Software Africa Newsletter - December 2019

Autodesk Tip ~ Online Business Tip ~ Excel Tip


This is the time of year when we wish you all the very best and safe travelling. A very big thank you for your amazing support during the year!  You have totally been loyal customers and friends.

We have a festive present for you near the end of this newsletter...

On-Line Business Tip #33: Google Hacks 10 -  Google Alerts:

Google is the most popular search engine in the solar system. But these days Google is much more than a search engine.  This month we take a break from searches. Instead, we introduce a way you can get Google to send you emails about new items on the internet, that interest you.

It's called Google Alerts. You can find it at

At the top of the page is a box in which it says "Create an alert about..."

Type search terms exactly as you would in a normal Google search. As usual, use "in quotes" for the exact phrase, and - (minus) before keywords to ignore.

For example, if you want to hear about new YouTube videos of the Toastmasters Pathways programme, you might use:
Toastmasters Pathways

Before you hit the Create Alert button, pull down the Show Options dropdown. Check that the Frequency (How often), Sources, Language, Region, How many (all, or only the best), and "Deliver to" options suit you.

Now hit the Create Alert button, and watch your inbox for the results at the frequency you requested.

Tip: Create an alert for your name, and another for your company name. You will then be among the first to know when someone posts something about you.

This tip first appeared in the Megaplex Business Booster Newsletter. Subscribe here.

AutoCAD News

90-day Subscription Renewal Reminder Added

Customers are reminded 90 days in advance to renew their subscription by Autodesk:

"In an effort to increase our subscription renewal rates, we recently began sending 90-day renewal reminder emails to customers in addition to our standard 45-, 30-, and 4-day reminders.

"Our goal is to give customers more advance notice that their maintenance plan will be expiring soon and to remind them of their renewal options. The renewal reminders are stopped once a subscription has been renewed.

"As previously announced, we have also added that customers can save 10% when they switch to a subscription with 3-year terms at renewal time*."

* Savings of 3-year subscriptions is compared to the applicable Autodesk suggested retail price for 3 consecutive, annual subscriptions. Autodesk partners are independent and free to set their own prices.

You can act on this 90 days before expiry.

Autodesk Developments

New Product Usage Reporting for Admins with Single-User Access

Product usage reporting, in Autodesk Account, provides admins with single-user access transparency into what:

We can now spend more time strategically advising you on the best way to adopt new and existing tools to achieve your business outcomes.

Most of the 2020 updates have been done. The Improvements to Revit are listed below:

What's New in Revit 2020 Building Design Software

The new Revit® has new and enhanced features.  They support consistent, coordinated, and complete modelling for multidiscipline design that extends to detailing and construction.  To see the videos mentioned below, go to this link.  Some highlights:

To find out more about the changes to the 2020 products, use this link:

Upgrade to an Autodesk Subscription

By sending us your old perpetual licence, we can upgrade you to the latest subscription version of your product at a 20% discount. Microsoft has announced the end of extended support for Windows 7 in January 2020, this is an opportunity to upgrade to a Windows 10 supported subscription.

Autodesk Knowledge Network (AKN)

AKN is the community content site providing tech support, training materials, product knowledge, and interactive discussion forums for you as customers. Please make use of it.

Incidentally, M2S subscriptions activate on the day of renewal. Other helpful links are:

The differences on how these different layouts work are illustrated here.

Previous Versions of Autodesk Software

Global Travel Rights

Using Subscriptions Software at Home

Autodesk Cloud Credits

Support & Learning

QuickBooks' Cloud Solutions

QBO is proving a multi-faceted platform.  Please contact Judith for more. We have also had good success with international support on our glitches!

After a fruitless struggle to master the QuickPerks Payroll, we have gone back to the Integrity one. Far simpler to run and to produce the reports we need. We are also selling it. It starts from 5 employees and expands as your company grows. There is also an EPOS solution available. Please contact Judith for more information.

Excel Tip #182 – The Excel Visual Basic Editor's "Edit" Toolbar

Earlier, we looked inside the macro you recorded.  Then, we introduced the macro editor program we and its main menu. Last time we examined the Standard Toolbar. Let us now look at the Edit Toolbar.

