Loading Data and Range Results on Computer

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Millelacs posted this 3 weeks ago

Anyone keep their loading data and range results on a computer?

 

There has to be a better way than recording in a book, and then paging through the book to see what you've tried that did or did not work.

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Not if you have been doing it for 40 years. 

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Bud Hyett posted this 3 weeks ago

I've been working on an ACCESS database that records the attributes of the Technical Sheet. Also, I'll add tables to record .22 LR matches which are a different breed. This is a project when I have little to do which is rare. And in line with Ric's comment, I'll baseline the loads from the time I finish the database.

I did this once before, but the first one was limited in scope and data, it was not useful. The main benefit will be the ability to download EXCEL spreadsheets for analysis and then using PivotTables to compare selected attributes in relation to each other. 

 When I retired, Boeing was introducing the concept of "Big Data" and I thought of spending another few years. EXCEL spreadsheets and PivotTables greatly aid these analyses.  However, I had an attack of common sense and retired.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Wm Cook posted this 3 weeks ago

I used a computer for 30 years. Every target goes in a three ring binder and everything from group size to bullet lube goes in a database. Let’s me slice and dice it maybe 20 different ways. I’m always looking for an angle I haven’t tried to shrink the groups.

Not so much on by jacketed 6mm PPC. Same lot of powder, same lot of primers, same lot of brass same lot of bullets through multiple barrels. Barrels lose their edge pretty quick.

Cast accuracy has lots more variables than jacketed, so everything goes on a spreadsheet. Bill.

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Squid Boy posted this 3 weeks ago

I keep a folder for every gun I own. It has everything in it including purchase receipts and anything special like molds I might have bought just for that gun. Plus, every target, Quick Load sheet and chrono data that matches up. The target has all the shooting data written on it. The info is easy to assess because it is in chronological order. It's all in a two drawer filing cabinet in alphabetical order according to make. I find it very helpful to have the target, load and chronograph data all in one spot. Hard to save all that to a computer unless you scan it all in. That's my two cents worth, Squid Boy  

"Squid Pro Quo"

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Boschloper posted this 3 weeks ago

I have been using an Excel spreadsheet for 25+ years. I have a tab for each caliber and I fill in a row for each box of bullets I load. I have columns for the bullet used (every batch cast gets a lot number with all the data recorded on a seperate spreadsheet), primer, powder type and charge, and the case (each box is numbered). In additional columns I record data from when the box is fired.  For the calibers that I have more than one gun for, I have a column for which one was used.

Yes you can call me anal retentive but it's all part of the fun. 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

i always thought it would have been great if Dr. Mann had been gifted a modern spreadsheet ... of course it would have been steam-powered ...

isn't it great how far we have come since Pope ?? 

 

.... oh wait ...

ken

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

I built a reloading database in 2008 using Apple's Filemaker database.  It has worked great and it is very reliable, but my version of Filemaker is very old and I doubt it will work on Mac computers much longer.  And I do not wish to spend the $$$ that Apple wants for the most recent version.

So I recently started looking for a replacement.  I tried a few open source databases and settled on the Libre Office database program called Base.  It is a free program to download and use. It is available in Windows, Mac and Linux distributions.

I have replicated my Filemaker database almost completely using Base.  I still have a few issues to work through, but it is working the way I want it to.   Base is much more like Microsoft Access, which I am more comfortable with than Apple's Filemaker.  In all the years of using it, I never felt comfortable with Filemakers user interface and the way it does relational database table linking.  Just too different from the databases I am used to using in the PC world.

My goal for both Filemaker and Base was to have a load data input screen, tied to backend tables containing all the information to be input.  You just simply select parameters on the load data screen, click the down arrow and use existent data from your data tables.  It then uses the information you entered or selected to create an entry in the Load Data table.  Which is a master table of all your loads.  It looks like a spreadsheet in Table view.

Here is my current load data input screen.

