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

Newsletters – Oct / Nov / Dec 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.

Forward:  2007: January–March >  – Latest Newsletters >>

Back: <2006: January–March< April–June – < July–Sept – Below: OctoberNovemberDecember

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 October 2006

Editorial

Climate change driven by vehicle emissions, Car-free day, the "High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane" on the M1-N1, and the taxi operators' strike have all focused attention on transport issues.  If you are using a car, are you monitoring its fuel consumption?  We can help.  Get our free Excel Fuel Consumption spreadsheet which you can order from our web site in the "Free Business Software" section.  While you are there, you might like to order the free Water Meter Readings spreadsheet and/or the free Bank Reconciliation spreadsheet and/or the free Quotation System spreadsheet too.

If you want to learn more about Excel, as usual we have our bite-sized Excel tip-of-the month below.  To help new subscribers, we've collected all the back issues of the Excel Tips series on our web site.

By way of adding value for you, our valued customers, the Excel tips on the web site are only part of an extensive range of tips on Maximizer, Microsoft Windows, Word, Outlook, Excel, and Access.  For Excel and Access we also have pages of Visual Basic code to help you with your macros: See our free stuff.

QuickBooks and Quick Payroll

As enthusiastic long-term users of QuickBooks, we have now become resellers of QuickBooks and Quick Payroll.  This decision was taken as Quick Books integrates with Maximizer and it seemed a good way to go.

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. (Sneaky  thought - we can provide other integration options as well).

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: I am running Incredi-Mail and want to set Microsoft Outlook as my default e-mail package.  How do I do it?

Answer: Normally you set Outlook as your default by running it and then clicking Tools > Options > Other:  Under General you then tick "Make Outlook the default..".  However in this case this option did not exist!  We think Incredi-Mail hides it and recommended uninstalling Incredi-Mail.

Question: How can I get an alphabetical list of the files in a certain folder?

Answer: Good old DOS to the rescue!  Click Start > Run, type cmd and click OK.  A DOS window opens.  The drive and current folder should be listed in the DOS prompt (ending in a ">").  IF the drive is wrong, type the drive letter followed by a colon (e.g. F:), and press Enter.  The prompt should change to suit.  Type CD "folder name" (e.g. CD \Test Data), and press Enter.  The prompt should change to suit.  Now type DIR/B/O >filename (where filename is the name of the file for your listing, e.g. temp.txt), and press Enter.  Use Windows explorer to find the file, double-click it to open it in Notepad, or open it in Word or Excel.  Tip: Use DIR/B/O/S to list files in subfolders of the folder, too.

Question: That seems terribly complex. Isn't there a simpler way?

Answer:  Well, yes, it just so happens that our free WinMatch program will list a folder to a file too (apart from comparing and copying files).  Ask us if you need more information, or click here.

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

Some "Excel-lent" tips from Microsoft's "At Home and At Work" Newsletter:

Four quick tips for using Excel <http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5666622>.
The Crabby Office Lady's top 5 Excel tips and tricks <http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5666623>

For more tips, and to subscribe:
· Microsoft At Home site <http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5666620>
· Microsoft At Work site <http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5666621>

Green Raspberry of the Month

To Citroën for advertising with the slogan "Future Technology Today" while still selling cars with internal combustion engines (and ignoring phone messages on the subject).  Come on guys, that is not just last-century technology, it's over a hundred years old (and bad for the environment)!  "Future Technology" is hybrid vehicles, followed by fuel cells and ultimately solar-electric cars!  Other people are doing it: How about putting your money where your mouth is?

Excel Tips 35 – Format Cells, Font / Border / Patterns / Protection

In the last few issues we looked at the first two tabs of the Format > Cells dialog in Excel, which cover the number formats and alignment.  We will now briefly cover the other tabs in the dialog box.

On the Font tab, things are pretty straightforward.  Two points worth noting: For the size, you can type any number between 1 and 1638, not just those in the Size list. If you tick the Normal Font check box, the settings on the Font tab will reset to the default style.

On the Border tab, just remember to choose the Line Style first, before you tell Excel where to put it.

The Patterns tab lets you select the background colour for the cell, and then overlay a pattern (always in black!) over it if desired.  Not as versatile as PowerPoint where you can get one colour to shade into another!

The final tab, Protection, is the sparsest of the lot, but there is a fair bit to be said about it. The checkbox "Hidden" hides the formula in a cell so that it is not visible in the editing box when you click on the cell. The "Locked" checkbox stops the selected cells being changed, resized, moved, or deleted.  However, both these settings only work if the sheet is protected.  The trick is to first set all the required formula cells hidden, and unlock all the cells where you want to allow the user to enter data (notice that all cells are marked "locked" by default) and then protect the sheet, by clicking Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet (password optional).

