Related Links

Applies To



Article Information

Reference #: RN 2015v1 (Feature Summary)
Author: Tech Support
Created: 04.01.15
Last Revised: 11.05.15

Release Notes:
Spectra/myStratus 2015 - Feature Summary



2015 Version Release Date: March 24, 2015
Latest Update: November 5, 2115

This list is updated with each release as new features are added. Scroll to the bottom of the list for the most recent additions and enhancements.

New or Enhanced Features

The following features have been added or enhanced in Spectra 2015 and myStratus 2015:

Feature Description
New Emailing Service - StudioPlus Mail

StudioPlus Mail provides state-of-the-art emailing functionality in both Spectra and myStratus. StudioPlus has partnered with SendGrid, the world's largest provider of email infrastructure, to provide a new service that is simple to use and cost sendgrid logoeffective.

You can use StudioPlus Mail to:

» Give your clients the ability to unsubscribe and automatically update that information in your software.
» Track open and click-throughs to see if your emails are being opened and, more importantly, if your clients are linking back to your website.

Use rich analytics to see how effective your marketing is and tag emails with email categories (new!) to organize your analytics by campaign.


» See basic analytics right in your software or log into your own SendGrid portal to go deeper.
» Email clients a link to confirm appointments and sessions. The session or appointment will automatically be marked as confirmed in your software.
» Comply with spam laws to ensure maximum deliverability.
» Stop sending emails to invalid email addresses.
» Monitor your usage and manage your email subscription right from your software.

The signup process is built right into Spectra/myStratus. Just go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences and open the Email page. Check the StudioPlus Mail sending option and then click Sign Up. We will create a SendGrid account for you and you'll be up and running in minutes.

+ StudioPlus Mail overview
+ StudioPlus Mail pricing

Electronic Delivery

You can now use Spectra/myStratus to electronically deliver images and other files to your clients! The software compresses the files into a single zip file and uploads it to your Stratus Drive. You can paste the download link into an email to your client or merge the download information into an HTML email or form letter. For maximum flexibility and automation options, this new feature is incorporated into your session, invoices, production orders, and render profiles.

The Action tab on the ribbon of sessions, invoices, and production orders can be used to deliver files manually...just browse and choose files or a folder.

electronic delivery

Consider using render profiles to automate the process.

+ More about electronic delivery

File Attachments

You can now attach documents (e.g., Word docs, PDF files, Excel spreadsheets, etc.) to your clients, sessions, invoices, orders, and tasks! Attach proposals, contracts, event planning guides, handwritten forms, job sheets, and more.attach files

Just open a client (or session, invoice, etc.) and go to the new Attachments tab on the ribbon. Click Attach File, browse to the file you want to attach, and click Open.

You can also add any of a client's attachments to an email message by clicking Attach Attachment on the email ribbon.

+ More about attaching files

Invoice Import Wizard

There is a brand new Invoice Import Wizard in Spectra and myStratus Desktop. Great for new clients with invoice records in another software, clients who need to import invoices from a 3rd party e-commerce site, or those clients who may need to import a batch of invoices.

Go to the Utilities menu and click Import Invoices to start the wizard.

+ More about importing invoices

Client Import Enhancement

The Client Import Wizard can now be used to update existing clients in addition to importing new ones. The software can match up clients by client number, student ID, or a combination of student ID, organization, and graduation year.

client update

This feature is great for school photographers who receive an updated list of students each year. It can also be used to update a batch of client records by exporting them to Excel, making changes, and then importing them back into the software.

+ More about importing clients

Notification Center

We've introduced a valuable new tool you can use to communicate with your staff/studios.

Open the Utilities menu and click Notification Center. Local administrators can use this page to view existing notifications and create new internal notifications for the studio. Enterprise users also have the option the create notifications for one or more studios. Notifications can be marked as urgent, include a visible time range, and include links.

notification center

We will also use the new Notification Center as a primary way of communicating important notifications to you, such as:

» The release of new software updates, features, or services.
» The availability of new training materials, videos, or blog posts.
» Important notices regarding service interruptions that may affect your business.
» Control Center jobs that are failing and need your attention.

There is a brand new panel on the home page where each user can see and manage their own notifications.


+ More about the Notification Center

Workflow Hub -
New Sorting and Searching Tools

We've added some new features to the Workflow hub to help you find what you're looking for!


The same customization tools you use on the other hubs are now found on the Workflow hub! Sort, group, and filter the columns. Add columns and show summaries.

workflow sort


A new Search Selector gives you a brand new way to quickly find sessions or orders on the Workflow hub. It works much like the search tool on the Session and Production hubs.

session selector

» Barcodes can be scanned on the Workflow hub to instantly select sessions or production orders.