In Excel, press Alt+F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor.  You should see the following at the top of the window:

The toolbar is shown here directly under the main menu, from under "File" through to "Tools", with the start of the Standard Toolbar to its right.  Yours may be elsewhere: You can grab the toolbar by the three dots on the left and drag it around..  If you don't see the toolbar, click the View menu. On its Toolbar sub-menu, tick "Edit".

Let's now look at the tools and what they do:

  1. List Properties/Methods (Ctrl+J): If the cursor is at an appropriate place in code, this button displays a drop-down list of the VBA Properties and Methods appropriate to the context (as shown above for "Formula")
  2. List Constants (Ctrl+Shift+J): This lists the built-in constants that fit in the appropriate place, e.g. vbQuestion, vbYesNo, vbYesNoCancel as the second parameter of a MsgBox.
  3. Quick Info (Ctrl+l): Lists, depending on context, information on the current  item, e.g. vbQuestion = 32, or the parameter list of a MsgBox.
  4. Parameter Info (Ctrl+Shift+I): This works like the previous button, but the cursor must be in a parameter list, e.g. between the parentheses of a MsgBox( ).
  5. Complete Word (Ctrl+Space): This completes the word shown in dropdown list, e.g. as the second parameter of a MsgBox, you start typing "vbQ" and then click this button (or press Ctrl+Space, or even just Spacebar) and the Editor completes the parameter "vbQuestion".
  6. Indent (Tab): Moves the code to the right by one "Tab" (by default, equal to 4 spaces, but can be set in Tools > Options > Editor tab > Tab Width. We prefer 2 spaces).
  7. Outdent (Shift+Tab):  Moves the code to the left by one "Tab" (removes that number of spaces on the left of the code), unless it is already at the left margin.
  8. Toggle Breakpoint (F9): As shown in the picture above on the "End Sub" line, this places a red dot in the left margin bar next to the current line of code, and puts a red background of the code.  When code is run (F5), the program will pause execution ("break") at this line.
  9. Comment Block: This places a single quote (') on the extreme left of the selected lines of code. This make the line a comment (if it wasn't one before).  Comments in code are ignored by the program.  They are for the benefit of the programmer.  "Commenting out" a block of code is a way of deactivating those lines without deleting them, in case you want them later.
  10. Uncomment Block: For the selected lines of code, this removes the leftmost single quote (').  Lines without a single quote on the left are active lines of code.  Thus, this button can reactivate code previously deactivated with the previous button.
  11. Toggle Bookmark:  As shown in the picture above, places a rounded cyan rectangle in the left margin bar next to the current line of code. You can jump to such a "bookmark" using the next two buttons.
  12. Next Bookmark: Jump to the next "bookmark" in order.
  13. Previous Bookmark: Jump to the previous "bookmark" in order.
  14. Clear All Bookmarks: Removes all bookmarks. Closing the file also causes it to forget all bookmarks (and breakpoints).

Except for setting breakpoints (used in debugging), the tools on the Edit toolbar (as you might expect) help with editing code.

Next time we'll look at the Visual Basic Editor's Debug toolbar.

A Festive Present for you: An Automated Vehicle Licence Form:

Tired of laboriously filling out the South African ALV(9) Vehicle Licence Form by hand every year?  Not to mention when the Post Office or Licensing Department has run out of forms!  Help is at hand.

Get our new free Excel spreadsheet (with sample data).  It asks you all the questions and writes your answers in the right blocks. It even crosses the appropriate boxes. Open the file with macros enabled and click OK, Click the Fill in Form button, complete the form, and (optionally) print.

Save the file, and print it again next year: No new filling in until your information alters. Then, make only the required changes and keep the rest.

Or, if you love completing the form by hand, there is a button to clear the data to let you print a blank form.

To get the ALV(9) South African Vehicle Licence Form (only 75 KB in size), Click here and Send the resulting email.

PS: Our website also has free spreadsheets for Bank Account Reconciliation, Vehicle Fuel Consumption, Rainfall, Water and Electricity Meter Readings, a Mattress Turning Schedule nogal, a Quotation System (with Bill of Materials), and the John Demartini Fast Savings Calculator.  Enjoy your presents!

Computius Say:

Obsolete, any program that runs right is.

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
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