8-Bit Software
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Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only


Game Type          : Suite of Word Processor; Spreadsheet; Graphics; Database

Author             : Unknown

Standalone Release(s)   : 1984: MINI OFFICE, Database Publications, £5.95

                    1990: MINI OFFICE, Summit, £2.99 (Only labelled BBC)

Compilation Release(s)   : None

Stated compatibility    : Electron

Actual compatibility    : Electron

Supplier            : DATABASE, Europa House, Adlington Park, Adlington,

                    MACCLESFIELD SK10 4NP. Tel: 0625 878888

Disc compatibility     : Unknown




Word Processor

A word processor is ideal for writing letters and reports instead of using a typewriter or pen and paper. When you make a typing error or change your mind, the word processor enables you to exit the text with ease. No longer will you need to use unsightly crossing out, rubbers or Tippex - and find you need to start again because it's such a mess after all the changes.


To load and run the word processor, simply type:

      CH. "WORD" and press <RETURN>.


When loading has been completed, the various options avalable are displayed.


An option is chosen is chosen by pressing the appropriate function key as indicated. Pressing ESCAPE at any time will bring you back to the display of options.


Getting Started

Suppose you want to type a short letter to your about your recent holiday. Begin by pressing the function key f0.


In the middle of the screen you will see START and END displayed. These mark the beginning and end of the letter. However since you haven't written anything yet there is no text in between.


At the top of the screen is displayed the time that has elapsed since you started using the program, the number of words you have entered so far, and the number of characters you can key in before the computer's memory is full.


Start typing your letter exactly as in this sample, mistakes and all:

      i have just had a supper holiday in blackpool.


If you didn't manage to type that in successfully, press function key f8 and then in answer to the question "Are you sure?" press Y. Then start again by pressing f0. If you still have difficulty, read on.


Now to start correcting the letter.


By using the cursor control keys the flashing cursor can be made to move about the text to any position you want. First correct the word 'blackpool' to read 'Blackpool' with a capital B by moving the cursor onto the l after the b. Now press DELETE and the b is rubbed out. Next press B while holding down the SHIFT key and the world "Blackpool" should now be corrected. The first word i can be changed to I in a similar way. (Note that upper and lower case letters and symbols are obtained in the normal way with the SHIFT and CAPS LOCK keys.)


Now correct "supper" to read "super" by moving the cursor onto the e and pressing DELETE.


All letters should start with Dear Eric, or something similar. To insert this into the letter, move the cursor to the start of the first line and type:

      Dear Eric,


followed by <RETURN>.


Similarly a letter would end with Yours sincerely, Carol. So move the cursor to the end of the last line and press <RETURN>. If you want a blank line before Yours sincerely press <RETURN> again. Then type:

      Yours sincerely,




You should now have a complete and perfectly laid out short letter. If you want to add to it, change it or put more spaces or blank lines in, just move the cursor to the appropriate place and type what you want to say.


While you have been typing you may have noticed that the figures adjoining WORDS and FREE displayed at the top of the screen have changed. These indicate how many words are contained in your letter and how much space you have left if you wish to extend your letter.


If you now press ESCAPE, the options that are available to you will be displayed again. So far you have only been using the large letter editing mode. Pressing f1 will now show your letter in normal sized characters. You could have written your letter in this mode if you had preferred.


If you now press f2 your typing speed in words per minute is displayed at the top of the screen for a few seconds. (Note that this does not happen if f2 is pressed while not in an editing mode.)


Having written your letter, you might like to save it for later - or even to send it to Eric on tape or disc. If you now press f6 you will be asked to enter the filename. Make sure you have a tape with nothing useful on it, or a disc, and enter:

   letter1 <RETURN>


and your letter to Eric is saved as a file called "letter1".


Suppose you now want to write the same letter to Chris. Press f1 so that Eric's letter is shown. Then edit the letter by replacing the word Eric with the word Chris. You have now written two letters that are almost the same with the minimum of effort. The second letter can now be saved in the same way, using a different filename.


To start a completely new file, press f8 followed by Y. Pressing f0 or f1 shows that there is no file there any more.


