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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.

Chuck

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,

G

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.

Bill

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.

Notes: 

  • 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.

@Patrick1544 posted:

I use Yard Office model train inventory.  It’s a free download.  No expiration or time limits.  Fully functional.  If you like it you can pay them or not. Your choice.  It’s very detailed.  I think it’s great.  Try it .  Nothing to lose, it’s free.  
http://www.musicmixradio.com/yardoffice/

Downloaded YardOffice.  Paid the $27, but have not received a Registration Code.  

@hokie71 posted:

... Trainz is attractive since it populates information with pictures even....

My only concern is that this is on Trainz' cloud service and they have access to everything you put on it.  In the past there were complaints that Trainz was using pictures and data from individual's inventories for their own marketing.  They may have stopped that by now, or this may not be an issue with you, but read the privacy notice.

Last edited by CAPPilot
@Gerhardt posted:

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,

G

Unless they changed, I found Trainz Auctions limiting in that you can not sort your collection.

Over the years my train collection has grown enough that I needed some way of knowing what I have.

I've tried a variety of inventory programs. Unfortunately no one had all the info I needed so I finally created a LibreOffice (free alternative to Office/Excel) spreadsheet.

As others have pointed out, almost impossible to create reports from a spreadsheet so I finally bit the bullet and created a database using Microsoft Access. Unfortunately I've forgotten a lot of what I leaned back in the early 2000s regarding how to make an Access database compact so I don't have many calculated fields. Plus not sure how to populate one field with info based upon some you enter into another field.

Regardless, here's the fields in each record:

Seq # (unique record number; can not be duplicated; this allows me to sort MY way)
Cat No
Unq ID (if I have more than one item with the same Cat # this differentiates each item)
MA (I check this field when I enter the item into the Access datase; I'm slowly moving all my data from my spreadsheet to Access)
Description
Color(s)
Series / Set
Manufacturer
Scale
Group (my own designation)
Road Name Code
Road Name Description
Road Logo
Reporting Mark
Category
Type
Min Curve
Length
Built
Status
Config
Years Cataloged
MSRP
Purch Date
Sold by
Purch Price
S & H / Tax
Calc. Total
% MSRP Purch Price
Item Cond
Best Value
% MSRP Best Value
CY Greenberg Value
% MSRP CY Greenburg Value
MITrains Value Date
MITrains Value Price
% MSRP MITrains Value Price
Qty
Box Type
Box Cond
Images (up to 8)
Notes

Excel's filtering and reporting can get sketchy after a while as it's designed to crunch numbers rather than running queries.

I put together a Microsoft Access database over 15 years ago as a teaching tool for my students (bet they got sick of trains). It was primarily to show the flexibility of the product. One of these days I'll put some code behind it instead of macros (Visual Basic wasn't part of the course curriculum as it was an Access class for the business department and not a programming class). Will probably dig it out when I retire and have some time.

Main Menu:

Main_Menu

Sample Record:

Sample_Record

 

 

Attachments

Images (2)
  • Main_Menu
  • Sample_Record

I downloaded the yard master program and was able to open it and input some sample entries.  However when it came time to close, the program came back and stated the free trial was over and I could purchase it if I desired.  

So what's so free about this tool?  

To ward off comments, regarding if I selected the right one,  Yes I did select the field for the "free" application.

 

@Allegheny posted:

I downloaded the yard master program and was able to open it and input some sample entries.  However when it came time to close, the program came back and stated the free trial was over and I could purchase it if I desired.  

So what's so free about this tool?  

To ward off comments, regarding if I selected the right one,  Yes I did select the field for the "free" application.

 

On their home page ( http://www.musicmixradio.com/yardoffice/ ) it tells what's added if you register the shareware program. Being it's shareware I'm sure it will always nag you to purchase.

In spite of what was said about database programs, I use Excel to keep inventories of my model trains, model cars, and model ships, and its done everything I want.  It's easy to use and I know it well, and it does what I want.  And I like to play with numbers, so the fact that I can run many different sort routines, pattern recognition, and other analysis (regression of original cost vs. my rating of satsifaction, or trending of price of locos I've bought over time) that you can't do in a database program (although you can dump from Access into Excel, of course)

The format is up to you: not just what you gather and keep about each, etc.

 

Thank about what you want and desing you own.  

@Lee Willis posted:

And I like to play with numbers, so the fact that I can run many different sort routines, pattern recognition, and other analysis (regression of original cost vs. my rating of satsifaction, or trending of price of locos I've bought over time) that you can't do in a database program (although you can dump from Access into Excel, of course)

Everyone has different levels of comfort with any program.  Playing with numbers is not my thing, that is why I like my database.  Easy setup, easy to use, easy to find data, easy to analyze what I have for forum posts.  There are plenty of free ones out there too.

36 years of IT experience has taught me that the key is getting good data. You can write programs all different ways but without the data you’re stuck. I think that’s the case here. 

A relational database with inventory from all manufacturers over the years would be key for what we want. Then a webpage(s) that everyone to use it would suffice.

People could then create their own roster by entering in the item number, then the page would populate all other data. You save your data to your own instance. Allow people to download their data for backup. 

I looked at the Trainz Community and that is what they have. Plus you can buy and sell amongst others. Trainz charges 8% per transaction. Better than Ebay but not as good as here. 😄

Last edited by ChiTown Steve

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