Software Africa Newsletter - January 2021

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


Bernard’s Stores!  I will never forget that disastrous name.

It was early in the new century. We were running Enginet, a company selling computer hardware. We got an order for two laptops, value about R30,000 each, from Bernard’s Stores.  They were based in PE.  The caller said they were establishing a branch in Johannesburg.  They paid us by bank-guaranteed cheque and sent a courier to collect the machines.

We were naive and eager to sell and accepted the order.

As if it were yesterday I remember the terrible feeling the morning Absa phoned to say that the cheque had bounced. It was a stolen cheque. The courier company had delivered to someone in the foyer of a empty building and been paid with a stolen cheque too.

We reported the crime to the Police. It was never solved.

That loss crashed Enginet.

This is how easy it is for one small mistale to wreck a company.

How about your company?  Could something as simple as a spreadsheet copy-and-paste error crush it?

Errors are easy to make and difficult to spot: Excel miscalculations, finger trouble when typing quotes, accidental copies from the wrong price list, code ID10T blunders, the litany goes on...

It so happens that we have a short report listing seven of the commonest mistakes you can make when using Excel.  Not being aware of them could cost plenty, even destroy your company.  Protect yourself: Get the free report here.

Replace Your Autodesk Perpetual Licence: Stay Up to Date and Save

With the old Autodesk Perpetual Licence for AutoCAD and many other products, you could use the program without having to renew the licence. However, without a maintenance plan, your product would gradually get out of date.  Others now send you drawings that are not fully readable because you do not have the newest features.  New staff are frustrated because your ancient software can't do things they did at their previous company.

On the other hand, a subscription will ensure that you always have the latest version of the product.

Might this be the time to upgrade?

For a limited period, you can save 20% on the price of an eligible 3-year term subscription. No need to worry about price changes. The amount you pay today covers the full 3-year period.

Alternatively, you can save 15% on a 1-year term subscription.

To claim this offer, you must trade in an eligible serial number and corresponding perpetual license. For a serial number and its associated seats to be eligible, it must be on a perpetual license released between 1998 and 2018 that is not on a maintenance plan.

To order – email us now!

On-Line Business Tip #46 – Your Phone may not Support Fillable PDF Forms

Here is something that looked utterly weird.

I filled in a Toastmasters speech evaluation form, a fillable PDF, on my laptop.  I sent the form to the speaker using WhatsApp on my laptop. She said the form was blank. I sent it again, in case. Then I checked in WhatsApp on my android Smartphone. Both copies of the same PDF looked blank. Yet using WhatsApp on my laptop, I saw the filled content.

Telegram had the same problem as WhatsApp..

I then emailed it. She said: “This is strange, I see it [in email on her phone] but when I open the form it is blank. But I forwarded it to my work email and its good.”

It turns out that the default PDF readers on our smart phones can’t read the added content. When I viewed my uploads on my phone, with all the PDF viewers the phone had, they looked blank. With the laptop, the filled content was visible.

If you are sending a filled PDF to a phone, we can suggest three solutions:

  1. Download Adobe Reader from the Google Play Store. It will show (and let you alter) the filled content. Starting the app is a nuisance because it forces you to register (and supply your date of birth) before you can use it.
  2. Print the filled PDF after completing it, and re-scan it.
  3. Print the filled PDF to a new PDF file and send that instead.

CAD Experts Evaluate ZWCAD

"If you have a small to medium-sized business, and you want DWG compatibility for your AutoCAD users without the mounting expense of a subscription, then you might want to check out this software. It’s not a lot of money, and your traditional AutoCAD users will have no problem adapting to this alternative. It didn’t take me long to navigate the clean UI and start drawing and creating basic models, so a veteran AutoCAD user will be at ease with the familiar layout, commands and functions." –Phillip Keane, award-winning aerospace engineer.

"Although this is my first time to test this program, I am totally impressed by the ease-of-use which allows me to freely use it once I start. The cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and ability to run on something less than a very expensive workstation are definitely driving designers to choose it." –Jeffrey Heimgartner, manages the Advanced Technical Services of CapStone’s CAD division.

Would you like to give ZWCAD a try, with no obligation?  email us for a PDF on ZWCAD and a free download link.

QuickBooks Online Annual Subscription

Software Africa now offers QuickBooks Online on an annual subscription: No longer do you have to remember to pay every month.  Pay once for the year and be done with it.  It's no more expensive than paying monthly, and much more convenient.

Excel Tip #194 – Basic Coding 7: Compile Code; Get the Value of a Variable

We are busy with our macro to process a list of telephone numbers into a uniform format.  In the last issue, we learned  how to get and change the contents of cells.  Now we will look at compiling your code.  We do this to check if there are errors in the code.

To Compile, on the Debug menu, choose Compile VBAProject.  If there are errors (often highlighted in red text already), the program will stop compiling at the first one and give an error message:

If it compiles correctly, the “Compile VBAProject” option will be greyed out until a new compile is needed.


Once you have saved the file, we can step through the code: Click somewhere in Sub FixTel, and press F8.  The first line will be highlighted in yellow.

Use F8 to step through until the highlight is on the line

  ActiveCell.FormulaR1C1 = Tel$

If you point at any occurrence of the Tel$ variable, you should get this:

This is one way to inspect the value of a variable.

Here’s another: Press Ctrl+G to open the Immediate Window.  Type ? Tel$ and press Enter:

For the third way, we will leave you in suspense until the next instalment.

Use Lockdown to Learn a New Skill!

Bored with your repetitive job?  Use this time to learn how to do repetitive work in a flash, instead of repeating the same boring stuff manually.  How?  With simple Excel macros!  Save hours not working late, and spend more time with your family. The Software Africa Quick 'n Easy Turbo-Start Excel Macros course is online.  To help you during lockdown, for a limited time you can get it at a 75%+ discount!

Computius Say:

A programming language be at its best before it be implemented and used.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

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

Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa

"Empowering African Business with standard and custom PC programs, databases, and templates using Microsoft technologies"

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