+ More about the Workflow hub

Production Tracking Enhancements

Do you base your workflow on a projected delivery date instead of when an order is placed? We've introduced a new method of tracking production orders that works backward from the approximate delivery date (as opposed to the default method of projecting forward from the order date).

We've also included some updates to production statuses:

» New Non-Standard Statuses - Create non-standard statuses for things that aren't part of your regular workflow, such as "On Hold," "Cancelled," or "Waiting on Client." These statuses will be available to use when needed but will not be added into the production cycle.
» New Advance Status Option - You'll see a new checkbox when advancing the status of a production order. Check Current Status Not Complete to change the status to "Waiting on Client" or "On Hold" without actually setting the current status as completed.
production status change

Finally, we've provided some communication and trigger enhancements to keep your production on track.

» You can now create Production Order type letters and emails in the Form Letter Builder and the HTML Email Builder.
» Production Order type form letters and HTML emails can now be sent from production and preproduction orders, as well as included in any Production Order Triggers you create.

+ More about production tracking
+ More about production statuses

Session Promotion Enhancements

Session promotions have been enhanced to include promo codes, active date ranges, and quick searches. A promotion will automatically be shown on the session during the active date range. The session Promotions tab also includes quick searching abilities for studios with a lot of promotions.
promotion search
+ More about session promotions

Auto Updates

We've improved how we deliver software updates to ensure you're using the most current release of the software. We want you to enjoy the best experience possible when using our software! The new method makes it simpler for you to roll-out new updates and upgrades.

auto updates

+ More about updates and upgrades

Home Page Services Panel

The Web Services panel on the home page has a new name and includes some new services.

» Credit Card Processing - This section includes a handy link to your online portal and a quick way to launch the End of Day Wizard.
» StudioPlus Mail - This section displays current email usage through your StudioPlus Mail service and gives you a link to your SendGrid portal.

services panel

Accounting Enhancements

We've added a couple new tools that make your accounting work simpler!

» Write-Off Tool - Now writing off an invoice involves less work for you! Just open the invoice and click Write Off Invoice on the File menu. Just enter the amount to write off and the software will create a credit memo and automatically transfer it back to the original invoice.
» Refund Deposit - It just became much easier to refund a customer deposit! Just open the deposit, click Refund This Deposit on the ribbon, and enter how you want to refund the money. The software will automatically create the refund, a new $0 invoice, and then apply both the original deposit and the refund to it.
» Percentage Payments - A new payment feature allows you to quickly select a percentage amount, such as 25% of the invoice total.payment percentage

+ More about writing off an invoice
+ More about refunding deposits

New Business Options

Do you use the word "Session" to describe your jobs? Or maybe you use "Events" or "Tickets." How about your workers? Do you use "Photographer" or is there another term that matches your business better? You can now customize the terminology used throughout the software to better suit your business!

These new options are built into the the Preferences Wizard and can also be found on the General Info page of Company Preferences.

business options

+ More about company preferences

Dashboard Enhancements

Our clients love their Dashboard reports! You'll now have greater control over how you manage the large number of reports you create.


Reports can now be locked to prevent certain users from modifying or deleting important reports.

dashboard lock

» A new security setting has also been added so you can decide which users have the rights to lock and unlock reports.

A brand new message is displayed in the lower right corner of the user messageDashboard Report Properties window to let you know if the report is currently being used on a company-wide or personal Dashboard. This gives you a good indication if you can delete a report or who else might be using it.

+ More about Dashboard reports

Other Goodies!
» It will be easier to find clients with the new email search option on Clients hub. Just enter a portion of the email address to find clients (and family members) that match! The phone number search has also been simplified so you no longer need to type in the "%" wildcard to find a portion of a phone number.
» Session types have been enhanced to include new sorting abilities, the option to require the Organization and Grad Year fields for specific session types, and the ability to relabel the Resource field. The maintenance form also has been updated to improve data entry.
» Appointment types have been enhanced to include new sorting abilities. The maintenance form also has been updated to improve data entry.
» A Last Session Date field has been added to the client table in your database. This means you can easily view this information on the Clients hub, as well as use it in your filters, form letters, and HTML emails to find and communicate with clients who haven't been in for a while or to find clients without a session.
» A new Priority field has been added to the column chooser on the Calls hub, as well as to the Filter Builder for "Phone Call" type filters.
» New security options include limiting access to refunds, hubs, invoices, user preferences, and Dashboard report locking. Setting invoice security to No Access will now hide the Invoices tab on clients and sessions.
» The Tools menu has been reorganized to make it easier to find what you're looking for.
» Studio Preferences has been renamed to Company Preferences.
» The Payment Processing Job in the Control Center can now email processing reports to a user.
» Invoices, estimates, and session confirmations have been translated for clients in Belgium. Contact us to add a language specific to your region!
» You can now choose a different composite template for secondary yearbook images.
» The myStratus Mobile App is now available to myStratus Enterprise users.
» A Print button has been added to the email form so you can print your email communications!
Deprecated Features
» The Internet Update Utility has been removed.
Service Release 4 (4/28/15)  
Department Enhancement

You can now assign multiple users to a department right from the department maintenance window. Go to Maintenance > General > Departments to open your list of departments and then double-click to open a department and assign the appropriate users.

department users

+ More about departments

New myStratus Firewall Options

desktopThis feature applies to myStratus Desktop only.

