Home | Programs | Support | Training | Templates | Development | Downloads | Free Tools | Newsletter | About Us

Newsletters – July / Aug / Sept 2006

Click on a link to any of our recent newsletters, or just scroll down.  Every month there are valuable tips and hints on Microsoft Excel, Maximizer and more!  In Internet Explorer, you can search this page for keywords using Ctrl+F.  On our home page you can search this entire web site.  Click here for the list of ALL Newsletters.

Back: < 2006: January–March< April–June  – Below: JulyAugSept – Forward: October 2006 >>

Back Issues: Sept 2000 - April 2001 – May - Dec 2001 – All 2002 – All 2003 – All 2004 – All 2005

To subscribe to this newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail now!  We don't disclose your e-mail address to anyone else.  Promise!


Newsletter July 2006

Editorial

The year has turned and we are moving into the winds of the end of Winter.  Listen now for the bird calls that remind us that life goes on in its endless cycle.  The weavers are starting their nest building, some Egyptian geese already have goslings and the green-backed wood hoopoes are chuckling in the trees.  Our bird feeder is well-populated with visitors and we are waiting for our Labradors to get the baby urge as well!

Business-wise, we are entering the sparkling time of year, with orders coming in regularly, lots of installation and training projects apart from development.

New Salesperson

Please join us in welcoming Martin Morudu to our staff.  He began on 3rd July and is working through our database, making appointments for Judith initially.  As he gains experience, they will be his own.

2010 – Opportunity or Threat?

Now that Germany has had its moment and a few SA ministers' valuables, it's South Africa's chance to show how Africa has a passion for football and putting on the best show on earth!  I can only see vast opportunity here to develop infrastructure, which will benefit everyone.  As a nation, we need to pinpoint projects that are needed in our areas and push for them to receive funding and ACTION!

Perhaps everyone can sign the Public Transport for All "Million Signature Campaign"  It is supported by the SACP, ANC Gauteng plus other NGOs.  We have a dire need for affordable public transport, especially with the petrol price going sky-high.

Let's prove that we are still a winning nation, warm and wonderful hosts, and masters of delivery!

Is something missing in your workplace?

Can you easily find your contracts?  Work out which copy is the latest?  If not, then Access Contract Risk Management might well have the solution for you.  Their Enterprise Contract Management solution is web-based.  You pay a monthly fee to use the server and software, nothing can ever be deleted and it is regularly backed up.  Even if you end the contract, your information will remain on the system in case.  Please speak to Judith about this: 082 389-3481.

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: Why don't I have my Outlook stationery on my laptop, when it is on my PC?

Answer: Unfortunately, Outlook does not automatically put what is one computer on the other.  You will need to put your stationery on both.

Question: Why does my Word document look as if it doesn't have margins?

Answer: This was actually my question, when it happened recently.  Microsoft Word Help gives the following answers:

  • If you're working in print layout view (print layout view: A view of a document or other object as it will appear when you print it. For example, items such as headers, footnotes, columns, and text boxes appear in their actual positions.), the top and bottom margins may not be visible if the White space between pages option is not selected. On the Tools menu, click Options. On the View tab, select the White space between pages check box.
  • If you're working in normal view (normal view: A view that shows text formatting and a simplified page layout. Normal view is convenient for most editing and formatting tasks.), the Wrap to window option may be selected. On the Tools menu, click Options. On the View tab, clear the Wrap to window check box.

I was working in in the Print Layout View!

Question: I put information into Excel from my accounting package and the formats are funny.  How do I correct this?

Answer: There will be a little box with an Exclamation mark in it to left of the number.  Your can select all the instances in the column and then click on the box.  When it opens, you are prompted for the format that you want to use.  Select it and close.  The numbers will now read correctly and add up.

Question: How can I convert WordPro and AmiPro documents to Word?

Answer: We are able to provide a service to do this.  We can also update you to the latest Lotus Smart Suite if you wish.

