Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

prrjim posted:

Your definition of "everything" and mine might be different!     I could send you mine but you have to know a little about excell to use it.    I would need to strip it down, so the pages are not so big.    Let me know via email.

I'm  also interested in an excel template to inventory my o gauge trains, accessories etc. 



Understand that Excel is not a relational database program, and that is what you really need to do this. It’s not the right tool for the job.

A simple list of items can be built in Excel, but it is impossible to get any meaningful reports out of Excel. There are other, vastly superior database programs out there that work better and are easier to use.

Download and try the Yard Office program that Patrick1544 posted. MUCH better than anything you’ll find built in Excel.

Last edited by Rich Melvin

For those of you with programs that will only run under older versions of some operating system, please know that you can run that older system in a Virtual Machine (VM) running under the latest operating systems.  A VM is, essentially, another computer running in the memory of your current (real / touch it) computer which still allows you to save your data to your real hard drive or SSD.  Windows XP and other older versions of Windows can still be found on the internet and can be used for short periods of time in your VM of choice.  You should also be able to install working programs like TrainTracker within your VM.

The only drawback to this is you must start all over with installing the software in your VM when the time limit runs out.  But your data is still safe on your hard drive or SSD if you save it properly.


Last edited by PRR1950

I agree with Rich about the advantages of a Database program over spreadsheet software. 

But what I don't like are these dedicated database programs that go undeveloped for years and no longer work with modern computers & operating systems. This is why spreadsheet programs like Excel are popular because they never really go obsolete, not mention these programs are cheap. Heck, I was able to import my dad's train inventory spreadsheet he did on SuperCalc 4 back in the early 80's into Excel 2019!

Now if someone has an inventory program that was developed with MS Access (and even better, can be run with the FREE runtime version of Access), I think you would have the best of both worlds. MS Access isn't going away anytime soon and you have your inventory in a much more usable database format.

Last edited by H1000

Hi Guys,

Trainz Auctions offers a free online inventory program that ties into their database, so you get pictures, description and even auctioned value range.  I like that you can download it to Excel so you always have a backup.  I've bought stuff from them and you can automatically add those items to you inventory.  It's functional for my needs. I hope that helps,


One of the problems of software in our hobby including inventory, track planning, signaling, etc. is that many of these products are the work of a single person.  As long as that person stays involved these products grow and improve with time and are supported.  Sometimes that person gets sick or has change in life's circumstances and s/he turns away from the software and it ceases to evolve and support becomes minimum and declines over time.  Thus a program that requires Windoz XP.  The size of the market makes it tough for professional software company to have a team on it.

The idea of having an inventory  program with a database of all trains would be an enormous project requiring constant updating.   Think of the scope of the Greenberg books.  Very cool feature to have. 

Excel is not a relational database, but one can still do a lot with it.  A lot is in how it is set up.  Many people (including me at first) have a tab for engines, one for cars, etc.  This limits reporting.  Excel has a number of intrinsic database functions, such as "filter and sort", "Find Duplicates", etc.  These are designed for the master data to be in a single sheet.  Some codes are needed to allow for sorting and reporting.  Thus, if one creates a column such as "Type" with values of "Engine", "Coach", "Accessory", etc.  the database functions of Excel can do some reporting.  A column with color would allow one to answer a question such as "How many engines and coaches do I have that are red?"  One would have to do some studying of these database functions to make good use of them.  Its clunky dealing with pictures, but possible.


I started a Word document on my Excel approach this afternoon.  I should have a first draft ready in a few days depending on how ambitious I get into how-to-do's.  I already have the column names and content documented.  I will post it in this thread.  It will show how to set up and use inventory and purchase tracking in Excel.  I have to think about how to share the actual spreadsheet with all my personal data - or perhaps trim it down to some example records.

@H1000 posted:

On the same note as FileMaker Pro there is also Open Office and Libre Office which both include a program called BASE. Completely free!