 

 

Everywhere you see a little arrow on the right side of the data box, that data can be selected from a set of tables containing the information.  Here are my Tables I have thus far:

 

 

For example, all my cast bullet molds and commercial bullets I have bought over the years are contained in the Bullet table.  When I select the bullet box on my input screen, it displays all of them to pick from.

Same thing for powder and so on and so forth.

 

I can also build custom queries and save them to show filtered data from the load table using a particular caliber, or caliber with a certain powder or a certain bullet.  Very useful for going back and finding all the different loads you have done over the years.

I still have a lot of work to do.  For example my bullet database I used in Apple's Filemaker had the fields for bullet weight and caliber combined in my display box to select from, and I have no desire to do that again.  So I am updating my new bullet table with a proper single field description, while still saving the caliber and weight fields in the table, as well as other pertinent info such as which ones are from molds that I own.  I just update that table as I enter new loads.

Another feature I am working on in the new database is printing ammo labels straight from the database.  I had it perfected in Filemaker, but I can't get Base to rotate the label to print correctly on my Dymo shipping label printer.  I have to do a screen capture and print it separately.  But that is really not a deal breaker for me, but I do want to figure it out.  Since my label printer is a thermal unit that prints black and white, I found that using a yellow background makes a nice contrast on the printed labels.

Your question on electronic data record keeping has come up on different forums that I enjoy reading.  It usually boils down to folks who do everything on paper and have no desire to change their workflow, folks who use spreadsheets, and then people like me that use databases frequently for work and home use and depend on them.  I always learn something useful by reading others input on the subject though. 

One interesting thing I saw on another forum that I haven't implemented yet is to record range results, chrono data, target photos and other useful information into the database.  Since it is all linked to a specific load number, that will be easy to do.  I just haven't gotten there yet.

Other options are databases on your phone.  I recently used my favorite called Tap Forms on my iPhone to create a database with photographs of all the bullet molds I have.  It records the mold manufacturer, mold part number, the bullet weight, the mold material (brass, aluminum, steel) and how many cavities the mold has.  It is nice to be able to have the camera images taken in real time as you enter data.  This type of database would also be useful at the range for taking photos of your target or chronograph output, since we usually have our phones with us.

And finally, there is a commercially developed reloading database that I have purchased in the past.  It is TMT Precision Ballistics and Records.  https://www.tmtpages.com/  It uses a Microsoft Access backend.  It worked well, but since I use Mac computers exclusively at home and already had a working database, it wasn't worth it to me as I had to run the program in a virtual environment under Windows.

Just my 2 cents on the topic.

Harold

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

And in an effort to keep better notes at the range, I am going to put the load data on each of my targets using my ammo box labels.  That way I can take them home and better analyze them and ensure I have the correct load number for each target.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

hporter ... thanks for your post.

reminded me that a couple years ago i was using OfficeLibre to create an live index of the FS issues, the idea that all the members could use the free data base to look up any subject in any past issue.   went pretty well, i put in several sample issues ... but that version wasn't stable enough for universal member use ... it crashed a few times on me, so i " paused " the excercise ...   

maybe time i loaded up the latest version and start entering stuff again ?? ...  especially now that we have the early issues.            how is your stability ?? ...

but just in case, i advise backing up often ... and rotate backups ...

oh, i still use Filemaker Pro v 4.0 windows a lot ... has a killer search engine.

ken

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

Ken,

I am glad you mentioned stability, as I had meant to address that.

As Base comes from Libre Office, it is an embedded HSQL database.  When it crashes (and it will crash) it can destroy your data.  Which is funny to me, as data integrity is one of the main reasons to use a relational database.  And I do regularly backup my databases manually, and automatically with Apple Time machine.

I have the instructions for splitting the HSQL database saved to my computer.  Splitting the database removes your data tables from the embedded container which helps with protecting the data.  It also allows the data tables to be backed up separate from the container.  I need to look into doing that.