To give us more questions - please contact judith@softwareafrica.co.za

In need of professional hardware support in the Randburg area?

If so, Supima Computers may be your solution.  They are situated in Bond Street and are another of our partners.  Contact Jessica on (011) 789-4076 or jess@supimasa.com.

Position Available

We have a vacancy for a junior to do reception and filing.  We are willing to train someone with no work experience but a reasonable Matric, good English and a clear speaking voice.  Please contact Judith for more information on (011) 802-2685 or by e-mail.

High-Level training in Excel

Do you feel that you could be more productive if you had a greater understanding of Excel and its formulas?  We can offer the Excel for Professional Users course.  This covers how you can use Excel to maximize your reporting skills and minimize the hassles! We include using pivot tables, "What-If" scenarios and other data analysis techniques.  For a full specification of this course and costs – please contact Judith as above.

Never forget an Outlook attachment again!

Following a request, we wrote the new Outlook "Attachment Nanny".  It will scan your e-mail for words that show an intended attachment ("file", "attach", "doc" –you can customize this) and warn you if there is no attachment (see picture)!

You can get it free at our Outlook tips page.

Excel Tips 32 – Date, Time and other Formats

Last month we started looking at formatting.  Select a cell or range of cells and either click Format > Cells, or press Ctrl + 1.  The "Format Cells" dialog box pops up: Click the "Number" Tab (the first one), then select "Date":   

When you click on a format, the sample at the top changes to show you today's date in that format.  Notice that the top two, marked with asterisks (*) change depending on your PC's settings: A good choice if you want the user to see the date in his preferred format, but may be confusing on a PC with other settings.

The PC's date settings, by the way, are done under Start > Settings > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options, firstly by language - English (South Africa), and then (if you don't like your dates to have the year first!) under Customize, on the Date tab (this is for Windows XP Professional - it will be a little different on other versions).

Let's look at the other number types:

  • Time – not much here: Again a regional setting, and some others.
  • Percentage – You can set the number of decimal places.  The number is shown multiplied by 100 with a "%" sign at the end.
  • Fraction – Did you know Excel could show fractions?  OK, they are written out with a slash, i.e. ¼ is shown as 1/4, but good nevertheless.
  • Scientific – The number shows with one digit, the decimal symbol, as many decimal places as you set, an E (for "exponent") and a power of 10. e.g. 1.23E+03 means 1.23 x 10³ = 1.23 x 1000 = 1230.
  • Text – Numbers show exactly as entered, and are treated as text instead of numbers.  You can get a similar effect by typing a single quote (') at the beginning of numbers you enter, for example when you are entering Tshwane postal codes, type '0040 (note the quote at the start) or format your column as text first, and Excel won't change it to 40!

Next time we'll look at creating your own formats if none of the above suits you, using custom formats.


Tips: The Workflow cycle for beginners – a look at how Maximizer tracks your tasks:

As a new user of Maximizer, you might wonder how you can create a workflow.  In fact, this is very simple.  Each time you want to phone a client or prospect, drag them to the hotlist choice on the left of the screen.  A dialog box will now open, where you can change the date of the task, put in what its purpose is, its priority and choose an icon for it.

Once you have done this, you then perform the task.  Once it is completed and you put a tick in the box on the right, you will be prompted for a follow up task.  By clicking OK to accept this, you go onto create the next task.  Thus you create your workflow and prevent yourself from missing an opportunity.
 

Next month – Inviting people to appointments and re-assigning tasks

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Writing your custom databases on Microsoft Access, or custom programs in Visual Basic.  If you can’t find that piece of software to do things your way, ask us!

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, and Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows.  We do all levels from beginners to Programming.

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling and productivity programs.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685.  Fax: 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2.
E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2006 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd Please share it with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice.  To Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.

Back to top


Newsletter August 2006

Editorial – 20 Years...