You beat me to it. I use Open Office and tried Libre Office but preferred Open after some side-by-side comparisons. I am so used to Open that I would hesitate to try anything else. It reads and writes to Excel and other formats. Plus It runs on Linux, Windows, and OS X. Having said all of the above, I really miss Lotus 1-2-3.

Last edited by PRRMP54

Found this from Microsoft.  Microsoft has been gradually removing backward compatibility from Excel since 2007.  However, there may be a path if you can save the file to xls, or even export to a delimited text file.  There may be third part converters available.  I have Works on my XP machine but it is currently in mothballs.

Move from Microsoft Works to Office 2010

Excel 2010 Word 2010 Excel Starter 2010 Word Starter 2010

If you previously used Microsoft Works and you now use Office 2010, you may want to use your Works documents and spreadsheets in Office. First, copy the files to your new computer, and then open them in Office.


  • There are no converter options for recent versions of Office, including Office 2016 and Office 2013.
  • Excel cannot open spreadsheets in the Works 4.x/2000 (*.wks) format. Before copying these Works spreadsheets to your new computer, save them in an Excel format (*.xls or *.xlsx). If your spreadsheet files are from Works 6.0 or later, you don’t need to save them as Excel files. Excel 2010 and Excel Starter 2010 can open files in the Works 6.0-9.0 (*.xlr) format.

Copy Works files to the new computer

  1. Copy the Works files to a device that you can move to the new computer.

The simplest method is to use a USB flash device. Plug the device in to your computer's USB port, and then copy the Works files onto it.

  1. Insert the device into your new computer, and copy the files into a folder, such as Documents.

Open Works files in Office

Works 6.0 or later

If your Works files were saved in Works 6.0 or later, you can open them directly in Office.

  1. In Word, Excel, Word Starter, or Excel Starter, click the File tab, and then click Open.
  2. Go to the folder where the Works files are stored.
  3. In the list of file types (next to the File name box), click All Files (*.*).
  4. Click the Works file that you want to open.

When you save the file, save it in the newer Office format (Excel Workbook (.xlsx) or Word Document (.docx).

@Rich Melvin posted:

Why waste the time building this in Excel? It's not the right tool for the job.

Yes, you can store your stuff in a spreadsheet, but running any kind of meaningful reports out of Excel is all but impossible.

Rich. I already have it on works on a flash drive from an old computer. I installed works on my new computer.  This is just for my personal inventory.  What do you mean by reports? I just like to keep track of what I have and works seems to work well but is not supported anymore from Microsoft.  Just want to have a program that is already on most computers.  Dont want to worry about losing or damaging the works discs I have then being left with a useless spreadsheet inventory database. 

@E-UNIT-79 posted:

 What do you mean by reports?

I use my database mostly to add specifics to forum posts, or if I'm just curious to what I have.  For example, if I want to know how many ALCO PRR AB cab diesels I have with A1A-A1A trucks that were used in freight service, I can find that in about 15 seconds.  I did use it for an actual forum discussion not too long ago to answer how many 'road' diesels I had that were primarily freight and how many were primarily passenger.  I let the program count them for me.  I also find it kind of fun to see what I have and it makes it easy to not buy duplicates.  

I know most folks on this forum do not care about this, they just want a list of their trains.  My father-in-law was quite happy with his notebook for his 50ish train items and was not interested in me setting up a worksheet program for him.

However, if you are just starting an inventory why not go to a free database program with the fields you need already there, like the aforementioned Yard Office.  Why make life more difficult than it already is.

I'm in the "keep it simple" camp.  I use Excel, have a column for each attribute that is important to me, and can sort it however I want.  Can easily prepare a sorted report for taking to a meet to make sure I don't accidentally buy something I already have.

If your inventory system lists a "total value", I strongly suggest protecting it from the significant other with a password.     

What a person should use depends on what functionality is important to them.  Personally, I'd rather spend my train time working on the layout or running trains.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.