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ACT! – Configuring Your Way to Success

by Administrator on ‎04-22-2010 09:38 AM (6,012 Views)


Throughout my years working with ACT! I’ve found one of the areas the most customers are completely unaware of is the flexibility afforded to end users and ACC’s.  I will not go into all the options available here, but will describe the options that I feel are most useful and why.  Let’s dig in.


First let’s look at the ACT! Configuration file: <ACT PATH>\ActSage.exe.config. This file is an xml file (text) and can be edited in the editor of your choice (ex: notepad.exe).  Within this file are several sections of options with short descriptions of what they are used for – Here are the ones I find most useful:


This is commonly referred to internally as the “Background Loading” section.  This is probably the most useful section to ACC and end users IMO.  Basically, in order to increase the speed in which views are shown as they are selected in ACT! we pre-load/pre-generate the views in the background so the user does not have to wait ~3-5 seconds before the view is displayed and useful.  This was especially useful in ACT! 2005 as the performance of the machine had more trouble keeping up with applications.   Therefore these options were put in so the end user can chose which views get pre-loaded, and how “delayed” they are from one another.  As you can see, we made assumptions based on our view of what users do when they get into the application, our assumption shows that TaskView is the most hit view after contact detail view (this view is always loaded first so no point in giving that as an option).  In this case, it will be loaded 15 seconds after the user enters the application followed by CalendarView, GroupView, CompanyView, and finally OpportunityView.  


So, does this match your work habits?  If you don’t go to some of these view, my suggestion is to set these to “0”, then they will not be background loaded!  This will mean that ACT! will use less memory and give your overall system more room to work with other applications while ACT! is up (but if you do go to that view, expect it to take a few seconds to show).  Also, if you instead simply go to the views in a different order, by all means, change the order of the views to match your needs! Let’s take an example…


Dave is an administrative assistant for a law firm.  His main job is to schedule appointments with clients.  He does not really use anything by contacts, calendars and tasks.  Here would be my suggestion for this user.

The next option that I would like to describe is also related to background loading, but does not have anything to do with views.


This option is used for setting the amount of time the application waits before it checks whether the logged in user has any notifications that are overdue or quickly upcoming.  These are meetings, to-dos, tasks, etc.  The option can be changed to delay longer, or can be set to “0” to not bother you if you so wish – do this with caution, as I don’t want you to miss an important meeting!


Lastly, I would like to discuss a very important option that you should consider changing only if you are a  power-user or ACC.   

Within the ACT! Applications there are many one-time or infrequent tasks that are executed by users.  Things like importing, converting 6.x or prior dbs, purging db data, copying databases, etc.  These areas tend to take up a significant amount of memory for the time the task is running.  The problem is that with .NET’s memory management system (ACT! is build on .NET) it will rarely release all the memory unused back to the system as non-.NET applications would.  So, within our application we have set up a timer to check for unused memory in the application and flush it at periodic intervals.  This is currently disabled; the reason for this is it keeping this memory around allows ACT! faster retrieval of available memory, and the flushing of memory does take time.  If you wish to keep the ACT! Application itself using the smallest footprint possible and giving more memory to other applications/processes at the expense of performance within ACT!, change this option to the frequency you see fit.


I realize this article is a bit more technical in nature than most of the blogs that are shared here in the ACT! Journal.  I'm curious to hear your feedback -- was this topic helpful? Would you like to see more topics of this nature?  Please post your thoughts!



on ‎04-22-2010 07:57 PM

Thanks Brian, very useful.


I was thinking about a blog article explaining all the XML files (even preferences, sync, reports and layouts) ... but I've found it difficult to identify all of the parameters in all the files.


I'd really like to see some complete docs on these... do they exist internally?


Most ACT! Consultants and the more technical users would find these of value


Mike Lazarus
ACT! Evangelist
GL Computing, Australia

Join the LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group -

on ‎04-23-2010 08:58 AM

Thanks Brian. These are useful settings to know. I occasionally come up against speed issues with ACT! customers so it's good to have something to tweak.


Edward Atkin

Solutions For Accounting

Sage BP and ACC