Matrix - Spreadsheet Plus|Amstrad Action)Applications Bureautique
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ASL claims thai Matrix is 'probably the most powerful and versatile spreadsheet ever seen on a home computer." This may be true to a certain extent. But don't kick the stool just yet if you have already forked out for a similar product - read on and find out exactly what Matrix is and isn't capable of.

What is a spreadsheet? And what do you do with it? Il you need to manipulate large amounts of numeric data then a spreadsheet is an invaluable, time-saving aid. A spreadsheet is a set of boxes or cells laid out in rows and columns the electronic equivalent of Scrooge's ledgers that poor old Bob Cratchett and his quill pen slaved over back in Dickens'day

Once numbers have been entered in all the boxes, rows and "columns had better add up. Or you can perform more involved mathematical functions on them. What if you can change a few figures? What happens to the results? It's far easier for Arnold to cook the books than it was for Scrooge. Nowadays, that sort of "what if?' fiddling is called mathematical modelling or financial projection.

Matrix is more than just a spreadsheet: it can turn data into graph form, it has a simple built-in word-processor and a handy calculator function what it can't do is take your dog for a walk.

The rows and columns are numbered, so that any cell can be identified by its row and column. Typically R3C11 refers to row three and column eleven. Reading the manual suggests there is no limit to the number of rows and columns in theory this may well be correct In practice it is limited by memory I found that a block of 100 by 100 cells was the maximum; if you try entering more data you will be greeted with There is a PROBLEM: INSUFFICIENT MEMORY. If you use other aspects of Matrix such as the word-processor or notebook, your limit will be lower.

Data can be of three types:

  • numeric - two decimal places unless you alter to suit
  • text - which serves only to label a column or row and cannot be used in formulae 
  • formula which evaluates to a numerical result.

Formulae can be expressed in numérous ways. For example. R4C2+R5C2 would add the numbers held in those two cells. When entering a formula you can put the cursor on the required cell and press Copy to insert the cell number into your formula automatically - very nice.

The formula above was an example of absolute referencing. Other possibilities include relative referencing, which lets you deal with cell positions relative to the cell containing the formula, and range referencing, with which you can perform a function on a block or group of cells. Range referencing is useful when you want to find the mean, maximum or minimum or even add a row of cells. There is a group of commands which allow you to perform these actions without the need for lengthy formulae.


★ YEAR: 198X
★ AUTHOR(S): ??? ; Producer: Peter Calver
★ PRICE: £34.95 (disk)


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