To load Eric's letter back in, press f7 followed by Y to the first question. Then type:

   letter1 <RETURN>


making sure the correct tape or disc is ready. Pressing f0 or f1 will show that Eric's letter is back.


If you have a printer, you might like to print the letter so that you can post it to Eric. To do this, press f3.


If you reply to all the questions like this:

      20 <RETURN>

      10 <RETURN>



      Y or N



      (Space bar)

the letter should be printed out.


A more detailed description of the various options follows.



Esc   This always terminates the present option and returns to the option display page.


f0    This selects the editing mode with double size characters and 20 characters per line.


f1    This selects the editing mode with normal size characters and 40 characters per line


f2    This displays the typing speed in words per minute for the present text file. This option only operates when in an editing mode. When a file is loaded or saved, this information is loaded or saved with it. This makes it possible for typing speeds to be correctly shown for a particular file, even though it may have been started and saved the previous day. Typing speed is calculated from the number of words in the file and the total time spent in an editing mode and not the time spent at the keyboard.


f3    This selects the printer option. You have the choice of selecting the maximum number of characters per line (any number of from five to 80), as well as the width of the left margin in character widths and the size of the characters both vertically and horizontally. The double size characters may cause a peculiar output to the printer unless the printer is Epson compatible with a bit image mode. The maximum number of characters per line depends on the character size and the margin chosen. Some printers have an automatic line feed, some do not.


      If you normally have to type *FX 6,0 when using your printer does not have automatic line feed. If paged mode is chosen then printing should start with the print head just below a perforation. Each new sheet of paper will then have a page number printed at the top and printing will not occur across the perforation. Paged mode will also take account the end of page markers. When one of these is encountered, the next line is printed on the next sheet. Paged mode is designed to work with a form length of 11 inches. If paged mode is not selected, then page end markers are ignored and printing will occur across the perforations unless your printer has an automatic skip over perforation built in.


      The preview of text enables the printing format chosen to be viewed before actual printing. When two thirds of a screen has been previewed, the next two thirds can be viewed by pressing SHIFT. If the number of charactes per line exceeds 40, a true preview is not possible due to the line length on the screen being limited to 40. No margin is shown in the preview, even if a margin has been selected.


f4    This option enables a section of text to be copied to the cursor position. To use, first position the cursor at the destination point for the copied text. Then press f4. Next move the cursor to the start of the text to be copied and press COPY. The screen display will then revert to the situation that existed when f4 was pressed, except that the top line of the screen will show the line of text being copied. Each press of the COPY key copies another character. The left and right cursor keys move the line of text being copied, rather than the cursor. The up and down cursor keys are not used. The rest of the keys behave normally, inserting text at the cursor point. To exit this copy mode, press f4 again.


f5    This enables the TAB key to be set. There are four tab values, which must be chosen in ascending order. The maximumtab value is 40. If less that four tab values are required, give the last few the same value. The effect of TAB when in the editing mode in to move the cursor to the column position indicated by the next tab value, which it does by inserting spaces.


      The next tab value is the lowest tab value that is greater than or equal to the present cursor position. For example, suppose the tab values are 5, 10, 15 and 19, and the cursor is present at the beginning of the line in Column 0. If the tab key is pressed at this stage, the effect would be the same as pressing SPACE five times, so moving the cursor to Column 5. If xyz is now typed, so that the cursor is now in Column 8, and TAB is again pressed, the next tab value is 10. So the effect is that SPACE has been pressed twice to move the cursor to Column 10. If abcdefg is now typed, taking the cursor to Column 17, and TAB is pressed again, since the cursor is beyond the third tab value this value is ignored and the fourth tab value of 19 is used. So effectively the cursor moves to Column 19 by the insertion of two spaces.


      Pressing TAB when the cursor is beyond the largest tab value has no effect. A tab value larger than the number of characters per line is also ignored. (Note that the Electron does not have a TAB key. However, pressing I while holding down CTRL has the same effect.)


f6    This enables the text at present in memory to be saved. Simply enter the name of the file followed by <RETURN>. The filename must follow the same rules as for program filenames.


      If the word processor program is on tape then the files are saved to tape, so ensure that there is nothing on the tape you are going to use.


