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Classification: Spreadsheet
Publisher: Spinnaker
Programmer: Spinnaker
Year: 1987
Disk: Easy Working: The Planner

Would you happen to remember a very popular spreadsheet application, called “Lotus 1-2-3”? If you do, then you would probably find Spinnaker's Easy Working “The Planner” very familiar. In my view, The Planner is the C64 equivalent to Lotus 1-2-3. As a former Lotus 1-2-3 user, I can see that many of The Planner's functions, as well as layout, reflects those found in 1-2-3; which is a good thing, I think. Why change something that works, right?

The Planner has two modes of operation. You begin in a kind of set-up/configuration mode - where you work with your Planner files, configure your interface and control general spreadsheet layout, and print. When you want to work on your spreadsheet file, you then go into “work” mode, in which you edit the data within your spreadsheet. This is somewhat reminiscent of Lotus 1-2-3, not to mention that your command menu is laid out across the top border of the screen.

Once in “work” mode, the top menu changes from the “set-up” mode and is replaced with a status bar, which tells you your cursor's location in the spreadsheet (column and row number), what kind of data is in the current cell, and how much memory is free. It also reminds you that help is only an F2 key away. Underneath this is the cell display, which shows you the contents of the active cell.

The Planner uses the now familiar alpha column labels and numeric row number format, and each spreadsheet file offers a maximum of 250 rows and 224 columns. You have the typical mathematical functions (add, subtract, divide and multiply) at your disposal, as well as range functions (sum, average, minimum, maximum and count).

With the Planner, you can also work with cell ranges, performing functions like cut, copy, insert, delete and cell formatting. One of the unique things you can do with The Planner is copy range data to a file, allowing you to paste them into another spreadsheet file. So, although the size of a particular spreadsheet is limited (compared to today's standards), the copy and paste range data to a file does allow you to virtually expand your spreadsheet size somewhat.

Another nice feature of The Planner is its help files. You can get help (by pressing F2) on any of the commands listed in its menus. This is good for any new users who do not have the manual at their finger tips.

The Planner provides useful printing options, as well. You can specify the page size supported by your printer (number of lines per page and characters per line). And if your spreadsheet is too wide to fit across a single page, you have the option to select a print-range, rather than print the entire document.

Although The Planner is not a versatile as today's modern spreadsheet app., it can still be useful in the home office and business setting even today. In fact, I quite happily still use it for my home finances today. It's quick (even with the C64's limited resources) and has all of the functionality I need to keep track of our home accounts.

The Planner is one of those well designed applications that proved that you could take the C64 from family room and easily make it into a useful and affordable office PC.

reviews/planner.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/28 20:11 by David