I have no experience with a database used online.  I am sure there are many pitfalls in implementing something like that.  Both functionally and from a data security standpoint.

I think I still have my Filemaker Pro 4 install floppies.  I upgraded through version 10 and decided I wasn't going to keep giving them more money for very little improvement in their product.  Since I don't make my living with their software, I am happy to keep chugging along with my old version.

Harold

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Squid Boy posted this 2 weeks ago

I give you guys a lot of credit for being so computer literate but have lost data on the computer from all sorts of reasons. I find my file cabinet is pretty fool proof short of a real disaster. Keeping targets together with all the other data helps me the most. Visually, it is right there in black and white so to speak and easy to make a direct comparison of groups and data. Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

hporter - thanks!  I'm adding accuracy data at 100/200 yards 5/10 shot group size and date shot

 

 

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Lee Wiggins posted this 2 weeks ago

Several have mentioned backup , Very wise . Unlike PC data files , I have never had a piece of paper erase itself.

                     Lee

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

So, here's a start of my converting the scattered 3x5's and business card notes.  Lots of calibers, bullets, powders, and shootin' irons yet to add.  But I've got a good start on the types of data.  Yes it can be printed too for backup.

 

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

That looks like it covers all the bases. Good Job.

I think I need to add estimated velocity and actual chronographed velocity to my database too.  I will often put the estimated velocity in the note field, but it would be a good reminder to record it, if it had it's own field.

I like the group size field that you included too.  I would need shorter ranges as I primarily shoot handguns.  And of course, the specific handgun it was shot in too, as you included. Perhaps just a field for group size and one for range would be enough?  Lots to think about.  I suppose you could have a separate table to record the load number and then the specifics?

I shot 16 different 32 H&R mag loads through my Ruger LCR .327 mag today, recording each load on a separate target.  So now I am contemplating how to record this information - or at least the ones that look promising.

I also shot the Ed Harris "full charge wadcutter" load through 6 different snubby's.  I didn't keep individual targets for those tests - which now that I am home and trying to remember the details - makes it obvious now why I should record each one!

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

as I'm hammering through populating the spreadsheet I'm thinking about how to create a link to a jpg or pdf of the target itself....

 

and I've added the trim-to length column

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Boschloper posted this 2 weeks ago

hporter:  Would to see the specifics of your 16 .32 H&R loads.  It's one of my favorites. Maybe you could start a new thread...

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lotech posted this 2 weeks ago

I regret that I only started keeping good notes about thirty years ago. I record all range notes, load data, accuracy, and everything else including temperature and app. wind velocity in a notebook. Periodically, I transfer the basics to a 4"x6" card file. Seldom do I need to look up all the detailed information, but when I do, I simply go back to the range notebook. This system works very well for me even during power outages and I've never lost any data. 

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

as I'm hammering through populating the spreadsheet I'm thinking about how to create a link to a jpg or pdf of the target itself....

That is exactly what came to me last night.  When you start sticking photographs in databases or spreadsheets, the file sizes can get quite large. 

But a link to the photograph file (which for me would be in its own folder in the same subfolder as the database) would make it quick and easy to find again.  And it wouldn't have an impact on the overall file size of the spreadsheet or database.

Threads like this are nice because you always learn a thing or two from your peers.  There are always different solutions to the same problem, and I find it interesting to seeing solutions that I may not have thought of on my own.

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hporter posted this 2 weeks ago

hporter:  Would to see the specifics of your 16 .32 H&R loads.  It's one of my favorites. Maybe you could start a new thread...

You are right, a new thread would be better as that would be quite some thread drift. 

I am just experimenting with multiple bullets and powder combinations to find one that shoots to the point of aim at 7 yards that would be comfortable for my wife to learn on. 

My .327 LCR is easy for the wife to handle and she finds the double action trigger on it to be smooth and easy to actuate. 