      If the word processor program is on disc then the files are saved to disc, so ensure that the filename you use is different from any already on the disc.


f7    This enables a file to be loaded from disc if the word processor program is on disc, or from tape if the program is on tape. Simply press Y if you are sure you do not want the program at present in memory, and enter the filename followed by <RETURN>. The file already in memory will be destroyed by loading in another file, so be sure this has been saved if you wish to keep it. If "Bad file" is displayed after loading, it means that either the file has been corrupted or it wasn't a text file.


f8    This simply erases the file in memory. Only press Y if you are sure you do not want the present file in memory.


f9    This inserts an end og page marker at the cursor point. These markers are used in the paged mode when printing.


Further Advice

If large files are likely, it may be advisable to make available as much memory space as possible, particularly if the system is disc-based.


Before loading the word processor, PAGE should still be set to the lowest value possible which still allows normal load and save operations though not below &D00. For a tape system, PAGE can usually be set to &D00 successfully. For many disc systems, PAGE can be successfully set as low as &1100.


It is always a good idea to save sections of long text at regular intervals. By doing this, you can ensure most of the text has been safely saved should you experience a power failure or similar mishap.



A database is an ideal way of storing information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and ages. Each of these four pieces of information is called a field. Together they make a record. So a database is really like an electronic filing cabinet containing a lot of individual records.


You will find that your micro can manipulate information in the database very easily and very quickly. In no time at all it can search for one particular item and display it for you on the screen. It can also carry out a multiple sort and provide you - for example - with a list of all the people in your file who live in Liverpool and whose ages range from 15 to 25.


There are two types of field - numeric and string. The former is used for numbers (such as ages). String fields are used for words. But it should be noted that entries such as telephone numbers are also regarded as strings because they may include characters like spaces and hyphens. The main difference between the two becomes apparent when they are sorted. When treated as a number, "2" comes before "11". But when it is a string, "11" comes before "2" - just as aa comes before b in a telephone directory.


To load and run the database program, simply type:

      CH. "DBASE"


and press <RETURN>.


When loading has been completed, the various options are displayed.


Choose the one you want by pressing the appropriate key as indicated. Pressing ESCAPE at any time will usually bring you back to the display of options.


Getting started

To set up a file of records we must tell the computer what type of information we wish to keep in each record. As an example we shall set up a file of records to hold the names and addresses of a group of friends. A typical record would be:

                     SURNAME:         JONES

                     FIRST NAME:      SIMON

                     ADDRESS1:        6 BROAD LANE

                     ADDRESS2:        LIVERPOOL

                     TELEPHONE:       051-633 8000


Each line of information in the record is known as a FIELD, so this record has six fields, with the address being split over two fields.


Selecting Option B from the menu will allow you to start setting up the file. The first piece of information that you will need to tell the computer is the number of fields you need for each record. We have decided to have six fields, so in answer to the question: "How many fields per record?" key in 6 and press <RETURN>.


The next step is to give a name to each of the fields so that from now on we will be able to refer to them by name rather than number. The computer will also need to know whether to treat the information stored in each field as a number or as a string, as well as the maximum number of characters to expect for each field.


For the field title, enter SURNAME. The computer will then ask for the field type to be entered. Since this field will contain only alphabetic characters and we will not want to perform arithmetic operations on them, enter S for string. Finally we need to tell the computer the maximum number of characters to expect for the field. The maximum allowed for any field is 23, so we will enter 23.


Now repeat this for fields 2 to 4, using this table as a guide:


         Field No.         Title             Type          Length

                 1         SURNAME:          String            23

                 2         FIRST NAME:       String            20

                 3         ADDRESS1:         String            23

                 4         ADDRESS2:         String            20 


In field 5 we are going to store the telephone numbers. But although this information is numeric we are going to tell the computer to treat it as a string. If we were to use a numeric field that telephone numbers starting with a zero would lose the leading zero.


