Newsletter - September 2012


This month has been even more exciting.  Manali accepted a job offered from an Indian company and left.  Then Zinhle joined us as a junior programmer and Thuli decided that she will come back on 1 October.  Zinhle is really proving herself, which is absolutely great.  Willy has continued to show star qualities.

We will be at full strength on 1 October and running fast to serve you all!

Spring has sprung and the rains have come, so everything is in full flower and perfume.  There is new excitement and new heights to be gained!  Enjoy this momentum!

QuickBooks Update

The 2013 products launch next month and they are great.  Enterprise opens up new horizons and is really exciting for companies with branches.

We are able to take on your Excel data into QuickBooks by using our programmers to write macro solutions.  Unfortunately this takes time but does save you manual take-on time.  Please make sure you give us all the fields that you want and are clear on how they are to be treated.  This saves us time and you, expense.

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

Labbie Continues to Grow

Labbie, our LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) for the Civil Engineering Laboratory, has just had a new release following extensive feedback from Loma Lab in Emalahleni.

The program processes concrete cubes and the most popular soils and asphalt tests, producing output in a variety of report formats to printer, fax, PDF, or e-mail.  It also provides for the results of any test to be entered if the calculations are done outside of Labbie.  The program can make improvements to the business owner's cash flow, in that the invoice can be exported to Pastel Accounting as soon as a cube or sample is entered.

There are significant new improvements in Labbie, to sieve analysis, mechanical analysis, hydrometer calculations and plotting, soil classifications, and most soils reports.  Ask us for a demonstration.

Green Tip

Fracking has been given the go ahead.  In our water scarce country, where we already use 98% of our water, fracking is not viable.  Please support with donations so that our water is protected from more pollution.  Make your friends aware that this will not produce jobs for South Africans, as all the skilled workers will be imported and 70 000 farm workers could well be left without jobs.

dotPLOT Version 7008 with HotPlot 3.8.0 Released

If you already have the 32- and 64-bit-compatible dotPLOT, then your latest version, 7008 with HotPlot 3.8.0, is ready for installing. Go to  You can install it directly from the Internet, or download to install on multiple PCs.  This is a free upgrade for existing dot7000-series users.  To upgrade from the older dot6000 series costs only R3000 + VAT for the first copy, half price thereafter.

For dot7008 doing Borelogs, top margin space is no longer allocated for Abbreviations unless there actually is an Abbreviations block (the Abbreviations block does not appear if you combine the attributes onto the profile page, using the Compress Borelog option).

There are two visible new features in the Windows front-end, HotPlot 3.8.0:

"Under the hood", we fixed some rare bugs that caused a problem with the licensing process.

AutoCAD 2013 and Design Suites

The special on Design Suites ends on 12 October 2012 - if you want to save 15% off the prices - please contact us!  We scored a first for Bronze Partners in legalising a customer this last week.

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

How does licensing work?

This is a question that we have been asked a lot recently.  Customers wanting 6 licences expect a far lower price and are surprised when this is not the case.  They feel that if they have already bought a copy of the software, additional users should cost less.

In fact, with all software solutions, this is not the case, as they are buying a licence to use the software, not the software itself.  With large orders, we are certainly able to offer some discount and will do so to the best of our ability, although we do not receive a further discount from the distributors.  AutoCAD LT is one exception, as the 5 user pack is discounted at source by Autodesk.

Where a number of people require to use the AutoCAD range, network licences can be purchased.  A one user network licence allows one user on the software at a time.  As you add additional users on the network, then more people can work simultaneously.  We will strive to make sure that you maximise your investment through this mechanism.

With Accounting and CRM solutions, the licences are user bound, so you are obliged to have one licence for every user who must log in.  This is also true of Microsoft Office, but not of the server products, which work more like Autodesk products.

Excel Tip #104 - The Formulas menu (I): The Function Library group

Last time we looked at Excel 2010's Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.  The next one is the Formulas tab, in which we will study the Function Library Group today:

The Function Library Group is made up of the ten buttons on the left of the illustration above, from "Insert Function" to "More Functions" (highlighted). The whole group is used to insert various types of functions into the worksheet.

The first button, "Insert Function", and also the small fx button (underneath "Function Library", left of "=TODAY()" in the picture above), and also "More Functions..." at the bottom of the pull-down menu attached to the AutoSum button (illustrated at the left) (and indeed all the other buttons in the group), all work in the same way:

The AutoSum button on its own give you the =SUM() function.  If you select the range(s) you want summed, plus blank cells below or to the right, Excel will insert the adjacent ranges.  Otherwise it will select adjacent ranges of figures (if any) and leave you to edit the formula.

The pull-down menu attached to the AutoSum button (second picture) lets you do the same thing with other popular functions that work with ranges in a similar fashion to =SUM(), namely =AVERAGE(), =COUNT(), =MAX() and =MIN().

The remaining buttons in the Function Library Group open pull-down lists of the functions in that category, and the inevitable "More Functions...".  The number of functions in Excel is vast an varied.  We have covered many of them much earlier in this series of tips, and may do so again depending on reader demand.

Next time we will look at the "Defined Names" group, which merits a tip all of its own.

Computius Say:

Best time to buy a budgie is when it is going cheep.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa
"Empowering African Business with custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"
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Tel: 011 802-2685 / 011 802-6440/1 ~ Fax: 011 802-4576 and 086-635-7902/3 ~ Cell: 082 389-3481/2 ~ e-mail:

This entire newsletter is Copyright 2012 Communication in Action cc t/a Software Africa. All rights reserved. Information may be reproduced in full context as long as credit is given.
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