Starting to put this one together on the coldest day of Winter so far.  With the petrol price at record highs and a likely rise in interest rates by Friday, it doesn't seem like to best day to begin!  Nevertheless, as you will see below, we are moving forward with bright new staff.  It feels energetic in the office and we now move into our 20th year of business!

How things have changed since those early days!  Then it was cold calling, stomping the streets of Sandton and Rivonia looking for customers.  We have moved from being a one person organisation to a full training company and now onto software solutions, with some training courses still available.  Over the years, we have employed some remarkable people.  Neil Dillingham comes to mind first of all - the only trainer who stood on his head to attract his trainees' attention!  He is now a high flyer with Lawyers' Access Web and still a good friend.

Cheryl Rhodes also comes to mind - now with Gijima-AST.  She was an excellent training- and training-material developer.  Then our star programmers - Barry Vaax, Craig Dix and Kumaran Anthony.  Carmen Lawson and Jason Grossman, our technical people, both of whom are now out on their own making a success of their lives.  Our many administrative staff, who have answered phones and done the filing.  All these have contributed to our business over the years.

And most importantly, you, our customers and suppliers, who have supported us over the years - a very big Thank you!  May we go forward together for many years to come.

New Receptionist

Please join us in welcoming Simphiwe Mahlangu to our staff.  She started on 31st July and is looking forward to receiving your calls.

2010 – Moving Forward

What can we do to assist your efforts towards making 2010 memorable!  If you are looking for new overseas customers, can our database and CRM solutions assist you in reaching them via fax or e-mail?

Is something missing in your workplace?

Can you easily find your contracts?  Work out which copy is the latest?  If not, then Access Contract Risk Management might well have the solution for you.  Their Enterprise Contract Management solution is web-based.  You pay a monthly fee to use the server and software, nothing can ever be deleted and it is regularly backed up.  Even if you end the contract, your information will remain on the system in case.  Please speak to Judith about this: 082 389-3481.

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: How do I make my text fit onto one page without making it illegible?

Answer: Word has the Page Setup options in the File menu.  Here you can change the margins so that there is more room for your text on the page.  See if this works for you.

Question: I have my information laid out in tables in Word and now need it in Excel.  How can I get it there?

Answer: Move your mouse around the top left hand side of the table, until a cross appears.  Click on this cross to select the entire table.  Press Ctrl-C to copy your table.  Open Excel and click on cell A1.  Press Ctrl-V to paste your table.  Adjust the columns to fit the contents of the cells and save the spreadsheet.

Question: What are the differences between Smart Suite version 9.0 and 9.8?

Answer: The only real difference is that the later version runs on the latest operating systems.

Question: I can't see my Access Database tables in the Database window!  Where are they?

Answer:  Probably hidden.  Try Tools > Options > View tab, and tick "Hidden Objects".  "Hidden" tables will then show up, but in a fainter colour.

Question: I want to copy my ABSA, FNB, or Nerdbank statement off Internet Banking into an Excel spreadsheet, but the figures aren't recognised as numbers.  What can I do?

Answer:  Get our free Bank Reconciliation spreadsheet.  It allows you to copy from pages on the internet and paste into the spreadsheet, then reformat into understandable figures, with a reconciliation column and coloured warnings as you approach your limit. (We may add Substandard Bank depending on demand.)

To give us more questions - please contact judith@softwareafrica.co.za

In need of professional hardware support in the Randburg area?

If so, Supima Computers may be your solution.  They are situated in Bond Street and are another of our partners.  Contact Jessica on (011) 789-4076 or jess@supimasa.com.

High level training in Excel

Do you feel that you could be more productive if you had a greater understanding of Excel and its formulas?  We can offer the Excel for Professional Users course.  This covers how you can use Excel to maximize your reporting skills and minimize the hassles! We include using pivot tables, "What-If" scenarios and other data analysis techniques.  For a full specification of this course and costs – please contact Judith as above.

