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In October of 1987, Tally Systems, Inc. opened its doors as a software development company the designed products specifically for construction estimating. The software Tally Systems created was used by construction estimators to generate quantity takeoffs from paper blueprints using digitizer based technology.

A digitizer is typically an electronic plan table embedded with a wire grid that sends X and Y coordinates from the digitizer back to the computer. As the estimator touches the electronic digitizer to the paper plans, the Tally Systems software would read the X and Y coordinates from the digitizer and translate the data in counts, lengths and areas. A takeoff that would take 10 minutes to do by hand could be done in under 10 seconds with the Tally Systems software.

Digitizer takeoff software became a very common sight in construction offices. The need to speed up the construction takeoff process along with the need to improve takeoff accuracy drove contractors to search for help from companies like Tally Systems, Inc. As bidding projects became more competitive, improving takeoff accuracy became more important and products like Tally Systems QuickMeasure software helped construction estimators really refine their takeoffs and helped them be more competitive.

As the price of paper started to increase, contractors moved to technology to find a way to distribute plans more efficiently. The transition from paper plans to digital plans happened quickly and Tally Systems was there to help contractors through the transition. Tally Systems developed software to measure directly from plans provided as a PDF or other digital format.

QuickMeasure OnScreen from Tally Systems allowed the construction estimator to measure directly from a PDF file. This eliminated the need and expense of printing the PDF file out to paper saving the contractor thousands of dollars in reproduction costs. Tally Systems realized that most contractors were using Microsoft Excel as a key piece of the estimating process. By building their software into the Excel toolbar, Tally Systems QuickMeasure OnScreen gave the estimator the ability to populate his or her spreadsheet with quantities generated directly from a PDF drawing using the mouse on their computer.

Rather than build a large and complicated estimating program filled with cost codes and assemblies, Tally Systems decided to “keep it simple” and focus exclusively on blueprint takeoff. Tally Systems realized it was impossible to build an estimating program that would work for any contractor, regardless of trade. Even contractor within the same trade have different styles and preferences. That is why most contractors gravitate to Microsoft Excel. Excel allows the estimator to build spreadsheet the way he or she estimates, not the way someone else wants them to estimate. That is why Tally Systems product like QuickMeasure, QuickMeasure OnScreen and EarthWorks OnScreen all offer the industry’s most seamless interface with Microsoft Excel.