Q.  What exactly is in your SolutionBase, what software does it cover?
  A. InfoStat's SolutionBase is a ever growing database of software solutions to assist the user in getting their everyday job done. The primary focus is on Excel.  Access and Word content is included but only as it relates to an Excel issue. For example, printing mailing labels from your Excel database. 

The use of the database is free. You are free to print or download the pages at any time.

  Q. You sometimes use the term Solution Base and sometimes Knowledge Base. What is the difference? Do they mean the same thing?
  A. This is a Knowledge Base, We call it our Solution Base. Our emphasis is not to teach you, for example, how to copy cells in Excel. But it is to teach you how to use several features together to accomplish your task. A single Excel feature in itself is not always that useful unless you know how to do it within a relevant task. We present the materials within a task that has value to you, then you have a Solution! 

Of course we do present exercises on the basic features as well in order to give you the foundation to proceed with our Solutions.

Below is a Q & A on a Loan Amortization schedule that further describes this method.

  Q. Free?  There are never any fees?
  A. What you see on your PC's screen is always free. The total content of this free material is growing everyday. It is expected to become a very well known source of solutions.  For now, we'll call this freeware.  There are shareware and fee-ware solutions available as well.

  Q. What do you mean when you say some of the information is shareware and fee-ware? Is it going to cost me to visit your site?
  A. No, if you see something you like, simply print it or download it. It's yours! 

Our freeware is available to you primarily by reading the page, printing it if desired. Obviously this is free. A very large percentage of our files are in this format.

Some specialized information will come in the form of shareware. This will be a page or a downloadable file that will give you much more in-depth information about a topic. It's yours to use, and if you feel you received value, we ask for a small contribution. In some cases, the shareware will expire within a given period of time if not registered. 

The for-fee files are also downloaded, but only after payment is received. In some cases, a freeware file may have an option to obtain addition information upon payment of a fee.  All such files will be well labeled.  You know exactly what you are getting at all times.

  Q. You seem to be starting with primarily with Excel. Is your Web page fairly new?
  A. Yes and no. Officially it began in 1996, however in early 1998 removed the entire Web presence and are started over. The "official" start date of the new InfoStat web presence is March, 1998. Another major revision was undertaken in the summer of 1999.

Excel has the largest presence in the SolutionBase because that is where most of the solutions can be found. Also, the topics are listed as a result of our consulting assignments or our client's specific request. As it turns out, the bulk of our requests are for Excel. 

Excel is and will be the primary focus of this site.

  Q. Why did you start over?
  A. We didn't really start over, we're just using our experience to build a better product for you. Our material will be much more relevant and more to the point, all based on input from our visitors and customers.

  Q. Give us an example of a shareware file.
  A. One of our popular files is a loan amortization schedule prepared in Excel. Loan amortization programs are a dime a dozen, however, everyone seems to want something simpler or more adaptable. This spreadsheet teaches you how to build the amortization schedule, explains what it is doing and why, and, teaches you well over 40 Excel features while you're at it. It is an excellent reference file for later use. You may remember a feature covered in the file, but can't quite remember exactly how to use it. Simply go back to the file and there's the answer! Everyone, from beginners to advanced users seem to gain knowledge from files such as this.

  Q. Is this file teaching Excel or Loan Amortization concepts?
  A. Good question.  Our teaching philosophy is to teach solutions.  In this case the solution is the flexible loan amortization schedule using Excel as the tool.  You are learning Excel features in their basic form and as used in conjunction with other Excel features. More importantly you are learning about the topic at hand as well.  Therefore, you now have a better understanding of the topic at hand and can get still the job done quickly. This is the reasoning behind the term SolutionBase.

  Q. Are the shareware files really shareware or "nag"ware?
  A. We want you to use the information and continue to learn from it. We also want you to continue using our site. There may be reminders on certain screens, but nagging you to pay is not our way of doing business. We listen very closely to the feedback and change what people do not like.

  Q. Why are you doing this? Aren't there many other sites doing the same thing?
  A. Yes, except our site will known for the place to go for answers! You will come to our site because our material is written based on user input. There are other knowledge bases on the web, but they usually:
  Are very specific to a very narrow audience
  Are too technical for the average user
  Are organized in such a manner that no one, sometimes, including the authors, can find the needed information.
  Q. I can't find a particular topic. What do I do?
  A. We will never have all the answers to everyone's questions. But it's our mission to distribute information. Simply e-mail or call us with your question. We will tell you where to find it (on our site). If it's not there, we'll answer your question and put it there! In most cases, we will add it to the SolutionBase within a few days at no cost to you.

  Q. At no charge?
  A. We are simply adding to the SolutionBase based on user input, in this case you. What better method of setting priorities than looking directly at what you need?

However, a small fee may be charged for certain more complex questions when the question is in reality a consulting assignment. Answering your question on why you're having trouble with a particular formula may be at no charge. But, for example, utilizing the =MAX function in conjunction with =INDEX, using both text and numbers and containing rounding issues may carry a small fee. Writing a VBA macro to complete all your monthly reports in five minutes is obviously a for-fee assignment. The point is....ask! It's free to ask. You will never be charged for anything without your knowledge and permission.

  Q. You will update the database with my solution in a few days, but I need the solution now!
  A. Give us or e-mail and, if your problem is fairly basic and does not contain significant unique issues, time permitting, we'll add it immediately or e-mail you response, at no charge.  But, more realistically, your problem probably has a unique twist to it and is actually a request for consultation.  We'll respond directly to you with a solution within 24 hours (or an agreed upon turn-around time) for a small fee, usually $75.00. Refer to the section within these pages for more details on these and other services.