Did you know Outlook could do this?

In the Outlook e-mail editor, if you change a text e-mail to an HTML e-mail (Format menu > HTML), Outlook in its wisdom changes the e-mail font to Times New Roman even if all your settings (in Tools > Options > Mail Format > Fonts) are Arial.  Microsoft have acknowledged this as a bug and may fix it sometime this millennium.  In the meanwhile, they suggest as a workaround that you select all text (Ctrl+A) and then press Ctrl+spacebar, an undocumented shortcut that will apply the default font to the text.  You could also use it on any selected text, instead of the whole document.

More useful free information at our Outlook tips page.

Excel Tips 33 – Special Formats

Last month we looked at the standard number (and other) formats in Excel.  Now we'll look at creating your own formats if none of those suits you, using Format > Cells > Number > custom formats.  Here are some interesting formats:

  • #,##0.00;[Red]-#,##0.00 – Thousands, two decimals, negatives in red with minus sign.

  • R #,##0;R -#,##0 – Thousands, currency (R), no decimals.

  • _ R * #,##0_ ;_ R * -#,##0_ ;_ R * "-"_ ;_ @_  – Accounting (currency symbol left-aligned), no decimals.

  • 0.00" Credit";0.00" Debit" – displays positive numbers followed by the word "Credit"; negatives followed by "Debit".

  • [Red][<=100];[Blue][>500] – the number will be shown Red if less than or equal to 100, Blue if greater than 500.

    dd/mm/yyyy – day / month number / 4-digit year.

  • dd-mmm-yy hh:mm – day - month name (3 letters) - 2-digit year, time in hours and minutes (24-hr clock).

  • [h]:mm:ss – Hours:minutes:seconds, where hours can exceed 24 ("hh" only runs to 23 before it carries into days).

For numeric formats, the formatting characters are: # displays digits only if the number is big enough. 0 (zero) displays zeros if the number has fewer digits than there are zeros in the format.  Excel understands the colour names Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black and White.

For numeric formats, you can have up to four sections separated by semicolons (;).  The first section formats positive numbers; the second is for negative numbers; the third for zero; and the fourth for text.  If you use only section 1 it is applied to all numbers; if you use only two sections, it uses the formatting of the first section for zeros.  You can hide positives, negatives, or zeros by using a blank section (i.e. a semicolon only).

For example, the format [Blue]#,##0;[Green]#,##0;[Magenta]"Nil";[Red]"Text!" will display positive numbers in blue, negative numbers in green (with no minus sign), the word "Nil" in magenta if the cell contains zero, and the word "Text!" in red if it contains any text (to display the actual text, use @ or omit the last section).

To find out more, search Excel Help for "Guidelines for custom number formats" or e-mail us for the Special Formats spreadsheet


Tips: Inviting people to appointments and re-assigning tasks

These two aspects of Maximizer make running your life so much easier.  When setting up an appointment with a customer, you can also invite another Maximizer user to join you.  In the Appointment window, on the right hand side, all the users, for whom you can make or invite to appointments, are listed.  Select the person you want and double click on their name.  This places them in the lower window.  Tick the box which says "Notify Others" so that they can accept the appointment before you click OK.

If you have a task in your Hot List which would be better handled by someone else, you can reassign it.  Open the task and open the Assigned to Window.  Choose the person you want to reassign it to and click on them.  Then click on OK.  You will receive a message saying that the task will no longer show in your hot list.  OK this as well.  The tsk then becomes part of their hotlist.

If you set an alarm on the task being reassigned, it will pop up to warn them.  This facility is particularly good for delivering phone messages to people who have been out of the office!
 

Next month – Handling the telephone note and making an appointment whilst keeping it open

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Writing your custom databases on Microsoft Access, or custom programs in Visual Basic.  If you can’t find that piece of software to do things your way, ask us!

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, and Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows.  We do all levels from beginners to Programming.

