Software Africa Newsletter - February 2022

Online Business Tip ~ Autodesk Notes ~ Excel Tip ~ Training Tip

Rick's Editorial

Welcome. The new Autodesk financial year on 1 February brings a reduction in the range of Autodesk products we sell.  But our eShop has a limited-time promotion on new AutoCAD LT, just this week.

In pulling back from Autodesk, we are focusing more on our core areas of expertise: Programming and Training on Microsoft products.  We have had courses available on Microsoft Office for many years.  We now offer them as instructor-led live training and, increasingly, as self-study material on the internet

We have scheduled two Excel courses (Macros, and for Engineers), to run live online, alternating monthly for the year.

Coincidentally, the Excel Tips series is wrapping up a shortened version of our basic Excel macros course.

This month's business tip tells you how to avoid invalidating your dotPLOT Licence.

We end with wisdom (or otherwise) from Computius, the Confucius of computers.

Autodesk Product Range Reduced at Software Africa

Until 31 January, Software Africa was a Reseller-tier Partner with Autodesk.  That allowed us to sell most of the extensive Autodesk product range.  Year by year, Autodesk has been reducing the margin that Resellers make.  From 1 February, our margin has been reduced to zero on most of the product range.  Along with this, we did not make target with non-LT Autodesk products, with the result that we are now demoted to "Open-tier Partners", only allowed to sell LT products: AutoCAD LT, Revit LT, and Maya LT.  We make only a pittance of 3-4% on them, but will continue to sell and renew them.

We do not want our loyal non-LT customers to be left without a trustworthy Autodesk partner. We have already approached them to recommend a dependable Autodesk Gold-tier partner for them, and assist in the transfer of the account.  We will pass future non-LT enquiries to then as well.

As a sweetener, this week only, we have a special offer only at the Software Africa eShop:

Buy AutoCAD LT NOW at the Software Africa eShop at 10% Off!

You can buy AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD LT for Mac, Maya LT, and Revit LT, new only (no renewals), and exclusively to South African users.

There you can also get a range of hardware: surveying equipment from Topcon, Autobuild, and geoFENNEL.  More to come...

Please se email Software Africa if you need help.

On-Line Business Tip #58 – How to Not Invalidate your dotPLOT Licence

The program dotPLOT prints geological soil profiles and borehole logs, using a personal computer running Microsoft Windows. Geotechnical Engineers and Civil Engineering Geologists use it to rapidly produce Soil Profiles, Borehole- and Core Logs.  It is the de facto standard PC software for this purpose in sub-Saharan Africa.  Software Africa is the programmer and sole supplier of dotPLOT.

The dotPLOT system is set up to run as a Demo until it is licensed. No new installation is needed for a "licensed" version as opposed to a "demo" version; we just e-mail you a personalised licence.  You save the licence file to a USB flash drive, a local hard drive, or a server drive.

It is important to know that the licence file is keyed to the drive and the folder on which it is stored.  If the licence is deleted, you can restore it from the original email.  However, if you move the licence file to another drive or folder, it will not be valid for the new location.  Likewise, if you move the folder, or recreate it, that will leave you with an invalid licence.  It currently costs R1,500 + VAT to replace a licence, soon to rise to R2,000.

The moral: Once you have chosen where to put the licence, do not move it!  Making the licence file read-only may help.  The folder must be read-write because the program creates and destroys various other files as it allocates and returns licences.

Excel for Engineers Online Live Course

Microsoft Office Excel is an excellent engineering and scientific tool.  Not only does it have all basic mathematical functions, it has advanced statistical functions, matrix manipulation, charts, and much else.  If you are an engineer, are you using it to the full?  Are you aware of how much it can do?  Many of us are self-taught and have gaps in our knowledge.  Fill those gaps on the Excel for Engineers training: two full days of personal attention in a small class, at the comfort of your own computer.

The course, run by Software Africa, is scheduled for Thursday 24 and Friday 25 February 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).  There is still space available.

Following Courses:

Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).
Thursday 23 and Friday 24 June 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).
Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).
Thursday 27 and Friday 28 October 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).

Venue: Live Online via Zoom.  65-page PDF manual included, and 14 examples files.
Special Price if paid not later than Friday 11 February: Only R4,500 plus VAT per trainee.
Thereafter R5,000 plus VAT each.

Course Creator and Facilitator: Rick Raubenheimer B Sc (Eng) (Wits) (1975).

For more information and to book a course online or in-house at your company, click here and send the resulting email or email

Excel for Engineers Online Self-Paced Course

The Excel for Engineers live course is also available on-line as a self-paced course.  The same manual and examples.  The same trainer.. No live support, however.  But done at your own pace at times that suit you.  Take half an hour a day and complete it in a month.  Spend an hour a day and finish it in two weeks.  Or dedicate two days –a weekend, perhaps?– and crack the whole course.

Sign up now and get these Bonuses:

  1. Report, "Are You Making These Microsoft Excel Mistakes?"
  2. A Free Support Group
  3. Our Excel file "Excel Shortcut keys & My Macro Shortcuts" (you'll want this once you start building macros).

Take our self-paced online course in your own time and venue.  All the value at a quarter of the price of the live course.  Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Coming Soon: Microsoft Excel Macros live course

This live online course is for Excel users who have a thorough knowledge of Excel, and now want to program their own time-saving applications.

Next Scheduled Course: Thursday 24 and Friday 25 March 2022 (two days, 08:00-17:00 CAT).

Venue: Live Online via Zoom.  85-page PDF manual is supplied, and valuable examples.
Early-Bird Price if paid not later than two weeks before the course: Only R4,500 plus VAT per trainee. Thereafter, R5,000 plus VAT each.

For more information and to book a course online or in-house at your company, click here and send the resulting email or email

Excel Tip #207 – Summary of the Basic Excel Macros Course

In the  last issue, we came to the end of the Basic Coding section of and summarised the section.

That concludes the material in the basic Excel Macros course. Starting in February 2019, we covered:

If any of the points above does not ring a bell, feel free to go back and review it.

You now have the basics. There is much more to learn, and practice will help.

[Incidentally, the links in the list above were built using an Excel macro.]

Help! I'm Stuck!

On the above course we gave you the basics of macros. There is much you can do with just this knowledge.

Obviously, there is more to learn. Sooner or later, you will need to know more. First, try to help yourself. The F1 “Help” key in the Visual Basic Editor provides context-sensitive help. If you need help on a command you know, click on it first, and then press F1:

Next episode, we will muse on how you can continue your Excel Macros journey.

Finish Covid-19 Lockdown with a Timesaving New Skill!

Instead of a tiny sliver every month (as above), why not do the whole Excel Macros online quick-start course?  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...  The Software Africa Quick 'n Easy Turbo-Start Excel Macros course is now online.  Take it now as your New Year's Resolution.

Computius Say:

"Administrator"?  Whoever thought a 13-letter word was a great idea to have to type in every time your harried IT support person has to log in to fix something?  What was wrong with "Boss"?

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa

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