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Setting up myStratus with the Preferences Wizard

The Preferences Wizard is intended to help you enter your most important settings in Stratus, creating the basic structure you need to add clients, book appointments and sessions, create orders, and accept payments right away. We want Stratus to be customized for your business right from the beginning. Once you get a feel for Stratus, you'll probably want to go back and change some things, and that's ok! You can run the Preferences Wizard again or go directly to the individual maintenance sections of Stratus to add, delete, or change your settings. Keep in mind, you're just getting the basics set up now. The Stratus Maintenance menu is full of additional options you can explore when you feel ready. See also: Maintenance Menu

Watch the video and use the step-by-step instructions below to set up Stratus with the Preferences Wizard.


Before you launch the Preferences Wizard, let's take a look at what you'll be setting up and how these items are used in Stratus.
  • Company Information and Logo - This is your basic company information (address, phone number, email, etc.) that will print on your invoices and reports. The logo is optional.

  • Users - Your users are the people who will log into Stratus and/or need a calendar. You'll just set up their name and initials to start with. 

  • Resources - This is a list of the locations and/or equipment you want to maintain a schedule for. When booking a session, you'll be able to choose a resource from this list to automatically reserve it. 

  • Business Hours - You'll enter the times your business opens and closes each day so Stratus can customize the shading on your calendar.

  • Client Groups - Groups help you organize your clients and are a valuable marketing tool in Stratus. By creating your list now, you'll be ready to begin choosing groups as soon as you start adding clients to Stratus.

  • Lead Sources - This is a list of all the ways people hear about you. Again, creating your list now will make it easy for you to get detailed information for your clients right away.

  • Session Types - Session types are used throughout Stratus to organize your sessions and track your workflow.

  • Appointment Types - Stratus can streamline your scheduling process by automatically setting the color and duration of an appointment based on the appointment type.

  • Default Sales Tax - This is your default sales tax rate. Stratus will automatically apply this rate when you start creating orders.

  • Regional Settings - By choosing your region, Stratus can "turn on" settings that are unique to your specific country (i.e., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, etc.).

  • Credit Card Processing Settings - If you know you're planning to use our preferred credit card processor (varies based on region) and have the credentials available, entering them now will let you start accepting credit cards through Stratus right away.

Try to complete as many of these items as possible, but it's okay if you're missing some information. Come back and fill it in later. Also, as you walk through the wizard, you may find it helpful to check out the "See also" links listed in each step below.

Running the Preferences Wizard

  1. The Preferences Wizard should automatically start the first time you log in to Stratus. If it doesn't, go to Maintenance > Preferences and click Preferences Wizard to start it.

  2. Click Next on the introduction page to begin.

  3. Company Information - Enter or modify your company information in the Report Header section. This information will print at the top of your reports, invoices, and receipts. Note: Do NOT include your business name in the header section! Stratus will automatically insert your company name on each invoice and report, using the name you provided when you registered your software. Along with the report header information, select an image file to be used as your company logo on your reports and invoices. We recommend a 300 dpi, 1x2 or 1x1 inch image. Click Next to continue. See also: Changing our Company Information

  4. Users - Type in the names and initials of each person that will use Stratus and then click Next to continue. See also: Setting up Users

      What is a user?
    Anyone who uses your studio (or any other work area), such as a photographer or salesperson, should be entered as a user.
    A user is also any employee that you need to track a schedule for
  5. Resources - Resources are areas within your studio or other resources and equipment that you want to maintain a schedule for. Think about your camera rooms, framing area, consultation rooms, special cameras, or even a van or trailer. In order to reserve these areas and equipment, you need to define them. Enter your list of resources and click Next. See also: Adding Resources to the Calendar

  6. Business Hours - Use the drop-down lists to select your studio's open and close times for each day of the week. Note: These settings will simply determine the shading that appears on your calendar – you will still be able to schedule appointments “after hours.” For days that your studio is closed, check the "Closed" box. Click Next to continue. See also: Open and Close Hours

  7. Client Groups - Create groups to organize your clients. Think of all the ways you may want to categorize your clients for reporting or marketing, and remember, you can always add more later. When you begin using Stratus, you will be able to assign your clients to as many groups as you wish. For example, a client may belong to the "Portrait" group, the "Wedding" group, and also be a member of your "Newsletter" group. A high school student could fall into the "Jefferson High" group, the "Class of 2013" group, and so on. Click Next to continue. See also: Using Client Groups

  8. Lead Sources - Start creating a list of the various ways people find out about your business, such as advertisements, the yellow pages, Facebook, blog ads, Pinterest, partner businesses, or even client referrals. Click Next to continue. See also: Using Lead Sources

  9. Session Types - Enter the types of sessions you offer, such as “Portrait” or “Senior Deluxe.” Set the default amount of time (in minutes) each type of session takes. From the drop-down list, choose a calendar color for each session type. Click Next to continue. See also: Using Session Types

    Why do I need different session types?
    Here are some of the reasons you may want to set up multiple session types in Stratus:
    • Each type of session can be a different color on the calendar.
    • Each type of session can have a unique default duration/length.
    • Each type of session can use a different price list (not available in the Express version of Stratus).
    • Each type of session can have a unique workflow.
  10. Appointment Types - Now enter the different types of appointments you schedule, the duration (in minutes), and the color they should appear on the calendar. Click Next to continue. See also: Using Appointment Types

      What is the difference between a session and an appointment?
    • SESSION: Any time you will actually be TAKING photos, such as a client portrait session of a commercial shoot.
    • APPOINTMENT: Anything else you place on the calendar, such as a wedding consultation or a staff meeting.
  11. Default Sales Tax - Select the state from the drop-down list and type in the rate (7½% should be entered as "7.5") for your default sales tax. If your default sales tax is a state sales tax, leave the city blank. If it is a city sales tax, enter the city name. Click Next. See also: Sales Tax Settings

  12. Regional Settings - Enter your location and time zone settings. Click Next. See also: Checking our Time Zone and Regional Settings

  13. Credit Card Processing - Enter your TSYS credentials for credit card processing through Stratus. See also: Processing Credit Cards through Stratus

  14. Congratulations! Just click Finish to complete the wizard.

See also

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