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Newsletters – October-December 2011

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.  Below and on our home page you can search this entire web site.  Click here for the list of ALL Newsletters.

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Newsletter - October 2011

Editorial

The hottest days of the year so far are upon us, and no cooling rain is on the horizon.  It certainly seems that global climate change is beginning to be felt.  COP17, the conference on climate change, will start in Durban at the end of November.  Our government has nominated our country's worst polluters, Sasol and Eskom, as its main negotiators: How serious are we about limiting our emissions?  South Africa is per capita amongst the worst polluters in the world, and Africa is likely to be the continent hardest hit by the results, yet our public representatives want to go on polluting as if there is no tomorrow.

October is Mulberry month.  People walking with us along the Sandspruit for the next few weekends will be able to eat a snack straight off the trees during the hike.

Update 11.11.1 of MaxPal, the Maximizer-Pastel Link

MaxPal is a wizard-driven utility that links the Maximizer contact relationship management (CRM) system and the Pastel™ Partner accounting package. All, or selected entries of Maximizer’s Client details are written to a CSV file that can be imported into Pastel™’s Customer (Debtor) database.  MaxPal can also create invoices to be imported into a Pastel invoice batch ready to be posted, either on a recurring basis (for example, for monthly membership) or ad-hoc.

At the request of the SA Chefs Association, a loyal long-term user, we have separated the Membership Type UDF on the "Recurring Billing" tab from the Membership Category UDF on the "to Pastel" tab. The new "Membership Categories" UDF may now start with a number, in which case that is used as the (existing) Category number in Pastel. Prices on "Recurring Billing" tab are now inclusive of VAT by default.

Green Tip

If you are concerned about the planet, how about writing to the papers or the Government urging them to replace Sasol and Eskom as our negotiators, and instead use people from bodies that don't have a vested interest in polluting our planet?

AutoCAD 2012 with Inventor Fusion

Really makes modelling work at speed!  Remember that AutoCAD offers rendering of drawings and other advantages.

Here are some of the reasons to go ahead with this:

1. Quickly document—and stay connected to—3D models from almost any source (AutoCAD 2012 only)

Save time by automatically generating intelligent documentation for AutoCAD, Autodesk® Inventor®, and other models. Associative connections with Inventor help ensure drawing views, edge display, and location are instantly updated when an engineering change is made. And since you can import models from a wide variety of applications (including Pro/ENGINEER®, CATIA®, Solidworks®, NX®, and Rhinoceros®), you can streamline almost any documentation workflow.

RESULT: Meet customer expectations by using the most complete documentation tools available.

2. Explore design ideas with flexible 3D modelling tools (AutoCAD 2012 only)

With AutoCAD, you have the power to create almost any form you can imagine. Simply push/pull faces, edges, and vertices to model complex shapes, add smooth surfaces, and much more. With tools for surface, solid, and mesh modelling, AutoCAD 2012 provides the utmost flexibility and control when designing in 3D.

RESULT: Develop conceptual designs more easily in 3D with easy-to-use tools.

3. Access the benefits of direct modelling with Autodesk Inventor Fusion (AutoCAD 2012 only)

Shipping with AutoCAD 2012, Autodesk® Inventor® Fusion software adds to the 3D conceptual design capabilities of AutoCAD and sets a new standard for professional 3D modelling ease of use. It enables you to import, flexibly edit, and validate models from almost any source, providing the accessibility of direct modelling in the native DWG™ format.

RESULT: Elevate your product designs with a new modelling standard.

4. Dramatically slash your design revision time with parametric drawing. (AutoCAD 2012 only)

When persistent relationships between objects are defined, parallel lines remain parallel and concentric circles remain cantered, all automatically. And now you can infer constraints in real time as you draw, virtually eliminating the need to manually define all of your object relationships. Including both geometric and dimensional constraints, AutoCAD 2012 can assist with those time-consuming revision requests.

RESULT: Drawing revisions are now much easier.

5. Make renovations easier with point cloud support. (AutoCAD 2012 only)

Bring your 3D scans to life, streamlining time-consuming renovation and restoration projects. With support for up to two billion points— and an enhanced point cloud engine—the point cloud capabilities in AutoCAD 2012 help you more quickly import scanned objects, snap to points, and develop designs using your 3D scans.

RESULT: Save time by bringing as-built conditions into your AutoCAD workspace.

6. Document arrayed objects faster than ever before (Both products)

Save valuable rework time by establishing and maintaining a set of relationships between arrayed objects, like windows on a building or trusses on a bridge. With AutoCAD 2012, you can array objects along a specified path (rather than having only rectangular or polar options), saving even more time when creating conceptual designs or finished documentation. And now you can also array objects in 3D space, helping to increase speed and flexibility in your design workflows.

