Load "Calc Review",8,1
|Publisher:||Loadstar (Softdisk, Inc.)|
Calc is a fantastic spreadsheet application for the C64, published in issue #79 of Loadstar, back in 1989. It was developed by David Pankhurst and was released as Shareware. Back in the day, if you used Calc and liked it, Dave requested that you purchase a full license for $25 in US or Canadian funds. After using it for some time, I have to say that Calc is one of the best spreadsheet applications for the C64, right up there with Microsoft's Multiplan.
What sets Calc above other “budget” spreadsheet programs, like PowerPack and Easy Working: The Planner, is it's ability to execute logic expressions (if/then/else). It also provides a nice large worksheet of 240 rows by 240 columns, and easy to use formatting commands, which sets it above the others. And, I prefer Calc's simple cell reference protocol (like a1, for example) over something like Multiplan's R1C1 protocol. It makes it much easier to reference the cells in formulas and expressions, in my opinion.
As with other spreadsheets, you can enter three types of data into it, they include text, numbers and formulas/expressions. The expressions that can be used include MAX, MIN, NUM (which acts as a count), AVG, and SUM. But the most interesting one is IF. You can use IF to do some basic logic and present a unique result based on the calculation. For example, you could do a logic expression like IF(a3-2,a5*2,5,b3) would work like this: if the value in cell a3 minus 2 results in a negative value, the value returned would be cell a5 multiplied by two. If the result was zero, then the number 5 would be the value returned. And if the result was a positive value, then the number in cell b3 would be the value returned.
Another thing to note is, unlike other spreadsheets, if there are blank values in the range of cells used with these expressions, you will not get an error as Calc sees blank cells as zero. Also, the expressions ignore cells with text in them, so this also will not return an error if text is mixed in with the range used in the expression.
It's little niceties like these that makes Calc stand out from other C64 spreadsheet applications.
Another unique feature that Calc has been programmed with is the ability to send disk commands directly to the floppy disk drive. For example, if you wish to scratch (aka delete) a file from the floppy disk, you can do so by first typing
CTRL+SHIFT+$ and then
But with Calc you are not forced to used the floppy disk drive, as it has the ability to save and recall spreadsheet files from the datasette, as well. Every time you save,
CTRL+S or load,
CTRL+L a file, it will ask you whether it is to use the tape drive or disk drive.
I should also note that the version of Calc that was published in Loadstar also came with some really useful template spreadsheets, as well as some really good documentation. These were a great help at getting you up and running quickly and start producing something useful.
As you can see, there are some pretty unique features programmed into Calc, which make it to be one of the best spreadsheet applications for the C64, that I've tried anyway. If you are ever inclined to use your beloved 64 to do a bit of number crunching, I suggest you give Calc a try. And, hey, if you reading this happen to be David Pankhurst, then please let me know if you'd still like the $25 for an official license!