You've been given new options to manually control your firewall settings. Your firewall prevents unauthorized access to your cloud-based data through myStratus Desktop. You can now manually add or block individual IP addresses as well as turn your firewall off completely.

Log in to myStratus Desktop and go to Maintenance > Preferences > Firewall Preferences. (You can also access these setting without logging in by opening the Database Utility and clicking Firewall Preferences.) Note: Only the master account holder will be allowed to access these settings.


+ More about firewall settings
+ FAQ - myStratus Firewall

Trigger Enhancement

A new feature has been added to the Process Triggers tool, making it easier for you to skip or delete items within a trigger. When processing triggers, you will see three new options when you open a trigger – Process All, Skip All, and Delete All.


For situations when you want to process, skip, or delete all the items for a specific trigger, this will be much faster that checking each item individually.

+ More about processing triggers

Control Center Log Enhancement

A couple of new features have been added to the Control Center logs. You can now adjust the height of the rows in order to view the entire contents of a message. Just double-click the adjustment line to return the line to the default height. A Refresh tool has also been added to the ribbon.

control center logs

+ More about Control Center logs

Calendar Enhancement

Several refresh settings have been added related to the calendar. You can now choose how many months of data is included in each auto-refresh. An option has also been added to disable the calandar auto-refresh. These settings are on the Calendar tab in Company Preferences.

calendar refresh

+ More about calendar refresh options

Service Release 5 (5/12/15)  
Avalara Tax Integration

avalaraSpectra and myStratus now include a direct integration with Avalara® AvaTax™ (a third-party tax calculator). Users of AvaTax can now use this service to automatically calculate sales tax on their Spectra/myStratus invoices, as well as use the resulting Avalara sales tax reports to file the appropriate sales taxes. Sales tax will automatically be calculated based on the shipping address for the order.

+ More about the Avalara integration

Notifications Center Enhancement

A new Created By column has been added to the Notifications Center to help organize your notifications.


+ More about the Notification Center

Clients Hub Enhancement

On the Clients hub, you can now use the Column Chooser to add "Next Call Date" to the grid.

+ More about using the Column Chooser

Service Release 6 (6/29/15)  
Communication Wizard Enhancement

A new feature has been added to the Communication Wizard that makes it easy to further break down your list of recipients by adding columns and filtering your results.

Here's an example of how it works:

After you've chosen your initial list of clients, the software displays the clients for you to confirm. Click the Column Chooser tool and add the "Client-Lead Source" column to the grid. Now click Filter to turn on your filtering tools. Click the filter icon in the Lead Source column and check one of the lead sources (i.e., "Home & Family Show"). Your list will now include just those clients in your initially selected group that also have the chosen lead source.

communication wizard

+ More about the Communication Wizard

Home Page Enhancement - Calls Panel

An option has been added to the home page that allows a user to see open department calls that haven't been assigned to a specific user. Click Customize Home Page and then check the option at the bottom to include open department calls.

home page calls

Note: This option already existed for tasks, but has now been added for phone calls as well.

+ More about the home page

Service Release 7 (8/4/15)  
Customer Deposits

The customer deposit feature is now included in the myStratus Web app! Use customer deposits to accept a payment from a customer before an actual invoice has been created. When an invoice is created (perhaps at an ordering appointment), the deposit can be applied to the invoice.

client deposit

+ More about customer deposits

2015 Volume 2 (10/6/15)  
myStratus Online Booking

We heard you! Online Booking is here for myStratus! Your clients can now book sessions online.

online booking

Here are some of the key features included in myStratus Online Booking:

» Existing clients can log in with a username and password you supply.
» New clients can create an online account and the information entered will automatically be used to create a new client in your myStratus database.
» A session record is automatically created in myStratus for each session booked online.
» A session fee invoice can automatically be created during the booking process, including the appropriate session fee (optional).
» You can require full payment or a deposit at the time of booking (optional). The payment or customer deposit will automatically be created in myStratus.
» Enterprise clients can list multiple locations for their clients to choose from.
» New fields related to online booking can be included as merge fields in HTML emails and form letters, used to create filters, and added to your hubs with the column chooser. New fields include the client's online username and password.
» You can choose to embed the online booking page within your website (iframe), or use a link. We supply the HTML code for you!
» The booking page is mobile friendly.
» Fonts and colors can be customized to match your website.
» You control scheduling by creating time slots.
» There is no additional fee for online booking!