RESULT: More speed, more flexibility.

7. Attach PDF files as an underlay

A top customer wish-list request, the ability to import and underlay PDF files is now provided in AutoCAD 2012. Simply import a PDF file to an AutoCAD drawing in the familiar way you import DWG, DWF™, DGN, and image files. You can even snap to key points on PDF geometry using familiar object snaps, making reuse of old designs that much easier.

RESULT: Improve collaboration and save time by reusing existing PDF-based design data.

8. Work with designs more easily using multifunctional grips (Both products)

More easily edit objects with direct manipulation of grips. Now the power of multifunctional grips has been extended to more AutoCAD objects, including lines, arcs, elliptical arcs, dimensions, and mleaders, as well as 3D faces, edges, and vertices.

RESULT: The most useful editing tools are always at your fingertips.

9. Work with hatches more flexibly than ever before

The hatching capabilities in AutoCAD software are now easier, more flexible, and more reliable than ever. With tools for direct manipulation of hatches, live previews, improved handling of dense hatches, improvements to boundary detection, and the ability to send all hatches to the back, AutoCAD 2012 software helps you save valuable time documenting designs.

RESULT: Save time with more flexible, more reliable hatch tools.

10. Document and communicate more clearly using transparency options

Objects and layers have always had a certain set of properties, including colour, linetype, and lineweight. In AutoCAD 2012, objects and layers get another property to help you control the visual appearance of your drawings: transparency. You can set transparency by layer, by block, or individually for an object. Now your drawings can look more exactly how you want them to look, helping you keep organized and better communicate design details.

RESULT: Greater clarity. Greater productivity.

Please contact Judith judith@softwareafrica.co.za or 011 802 2685 for more details or to set up an appointment to discuss your drawing office requirements.

Excel Tip #93 -  Excel 2007/2010: Secrets of the Ribbon (VIII) - Introducing the Insert tab

We continue looking at the Ribbon, moving on to the Insert tab.  Here's the ribbon when Excel is maximized on a wide-screen PC with the second tab showing:

In Tip #87, we saw how the Home ribbon is divided up into groups, which are named at the bottom.  Here we have the groups Tables, Illustrations, Charts, Links, and Text. Only the Charts has the tiny little diagonal arrow button at the bottom of the ribbon (in pink above), that launches a pop-up dialog box.  Many of the buttons have a little downward-pointing triangle, indicating a drop-down list: This can take two forms.  If you hover the mouse over PivotTable, for example, you see that it consists of a button and a separate drop-down list. On the other hand, Shapes, Column, and most of the others control only a drop-down list.

The letters and numbers in little squares shown above, for example "H" on Home and "N" on Insert, appear when you hold in the Alt key. They are the shortcut-characters that you press together with the Alt key in order to activate that particular tab or feature.  So you can, for example, press Alt+1 to save the file.

In this issue we will take an overview of this tab in the ribbon.  In later issues we will look in greater depth at some groups.  As the name of the tab indicates, this tab is all about inserting various items.  The groups and their buttons are:

  • Tables: This group has two buttons: Pivot tales and ordinary tables.
  • Illustrations: Pictures , clip art, shapes, and smart art.
  • Charts: The different types of chart are listed here.
  • Links: Only hyperlinks are shown here.
  • Text: Text boxes, headers and footers, WordArt, signature lines, objects and symbols.

We'll start covering the groups in the next issue.

QuickBooks 2010

Using QuickBooks Premium and Pro 2010 means you can create and track estimates for customers.  To seen what your pipeline is looking like every day, create a report in reports / jobs, time & mileage / Estimates by job.  You can save this report in your custom report lists for regular use.  To keep your key information displaying every time you open QuickBooks, go to Edit / Preferences / Desktop View and make sure that Keep previously saved desktop is selected.

 For more information, phone the team on 011 802-2685 / 6440.

Computius Say:

Newton's Laws of Motion as applied to Business:
Second law (Acceleration): The bigger the company, the more effort is needed to change it (think Telkom, SARS, Transnet...).

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

  • Automating your in-house processes with a custom program or database..
  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.
  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist: AutoCAD, Caddie, dotPLOT, etc.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • Promoting your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
Reg. 2009/007863/23 ~ VAT No 4500104387 ~ 126 Kelvin Drive, Morningside Manor, Sandton, 2191 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2 ~ e-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2011 Communication in Action.  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 provided to a third party without your permission.

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Newsletter - November 2011

Editorial

November is here and the fireworks displays have been relatively benign.  Not so the water pollution in our rivers, which is beyond bearable and has destroyed whole clutches of ducklings.  It is also badly affecting human life as well.

With the year winding down, this is a good time to put your systems in place for the new year, so that your business gets off to a flying start!