                 5         TEL:              String            15

                 6         AGE:              Numeric            3


After entering the details for field 6, you will find the screen displays a summary of all the fields. You are then given the opportunity to make changes to any of the details entered. As an example we shall change the title of field 5 to TELEPHONE. Answer N to the question: "Is this correct?" and then enter 5. Row 5 of the field summary should now be flashing. All you need do is retype the information for this field and enter TELEPHONE instead of TEL. for the title. Once you are satisfied with the field definitions press Y and you will be returned to the menu.


Adding records (Option C)

Now that we have set up a file we can start to add records to the database. The number of the record being entered is always displayed at the top of the screen. The title of the field for which the computer is expecting an input is printed on the left. So the first field title to be displayed for our file will be SURNAME. To enter the first record, type:

      SURNAME:            JONES

      FIRST NAME:         SIMON

      ADDRESS1:           6 BROAD LANE

      ADDRESS2:           LIVERPOOL

      TELEPHONE:          051-633 8000

      AGE:                42


When you have finished entering the record a list of possible options will appear at the bottom of the screen.


If you wish to modify the record, press A. Each field is then displayed in turn, along with the prompt: "Is this correct?". If you wish to change your entry for the field then press N and key in the new information. Pressing Y will allow you to go on to the next field. If you want to add another record press N. Otherwise press M to return to the menu.


Loading a file (Option A)

A demonstration file has been provided on the program. This will give you an opportunity to experiment with the features outlined below without having to enter your own set of records.


Select the load option by pressing A. Loading a new file will erase any records already stored. So as a precaution the computer will ask you if you are certain you want to load a new file. Now enter the filename of the file you want to load. The demonstration file is called DFILE. Cassette users must ensure that the tape is in the correct position. (The file follows the Database program.)


Once the file has been loaded you can perform various operations on the records by selecting the appropriate option from the menu.


List records (Option F)

This option allows you to examine the records that have already been entered. After selecting this option you will be asked if you want to print out the records. If you do, press B. If not, press A. You must now tell the computer which records you wish to see. For example, if you would like to look at records 3, 4, 5 and 6 you should enter 3 (<RETURN>), followed by 6 (<RETURN>). The first record you requested will then be displayed, and at the bottom of the screen you will see a list of the possible options available to you.


Pressing N will allow you to move to the next record. If you wish to delete the record displayed on the screen press D. Pressing A will allow you to alter the record. This operates in the same way as if you had selected Option E from the main menu or when adding records (Option C) and has already been described. To return to the menu press M.


Field search (Option G)

This option allows you to find any record quickly without having to go through each record in turn. After selecting the option, you must state which field you wish to search through. The options available then depend on whether the field is a string or a numeric one.


If you have selected a string field you can choose to search for a specific string or for part of a string. The difference is that if, for example, you reach for "row" as a specific string, the word "rows" would not be found. But it would have been had you asked for a part string search.


For a numeric field, you have four options:

A. Search for a specific value X (ie the number you entered)

B. Search for values >X (ie any numbers greater than the one you entered)

C. Search for values <X (ie any numbers less than the one you entered)

D. Search for a<X<b (ie a number between two limits that you enter)


Replace string (Option H)

This powerful option allows you to replace any information stored in a field without having to go through all the records making the amendments yourself. You can replace a number, string or part string. The method of operation is similar to the field search already described, except that the fields are replaced by your new entry, rather than just displayed.


Multi-field sort (Option I)

You can sort your records into numerical or alphabetical order with this option. It is usual - and quickest - to sort on just one field (such as names), but if you want to take account of other factors, you can select other fields. For example, Smith (age 24) could be listed before Smith (age 28).


You must select at least one field for the sort. Pressing <RETURN> or entering zero for sort fields 2 to 4 will terminate the field selection. You will then be asked if you wish to sort into Ascending or Descending order. Press the first letter of your choice and the computer will sort your records. When all the records have been sorted, you may examine them in their new order using Option F.


Field summary (Option D)

This option lists the titles of the field, their length and type.


Save current file (Option J)

This option allows you to save all the records that you have entered. You should use it frequently so that the chance of losing your work, such as in the event of a power failure or similar mishap, is minimised.


End program (Option K)

This option terminates the program. Before doing so you will be asked: "Do you wish to SAVE the data file?" If you answer Y you will be asked to input your filename and the file will be saved. If you answer N, your file will be lost.