» Requires myStratus Standard or above.
» Setup requires myStratus Desktop.
» Credit card processing for online payments and deposits requires Cayan (US) or eWAY (UK, NZ, AU).
» Currently available in English.

It's easy to get going! First use the new Online Booking Preferences in myStratus Desktop to activate and set up online booking, then create some online time slots, and finally add the link/iframe to your website.

Booking Prefs

Check out the help pages listed below to get started.

+ Online Booking Overview
+ The Online Booking Experience
+ Setting up Online Booking

Scheduling Time Slots

You can now create time slots that are reserved for certain types of sessions. These time slots are a required component of myStratus Online Booking, but can also be used with both Spectra and myStratus to control when sessions are scheduled on the calendar internally.

time slots

Time slots can be created by going to Maintenance > Session > Scheduling Time Slots or by simply right-clicking on the calendar.

+ More about scheduling time slots

EMV Certified Credit Card Processing (US only)

geniusCredit card processing requirements are becoming more and more stringent. That's a good thing, but it also means changes for you! The new EMV (chip-based) cards are the new standard and the ability to process them becomes mandatory this month. We've got you covered! StudioPlus Spectra and myStratus Desktop are now EMV certified! The 2015 Volume 2 release includes a new integration with the Genius® Customer Engagement Platform® by Cayan™.

Implementing the Genius solution not only moves you to an EMV-certified platform, it also gives you the following benefits:

» Accept mobile payments via NFC/QR codes (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, LevelUp).
» Accept pin-based debit cards (with substantially lower credit card processing fees).
» Accept gift cards.
» Utilize a secure token-based system that allows for recurring payment plans.
» Simplified PCI validation with NO ANNUAL PCI COMPLIANCE FEE.
» Digital signature capture.
» Fully integrated with Spectra and myStratus Desktop.

+ Read our recent blog post about EMV cards, the liability shift, and Genius
+ More about implementing the Genius solution

Cayan Gift Cards

We've added an optional integration with Cayan's gift card program. Gift cards are provided by Cayan and then sold and activated by you. Cayan treats them like any other credit card. Gift cards can be used for any purchase, including InSpiredByYou orders and myStratus Online Booking. Note: This program replaces internally issued gift certificates.

Activate this new integration on the Credit Cards tab in your Company Preferences.

+ More about Cayan gift cards

Session Copy

You can now copy a session and attach it to the same client or a different one! All the session information, custom fields, advanced calendar information, session promotions, participant, and session notes will be copied to the new session.

Just open a session, click Copy Session on the File tab of the ribbon, and then choose the client for the new session.

copy session

+ More about copying a session

Email Invoice from Wizards

A handy email option has been added to the final page of any built-in wizard that creates an invoice. The Email Invoice option will create an email using the chosen form letter and attach the invoice PDF. The email will be available to modify before sending.

email invoice

Set up defaults for this option with the Wizard Builder.

+ More about the Wizard Builder

Automatically Add Items to Session Fee Invoices

The software can now automatically add items to a session fee invoice created during the booking process (with the Scheduling and Session Wizards or through myStratus Online Booking). This can significantly speed up your booking process, as well as eliminate potential errors! For example, when you book a deluxe portrait session, the software can automatically add your "Deluxe Session Fee" to the invoice.

You set up which fees and/or products should be added to the invoice for each of your session types in Maintenance > Session > Session Types. Open each session type, click the Price List Items tab, and choose the items.

+ More about session types

Android Mobile App
(myStratus only)

The myStratus Mobile app is now available for Android devices! View, add, and update clients, sessions, and tasks right from your mobile device. Work offline and updates are synced as soon as you reconnect. google play

+ Download the app
More about the myStratus Mobile apps

Volume 2 Service Release 2 (11/5/15)  
New Dashboard Reports

Several new report data types have been added to the Dashboard! Now you can easily produce reports showing the following:

» Estimates - All estimates created within a date range and/or filter.
» Phone Calls All - All phone calls due within a date range and/or filter.
» Phone Calls Completed - All phone calls completed within a date range and/or filter.
» Phone Calls Open by Due Date - All phone calls due within a date range and/or filter that do not have a "Complete Date."
» Phone Calls Past Due by Due Date - All phone calls due within a date range and/or filter that do not have a "Complete Date" AND are past due as of today.
» Sessions Needing an Appointment - All sessions within a date range and/or filter that do not have an upcoming appointment scheduled and also do not have an "initial order" or "reorder" invoice.

Like all Dashboard reports, you can break these down by month, user, session type, and more.

+ More about Dashboard reports

Workflow Enhancement

To make things a little clearer, we've moved the order status flag to the upper-left corner of the thumbnails. The rating flag remains in the upper-right corner.

Workflow Tags

+ More about Workflow