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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    The OP keeps bringing up the fact he is a one man shop. His real problem he’ll soon learn that his biggest problem will be too many unbillable hours doing things like qoutes, invoicing, ordering, buying and tracking materials, and getting paid. This is why you need the help from these programs.
    How are quotes, invoicing, ordering, buying, tracking, processing payments or pack and ship not billable time?
    You do not charge for this time spent just as if it on a machine making chips?
    Hows does it get paid for, some lump overhead markup?
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Gary,
    I just have to ask, was the terminal a ADM3 or the "TV Typewriter"?
    I still have functioning audio kit stuff in amps and preamps from SWTP.
    Bob
    Bob,
    Somehow I am thinking it was a Televideo serial terminal, but I was running multiuser TSC Basic and bought a second terminal so I don't really remember. A few years later I designed a watering/spraying robot for commercial greenhouses and had a custom built computer that was based on the same 6809 but we did the programming in assembler. The young programmer working for me was hired away by McGraw Hill after 4 years and we turned over the 400,000 lines of source code he wrote to the company building the computers. I did a deal with a larger ccompany and got forced out, but they continued building the product for another 20 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    How are quotes, invoicing, ordering, buying, tracking, processing payments or pack and ship not billable time?
    You do not charge for this time spent just as if it on a machine making chips?
    Hows does it get paid for, some lump overhead markup?
    Bob
    You are right and lots of companies do just use something called overhead. If you have the ability to actaully track all those costs then it becomes easily billable and you can be certain you are actually making money. Back in my robot watering machine days I was certain I was doing a terrible job managing my company. I brought in a consultant free of charge from the SBDC Small Business Development Council and I was certain they would tell us all the things we were doing wrong.

    He calculated the cost of our product and asked to see what we calculated by our method of tracking everything using Quicken and timecards. He was shocked when we were about $10 apart on a $3000 product. The we were shocked when he told us we were the best run small business he had ever seen and did everything the right way. We were doubling sales each year and had a HUGE cash flow problem. Were had a complex product in a really seasonal market, everything we could make was sold only 3 months out of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    ...... after 4 years and we turned over the 400,000 lines of source code he wrote to the company building the computers.......
    That is a very serious amount even in assembler that I have to respect. Yes you most certainly trump me with this.
    My operating systems and compilers/interrupters written I doubt at this code level,.... I'll go hide in my hole shamed as needed.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    That is a very serious amount even in assembler that I have to respect. Yes you most certainly trump me with this.
    My operating systems and compilers/interrupters written I doubt at this code level,.... I'll go hide in my hole shamed as needed.
    Bob
    I got this kid fresh out of high school on the recommendation of a programming teacher, that was my Algebra teacher in high school 20 years earlier. He had 3 part time jobs when I contacted him and was going to college full time. He was interested but didn't think he could handle a 4th job! YEAH this is the guy I want, so I convinced him to give it a try, and after 2 weeks I gave him a nice raise for quiting another job, 2 months I gave him another raise to quit the second job and in 6 months gave him more money to quit the third. Then I sent down to the manufacturer of our computer boards and he came back in awe of how good that guy was. He then started using an oscilloscope to monitor the interrupt line to see how efficient his code was. When McGraw Hill got him he was quickly a star.

    He was of Puerto Rican descent and incredibly handsome too. It was actually embarrassing when my wife would come in the office, and yet he had no idea. I took him to a trade show once and he commented how hard it was to meet women at these shows. I said "Are you crazy? Stop in the hall way and turn around and say hello. It's embarrassing the way the women here are following you around!" He had a date that afternoon.

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    I'm glad I could give you two an opportunity to discuss things that aren't even remotely related to my original question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    I'm glad I could give you two an opportunity to discuss things that aren't even remotely related to my original question.

    New here, huh? LMAO

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    I'm glad I could give you two an opportunity to discuss things that aren't even remotely related to my original question.
    In fairness, you've already resolved to waive everyone's advice anyway. What else do you hope to gain from this thread?

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    Libre Office is free...... Calc which is like Excel and reads and writes excel files and many use. Its like a programmable calculator in that math formulas can be put in a "spreadsheet" in seconds. you can enter data in labeled cells and change the inputs, press enter and it recalculates in milliseconds.
    .
    Office programs are almost universally taught in schools and often before high school. literally grammar school kids are taught the basics of using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and many school reports are done using these programs. Learning to use, many learn basics of using Office programs in less than 1 hour, takes maybe 2 minutes to learn how to enter a math formula in Excel. you minds well be asking for a sample of how to write a paragraph, or a example of a algebra formula.
    .
    of course it requires basic knowledge of using MS Windows programs. depending on type of work you do depends on whether you use a computer for any type of work. obviously some never do any computer work and others spend most of their day on a computer

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    In fairness, you've already resolved to waive everyone's advice anyway.
    BS. I've acknowledged all the advice. It just got to a point where the "don't use Excel" advice had beat the dead horse so badly that it was a red stain on the ground. I was hoping some other people might come along and actually answer my original question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    ...others spend most of their day on a computer
    I fall into that camp. I've been using Office products for decades, and while I wouldn't consider myself an expert in Excel, I do know it well and have no problem researching aspects that I don't know. And I already have an MS 365 subscription, so access to the Office suite isn't a problem.