A spreadsheet consists of rows and columns of "boxes" in which you can place numbers, labels or mathematical formula. Used for home finance, for instance, it is an ideal and easy to use means of keeping tabs on your income and expenditure. Setting up a spreadsheet is quite simple but can be time consuming. However, once it has been prepared to your specifications, it can be amended quickly and effortlessly.


To illustrate how it is created these instructions show you how to set up an imaginary household budget spreadsheet. You should then have no trouble devising your own for any application you may think of.


To load and run the spreadsheet program simply type:

      CH. "SPREAD"


and press <RETURN>.


When the program has loaded, you are asked the question: "Create file?" Answer Y.


Next select 15 columns and 20 rows. When asked if you require continuous updating answer N. The reason for this is that each update takes a short time, and when you are initially setting up the spreadsheet it is best to avoid this delay.


The spreadsheet should now be on the screen. You will find a list of the function keys and their uses at the end of this section. Note that on the Electron, the function keys are obtained by holding down the CAPS LK/FUNC key while you press the appropriate key. Holding SHIFT while you press the key results in the shifted function being activated.


The first thing to do is to enter a label in the top left hand corner. This is done by pressing f4 and then typing MONEY, two spaces, and then <RETURN>. Note the use of spaces to centre the label. It will be assumed that you will remember to press <RETURN> after all future entries, so it will not keep appearing in the text.


Now you need column headings. Ensure that the cursor is under column 2, press f3 and enter JANUARY. Move the cursor right and repeat the process for the other months. Convert column N to a line by pressing f6 with the cursor in that column. Note that the prompt: "Are you sure?" appears. This is so that if any formulae had been set in column N they would not be accidentally erased by the unintentional pressing of f6. Obviously in this case you enter Y. The final column - O - should be given the heading TOTAL.


The row labels are entered in a similar way. You must use f2 to label rows and f5 to put lines across the rows. Use these keys to set up rows like this:

              ROW  2:  Label MORTGAGE

              ROW  3:  Label FOOD

              ROW  4:  Label FUEL

              ROW  5:  Label LEISURE

              ROW  6:  Label OTHER

              ROW  7:  Convert to a line

              ROW  8:  Label TOTAL OUT

              ROW  9 & 10:  Convert to lines

              ROW 11:  Label EARNINGS

              ROW 12:  Label B.FWD

              ROW 13:  Convert to a line

              ROW 14:  Label TOTAL IN

              ROW 15:  Label TOTAL OUT

              ROW 16:  Convert to a line

              ROW 17:  Label REMAINING

              ROW 18:  Convert to a line

              ROW 19:  Label SAVE

              ROW 20:  Label C.FWD


Now press f8 to move the cursor to its home position - that is, to display the top left hand corner of the spreadsheet. You can now enter some formulae.


Box B8 will contain the sum of all the boxes above it. The formula for this is:

                      B8 = B2 + B3 + B4 + B5 + B6


To enter this, move the cursor to box B8, press f0 and type the rest of the formula after the "B8=" that will appear on the screen.


Similar formulae are required along the rest of row 8. This is achieved by pressing SHIFT f1 with the cursor still on B8. Then move the cursor right to C8 and press COPY. You should now see that the formula for C8 is now set. Repeat this procedure for the other columns. This means keep pressing SHIFT f1, cursor right and COPY in that order. Remember to copy M8 into O8, not into N8 which is just lines.


You can check what functions you have entered at any time by pressing SHIFT f4. If there are too many to list on the screen, press SHIFT to see more.


Enter the row formulae in a similar way. Move the cursor to box O2, and use f0 to enter the formula:

     O2 = B2 + C2 + D2 + E2 + F2 + G2 + H2 + I2 + J2 + K2 + L2 + M2


Use the copy facility again to enter similar formulae in boxes O3, O4, O5 and O6.


Now row 12 needs the formulae inserting. The formulae required are C12 = B20, D12 = C20, etc. These are entered using f0 with the cursor at the appropriate box. Remember O12 = M20. The boxes on row 14 are the sum of the boxes on rows 11 and 12. Use f0 to set up B14 and the copy facility to copy the formula to the other boxes. (B14 = B12 + B11, C14 = C12 + C11, etc).


