Darryl G. Linkow
Requirements: IBM PC or XT with at least 128K RAM, DOS 2.0/2.1, and either two double-sided floppy disk drives or a single double-sided drive and a hard disk.
DataPlus-PC converts your computer into an electronic filing system and report generator which can perform the sophisticated data base functions found in programs that are considerably more expensive. Yet unlike some of these higher-priced programs, DataPlus-PC is extremely easy to use, even for novices. It is completely menu-driven and prompts you at every option.
Beginners can start entering data immediately by using the predefined record fields (name, address, etc.). Of course, you can also design your own custom forms. With the Report Generator included in DataPlus-PC, you can perform extensive mathematical functions. DataPlus-PC also contains a built-in Mailing Label and List Generator (MLG) that can print up to eight labels across. It's a fast, easy way to print labels or other lists. Another powerful feature is the memo window. It lets you enter a paragraph of text so you can link additional information and comments to individual records that are on file.
DataPlus-PC also is capable of reading files created with Lotus 1-2-3, Multiplan, VisiCalc, TIM, and other popular forecasting and data base programs. This capability saves you the costly and time-consuming task of retyping existing files to assemble new data bases with DataPlus-PC. In addition, DataPlus-PC can create files which can be merged with the text files produced by most popular word processing programs (including WordPlus-PC, a companion program from Professional Software).
DataPlus-PC comes on a double-sided floppy disk with an instruction manual in an attractive (IBM-style) three-ring binder and slipcover. The manual itself is well-organized and written for both the novice and advanced user. There's an excellent 170-page tutorial section and a reference section of about the same length. Index tabs make it fast and easy to find helpful information. In the back is a complete index, plus an appendix with information on DOS, error messages, printer troubleshooting, a glossary of computer terms, and a section on saving crashed data files.
The program disk contains sample data files to illustrate everything covered in the tutorial. Since DataPlus-PC is completely menu-driven, you should be able to use the program even if you skip the tutorial. Most commands are entered by selecting a single number or letter from the main menu. This menu offers such functions as the report generator, mailing label generator, word processor file merge, the utilities menu, and the global function menu. With a single keypress you can select such options as enter records, update records, delete records, quick search, super scan, memo window, change data files, sort records, and display unformatted records.
The utilities menu lets you create new files, print field titles, add new data fields, change field titles, view report formats, erase report formats, duplicate report formats, rename data files, erase data files, create modified files, back up data files to another disk, convert ASCII files to DataPlus-PC files, and view disk directories.
The global menu contains many functions usually found only in word processors: global search and replace, global record delete, global mathematical update, global deletion or insertion of fields, merge two fields or two DataPlus-PC files, swap two fields, duplicate data from one field to another, convert data format, and convert data file to all uppercase letters. Again, you can select any of these functions by pressing a single key from the proper menu screen.
DataPlus-PC's super scan function gives you the ability to quickly locate and display necessary information from any record. In seconds, using floppy disks, I retrieved records just by specifying a string of letters or numbers. Once the record appears on the screen, you can use the super scan menu to edit the record, delete the record, print a hard copy, or perform several other functions.
The printing features in DataPlus-PC are extremely flexible, too. Using the report generator, you can specify any number of fields to be printed in unique reports. You can design report formats and save them on disk. In addition, DataPlus-PC always asks if you want data and reports sent to the screen or the printer. You don't have to make a hard copy if you simply want to read a report on the screen.
Overall, DataPlus-PC offers professional versatility and a great number of advanced features. But perhaps the best feature is its price—relatively low compared to some competitors with similar capabilities.
Professional Software, Inc.
51 Fremont Street
Needham, MA 02194