    Thanks for the reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    BS. I've acknowledged all the advice. It just got to a point where the "don't use Excel" advice had beat the dead horse so badly that it was a red stain on the ground. I was hoping some other people might come along and actually answer my original question.
    I didn't say you ignored it, I said you chose not to heed it. Two different things.

    IIRC your original question was effectively "Please share with me the fruits of your labours". While someone may be generous enough to do that, it's unlikely that you'd gain much from them unless you commit to change your way of working to match that of whoever made the spreadsheets you receive.

    I do strongly encourage you to make your own, just, to further redden the ground, not in excel!

    Seriously, Access isn't difficult to learn, and you already have it.

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    Everyone gave you lots of good advice and you want someone else's efforts for free? So yeah we got off track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    ...

    I didn't bother including the actual words as none of it had anything relating to the subject.
    NONE!

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    Excel and the free Calc from Libre Office are so similar I go back and forth between them usually with no problems
    .
    my opinion Calc is a better name cause many Excel spreadsheets use math formulas to calculate stuff. basically a programmable calculator that remembers formulas so they dont have to be re entered just change input data press enter for results.
    .
    whether you use moderately complex math at all for work depends on what work you do.
    .
    only problem I have ever had is excel spreadsheets with over 1000 rows of data and each row with many formulas tends to slow down considerably. many a time a spreadsheet with over 2000 rows I have had to split into 2 separate sheets. I believe its a computer memory thing or limit, just saying their are practical size limits on spreadsheets. or at least it will recalculate much much faster

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    The OP also keeps bringing up the fact that people keep hijacking his thread to spout their opinions on things he didn't ask about. His real problem is he learned that PM apparently isn't the place to get information and advice, but rather a place to be talked down to and lectured. Or to read completely unrelated posts about how people ran computers in the olden days.

    For those few of you who actually gave me actionable suggestions about my original question, thank you very much. It was recognized and appreciated.

    For those of you who gave me reasoned advice why I may be making a bad choice, thank you. It was not ignored.

    For those of you who decided you'd use my thread to brag about what database software you ran 130 years ago, or declare that every single piece of software ever designed is better than Excel, or how stupid I am for thinking it would do the small things I am asking of it...congratulations? I (and undoubtedly other lurkers) will be hesitant to actually ask questions in the future for fear of the same "welcome" being bestowed again.
    Ironically I'm also going to "hijack" this thread but only because I 100% agree with what you wrote here! The only reason I came back to read more (from an earlier answer) was a) I was bored and had a bit of time and b) I wanted to see where things were headed for you (because I have a lot of experience and opinions on this topic).

    I have almost completely given up on forum question posting (on any forum, not just PM) unless its (in theory) very clear and ideally people can answer in one simple sentence, which of course rarely happens (but it makes it easier to get past the posts that don't provide an answer). Long ago I came to the realization that most answers are either bragging or wanting to prove someone wrong. That lead to the conclusion that most posting (and to some extent answering) is just a waste of time. I see now that someone disagreed with my answer and, even though I have "second answers" to counter their post, I'm not going to waste time getting into an argument.

    Just so this isn't a complete waste of your time reading this, I will get to one more answer (now that I realize you want to stay small, which I do as well):

    Start in Excel, develop it over time, and when you get to the point where it "feels good and complete", get with a code writer to see if it makes sense getting to a database like Access. If you have good worksheets, it shouldn't cost you more than a few thousand to get code written. You could even possibly do it yourself but MAKE SURE YOU DON'T SPEND MORE TIME ON IT THAN THE MONEY YOU LOSE FROM NOT DOING BILLABLE WORK! Just to be clear, if you properly develop the database, it could very easily take a quote and turn it into a work order, send a nice quote form via email to a customer, update a previous quote/order on updated materials and labor costs, allow multi-users if you do decide to hire someone, and (perhaps most importantly), make your business more valuable if you decide to sell it because the database will be much easier to run than Excel (again, if you do it correctly). All of this will allow you to do more billable and less "overhead" (non-billable) work. I can absolutely guarantee that (again, if done correctly), an RFQ to emailing a quote to a customer could be 10 times as fast on a database than Excel (and higher quality, less mistakes, etc.). Don't believe anyone who disagrees with this, the only caveat being that it has to work properly for the way you do business (which in most cases means its a custom database because purchased systems are ether too cheap & simple and can't do the functions you need or expensive and complicated which makes them way to difficult to operate efficiently). That guy who disagreed with my post apparently doesn't understand this.