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling and productivity programs.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685.  Fax: 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2.
E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2006 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd Please share it with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice.  To Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.

Back to top


Newsletter September 2006

Editorial

Rising interest rates and lower petrol prices are two elements affecting the economy currently.  Are they affecting your business in any way and have you a means to assess this?  If not, perhaps you can make some suggestions to us as to how you could be assisted in determining the effect on your cash flows and overheads.

With Pravin Gordhan's latest statement on pursuing the rich whom he sees as paying little or no tax, perhaps we need to see whether this is true and challenge his assumption.  I was amused to read that some people have complained because he hasn't sent them a letter asking about their tax affairs!

Another challenge is rising in terms of companies being seen as not implementing BEE sufficiently.  Taken in the light of recent international reports about SA's labour laws being too restrictive - is this attitude helping or hindering job creation?  I have a feeling that we have far too many sticks and almost no carrots for SMEs particularly and it is hindering growth.

The news around our business is that we are now Quick Books resellers, including Quick Payroll.  This decision was taken as Quick Books integrates with Maximizer and it seemed a good way to go.

New Programmer

Please join us in welcoming Lincan Nkgoeng to our staff.  He started on 21st August as a trainee programmer.

2010 – Moving Forward

What can we do to assist your efforts towards making 2010 memorable!  If you are looking for new overseas customers, can our database and CRM solutions assist you in reaching them via fax or e-mail?  Remember that Maximizer has an SMS add-on that is free!  You just pay for the SMSs themselves.  We can also put you in contact with fax-to-email and email-to-fax solutions to make your marketing efforts even easier.

Integrating Accounting, Payroll and Maximizer CRM - the Quick Books Solution

Are you wanting to look at a solution which works seamlessly and is affordable?  Then Maximizer CRM linking into Quick Books Accounting may be the place to look.  Furthermore, Quick Payroll comes on board to ensure that your payroll needs are covered as well.  Please speak to Judith about this: 082 389-3481.

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: I have just sent a document to the printer using Crtl+P and now my PC seems to be hanging, what is the problem?

Answer: It is most likely that your document was forwarded to you or has not been used in a long time.  What is happening is that the program you are printing from is looking for a printer that does not exist.  Be patient and you will receive a message asking whether the search should continue.  Reply No and then your printer list will be displayed for you to choose a printer to use.

Question: My database folder has disappeared after a power failure, how do I get it back?

Answer: The easiest is to restart your PC, as it is likely that the server hosting the database files restarted more slowly than your PC did.

Question: How can I bring Lotus SmartSuite files into Word and/or Excel?

Answer: We can convert them for you for a small fee per file.  The charge depends on individual file size and the number required to be converted

Question: My e-mail recipient's Outlook did not receive the Microsoft Access database I sent as an attachment.  What can I do?

Answer:  Zip it and attach the zipped file.  Outlook blocks MDB file attachments on the basis that they could contain macro viruses.  Oddly enough, it doesn't block Excel and Word files, which can have the same viruses (always set your macro virus protection to "Medium" or higher).  What are Microsoft not telling us?  Otherwise change the file extension; we use "FBG" (the "BG" stands for "Bill Gates").  Remember to tell your recipient the correct file extension.

Question: How can I stop people sending me spam e-mails advertising dubious American shares, drugs, pirate software, ways to enlarge my body parts, and plain rubbish?  My indignant replies to them are returned "undeliverable".

Answer:  Currently the only way is to change your e-mail address.  Spammers are the curse of the internet, and in most countries they are breaking the law, which requires that e-mails have a genuine sender and a way to unsubscribe.  We'd like to see someone establish a SWAT team that will trace the spammers and eviscerate or pickle them.  Ads for illegal Microsoft software (anything that's too cheap!) you can forward to piracy@microsoft.com.  Outlook's "Junk e-mail" filter is pretty good, but sometimes is overzealous.  In Outlook (Tools) you can set "Rules and Alerts" to delete mail containing specified keywords.

