Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 3 NO. 4 / NOVEMBER 1988

Online With START

Lotus and dBASE Files for Your ST

by Gregg Pearlman
START Assistant Editor

When professionals use spreadsheets, chances are that they use Lotus 1-2-3 on an IBM PC. But since Microsoft hasn't ported Lotus over to the Atari ST, the first question asked about a new ST spreadsheet is always, "Can you use it with Lotus 1-2-3 files?" The answer is "yes" for VIP Professional from ISD Marketing and LDW Power from Logical Design Works. The advantage of 1-2-3 compatibility is that IBM software areas in online services such as CompuServe and GEnie offer a wealth of templates you can use immediately with LDW Power and VIP Professional.

On CompuServe, typing GO LOTUS from any "!" prompt brings up a menu for The World of Lotus.

Option 6 brings you to the LOTUSA menu, from which you choose download library 4-1-2-3 Utilities. Now choose option 1 to BROwse through the files. Since VIP Professional can use Lotus templates with a .WKS filename extender, enter WKS at the keyword prompt. LDW Power can also use .WK1 files, so enter WK1 or WKS.

Among the goodies available in this library are: TYMADD.ARC, TYSPEC.ARC and TESTTI.ARC. TYMADD.ARC is a .WK1 worksheet that does clock arithmetic, adding and subtracting hours and minutes (or minutes and seconds) in decimal format; this can be a true time-saver-in more ways than one! TYSPEC.ARC is also a .WK1 worksheet that simplifies copy preparation for typesetting and TESTTI.ARC is a .WK1 benchmark speed test that tracks the time your system needs to save and retrieve 1.5 megabytes of data.

lotusconverter.jpg Figure 1: Numerous
Lotus templates are
available online for
just the cost of the
download time. This
is a scientific
template from

In download library 8 (business applications), you'll find, among others, CPATOO.ARC, PAYROL.ARC and RENTAL.ARC. CPATOO.ARC is a set of .WK1 accounting templates that includes a tax planner, a client database and a Z-score analyzer. PAYROL.ARC is a macro-automated payroll worksheet (.WK1) featuring automatic calculation of FICA and Federal Taxes. RENTAL.ARC provides a complete template set for keeping records of rental property; it also includes a function that lets you print monthly statements of the balance sheet. It's compatible with .WKS format, so you may have to convert it. If you want .WKS files, try TIMMAN.WKS or GLWKS. It's a complete time and billing system that maintains records of employee hours and produces client progress reports. GL.WKS is the complete General Ledger model found in Lotus Magazine. If you're looking for a complete spreadsheet-based accounting system, GL.WKS may be just the thing for you.

If your online service of choice is GEnie, just type "m617"--move to page 617--which brings you to the IBM PC Software Library. Choose option 3, Applications. From the Applications Library menu, choose option 3 again to search the file directory, using "Lotus" as a keyword. Among the Lotus-compatible files we found were 123LOAN.ARC, AMORTIZE.ARC, SCITEMPARC and 123BOWL.ARC. 123LOAN.ARC is a simple interest and payment calculator and AMORTIZE.ARC is a loan amortization worksheet. SCITEMPARC is a specialized set of scientific templates that would be of interest to those who use this issue's ST SciPlot. And to keep track of those times away from your ST, there's even a bowling league template: 123BOWL.ARC.


In the database area, we again run into the "IBM/industry standard" roadblock. Currently, dBASE III+ seems to be the standard, but dBMAN for the Atari ST is almost 100% compatible with dBASE III+. Again, CompuServe and GEnie are excellent sources for downloadable database forms.

On CompuServe, type GO IBMSW for the IBM Software Forum. Choose download library 3, General Utilities, and BROwse, using "dBASE" as a keyword. There for the downloading are LSRT23.ARC (LSORT) and CMGR.ARC. LSORT is a general purpose sort and merge program that sorts dBASE files and fixed and variable record size files. It even allows you to use your own subroutines. Contact Manager (CMGR.ARC) may be one of the most valuable programs to the businessperson. It lets you keep complete records on all business contacts, so that you'll be on top of things for that next telephone call or business meeting.

In download library 5, DBMS/Accounting, you'll find: DBMENU.PRG, MENUGE.ARC, LSTDB3.PRG, TELIST ARC and PTOOLS.ARC. DBMENU.PRG is a menu routine you can customize for your own applications and use with either full-blown command files or just to access selected dBASE functions. MENUGE.PRG is also a menu generating program; it generates main menu and submenu command files for you. To make dBASE file structures accessible, LSTDB3.PRG is available to write the structure of specified .DBF files to an editable text file. At the other end of the spectrum, TELIST.ARC is a simple address and telephone database. Finally, PTOOLS.ARC is a set of over 30 Turbo Pascal routines that can be accessed from dBASE III through the LOAD and CALL commands.

In download library 12, Desktop/ Shells, we found TICKLE.ARC, an "alarm calendar" that reminds you of important events or tasks. ("Kind of a computerized spouse," the blurb said.) It works best on computers with a hard disk and clock/calendar.

On GEnie, in the IBM PC Software Library, use dBASE as your keyword. Among other things, you'll find DBCONV11.ARC, DOLLARS.ARC, HOMEINV.ARC and DRUGS.ARC. DBCONV11.ARC converts dBASE II files to dBASE III and vice versa. DOLLARS.PRG is a quick routine that converts dollar amounts to words. HOMEINV.ARC is just the thing to record a room-by-room home inventory. And from the generally useful to the very specialized: DRUGS.ARC is an ambulance drug-tracking program.

There are far more dBASE III+ and Lotus 1-2-3 files available than I've mentioned here. If you find a template or form that will fill your needs and have the ST program that can use it, you'll save yourself hours of time by spending just a few minutes online.

(Editor's Note: If you find any files that are especially useful or that you think would be of interest to START's readers, just drop us a line. We'll be happy to pass on any information that would help our readers. Be sure include the name of the file, its applicability and where you found it. Thanks.

Products Mentioned

LDW Power, $149.95. Logical Design Works, Inc., 780 Montague Expressway, #403, San Jose, CA 95131, (408) 435-1445.

VIP Professional, $249.95. ISD Marketing, 2651 John Street, Unit 3, Markham Industrial Park, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 6G4, (416) 479-1880.

dBMAN 5.0, $249.95; Greased Lightning pseudo-compiler, $99.95. Versasoft, 4340 Almaden Expressway #250, San Jose, CA 95118, (408) 723-9044.

Online Services Mentioned

CompuServe, CompuServe, Inc., 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., P.O. Box 20212, Columbus, OH 43220, (614) 457-0802: (800) 848-8190.

GEnie, General Electric Network for Information Exchange, General Electric Information Services Co., 401 N. Washington Street, Rockville, MD 20850, (800) 638-9636.