To make it obvious to users where they can enter data, I like to give the spreadsheet a background colour, such as grey or light blue, and give the unlocked cells "no colour" (white), possibly with an outline border.  People are used to white text boxes on grey Windows forms, so this seems intuitive.  Of course these colour setting must be set before setting Protection on!

High level training in Excel

Could you 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.

Tips: Remembering to follow up the results of appointments!

You come back to the office and you click the completed box in your hot list tasks.  Now what - well you will be prompted to make a note to follow up, which you dutifully do.  However, you haven't put in the meeting result.  Click on the contact name and drag it to the Notes Window, this will open a note, into which you can type your meeting notes.  This completes your documentation on the meeting and you still have the follow up task already set.

By using this method, you are keeping clear on your customer's requirements and ensuring that you also complete the tasks that are needed to move the sale forward.

In Maximizer, your Hot List is your workflow, in fact it is your business bible, tracking everything that you have undertaken to do for a customer.
 

Next month – Let's look at Opportunities again!

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. Your data will not be sold, rented or given away to any third party without your express permission.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail from the address to which this newsletter was sent.

Back to top


Newsletter – November 2006

Editorial

The year is drawing to a hectic close and a hot one as well.  Please note that we have two specials this month on products.  The Maximizer special is more than just licence discounts.  It is an opportunity to upgrade to the current version and receive a free Product Upgrade agreement if you have a version as old as Maximizer Enterprise 3.0.  (Does anyone remember that one?).

The Quick Books bundle is really good value for money as well.

Special wish - may all your systems be safe from lightning including your swimming pool pump!  Ours was hit two weeks ago and we are now gradually bringing the water back from green to blue!

On the wider front, we heartily recommend that you see the film "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore on global climate change, showing at Cinema Nouveau, Rosebank.  It is a real wake-up call for our leaders and all of us.  As we watched it we were painfully aware that South Africa is around the world's fifth worst carbon-dioxide polluter (not per capita, but overall!) after the USA, China, Russia, and Britain –all much larger nations!  We cannot ruin Africa plus if we do not protect our wetlands and rivers, we will all die of thirst.

QuickBooks and Quick Payroll - November SME Special

The Bundle Offer includes

-          Quick Payroll (1 – 120 Employees)

-          FREE QuickBooks Regular 2006

-          FREE Quicken XG

-          FREE Customer Manager

Your clients will receive this AWESOME Bundle Offer for R 1,999.00 (Incl.), and this is more than likely a NEVER TO BE REPEATED OFFER!! Stocks are limited though!

Maximizer CRM - November Special

We have a 10% discount on 5 user licences, 15% on 10 user licences and 20% on 15 user licences. For discounts on upgrades from previous versions, please e-mail Judith judith@softwareafrica.co.za with your version number and the number of users.  Or ring me on (011) 802-2685.  This special offer expires on 28 November.

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: If I run a workgroup network, how many PCs can connect to another PC?

Answer: With Windows XP Pro on your PCs, you can have as many as you want.  However, if you have an XP Home PC on the network, then you are limited to a total of 5 PCs on the network.

Question: I am importing an Excel spreadsheet into my Microsoft Access database using the menu choice File > Get External Data > Import.  Data in the PersonID column is numeric in the first 100-odd rows and alphanumeric further down.  Although I tell it to import into a text field, it fails to import the alphanumeric IDs:  I get a new table "_ImportErrors" with "Type Conversion Failure" for all those cells.

Answer: Due to a bug in Microsoft Access's import function, it looks at the first few rows, decides the PersonID is numeric, and acts accordingly. When it gets to the alphanumerics it can't handle them. It completely disregards the field type of the field it is importing into!  As a workaround, either sort the spreadsheet in DESCENDING order by PersonID (this gives alphabetics at the top), or put a single quote (') at the start of the first PersonID.

Question: I was given an Excel spreadsheet that complains if I put negative values into a cell.  How did they do that?

Answer: Funny you should ask!  See this issue's Excel tip below.

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

A brand New Marketing Site

There is a brand new marketing site on the Internet, set up by Anne Williams.  She send out a newsletter with marketing tips and information to subscribers.  The link is http://www.2bbusiness.co.za/ and it is headed

Practical marketing for real companies
in the small-business sector

Take a look and see if it can add value to your business!

For Early Adopters (Madonna excluded) (Madonna had just adopted a Malawian baby)

Do you want to know where your fleet vehicle is?  Has somebody copied your number plate and run up traffic fines on your behalf?  Have you lost your car, but think it is still around with the same license plate?

