|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ENGLISH ★ SUPERCALC PROMPT|8000Plus) ★|
|Supercalc Prompt||Littérature English|
There are two possible reasons for buying a book about software which already has its own weighty instruction manual: the book either replaces the manual, or adds to it. From the way this book starts (“Sit at your keyboard and start using SuperCalc'') you might assume it is meant as an introduction to replace the manual; if so it seems to fall between two stools. The 'SuperCalc at a Glance' section is clearly presented and well illustrated, but lacks the detail of the manual's own reference section, and is too involved to enable the user to start working on SuperCalc straight away - something blissfully easy with the manual's own ' 10 Minutes to SuperCalc 2' chapter. It might well be handy as a reminder of the functions, though, once you're reasonably familiar with the software.
Where SuperCalc Prompt scores is in its several example spreadsheets which illustrate and reinforce the techniques picked up from '10 Minutes'-good practice, and plenty of ideas for incorporating the tricks of the package into your own spreadsheets. These are methodically set out and explained carefully, with several screen shots. Particularly useful are the examples demonstrating the setting up of an invoice form and an electricity bill estimator, the former which could be used with little or no adjustment as your own invoice spreadsheet, the latter showing nicely how the same sheet can be used for different sets of data. The aims, ways of building up and printing the sheets are clearly set out.
The ability of SuperCalc2 to produce simple histograms with asterisks is given rather more coverage in the book than the manual, and probably deservedly so. There is also a lot of material on the graphics facilities of SuperCalc3 which only runs on IBM PCs and so is quite inapplicable to PCW owners.
As the book isn't specifically aimed at PCW users there are some irrelevancies to Amstrad owners ("Load Work Disk," it tells you. "Close Door." This might well raise false hopes of some Parental Guidance material lurking somewhere in the recesses of SuperCalc.) Also the book implicitly assumes that two drives are available, rather annoying if you happen to have an 8256 when it blithely tells you it is necessary to leave the program disc in A and put the data disc in B!
All in all the SuperCalc manual is better as an introduction from scratch and as a definitive reference, but if you wish to see a few example spreadsheets thoroughly explained and dissected before you start making up your own, and you have ten drinking vouchers to spare, this could be just the job.