The Act! Connect Link is still an optional install for Act! Premium users.


What's New: Act v18 for Web

I thought it would be helfpful to spotlight the changes to Act v18's Web client. Act for Web is available (no additional charge)  when you purchase the Premium version of Act!. Listed below are some bullet points that will highlight for you some of the updated features:

Browser Support: The Web version of Act! is now compatible with Internet Explorer 11.0.1, Firefox 3.6 and Chrome v44.0. For the entire list of System Requirements for the Web version of Act, please click here.

(If you want to  login and try a live version of Act v18 for Web. Click on this link to try it out. Login in as Chris Huffman and no password.)

Enhanced Administrative Capabilities: Swiftpage has done a good job here in that your Act in-house administrator(s) can update and maintain your database in large degree right from their browser. Here are the highlights of what your Act! Administrator can now:

  • Add/Edit/Delete custom fields in the central Act database.
  • Customize the layout (aka screen view) for Act.

Additional Thoughts: You may want to consider setting up Act! 18 for Web if you have distributed users that need a convenient connection your data without any software installation. As long as they have an internet connection, they will have their Act data conveniently in their favorite browser.

Differences (or Limitations) of the Act for Web: When considering using AFW, users want to know not just the similarities to the regular Act client, but what AFW can't do in that it is browser based. Although this is not a comprehensive list, I wanted to hightlight a few items for consideration.

Act for Web can't:
  1. Use function keys provide  the Right click functionality.
  2. Backup or restore databases
  3. Synchronize Act! data with handheld device
  4. Scan or combine duplicate records
  5. Create an Activity series
  6. Send a email via email template
For the full list of differences between Act! and Act for Web, click here:

I do not want to in any way dissuade you from utilizing Act for web, but rather give you a realistic picture  as to the  difference between the two product versions so that you can choose the right one for the right type of employee. Act! for web is an excellent Web client by itself or as a compliment to an Act! Premium configuration already setup on a server.
A closing thought.... Act! for Web can be configured to integrate comprehensively with a local copy of Outlook. Even though this is not a new feature, it bears repeating because the ability to integrate  in today's business world with Outlook is critical. You can send emails from Act using Outlook, your can view Outlook email history in Act, synchronize contact and calendar with Outlook and more.

So there it is... the case considering the new Act v18 Web client. Please provide feedback once you take a closer look.

Why Remote Desktop for Act

Reasons to consider Act! in the Cloud

Today, fortunately, there are many different methods available to access ACT! remotely. In this article, I will focus on Act! in the Cloud  Act! Remote Desktop aka Terminal Server.) Specifically, we are going to focus on utilizing Remote Desktop Server from Microsoft which is an affordable and highly prevalent in Corporate America today. There are a number of benefits to utilizing remote desktop , so I will try to order them in a sequence that would be of most interest to the Act! user community.

When comparing this approach to the Act! for Web model, the first item of consideration is that the Act! in the Cloud user get an entire desktop of programs in addition to ACT!. For example, when you log into your Remote Desktop session, it will look and feel just like your underlying Windows desktop, [Start] button and all. You can include the entire Microsoft Office suite along with any other software packages you might need. I should also mention that you can view your remote desktop on not just your PC, but remote devices such as a tablet.

Using Remote Desktop also has a positive impact on your entire network and/or infrastructure. Older PC's  need not be replaced as quickly because Remote Desktop runs fast on slower hardware. (All the processing happens on the server, not the PC) From an IT perspective, it is much easier and cheaper to support the users. So,for example, if you have 20 sales reps using Act!, one tweak, fix or upgrade will benefit them all.

Another benefit is the quick deployment of new users. Once the server is initially setup, adding new users takes only minutes. Picture the standard method of adding an employee in which the new PC may have to be setup by IT and then possibly shipped to the user. Here, the Act! desktop & MS office are already configured and waiting on the server. We simply email them the login info and they can get to work in potentially minutes.

Another important consideration for the business owner or manager is security. All the data is on the server and therefor much more secure than if directly on a laptop or PC. How many disgruntled employees have walked away from a company with some or all of their data?

There are many more which I can mention at this point in the article, but suffice it to say that this approach is relatively inexpensive in comparison to many of the other ways of extending your enterprise beyond your 'four walls.' Please feel free to call us at 800-550-4647 for a more specific explanation of Remote Desktop's capabilities, costs and benefits.