Software Africa Newsletter – July 2020

Autodesk Tip ~ QuickBooks Tip ~ Online Business Tip ~ Excel Tip


Congratulations, Gauteng.  We are now the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Western Cape was the leading hotspot for so long. But in the last few days, Gauteng has overtaken to grab pole position.  Don't let them snatch it from us again!  Make sure you don't wear your mask, and get up really close to people so that you can breathe on each other.

Hyperbole aside, you may not think the above is a great achievement!  Then you'll wear your mask conscientiously.  You'll keep at least 2m away from others (10m if they aren't wearing a mask).  You'll avoid touching your face, and wash your hands frequently.  Well done!  Let's keep the infection rate as low as we can.  My mask protects you – your mask protects me.

Judith Taylor, our co-director, is in hospital.  At least it's not Covid-19.  She is on a ventilator for a lung infection and seems to be recovering gradually.  We say "Thank You" to all the friends and customers who have wished her well.

Welcome to Catherine Hall, who is helping in Judith's absence.  She will respond to your emails to Judith, and customer requests, in the mornings.

Train Your People at Home During Lockdown

Many of your staff are working from home at present.  Could your company make this an opportunity instead of a drawback?

Employees are more valuable when they know Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access (the database), and Visual Basic automation.  We can train them online in person via the internet at times that suit your schedule.

At Software Africa we have a wealth of training material, tested and honed in in-person classes. Levels range from beginners through to programming. Now we train online, live via Zoom. It is actually better that way! The trainee can see the trainer's screen up close, instead of peering from the back of a room. The trainee can share their screen instead of the trainer having to wander around to look.

Join the new wave of online upskilling: email Rick.

On-Line Business Tip #40: Improve your Writing with Grammarly

If your writing isn't clear, expect to sell less.

How can you improve your writing?

Last month we talked about the Hemingway Editor app.  It aims to simplify your sentences, making them easier to read.

Grammarly has a different focus.  This writing app makes sure everything you type is not only correct, but also clear and easy to read. Grammarly's algorithms flag potential issues in the text and make context-specific suggestions to help with grammar, spelling and usage, wordiness, style, punctuation, and even plagiarism.  It works on the web (as an add-in or extension to most browsers) and integrates with MS Word and Outlook.

Grammarly is a free app with paid-for Premium and Business options. The basic function offered by Grammarly is free —identifying most spelling and grammar errors, and the tone of the message. The rest come with a paid subscription of US$12 to 30/month, depending on how you pay.  Find a suitable plan here.

Spatial Manager

Spatial Manager™ for AutoCAD is a powerful third-party plug-in. It allows AutoCAD users to import, export and manage spatial data in a simple, fast and inexpensive way. It also includes many possibilities not seen so far in AutoCAD itself.

It is a lightweight application that runs inside AutoCAD. This can import and export geospatial data between AutoCAD drawings and geospatial tables (files, data servers or data stores). It can also display background maps and manage alphanumeric data and data tables.

AutoCAD import

Spatial Manager™ for AutoCAD imports spatial data, into new or existing AutoCAD drawings, as AutoCAD objects and Extended Entity Data (EED/XDATA), using a powerful wizard that lets the user choose all necessary import parameters to get differentiated spatial information in a CAD drawing.

Automatic layering, fill with polygons, blocks according to data values and mapped attributes, or labelling are only part of the application functionality when importing from spatial files, data servers, data stores, etc. The user can choose import the polygons using "MPolygon" objects, even on basic AutoCAD.

The "Tasks" save all the import processes parameters and options in order to repeat these processes so many times as desired. It is possible to execute one or more "Tasks" at once.

AutoCAD export

Spatial Manager™ for AutoCAD exports objects from the drawing to spatial files or databases and saves their Extended Entity Data (EED/XDATA) as alphanumeric data tables using a wizard, which shares some of the steps with the import wizard. In the same way, the user can choose or select the export parameters to define all the target data among a great number of possibilities.

The export functionality includes options to export the handle and layer of the objects, as well as the block attributes and the text objects properties.

There are options for filtering the objects when exporting.  All the geometric operations needed to fit the target data format are automatically performed.

Would you like Spatial Manager?  Please email Rick.

Autodesk Developments

Last Week of 50% Off Fusion 360 Subscriptions, Ending 17 July 2020

For one more week, you have access to the biggest Fusion 360 sale of the year.  Currently you receive 50% off* when you subscribe to Fusion 360, Fusion 360 - Team Participant, Fusion 360 - Manufacturing Extension, or Fusion 360 - Generative Design Extension. Offer is valid to July 17 only.

Auto-renew Subscriptions Retire on 7 August 2020

What’s changed:

  • On 7 August 2020, Autodesk will stop selling monthly and annual auto-renew subscriptions through resellers.
  • All existing auto-renew subscriptions will become annual renewable. The subscription end date will remain the same.

How it impacts you, our customers:

  • You who are Monthly auto-renew customers will get a renewal reminder for an annual term. If you cannot manage this, we will see what we can do via the distributors.

QuickBooks Desktop News

Instant access!  No longer do we take a few days to deliver a box to you. Instead, when you have paid for QuickBooks Desktop, we now provide you with all the links and codes required to download. It works like a dream!  Please email us for more information.

QuickBooks' Cloud Solutions

Your other option is QuickBooks Online.  Your data is stored safely in the cloud and accessible from different devices.  You can allow your Accountant direct access –no more transferring of files.  Please email us for the current discount special offer.

Integrity Payroll Solutions

For us, this works better than Quick Payroll. Simple to set up and run, it starts from 5 employees and expands as your company grows. There is also an EPOS solution available. Please email us for more information.

Excel Tip #189 – Beyond Mere Recording – Basic Coding

Last time we looked at debugging macro code that you had recorded and then modified a bit.  At this stage any changes you make tend to be hit-and-miss, as we do not expect you to know the language. That leaves you open to many false steps.  We don’t want to make you into a programmer, but your knowledge will be incomplete unless you at least know the basics of coding.

Why? Sometimes, an Excel macro does not record your exact actions. Rather, it keeps the result of those actions. In cases like this, a basic knowledge of coding will make the difference between fixing the macro, and being lost.

To demonstrate, we will create, from scratch, a macro that runs down a column of telephone numbers and re-formats each of them into a standard format. Along the way, we will learn about

Ready?  Look out for the next edition...

Finish Covid-19 Lockdown with a New Skill!

You can use this time to learn simple Excel macros. Do repetitive work in a flash, instead of repeating the same boring stuff manually. Save hours not working late, and spend more time with your family... Our Quick 'n Easy Turbo-Start Excel Macros course is now online.  To help you during lockdown, for a limited time you can get it at a 75%+discount!

Computius Say:

In Covid-19 South Africa, criminals the ones are who don't wear masks.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith, Catherine, and Rick

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