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One really special thing about Amstrad computer users is that they play games and use their computers for serious applications.
The aim of this program is to help your Amstrad CPC to become a useful machine. Homespread allows you to enter your monthly incomings and outgoings, and to display various summaries of this data to help you to get a better idea of where your money is going. Using the program is really very simple - menus guide you to the available choices and supplement the detailed information given here.
Having entered the listing and saved a copy to tape or disc, run the program and the title screen will be displayed. The first step in getting to know Homespread is simply to enter some numbers into the two sheets (the name given to the two imaginary sheets of paper holding your credits and debits) and get the program to display these figures in various ways.
Everything is displayed in mode 1, the Amstrad's 40 column mode. This means that only four months'worth of data can be accommodated at once on the screen but it is much easier to read on a colour monitor.
Unfortunately, of course, there are 12 months in the year and not enough space to accommodate all the information on the screen.
To overcome this Homespread splits the year into three portions for the credits and three for the debits, displaying the appropriate area as you move around the sheet.
The highlighted 0.00 at the top left of the screen is the position of the current entry cell. Try pressing the right cursor key -the cell moves to the right each time you press it. When the current cell reaches the edge of the screen, the program automatically displays the next portion of the sheet. The program is written in Basic, so redisplaying the screen takes a while.
Enter the data
Once you've mastered this you're ready to enter some data. The program keeps a separate number, called the entry value. This is used to enter a value which can then be transferred to the right place on the sheet, known as a cell.
If you type in a number, say 123, you will see this appear at the "entry is" location on the screen. The program handles decimals slightly differently from the way you may be used to. When you want to enter a decimal part of a number, simply press the key and then enter the decimal point. If you have entered a wrong digit you can delete it with the Del key.
However if you delete the one closest to the decimal point, you also effectively delete the decimal point. This allows further digits to be added.
Doubling up your wages
Typically at least one of the entries in your credit sheet would be a regular figure, such as your wages. To save you having to type the same number in repeatedly, there are duplicating features available in the sheet mode. The first one is the Copy key, which copies the value from the cell to the left to the current cell. The potential copy value is always displayed at the bottom left of the screen.
As there is no cell to the left of the January column, the word "invalid" is displayed whenever you are in that column. If you attempt to copy while this message is displayed, another message is printed at the bottom of the screen to remind you that you cannot do it. The major duplication features are called up by pressing the D key while in sheet mode. This presents you with the option of duplicating either horizontally or vertially. The effect of the duplication is to copy the value of the current cell to all the entries for either a given month (vertical copy) or for a given credit or debit entry (horizontal copy).
Pressing the E key at this point returns you to normal sheet mode. When the duplicating is taking place you have the option of overwriting cells already in use - cells that contain a value other than zero. Whether you select this option obviously depends on the particular application you are using the program for. The Tab key is used to exit from sheet mode to the editing options menu. The cursor position in both the credit and debit sheets is stored when you exit, and it is to this position that you are returned when you next select the edit mode for this particular sheet.
From the main menu, the Sheet options menu allows you to load and save the data (or sheets) to tape or disc. This is fairly simple, with just the data filename being required to be entered.
Before actually doing this, though, it prompts you to check that you are certain you really want to overwrite all the data currently entered. The credit and debit headings are not deleted.
The option called Continue the Sheet is designed to take a sheet over to the next year. It summarises each credit and debit heading (over the 12 months) and places this into the January column for each of the credit and debit headings. There is an option to further summarise these January figures to just one total figure for credit and debit. Although these values may not fit directly into your own sheet layout, the ability to have them can be of great help.
Initially, each of the 20 debit and credit entries has a predefined title, such as Credit 1, but all of these can be changed. Titles such as Wages, Rent, Petrol and Shares mean more than credit or debit and a number.
The headings are altered with art option in the Editing options menu. When this is selected, all of the heading* are displayed on the screen, along with a corresponding number. To alter one of these, simply type in its number, press Enter and then type in the new heading and press Enter again.
The headings cannot be more than seven characters in length, to exit to the Editing options menu, enter zero, or just press Enter. The Default Headings option restores the headings to their default, or initial, values. The Print and Display options are all to do with displaying the sheet in various forms. Options 1 and 2 of this sub-menu (which involve a printer) should only be selected if a printer is connected and ready.
The Print Sheet option prints the credit and debit sheets to the printer in two sheets of six columns. No control codes are output to achieve such affects as double print and so on, but these could , easily be added if necessary. The Print and Display Summary options summarise the data held in the credit and debit sheets and display various figures derived from this.
And here are the results
A summary of the yearly totals of the credit and debits entries (that is, what is the total of a given credit, say wages, over the years) is the first value displayed.
Next comes two forms of monthly totals. The first simply adds up all the credits and subtracts all the debits, yielding a total for each month. The next mode performs the same totalling operation except that it uses the total for the last month to form the starting point for the next month's total. This method produces a running total, which is perhaps the most useful.
Throughout the program various prompts are given such as, Wipe All Data, and so on. When these questions are printed, you should answer either with Y or N. Other keys are ignored, and it doesn't matter whether you enter low or upper case, as the program takes this into account.
Answers to the questions posed do not always appear on the screen. There are two reasons for this. Firstly more program is required, and secondly most of the time the screen is cleared afterwards anyway.
Homespread is only a simple spreadsheet. It doesn't pretend to rival Supercalc, but it will give you a taste of how useful a spreadsheet can be. Have fun and happy adding.