I tried three different full wadcutters, a wide ogival wadcutter, the RCBS 98 grain SWC and I threw in the Lee 93 grain and 100 grain round noses and 90 grain SWC- just because I had recently cast them up and had them on my bench. 

I still need to cast up some of my 115gr Keith type SWC's, another 90gr SWC and one other wadcutter mold that I have.  So maybe I will start a thread when I get more testing done.  So far the 98gr Mihec DEWC looks the most promising.

 

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

as I'm hammering through populating the spreadsheet I'm thinking about how to create a link to a jpg or pdf of the target itself....

That is exactly what came to me last night.  When you start sticking photographs in databases or spreadsheets, the file sizes can get quite large. 

But a link to the photograph file (which for me would be in its own folder in the same subfolder as the database) would make it quick and easy to find again.  And it wouldn't have an impact on the overall file size of the spreadsheet or database.

 

MAYBE a separate spreadsheet on just the bullets - that link is easy to do in Excel and that allows lots of data to be stored about the particular bullet.

 

SO perhaps another spreadsheet with just the targets.   Hmmmm.

 

The naming convention is critical - the link hooks it to where-ever one wants, but it must also be in clear-text English to be read by ME!  Sorting is important too.  SO my first thoughts are to start with general diameter 22,30, 32, 35, 38, et al. and then more information about the as-cast diameter and/or manufacturer or mold #.  That will be  a practical exercise for later.

 

 

Threads like this are nice because you always learn a thing or two from your peers.  There are always different solutions to the same problem, and I find it interesting to seeing solutions that I may not have thought of on my own.

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hporter posted this 1 weeks ago

This project with the .327 Ruger LCR has really brought home to me why I should keep better range/field records with my handguns.  I have developed and shot a large variety of loads through this revolver over the years from cat sneeze 32 S&W Long to full on .327 mag loads.  But while contemplating where to start for a load for my wife, I asked myself the simple question - which loads do I have where the point of impact is the closest to the point of aim at 7 yards or so? I had no idea.

95% of the time, my buddy and I shoot at small AR500 plates from 7 yards to 25 yards.  I am usually content with a load if I can ring the steel consistently.  Which should be good enough for this fixed sighted, double action only revolver with a 1-3/4" barrel.  But asking the question above made me realize that without shooting at paper, I had no idea which loads group the tightest, and just as important for a fixed sighted revolver, which loads do the POI vs POA come the closest.

It is not uncommon for me to bring out 5 or 6 revolvers in the same caliber when we shoot.  This last week, I brought out 6 snub nosed 38's to play with the Ed Harris full charge wadcutter load he has written about.  This time I did actually shoot them on individual targets, but "again" I did not record the results like I did with my 32 H&R Mag loads.  They all shot decent double action groups, but if I tried to recall specifically which gun shot the same load to what point of impact, I wouldn't be able to.

So for my New Years resolution, I have decided to record this information for all my handguns in a consistent fashion.

Because I am always looking at ways to automate processes, I downloaded a trial copy of target scanning software from On Target Shooting.  https://ontargetshooting.com  Does anyone have feedback on this software?

I use a Mac computer, so I have to run it in a virtual Windows XP environment.  The software requirements do not include Windows XP, but it appears to work properly. The base version is $12 and the deluxe version is $35.  So it is relatively affordable.

I figure most folks just measure the center to center of the widest two bullet impacts, and that is probably good enough for me.  But this software is so easy to use, I "think" I could actually run a target through the program faster than I could hand annotate a paper target.  It records much more information than I would ever need.  Here is an example of it's output:

And here is a screen grab of the software, which can be done through the software:

For giggles, I hand measured the target and the numbers the software generated seemed to be very close (I didn't grab calipers, but a ruler from my desk). The deluxe version of the software can do a data dump in .csv format, which would make it super easy to copy and paste into my database.