Version 3.00 of the free Software Africa Quotation System released

This is a free Excel 2003/2007/2010 spreadsheet for producing general quotations and Bills of Materials. You can enter your own price lists in different categories. The user can then choose up to ten products from any of the categories, add extras, add a mark-up, and print a quote and/or a BOM to a printer or a separate spreadsheet.  If you register, the output will be personalized with your company name and details.

Recent changes include better instructions and file saving for Excel 2007/2010, a macro to test if your macros are activated and assist with Excel's Trust Centre settings, and a button to save the Template, something that users have struggled with.  There is also an improved registration process for users of internet e-mail like Gmail, hotmail, and webmail.

The quotation sheet can be downloaded from this page.

Maximizer now on the Web

This is a snapshot of the new web enabled edition of Maximizer.  It is a different way of working, but means that you can be anywhere and access your database.  It is completely compatible with Smart phones as well.  Depending on your Internet speeds, it works well and has all the features of the in-house product.

It works on initial purchase of seats and then goes onto a monthly subscription in the second year.

Green Tip

A recent study conducted on behalf of Greenpeace Africa uncovered the fact that externalised costs around Medupi and Khusile mean that we are actually paying R2.80 per kilowatt for electricity.  This is the moment to change your power needs to solar and other alternatives.  Such changes will make your costs lower.

AutoCAD 2012 and AutoCAD LT Special until 15th December 2012

Once again we are able to offer 10% discount on new and upgraded products!  This gives you the opportunity to become compliant with licensing requirements as well as giving your drawing office the powerful new tools required for efficient and productive outputs.

Start 2012 by being right up to date and out producing your opposition from day one!

Please contact Judith judith@softwareafrica.co.za or 011 802 2685 for more details or to set up an appointment to discuss your drawing office requirements.

Excel Tip #94 -  Excel 2007/2010: Secrets of the Ribbon (IX) - the Insert tab, Tables Group

We continue looking at the second tab, the Insert tab, on the Ribbon.  We will now look at the groups in more detail. The first group, Tables, has just two buttons: PivotTables and Tables.

The Tables button is easier, so we will look at it first.  A Table will typically have a row of headings, usually in several columns, with multiple rows of numeric or text data beneath (e.g. the left side of second picture below).  When you click on a table of this nature and then on Insert > Table, Excel default formats the table, and displays a new ribbon tab, Design:

Various table styles and options can be chosen, external data can be refreshed, data can be exported and manipulated in various ways.  Each column heading gets a drop-down list that can be sued to sort and filter the data in various ways.

PivotTables, first invented by Lotus, are used to analyse, summarise, and to answer questions in depth about numerical data. You can also create a PivotChart, using the drop-down arrow. Again, start by clicking in a table of data.  Click the PivotTable button: Excel selects the full table, and asks if this is the correct data, and where to put the PivotTable (on an existing or new sheet).  It then gives you various tools, including a new ribbon tab, Options, to help with the design:

In the above illustration the Table, our source data, is shown on the left in pink, and the resulting Pivot Table appears in the middle in blue.  On the right is the Pivot Table Field List pane, used to design the PivotTable.  Field names can be dragged from one part of the pane to the other (row labels to column labels, and so on).  Filters can be set.  Values can be formatted, summed, counted, maxima and minima can be calculated, as can standard deviations etc. The Options ribbon allows further manipulation.  PivotTables could take a small book to cover in depth: For more information, use Excel's Help.

QuickBooks 2012

The launch of QuickBooks 2012 is now imminent.  The Red Letter Day is 24th November, so we will update you in the December newsletter on new features and pricing

 For more information, phone the team on 011 802-2685 / 6440.

Computius Say:

Newton's Laws of Motion as applied to Business:
Third law (Reaction): For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

  • Automating your in-house processes with a custom program or database..
  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.
  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist: AutoCAD, Caddie, dotPLOT, etc.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • Promoting your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action CC t/a Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
Reg. 2009/007863/23 ~ VAT No 4500104387 ~ 126 Kelvin Drive, Morningside Manor, Sandton, 2191 South Africa.
Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2 ~ e-mail: info@softwareafrica.co.za

This entire newsletter is Copyright© 2011 Communication in Action.  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 provided to a third party without your permission.

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Newsletter - December 2011

Editorial

As the year comes to a close and the rain stays away, it is worth reflecting on the past months.  We have not seen economic growth but rather stagflation, with prices rising and sales requiring a special effort.  Contrary to the government's plans, jobs have been lost in many sectors of the economy.  This means that we all have to be clear on how we are going to work with our customers and partners in 2012.  Seeking out new opportunities and new ways of meeting business needs is the key to success.