We are starting an initiative together with various partners to spot vehicles using cameras and number-plate recognition software: Please look at www.CarID.co.za (since discontinued) and let us know what you think.

Green Raspberry of the Month

Eskom is serious about saving fossil fuels and reducing climate change, right?  Wrong!  Look at their Saving Tips - Residential Users - Where to save electricity (link discontinued): "Tips 1: Hot water system (geyser)" asks readers to insulate their electric geysers, but they don't even mention solar water heating, which is much more energy-efficient!  They also ignore e-mails on the subject sent to Bayanda.Nyasheng@eskom.co.za, but perhaps you'd like to try.  I think that he doesn't exist!

Excel Tips 36 – Introducing Data Validation

Wouldn't it be nice to prevent users from entering wrong data into your spreadsheets?  Now you can: With Data Validation.

On the Data menu, click Validation.  A dialog with three tabs appears: Settings, Input Message, and Error Alert.

On the Settings tab you set the Validation Criteria, in other words you tell Excel what data are acceptable.  Some possibilities:

  • Any Value (the default)
  • Whole numbers (integers) between 0 and 100.
  • Decimal numbers greater than 20.
  • Decimal numbers greater than a specified cell.
  • Dates greater than or equal to =TODAY()
  • Text with a length of 4 characters (e.g. for Post Codes - format the cell as Text too).
  • List from values A,B,C,D using "In-cell dropdown" (this gives a drop-down list using the values specified –the drop-down arrow only appears when you click on the cell).
  • List from cells =$A$4:$A$8, using "In-cell dropdown" (this gives a drop-down list using the range specified).  Since these cells could contain formulas, imagine how powerful this can be!

The Input Message tab lets you set a message, with a bold title, that appears as a tooltip when the cell is selected.

On the Error Alert tab you specify a message that tells the user what they have done wrong.  It appears when they enter data that does not fit your criteria.  Explain in detail what is required.  The "Style" determines the icon that is displayed: Stop, Warning or Information.  Stop prevents the user from continuing with bad data, the other two let the user accept bad data and carry on (or try again).

Data validation works independently of whether you have worksheet protection set on or not.  It's good practice, though, to set the cells where you want to allow data entry with "Locked" off, and then set Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet ON, as discussed in last month's issue.  Also see it for a discussion of background colour for the worksheet and unlocked cells.

Tips: Let's look at Opportunities again!

Opportunity Manager is where you work to follow through with a prospect and turn the opportunity into a sale.  When you have a prospective customer entered into Maximizer, you drag the contact name up to Opportunity Manager to start the process.  The Opportunity window opens and you now make some decisions:

  • What is your objective?  Is it a new system or product sale; is it a further sale into the customer; is it an upgrade?  State your intention clearly here.
  • What products or services are you selling into the customer?  There should be a drop down list here to choose from and you can add new fields.
  • What Category does the sale fall into?  Again there are choices.
  • Description - what is special about this sale?  Flesh it out.
  • Fill in the stage the opportunity is at - probably "Starting" and your Confidence Rating.
  • Fill in all the Opportunity details that you can complete at this time and any other information needed to complete this window
  • Click the User Defined Fields tab and complete the information requ9ired by your company there.
  • Click Sales Plans and note that you are not using a strategy, so choose Show Activites.
  • Click on the More button, and start your activities around this opportunity.
  • Work the opportunity until it is closed!
  • Click on the Competitors and Partners tab.  Find the competitors you know you have and put them in with comments.  If you have a partner in the deal, find them as well.
  • The last tab is the Status tab.  Here you will able to put in information on how you won the deal.  This knowledge enables you to do more deals more easily!

Next month – Taking a break!  Will start again in January and we will have a December newsletter.

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. Your data will not be sold, rented or given away to any third party without your express permission.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail from the address to which this newsletter was sent.

Back to top


Newsletter – December 2006

Editorial

The year is almost over and business confidence is rising as the construction work required for 2010 gets underway.  I think 2007 will be a year to remember - perhaps 8% growth to impact against higher interest rates.  We are still short of much needed rain and this is causing food prices to rise as much as the Rand exchange rate has.

Many companies and employees are looking forward to close down around the 15th December and heading off on holiday.  To all of you, travel safely and enjoy the break.  Return refreshed and ready for action!  (Use your seat belts!)

Everyone at Software Africa wishes our customers and suppliers a safe and prosperous festive season and the very best for 2007.