I have mostly gone "paperless" over the years, scanning all documents and shredding them (aside from tax filings and other important documents).  So I have no desire to keep my targets.  The type of information captured in the target scanning program seem to be enough to answer my question on which loads group the tightest and where do they impact relative to the point of aim. I already record all the load data including which lube and primers used in my reloading database.  Aside from perhaps chronograph records, weather conditions and wind speed, would I be missing anything relevant that one might need in the future?

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 1 weeks ago

i like to note where the shots land according to the sequence they were shot ....

mainly because in br 22rf, i had to consider barrel condition ...  if i didn't shoot at least under 30 seconds apart, i needed a wasted fouler shot.

also one time i used cheap k-mart lithium grease for lube, and repeatedly the first shot would go 8 moa wide ...  the rest in a nice group ... wait 5 minutes, and the 1st shot 8 moa wide, the rest a nice group.  what-the ?? ...  scary ... 

so barrel condition is always in the back of my mind ..  " it was the barrel condition, ... honest !  " ...

not sure how the program would handle that, and the errant first shot doesn't always happen .  with a good scope a repeating errant first shot .. or errant 10th shot ... would cause a * mental note to self * ... , maybe edit a red ring in a later edit ...

1 per center's lives matter ...

ken

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 1 weeks ago

hporter:  oh, your post on embedding/linking jpegs reminded me that * thefrugalcomputerguy * has a great tutorial on you-tube on specifically officelibre base ... about 50 of 10 minute vids ... dated but still outstanding.  

and he mentioned he got greedy and crash deleted his entire database... heh, gotta like that guy ...

btw, you have shamed me into re-starting to build up my base of all the FS articles ...  beats daytime tv ...

ken

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hporter posted this 1 weeks ago

Ken,

I have often wondered how you can record shot sequence accurately?  A five shot or ten shot group, sure. But I have seen targets posted on forums where they record more than that?  I can't see across the room, and even with a good spotting scope I would be pressed to record the sequence accurately in groups of more than 5 shots.

Thank you for the heads up on the fugal computer guy. I just bookmarked all of his Base videos.  Although I have a functioning reloading database, I still have much to learn.  I see he has a tutorial on adjusting paper size and orientation, so maybe I can get my ammo box labels to print straight from the database.  That would be the cats meow.

Thank you for your thoughts.

I

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Buttersdad posted this 1 weeks ago

I have been keeping mine on paper, first because I haven't taken the time to create a data base for it. Second, I have had computers crash permanently in the past and my computers are older. I run Windows 10, but now Windows 11 is out and I don't know how long 10 will be supported. I don't have the money on hand to buy new.

 

However, looking at and reading about the ones here I may have to get modern and try it.

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hporter posted this 6 days ago

Buttersdad,

I have had a few computers die an untimely death as well.  Especially the one my wife spilled a glass of wine on.....

In the Apple world, the Mac computers come with a feature called Time Machine.  If you attach an external hard drive to your computer, it backs it up incrementally throughout the day - 24/7.  You can go back through "time" and retrieve versions of files from days before and even farther back.  You can also restore a brand new computer to be an exact copy of your old machine if your current computer bites the dust.  I have restored a Mac laptop that way, and it does work well.

I also have 2 different external drives that I use to do mirror image copies of my current machines hard drive. I rotate the back up every other month.  I store these in my gun safe where the golden rod device keeps the humidity in check.

Even with all that, you can still lose data.  But that is how I mitigate the risk.