To give us more questions - please contact judith@softwareafrica.co.za

Some E-mail tips from Microsoft:

Format your e-mail messages for clarity: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX011456181033.aspx [link no longer exists]
7 ways to ensure your e-mail gets read: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5453802

In need of professional hardware support in the Randburg area?

If so, Supima Computers may be your solution.  They are situated in Bond Street and are another of our partners.  Contact Jessica on (011) 789-4076 or jess@supimasa.com.

High level training in Excel

Do you feel that you could be more productive if you had a greater understanding of Excel and its formulas?  We can offer the Excel for Professional Users course.  This covers how you can use Excel to maximize your reporting skills and minimize the hassles! We include using pivot tables, "What-If" scenarios and other data analysis techniques.  For a full specification of this course and costs – please contact Judith as above.

Excel Tips 34 – Format Cells, Alignment

Our Story (for "Prince Valiant" readers): In the last few issues we have looked at the number formats in Excel.

Now we'll look at the next tab of the same dialog, Format > Cells > Alignment:

Horizontally, you can align text to the left, centre, or right.  "General" (the default) aligns text to the left, numbers to the right, and logical and error values to the centre.  "Left", "Right", and "Distributed" allow you to indent by a given number of characters.  "Justify" aligns with both margins, but you can't indent from them.  A drawback to "Distributed", as compared to "Justify", is the way it handles the last line –see top example above right.

Vertically, your choices are "Top", Bottom", "Centre", "Distributed", and "Justify".  The latter two seem to behave the same way: If the row height is larger than is required for the text (because it was set manually, or there is higher text on a different row) the text is spaced out vertically to cover the cell (see second example above right).  With these two choices, the text automatically wraps, otherwise you must use "Wrap Text" for multi-line text.

The text angle does not work with all options.

If you merge cells, only the text in the top left cell is displayed, across all the cells.  Automatic row sizing does not work if you merge cells.  This means that you have to select each range of cells to merge, individually.  One way around this is to use "Center Across Selection": It will merge the cells horizontally only, while keeping rows separate.

We have been unable to work out what the greyed checkbox "Justify distributed" does or how to make it available and, judging by the fact that Help says nothing about it, Microsoft are equally puzzled!


Tips: Handling the telephone note and making an appointment whilst keeping it open

Here you are, working through your hotlist, phoning customers and doing follow-up.  You drag and drop a customer task on the phone icon and dial out.  They answer.  As the conversation continues, they express the need to see you.  Move your mouse to Calendar on the Icon bar and click on it to open your calendar.  Choose the date and time and right click to open the appointment window.

Set up the appointment.  (Note - your task window is still open!)  Set the alarm time and all other information and then click OK.  Depending on your settings, you may be asked to send an confirmation e-mail to the person that you have made the appointment with and you can also opt to send a reminder e-mail some time beforehand.

Once you have completed setting up the appointment, you click on OK.  Now you can close your task window or click on Hang up and then add additional notes about the conversation.
 

Next month – Remembering to follow up the results of appointments!

Remember:  We can Help you with:―

  • Writing your custom databases on Microsoft Access, or custom programs in Visual Basic.  If you can’t find that piece of software to do things your way, ask us!

  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, and Lotus 123 problems.

  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows.  We do all levels from beginners to Programming.

  • Software: We re-sell and support various CRM, timesheet, scheduling and productivity programs.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Directors, Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd t/a Software Africa
PO Box 987, Gallo Manor, 2052 South Africa.
Tel: (+27 11) (011) 802-2685.  Fax: 802-4576.  Cell: 082 389-3481/2.
E-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2006 Communication in Action (Pty) Ltd Please share it with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and includes this notice.  To Subscribe to the newsletter, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail.

 

| Back to top |

©2006 Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa. All rights reserved.  Updated 18 June 2013 e-mail Webmaster.