    Good luck!
    The Dude

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  23. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    BS. I've acknowledged all the advice. It just got to a point where the "don't use Excel" advice had beat the dead horse so badly that it was a red stain on the ground. I was hoping some other people might come along and actually answer my original question.
    Expecting an intelligent answer to a simple question on this forum is expecting alot. Most of the respondees here I'm sure don't have Excel, they're too cheap to pay for it, wouldn't know how to use it if they did have it, don't have any templates and wouldn't know how to make one if their life depended on it.

    Anyways to answer your question. Yes, I'm using excel with several customized spreadsheets for business purposes. I would not describe them as templates, but kind of plain jane basic excel default with a little customization of field sizes, basic graphing, and simple formulas.

    Examples; A customer list with name, date, invoice number, $$ amount, UPS tracking number, and assorted check off boxes, (like shipped, packed, paid. Cc fees, shipping cost). I hyperlink the invoice number to the customer invoice (also Excel) hyperlink the customer name to the customer contact info (again Excel).

    Ordering spread sheet, with vendor, part description, part number, price when ordered how many and what application if needed (often important if a particular piece of tooling, etc.) Hyperlink part number to vendor webpage (sometimes works, sometimes does not.)

    Spreadsheet with overall revenue month by month, gross and net. All costs (tax purposes) are listed in Excel sheets and sorted in multiple catogories.

    A quote sheet, again with formulas that do simple addition. I'm not super happy with and still working on.

    Research spreadsheets with exciting stuff like data collected on projects, new concepts, old parts with model numbers, measurements, tolerances, (embedded) pictures if needed, etc.



    Other stuff not necessarily Excel. But they are accessed through Excel with hyperlinks for quick reference. I have one main Excel sheet that launches first, from there everything business related can be launched with a mouse click. Examples, MS word files with form letters I often use, g code fragments, etc., a w9 pdf I can fill out. A quick link to launch an email (Outlook). Basically lots of hyperlinks leading to many Excel pages or other pages formed in a pyramid construction.

    I find that the initial design of the Excel sheet is not anywhere as important as the continued use of the sheet(s)and the slow building up of a database. The Excel sheet format can be modified as needed or wanted, exported to other apps. Some of the stuff gets printed and sent to the customer so it has to look nice, but the internal use stuff can be a little less than perfect in appearance.

    Hope that helps.

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    @ The Dude; I was just put on a 2 week furlough, so maybe now I will have some time to actually learn Access! (silver lining) As you suggest, I will keep working in Excel with an eye towards using those spreadsheets as data entry into an Access db at some point. An Access (or similar) database has always been my ultimate goal, but I thought I could make the start in Excel.


    @ Red Baron; what you are describing is very similar to what I had in mind. I'm going to spend some time on your suggestions. I appreciate you describing your system.

    Thank you both for taking the time to reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schmidty13 View Post
    @ The Dude; I was just put on a 2 week furlough, so maybe now I will have some time to actually learn Access! (silver lining) As you suggest, I will keep working in Excel with an eye towards using those spreadsheets as data entry into an Access db at some point. An Access (or similar) database has always been my ultimate goal, but I thought I could make the start in Excel.
    .
    The two work together quite nicely.
    Data not too big and you can keep it all in Excel but the database makes it easier to share between Excel apps and you don't have to reference a workbook that may be in use.
    The record locking and auto update also easier this way.
    If Excel the front end you only need to know some of the real basics in Access which is hours. You will only go there for setup and then perhaps some housekeeping.
    One can do the same with seguel in many flavors but Access is easier by miles inside MS products.
    With much old stuff around the shop I link VB, C# and Excel to Paraodox. That often not fun standalone and worse in a multi user environment.

    Note that any professional programmer will tell you that this is all so wrong so you should expect flak and not take it personal.

    You are asking for a hack in the realm you are comfortable in. That I respect.
    You do not want to see my spreadsheets.
    They are terrible, poor coding, poor everything and just downright embarrassing. I would not want to share such trash with the world but they do work for me.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    You are asking for a hack in the realm you are comfortable in. That I respect.
    Thanks, Bob. That's all I've been trying to do.

    You do not want to see my spreadsheets.
    They are terrible, poor coding, poor everything and just downright embarrassing. I would not want to share such trash with the world but they do work for me.
    Ha-ha. I suspect most people's are like this! You get them to a point where they just work, and stop. There's no reason to make them look pretty when they are designed for only your use. I get it!

    I appreciate this and your previous replies. I'm going to at least try and give Access a go while I have some newly found spare time.


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