Meanwhile, take some quality time out over the holiday season and travel safely.  Thank you all for your business and support in 2011!  May 2012 be everything you want.

dotPLOT Version 7004 Released with HotPlot 3.4.2

The Scale set in HotPlot now overrides the SCALE parameter for individual holes in the text file.  You can still leave the HotPlot Scale box blank to allow dotPLOT to choose the best scale for holes that do not have a SCALE parameter. dot7004 also fixes a few other, more obscure problems.

There is a major improvement to HotPlot's SET File Editor: On Saving a SET file, it now checks all paths and complains if a path or file is not found.  It also fixes the  Path to Font files (which sometimes used to incorporate a reference to dot5000 if people upgraded from it and kept their SET files).

Maximizer now on the Web and in Version 12

We have moved our database onto the web in order to test drive this option.  The initial version loaded worked nothing like version 12 does.  The latter is a pleasure and it is good to have access anywhere.  I just have to keep my SIM card loaded when travelling!  It also works on my BlackBerry, which is great for looking up phone numbers and addresses when going to clients.

If you would like a demonstration of the solution, please give Thuli a call to make an appointment on 011 802 2685

Green Tip

COP 17 is coming to an end and it is difficult to say, at this moment, whether any valid agreements will come out of it.  However, we have a serious situation in South Africa caused by heavily polluted air, land and water.  This pollution is affecting our health and that of our children.  Please help to make your family and friends aware of this.  Earthlife Africa is very willing to do presentations on the topic, so ring Judith 082 389 3481 if you are interested in one.

AutoCAD 2012 and AutoCAD LT Special until 15th December 2011

Once again we are able to offer 10% discount on new and upgraded products!  This gives you the opportunity to become compliant with licensing requirements as well as giving your drawing office the powerful new tools required for efficient and productive outputs.

Start 2012 by being right up to date and out-producing your opposition from day one!

Please contact Judith judith@softwareafrica.co.za or 011 802 2685 for more details or to set up an appointment to discuss your drawing office requirements.

Excel Tip #95 -  Excel 2007/2010: Secrets of the Ribbon (X) - the Insert tab, Illustrations Group

We continue looking at the second tab, the Insert tab, on the Ribbon.  The second group, Illustrations, has four buttons: Picture, Clip Art, Shapes, and SmartArt.

  • Picture pops up a dialog box from which you can choose a graphical file to add to the spreadsheet  from your hard drive or network.
  • Clip Art activates a window pane on the right, in which you can search for clip art both on your hard drive and on Office On-Line.
  • Shapes is a drop-down list from which you can choose recently used shapes, lines, rectangles, basic shapes, block arrows, equation symbols, flowcharting symbols, stars and banners, and speech bubbles.
  • SmartArt gives you customisable sets of symbols for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships, matrices, and pyramid structures.

In each case, when you select an item you have placed on the spreadsheet, a customised Format tab appears on the ribbon tailored to Picture, Clip Art, Shapes, or SmartArt.  In the case of the latter there is a Design tab too.  These give you considerable leeway in changing the appearance of the illustrations.

QuickBooks 2012 on Special until 15th December 2011

 

Live batch invoicing system

 

Drill down reports

 

User friendly invoice layout design

 

Instantly see how your business is performing with the Company and Customer Snapshot

 

See all the To Do’s, invoices, bills past due and bills coming due in the built-in calendar

 

Handle Multi-currency automatically

 

Run the accounts of two companies at the same time ( Premier only)

 

For more information go to www.quickbooks.co.za

 

This offer is valid until the close of business - 15th December 2011

For more information, phone the team on 011 802-2685 / 6440.

Computius Say (for the Festive Season):

He who hesitates is probably right.

Free* Gift for Reading This Far!

(*Come on Marketing Dept, if it's a gift, it has to be free!)  If you would like a gratis spreadsheet for any of the following purposes, visit www.softwareafrica.co.za/free_spreadsheets.htm: Bank Account Reconciliation, Fuel Consumption, Recording Rainfall, Water Meter Readings, Electricity Meter Readings, Mattress Turning Schedule, John Demartini Fast Savings Calculator, or a Quotation System with a Bill of Materials.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

  • Automating your in-house processes with a custom program or database..
  • Solving your Maximizer, Access, Excel, Word, Visual Basic, and even Lotus 123 problems.
  • Training your company on Maximizer, Excel, Word, Access and Windows (all levels from beginners to Programming).
  • Supplying software: We re-sell and support various CRM, accounting, timesheet, scheduling, and productivity programs.
  • Providing world-class programs for the Civil Engineer and Engineering Geologist: AutoCAD, Caddie, dotPLOT, etc.
  • Making your Civil Engineering Lab run smoother and more profitably with Labbie, our Data Retriever.
  • Promoting your corporate image with a set of templates on Word or Excel, linked to your address list.

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action cc



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