I hear you on the expense of new computers.  I have been experimenting running Linux Mint in a virtual environment on my Mac. It is free to download and use so I figured I would try it out. I think Linux is the way forward in my future.  Eventually Apple will do something that will be the last straw for me, and I need to be ready to jump to another platform when that day comes.  I have been pleasantly surprised at how much quality software is out there for free in the Linux world.  In fact, playing with Linux is how I stumbled on Libre Office in the first place.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 6 days ago

i suppose i shouldn't let this secret out ... but i have my 3 already so here goes:

Dell 6420 Latitude laptop ... these are about a 2010 model, and i bot a used one for $50 in 2014 ...  still going fine, and i use it constantly and drop it daily.  i bot 2 more for backup and wife, they have outlasted any other unit by several times ... run W10 just fine, and have 3 usb and most have CD !   obsolete probably but i don't care.  so am I.

i don't need a Weatherby to kill deer in my backyard ...  and i am not embarrassed that my computer takes 5 minutes to load Window10 once a day ...

ken

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hporter posted this 6 days ago

Ken,

Your secret put a smile on my face.

 

My model is a 6410.  But it has an i7 processor and still runs Windows 7 like a champ.  I was a dummy and upgraded from that one to the new Dell Tablet laptop thing that has a detachable keyboard.  I hate that one, but it is the only machine that I have Windows 10 on.

For all my Windows needs at home, I run Win XP in a virtual machine on my Mac.  It works great, and is all I need.  I tried to install Windows 2000 in the virtual machine, but there was a problem with the chipsets in the new computers that wouldn't run with it.  I always thought Windows 2000 was the best OS they ever made.  It was robust, didn't crash and ran business type software with great reliability.  But it wasn't a multi-media platform - so it went the way of the dinosaurs.

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hporter posted this 6 days ago

First run at a Range Report from the Libre Office database program.

I can simply fill out a few fields in the Range Report table through a data entry form, and since I reference the load number, the range report automatically populates the load data for me.  And I am linking the target photo, rather than embedding it. So it doesn't make the database bloat up as it would if you inserted the photos into the database.

Did I miss anything other than perhaps bullet sequence?  I am not sure how I would do that - unless I just annotated the target photo in a photo editing software.

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Buttersdad posted this 4 days ago

i suppose i shouldn't let this secret out ... but i have my 3 already so here goes:

Dell 6420 Latitude laptop ... these are about a 2010 model, and i bot a used one for $50 in 2014 ...  still going fine, and i use it constantly and drop it daily.  i bot 2 more for backup and wife, they have outlasted any other unit by several times ... run W10 just fine, and have 3 usb and most have CD !   obsolete probably but i don't care.  so am I.

i don't need a Weatherby to kill deer in my backyard ...  and i am not embarrassed that my computer takes 5 minutes to load Window10 once a day ...

ken

 

I have two myself both HP's, a desktop and a laptop. Both are running Windows 10 and do it pretty well. For about a year the desktop would freeze randomly, but only when I was typing on one of the forums I frequent. I googled the problem and was given about 10 possible problems. I was one of the lucky ones, I tried the first fix with no joy. The second fix seems to have fixed the problem, don't ask me what it was cause I didn't make a hard copy of the procedure. Now the only problem I have with either is the laptop being slow to respond when it first "wakes up". The main reason I like my hard copies of my load data is that I don't have space on my reloading/gunsmithing table for a computer, either type. So I keep data in a small notebook I got for Christmas several years ago and it is more accessible on my table top. I run a free collection of office programs called Open Office by Apache. It is completely compatible with Microsoft Office Suite and functions the same.

I am, however, interested in creating my own spreadsheet to put it on my computer in my office, since reading the posts in this thread. So thank you to the OP and all who have replied to his post, y'all  gave me the kick in the butt.

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hporter posted this 3 days ago

I run a free collection of office programs called Open Office by Apache.

As I understand it, that is essentially the same software as the Libre Office that I have been trying out.  I recently canceled my MS Office 365 subscription as my wife doesn't use it anymore.  These free office suites have their limitations, but I am truly amazed at what they can do when they cost nothing to download and use.

I remember when I bought the WordPerfect word processing program when I was a student at the university.  It was a DOS version, and with the Russian Cyrillic keyboard package cost me close to $400, even with the student discount.  We have come a long way in terms of cost and quality since then.  Thank goodness we aren't working on the monochrome monitors of those days too!

 

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