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Best Practices for Selecting and Applying Line Items in Xactimate®

Site with structural damages and question marks on unknown line items of objects and materials for claim mitigation estimate on Xactimate. Text on blue stripe: Xactimate Line Items

Do you ever feel frustrated while looking for and applying line items in Xactimate® software? That’s no surprise. Many other professionals feel the same way. That’s because Xactimate® has more than 27,000 line item codes – i.e., pre-defined components representing specific tasks and materials. Luckily, though, there are some things you can do to alleviate line item frustration when addressing restoration projects.

1. Conduct a Thorough Project Assessment

This step is imperative before you even begin using Xactimate®. Conducting a thorough assessment will help you understand the type and extent of damage that occurred, all necessary work that needs to be done, and any unique circumstances that might affect the restoration process. Then you will be better equipped to select Xactimate® line items that match the project’s requirements.Claim assessment project report on an ipad prowith floor plan photes and annotations using magicplan app
Watch now how to properly conduct a thorough assessment. 

2. Know the Codes You’ll Use Most Often

Figure out which line codes you expect to use over and over. Then study them, recite them, memorize them.  Knowing these frequently used codes will help minimize time you spend searching for line items.

3. Input the Correct Region Before Estimating

Restoration costs can vary significantly between geographic locations. Thankfully, Xactimate® allows you to specify the region where a new jobsite is located. This ensures that your selected line items are in sync with that region’s pricing variations and regulations. So, always make sure you input the correct location to generate an accurate cost estimation – whether you’re using the Xactimate® online platform, or the mobile or desktop platform.

4. Leverage Xactimate’s Search Function

Xactimate's search function is a powerful tool. Instead of scrolling through a long list of line items, use the search bar to find what you need quickly. Simply enter specific keywords that most closely identify the line item you are seeking. Then the software will present a filtered list of line items, making your selection process much more efficient. If you see your desired line item, you can click it to add it to your project.

And here’s an extra tip: Whenever you’re trying to find a specific line item, be sure to use the ‘Similar’ and ‘Related’ links by the search bar.

  • The ‘Similar’ link shows items that are comparable, but have varying qualities. This can help you branch out and discover new line items that you can select.
  • The ‘Related’ link is used to explore line items that have some kind of a relationship to an existing item. This is helpful when you want to see all that needs to be done when you’re working with an unfamiliar material or labor task.

Xactimate line item search

5. Closely Review Your Selected Line Item Descriptions

Make sure you have not unintentionally padded your estimate by accidentally duplicating line items. Also, ensure that you are not underestimating the job by failing to include any necessary line items.

6. Customize Line Items When Necessary

Sometimes, you might encounter situations where the predefined line items do not exactly match the required work. In such cases, don't hesitate to create custom line items to accurately reflect the scope of work. This customization can ensure that your estimates are as precise as possible.

7. Consider Using Macros and Templates

Using Xactimate® macros and templates can help you see which line items are needed in particular instances. This approach can be helpful for making estimating more efficient.

  • How Macros Work: Xactimate® allows you to record macros of your most common estimating actions. Then you can apply those macros to future estimates for faster, more consistent work.
  • How Templates Work: Xactimate® provides templates for various types of restoration projects. You can use any template as a starting point to ensure you include all necessary line items. But be sure to always tailor those line items to the specific requirements of your project.

8. Take Advantage of an Easy-to-Use Measuring Tool

Professional estimating does not rely on line item selection alone. It also depends on collecting accurate jobsite measurements. And the easiest way to do that is to use a mobile floor plan app that integrates with Xactimate®.

For example, the magicplan app automatically collects and sketches measurements by using state-of-the-art augmented reality and a LiDAR-supported workflow. Once your sketch is finished, magicplan allows you to import it directly into Xactimate® with just a few taps. Xactimate® then uses your sketch data and line item selections to formulate a precise estimate.


9. Keep Detailed Records

Make sure to document clear justifications for the specific line items you select, including any project-specific details or client preferences. This creates project transparency, helps streamline the claims approval process, and reduces the likelihood of disputes. Plus, clear documentation is your best defense in case of disagreements with clients or insurers.

10. Brush Up Your Xactimate® Knowledge

Xactimate® is continuously evolving, with updates and new features being rolled out regularly. It's essential to stay up to date with these changes to take full advantage of the software's capabilities. Attend training sessions or webinars to enhance your skills and make the most of the latest Xactimate® enhancements.

Also, practice, practice, practice. This is essential for achieving line item mastery. The more estimates you create, the more comfortable and efficient you’ll become with the software. You can even create estimates for mock projects to improve your estimating skills! And remember: Take advantage of Xactimate’s customer support if you need help troubleshooting any issues you encounter. You’ll be able to get answers to questions, and you may even learn some new tips.

11. Collaborate and Seek Feedback

Collaboration is key in the realm of claims adjustment and restoration contracting. Don't hesitate to seek feedback from colleagues and other professionals who use Xactimate®. Sharing experiences and best practices can help everyone improve their line item selection and application skills.


Xactimate® is an invaluable tool for claims adjusters and restoration contractors, for it streamlines the estimating process. But mastering the selection and application of line items is crucial in order to make the most of this software. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can significantly enhance your estimating efficiency and accuracy. This will lead to better project outcomes, increased client satisfaction, and a more profitable bottom line.



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