You can import fees and expenses from other programs into RTG Bills. For example, you might want to use a case management program such as Time Matters* or Amicus Attorney*. We'll call this other program the source program.
This page describes a program, RTG Bills Import, that you can use to read the fees and expenses generated by a source program. RTG Bills Import is free and you can download and install it from within RTG Bills.
The source program must write the fees and expenses to a file in "comma-delimited" format, also known as "comma-separated values" or CSV format. Most programs have this capability. It is often described as a "link" to other programs or as an "export" feature.
Here is a sample fee transaction written in CSV format:
6,"1234-2","T","CEW","Consultation with expert witness",04/19/00,3.50,200.00
This line represents one transaction or record. The fields (timekeeper, date, etc.) are separated by commas. In this example, the fields are:
RTG Bills Import uses these fields to create an hourly rate transaction.
More information about the fields required by RTG Bills and their possible formats in the CSV file can be found below.
RTG Bills Import is a separate program, not part of RTG Bills. However, the data that is read by the import program is stored directly in the RTG Bills database.
Note: Timekeeper Licenses
Although the import program is free, you can only import fees and expenses for a timekeeper if you have a license to use RTG Timer for that timekeeper. In other words, you must have entered a Timekeeper Key in RTG Bills for each timekeeper whose fees and expenses are to be imported.
Order RTG Timer Licenses
Install RTG Bills Import as an update. Start RTG Bills by right-clicking the icon and choosing Run as administrator. When RTG Bills starts, choose File > Update > Yes from the RTG Bills menu. Click Check The Internet For Updates. Find RTG Bills Import on the list of updates. Check that item and click Install. After installation, exit from RTG Update.
Start RTG Bills again and choose File > Tools from the RTG Bills menu. Find Import Fees and Expenses on the list. Select that item and click OK to start RTG Bills Import.
First, tell RTG Bills Import where to find the data file created by the source program.
Next, click the Configure button. Here is the hard part: you have to associate the fields in RTG Bills with the corresponding fields in the source program.
Some source programs put the field names on the first line of the data file. (This can help you figure out what the fields are.) If yours does this, check the box Ignore First Line. If your source program does not do this, uncheck the box (or the first record will be ignored).
When the configuration is complete, click Save.
Click the Test button. First the import program will read the entire data file and check that it has commas and quotation marks in the right places. It also checks that every record has the same number of fields, and it counts the number of records.
Then the first record from the data file is displayed. Check it carefully to see if you have the configuration correct.
When you click OK, the second record is displayed. If the first record was correct but the second one is not, it means the configuration isn't reading the correct number of fields.
If you see a problem, correct the configuration and try again. When it looks correct, click the Import button to read the data into RTG Bills.
The import process works in two phases. In the first phase, every data record is read and checked. If any problems are found, the program reports them and stops. At this point, no data has been imported. Fix the problem and try again.
If the first phase runs without any errors, the second phase reads the data again and imports it into RTG Bills. A message tells you when it is done.
The data you want to import may not be exactly like our example. For one thing, the fields may appear in a different order and there may be many irrelevant fields as well. For another, the actual data may be in a different format. For example, the timekeeper may be a number or initials. All of this must be taken into account when creating a "configuration" in RTG Bills Import. Once you specify this information, it is saved so you won't need to do it again.
Here are some of the possible variations in the data itself:
In order for this to work, you have to run RTG Bills Import with a command-line argument of 1 (the numeral one). If your source program has a place to enter command-line arguments, just type in a 1.
Automatic operation requires that your source program write the data to the same filename every time.