Row 15 is the same as row 8, so the copy facility can be used to enter formulae such as B15 = B8 along the row. Row 17 is row 14 - row 15 and is set up in exactly the same way.


Enter the formulae for total earnings in box O11. That is:

              O11 = B11 + C11 + D11 + E11 + F11 + G11 + H11

                     + I11 + J11 + K11 + L11 + M11


We will assume that 75 per cent of the money remaining is saved and the rest is carried forward to the next month. This leaves two more rows of formulae to set. Set up box B19 with this formula:

                            B19 = B17 * 0.75

and copy it to the rest of the row. Row 20 will be row 17 - row 19, and is set up as before. If you wish, you can enter formulae for other boxes such as earnings (for example, C11 = B11, etc) or allow for inflation (such as C5 = B5 * 1.01).


You are now ready to start entering numbers, but it is a good idea to save your work first. Do this by pressing SHIFT f6 and answering the questions as they appear. To enter numbers, move the cursor to the relevant box, and type the number. At the start, you answered NO to the question "Continous updating?". This saves time if you have a lot of entering to do. Any time you wish to update the spreadsheet, just press f7.


On the tape (after the graphics program), or on the disc, you will find a sample file called MONEY for you to load. It was set up following these instructions. Load it first by chaining the program or press SHIFT f7 if it si already loaded. Answer N to the "Create file?" question, MONEY to the old filename and NO to the extend question. If ever you want to add more rows or columns to an existing file you should answer YES to this question.


Although you have now set up a spreadsheet, there are still some function keys that you have not yet tried. You have already used SHIFT f4 to display all the formulae on the spreadsheet. If you want to see a particular one, move the cursor to that box and press SHIFT f0. If you want to completely clear a formula, press SHIFT f2 (again with the cursor on the box). If you wrongly enter a number, pressing f1 will return the previous number.


SHIFT f3 and SHIFT f7 are used when you wish to enter a new file. The first only clears the numbers, but leaves labels and formulae intact, while the latter allows you to start a new spreadsheet without reloading the program.


The print option - SHIFT f5 - allows you to print out the spreadsheet. Eight of the spreadsheet columns fit on a standard 80 column printer. If the width of your spreadsheet exceeds this, the rest of the columns are printed on a new sheet so that you can join them up side by side.


What the function keys do


      UNSHIFTED:                 SHIFTED:

 f0   Enter new forumla          Display the formula in the box indicated


 f1   Return last number         Copy a function (use in conjunction with COPY key - see instructions)


 f2   Insert new row label       Clear a formula from a box


 f3   Insert new column label    Clear all values from the spreadsheet


 f4   Insert new corner label    List all values from the spreadsheet


 f5   Put a line along a row     Obtain a printout


 f6   Put a line down a column   Save the file


 f7   Update (if you are not     Quit current file and restart          

      continously updating)


 f8   Send cursor home           Load the graphics program


 f9   End                        End


The Graphics Program

The graphics program requires you first to set up a file using the spreadsheet. So that you can try out the graphics, a file called MONEY has been included after the graphics program on the tape, and is also on the disc.


To load the graphics program, type:

      CH. "GRAPH"


and press <RETURN>. When it has loaded and you are asked for the old filename, enter: MONEY.


Once this file has loaded, you will be asked for the row that you require. If you cannot remember the number, press <RETURN> to see a list. To try out the program, enter 4 and press <RETURN>. Then answer Y to any columns that you want to appear in your graph, and N to any that you don't. In this case, answer Y to the 12 months, and N to the total.


The menu will then appear on the screen. Pressing f0, f1, f2 or f3 will give the display of your choice. When you have seen it, press f7 to print it out on an Epson compatible printer, or any other key to return to the menu.


If you wish to draw graphs from a different area of the spreadsheet, use f4, and if you want to load a new file, use f5. Use f6 to load the spreadsheet program, but note that to do this the tape will have to be rewound.



Instructions' Source   : MINI OFFICE (Database) Booklet


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