QuickBooks and Quick Payroll

Were you aware that the top end version of Quick Books delivers more than Pastel Evolution at a lower cost?  We were surprised to find this out when a colleague who knows the latter product well remarked on this fact.  If you are considering a powerful accounting solution, please talk to us about Quick Books Accountant!

Maximizer CRM

The eCRM version of Maximizer runs completely web based.  It is true access anywhere at any time.  It also enables your customers to log on to the system to check their queries and the status of their customer service incidents.  Roaming personnel can log on to update their progress with projects from airports and hotels, or home.  Your business partners can also have access to the sales projects that they are participating in.

This makes for a truly integrated solution.  If you then add to it the connection into Microsoft Exchange Server, which means that your non-Maximizer users can be included in appointments and meetings; the whole company is now working together.

If this sounds like a solution that your company is looking for to take the next leap forward into greater success, please contact Judith for more details.  Tel (011) 802-2685 or judith@softwareafrica.co.za

People at Software Africa

Just an end of year update on who we are, and how to contact us by e-mail:

Problems and Solutions - the Q&A of software

Please send us questions to answer!

Question: Appointments not completed yesterday do not show in my Maximizer Hot List Tasks, why not?

Answer: Open File | Preferences and choose the Calendar / Hotlist tab.  Click on Carry forward unfinished activities.  The tasks will now show the next day.

Question: How do other people access my calendar and hot list to make appointments for and reassign tasks to me?

Answer: This is related to the above answer, as you use the same area of Maximizer to make this happen.  Make the Calendar and Hot list Full Access either All users or just the user you want to be able to do these asks for you.

Question: Maximizer 9.0 no longer runs scripts on the calendar window and does not display appointments, why?

Answer: You have downloaded Internet Explorer 7.0.  If you don't have a high speed line, contact us and we will come and load the Service Pack that fixes it.  If you do, download the Service Pack from www.max.co.uk/support and apply it.  Be very careful to apply to all users' PCs before opening the database, as it will be upgraded.

Maximizer Enterprise 9.0 and 9.5 also require new service packs to counter the problem and they are available on the same site.

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

Small Business Assistance

We are Business Warriors. Are you?  If you're a small business owner or planning to start a business, this community can help you.  It:

  • Focuses on all the challenges small business owners face - not just the business issues:
  • Helps remove the risks from and uncertainty about starting your business.
  • Suggests ways to finance your growing business without signing your life away.
  • Gives ways to get your bank to finance you on your terms, not theirs.
  • Stops your business from owning you, rather than the other way round.
  • Helps you develop yourself so that you can have fun captaining your ship.
  • Helps structure your business to guarantee your family's financial security, no matter what happens.
  • Addresses the biggest challenge facing small business owners: entrepreneurial loneliness.

    Since 96% of small businesses eventually close, they look at how to close your business intelligently, when, and why.

  • Green Tip of the Month

    Are you concerned about global climate change but feel there's nothing you can do?  You can make a difference!  Join EarthLife Africa to stay informed about what you can do locally, while helping press government to reduce our appallingly high carbon emissions.

    Excel Tips – Your Present for Christmas / Chanukah / Summer Solstice / New Year!

    Since it's that time of year and you've taken the trouble to read this far, instead of giving you more to learn, we have a present for you:

    It rains every few days: How about tracking your rainfall?  Hop down to your local hardware shop and buy your friend or loved one a rain gauge as his/her present!  [You think we're joking? Friends of ours say it's the most useful present anyone has given them!]

    Then click here to go to our web site (free spreadsheets page), and request the free rainfall spreadsheet.  This Excel file not only makes data entry easy, but calculates your monthly and annual statistics (days of rain and mm rainfall for the period).

    As a bonus, from the same page you can also request:

    • Bank Account Reconciliation Spreadsheet (sorts out and checks a copy-and-paste from on-line statements of ABSA, FNB, and NedBank – Standard on request)
    • Fuel Consumption Spreadsheet (easily track your car's fuel consumption and service record))
    • Water Meter Readings Spreadsheet (avoid "interim readings" (guesses) by submitting your readings to Johannesburg Water on-line, and check their charges)
    • and, coming soon: Electricity Meter Readings Spreadsheet (Eskom 3-phase))

    Enjoy!

    Taking a break - see you next year!

    Next month – Setting up an automated campaign

    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) LtdPlease 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. Your data will not be sold, rented or given away to any third party without your express permission.  To unsubscribe, Click here and SEND the resulting e-mail from the address to which this newsletter was sent.

     

    | Back to top | Back: < July–Sept 2006 | Forward: 2007 January–March >

    ©2006 Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa. All rights reserved.  Updated 19 June 2013 e-mail Webmaster.